Friday, March 29, 2013

The Avon Affair - Road trip with Cathy Maxwell, Lady Margaret Chattan, and THE DEVIL'S HEART

The Hawaiian phrase of the day is:

No kekahi o kakou ka pilikia malaila pu kakou a pau.

Should one of us get in trouble we will all go that way.

The Devil's Heart (The Chattan Curse, #3)

Lady Margaret has lived in the shadow a family curse:

When a Chattan male falls in love,

strike his heart with fire from above...

Her older brother, Neal, fell in love with his childhood friend in LYON'S BRIDE (link).    Margaret hoped her second brother, Harry, could reverse the curse in in Scotland.  Instead, he fell in love, too, in THE SCOTTISH WITCH (link).   So now it's time for Margaret to take matters into her own hand in THE DEVIL'S HEART, available April 30 from Avon Romance:

New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell continues the her popular historical romance series, the Chattan Curse, with The Devil’s Heart.

Lady Margret Chattan, one of the most desirable women in all of England, has no interest whatsoever in marriage. When her brother’s lives are put in danger, she travels to the Scottish Highlands, intent on saving them. There she meets Heath Macnachtan, who is trying to find out who murdered his own brother. Together, they team up to investigate the powerful curse that is behind the deaths, but instead find themselves falling in love.

Exceptionally entertaining and charming, The Devil’s Heart mixes a well-crafted love story with complex characters and pulse-pounding adventure.

Glenfinnan on Loch Shiel

Before Margaret can take a stand, she has to take a road trip in a 1824 coach with her maid, driver, coachman, valet, and four armed outriders.  The coachman estimates it will take three to six days to travel from Glenfinnan to Loch Awe.  Today, it would take two hours via Fort William and Glen Nevis (link to Google map).   Two hours gives me just enough time to read A DEVIL'S HEART.   

But a six day coach ride allows me to read Cathy Maxwell's entire library of 24 novels and 6 novellas in anthologies ... so I would jump in the coach with Margaret!

File:Kilchurn Castle from the boat.jpg
Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe
Image by Peter Gordon (link)
Posted per Creative Commons Licence (link)

THE DEVIL'S HEART is now on sale for preorder:

Amazon Kindle:  $3.99 link.
Amazon Mass Market Paperback:  $4.98 link.

B&N Nook:  $3.99 link.
B&N Mass Market Paperback: $4.98 link.

Book Depository $5.99 link.
(free world wide delivery)

The Devil's Heart (The Chattan Curse, #3)

I am giving away a copy of THE DEVIL'S HEART - winner's choice of ebook or paperback - to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about road trips - how do you entertain yourself?  Read a book?  listen to music? Watch a movie?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 30, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 31.


Kim in Hawaii

To learn more about Cathy and her books, check out her website at

The Avon Affair Continues with ...

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Avon Affiar: Aloha to Jennifer McQuiston and WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND

The Avon Affair is a fourteen day Avon Books Review Event hosted by current and alumni members of Avon Addicts.   Fall in love with Avon Romance ....

The Hawaiian word of the day is 


It is island.

The State of Hawaii is composed of eight island (oldest to youngest):  Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the island of Hawaiʻi.  The "ninth" island is Las Vegas.   Hawaiians flock to it for its climate, shopping, and entertainment.   Jennifer McQuiston joins me for a cozy chat about her romance debut, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND.  Did the ninth island inspire it?  Read on ...

Glenfinnan Monument

Kim:  You hail from Atlanta! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of The Big Peach?

Jennifer:  Thanks so much for hosting me today! While I WISH my favorite sight boasted a soothing beach and beautiful sunset, as yours no doubt does, my favorite Atlanta sight is easy: I travel a lot for my day job, and I absolutely love the sight of Atlanta's familiar, jagged skyline as I drive back home from the airport. When I see those skyscrapers rising up, I know I am just a few minutes away from my family.

My favorite sound in the big ATL is probably the local country music station, 94.9 The Bull... Georgia has churned out some amazing country artists, and this station plays all my favorites (especially Kip Moore, a romance author's dream!) 

And favorite Atlanta smell? I confess I love the smell of ripe peaches, as cliche as that sounds... and Georgia peaches are my favorite variety in the world. Unfortunately, they are only in season May-July, so I am usually shoving as many in my mouth as I can during those three blissful months. 

Castle Frasier

Kim:  How did a Veterinarian and infectious disease researcher become a romance author? Did any part of your scientific training help you in writing romance?

Jennifer:  My day job as an infectious disease researcher at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is wonderful, but it can also be challenging. Reading has always been a welcome escape, but over time I found it wasn't enough. In some ways, I suspect I became a fiction writer because I needed something to stimulate the creative side of my brain that was languishing on peer-reviewed journals with names like "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene". I gravitated toward Romance because it is what I prefer to read. I think my scientific training helps me with the research that is such an important part of writing historicals. It has also helped me better manage the criticism that comes with writing for a diverse audience -- it was a bit eye-opening to realize there is every bit as much of a peer review process for fiction writers, only it usually isn't anonymous!

Edzell Castle Gardens

Kim:  Can you share a squeal moment as a two time Golden Heart (GH) finalist? 

Jennifer:  Oh, I can do better than that... I can share the Jim Beam (my favorite adult beverage) along with the squeal! During my first GH final in 2011, I showed up at the conference knowing hardly anyone, but toting a little bottle of Jim Beam around in my purse. When they announced the winners, that bottle was tipped up and then passed around the table to console the other non-winners, too. In 2012, it was almost expected I bring the bottle, only this time I had three critique partners and a whole lot of friends to share the non-winning swig with. In hindsight, it was for the best. My debut novel, WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND, was written after those two GH-finaling books, and I am so glad this will be the one to introduce me to readers. I have a quirky sense of humor, and I enjoyed letting it fly with this book. In fact, sometimes I have to pinch myself that I am getting published for writing the very snarky retorts and witty dialogue that would have once landed me in trouble in high school. 

Dunnottar Castle

Kim:  Tell us about WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND - what inspired it?

Jennifer:  WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND is your typical "she woke up married" story... only based in 1842 Scotland. It is a fun romp that will (hopefully) keep readers guessing to the end, and it was an absolute blast to write. The idea came to me as I was heading to Vegas to celebrate my 40th birthday, and it occurred to me in one of those "gee whiz" moments that I had never read a historical that tried to do this. I wrote it in two months, and it just poured out of me onto the page.

The heroine, Lady Georgette Thorold, wakes up in bed next to a handsome stranger. Presented with the disturbing evidence of what she might have done, she runs for it... only to realize she must track the mystery man down and press him for an annulment. James MacKenzie isn't sure if he's married or not... all he knows is that the beautiful woman he thought he was protecting has clocked him over the head with a chamber pot and run off with his life savings. Each must piece together the clues of a night gone wrong... and pray that it doesn't get worse.

While some readers might indignantly claim, "That couldn't have happened!", I humbly present the Scottish marriage laws for debate, which in the 1840's were very different from those in England. In fact, Scotland's lax laws on irregular marriages prompted the popularity of Gretna Green as the go-to place for those seeking to elope, and resulted in the occasional abduction and forced marriage of naive young heiresses. The laws of the time enabled anyone to be married at anytime by a citizen witness... and oddly enough elevated the status of the local Scottish blacksmith to matchmaker!

Gretna Green 

Kim:  What's next for Jennifer McQuiston?

JenniferWHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND is the first in a three-book series. The next book is still untitled, but it is an unrequited love story featuring a tortured hero with an unheroic past, and a heroine determined to snag the man she has loved for years. It is based in Brighton, a seaside resort town that was popular in the Regency and Victorian eras, and it was a lot of fun to craft a historical novel that captures the essence of a passionate summer romance.

The third book in the series (which has also not yet named) features a hero who has been charged with murder, and the heroine he tricks into marriage so she can't testify against him. While darker in content, I can tell you that this current work in progress is proving almost as much fun to write as WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND.

Mahalo, Jennifer, for joining us today!  I loved WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND - I posted my five star review on Amazon (at this link) and Goodreads (at this link).  I am giving away a print copy of WHAT HAPPENS IN SCOTLAND to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway, 

1.  What would happen if you visited Scotland  .... 

... follow the Whisky Trail (link)
... travel the Castle Trail (link)
... shop the Royal Mile (link)
... visit the Highlands (link)

or something else?

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 23, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 24.


Kim in Hawaii

To learn more about Jennifer and her books, check out her website at

The Avon Affair continues with ...

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

SOS Aloha's 3rd Anniversary

The Hawaiian word of the day is


It is anniversary.

Today I celebrate SOS Aloha's third anniversary.   Achieving this milestone would not be possible without: 

- Mary Gramlich (at this link) for encouraging me to make the leap into Bloggerland;

- Terry (at this link) for teaching me how to post pictures and hyperlinks; 

- Rhonda Penders from The Wild Rose Press (at this link) for donating 200 books in October 2010.   Her generous gift took my six-month-old blog to a new level.

I also appreciate the readers, authors, publishers, and publicists who gave me the opportunity to share my voice in Romanceland.   

This anniversary brings me to a crossroad.  As my blog grew, so did my inbox. Keeping up with my inbox has been a challenge while my husband has been away in Korea.  And the biggest challenge is yet to come in July - we are moving to Baltimore for my husband's next assignment.   I am sad to leave Hawaii but look forward to the new opportunities on the East Coast.  To facilitate the move, I am taking a six month break from SOS Aloha.  My last post will be April 1.     

Of course I want to keep my big toe in Romanceland, so I will be a guest blogger with Mary Gramlich at  This gives me more time to review books while herding my kids to our new home.   I will still post pictures on ALOHA ON MY MIND (at this link) even after I move as I plan to take the Aloha Spirit with me.


In honor of my third anniversary, I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Would you like to live in another city?  

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 9, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 10.


Kim in Hawaii

Friday, March 1, 2013

Aloha to Dydd Gŵyl Dewi - St. David's Day

March 1 is the feast day of St. David - the patron saint of Wales.   The most famous Welshman in Hawaii was Isaac Davis.  From the National Park Service (at this link),

The end of the 1700s was marked by increased visits to the Hawaiian Islands by European explorers. With their trade ships, warships, cannon, and military experience, the foreigners were considered assets by the warring chiefs.

Kamehameha was particularly astute on this point and took captive two young seamen, John Young (Lancaster, England) and Isaac Davis (Pembrokeshire, Wales). Young and Davis proved their courage and loyalty in battle and became close, trusted lieutenants to Kamehameha, aiding in his rise to power. Their relationship lasted far beyond the battlefield and into civilian life, with Young eventually becoming governor on the Island of Hawai'i, and Davis on the island of O'ahu.

In honor of St. David's Day, I share my pictures of Welsh Castles cared by CADW, the guardian of Welsh heritage (at this link).

The Roman amphitheater at Caerleon

Caerphilly Castle, guarding a town known for its cheese.

Victorian sink in Castle Coch

The clock tower at Cardiff Castle

Tintern Abbey, founded in 1131 for Cisercian monks

What do you know about Wales?  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  This giveaway is open to all readers.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 2, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 3.


Kim in Hawaii

 White Castle (sans hamburgers)