Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aloha to Jenna Jaxon and TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE

Today is Medieval Monday with Jenna Jaxon!  She joins us with a special guest post - her favorite historical movies!  Please join me in welcoming Jenna Jaxon ...

I love history. I grew up in the historic town of Petersburg, VA. I began my college career as a History major, and I write historical romance. So of course I’m a fan of historical movies.

I was surprised that I ended up having to limit my list to ten and to limit the time period to pre-20th century (with one notable exception). What I also realized as I put the list together was that all of these movies has a romance either at its core, or at least tangentially. Likely that’s why I like them so much.

My top ten historical movies (in no particular order):

1. Gone With the Wind—one of the first historical films that made a big impression on me. Clark Gable is the epitome of the romantic hero, even to a girl of 13.

2. The Wind and the Lion—not sure how many will have seen this. Loved Sean Connery as a Berber; Candice Bergen is more than his match. Unrequited love, but the romance is there.

3. The Lion in Winter—Not a traditional romance. Christmas in 1189 with King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three sons. It’s a very funny movie, but you see the love between Henry and Eleanor.

4. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—I’ve watched this one so many times I can recite the dialogue for you. LOL Just a wonderful costume action movie with a great cast and story.

5. Dances with Wolves—another Kevin Costner movie that I will immediately sit down and watch if it comes on television. The attention to detail and production values are gorgeous, the story moving, the casting excellent. I can only watch up to the point where he’s captured by the soldiers. After that, it’s too painful.

6. Titanic—the only movie on my list set in the 20th century. But this movie again has stunning attention to historical detail and the story is so moving. Technically not a romance, as there’s no true HEA, despite the final moments.

7. The Patriot—romance takes a back seat to fatherly love in this wonderful movie. Again, casting and a moving story set this apart for me.

8. Braveheart—More Mel Gibson and despite all the brouhaha about the historical inaccuracies, the feeling of the savagery of the period comes through vividly, as does Wallace’s passion for his wife and his country.

9. Les Miserables—I was such a fan of the musical I was overjoyed when the movie lived up to all my expectations. This movie captures all the emotions: love, hate, fear, jealousy, patriotism with music that lifts your heart to hear it.

10. Last of the Mohicans—The version with Daniel Day-Lewis. The story details the clash of cultures overcome by love. The scene on the rock between Hawkeye and Cora is one of the hottest love scenes, in my opinion.

Mahalo, Jenna, for sharing this great list with us!  I've become a history buff as a result of becoming a historical romance fan!  

White Castle in Wales

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London. Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

Jenna is giving away a digital copy of TIME ENOUGH TO LOVE:

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite historical movie.  As I prepare this blog, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE is playing on Spike TV.  How can I resist Harrison Ford and Sean Connery?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Caerphilly Castle in Wales 

September is a Romance to Remember

9/1: US Labor Day with Jenna Jaxon's TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE

plus Victoria Robert's MY HIGHLAND SPY
9/2: Jeanell Bolton’s WHAT THE HEART WANTS
9/3: Amanda Forester's A WINTER WEDDING
9/4: Chloe Douglas' A LOVE FOR ALL TIME
9/5: Caridad Pineiro's ONE SPECIAL NIGHT
plus ML Buchman's LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
9/6: Celebrate Little Victories
9/7: Weekly Winners
9/8: Monday Night Romance
plus Samatha Grace's IN BED WITH A ROGUE

9/9: Leslie Well's COME DANCING
9/10: Sandra Owens' CRAZY FOR HER
9/11: Heather Ashby's NEVER FORGET 

9/12: Reserved 

9/13: Celebrate Little Victories
9/14: Weekly Winners
9/15: Monday Night Romance

9/16: Christi Caldwell's ALWAYS A ROGUE, FOREVER HER LOVE
9/17:  State of Romance - California 
plus Margaret Mallory's CAPTURED BY A LAIRD
9/18: US Air Force's Birthday
9/19: Shelley Wall's TEXT ME
9/20: Celebrate Little Victories
9/21: Weekly Winners
9/22: Monday Night Romance 

plus Amanda Forester's A WINTER WEDDING
9/23: Merryn Allingham's THE CRYSTAL CAGE
9/24: State of Romance - Wyoming

plus Rosanne Bittner's DESPERATE HEARTS
9/25: Tracy Devlin's NIGHT STORM
plus Maggie Mae Gallagher's RUPTURED
Jill Shalvis' HE'S SO FINE

9/27: Celebrate Little Victories
9/28: Weekly Winners
9/29: Monday Night Romance

plus Amanda Scott's MOONLIGHT RAIDER Release Week Blitz
Marie Harte's Teaser Tour 

plus Holiday Heat Week Blitz from Forever Romance 

Books that need MORE Attention Giveaway Hop (coordinated by Stuck in Books)
10/3: Lucinda Elliott's RAVENSDALE
10/4: Celebrate Little Victories
10/5: Weekly Winners
10/6: Monday Night Romance

plus LA Kornetsky's DOGHOUSE: A Gin and Tonic Mystery to celebrate Animal Welfare Week
plus Maya Banks' KEEP ME SAFE 
10/8: Elizabeth Langston's WHISPERS FROM THE PAST 
10/9: Mia Marlowe's ONCE UPON A PLAID
10/10: Heather Ashby 
10/11: Celebrate Little Victories - Michele Gorman's PERFECT GIRL
10/12: Weekly Winners
10/13: Monday Night Romance - Navy's Birthday
10/15: Regency Masquerades: A Limited Edition Boxed Set of Six Traditional Regency Romance Novels of Secrets and Disguises with Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Allison Lane, Gail Eastwood, Alicia Rasley, and Elena Greene
10/16: Christi Caldwell's FOR LOVE OF THE DUKE
10/17: Heather Ashby 
10/18: Celebrate Little Victories
10/19: Weekly Winners
10/20: Monday Night Romance 
10/21: Heather Hey Ford's A TASTE OF CHARDONNAY 
10/22: State of Romance
10/24: Sheri Cobb South 
10/25: Celebrate Little Victories
10/26: Weekly Winners
10/27: Monday Night Romance 
plus Julie Brannagh's COVERING KENDALL 
10/28: Open
10/29: State of Romance
10/30: Lindesy Hall's IMMORTAL SOULS

11/1: Celebrate Little Victories - Books I'm Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop (coordinated by Stuck in Books)

11/2: Weekly Winners 
11/3: Monday Night Romance
11/4: Nancy Lee Badger's MY DARK HIGHLANDER 
11/5: State of Romance
11/6: Open 
11/7: Open
11/8: Celebrate Little Victories
11/9: Weekly winners 
plus Michele Callahan's WHITE FIRE
11/10: Monday Night Romance with the USMC's Birthday
11/11: Veterans Day

11/12: State of Romance
11/13: Regina Scott's THE BRIDE SHIP 

11/14: Victoria Vane's SLOW HAND 
11/15: Celebrate Little Victories
11/16: Weekly Winners
11/17: Monday Night Romance 
plus Sallly Orr's THE RAKE'S HANDBOOK
11/18: Elizabeth Langston's I WISH 
11/19: State of Romance
11/20: Open
11/21: Mia Marlowe's A RAKE BY ANY OTHER NAME
11/22: Celebrate Littel Victories
11/23: Weekly Winners

11/24: Monday Night Romance
11/25: Eileen Dreyer's TWICE TEMPTED

11/26: State of Romance - New Hampshire 
11/27: Thanksgiving
11/28: Shelley K Wall's FIND ME 
11/29: Celebrate Little Victories
11/30: Weekly Winners

12/1: Monday Night Romance

12/2: Amanda Berry's CASANOVA
plus Susanna Fraser's A CHRISTMAS REUNION
12/3: State of Romance
12/4: Open
12/5: Open
12/6: Celebrate Little Victories
12/7: Weekly Winners
and Remembering Pearl Harbor Day
12/8: Monday Night Romance
12/9: Open
12/10: State of Romance
12/11: Open
12/12: Open
12/13: Celebrate Little Victories
12/14: Weekly Winners
12/15: Monday Night Romance
12/16: Nancy Badger
12/17: State of Romance
12/18: Open
12/19: Open
12/20: Celebrate Little Victories
12/21: Weekly Winners
12/22: Monday Night Romance
12/23: Open
12/24: State of Romance
12/25: Christmas
12/26: Boxing Day
12/27: Celebrate Little Victories
12/28: Weekly Winners
12/29: Monday Night Romance
12/30: Open
12/31: State of Romance

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aloha to Ten Books with Staying Power (part 2)

Readers are challenging each other on Facebook to list 10 books that have "stayed with you".  Continuing my list from yesterday (link),

6.  Toni Anderson's DANGEROUS WATERS (link).   Once again I stepped outside my comfort zone to review a romantic suspense ... and I was rewarded with a pager turner set in Barklay Sound on the Pacific Coast.   The bonus - a capable Canadian heroine locks horns with a mysterious Canadian hero who previously served in the Canadian Special Forces - a pleasant departure from a genre flooded US military characters.   

I also recommend the next book in the series, DARK WATERS (link).


7.  Anne Elizabeth's A SEAL AT HEART (link):  Anne Elizabeth delivers a heartfelt romance between a Navy SEAL struggling with the aftermath of a mission and a physical therapists who helps him heal.  I appreciate that Anne Elizabeth takes the reader into the heart of the warrior and the mind of a woman to honor the military families.

I also recommend the next book in the series, ONCE A SEAL (link).


8.  Anne Cleeland's DAUGHTER OF THE SUN-GOD (link).

I wrote a short five star review to get right to point that Anne Cleeland scores a bull's eye with this action adventure set in Regeny Egypt, yes, Regency Egypt.   Hattie Blackhouse travels to Paris then Cairo in search of her parents last seen on a archaeology dig in the Valley of the Kings.   Along the way, she is coddled (and threatened) by the British, French, Egyptians, and one mysterious man as all believe Hattie holds the key to Napolean's triumph (or defeat).

I met Anne at RWA and passed along my praise for DAUGHTER OF THE GOD-KING.  She mailed me a print copy of the first book in the series, TAINTED ANGEL (link).  I look forward to reading it.

Daughter of the God-King (Regency, #2)

9.  Jill Marie Landis' MAI TAI ONE ON (link).   My list would not be complete without one Hawaiian romance.  MAI TAI ONE ON is an opus of the heart from beloved romance author Jill Marie Landis.  Set on Kauai's North Shore, MAI TAI ONE ON is a cozy mystery for a California divorcee who arrives on the island to help her uncle turn around his legendary Tiki Goddess Bar.   It becomes an action adventure when the Hula Maidens, the local halau (troupe), join the hunt for a killer.   It ends with an unexpected romantic moment that captures the magic of the Hawaiian Islands.


10.  Cathy Maxwell's THE DEVIL'S HEART (link):  My list started with Cathy Maxwell and ends with the master storyteller of Regency Romance. THE DEVIL'S HEART is Book 3 in the Chattan Curse series. The Chattan family lives (and dies) by a 17th century curse:

When a Chattan male falls in love, strike his heart with fire from above...

Two Chattan brothers - Neal and Harry - have fallen in love despite the risk. Their younger sister, Margaret, travels to Scotland in search of the Book of Curses to save her brothers. She finds the last living male descendent, James, who reluctantly assists her .. for a price.   James doesn't believe in magic but he is desparate to help his clan. As Margaret and James fall in love themselves, the Witch has other plans for the fated couple.  Maxwell pulls out all the stops with an unexpected twist in the climatic ending that demonstrates love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves", 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7.

I read the last third of THE DEVIL'S HEART on Turtle Beach along Oahu's North Shore.  During the dramatic scene, the beach's famous turtle Brutus emerged from the ocean to the delight of the tourists.   It was an extraordinary moment.

THE DEVIL'S HEART can be read as a stand alone novel, but I recommend the first two books, LYON'S BRIDE (link) and THE SCOTTISH WITCH (link).


Can you share a romance novel that has stayed with you?  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  This giveaway is open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.


Kim in Baltimore

Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Weekly Winners

We have winners at SOS Aloha ...

Victoria Roberts' MY HIGHLAND SPY
- Diane D. wins a print copy from Sourcebooks.


Jill Shalvis' IT'S IN HIS KISS
- Kim H. wins a print copy from me.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips' HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS
- Danielle D. wins a print copy from me.


Kristen Callihan's EVERNIGHT
- BN100 wins a book choice from my convention stash.



Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, August 29, 2014

Aloha to Ten Books with Staying Power (part 1)

I was recently tagged on Facebook by Cathy Maxwell (link) and LimeCello (link) to list 10 books that have stayed with me. I quickly scanned my reviews on Goodreads and selected the books below.  Not surprising, the books have romantic elements ...

1. Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT.  This is the first romance book I read ... and one that initiated my love affair of Alba - Scotland.   It is a story of a Anne Burnett, an English bride "contracted" to marry Aiden Black, the Earl of Tiebauld.  His sister initiated the contract because he is consider eccentric; Anne signed it because she was desperate for a future, even one in the wilds of Scotland.   Yet Anne falls in love with Kelwin Castle, its clan members, and ultimately Aiden.  Together, Adien and Anne help clan members emmigrate to Canada following the Highland "clearances".   Maxwell offers an afterward with the couple's descendents returning to Alba for the opening of the Scottish Parliament after the real life referrendum in which the Scots voted to govern themselves.  This is a timely book with the success of OUTLANDER on Starz and the Scots voting again this September for Independence. 


2.  Jenny Colgan's THE LOVELIEST CHOCOLATE SHOP IN PARIS (link).   Anna Trent is injured on the job at an English mass production chocolate factory.   During her recovery in hospital, she realizes another patient is her high school French teacher, Claire.   Claire remembers Anna was a bright student who did not fully embrace her potential.  In fact, Claire helps Anna find a temporary job in Paris, working at a hand made chocolate shop for the summer.  As Anna learns the fine art of chocolate making, she takes a chance on herself.  Along the way, she embraces Paris, falls in love, and understands Claire's connection to the City of Light.   This book touched my heart.  

I also recommend Jenny Colgan's MEET ME AT THE CUPCAKE CAFE (link).


3.  Laura Levine's DEATH OF A NEIGHBORHOOD WITCH (link).  Jaine Austen is a freelance writer living in LA with her cat Prozac.  Her best customer is Toiletmasters, "In a rush to flush?  Call Toiletmasters!".   The highlight of Jaine's day is the gossip her neighbor, Lance, brings home from his job in Nordstrom's shoe department.   Yet she finds herself entangled in a mystery every time she seeks a new writing gig.  The series includes 12 books that follow a predictable, but entertaining, plot.   

DEATH OF A NEIGHBORHOOD WITCH was particularly funny with Jaine coming to terms with her elastic waist paints and chocolate obsession in the weeks leading to Halloween.   I would expect no less from Laura Levine, a sitcom writer who also created Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals for General Mills.  Laura reminds me with the Jaine Austen series that laughter is the best medicine.


4.  Pamela Clare's BREAKING POINT (link).  I met Pamela Clare at RomCon 2010 in Denver - I was enchanted by all that she accomplished as a reporter.  The following year, Pamela asked me to review BREAKING POINT, Book 5 in her acclaimed I-Team series.   I could not refuse even though I shy away from romantic suspense.  Yet this story of a Navy SEAL-turned-DEA Agent kept my attention from page one.   I spent hours on my five star review, perhaps the first review I published online, so it would be perfect:

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.

Run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore (or library) to read this book.


5. Susanna Kearsley's THE SHADOWY HORSES (link).  Canadian author Susanna Kearsley blends mystery, romance, and time travel for her own brand of "paranormal" novels.   I asked to review THE SHADOWY HORSES from her US publisher, Sourcebooks - I was intrigued by the heroine, an English archaeologist hired to work on dig near the Scottish border in search of the "lost legion" from the Roman occupation.   I've always been intrigued by digging up the past ... plus hubby and I have explored Hadrian's Wall.  THE SHADOWY HORSES took me back to that beloved trip as I followed the plot with characters who are not quite who they seem.   Susanna delivered a memorizing "paranormal" story that quenched my thirst for the history.

I also recommend Susanna Kearsley's THE SPLENDOUR FALLS (link).


I'll continue my list tomorrow ... can you share a romance that has stayed with you?   One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.   Comments are open through Saturday, September 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 7.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aloha to the Southern Sweethearts Blog Tour with Laura Drake, Sandra Hill, and Marilyn Pappano


It's a trifecta romance celebration for the three day weekend ... Laura Drake, Sandra Hill, and Marilyn Pappano join us for a cozy chat!

Kim:  A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.

Laura:  Western romances set in the dangerous world of Professional Bull Riding

Sandra:  Navy SEAL Justin “Cage” LeBlanc swore there would be SNOW ON THE BAYOU before he returned Louisian, but his grandmother is dying, and that wily Cajun matchmaker Tante Lulu has plans for him.

Marilyn:  Aha! 140 characters exactly! (I'm so not good at this Twitter thing!)  Jessy and Dalton had one incredible night together. Can they set aside the guilt, start from the beginning, and build a love that will last?

Kim:  What inspired your setting?

Laura:  I am the number one fan of Professional Bull Riding. Sweet on You takes place mostly on the road, between stops on the tour. I used my motorcycle-seat memories of the West to portray the settings.

Sandra:  I’ve always loved Louisiana since I accompanied my husband on a business trip to New Orleans many years ago. It’s almost as if I have a genetic memory of the place, even though I don’t have any direct ancestors who lived there.

Marilyn:  Except for the years the Navy sent my husband and me on a tour of the southern half of the U.S., I've lived the rest of my life here in Oklahoma. I wasn't overly impressed with it when I was a kid, but after living a lot of elsewheres, the state began looking better and better. I absolutely adore it here. The people are strong and generous, the countryside is gorgeous, the weather is . . . uh, changeable. J We've got everything here.

Kim:  Did you learn any interesting facts while researching for the book?

Laura:  Yes! I’d actually been to a PBR event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, and wanted to use it in the book, so I contacted them to see if I could get a peek ‘behind the scenes’. They were gracious enough to take me on a tour of the locker rooms and event floor. Way cool!

Sandra:  Lots of stuff about Mardi Gras, its history, the masks and costumes, New Orleans itself. The heroine in this book is a skilled mask maker.

Marilyn:  This was an easier book in that regard. It's the third in the Tallgrass series, so I've got my town laid out and I know the surrounding countryside. I know my characters now, too. Jessy works with dogs, my favorite critters in the world, so my own five fur-babies helped there. There really wasn't anything to research for the book, so all that effort went instead into getting the characters' emotions down pat.

Kim:  In your book, your characters have to find their way back to love. What’s your favorite part about the second-chance-at-love theme?

Laura:  That dreams are never hopeless. I want to believe that if you work hard enough, long enough, and want something badly enough, you can make the impossible, possible!

Sandra:  We rarely have a chance for do-overs in life; so, it’s nice when two people can find their way back to each other. Plus, I like to write (and read about) couples who have a history. They know which buttons to push on each other, both in a good and bad way.

Marilyn:  It's so hopeful! Who doesn't love the idea that they could get another shot at happily-ever-after, that they could fix—or at least atone for—what went wrong and make sure it goes right this time?

Kim:  What’s your favorite Southern food or meal?

Laura:  That one’s easy. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, and homemade sweet rolls. I came by these hips honestly!

Sandra:  Beignets, and my own Tante Lulu’s Peachy Praline Cobbler Cake (the recipe is in the back of WILD JINX).

Marilyn:  I have incredibly fond memories of she-crab soup, a specialty of the Low Country region of South Carolina. And mustard-based barbecue sauce in the Augusta, Georgia area. Oh, and the oyster stew we used to get at a little place outside one of the back gates of Camp Lejeune . . . heaven in a bowl!

A Love as Bold as a Texas Sunset . . .
Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people's pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief-except Katya doesn't know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn't expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title-and he doesn't need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

B&NBAM!iBooksKoboIndieBoundGoogle Play,

Laura Drake grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit, though her stories are set in the west. A tomboy, she's always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into Pintos and moved to California. There she met and married a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie and her love affair with the West was born. Laura rides motorcycles: Elvis, a 1985 BMW Mystic, and Sting, a 1999 BMW R1100.

In Texas, Laura was introduced to her first rodeo, and fell in love. She's an avid fan of Pro Bull Riding (PBR,) attending any event within driving distance, including two PBR National finals. She is hard at work at her next novel.

Joining the Navy was the second best thing that ever happened to Justin "Cage" LeBlanc, the rebel son of a no-account convict. The first was Emelie Gaudet, the love of his life . . . until he was forced to leave town and swore there would be snow on the bayou before he ever returned. Now, only his mortally ill grandma can bring the injured Navy SEAL back to Terrebone Parrish, where he must face his past-and Emelie, who's even more beautiful than she was all those years ago.

Bourbon Street blues singer Emelie is once bitten, twice shy. When she learns that Justin is back in town, she wants nothing to do with the once wild Cajun teenager who fled with the law on his tail-and broke her heart. But she can't deny the red-hot attraction between them . . . or his efforts to prove he's finally changed his hell-raising ways. Can she trust that this time the bad boy of the bayou will be the best man for her?

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than 10 years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories. She is the wife of a stockbroker and the mother of four sons.


It's been two years since Jessy Lawrence lost her husband in Afghanistan, and she's never fully recovered. Drowning her sorrows didn't help, and neither did the job she'd hoped would give her a sense of purpose. Now trying to rebuild her life, she finds solace in her best friends, fellow military wives who understand what it's like to love-and lose-a man in uniform . . . and the memory of one stolen night that makes her dream of a second chance at love.

Dalton Smith has known more than his fair share of grief. Since his wife's death, he revels in the solitude of his cattle ranch. But try as he might, he can't stop thinking about the stunning redhead and the reckless, passionate night they shared. He wasn't ready before, but Dalton sees now that Jessy is the only woman who can mend his broken heart. So how will he convince her to take a chance on him?

B&NBAM!iBooksKoboIndieBoundGoogle Play

Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband's Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Aloha to Kristen Callihan and EVERNIGHT


This week ushered in many new releases, including Kristen Callihan's EVERNIGHT, Book 8 in her Darkest London series:

Once the night comes . . .

Will Thorne is living a nightmare, his sanity slowly being drained away by a force he can't control. His talents have made him the perfect assassin for hire. But as he loses his grip on reality, there is no calming him—until he finds his next target: the mysterious Holly Evernight.

Love must cast aside the shadows . . .

Holly cannot fathom who would put a contract on her life, yet the moment she touches Will, the connection between them is elemental, undeniable—and she's the only one who can tame his bouts of madness. But other assassins are coming for Holly. Will must transform from killer to protector and find the man who wants Holly dead . . . or his only chance for redemption will be lost.


Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

13389546   1786176215787204

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about London - what do you know about it?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 31.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Kristen and her books at

Observer during the Battle of Britain
Public Domain (link)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Aloha to Susan Elizabeth Phillips and HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS


This title is the anthem for romance readers - heroes are our weakness.   Susan Elizabeth Phillips adds a dash of Gothic mystery to her trademark wit for her new release from William Morrow:

The dead of winter.

An isolated island off the coast of Maine.

A man.

A woman.

A sinister house looming over the sea ...

He's a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she's not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they're trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.

It's going to be a long, hot winter.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, second from right, chat with
Avon editors at RWA/San Antonio

I am giving away a print copy of HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Maine - what do you know about the Pine Tree State?  I know I love Maine lobster.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 31.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

The heroine was probably as cold as the Scouts in winter camp ...

Aloha to Jeaniene Frost and THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES - Release Day Blast

Soon the long days of summer will give away to the crisp autumn air, the perfect setting for paranormal romance, including Jeaniene Frost's THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES:

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

Amazon: link
BN: link
Goodreads link

Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene's books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit

Goodreads link

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Jeaniene offers an excerpt from THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES:

A familiar song was playing, but I couldn’t remember the name. That bugged me enough to open my eyes. A wall of black met my gaze, slick and smooth like glass. I reached up to see what it was, and that’s when I realized my hands were tied.

“Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche, my mind supplied, followed immediately by, I’m in the backseat of a car. One that was well taken care of, going by that flawless, shiny roof. With those details filled in, I also remembered what had happened right before I’d passed out. And who I was with.

“Why are my hands tied?” I said, heaving myself into an upright position.

For some reason Adrian didn’t have a rear view mirror, which was why he had to glance over his shoulder to look at me.

“Does anything make you panic?” he asked, sounding amused. “You’re tied up in the backseat of a cop-killer’s car, but I’ve seen people get more upset when Starbucks runs out of pumpkin spice flavor.”

Anyone normal would panic, not that it would do any good. Besides, I ran out of “normal” a long time ago, when I realized I saw things no one else did.

Speaking of which, why wasn’t I in pain? The lump where Mrs. Paulson had whacked me was gone, and my shirt was red from blood, but aside from a mild kink in my neck, I felt fine. When I pushed my shirt up, somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see smooth, unbroken skin on my abdomen. Well, that and a bunch of crumbs, like I’d eaten a dessert too messily.

“Why does it look like I have angel food cake on my stomach?” I wondered aloud.

Adrian snorted. “Close. It’s medicine. You were injured.”

“You can tell me how I’m not anymore,” I said, holding out my bound hands, “after you untie me.”

Another backwards glance, this one challenging.

“You may be the calmest person I’ve ever been sent to retrieve, but if I tell you now what you want to know, that will change. So pick—the truth, or being untied?”

“Truth,” I said instantly.

He let out a laugh. “Another first. You’re full of surprises.”

So was he. He’d just admitted that he regularly kidnapped people—which was how I translated “retrieve”—so I should be trying my damnedest to get free. But more than anything, I needed answers. Besides, I still wasn’t afraid of him, and somehow, that had nothing to do with him magically healing me.

“Truth, Adrian,” I repeated.

He turned once again and his gaze locked with mine, those odd blue eyes startling me with their intensity. For a moment, I could only stare, all thought frozen in my mind. I don’t know why I reached out, awkwardly touching his arm to feel the hard muscles beneath that bulky jacket. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Yet I couldn’t make myself pull away.

Then I gasped when his hand covered mine. At some point, he’d taken off his gloves, and the feel of his warm, bare skin sent a shock wave through me. The touch seemed to affect Adrian, too. His lips parted and he edged over the back of the seats—

He yanked on the steering wheel, narrowly avoiding another car. A horn blared, and when the driver passed us, an extended middle finger shook angrily in our direction. I leaned back, my heart pounding from the near collision. At least, that’s what I told myself it was from.

“Dyate,” Adrian muttered.

I didn’t recognize the word, and I was at a loss to place his accent. It had a musical cadence like Italian, but beneath that was a harsher, darker edge.

“What’s that language?” I asked, trying to mask the sudden shakiness in my voice.

This time, he didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Nothing you’ve heard of.”

“I picked truth, remember?” I said, holding up my bound hands for emphasis.

That earned me a quick glance. “That is the truth, but you don’t get more until you meet Zach. Then we can skip all the ‘this isn’t possible’ arguments.”

I let out a short laugh. “After what I saw on Detective Kroger’s face, my definition of ‘impossible’ has changed.”

Adrian swerved again, but this time, no other car was near.

“What did you see?”

I tensed. How did I explain without sounding insane? No way to, so I chose to go on the attack instead.

“Why were you in my hotel room? And how did you heal me? There isn’t even a mark—”

“What did you see on his face, Ivy?”

Despite his hard tone, when my name crossed his lips, something thrummed inside me, like he’d yanked on a tie I hadn’t known was there. Feeling it was as disturbing as my inexplicable reaction to his clasping my hands.

“Shadows,” I said quickly, to distract from that. “He had snakelike shadows all over his face.”

I expected Adrian to tell me I’d imagined it, a response I was used to hearing. Instead, he pulled over, putting the car in park but keeping the engine running. Then he turned to stare at me.

“Was that the only strange thing you saw?”

I swallowed. I knew better than to talk about these things. Still, I’d demanded the truth from Adrian. It didn’t seem fair to lie in return.

“I saw two versions of the same B and B earlier. One was pretty, but the other was old and rotted, and my sister was trapped inside it.”

Adrian said nothing, though he continued to pin me with that hard stare. When he finally spoke, his question was so bizarre I thought I’d misheard him.

“What do I look like to you?”


“My appearance.” He drew out the words like I was slow. “Describe me.”

All of a sudden, he wanted compliments? I might have finally met someone crazier than me.

“This is ridiculous,” I muttered, but started with the obvious. “Six-six, early twenties, built like Thor, golden brown hair with blond highlights, silvery blue eyes…you want me to go on?”

He began to laugh, a deep, rich baritone that would’ve been sensual except for how angry it made me.

“Now I know why they came after you,” he said, still chuckling. “They must’ve realized you were different, but if they’d known what you could see, you never would’ve made it out of that B and B.”

“You can stop laughing,” I said sharply. “I get that it’s crazy to see the things I do.”

Lots of kids had imaginary friends growing up. I had imaginary places, though at first, I didn’t know I was the only one who could see them. Once my parents had realized that what I kept describing went far beyond childhood fancifulness, the endless doctor visits and tests began. One by one, diseases and psychoses had been crossed off until I was diagnosed with a non-monoamine-cholinergic imbalance in my temporal cortex.

In other words, I saw shit that wasn’t there for reasons no one could figure out. The pills I took helped a little, though I lied and said they got rid of all my hallucinations. I was sick of doctors poking at me. So whenever I saw something that no one else did, I forced myself to ignore it—until Mrs. Paulson and Detective Kroger had tried to kill me, of course.

Adrian did stop laughing, and that unblinking intensity was back in his gaze.

“Well, Ivy, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, you’re not crazy. The bad news is, everything you’ve seen is real, and now, it’ll be coming for you.”

Monday, August 25, 2014

Aloha to Jill Shalvis and IT'S IN HIS KISS - Launch Day Blitz

I recently returned from my hometown of Safety Harbor, Florida (link).   It reminds me of Jill Shalvis' fictional town of Lucky Harbor - located diagonally across the US in Washington State.   Jill is celebrating the release of Book 10 in her Lucky Harbor series, IT'S IN HIS KISS:


Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now's her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam's eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.

Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can't resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca's heart? 

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

You can learn more about Jill at:
Twitter @jillshalvis

I am giving away a print copy of IT'S IN HIS KISS to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about small towns - do you have a favorite, real or fictional?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 30, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 31.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Jill's cover reminds me of honeymooners emjoying the
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.