Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aloha to Ashley March and SEDUCING THE DUCHESS

Aloha!  Blogger is still acting up for me but I can leave anonymous comments.  If you have difficulty, send your comments to  

Plus check out my guest post at the Reading Reviewer about little victories:

Back in March, I enjoyed the daily "March Madness" blog hosted by historical romance author Ashley March.  In appreciation for Ashley's extra effort, I invited her to be a guest here at SOS Aloha so we could learn more about her!  From her bio,

After spending countless hours memorizing both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, perfecting her tones, and practicing her speaking with any Chinese native she could find, Ashley successfully graduated with a degree in Mandarin Chinese. She was determined to be the next best Chinese translator in the world... Then she discovered writing historical romances was as much fun as reading them, and her Chinese capabilities have never been the same. When she isn't writing about sexy, untamed heroes and intelligent, independent heroines in Victorian England, Ashley stays busy trying to entertain her two young daughters, attempting to do housework, and hiking in the beautiful foothills of Colorado.

Kim:  You generously hosted "March Madness" for the entire month of March. You hosted fun authors and bloggers ... plus awesome prizes! What did you learn from this experience?

Ashley: Thanks so much for the kind words, Kim! I'm so glad you participated and enjoyed it. =) I have to admit that when I first started planning the 1st Annual March Madness Blog Party, I knew it would keep me busy. However, I don't think I could have ever guessed how much time it would truly consume. My hat goes off to you and all of the bloggers out there who regularly post. It's hard work! But besides learning about how much time it takes to get blog posts ready, the experience re-affirmed my belief that the romance community--authors, bloggers/reviewers, and readers alike--are some of the most fun and most generous people out there. I had such a great time reading the discussions we had and interviewing my fellow authors. I can't wait for next year's March Madness--which I promise will be even bigger and better!

Kim  What influenced your interest in studying Chinese? Do you foresee any Chinese influence in a future book?

Ashley:  When I learned in 4th grade that my substitute teacher could speak four languages, I was in awe. I've always loved words, and the ability to be able to use language to interact with people of other cultures appealed to me as something interesting and extraordinary. I originally settled for becoming a Spanish teacher, but then decided I didn't have it in me to be a teacher. I also didn't think that Spanish was challenging enough. I wanted to learn Chinese for no other reason than it appeared to be the most difficult language (I now know that each language has its difficulties, and Hungarian is said to truly be the most difficult to learn by many linguists). Since I no longer wanted to be a teacher, the most natural thing to do with a Chinese degree seemed to be translation, where I would work with words all day long. Circumstances changed, and I ended up taking another road, but I still love studying languages and hope to one day visit China after I've brushed up on my speaking abilities again. As for including my study of the Chinese language and culture in any of my books, I have to admit that I've toyed around with the thought. However, I'm still waiting on the perfect idea for a story where I could use it. Right now I have too many Englishmen with sexy British accents running around in my head. =)

Kim:  Your debut book, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, was well received last October. What did you learn in the afterglow of its success?

Ashley:  I'm so happy it did as well as it did! I have learned a thing or two as a new author, though. First, as much as you would like for EVERYONE to love your writing and your stories, it just isn't going to happen. Both my hero and heroine in SEDUCING THE DUCHESS turned out to be quite controversial for some romance readers, and it's such a temptation to bemoan that fact and wish I'd written the story a different way, but then I have to remember that there were even more readers of the book who absolutely adored the hero and heroine. Lesson: I must stay true to my characters and my writer's instinct. Secondly, I learned that an author's work isn't finished with the publication of a book. Beyond the actual book, so much is involved with marketing and publicity simply to try to get your name out there and make sure that people have heard of you and your title. Lesson: Invest heavily in clone research.

Kim:  What's next for Ashley March?

Ashley:  I'm so glad you asked, Kim, because I'm really excited about this year! On September 6th my new stand-alone book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, will be released. This story is about an earl and his best friend's wife who are drawn together after their spouses are killed in a carriage accident and it's discovered that they were having an affair. It's a sweet, sexy, and very emotional story, and I can't wait to hear what readers think about it! A little bit before, on August 2nd, a separate (short!) e-novella related to one of the characters in ROMANCING THE COUNTESS will be released. Its title is ROMANCING LADY CECILY.

Mahalo, Ashley, for visiting us at SOS Aloha!   To learn more about Ashley, her books, and her blog, log onto her website.  Ashley is giving away a copy of SEDUCING THE DUCHESS to one randomly selected commenter:

It was just another scandalous night…
Gambling. Carousing. Flirting. Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford, will do anything to create a scandal large enough to force her husband to finally petition for a divorce. Once madly in love with Philip, she is now determined to escape from their less than civil marriage and the reminders of his betrayal.

Until he stole her away…
Philip Burgess, Duke of Rutherford, is not a man to tolerate regrets. He wed Charlotte for revenge, not for love or convenience, knowing she would come to hate him. But he never expected he would one day find himself craving her attention or desiring her company….

And gave her something more…
Philip is no longer the cold, deceitful man she married years ago. And when he promises Charlotte a divorce if she will help him become a better husband for another woman, she wonders if she truly wants to lose him—and if Philip may still possess her heart after all…

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about what a teacher inspired you to learn.

2.  This giveaway is open to US residents ... but I welcome comments from all readers!

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 28, 10 pm in Hawaii.   I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 29.


Kim in Hawaii

 Montague and Cooke

The Hawaiian have a few titles - Ali'i (chief) and Kahuna (priest) but certainly not as many as the British aristocracy!   But one English title had a significant influence on Hawaii - The Earl of Sandwich.  From Encyclopedia Britannica,

John Montague, 4th earl of Sandwich, (born Nov. 13, 1718—died April 30, 1792, London, Eng.), British first lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolution (1776–81) and the man for whom the sandwich was named. 

His interest in naval affairs and his promotion of exploration led the English explorer Captain James Cook to name the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) after him in 1778. His Voyage Round the Mediterranean was published in 1799. In his private life Sandwich was a profligate gambler and rake. The sandwich was named after him in 1762 when he spent 24 hours at a gaming table without other food.

Even though the Kingdom of Hawaii was recognized by other countries and monarchs, Hawaii was still referred to as the Sandwich Islands by Queen Victoria.   In fact, Queen Victoria served as godmother to several members of the Hawaiian Royal family.

The white obelisk is a memorial to Captain Cooke on Hawaii;
the land was deeded to the United Kingdom.
Notice the dolphins in the foreground.


  1. I have to admit that until I was in the 11th grade, I hated English/Language Arts and could not spell to save my life. My teacher that year for English III was Mrs. White. Basically the first thing she said to me was "I'm an old lady, set in my ways. Don't try to change me." I just knew that I would hate that class. Instead, she was a passionate teacher who taught me a great deal and showed me that I could spell, if I would just take the time to work at it. I will always love and respect Mrs. White for all she did for me and all her other students.

  2. My high school senior English/Literature teacher, Constance Cole, wins the award for pushing me into writing as a serious profession. She constantly made us write--short stories, essays, etc.--and after we turned in our respective papers, she always took the time to catch me either before or after class. "You've got a flare for this," she'd say. "Nurture the talent, and it'll take you places."

    Now whenever I get down in one of those writer/artist slumps, I think about her, the constant encouragement she gave, and I know I can pick myself up and go on. Would that all students--especially today--be so blessed to have a teacher like Mrs. Cole, why, imagine how much more confident our young people would be.

    By the way, Ashley's book sounds fabulous! I adore stories where the hero & heroine are already married. Thanks for the giveaway, Kim!

  3. Hi June! Thanks for commenting! I have to admit that I loved almost of all my English teachers...even If I sometimes hated the work. Thankfully I never had to diagram sentences (grammar-ugh!). Regarding spelling--I don't know whether to blame it on age or the baby, but it seems like the older I get the worse my spelling is. So glad you ended up liking your 11th grade teacher. =)

  4. Hi Alyssia! I had two teachers like that in middle school; I hope both of my daughters are able to have that kind of support and encouragement when they go to school. One of my concerns for publich schools now is that they seem to be hanging on to the minimum--which makes me think that a lot of quality schools are going to private schools and charters. I hope you enjoy SEDUCING THE DUCHESS if you get a chance to read it, and best wishes with your own writing! =)

  5. I just also wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to Kim for having me on the blog today! It's such an honor. =) Having grown up with a stepdad who was a Vietnam vet, being a part of this community for today is bringing back some nice childhood memories.

  6. Hi Ashley! I cannot wait for ROMANCING THE COUNTESS and the e-novella. :)

    My 3rd grade teacher Miss Kercheville instilled in me my love for reading and writing. She would always give us writing prompts and a lot of reading assignments(which most everyone groaned about). I remember writing this story (with a friend) that ended up having 12 chapters and turning it in. Miss K actually read all of it! I ended up writing quite a bit during my 3rd grade year thanks to her. I still have all those stories in a file folder and re-reading them had me going "what the heck?"

    Please don't enter me for the giveaway. I've already got the book. Thanks!

  7. Chinese? I'm impressed! SEDUCING THE DUCHESS was fabulous ... looking forward to ROMANCING THE COUNTESS!


  8. I think the teacher who gave me the most encouragement was my high school History Teacher he made me love history again!

    I love Ashely's books!


  9. Hey Ashley,
    I actually had a few teachers that really inspired me throughout the years. When I was in highschool I would write really bad poetry and one of my science teacher found out. He would sit with me and discuss my poems and was very encouraging with my writing. I think he was even slightly proud of me. He would share my poems with others and was always so nice.

    Kim, please don't enter me to win a copy of Ashley's book. I already have a copy of this great book.

  10. I loved your debut, Ashley. I speak Cantonese, but Mandarin is like a foreign language. No need to enter me for "Seducing the Duchess."

  11. Hi, Ashley! I have heard FABULOUS things about your books! I can't wait to read Seducing The Duchess!

  12. My eight grade teacher, Mr. Cordon, was an inspiration in learning. His teaching method was completely foreign to me, but he made me want to learn!

    I do pretty well with reading some foreign languages, but can't speak one to save my life. Go figure!

  13. Ashley—Loved your March Madness and can’t wait for next year’s version!

    Teachers are definitely a gift from God. I’ve been blessed with so many examples of selfless devotion from teachers in my life. I’ll mention one. I was enrolled in the last LSU undergraduate history course taught by Pulitzer Prize winner T. Harry Williams. Even though the course was presented in a large and noisy auditorium, videotaped, and subject to lots of guests dashing in and out, Williams was always unflappable, professional, and absolutely mesmerizing. His love of history was genuine and contagious.

  14. I started reading very young but my 7th grade teacher Miss Tharpe encouraged reading and loved poems especially about the South. She taught me to appreciate poetry and learn poems by Sidney Lanier who was born here. That was 53 yrs ago..

    I would love to win your book Ashley. Romance is my favorite choice and all romance books written from locations in England, Scotland and Ireland are 3/4 of my reading pleasure.
    Please enter me in your giveaway.


  15. It was my English teacher is high school that really inspired me to learn. Before that, I just barely passed through school. Once I had his class, though, I really fell in love with learning.

  16. My favorite teacher was Ms. Wanderling who taught my class for both 5th and 6th grade. She taught me to never give up and to always try my hardest. When I was in 5th grade I got a bone disease that kept me in the hospital for a month and them in a wheelchair for another month. She went out of her way to help me keep up with my class and made sure not only that I was "promoted" to the sixth grade but also to catch up on all that I had missed out on when I couldn't attend class.

    It wasn't until she died from cancer when I was in Junior High that I realized that she had also taught me to always look forward and not let hardship or illness effect what I could do. Her lessons have helped me get thru finding out that I was a Type I diabetic but also surving cancer as a challenge not a hardship in my 40's and quadruple by-pass in my 50's as a reason to rejoice in my life and make me a stronger better person. Without her encouragement and attitude of living the life you are given with love and acceptance I would not have the strength and love of living each day to it's fullest that I have today.

    My husband and I celebrated our 41st anniversary this year and we take as much time as we can get away from our jobs to spend time with our wonderful granchildren!

  17. I love languages. My first degree was in Spanish and Italian. Now I teach science and I think that is a language as well. Your book looks great and so does the new one.

  18. I think the first teacher that really inspired me to learn was my 6th grade history teacher- unfortunately I don't remember her name but she really inspired me and history along with reading have become my favorite subjects.

    I am a US resident

  19. My 10th grade chemistry teacher really pushed the lot of us to learn. Once one of the kids was complaining about how hard her class was and I pointed out that since she (the other girl in my gym class) did learn in the class, the teacher must be doing something right.

  20. Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for joining me today! Am going to catch up on all the lovely comments right now. =)

  21. Hi Kati! Thanks so much for sharing. I'd be giddy if you wrote now--would love to read! My most memorable English assignment was in 9th grade. We had to write diary from POV of Holocaust victim. Wish I could find it now. Was a turning point for me as a writer.

  22. =) Thanks, Sue. I admit to having overachiever tendencies. Fortunately, they're balanced very well by my procrastinating tendencies. ;) So glad you enjoyed SEDUCING!

  23. Hi Anonymous/Danielle! There was a history teacher at my HS who always dressed up for his class. I always grumbled that he wasn't MY teacher. =)

  24. Hi Danielle Gorman. *waves wildly* =) That's amazing. He must have been a really great teacher. Never heard of a science teacher doing something like that. Do you still write poetry?

  25. Hi Jane. =) One of my Chinese friends once tried to teach me Cantonese. I think I learned the tones and then gave up. I was so proud of myself for learning 4 tones with Mandarin--8 is so hard!

  26. Aw, thanks, Chelsea! *big smile* I hope you enjoy them, too!

  27. Hi Artemis. =) I miss teachers like that. One of the reasons why I don't like the focus on standardized tests in schools now is because it doesn't leave very much room for teachers to be creative in their styles of instruction. Kids NEED to learn in different ways. Fuels their creativity and desire to learn. *steps off soapbox* =) Oh, I can't speak very well either. I can never say the French "r" or the German "ch". But it's fun trying. =)

  28. Thanks, LSUReader--so glad you joined in on the fun! Your comment really makes me wish I'd taken his class! I love it when teachers seem to actually *care* about what they teach. Makes such a difference.

  29. Hi Brenda! =) I remember 7th grade--such an impressionable time, I think. I remember my middle school teachers so much clearer than my high school teachers. It's those teachers--like your Miss Tharpe--whose passion seems to have the most impact. In fact, I'm friends on FB with a couple of my middle school teachers. =) Thanks so much for commenting, and I hope you enjoy SEDUCING THE DUCHESS if you win!

  30. Casey H.--I wonder what he did differently? Do you remember? I loved my 9th grade English teacher because she treated us as adults, not children. She even invited us to attend poetry readings with her. I hope that teachers like that are around when my daughters grow up. Thanks for commenting. =)

  31. Hi Jeanne--what an amazing and inspiring story. Wow. You both sound like such strong women. =) Congratulations on your 41st anniversary--and on all the time you get to spend with the grandkids. ;)

  32. Hi Debby! =) You put me to shame. I'm great with words, but am at such a loss with math and science. Maybe I can call you when my kids need help with their homework? ;)

  33. Hi Maria! I wonder if people who love history love reading and people who love reading love history. To me the two seem intertwined. Of course I write historical romance, but even for paranormals or futuristic stories, themes from history are often used. I'm such a geek--I have to admit that when I first got my Kindle I was more excited about all the cheap history books available than the romances. =)

  34. Thanks for the comment, Sheree! I was probably too focused on my grades when I was in school. I wish now that I had been more engaged in what the teachers were actually trying to teach me (especially in chemistry, calculus, and physics--my hardest classes). I've learned as I've gotten older that it's that which challenges me that helps me learn.

  35. I had such interesting relationships with all my teachers, but the one who impacted me the most was my kindergarten and first grade teacher, Mrs. Walker. She wanted to have an impact on us, so instead of staying as the kindergarten teacher she moved with us also into first grade. She taught me to want to learn at an early age, even though school did not come easy she took time with to help. I was more of the creative spirit who always wanted to just do arts and crafts. From then on I always wanted to put forth my best effort in school and life, and always look at the positive in any situation, which I still do. The yearning to learn has stayed with me, even though I was never great in scholastics. I'm loving being able to pass the excitement of learning to my 3 & 4 yr olds. To be able to influence such young minds to want to learn, I'm so grateful I had that at such a young age.


  36. Hi Ashley! I was on your band wagon with your first novel and loved it! I'm so happy to see your second book come out! As far as teachers inspiring me... boy that was 40 years ago! I do remember my 2nd grade teacher inviting me and a few other poor kids over to her house to a party once. It made me feel special. I never got it.

  37. You know I sat here and thought back over every teacher I've ever had, but the person that encourages me to learn the most is my father. When I was young he invested in the children's book clubs to encourage my vivacious reading habit. As a teenager we were always on some mountainous adventure hiking and climbing to see all that nature had to share. As I've gotten older he's always sharing history facts with me and encouraging me to learn more about where my family is from and what kind of life's they might've lived. I think all of that combined is what has led to me being such a huge fan of the historical genre.

    Whenever I want to learn something new there's two go to places for me, my father, and a good book!

  38. Funny enough, my 8th grade choir teacher told me never be afraid to be myself. People will either except you as you are or they will try and mess with you. The ones that accept you are the ones you know will be your friends. Sure enough, he was right. To this day I tell my kids the same thing. And they are learning that Mom knows what she's talking about. ;)

  39. Hi Anonymous/Cassida--thanks for your comment! I also have two young children (mine are 2 and 7 months). I understand what you mean when you say that you'd like to instill in your own children a love of learning. I hope to be able to do that, too--however, first I have to teach the 2 year old not to rip books apart and the 7mo not to eat them. ;)

  40. Hi LilMissMolly! *waves* =) Thanks so much for your enthusiasm--I have to admit as the months pass by and September approaches I'm getting more nervous for the second book..although I don't think the nervousness will ever disappear, even after I've published 20. =) I'm so sorry you didn't get to go to the party! Since children spend so much of their childhood at school, I believe teachers are integral to their personality and emotional development as well as their academic development. This is why I love hearing about teachers like yours, who go out of their way to make children feel special. Thank you for sharing!

  41. Hi Lolarific. =) I loved your answer--I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart. I hope that my children feel the same way about me one day. Although I hope they both have wonderful teachers who encourage and inspire them to do great things, I believe parents should play an even greater role in helping their children discover all the wonders of this world. =)

  42. Hi Cindyvon--I just wrote that down to remember to tell to my kids when they're old enough to understand. =) Thank you!