Saturday, January 31, 2015

Weekly Winners

We have winners at SOS Aloha!

- Maureen wins a digital copy from Lauren.


- Catslady wins a print copy from me.

- Debby wins a print copy from me.


Winners, please claim your prize by sending your mailing address to


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, January 30, 2015

Celebrate Little Victories - RWA Conference Panelist

The RWA National Conference invades Times Square in New York City from July 22-25.   The conference hotel is the Marriott Marquis, opposite the Armed Forces Recruiting Station.   Featured speakers include (link):

- Barbara Freethy
- Julia Quinn
- Nalini Singh
- Jude Deveraux
- Lisa Kleypas

... and me!  RWA accepted my panel proposal, A Tale of Two Bloggers - Candid discussion of how to promote your book (and have a life):

Bloggers are called the online gatekeepers to readers. Two book bloggers, Kimberly Rocha and Kim Lowe, offer their perspective on what works (and what flops) in promoting romance books and author brands. We’ve posted reviews and we’ve hosted blog tours. We’ve hopped over to other blogs for cross promotion. We’ve participated in launch parties on Facebook and character chats on Twitter. We’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly – on social media.

We have also attended industry events – RWA National Conference, NJRW Conference, Barbara Vey’s Readers Luncheon, and the RT Booklovers Convention. We’ve attended panel discussions about marketing, only to find that authors miss the main ingredient – what readers want. We know what readers want because we are readers. We interact with readers every day as “trusted advisors” through our blogs.

We created a Power Point presentation to highlight the indispensable aspects of promotion – author website, social media, and face-to-face interaction. We will use the presentation to guide the discussion, giving us the flexibility to engage in a lively discussion and answer any questions from authors. 

My partner in crime is Kimberly Rocha from Book Obsessed Chicks (link).  What out New York, here we come!   

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 what you think is a good way to promote a book to readers - blogs tours?  guest posts?  author interviews?  excerpts?  giveaways?   Facebook?  Twitter?  Pinterest?  something else?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, February 7, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 8.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

NY Guardsment on duty during Thanksgiving in NYC
in front of a book store no less!

Aloha to Jamie Rae and CALL SIGN KARMA


It is my distinct pleasure to welcome my fellow AF veteran, Jamie Rae.  She is celebrating the release of  CALL SIGN KARMA.  Jamie joins me for a cozy chat ..

JAMIE RAE is a New Adult and Young Adult author. She writes with one goal in mind - to create a story with a positive message that will stay with the reader long after they've finished reading.

Jamie is an avid reader and loves discovering stories with a great hook! She will not eat, sleep, or speak until she reaches the end. The Harry Potter years weren't pretty!! Convinced that her Hogwarts letter was lost in the mail, she keeps a watchful eye for owls hoping her children will have better luck!

​In her other life, Jamie Rae creates smiles to last a lifetime as an orthodontist, keeps her heart overflowing with love as a mother of three and has perfected the art of nomadic living as a military spouse and Air Force veteran. Jamie has a passion for critters of all shapes and sizes and you can often find her sneaking them into her own home or volunteering for rescues.

Kim:  Thank you for your service as an Air Force veteran! Can you share a funny story from your active duty? 

Jamie:  Oh, wow! I have so many and some may have found their way into the story. At least the names have been changed to protect the not-so- innocent! ;-) How about a toned down one. I met my hubby when we were both stationed at Osan AB in South Korea. Our first “official” date was a Bad Company concert on the Fourth of July in the commissary parking lot. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that! ☺

Kim:  I appreciate your statement, to create a story with a positive message that will stay with the reader long after they've finished reading. Why is this important create a positive message?

Jamie:  I want my story to go beyond the words on the page. The story should entertain but I also want to provide something more of significance. If I am able to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it is only one person, then I know that I have done my job. I have received messages from readers that have said Call Sign Karma had them laughing, cheering, swooning, and gripping the edge of their seats. I absolutely love that readers are connecting to the story in this way.

I’ve also had readers say that they love that Tink is a strong female lead and we need heroines that are more relatable. When I wrote Tink’s character I wanted her to be “real” and to show that even though life has kicked you in the gut, you can still find the strength to come out on top and survive.

One of my most special comments came from a reader who reached out to me about the Post Traumatic Stress aspect of the story. She shared a personal situation, passed along a portion of the story in particular that spoke to her, and gave her a sense of clarity. It brought tears to my eyes and I knew that I had accomplished what I had set out to do with this story.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Jamie:  It’s been a long an interesting path. I don’t know how to take no for an answer. I worked hard and kept myself focused. Thankfully I had so many wonderful people in my corner who encouraged, critiqued, submitted, and championed my work. I feel very blessed.

Kim:  Tell us about CALL SIGN KARMA - what inspired it?  

Jamie:  As a military veteran and Air Force spouse to a fighter pilot, I wanted to write what I knew and write what I love. And that’s the Air Force. In addition, in my life, I’ve been blessed and surrounded by many strong female role models and I wanted to be certain that Tink could inspire with a message that women can succeed and excel in what may not be considered a traditional female role.

Kim:  What's next for Jamie Rae? 

Jamie:  I’m currently working on Book 2 in the series titled Operation Keeping the Faith as well as revising my Young Adult Paranormal, Jinx.

Mahalo, Jamie, for promoting positive role models for young women!   I am giving a digital copy of CALL SIGN KARMA to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your "call sign" - what would be your nickname?  Mine would be Hula for my love of Hawaii.  

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, February 7, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 8.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Jamie at

The War Memorial of Korea

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Aloha to Rachel Lacey and FOR KEEPS


Merry Atwater would do just about anything to save her dog rescue - even if it means working with the most stubborn man on the planet. It's hard to avoid the sparks that fly with TJ Jameson, the ruggedly sexy cowboy in charge of the children's camp where she's just taken an animal therapy job. But commitment is not Merry's style, and TJ clearly wants more than just a roll in the hay. TJ Jameson isn't looking for anything complicated-just a peaceful life on his family's ranch with a wife and kids. "No-strings" Merry Atwater doesn't fit that bill, no matter how irresistible she is. But when he sees how Merry gets through to his autistic nephew and the other kids at Camp Blue Sky, TJ's a goner. If he doesn't give in to the now, he might just lose his shot at forever . . .

Amazon - link
BAM - link
B&N - link
IndieBound - link
GooglePlay - link
iTunes - link
Kobo - link

Rachel Lacey lives in North Carolina, with her husband, son, and their own rescued pup. She volunteers her spare time with Carolina Boxer Rescue and truly has a passion for helping our furry friends. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her local Heart of Carolina RWA chapter.
Goodreads link

Forever Romance is giving away FOR KEEPS at this link .... and offers an excerpt:

His expression heated until his eyes practically burned her.

She nibbled her bottom lip. "I should, uh, I should go."

"It's late," he said, his voice like gravel. It tickled all her sweet spots.

She stared at his hands, those big calloused fingers. Damn, but she wanted to feel them on her skin. Like, now.

"Really late." She took a step, but her feet accidentally carried her toward T.J., not the door.

He sucked in an audible breath, his eyes scorching hers. "I thought you were going."

"So did I." But fuck it. If she was going to be in his house in the middle of the night in her underwear, she might as well give him a kiss goodnight.

She'd never been known for her self-control, after all.

He watched her, not moving a muscle, as if he'd become rooted to the floor.

She put her palms on his biceps and pressed her lips to his. Just a quick kiss to test the waters, because they did have to work together for the next month.

His scent wrapped around her, filled her lungs, and stole her sanity. She lingered for a moment, her lips on his, so soft, so warm. Just enough to make her want more. So much more.

Her body pulsed with it.

She was about to pull back and tell him goodnight when his arms slid around her waist, securing her against the firm column of his body, and oh God, she was a goner.

"What was that?" he whispered against her lips.

She slid her hands up to encircle his neck. "A goodnight kiss."

"And why would you do something like that?" His voice vibrated through her.

"Because I wanted to." Their bodies were pressed together, and though he hadn't kissed her back, he wanted to. She felt the evidence pressed against her belly.

"Bad idea," he growled, his lips still touching hers, teasing, tempting.

"Oh, yeah?" She could hardly breathe. Every nerve tingled with awareness, desperate for his touch, his kiss. More. More of everything.

Her heart throbbed in her chest.

T.J.'s eyes smoldered into hers, his pupils blown with lust. His body vibrated with tension, his arms like steel bands around her. "Yeah."

"Then send me home." She wiggled in his arms, pressing into his erection, tempting him, willing him to kiss her back. Just for tonight.

She needed to be kissed. She needed to feel.

And he could make her...

His lips crushed hers, taking her so suddenly, so thoroughly, that she didn't have time to draw a breath. She heard herself groan, felt the desire inside her explode into something so completely out of control it almost frightened her.

Her back slammed into the wall, and her legs wrapped around his waist. His tongue plunged into her mouth, gliding against hers in a rhythm so perfect she shuddered in his arms. He lifted her hips, grinding himself against her until her eyes rolled back in her head, and...

Holy shit, holy shit.

She must have lost her mind. Her body burned, quaked, shook for him, and he felt so fucking good. He tasted like sin, sweet and sexy, like leather and cowboy boots, and...

Holy shit.

She needed more. She needed everything. She needed him buried deep inside her, groaning her name as he drove her over the edge, as he came inside her, and...

Holy shit.

This was completely out of control.

"Holy shit." The words came from T.J.'s lips, not her own, as he tore his mouth from hers and speared her with his gaze. He panted for breath, his body coiled against hers, so hard, so ready. She felt every inch of him still pressed between her legs, right where her body burned hottest for him. "What the hell was that?"

She laughed. "If you don't know, then you're more out of practice than I am." 

Also available from Forever Romance

Aloha to Maya Banks and IN HIS KEEPING


#1 bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and steamy Slow Burn trilogy with IN HIS KEEPING, Book 2, a twisting tale featuring a strong yet vulnerable heroine in danger and the sexy alpha hero who must save her.

Abandoned as a baby to a young wealthy couple and raised in a world of privilege, Arial has no hint of her past or who she belonged to. Her only link lies in the one thing that sets her apart from everyone else—telekinetic powers. Protected by her adoptive parents and hidden from the public to keep her gift secret, Ari is raised in the lap of luxury, and isolation. That is, until someone begins threatening her life.

Beau Devereaux is no stranger to the strange. As the head of Deveraux Security, he’s more than familiar with the realities of physic powers. So when a family friend approaches him about protecting his daughter, he’s more than ready to jump on board. What Beau isn’t prepared for is the extent of his attraction to his beautiful and powerful client. What began as a simple assignment, just another job, quickly turns personal as Beau discovers he’ll do anything at all to protect Ari. Even if it costs him his life.

Maya Banks lives in Texas with her husband, three children and assortment of pets. When she's not writing, she can be found hunting, fishing or playing poker.  Learn more about Maya and her books at

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

1.  Leave  a comment about what's in your keeping - kids?  pets? books?  

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, January 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'l post the winner on Sunday, February 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Aloha to Grace Burrowes and THE FIRST KISS

Coming next week from Grace Burrowes, THE FIRST KISS is Book 2 in her Sweetest Kisses series:

Classical pianist Vera Waltham is recovering from a bad break up by taking a hiatus with her daughter in the Damson Valley countryside. She’s content with her music, and has no interest in complicating her life with further attempts at romance.

Attorney James Knightley is a numbers guy who reads contractual fine print for lunch, and wants nothing to do with damsels, in distress or otherwise. Nobody is more surprised than James when he falls for Vera Waltham, and the only contract on James’s mind when it comes to Vera is holy matrimony.

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Amazon link
Barnes and Noble link
iBooks: link

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wishand Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
Facebook: link
Twitter: link
Goodreads: link

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway here and offers an excerpt from THE FIRST KISS ...

“May I ask you a favor?”

“Of course.”

“Play the piano for me?”

Nowhere near play with me, but this was Vera. “You want to do a lesson now?”

“This isn’t a lesson. I’m asking you to play for me, James. Get out your old favorites, the friends you turn to when you’re heartsore and soul weary, the consolation pieces that aren’t for everybody else. You play them for yourself.”

She curled up across the room in a pap-san chair and pulled an old quilt around her.

Could he do this?

If Vera had asked James to go to bed with her, he would have known he was competent to bring her pleasure, to satisfy her most intimate wishes and secret, sexual desires. But this? To play? For her?

She wanted music that had called to him, spoken to his soul and become a part of him. Pieces of his heart.

James set his hands on the keyboard, took a slow, deep breath, and began to play. He played from memory, his fingers finding the notes easily in the dim light. He could play this waltz with his eyes closed, and he had, many times. He hadn’t heard it since the night his mother had died, but she’d loved it too, and his hands would never forget how to craft the phrases and melodies.

“Oh, James, the Chopin.” Vera signed her pleasure at his choice, and James’s heart sighed with her. He could do this for her, soothe her with music the way she’d made music to soothe and delight so many others. The waltz shifted from a work he’d set aside years ago – a grieving piece – to a gift from him to Vera.

Only to Vera.

When the last rippling rise of notes died away, Vera remained curled up, eyes closed, mouth slightly parted.

James had played her to sleep. He took a moment to memorize the sight of her, safe and at peace under the quilt his mother had made for her hope chest.

Then he thought back over other pieces he’d set aside, the ones that were too sweet or too sorrowful or both, and he began to play again.


Aloha to Candis Terry and SWEET SURPRISE


Candis Terry is celebrating the release of SWEET SURPRISE, Book 4 in her Sweet, Texas series ...

Playing naughty or nice...

Fiona Wilder knows all about falling in lust. Love? That's another story. Determined not to repeat past mistakes, the single mom and cupcake shop owner is focused on walking the straight and narrow. But trouble has a way of finding her. And this time it comes in the form of a smoking hot firefighter who knows all the delicious ways to ignite her bad-girl fuse.

Can lead to heartbreak...

Firefighter Mike Halsey learned long ago that playing with fire just gets you burned. He's put his demons behind him, and if there's one line he won't cross, it's getting involved with his best friend's ex. But when fate throws him in the path of the beautiful, strong, and off-limits Fiona, will he be able to fight their attraction? Or will he willingly go down in flames?

Or a sweet surprise! 

I asked Candis about her five favorite cupcake flavors ....

Thank you so much for having me here today.

When you write a series about a town called Sweet, and the heroine in your newest book owns and runs a cupcake shop named Sweet Surprise, the research can be detrimental to your waistline. But I’m always willing to take one for the team. Researching cupcakes became a favorite pastime. And my contact for researching these scrumptious little cakes surprised me by having over fifty different flavors with thirty flavors available each day!

Fiona, the heroine of the book is the creative and crafty sort. She’s the kind of woman who can take an empty tin can and turn it into an awesome lampshade. So I knew going in that she’d have to have some very creative cupcakes to satisfy her artistic side.

There were so many to choose from that it almost became impossible to narrow them down. But somewhere along the way I knew I had to choose my favorites and hope that Fiona would like them as well. After a selection that ran the gamut of flavors from Tomato Soup to Bahama Mama I finally came up with a list.

Drum roll please . . .

1. Sweet Potato. A super moist sweet potato cupcake filled with brown sugar cream cheese frosting and topped with candied pecans.

2. Peanut Butter and Banana. A crumbly moist banana cupcake topped with a light, fluffy peanut butter frosting.

3. Snicker Doodle. A light, fluffy cinnamon cupcake topped with cinnamon sprinkled buttercream frosting.

4. Banana Toffee. The best of both worlds! A moist banana cake with walnuts & toffee bits filled with a toffee filling & topped with caramel frosting.

5. Strawberry Cream Cheese. Sometimes a girl just has to go light and fluffy. What’s better than a French vanilla cake filled with strawberry cream cheese and topped with whipped frosting.

Do you have a favorite flavor?

Mahalo, Candis, for whetting our appetite!  I am giving away Avon swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Answer Candis' question - do you have a favorite flavor of cupcakes?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, January 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, Feburary 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Candis and her books at


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Aloha to Jessica Lemmon and BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY


Jessica Lemmon is celebrating the release of BRINGING HOME THE BAD BOY, Book 1 in her new series Second Chances:

Creativity is his drug, painting is his escape, but she'll be the addiction that brings him to his knees. 

Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae's death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it's a chance he has to take. For his sake, and his sons.

Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can't have Rae, then she vows she'll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it's the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness-- if only their brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives. 

I asked Jessica who are her favorite artists ...

Aloha from sunny...erm…gray Ohio! Sadly, we don’t get a lot of sunny days around these parts. That’s why I love to visit here. I took this fantastic list idea for a Top 5 list to Charlotte (Charlie) Harris for her answers. She had a hard time narrowing them down to five, but her number 1 was a no-brainer. Here we go…

5: Ansel Adams. The only photographer able to bring emotion out of mountaintops and pine trees.

4: Annie Liebovitz. The Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair photographer is amazing at taking intimate portraits of screen stars that make them feel like real people.

3: Jackson Pollock. A true “bad boy” painter, he could fill a canvas with mood and color like no other.

2: Gustav Klimt. For Charlie’s favorite work of all time: The Kiss.

1: Evan Downey. Not only is he a talented tattoo artist, children’s book illustrator, and cartoonist, but Evan also has some very sensual ideas when it comes to finger painting… (see Chapter 12, Charlie said with a wink.)

What about you? Have any favorite artists?

Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn't be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)

Forever Romance is hosting a giveaway at this link.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Coming in May 2015

Aloha to Kate Meader and HOT AND BOTHERED

Let's warm up with Kate Meader's HOT AND BOTHERED, Book 3 in her Hot in the Kitchen series .... 

A Fire They Can't Put Out . . .

Although her baby boy keeps her plate full, Jules Kilroy is ready to take her love life off the back burner. Despite a bevy of eligible bachelors, it's her best friend, Taddeo DeLuca, who is fueling her hormones with a generous serving of his mouth-watering Italian sexiness. But Jules learned her lesson once before when she went in for a kiss, only to have Tad reject her. She's vowed never to blur the lines again . . .

After a lifetime of excuses and false starts, Tad has finally opened a wine bar, a deal made even sweeter when Jules joins his staff. Lovers come and go, and he's had his share, but friendships like theirs last forever. Still, ever since he tasted her luscious lips, he can't stop fantasizing about what could be. Then she joins an online dating site-and the thought of his Jules with another man makes Tad's blood boil. Even if he gets burned, Tad can't stop himself from turning up the heat this time.


I asked her to name the top five mouthwatering Italian foods that the heroine (and even hero) love!

For this, I’m going to stretch across the entire Hot in the Kitchen series

1. Goat cheese, caramelized onion, and sarriette pizzetti
Mini pizzas? No self-respecting Italian would go there but Lili in FEEL THE HEAT, Book 1 of the series, has to admit Jack knows his way around those magical discs of awesome.

2. Goat cheese salted caramel gelato
Jack in FEEL THE HEAT pulls out all the stops with this creamy, tangy dollop of heaven. It isn’t long before he’s using this sweet-salty confection as its own topping on Lili’s body…

3. Bella Donna cake
Inspired by Cara, the heroine in ALL FIRED UP, sexy Irish pastry chef, Shane creates a chocolate layered cake with a rosemary-lemon filling and a ganache frosting. The Italian flavors, citrusy tang, and decadent chocolate capture perfectly Shane’s feelings for Cara who’s nicknamed Lemon Tart by her co-workers.

4. Portabella and tomato bruschetta
Jules in HOT AND BOTHERED wants to be a chef but thinks her dyslexia holds her back. When her hero, Tad tells her he wants this tasty bruschetta on his wine bar menu, it gives her the confidence she needs to follow her dream.

5. Mezzaluna ravioli
This dish holds a lot of meaning for Tad in HOT AND BOTHERED – it was his mom’s favorite and the first dish he makes with Jules after ten years of mourning and not cooking. He advises her when she’s closing up the little half-moon pockets, “make’em tight as a nun’s knickers, mia bella.”

Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, sexy heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she now makes her home in Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter - and where she met her own sexy hero. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library.


Forever Romance is hosting a sizzling giveaway at this link.

Off to find Italian food ...


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Monday, January 26, 2015


Lily Dalton is celebrating the release of NEVER SURRENDER TO A SCOUNDREL, Book 3 in the One Scandalous Season:

A Reckless Desire . . .
Lady Clarissa Bevington is in trouble. A reckless indiscretion has left her with two choices: ruin her family with the scandal of the Season, or marry Mr. Kincraig, the notorious scoundrel mistaken as her lover. Desperate and disgraced, Clarissa vows to love and cherish a veritable stranger, a man whose eyes smolder with danger-and undeniable desire . . .

An Unexpected Arrangement
As an agent for the Crown, Lord Donovan Blackmer has spent the last two years guarding Clarissa's grandfather from an unknown assassin while disguised as the rakehell Kincraig. His mission may now be over, but his duty has just begun. Salvaging his beautiful, impetuous wife's virtue will cost him his fortune and his position as an officer-but it might save him from the ghosts that haunt his own past. When their marriage "in name only" leads to exquisite seduction, Donovan must risk the only thing he has left to lose . . . his heart.

Amazon - link
BAM - link
B&N - link
IndieBound - link
GooglePlay - link
iTunes - link
Kobo - link 

I asked Lily what are the top five skils to be a spy ...

1. Any spy worth his salt must possess very keen skills of observation--which are so highly developed that he can’t possibly rein them in when a certain debutante enters the room.

2. Our spy must have the ability to adapt calmly and rationally to any circumstance, and without the interference of his own emotions. Which makes it all the more…wonderful and unsettling when the nearness of a certain young lady, ruffles him completely.

3. He must also have the interpersonal skills of a diplomat, and employ them not only in the interests of national security…but also to save a beautiful woman from scandal, because the idea of her being humiliated in front of all London society offends him to his gentlemanly core.

4. Self-reliance. It’s absolutely critical our operative exist in a state of solitude, even in the middle of a London ballroom, relying on no one but himself, and his own wits. He must guard his secrets, his weaknesses--and his heart, at all costs. Which makes the impulse to let down his guard…to confide in her, all the more troubling.

5. Lastly, our spy must have an immunity to the effects of torture, and never, ever lose control, thereby revealing the secrets he protects. Which makes that first kiss, and each one after, increasingly agonizing--and the eventual surrendering of his heart, nothing less than spectacular.

Lily Dalton grew up as an Army brat, moving from place to place. Her first stop after relocating was always the local library, where she could hang out with familiar friends: Books! Lily has an English degree from Texas A & M University and after graduation worked as a legal assistant in the fields of accident reconstruction and litigation. She now lives in Houston, Texas, with her family. When she isn't at work on her next manuscript, she spends her time trying out new recipes, cheering on her favorite Texas football teams and collecting old dishes, vintage linens and other fine "junque" from thrift stores and flea markets.

Forever Romance is hosting a giveaway at this link.

Mahalo to Lily for her family's service in the Army!


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Never Desire a Duke (One Scandalous Season, #1)18296137

Aloha to E.E. Burke and A DANGEROUS PASSION

Let's hunker down for Western Romance with E.E. Burke:

E.E. Burke writes romance from the heart, woven with history the way in really happened in the wild American West. Her writing has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart®.

She combines her passion for history and love of romance in stories that are as deeply rooted in American soil as her family, which she can trace back to the earliest colonists and through both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

"My earliest memories of books were the nursery rhyme volumes I took to bed with me when I was three. From that point on, I was hooked. Some people hugged their bears. I hugged my books."

Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to pursuing her dream of writing novels. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and three daughters, the greatest inspiration of all.

Kim:  Tell us about Kansas City - what is your favorite sight, smell, and sound?

E.E.:  There are so many wonderful things about Kansas City it’s hard to pick just one favorite. If pressed, I’d say Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The renowned museum has one of the top Asian collections in the world, along with many other fabulous permanent and special exhibits. This past month, there was an exhibit on The Indians of the Plains: Artists of Earth and Sky and a rare photography collection from Andrew Gardner’s travels west with the Union Pacific railroad. I’m inspired every time I go there.

Favorite sounds and smells? When the leaves are changing and the air is crisp. I love the smell of fall. I’m attracted to quiet, natural places. We often visit our family’s rural homestead a few hours south of here. I can walk through the woods and hear the wind rustling through the trees, listen to the play of water over stones in a creek. Sit by a crackling bonfire. I even find walks through the old family cemeteries to be peaceful--a way to connect to the past. I’m fairly certain I was born about 150 years too late.

Other things I love in Kansas City: the Missouri River and riverfront hangouts, the Country Club Plaza, the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, KC Symphony and the Rep, Old Westport, the Liberty Memorial and WWI Museum, the American Royal (annual rodeo and horse show), Union Station and Hallmark Crown Center, steaks and barbeque, the Royals and the Chiefs. Last, but definitely not least, I’m fascinated by the rich history of this area, which can be explored through many different historical sites and collections.

Kim:  Can you share a humorous story about one of your ancestors?

E.E.: I don’t have many stories about my ancestors. But I’ve done quite a bit of research on my husband’s family. He’s descended from pioneers who settled the southwestern corner of the Missouri in the foothills of the Ozarks. Members of the family have lived on sections of the original farm for over 150 years.

When Mark’s uncle was four, he was playing out in a pasture. There was a young bull that hadn’t bothered anyone before, but it started pawing and snorting. Mark’s mother, who was eight at the time, saw the danger and clambered over the fence to fetch the unsuspecting lad. The bull was bearing down on them and she didn’t have much time. So she grabbed her little brother and tossed him through the manure door on the back of the barn.

Meanwhile, Mark’s grandfather heard the commotion. As he came running, he scooped up a fist-sized rock, and soon as the bull was in sight, wound up and let the rock fly. It hit the bull between the eyes and cold-conked him. (Grandpa was a pitcher on an amateur baseball team.) They thought he might’ve killed the young bull, but the critter got back on his feet and staggered off. He didn’t charge anybody again.

Kim:  I always wanted to be a DJ. How did you become one? What did you love and loathe about the job?

E.E.:  While I was at Baylor University, a local Top 40 station was looking for female talent. I worked the red-eye shift (midnight to six a.m.). At that time, there were few women DJs. I was such an oddity that people would drive by and try to get my attention. They could see me at the controls through a large picture window that faced the street. I was “mooned” countless times by inebriated young men. A few couples decided to “park” beneath my window, presumably to provide me with some evening entertainment. For the most part, I had fun being a radio jock in a college town. (Went by the name Jaime Lawrence. Picked by the station director, not me). What I hated about it was working overnight and then going to school and trying to pay attention in class. One morning, I fell asleep and toppled out of my chair. Talk about embarrassing!

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

E.E.:  Wise women I’ve met through RWA.

I’d been writing in some capacity for most of my professional life, but I’d never written a novel before the first one I finished six years ago. When I decided to pursue publishing, I joined RWA and two local chapters. The authors I’ve met and friends I’ve made through these organizations are the reason I’ve made it this far.

Kim:  Tell us about your Romance and Rails series, and your new book.

E.E.:  Think “Hell On Wheels” (the hit AMC TV series) with happier endings.

When I set out to write an American historical romance series, I wanted to focus on themes that are hard-wired into our national identity like ambition and self-determination, and events that figured large in driving cultural change. A natural setting was the most ambitious event in America’s history—the construction of the railroads.

From a thematic standpoint, the Steam! Romance and Rails series is about passion and ambition--two of the most powerful drivers in human history. When they come together an explosion is inevitable.

Passion's Prize follows three women who must contend with dangerous men caught up in a cutthroat railroad race. Her Bodyguard features a railroad promoter who hires protection from a mysterious assailant and discovers that her bodyguard poses the greatest threat. My latest release, A Dangerous Passion, is about an ambitious railroad baron whose passion for his rival’s daughter becomes his undoing.

Being a history geek, I dove eagerly into research to find inspiration for my series. I enjoy weaving real events and people into my stories, so that readers will feel they’ve been transported back in time and are reliving history.

The main character Henry Stevens was inspired by the actual general manager of the Katy Railroad. Described as a man with “dark flashing eyes and meticulous style of dress,” he was a larger-than-life persona in the history of this legendary railroad.

Another historical tidbit featured in A Dangerous Passion is a series of mysterious murders that took place near Parsons, Kansas, during the early 1870s. From a period stretching between 1871 and early 1873, numerous travelers through southeastern Kansas were reported missing. There were theories as to what happened to them, including one rumor that the railroads were to blame. I won’t spoil the story by explaining further. You’ll have to read it!

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Mahalo, E.E., for sharing Western Romance with us!  I am enjoying A DANGEROUS PASSION - review to come!  I am giving away "Western Swag" to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about trains - have you traveled aboard a steam engine?  Or modern rails?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, January 31, 10 pm.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, February 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

My kids visiting the Hawaiian Railroad for the sugar industry.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aloha to Gwyn Cready and JUST IN TIME FOR A HIGHLANDER


Today is the 256th birthday of Robert "Rabbie" Burns, Scotland's poet:

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, 

The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth ; 
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, 
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love

It's just in time for Gwyn Cready's time travel romance, JUST IN TIME FOR THE HIGHLANDS, Book 1 in the Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands series, available February 3 from Sourcebooks:

For Duncan MacHarg, things just got real…

Battle reenactor and financier Duncan MacHarg thinks he has it made—until he lands in the middle of a real Clan Kerr battle and comes face to face with their beautiful, spirited leader. Out of time and out of place, Duncan must use every skill he can muster to earn his position among the clansmen and in the heart of the devastatingly intriguing woman to whom he must pledge his oath.

Abby needs a hero and she needs him now

When Abigail Ailich Kerr sees a handsome, mysterious stranger materialize in the midst of her clan’s skirmish with the English, she’s stunned to discover he’s the strong arm she’s been praying for. Instead of a tested fighter, the fierce young chieftess has been given a man with no measurable battle skills and a damnably distracting smile. And the only way to get rid of him is to turn him into a Scots warrior herself—one demanding and intimate lesson at a time.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gwyn offers an excerpt from excerpt:

“Undine, do you see what your magic has wrought?” Abby stabbed a finger in Duncan’s direction.

The woman gave him a full look and her eyes widened. “Oh. Oh, dear.”

“What magic?” Duncan demanded.

Undine regarded him thoughtfully. “He’s handsome, at least. And tall. That could be useful. But that hair…”

“If I wanted handsome, Rosston would certainly do. He at least wields a real sword.” She took Undine by the elbow and turned her away from Duncan. “The poor man appears to have no skills beyond his fists,” she said in a lowered voice. “And I think he’s addled in his head—like Hal the sheep shearer.”

“What were you thinking?” Undine demanded.

“What was I thinking?! ’Twas your herbs.”

“I mean when you opened the paper.”

“I didn’t open the paper. It was shot out of my hand.”

“All of it?!” Undine paled.

“Except for the part that flew in my mouth.” Abby wiped the back of her hand across her tongue and made a sharp sound of disgust. “It tasted like burnt groats.”

Duncan had had enough of being ignored. “What herbs? What magic? What are you talking about? Did you bring me here?”

Undine considered. “You could try to make do with him.”

“Make do?!” Abby cried. “You make do with him! Can’t you see this is the last thing I need with the clans right now?” She pulled herself onto the horse. “You need to get rid of him.”

The “get rid of him” made Duncan’s stomach tighten. “No. Wait—”

“Abby?” a voice called from beyond the trees. “Abby, are you there?”

“Oh, God help us, it’s Rosston.” Abby gave Duncan a warning look. “Don’t say another word.”

“No!” Duncan grabbed her pommel. “I want to go home! Send me home! I don’t know what you two witches have done.”

“Silence, you fool.” She jerked the reins in an effort to keep the beast from lurching. The arrow fell from her bow.

A kilted clansman crested the rise.

“You, there!” Duncan called to the man. “Help me. These women have—”

Duncan felt a thwack on the head, and the world went dark.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekly Winners

Snow enthusiasts are winners this weekend ... above and below are pictures from my in-laws' house during an autumn snow storm.

We have winners on SOS Aloha:

Diane Kelly's PAW AND ORDER
- Janice H. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


- JMcGaugh wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Laura Griffin's BEYOND LIMITS
- Lauren H. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Winners, please claim your prizes by sending your mailing address to


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City