Friday, April 29, 2011

Aloha to Anna Campbell and MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION

Yesterday's NFL Draft offered wild passion from the fans.  Today's  wedding party at Buckingham Palace may offer wild passion from the young royals.  For those of us in the Pacific Rim, we have our own MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION. I just received a Royal Mail Telegram from The Queen herself.

Her Majesty has given me the distinct honor of making this special announcement:

Buckingham Palace
London, England

William and Catherine's courtship and marriage has renewed my faith in the Happily Ever After. I am, in fact, a closet romance reader. My favorite author is Anna Campbell, the mistress of "dark, sexy Regency". Her books add a spark to my life as I serve my kingdom.  It is only fitting that Anna be honored for promoting pageantry and heraldry in her romance novels.

Anna's path to romance royalty started at Queensland University in English literature - brilliant decision in location and degree. She spent two years in England, serving crown and country, before returning to her beloved Australia.  Anna persevered in penning her voice, including "No Ordinary Duchess".  Renamed CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, this trailblazing romance finaled with two RWA organizations - the Romance Writers of America and the Romance Writers of Australia. It also marked her debut as an Avon author, letting the world know that Anna Campbell had arrived in Romance Land. Five more books followed - UNTOUCHED, TEMPT THE DEVIL, CAPTIVE OF SIN, MY RECKLESS SUMMER, and published this week, MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION.

MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION is Anna's sixth full length book. Six is a magical number in the English Monarchy. Henry VIII's sixth wife survived him. James VI of Scotland became James I of England (thus combining the thrones).  And I will be entering my sixth decade as England's monarch in 2012.  Clearly, six is a magical number for Anna as MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION has received rave reviews, including a sentimental tribute from Mary Gramlich, The Reading Reviewer,

Anna Campbell put her unique mark of excellence on each historical romance book she writes. This one in particular stands out with its fresh storyline, remarkable characters and never ending surprises the reader does not see coming. The mark of a good book is you are so saddened to have it end and this one brought tears to my eyes!

In honor of her distinguished accomplishments in Romance Land, I bestow upon Anna Campbell the title of Baroness of Brisbane. The Baroness shall be served by Royal Marines when she attends those wicked parties with the Romance Bandits (just make sure you send me an invitation).

With kind regards,

Elizabeth R.

As Anna enjoys her new title, she is giving away a copy of MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION to one randomly selected commenter. I am also giving away to the same winner a Tea Towel commemorating the Royal Wedding (I have friends in high places). To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Anna, MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION, and dark sexy Regencies.

2. This giveaway is open to all readers as passion is universal.  

3. Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm, in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Hawaii

Oh, Baroness, give us the Royal wave ...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hej * to Pamela Clare and BREAKING POINT

* Danish for Aloha. 

I am thrilled to host the multi-talented, multi-faceted Pamela Clare today.   I met Pamela at RomCon last July -I encourage you to read the recap.   Pamela joins us today to celebrate the release of Breaking Point - the fifth book of the I-Team Series.  Although I had not read the preceding four books, I read BREAKING POINT as a stand alone book.  I posted my review here.

Pamela's bio is fascinating:

Then, when I was 15, something extraordinary happened. I discovered romance novels. The first romance I ever read was The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, followed soon after by Shanna and Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet, Savage Love. I gave up depressing intellectual classics for stories that made my heart beat faster — tales of bravery, passion, and love. I found that I preferred happy endings to sad ones, no matter how artsy or intellectual they were.

Kim:  Yet you have received stellar reviews for delivering both historical and contemporary tales of bravey, passion, and love. Some consider you the new classic in romantic suspense. How do you respond to cynicism about romance is not "real books"?

Pamela:  There are a lot of levels to this, so bear with me...

People who say that generally haven’t read a single romance novel, but are parroting what they’ve heard others say. Like any kind of literature, romantic fiction runs the gamut from excellent to awful. But just because a book is considered a romance novel doesn’t mean that it’s automatically devoid of substance. If you look at people’s lives, the things that ultimately matter most to them — what they think about on their death beds — are the relationships with their spouses, children, and friends. And that’s what romance novels focus on — the most important relationships in a person’s life.

I also think the bias against romantic fiction stems in large part from the fact that it’s written by women for women. Women’s literary interests have often been dismissed as inferior to the Great Works that men write and read. That’s nothing more than sexism playing itself out in the literary sphere. I have yet to see the same disrespect leveled at a man who writes science fiction or thrillers that I see routinely directed at romance writers.

Also, we live in an age of cynicism where nothing is hated quite so much as a happy ending. I don’t understand this, because few people would choose misery for themselves if given the chance, and yet a story that ends with the protagonists being safe and happy is considered simplistic.

But I decided long ago — even before I was published — that I would be “out” and proud of what I do. And I am. People who try to slam romantic fiction find themselves getting nowhere with me.

 Københaven, Denmark

I had the good fortune of becoming an exchange student during my senior year of high school and went to Denmark. I lived in 200-year-old thatch-roofed farm house with a host family that became a true family for me. I fell in love with the small Scandinavian country and stayed for almost three years, traveling throughout Europe and learning to speak Danish fluently. My time visiting European castles and cathedrals awakened in me a love of history. Those memories are among my most precious.

Kim:  Tell us about your favorite Danish place, food, and saying.

Pamela:  My favorite Danish place... That’s tough! I suppose I’d say Rådhuspladsen in the heart of downtown København (Copenhagen). I’ve always felt that I could feel the beating heart of the country beneath my feet while standing there. I lived about five minutes away from there at one point and I never got tired of hearing the bells chime at noon. A close second would be the gardens and lake at Sorø Akademi, where I went to school my senior year. The gardens are breathtaking during the spring and very expansive, and the lake has swans. I used to sit there and just watch them glide by. I also used to run around the lake every day — it’s 10km — so it was very much home for me.

Bull and Dragon Fountain in Rådhuspladsen

Favorite food... Just one?!? Our word “smorgasbord” is a mispronunciation of the Danish term “smørbrød” — a kind of buffet of toppings for open-faced sandwiches. And, of course, Denmark is known for pastries. I have to say that the pastries are probably my favorite. I love a good smørbrød lunch, but the pastries (which are nothing like what we call Danishes) are to die for. My faves: te birkes (a kind of croissant with marcipan in the bottom); tre stemmer (tree trunks — marcipan rolls with chocolate and kind of a truffle filling); Napolean’s huer (Napolean’s hat — looks like a tricorn with the bottom dipped in chocolate and the “hat” part filled with marcipan). I love marcipan! Also, the rice pudding they eat on Christmas Eve is very tasty.

Favorite saying... “Det er ikke størelsen, det er gørelsen.” Which translates to: “It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it.” Or on the serious side, just the words “Dejlige Danmark,” which means simply “wonderful Denmark.” It really is a beautiful country full of good-hearted, caring people. I miss it every day of my life. Fortunately, I still have good friends there.

Although I did work on a master’s degree in archeology and later art history, I realized that I was using the university to avoid the challenge of building the career I truly wanted — that of a fiction author. I dropped out of graduate school and went to work for a newspaper and held almost every position in the newsroom before becoming the paper’s first woman editor. Over the years, I’ve won numerous awards for my work as a columnist and investigative journalist, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service and the Society for Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award.

Kim:  Congratulations on your accomplishment! How did this experience prepare you for publishing in the romance genre?

Pamela:  Being a reporter did a lot of wonderful things for me. It taught me to take risks and be brave. Because I worked as an investigative reporter — believe me, I never in a million years envisioned myself in that role — I had to learn to face my own fear. During my years as a reporter I’ve had experiences that most people outside of law enforcement just don’t have. I’ve seen a teenage boy with his head literally shot off. I’ve committed felony trespass multiple times to try to prove that a crime was being committed. I’ve gone head to head with feds. I even stayed in jail as a bogus felony arrest to try to learn more about what it’s like to be behind bars. And doing those things opened my eyes to all kinds of worlds that inspire my fiction.

It taught me to see the world from a bunch of different points of view. I’ve interviewed a former drug lord, rape victims, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, psychopaths, convicts, priests, CEOs, Nobel laureates, rock stars, more politicians than I can stand and lots of everyday people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Give me a few minutes, and I can get almost anyone to open up and tell me all about themselves. The trick is learning to understand where they’re coming from. I think this helps me create emotionally real characters.

Plus I’ve gotten a lot of practice writing on deadline.

Though my ultimate goal was always to write fiction, journalism taught me discipline and helped me improve my writing skills. Little did I know that it was also giving me close-up experience with issues that would later find their way into my I-Team series. The I-Team itself is loosely based on what I call my Dream Team — the best bunch of investigative reporters I’ve ever known.

Kim:  For those new to you, tell us about tell us about the I-Team and BREAKING POINT.

Pamela:  I hadn’t planned on writing romantic suspense at all. My favorite subgenre is historical romance. But one night I was chatting with my agent about an investigation I was doing at the paper and telling her how a state official had contacted me to warn me that he thought I was in danger and she said, “You ought to write romantic suspense, because you live it.” And I said, “Yeah, except for the ‘romantic’ part.” So that was the beginning.

I began to toy in my mind with the major investigations I’d done over the years and how they might be turned into stories. I decided to create a fictional newspaper (one of my journalist friends and I actually own the incorporation papers on the Denver Independent, just in case we ever become millionaires) and pieced together a team similar to the Dream Team that won the National Journalism Award with me, except that the Dream Team was all male apart from me, and the I-Team is mostly female.

Then I sat down and wrote Extreme Exposure, giggling the entire time both because it was so much fun and because I couldn’t believe anyone would want to read about investigative reporters. I hadn’t read romantic suspense, so I felt like I was driving 90 MPH on a mountain road in the dark. But it worked out pretty well.

BREAKING POINT started with a seed planted several years ago when I wrote about Las Muertas de Juarez — the murdered women of Juarez. In Cd. Juarez, more than 400 women and girls have been found murdered, many of them victims of extreme sexual violence. More than 1,000 are missing. I’m certain they’re either dead, or they’ve been trafficked into the United States and work as sex slaves. The scope of the tragedy is so overwhelming it’s hard even to imagine. If Denver had 400 unsolved murders of women — femicides — and 1,000 or more women missing, the governor would probably call in the national guard. But there the situation continues to get worse.

It’s a gruesome topic, and, as my agent says, these books offer a kind of therapy for me. So I built Natalie’s story around that, bringing her face to face with that evil and adding bits and pieces of other investigations, some of which I opt not to name, for the most action-packed I-Team story to date.

I was able to meet with a former U.S. marshal and her deputy to get insight into how they do their jobs. It was so much fun that I found myself wishing I’d been a marshal instead of a journalist.

Also, Zach, the hero, is a former Navy SEAL as well as a chief deputy U.S. marshal, which enabled me to incorporate a story thread that I personally found very touching and which is based in part on the wartime experiences of someone close to me.

What’s amazing about writing fiction is the fact that you learn and discover things about the real world in the process of writing and relating to your characters. Every book I’ve written has pushed me to grow emotionally and even spiritually, broadening my horizons as I learn to see the world through my characters’ points of view.

Mahalo, Pamela, for joining us at SOS Aloha! I have a special giveaway to celebrate BREAKING POINT.  Any ordinary blogger would give away a copy of BREAKING  POINT.  But most of you know that I am not an ordinary blogger.  So today's giveaway is the Zack & Natalie Gift Pack: 

- Decorative cross from the French Quarter (Natalie hails from New Orleans).

- Navy Seal logo items from Pearl Harbor (souvenir coin, ID pouch, and window sticker).

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Pamela, the I-Team, Navy Seals, US Marshals, and/or Denmark.

2.  This giveaway is open to US residents only but comments are welcome from all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll announce the winner on Sunday, May 1.

Check out Pamela's blog for a link to Goodread's giveaway of BREAKING POINT


Kim in Hawaii

Pamela sent me an email this week which I share with you:

I wanted to let you know about a project one of my fellow journalists is working on. Michael de Yoanna is one of the guys who was on my "Dream Team" after which the I-Team is loosely modeled. 
He's trying to put together funding for a film about the long road to recovery that returning soldiers face:

Mahalo, Michael, for caring about our soldiers!

Special Review - BREAKING POINT by Pamela Clare

I met Pamela Clare at RomCon last July - I invite you to read the recap.  We swapped emails several times and Pamela sent me an ARC of her upcoming book, BREAKING POINT.   I had a choice - find a reviewer for it or review it myself.  Normally I would find a reviewer as I infrequently review books.  I am a slow reader, I struggle to quantify my feelings, and romantic suspense in not my favorite genre (hits too close to home).  But I took the plunge and read this book - here is the review I posted on Goodreads.

I generally shy away from romantic suspense and roller coasters – just too much excitement for this mild mannered romance reader. Yet the buzz generated from Ms. Clare’s previous books propelled me to read BREAKING POINT – the fifth book in the I-Team Series. Like a roller coaster, the plot unfolds in two parts – the first (shorter) loop of chilling suspense followed by the second (longer) loop of thrilling action that left me breathless and satisfied.

Zach is a decorated Navy Seal turned Deputy US Marshall (DUSM). While working undercover, he is betrayed by an ally, taken prisoner by a Mexican drug cartel, and waiting to die from torture. Enter Natalie, an investigative reporter who has also been taken prisoner during a bloody ambush. The two meet through the walls of their hellhole prison. Ms. Clare touches upon issues that will resonate with military veterans, law enforcement, and first responders – the Code of Conduct and Service before Self.

Zack provides Natalie with the emotional support to escape and she provides him with the physical assistance to join her. They take refuge in Alter to plan their trek across the Mexican desert to the US border. At this point, I am anxious for them. They just pulled off “the great escape” yet they are far from safe as they eat, sleep, and touch. Yes, touch.

He sensed her behind him, felt her hand read against the nape of his neck, her cool fingers caressing his hair in soothing strokes. A part of him wanted to shout at her to get the hell away from him. He didn’t want her compassion. He didn’t need her compassion.

Oh, but he did. Jesus he did.

In the short time that our hero and heroine have spent together, they realize that the other is a lifeline – not just out of their physical hellhole but the emotional turmoil that has plagued them far too long. The emotional connection leads to physical interaction that re-energizes their sense of survival. Although this plot could lapse into a cliché, Ms. Clare makes it very real for the protagonists by allowing them (and the reader) to experience the full spectrum of emotions – emotions heightened by their brush with death.

As Zack and Natalie trek across the desert, I grew uncomfortable. I felt the weight of their packs on my back, the unstable sand under my feet, the blaring sun on my face, the fear pulsating through my heart, and the thirst creeping through my body. Ms. Clare is not just telling a story, she is placing the reader in the middle of it.

Once they cross the US border, Natalie returns with the I-Team to Denver and Zach reports back to Washington, DC. No sooner do they give me a chance to catch my breath, the roller coaster climbs to the top. The suspense begins to build. An enemy within emerges from the shadows to threaten Natalie. This time, hero and heroine switch roles - Zach provides Natalie with the physical stamina to survive. She provides him with the emotional strength to break through his demons. They are joined by the I-Team and their husbands in law enforcement. To balance the testosterone, Ms. Clare introduces us to Colorado Marshall Teresa Rowan who deputizes these "alpha" men:

“You know (Deputy Marshall Michelle) Reyes, the thing you have to remember when working with men is that they’re very emotional. For example, those guys are on the same side, trying to protect the same woman, but they have to fight about it like dogs trying to decide who’s the alpha.”

“But guess what, gentlemen – I’m the alpha.”

The deputized team encounters its own twists and turns in protecting Natalie, especially during the climactic loop. In fact, Ms. Clare takes the reader through a series of poignant scenes:

- the gravity defying appearance of a team member
- an unexpected opportunity for one alpha to comfort another
- Zach resolves a long standing issue on the canyon ridge.

(I would write more about these scenes but I don't want to spoil the emotions that you will feel as these scenes unfold).

This second (longer) loop was heart pounding and heart wrenching as hero and heroine wrestled with real monsters and inner demons. Ms. Clare gives us a realistic portrayal of The Happily Ever After – it is not a gentle Dumbo ride. Instead, it is the dark unknown of Space Mountain that challenged both the protagonists’ belief in their abilities and their trust in others.

I don’t know what Ms. Clare has planned next but I sure would like to see Colorado Marshal Teresa Rowan take a few loops around the roller coaster of romantic suspense!

I read BREAKING POINT as standalone book. I look forward to reading the preceding four books to learn more about the I-Team. Thus, Ms. Clare has converted me to romantic suspense (roller coasters are still under consideration).


Kim in Hawaii

Check out my interview with Pamela plus a special giveaway.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Romance Conventions and Book Signings

It is conference season!

- Lori Foster's Reader and Author Get Together is Friday, June 3 — Sunday, June 5, 2011 at the Cincinnati Marriott North at Union Centre, West Chester, Ohio. Check out the list of attending authors, editors, and publishers. Deadline to register is May 9. Unfortunately, I will still be in Hawaii but this is an event I look forward to attending once I move back to the mainland.

- Literacy Signing at the RWA National Convention. From the website,

The 2011 "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing will take place on Tuesday, June 28, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. (A list of participating authors will be available soon.)

This event is open to the public at no cos.  Proceeds from the book sales benefit literary programs (as the books are donated by the publishers). It you are within driving distance of NYC, plan to attend this event - I'll be there.

- Kim's Post RWA Lunch in Columbus: I will be in Dayton, Ohio from July 1 - 18 (my children are attending Camp Grandma while I attend RWA). I know there are a few SOS Aloha followers in the Columbus area so I suggested lunch on Saturday, July 9 for us to meet (time and place TBD). Of course I'll have RWA giveaways! If you are within driving distance, please join us! More info to come as the date draws nearer.

- RomCon is Friday August 5 - Sunday, August 7 in Denver, Colorado. I attended last year's inaugural convention and enjoyed the intimate opportunities with many NYT's best selling authors. RomCon targets the reader of all genres!  Unfortunately, I will have just returned to Hawaii but this is another event I look forward to attending once I move back to the mainland. I have a few friends attending RomCon so I'll invite them for RomCon Recaps.

- Authors After Dark Book signing is Saturday, August 7, 2-4 pm, in the Doubletree Hotel, Philadelphia.  It is open to the public at no cost.  This year's conference is sold out, so consider next year's conference on August 8-12th at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans!

Do you know of other conferences or book signings?  Send me the info and I'll add it to this blog!
Kim in Hawaii

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aloha to Diana Cosby and The National Trust for Scotland

He emerged from the majestic mountains on his white horse, carrying a cloth wrapped treasure sought by those who seek power .....

.... actually, it was the postman delivering two more boxes from RT in LA!

Clearly, I am in a fantasy mood. anticipating today's guest, Diana Cosby - Navy veteran, author of Scottish medieval romances, and lifetime member of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).  Diana recently attended the NTS Foundatin USA's Gala,

"A Celebration of Scotland's Treasures" 

Please join me in welcoming Diana Cosby!

Kim:  How did you become involved with the NTS?

Diana:  While researching the Scottish medieval era, I came across The National Trust for Scotland, which acts as guardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures. So touched by their hard word to preserve Scotland's history as well as educate, I contacted Curt DiCamillo, FRSA, Executive Director of The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, and began donating to their worthwhile cause. In addition, I keep their url on my biography page.

Kim:  What do you consider as Scotland's treasurers?

Diana:  In addition to the amazing architecture left through castles and other historical features, the history of the complex times as well as the fascinating people who carved Scotland's history.

Kim:  Please share a glimpse into the ball.

Diana:  The evening within the dining room as ballroom of the Metropolitan Club was as if a Cinderella story, but even more special as I was surrounded by Scots. :) Braw men in kilts abound as well a fascinating woman dressed in magnificent gowns with laughter filling the air. The traditional delivery of the Haggis brought a smile to everyone as did the wonderful speakers throughout the event. Whisky tasting, the fine food, and the hearty Scottish burr's filling the air lent added another layer to this magical evening. I met so many amazing and interesting people, and had the pleasure of sharing the event with Karen Auerbach, Director of Publicity and Public Relations, Kensington Publishing Corp. Below is a link to pictures of last year's event:

View from the Metropolitan Club

My sincere thanks to Curt DiCamillo for the invitation and including an assortment of my books in the goody bags, Maggie Fogel for all of her incredible hard work to make this evening flawless, and Carolyn Wahto for all of her behind the scenes work. Their efforts combined which truly made the night amazing! *Hugs*

What more could an girl want?

Mahalo, Diana, for teasing us with tidbits from this event.   To put you in an Alba mood, Diana is giving away HIS CAPTIVE, the first book in her MacGruder Brothers series, along with a signed cover flat for the fourth book, HIS DESTINY

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Scotland, its national treasures, and/or a ballroom filled with kilted men.

2.  This giveaway is open to US residents only but I welcome comments from all readers (especially those with burrs).

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I will announce the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Hawaii

Culzean Castle

I discovered the NTS when my family drove from the Netherlands to Scotland in July 2005.  We were staying at a family "holiday park" near Ayr and stumbled across the coast hugging Culzean Castle
Robert Adam's 18th-century masterpiece - a real 'castle in the air' - is perched on a cliff high above the crashing waves of the Firth of Clyde. The Castle itself boasts a spectacular Oval Staircase, the impressive Armoury and the Circular Saloon, with its panoramic views over the Clyde. The extensive grounds encompass Scotland's first country park where you can explore the deer park, swan pond, miles of woodland walks and adventure playground.
It is also home to the Eisenhower Apartment - a gift of the Scottish people to General Eisenhower to use during his lifetime in appreciation for his service as the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe during WWII.  
The National Trust for Scotland cares for so many of Alba's treasures - historic homes, medieval castles, charming coastlines, protected woodlands, and of course the sacred Culloden.   Stop by the website for a visit!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Margaret Tanner and ANZAC DAY

As most of us go back to work after a joyful weekend celebrating Easter, our allies and friends Down Under will honor those who served and sacrificed.  Please join me in welcoming Australian author of historical romance, Margaret Tanner.

Hi Kim,

Thank you for inviting me to tell you about ANZAC Day which is observed every year in Australia and New Zealand on the 25th April.

The first ANZAC Day service was held in 1916 by wounded soldiers returning from Gallipoli in Turkey, and it has continued ever since. It is the most revered day of the year for Australians and New Zealanders and commemorates the landing on the Gallipoli peninsula on the 25th April 1915. It also honours those who served and died in later wars. No other day of the year evokes such passion and emotion. It is a national holiday here in Australia. There are commemorative services and marches held in practically every town and city in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops (ANZACS) were landed on Gallipoli at a beach, later re-named ANZAC Cove. In the early hours on the morning of the 25th April, 1915, they stormed ashore under a hail of murderous artillery. Many of them died without even making it out of the landing crafts. It was reported at the time that the Aegean sea ran red with the blood of slaughtered ANZACS. Those who made it to shore had to scramble up scrub covered cliffs, to confront a well fortified tenacious enemy.

The bravery and determination of these young men who had travelled thousands of miles across the sea to fight for mother England was the stuff of legends. They fought and died in their thousands on Gallipoli in a costly and futile campaign to wrest Constantinople (Istanbul) from the Turks. In December they were evacuated, when the generals finally conceded that the whole campaign had been an ill-conceived, massive blunder. From Gallipoli the Australian survivors sailed off to the killing fields of France and Belgium, leaving 8,700 of their slain comrades behind.

I wrote the following story after my son described his trip to Gallipoli, and I think it truly sums up the way young people, who are irreverent in most things, feel about this day and this place.


Their behaviour on the whole had been boisterous and some of the young Australian and New Zealand tourists had brawled and boozed their way across Europe over the past few weeks. They were a mixture of professionals, tradespeople and university students, and in the staid circle of some European cities were still looked upon as wild colonials.

Phil, the brickie from Auckland’s language was so crude his fellow country men cringed. Two sisters from Sydney could drink any man under the table, and every second word they uttered was an obscenity. Justin, a law clerk from Melbourne, spent most of his time lying on the back seat of the bus in a drunken stupor, and three fanatical Crows football supporters from South Australia wanted to fight every Victorian who came into their orbit.

There were Anglicans, Catholics, a couple of Jews, Agnostics and those who followed no particular religion. The yelling, screaming, singing and obscene jokes of these twenty or so tourists became so bad the English bus driver wore ear plugs.

Gallipoli Penisula

The Gallipoli Peninsula dozed under the Turkish sun, and the blue waters of the Aegean Sea caressed the sandy beach at ANZAC Cove. The bus fell strangely silent. The young people climbed out slowly, almost fearfully, lest they disturb the ghosts of their long dead countrymen. They crossed the sand at ANZAC Cove, and faced the same cliffs their forebears had scrambled up under a hail of bullets and murderous shrapnel. The area from the beach to the cliffs was only about as wide as a footy ground the Crows supporters decided; no wonder so many had been killed at the landing on the 25th April, 1915.

Lone Pine Cemetary

Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded in a single day at *Lone Pine. They paused here for a time to gaze at the monument erected for the hundreds of fallen soldiers who had no known resting place, Known Only To God, the inscription read.

Phil, the uncouth brickie from Auckland openly wept as the Turkish guide pointed out where the New Zealanders had been slaughtered. But for the fickle hand of fate in the form of a Turkish General, Ataturk, who forced his fleeing troops to make one last, desperate stand, the New Zealanders would have captured Chunuk Bair, and Gallipoli would have fallen to the ANZACS.

Tears streamed down the cheeks of the two sisters from Sydney, who had found their great grandfather’s grave. From her rucksack one of them withdrew a dried flower arrangement in the form of a posy - gums leaves sprinkled with balls of golden wattle, and laid it reverently near the white head stone, while her sister silently took photographs for the relatives back home.

For three hours these young Aussies and Kiwis wandered around the beautifully kept cemeteries. They saw the grave of **Simpson (the man with the donkey).

***The Nek, where unmounted Light Horsemen were slaughtered, Shrapnel Gully and Cape Helles. These places, once only names in history books, were now heartbreakingly real.

 Shrapnel Gully

Memorial at Cape Helles

As they wandered around some spoke only in whispers, lest the sleepers be disturbed, but others were too emotional to speak at all.

The Aegean Sea, so blue it hurt their eyes, had once run red with the blood of hundreds of bronzed young warriors who fell before they even reached the shore.

Those with religion and those without, truly felt they walked on sacred ground, and each of them knew, even though they could not really explain it to themselves, that they would never be quite the same again, because they had been touched by the Spirit of ANZAC COVE.

*Private Dougal Lindsay’s name appears on the memorial at Lone Pine as one of many soldiers who died in the battle there and has no known grave. He is related to Margaret.

**John Kirkpatrick Simpson was a Corporal in the Australian Army, and for weeks disregarding the bullets and shrapnel all around him, took his donkey out into no-man’s land to bring wounded soldiers back to the beach head. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet.

*** The charge at The Nek was made famous by Mel Gibson in the movie Gallipoli.

Mahalo, Margaret, for sharing ANZEC Day with us at SOS Aloha.   Margaret Tanner is an award winning Australian Historical romance author, who has a great interest in the 1st World War. She has visited the battlefields and cemeteries on Gallipoli and in France and Belgium. She has written three novels set against a background of this war:

DEVIL'S RIDGE from Whiskey Creek Press.

SHATTERED DREAMS and WILDS OATS from The Wild Rose Press.

0130 hours, 25 April 1915. Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey

The air felt chilly as Danny waited on the deck of the troopship. It was so dark he couldn’t see land, even though someone said it was less than three miles away. When his turn came, he climbed down the rope ladder and found himself in a small open boat. Excitement surged through him. He had travelled halfway around the world for this moment and was keen to give a good account of himself. His equipment and ammunition weighed more than eighty pounds, but he wouldn’t have cared if it had been a hundred and eighty.

He gripped his rifle between his knees as they had been instructed to do. His hands became sweaty, while Ernie, his mate from the Broadmeadows army camp, trembled beside him.

They only spoke in whispers, and the slight splashing of the waves against the side of the boat was barely audible. About fifty yards from shore, the pinnaces cast off the boats and the sailors started to row them to the beach.

A light appeared in the distance and a shot echoed in the pre-dawn darkness. Jumping from the boat, Danny found himself in water up to his chest, but he held his rifle above his head to keep it dry and waded ashore, with Ernie at his heels.

The firing became heavier as he scrambled onto a narrow stretch of beach.

“Hell.” They must have landed at the wrong place, because facing them was a steep, scrub-covered cliff. Danny swore as bullets peppered the ground around them. Throwing off his pack, he scrambled up the hillside, grabbing bushes and boulders to drag himself upwards. A glance over his shoulder showed Ernie struggling along behind him. There was a blood curdling scream and the soldier in front of them collapsed like a rag doll. Danny climbed over the body to get past. As he took several shuddering breaths, he glanced down at the beach then wished he hadn’t. God, it was terrible, those poor devils in the later landing crafts were being slaughtered by Turkish artillery before they even got out of the water.

In honor of Margaret's visit, I am giving away a copy of SHATTERED DREAMS to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about how your country honors military personnel and/or battlefields you have visited.

2.  This giveaway is open to US residents only but I encourage comments from all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, April 30, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I will announce the winner on Sunday, May 1.


Kim in Hawaii

 Today is a double header - so check out part 2 with Deborah Cooke and Darkfire Kiss.