Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day - Remembering those who served ....

Today is Memorial Day in the United States.  It is a time to remember those who have served to preserve our freedom.

The winning bid for Jodi's quilt is .... $250 from Barbara.  Proceeds benefit the Navy Seals.  Mahalo, Jodi and Barbara, for your support!

Mystery author Mary Kennedy is featured in the Huffington Post, spotlighting ways to support our military personnel - here's the link.  I give an awesome quote!   Mahalo, Mary, for your support!

Mary's adopted unit - the 389th Renegades
(who are now safely back).

I asked readers for photos of family and friends who served in the military.  My son helped me create a slide show:  

SOS Aloha Memorial Day Tribute 2011.  

We posted it on YouTube as unlisted.  Thus only those with this link can view it.

Pictures feature veterans from the Spanish American War through today's conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.    The slide show includes one Canadian officer (our steadfast ally) and one sailor returning from a Japanese POW camp.  Some of our veterans have passed and others remain with us .... we thank them all for giving so generously of themselves.  

Music is Albannach's EYE OF THE STORM - turn up your speakers so those riding in Rolling Thunder can hear it all the way from the Pentagon to Arlington National Cemetery.

Mahalo to the following who contributed photos:

Authors Renee Bernard, Stephanie Burkhart, Diana Cosby, Diane Gaston, Susan Grant, Jill James, Sherry James, Cat Johnson, Mary Kennedy, Merline Lovelace, Margaret Mallory, Annie Marshall, Darlene Marshall, Julie Miller, Jo Anne Pinney, Loretta Rogers, Bertrice Small, Maggie Toussaint, Diane Whiteside, and Michele Young,

Readers Cynthia, Danielle, Jesse, Jody, Marianne, Molly, Sara Jane, Sharon, and Tamara.

And to my son Andrew for assisting me with technology.

Kim in Hawaii

In case you curious why I selected Albannach for the music, read this post.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Six Degrees of Seperation - Spam to Scotland

Blogger Update - Following Dani's advice, I installed Google Chrome.  I signed onto my blog through it and now I can leave comments under my own name.   Others throughout Blogger are still having problems.  Blogger posted a notice dated May 24 that they are working on it.  Meanwhile, try three options:
- Install Google Chrome
- Leave a comment as anonymous (but include your name)
- Send your comment to (and I'll post it for you).

1.  Yesterday I was spammed ... so those readers in my "SOS Aloha" email database may have receive a "friend" request for a social network.    My apologies ....

2.  While email spam is annoying .... Hormel Spam is considered an Island treat!   Locals eat it with eggs, in sandwiches, and atop Misubi (rice cake wrapped in seaweed).

3.  Rice is a staple of most Hawaiian meals, including breakfast.  Many diners serve Loco Moco - hamburger patty stacked with fried egg with a scoop of rice on the side.

4.  Loco Moco represents the diverse immigrant population that exploded as the Hawaiian Islands cultivated sugar and pineapple.  Most of the landowners were enterprising Americans and Europeans.

5.  These enterprising landowners influenced the Hawaiian monarchy to adapt to Western religion, dress, and politics.  The European landowners also married into the Hawaiian monarchy - Scotsman Archibald Cleghorn married Princess Miriam Likelike.  Their daughter, Princess Victoria Kai'ulani, was the heir to her uncle's thrown, King David Kalakaua.

6.  Archibald Cleghorn and Princess Miriam petitioned the king to deed the land with the Captain Cook Memorial to the United Kingdom.

Archibald Cleghorn, Princess Miriam,
and Princess Kai'ulani

7.  Captain Cooke was the second of eight children born to James Cooke, a Scottish farmer, who would appreciate the fertile land that his son "discovered" during his Pacific voyages.

Ok, that's seven degrees.  But the point is Hawaii has many connections to Scotland.   Our majestic volcanic mountains often remind me of the splendid Scottish Highlands.  And the warrior spirit - from medieval times to today - remains a part of the local culture in Hawaii and Scotland.

King Kamehameha and William Wallace

Enter Margaret Mallory - author of Scottish books set in medieval times and the Tudor Era:

- All the King's Men series:

Travel back in time with a medieval knight for a dramatic tale of romance and adventure. Follow our gallant knight as he meets the heroine-and faces his toughest battle yet. Sparks fly but danger follows, for this is a woman who is willing to spy for a prince, lure an enemy to save a friend, or use that dagger she has hidden under her pillow.

A cast of medieval characters-wily royals, charismatic rebels, unlikely spies, and traitorous relatives-raise the stakes for our knight and his lady. Together, they must face the dangers... and discover the true meaning of love, honor, and loyalty.


- Return of the Highlander series kicked off with THE GUARDIAN:

Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

Terri from Bodice Ripper Novels would like to giveaway a copy of KNIGHT OF PASSION here at SOS Aloha to one US resident.   KNIGHT OF PASSION is the last book in the All The King's Men series (it can also be read as a stand alone book). 

And I'll sweeten the pot - I'll donate my ARC of THE GUARDIAN - the first book of the Return of the Highlanders series - to one international reader.

To enter the giveaway,

1. Name a magical place - Scotland?  Hawaii?  Your home town?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, May 29, 10 pm, as I would like to send Terri the winner's address on Monday, May 30.

What a fitting tribute for Memorial Day to giveaway books about warriors!


Kim in Hawaii

Perhaps Linlithgow Palace (outside Edinburgh) represents the transition from Medieval Scotland to the Tudor Era as it was the royal residence of King James IV and Queen Margaret Tudor - sister to England's King Henry VIII.   Their son, James V, and their granddaughter, Mary I, were born at Linlithgow.   But James V abandoned the palace in favor of "manor houses".   Further conflict left the palace in ruin. 

Likewise, Pu'ukohola Heiau  (on the Big Island of Hawaii) may represent the transition from "medieval" Hawaii to "Western" Hawaii.   King Kamehameha (of the Big Island) built Pu'ukohola Heiau  (Temple on the Hill of the Whale) in 1791 to ultimately slaughter his cousin.  His cousin's death fulfilled one of three prophecies that predicted one warrior would unite the eight Hawaiian islands.   That warrior was King Kamehameha.   Yet he used Western weapons and Western advisers to accomplish this task.  Those advisers began to influence the Hawaiian monarchy (in fact, one of the advisers was given land near this sacred site).   When King Kamehameha died, his son succeeded him to the throne and abolished the old religion.  This cleared the way for Christian missionaries to convert the Hawaiians.  The heiau lost its
significance and fell into despair.  Today, many heiau lay in ruins like medieval castles but retain the "history" of the land.

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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Aloha to Kerrelyn Sparks and VAMPIRE MINE

Good morning!  Blogger is tempermental today ... it is only allowing me to leave comments as anonymous.  If you encounter any problems, send your comment to

I've been eating a lot of garlic lately.  I like the taste ... and perhaps I was subconsciously preparing for today' guest.  Please join me in welcoming paranormal author Kerrelyn Sparks

Kim:  You are an author new to me. I loved reading Vampire World! Your cast of characters have strong Scottish ties with a few other European countries sprinkled into the mix.  Do your characters reflect your ancestral roots? In your world, how did Vampires come to be in Scotland?

Kerrelyn:  Thank you, Kim! Yes, I have some Scottish ancestors who resettled in the American colonies in the late 1600’s. I have always been attracted to anything Scottish, and when I traveled to Scotland, I had an overwhelming sense of homecoming.

Many of the good Vamps in the Love at Stake series were transformed on battlefields where they were mortally wounded. When given a chance to continue fighting evil, they chose to fight and became vampire warriors. Unfortunately, all too often, there was a ready supply of good Scotsmen dying in battle. And so, I ended up with some Scottish vampires in kilts.

I’ve also tried to spread the fun around. I have were-panthers from Brazil, were-tigers from Thailand, werewolves from Wyoming, and a were-bear from Alaska. I have vampires from as far away as Russia, China, and Japan, and them some closer to home, like Louisiana, Texas, California, and the Bronx.

Kim:  You wrote in your bio, "She lives in the Greater Houston area with her husband, children, and a house full of garlic. So far, there are no vampires in her family. Werewolves are another matter entirely." Do you use any garlic to cook? What does a vampire creator like to cook, eat, read, and watch on TV?

Kerrelyn:  As a matter of fact, I put a little garlic in just about everything I cook, except desserts! I have an addiction to cookbooks. I love pouring over recipes and trying new things. I also love to read. I read a lot of romance (contemporary, paranormal, and historical), but I also branch out to other genres like Young Adult, horror, suspense/thrillers, and fantasy. I try to avoid reading or watching other vampire stories because I don’t want to subconsciously influence myself in any way. I love romantic comedies and historical dramas like The Tudors or The Borgias. I also enjoy fun shows like America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance.

Kim:  Can you give us a quick peek into your next book, Sexiest Vampire Alive?

KerrelynSEXIST VAMPIRE ALIVE will go on sale September 27th, 2011. Gregori Holstein is the playboy of the vampire world, so it was great fun watching him fall helplessly in love. At the end of the last book, VAMPIRE MINE, a video was released to the public that proved the existence of vampires. So at the beginning of SEXIEST VAMPIRE ALIVE, the Vamps are in damage control, trying to convince the public that the video is a hoax. They appeal to the U.S. government for help and select an emissary to represent them. This emissary needs to be a young Vamp, someone who understands the modern world and modern technology, someone who has never bitten a human for food, someone who has been completely bottle-fed so he’ll appear safe and harmless. Their choice is Gregori.

And so the future of the vampire world rests on the shoulders of Gregori. Can he keep them safe and protected, or will he doom them all by succumbing to his playboy ways?

Mahalo, Kerrelyn, for joining us at SOS Aloha!   Given your love of vamps, dancing, and cooking, perhaps we could pitch a reality show called THE LAST VAMP STANDING - as each vampire is eliminated from the competition, he/she has to cook for Donald Trump, Simon Cowell, and Piers Morgan!

We are giving away two copies of VAMPIRE MINE - one for US readers from Kerrelyn and one for International readers from me:
Nothing on earth can make this vampire fall in love…
After 499 years of existence, Connor Buchanan has arrived at an inescapable conclusion: he is a cold-hearted SOB. He’s been watching his friends—those poor romantic fools—plummet off the cliff into love like a dazed herd of sheep. But not Connor. He knows that love leads to nothing by heartache.
Until Marielle…
She is an angel cast down from heaven for disobedience. Trapped in mortal form, she finds a protector in Connor, a Scottish vampire haunted by a dark past. Marielle hopes to heal his broken heart and earn her way back home, but suddenly she has these…feelings. This strange yet pleasant physical yearning—for a vampire! Is this the work of a demon luring her into hell, or has this angel found heavenly bliss?

To enter the giveaway, 
1.  Leave a comment about warriors vampires, dancing, cooking, and, of course, Scotland!
2.  This contest is open to all readers. 
3.  Comments are open through Saturday, May 28, 10 pm in Hawaii (when the Vampires come out to party on Waikiki Beach).  I'll announce the winner on Sunday, May 29.
Kim in Hawaii

Can't get enough of Kerrelyn?  Join her on 25th of each month (including tomorrow) at Supernatural Underground - she's in good company with other fabulous paranormal authors!   Plus check out her upcoming appearances at this link.

Kerrelyn wrote, "I have were-panthers from Brazil, were-tigers from Thailand, werewolves from Wyoming, and a were-bear from Alaska."  So I suggest to her .... were-sharks!   From Sacred Destinations
For 150,000 years the island of Hawaii has harbored a secret. Near Makua on Oahu, the volcanic rock was eroded by the sea to form a cave out of a giant lava tube. This is where the local people believe mankind was born, emerging from the womb of the earth goddess. They called the cave Kaneana, after the god of creation, Kane.
Legend has it that the Shark-man Nanaue (also called Kaneana and Makua Charlie) later reigned from this cave. Like all fine myths, the story of the Hawaiian Shark-man includes drama, camaraderie, and a respectable amount of bloody murder.
Born from a Shark father (the shape-shifter Kamohoali’i) and a human mother, it was only when Nanaue first experienced the taste of meat that his carnivorous heritage led to incontrollable bloodlust. He would assume human form to trick his prey, then drag them back to the cave for dinner. Fortunately, he was eventually chopped up by the Hawaiian people. The cave was also home to both a powerful shark goddess and Madame Pele (the volcano Goddess with a fiery temper).

On Sunday, my family drove out along Farrington Highway to see Oahu's west coast.  We stopped by the Hale O Lono Heiau (House of Lono temple) and followed the road to Yokohama Bay.  When we turned around, we could see the Makua Cave etched into the volcanic mountains.  

Hale O Lono Heiau

Makua Cave

For your reading pleasure, check out my other post today:
- Link to Pamela Hearon and HIS HOTNESS at SOS Aloha
- Link to Dancing with the Stars at the Reading Reviewer

Monday, May 23, 2011

Victoria Day, Fairy Tales, Lila DiPasqua, and AWAKENED BY A KISS

Today is Victoria Day in Canada, bringing our northern neighbors a three day weekend:

Victoria Day, also known as May Two-Four, May Long and May Long Weekend, is a Canadian holiday on the Monday preceding May 25.

This holiday honors Queen Victoria's birthday.  From Victorian Station,

Victoria was was born in Kensington Palace in London on May 24th, 1819.    In 1837 Queen Victoria took the throne after the death of her uncle William IV.   Popular respect for the Crown was at a low point at her coronation, but the modest and straightforward young Queen won the hearts of her subjects.

On Feb 10th, 1840, only three years after taking the throne, Victoria took her first vow and married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Their relationship was one of great love and admiration. Together they bore nine children - four sons and five daughters: Victoria, Bertie, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, and Beatrice.

It's time to play Six Royal Degrees of Fairy Tale Separation.

1.  Queen Victoria lived a Fairy Tale - she was born a princess, married a German Prince, and built her own castle (Balmoral). 

2.  Today's fairy tales animated by Disney were written by European authors - Denmark's Hans Christian Andersen, Germany's The Brothers' Grimm, and France's Charles Perrault.

3.  Charles Perrault wrote fairy tales based on folk stories for the French Court, including Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood.

4.  Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood inspired AWAKENED BY A KISS.

5.  AWAKENED BY A KISS was written by Lila DiPasqua.

6.  Lila PiPasqua lives in Canada ... and Canada celebrates Victoria Day!

From Lila's website,

Three classic fairytales—“Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—cleverly retold with enough sensual twists to prove wickedly ever after does exist…

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d’Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss—and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress—and this time, he has no intention of letting her go…

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger…

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants—and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King’s private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was—and more than man enough for her.

Queen Victoria's Fairy Tale Castle -

I met Lila and the RT Booklovers' Convention.   She gave me three copies of AWAKENED BY A KISS.  I mailed two copies to deployed personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I am giving away the third copy today.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite Fairy Tale - real (Queen Victoria) or fictional (Little Mermaid).

2.  This giveaway is open to all.  I welcome your comments even if you already have this book!

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


Kim in Hawaii

Queen Victoria engaged in an transoceanic friendship with Queen Consort Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonālani Naʻea Rooke of Hawaiʻi.   Queen Emma sailed to Britain where she was welcomed by Queen Victoria:

The two widow queens sympathize with each other and Queen Victoria recorded in her journal on the afternoon of September 9, 1865:

"After luncheon I received Queen Emma, the widowed Queen of the Sandwich Islands or Hawaii. Met her in the Corridor & nothing could be nicer or more dignified than her manner. She is dark, but not more so than an Indian, with fine feathers & splendid soft eyes. She was dressed in just the same widow's weeds as I wear. I took her into the White Drawing room, where I asked to sit down next to me on the sofa. She was moved when I spoke to her of her great misfortune in losing her only child. She was very discreet & would only remain a few minutes. She presented her lady, Mrs. Hoopile whose husband is her Chaplain, both being Hawaiians...."

Queen Emma's summer palace, Hānaiakamālama, displays many of Queen Victoria's gifts to Queen Emma.   Hānaiakamālama - Southern Cross - is located outside Honolulu along the Pali Highway.  It gives glimpses of Queen Emma's own fairy tale.