Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Aloha to Charlene Sands and REDEEMING THE TEXAS RANCHER (Forever Texan Book 3)

Charlene Sands is celebrating the release of REDEEMING THE TEXAS RANCHER ...

Falling out of love with Colby Ryan wasn't working...

There hasn't been a woman who's held Colby Ryan's heart for long, not since his teenage love went awry twelve years ago. Now, all of a sudden, Dakota Jennings, his longtime family friend and trusted wrangler on the Circle R ranch, is catching his eye. For Dakota’s sake, Colby won't ever give in to the temptation she poses.

Dakota has been secretly in love with Colby since the age of ten, but his sense of honor and the Texas code he lives by won’t allow her permanence in his heart. Up until this point, he’d never hinted at romance between them and yet, falling out of love with him just plain isn’t working.

Colby has always protected Dakota, and he isn’t about to stop now. If he gives in to his desire, she stands to lose far too much. Colby doesn’t deserve her love, he's already ruined one life, but the binds that tie them are strong. Can Dakota be the woman to redeem his broken soul?


Charlene Sands is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. She has been honored with the National Readers Choice Award, the Booksellers Best Award, The Cataromance Reviewers Choice Award and Romantic Times Magazine's Best Harlequin Desire Award of 2014. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she spends time with her four "princesses", enjoys sunny Pacific beaches and yummy chocolate mocha cappuccinos!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, August 14, 2017

Aloha to Hayson Manning and TEN DAYS WITH THE HIGHLANDER

Scotland is glorious in the summer ... so let's escape to Alba with Hayson Manning's TEN DAYS WITH THE HIGHLANDER ...

Go-getter Georgia Paxton has ten days to acquire a quaint hotel in the Scottish Highlands for her travel accommodation company before she’s off on her next grand adventure. Too bad the sexy, broody Scot who owns the place is dead against the idea…and that she’s in very real danger of losing their little bet to see who can convince whom first.

There’s no way Callum MacGregor is going to let the gorgeous American turn his tiny hometown over to bored tourists looking to satisfy their Outlander fantasies. He only has ten days to convince her to slow down and see the magic of the town and its people. If he succeeds, he won’t have to run her out of the county. But if he fails, Georgia might run off with his heart.


I love Princess Bride, Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives – the drama is deliciously addictive. Big Bang Theory but will take Wolowitz over Cooper. Star Trek not Star Wars. Undercover Boss, Secret Millionaire – any story that shows the little guy making it. I follow the Buffalo Bills like a religion. I am spellbound by showjumping and equestrian eventing. I love curling up and reading all books – no genre is off-topic. I like ironing, I hate peas, love donkeys, I play a killer game of Scrabble. I will often be heading towards the fridge for another Diet Coke. I eat nothing with legs and believe wine goes with everything, oh and I’m an expert at finding new and inventive ways to avoid exercise.

I live in the sparkly beachside suburb of Redondo Beach in California with my infuriating shoe-dropping husband and my two boys who speak in mystifying grunts.

Hayson offers an excerpt from TEN DAYS WITH THE HIGHLANDER ...

“What are we doing?” she asked against his mouth.

He pulled back and stared into her stormy eyes. “I think it’s called kissing.”

“Oh. I’ve heard of it.” She paused. “I like it. A lot.” She regarded him. “You taste good. Like an ice cream cone I want to lick forever,” she murmured, then leaned forward and sucked his bottom lip between hers.

He shifted, his zipper denting tender flesh. “What flavor?” He nuzzled her neck and bumps flew across her skin.

“All flavors of the rainbow. Sweet, salty, and with a hint of you, and before you ask I don’t know what that taste is, but I’m calling it delicious.”

“That’s a lot of flavors.” He cupped her face and stared into her liquid eyes.

I wish you were mine, Georgia Paxton.

She snuggled deeper into him, their combined heat misting the windows and possibly the countryside.

He glanced out the window. The rain had eased to a steady drizzle, and the road appeared manageable. He glanced at his watch and pulled a hand through his hair. They’d been out way later than he’d planned, but Callum had enjoyed every minute of her company. “I think we can get going.”

“Are you sure? I’m not sure if I’ve got this kissing thing down. I need to practice.” She wiggled in his lap.

When you put it that way. He glanced at his watch again. Damn, he wanted to spend hours exploring her body with his hands, with his mouth, map it until he knew every quiver, every intake of breath, every moan. Right now, with her hands in his hair, her amazing sunshine scent was making him punch-drunk.

“If I don’t leave now, I don’t think we’ll be leaving for a while.” He cast a glance in the backseat at his goat. “I don’t want an audience.”

She blinked away the haze. “Absolutely not. Poor Delilah.” She did one last wiggle against him, then crawled over to the passenger seat.

“Can we practice kissing later, but without company?” She lowered her voice. “I was enjoying that.”


Friday, August 11, 2017

Aloha to Catherine Lloyd and DEATH COMES TO THE FAIR - Book Review


One of the many perks of the RWA Annual Conference is the publishers' signings ... giving me the opportunity to catch up on books I missed last year, including Catherine Lloyd's DEATH COMES TO THE FAIR, Book Four in the Kurland St. Mary's series (a Regency Cozy Mystery):

It’s harvest time in the village of Kurland St. Mary as Lucy and Robert prepare to take their vows—but a murderer has taken an unseasonable vow of vengeance . . .

As Miss Lucy Harrington, daughter of the village rector, and Major Sir Robert Kurland plan their nuptials, the major is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever hear wedding bells. He’s seen complex military campaigns that involved less strategy, and he’s finding Lucy’s meddling family maddening.

When the body of Ezekiel Thurrock, the church verger, is discovered crushed by a stone gargoyle that has fallen from the bell tower, the tragic death strikes a somber note and the wedding is delayed. But the evidence suggests this was no accident, and Lucy wonders if bad blood at the village fair had anything to do with the man’s mysterious demise, since there was much bitterness over Ezekiel’s prizewinning vegetables.

As Lucy and Robert uncover long-standing village feuds, the town’s dark secrets begin to take their toll and the couple soon finds they too are in grave danger . . .

Image result for aloha on my mind gorman farms

County fair, county fair
Everybody in town will be there
So come on, hey, we're goin' down there

- Bruce Springsteen

After three books, Lucy Harrington and Major Sir Robert Kurland are ready to marry.  She helped him recover from a battlefield injury and he inspired her to consider a life away from the rectory. Alas, Lucy's aristocratic family wants a London social wedding while she and Robert would rather marry in the village. The ongoing marriage negotiations are put on hold when the beloved verger is found dead in the bell tower. Was it a tragic accident or the intentional act of revenge?

Catherine Lloyd holds a master's degree in history from University College of Wales. It is not surprising, then, that she hits the mark in this Regency cozy mystery. Catherine incorporates the customs, language, and nuances readers enjoy in Jane Austen books. While the plot focuses on the unusual death of the church verger, the ongoing romance between Lucy and Robert plays out in the background. Catherine adds humor with the secondary characters, including an enemy-turned-friend, an overreaching cook, and the magical Romany. I appreciated that this Regency mystery reaches further back into English history to create an intriguing read. Secret tunnels, unexpected spies, and royal treasure, oh my!

DEATH COMES TO THE FAIR can be read as a stand alone book but I recommend reading the series in order to follow the characters' development.

I received a copy from the Kensington signing.

Image result for aloha on my mind gorman farms

I am giving away a swag pack from RWA17 to four randomly selected commenters from my posts published in the month of August. To enter the giveaway,

1. Trouble begins in DEATH COMES TO THE FAIR with the vegetable contest. What's your favorite veggie, fruit, or special treat from a country fair or farmer's market?

I miss the fresh fruit, especially pineapple, from Hawaii!

2. Comments are open through Thursday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Friday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


More books in the series ...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What Makes Bloggers Tick? Aloha to Sue Brown-Moore, "DaVinciKittie", and Grave Tells

As previously posted, an author at RWA asked me, "What makes bloggers tick?"  I responded on Tuesday at this link ... and I invited other bloggers to offer their thoughts. Today, please join me in welcoming fellow blogger (and freelance editor) Sue Brown-Moore. From her bio,

Sue “DaVinciKittie” Brown-Moore is a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. Sue is a fiction editor experienced in the genres of romance, urban fantasy, epic dark fantasy, and crime thrillers and has tamed manuscripts ranging in length from 7.5k to 180k words. Schedule a sample edit with Sue here!

Sue is also a veteran romance blogger and the primary review voice for Sue and GraveTells have won several blogging awards since 2010, and she has been a Featured Blogger for Coastal Magic Convention. She is the co-coordinator for the San Francisco Area RWA chapter’s Heart To Heart competition and has judged the Prism, Passionate Plume, and On the Far Side contests.

When Kim asked the question, “What makes bloggers tick?” My first thought was that this answer is as varied and complex as the question itself. And something I’ve thought about a lot recently, when I started writing a series of Book Blogger 101 courses for a special event I hosted [link]. So, at the risk of subjecting you to wall-o-text eye bleeds, I’m breaking this rather high-level musing into three critical questions:

1. Why are bloggers MOTIVATED to do what they do (whatever that is)… and

2. How they choose WHAT to do in their little slice of the blogosphere… and

3. Why they KEEP DOING IT even when it becomes a part- or full-time job that doesn’t really pay.

Why I blog

Authors are our rock stars, and we basically just want to head bang at the concert that is romantic fiction. My reason for starting a blog is that...but is also a little more personal. I grew up in rural Texas in the 1980s and '90s, where diversity and tolerance were a joke, judgements were passed like Sunday peach cobbler—oh so sweet and frightfully potent—and perception ruled everything. Hell, anal sex between consenting—married!—heterosexual adults was illegal (and still may be). Women were slut shamed for enjoying their own bodies, and young men were practically sainted for winning in a Friday night game that to this day condones sexism and violence. So you could say I was a little repressed. And as an adult, I have discovered that I am neither conservative nor vanilla. And I am not willing to sit down, keep my mouth shut, and look pretty for the boys.

So romance was always my escape, and I remember swooning over tales of swashbuckling pirates and lordly rakes before it was probably socially acceptable to even be seen with those books. So I hid in my room and devoured them. My mom totally enabled me—she’s as rabid a romance fan as I am. Then Twilight came along, and I discovered paranormal romance. Suddenly, I was obsessed with vampires and werewolves and faeries, oh my! I mean, seriously, I would blow through these books, maybe three or four in a week, and be so amped up and excited about them that I was just bursting with it. And yet, I had no friends who read paranormal. Or, really, romance at all. And my husband wasn’t exactly the right audience for those talks. You know the ones I mean, ladies.

Blogging was just gaining notoriety in 2010, and there were a few bloggers in the romance sphere who were making waves, so I latched on to that promise land of sisterhood and community and hope, and I never looked back.

What I blog about

I have been blessed to work with some truly amazing authors over the years, and if I’ve learned anything about writers, it’s that they’re called to do what they do. They don’t create the story—it uses them as a mouthpiece, and words just come out. That’s how it is for me as a blogger. When I read a book, I highlight quotes and make notes, and sweet or snarky comments pass through my head. When I don’t write those thoughts down, they take over and I literally can’t think about anything else. And if I abandon those notes I’ve written my thoughts on? I feel listless and distracted. The job isn’t done, and I need to see it through. I love recommending books to readers. Tell me what you like, and I’ll tell you what you would like! So part of what I do on GraveTells is recommend books by genre, series, heat, and kink. It’s a challenge that never ends.

So deciding what to blog about was never a question, even if my focus and style have shifted over the years. I review books because that’s what comes out of me. Reading is an integral part of my life, and sharing my love of those books with others is a therapeutic release. If you think about it, reviewing—the creation of true book reviews—is essentially hyper-focused journalism. It’s examining a concept—the story—and picking it apart to highlight the things that make it work…or not. And the more time I spent writing reviews, the better writer I became. Eventually, I embraced a truer journalistic style and began creating original content (like my article on why to become a blogger [link]). I’m now starting to focus on blogger education—how to blog responsibly, the ins and outs of the role, the technical details that I had to figure out on my own.

Finding your niche as a blogger can start out as this big, overwhelming cloud over your life—Oh god, what do I post about? Who will even read it or care? And what if they’re mean to me?

Eventually, you just figure it out and you do your thing.

Why I’ll probably blog until I die

“They”—those vaunted, over-quoted, unnamed knowers-of-everything—say to find something you love to do so much, you’d do it for free. Then find a way to make it into a career. Well, I’ll tell you that I haven’t figured out how to get paid to be a full-time blogger yet, but blogging did lead me to editing, and that is my full-time job now. I provide freelance content (story critique) editing services for indie authors and publishers. It’s taken me a long time to get here, and foregoing a Silicon Valley corporate salary to commit to an unpredictable freelance editing role was a huge leap of faith, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I still blog faithfully, nearly seven years after I posted my very first Tumblr blog article for GraveTells [link], and I still get the same rush and relief from shepherding my words out into the universe. Even if no one ever reads them. Even if no one ever comments or responds.

But you know what? People do notice. They do care. There is value in what we do. Bloggers are essentially the next iteration of the librarian—ours is just a voyeuristic, disengaged society that prefers observation over action. Libraries still play a critical role in communities, but now we have so many other avenues for finding books. And who better to recommend those books than the readers who fangirl over them?

Blogging gives me a consistent focus through which to channel my emotions and take baby steps toward my greater dreams. Everything I want is on the other side of fear and hard work, and I’ll be damned if I let anything stand in my way of happiness. And blogging truly makes me happy, even if I never figure out how to make a living out of it.

If you’re still with me, thanks for listening, and apologies for the eye bleeds. *hands you a tissue*

❤️ Sue

Image result for sos aloha heart in sand

Mahalo, Sue, for sharing your story! I am giving away a swag pack from RWA17 to four randomly selected commenters from my posts published in the month of August. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let's chat about Sue's hometown of San Francisco - have you visited the City by the Bay?  I have not but would like to see the sea lions, walk over the Golden Gate bridge, and dine in China Town.

2. Comments are open through Thursday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Friday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Image result for sos aloha lucky lei
This post was Lucky approved ...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Aloha to Laura Trentham and LEAVE THE NIGHT ON - with giveaway!


I enjoyed chatting with Laura Trentham at RWA ... love her Southern accent!  She is celebrating the release of LEAVE THE NIGHT ON, Book 4 in her Cottonbloom series ...

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance's classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton's whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton's shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage--and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she's got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

I was born and raised in a small town in Northwest Tennessee. Although, I loved English and reading in high school, I was convinced an English degree equated to starvation! So, I chose the next most logical major - Chemical Engineering- and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years. Now I live in South Carolina with my husband and two children. In between school and homework and soccer practices, I love to get lost in another world, whether its Regency England or small town Alabama.

Learn more about Laura and her books at

Laura is hosting a special giveaway at this link.


More books in the Cottonbloom series ...

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From RWA .... what makes a blogger tick?

During RWA, an author asked me, "What makes a blogger tick?"  I have asked other bloggers to write a guest post with their answer. For now, here is mine.

Why do we use that phrase, "What makes you tick?"  It refers to what motivates a person.  I assume the phrase is a metaphor for the second hand of a clock, that literally ticks each minute, moving forward to the next hour.  To understand what keeps me moving forward, let's take take a quick peek into the past on how I discovered romance.

Kasteel Limbricht, with a medieval moat and bowling alley

In 2003, I was living in the Netherlands near Kasteel Limbricht - I walked around it every day as part of my morning exercise. My husband worked for NATO and I volunteered with the International Spouses' Club.  I enjoyed afternoon tea with the British delegation.  NATO troops has just deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan as peacekeepers.  They contacted the American Spouses' Club (ASC) to collect and send donations for an orphanage the troops adopted as community outreach in Kabul.  As the president of the ASC, I recruited volunteers to empty the shelves from our long neglected thrift shop.  We sent what we could - clothes, linens, and toys - leaving behind the paperback books written in English.  I  picked up a blue cover with a tartan sash, Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTACT.


Unlike most members of Romanceland, I was not a voracious reader as a child. I read a few Nancy Drew books. As an adult, I indulged in some cozy mysteries (with a cat, no less) while traveling in the Air Force. But it was Cathy Maxwell - Navy veteran and Avon author - who drew me into the enchanting world of historical romance. The heroine, a penniless London debutante, accepts a contract from the hero's sister to marry the "mad" lord who buried himself in the Scottish countryside. The story centers around their discovery of what makes the other tick. For the hero, it is helping his Scottish kin to reclaim their Gaelic culture after a hundred years of British suppression. Maxwell includes an epilogue of the couple's descendants participating in the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 after the Scottish people overwhelming voted for its own government.

I realized that the so called "bodice rippers" were, in fact, smart reads. Romance books delivered the hope that we all seek in our lives ... just as NATO troops was trying to bring hope to the orphanage in Kabul ... and the people of Afghanistan. NATO continues to support an orphanage in Kabul at this link

Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford
"Inventor" of afternoon tea 

Fast forward to 2007 on Fort Meade, Maryland. As the vice president of the Officers' Wives' Club (OWC), I hosted an Old Fashioned Tea Party with romance authors. I previously posted the details on my blog at this link. The first author I invited to attend - Cathy Maxwell. She drove 3 hours from Richmond, VA, in snowy weather to join us. I did not realize how many spouses read romance until they "came out of the closet" to attend this event and share their passion for Romance. This experience taught me that romance brings people together - authors and readers - to celebrate the hope in the books we loved.

Image result for sos aloha pearl harbor

Fast forward to 2010 on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After living in Hawaii for nine months, I felt detached from Romanceland.  So I started a blog, SOS Aloha, to share my life in Hawaii, to offer suggestions for readers to support military families, and, of course, to share what I was reading in romance.  

Fast forward to 2017 at the RWA Conference at Walt Disney World. During the St. Martin's Press cocktail party, an author asked me what makes bloggers tick. Just as I was about to answer, others joined our table and the conversation shifted focus. But author's question has remained in the back of my mind.

And the answer is .... hope! Hope makes me tick. The hope that I can escape into a smart read. The hope that I can find others who enjoy romance. The hope that I am welcomed just as I am into Romanceland.

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall
English Heritage (link)

I am giving away a swag pack from RWA17 to four randomly selected commenters from my posts published in the month of August. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let's chat about castles - do you have a favorite? Mine is Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, England.  Its ruins hug the coast and whisper the legend of Arthur ... a boy who brought hope to England.

2. Comments are open through Thursday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Friday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Monday, August 7, 2017

Aloha to Beverley Oakley and DEVIL'S RUN (Scandalous Miss Brightwell, Book 3)

Beverley Oakley is celebrating the release of DEVIL'S RUN, Book 3 in her Scandalous Miss Brightwell series ..

A rigged horserace and a marriage offer riding on the outcome. When Miss Eliza Montrose unexpectedly becomes legal owner of the horse tipped to win the East Anglia Cup, her future is finally in her hands – but at what cost?

George Bramley, nephew to the Earl of Quamby, will wager anything. Even his future bride.

Miss Eliza Montrose will accept any wager to be reunited with the child she was forced to relinquish after an indiscretion — even if it means marrying a man she does not love.

But with her heart suddenly engaged by handsome, charming Rufus Patmore who has just bought a horse from her betrothed George Bramley in whose household her son lives as a pauper child, the outcome of the wager is suddenly fraught with peril.

**This is book 3 in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series, though it can be read as a stand-alone.

Amazon US | All other retailers

Other Books in the Series:

Book 1: Rake’s Honour

Book 2: Rogue’s Kiss

Book 3: Devil’s Run

Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Beverley is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway at this link.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Rake's Honour (Scandalous Miss Brightwell Book 1) by [Oakley, Beverley]Rogue's Kiss (Scandalous Miss Brightwell Book 2) by [Oakley, Beverley]

Sunday, August 6, 2017

RWA Recap (part 2) - Love is in the air!

Image result for rwa 17

For this year's conference, RWA added a blogger track to run concurrent with the Librarians Day on Saturday.  I estimate 30 bloggers participated, with half being at the conference all week.  We enjoyed a Meet in Greet with authors, a round table discussion among ourselves, a panel with editors on what's coming to Romanceland, and then the Librarians Day Luncheon with Brenda Jackson.  She wowed the audience with her humor, humanity, and sincerity that reading brings us hope.  I encourage you to check out #RWA17 on Twitter for quotes from Ms. Jackson.

Image result for brenda jackson author

The bloggers were invited to enter the "Readers for Life" Literacy Signing 15 minutes before the 3 pm  start time.  As I made my way to the ballroom hosting this event, Tina Dick from Germany (and recipient of RWA's Vivian Stephens Industry Award, link), approached me in the hallway.  She reported that the Goody Room contained at least 20 boxes of Harlequin books leftover from the publisher's signing.  The Goody Room was ready to close and the hotel staff planned to trash the books and other items in the room.  My thrifty self kicked into gear.  I called out to those in the room, and even those passing by, "Give me 5 minutes for the military."

Everyone within earshot grabbed a box and took it to the bellhop stand for storage.  After the Literacy Signing, I borrowed a car from Danielle Gorman and donated the books to the Shades of Green, a military resort on Disney property. We also gathered up the baskets left behind for Danielle to take to Goodwill.  My duty was done.

Image result for sos aloha military ducks

During the Literacy Signing, I spotted:

- couples of all ages standing in line to meet the big names such as Kristan Higgins and Sylvia Day

- a long line of women in mobility carts waiting to meet Jill Shalvis.  She stepped away from her table to take a picture with each and every one of those readers.

- three generations of families walking up and down the aisles to meet authors. Kate Pearce, featuring her Morgan Ranch books, had "sheriff's badges" on her table.  She graciously gave one to a young boy as his mother and grandmother perused her books.  Hmm, I wanted one of those badges!

- As I chatted with Geri Krotow, a severely disabled woman in a heavy wheelchair was pushed by a friend to Geri's table for the WRW Scavenger Hunt.  It is obvious that the specially made wheelchair was difficult to maneuver in the crowd, but the friend was determined.  We asked the disabled woman who was her favorite author. She responded, with some challenge, "Lynn Raye Harris."  I thought to myself, that is true friendship.

I later bumped into Lynn and asked her if she met this reader. She replied that she did ... and we both dabbed our eyes as they began to tear.  It is the hope that romance delivers that makes meeting fans like all of those I described that much more fulfilling.  It is the reason why I support Romanceland.

Lynn, left, and Debbie, right

After the signing, I scurried over to the Italian restaurant at the Swan Hotel to enjoy dinner with Debbie Mason and friends. Thank you, Debbie, for a delicious dinner and fabulous conversation!

On Sunday morning, I took one last walk around the Boardwalk. I had some bread leftover from the previous night's dinner.  I stopped to feed it to some birds.  Most grabbed the crumbs and flew away. But I spotted two birds together - maybe siblings, maybe lovers, maybe friends.  As one bird grabbed a crumb, that bird then fed it to the other. 

And that, dear readers, is love.

I am giving away a swag pack from RWA17 to four randomly selected commenters from the posts published in the month of August. To enter the giveaway,

1.  Let's chat about birds - do you have a favorite? When we lived in Hawaii, I often spread out bird feed for all of the colorful (and tiny) birds to eat in my backyard.  But I was most intrigued by the Pacific Golden Plover, aka kōleawho is revered in Hawaiian culture.  Hawaiians believe it is the plover who guided the early Polynesians to the Hawaiian islands.

2. Comments are open through Thursday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Friday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Pacific golden plover
Pacific Golden Plovers
US Fish and Wildlife Service (link)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

RWA Recap (part 1) - Authors Everywhere!

Image result for rwa 17

I recently returned from a week in Florida, part of which I spent in Orlando for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Annual Conference.  I enjoy being a part of the Romanceland and soaking up the creative vibes from authors, publishers, publicists, assistants, graphic artists, editors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers!

I arrived on Tuesday, July 25, at the Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World.  After dropping my luggage in my room, I returned to the lobby for lunch options.  I bumped into Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who always has a smile on her face! I then sat in the lobby, greeting all the authors arriving at the hotel, when I spotted my roommates, Cathy Maxwell and Tamara Argyle (local blogger Danielle Gorman would be our fourth throughout the week). Tamara pointed out that Avon printed quotes from previous keynote speakers, including Cathy Maxwell, on the key cards.  Cathy said in 2013,

What we do is good.

Wednesday gave me the opportunity to hobnob with other bloggers (whom I'll introduce in a separate post).  After changing into party clothes, we climbed aboard the shuttle bus to the Avon Cocktail Party at the Four Seasons. I was blessed to sit next to and chat with Jill Shalvis.  She is as lovely as her books. You may now be jealous.  The Four Seasons gave us a great view of the fireworks over Disney World each week.  But I was more thrilled by the personal favorites I met - Katharine Ashe, HelenKay Dimon, Cheryl Etchison, Laura Lee Guhrke, and many more!

From Walking in The Clouds (link)

Thursday brought more hobnobbing, publishers' signing, and then the Rita Ceremony. The ceremony announced the winners in each category (link), awarded the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award to Beverly Jenkins, and featured three videos about friendship among authors (I'll write a separate blog about that).

I suggest reading through #rwa17 on Twitter to find quotes from these inspiring speeches, especially Beverly.  She really knows to encourage us all to achieve excellence.

From Cheryl Etchison (link)

On Friday morning, Cathy and I woke early for a brisk walk around Disney's boardwalk ... I could not keep up with Cathy's happy pace!  Still, the walk gave me the energy to hobnob more during publishers' signings.  I later enjoyed nibbles at the St Martin's Press Cocktail Party at the Boardwalk Dance Hall ... then hustled back to the hotel to volunteer alongside Cathy, Tamara, and Danielle in setting up for the literacy signing.  It was amazing to meet the authors who volunteer each year for this special task.  Once the boxes were emptied, we walked over to Flying Fish on the Boardwalk.  We ended dinner with "the evolution of cheese" platter plus priceless stories of Navy life from Cathy and Tamara. 

Tomorrow - Blogger Social, Librarian Luncheon featuring Brenda Jackson Luncheon, Literacy Signing, and Farewell.

I am giving away a swag pack from #RWA17 to four randomly selected commenters from the posts published in the month of August.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about cheese - do you have a favorite?  I like Blue Cheese!

2.  Comments are open through Thursday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Friday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Sophisticated Cheese Plate from California Grill, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Friday, August 4, 2017

Happy Birthday, United States Coast Guard!

Image result for sos aloha coast guard

Today the United States Coast Guard (USCG) celebrates its 227th birthday!  Born from Alexander Hamilton's Revenue Service, today the Coasties are Semper Paratus - Always Ready!

From Aztec Shore to Arctic Zone,
To Europe and Far East,
The Flag is carried by our ships
In times of war and peace;
And never have we struck it yet
In spite of foemen's might,
Who cheered our crews and cheered again
For showing how to fight.

We're always ready for the call,
We place our trust in Thee.
Through surf and storm and howling gale,
High shall our purpose be.
"Semper Paratus" is our guide,
Our fame, our glory too.
To fight to save or fight and die,
Aye! Coast Guard we are for you!

These names are hard to match;
From Barrow's shores to Paraguay,
Great Lakes or ocean's wave,
The Coast Guard fights through storms and winds,
To punish or to save.

Aye! We've been always ready!
To do, to fight, or die
Write glory to the shield we wear
In letters to the sky.
To sink the foe or save the maimed,
Our mission and our pride.
We'll carry on 'til Kingdom Come,
Ideals for which we've died.

Image result for sos aloha coast guard