Thursday, July 30, 2015

Aloha to Laura Levine and DEATH BY TIARA - Book Review


Freelance writer Jaine Austen thought she knew what she was getting herself into when she landed a gig working behind the scenes at a teen beauty pageant. But between the vicious stage moms, exacting judges, and trash-talking teens, she’s not sure she’s the woman for the job—especially when the catfights turn deadly…

Jaine has been hired by über-pushy stage mom Heather Van Sant to write lyrics for her daughter Taylor’s song in the talent competition for the Miss Teen Queen America pageant. It’s different from anything Jaine has done before, but if nothing else, she’s looking forward to a free weekend in a swanky hotel and a chance to see what really goes on backstage at a beauty pageant. But the hotel is a dump, the cattiness is out of control, and Candace—the perfectly-coiffed, whip-cracking pageant director—is making even Jaine’s life miserable.

When Candace’s assistant Amy is found bludgeoned to death with a silver tiara, there are more suspects than sequins on a pageant gown—and Heather is first on the list. Taylor begs Jaine to help clear her mom’s name, but the search for the killer hits a dead end as Jaine quickly realizes that finding the culprit is going to be trickier than walking the stage in stilettos…

A great tiara is the best way to handle a bad hair day - Anonymous 

DEATH BY TIARA is Book 13 in the Jaine Austen series.  For those new to the series, let's recap:

Laura Levine created Count Chocula and Frankeberry cereals for General Mills.  She also contributed to scripts for The Bob Newhart Show, Three’s Company, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, The Jeffersons, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  She's proven to deliver humor.

Jaine Austen is a freelance writer living in a middle class duplex on the edge of Beverly Hills.  Like her creator, she writes advertising jingles for distinguished clients including a plumber, roofer, and mattress king.  Jaine dabbles in sleuthing when her writing gigs lead to murder.   She finds solace in long baths, McDonald's drive through, and her prima donna cat, Prozac.  Jaine shares the duplex with Lance, a flamboyant shoe salesman who always has a plan for Jaine.  

If her life couldn't get any zanier, she receives emails from her retired parents who relocated to Tampa, Florida, to be closer to the Home Shopping Network.   Their emails demonstrate that the apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree.

Any Jaine Austen book is pure escapism.  I opened DEATH BY TIARA at the start of a three hour train ride.  I laughed the entire trip, sometimes drawing curious looks from my fellow passengers.  Levine pokes fun at pop culture as Jaine bumbles through the beauty pageant and murder investigation.  The mystery is weaker than previous books but the humor hits the spot.   

DEATH BY TIARA, like the previous novels, is told from Jaine's first person point of view.  This enables Jaine to share her intimate thoughts with readers:

(A female detective interviews Jaine at home)

Then, like a shot, Prozac leaped off the bed and into Brunhilde's lap

Brunhilde's face turned an interesting shade of purple.

"Get this little monster  off me!"

Okay, so what she really said was, "What a cute cat."

(By the way, Jaine nicknamed the detective Brunhilde).

DEATH BY TIARA follows the predictable path of false leads and mayhem.  Yet Levine ups the ante with a secondary story line in which Jaine takes stock in herself.

Must read for cat lovers and comedy fans.

I received an ARC from another reviewer who also enjoyed the book.  I love cats, hail from Tampa, and sympathize with Jane's love of (and Lance's disdain for) elastic waist pants.

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  If you could build your own tiara, what jewels would you use?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 8, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 9.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Laura, Jaine, and Prozac at


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Aloha to Grace Burrowes and TREMAINE'S TRUE LOVE

I posted more pictures from RWA in NYC at this link. Grace Burrowes shined bright in NYC with two Rita nominations. She continues the celebration with her new release, TREMAINE'S TRUE LOVE. From her bio,

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 Wish and 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.

Grace penned a special guest post ....

What makes a man a gentleman?

For a romance writer, this question has to be answered in every book, because implicit in the term “hero” is something of the gentleman. Heroes need not be charming, handsome or wealthy, and they might not even be obviously heroic, at least at the start of the book, but they have to be worthy of our loyalty for the duration of an entire book.

In the True Gentlemen series, I took three men who’d wandered across my pages in previous stories—Tremaine St. Michael, Daniel Banks, and Willow Dorning—and found them each a happily ever after. Tremaine is a flinty business man, Daniel is poor and pious, Willow finds polite society an enormous trial and would far rather be with his dogs. These fellows were not obvious choices as romance heroes, but they each had something that tempted me to write stories for them.

When we met Tremaine in an earlier book (Gabriel: Lord of Regrets), Tremaine was convinced that he’d found a good candidate for the position of wife. He offered marriage, listing all the practical advantages to both parties, and he congratulated himself on how much sense his proposed union would make.

The lady turned him down flat, and as a gentleman is bound to do, he graciously ceded the field. He didn’t like it, he didn’t entirely understand how or what he’d lost, but he wished the happy couple well.

Daniel’s role in David: Lord of Honor was to charge to London with sermons at the ready in an attempt to restore his sister’s honor. The very man Daniel accused of wronging that sister had already set her back on the path to respectability.

Oops. But again, being a gentleman, Daniel wishes the couple every happiness, even if doing so costs him the future he’d envisioned for himself and his loved ones. Like Tremaine, he’s a gracious and even dignified loser.

Willow’s appearance in Worth: Lord of Reckoning is brief, but he too is determined to see a sister rescued from a possibly compromising position, and again, rescue is simply not on the heroine’s agenda.

In all three cases, the true gentleman acts in the best interests of those he loves and is responsible for, regardless of the inconvenience or cost to himself. Because Tremaine, Daniel, and Willow were honorable, I liked them. I trusted them, I wanted them to have the happiness they clearly already deserved.

In the Nicholas Haddonfield’s sisters—Nita, Kirsten, and Susannah—I found ladies willing to oblige my ambitions for these men. In each case, our hero has lessons yet to learn, and in each case, his inherent honor wins the day. He might not be handsome, wealthy, or charming in the eyes of the world, but because he’s a true gentleman in the eyes of his lady, he wins her true love.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them!

He's had everything he could ever want...until now

Wealthy wool magnate Tremaine St. Michael is half French, half Scottish, and all business. He prowls the world in search of more profits, rarely settling in one place for long. When he meets practical, reserved Lady Nita Haddonfield, he sees an opportunity to mix business with pleasure by making the lady his own.

Nita Haddonfield has a meaningful life tending to others, though nobody is dedicated to caring for Nita. She insists the limitations of marriage aren't for her, then Tremaine St. Michael arrives-protective, passionate, and very, very determined to win Nita's heart.

Sourcebooks is offering a giveaway at this link ... and an excerpt from TREMAINE'S TRUE LOVE:

Wealthy businessman Tremaine St. Michael has concluded that marriage to Lady Nita Haddonfield would be a prudent merger of complimentary interests for the mutual benefit and enjoyment of both parties… or some such blather.

Tremaine rapped on Lady Nita’s door, quietly, despite a light shining from beneath it. Somebody murmured something which he took for permission to enter.

“Mr. St. Michael?”

Tremaine stepped into her ladyship’s room, closed the door behind him and locked it, which brought the total of his impossibly forward behaviors to several thousand.

“Your ladyship expected a sister, or a maid with a pail of coal?”

“I wasn’t expecting you.” Lady Nita sat near the hearth in a blue velvet dressing gown. The wool stockings on her feet were thick enough to make a drover covetous. “Are you unwell, Mr. St. Michael?”

“You are not pleased to see me.” Did she think illness the only reason somebody would seek her out?

She set aside some pamphlet, a medical treatise, no doubt. No vapid novels for Lady Nita.

“I was not expecting you, sir.”

"You were not expecting me to discuss marriage with you earlier. I wasn’t expecting the topic to come up in a casual fashion either. May I sit?”

She waved an elegant hand at the other chair flanking the hearth. Tremaine settled in, trying to gather his thoughts while the firelight turned Lady Nita’s braid into a rope of burnished gold.

“You are pretty.” Brilliant place to start. The words had come out, heavily burred, something of an ongoing revelation.

“I am tall and blond,” she retorted, twitching the folds her of her robe. “I have the usual assortment of parts. What did you come here to discuss?”

Lady Nita was right, in a sense. Her beauty was not of the ballroom variety, but rather, an illumination of her features by characteristics unseen. She fretted over new babies, cut up potatoes like any crofter’s wife, and worried for her sisters. These attributes interested Tremaine. Her madonna-with-a-secret smile, keen intellect, and longing for laughter attracted him.

Even her medical pre-occupation, in its place, had some utility as well.

“Will you marry me, my lady?”

More brilliance. Where had his wits gone? George Haddonfield had graciously pointed out that Nita needed repose and laughter, and Tremaine was offering her the hand of the most restless and un-silly man in the realm.

The lady somehow contained her incredulity, staring at her hands. “You want to discuss marriage?”

“I believe I did just open that topic. Allow me to elaborate on my thesis: Lady Bernita Haddonfield, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife? I think we would suit, and I can promise you would know no want in my care.”

A proper swain would have been on his damn bended knee, the lady’s hand in his. Lady Nita would probably laugh herself to tears if Tremaine attempted that nonsense. Lady Nita picked up her pamphlet, which Tremaine could now see was written in German.

“Why, Mr. St. Michael?”

“I beg your pardon?” Tremaine was about to pitch the damned pamphlet in the fire, until he recalled that Nita Haddonfield excelled at obscuring her stronger emotions.

“Why should you marry me, Tremaine St. Michael? Why should I marry you? I’ve had other offers, you’ve made other offers. You haven’t known me long enough to form an opinion of my character beyond the superficial.”

This ability to take a situation apart, into causes, effects, symptoms, and prognosis was part of the reason she was successful as a healer. Tremaine applied the same tendencies to commercial situations, so he didn’t dismiss her questions as coyness or manipulation.

She wasn’t rejecting him either. She most assuredly was not rejecting him.

Coming in November ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wednesday's Warriors - RITA Winners Caro Carson and Anna Richland

I posted pictures of RWA's Literacy Autographing at this link.

It is my honor to spotlight two winners from RWA's Annual Rita Ceremony ... and they are veterans!

Contemporary Romance - Short:  A TEXAS RESCUE CHRISTMAS 

Home for Christmas...

Trey Waterston has been on the outside looking in for so long, he nearly forgot where home is. But when he has to go back to the ranch that is his Texas birthright, he expects it to be as difficult to navigate as everything else in his life. He does not expect to find a halfhearted search afoot for a missing heiress. Beautiful and innocent Rebecca Cargill has disappeared, and nightfall--and a snowstorm--is coming. If they don't find her, she could die.

Not on my watch.

Instinctively, and directed only by a photograph, Trey knows he is the only one who can help her. Maybe he can finally claim his legacy. But why is he suddenly so sure Rebecca is a part of it?


Despite a no-nonsense background as a West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, Caro Carson has always treasured the happily-ever-after of a good romance novel. After reading romances no matter where in the world the Army sent her, Caro began a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Little did she know the years she spent discussing science with physicians would provide excellent story material for her new career as a romance author. Now, Caro is delighted to be living her own happily-ever-after with her husband and two children in the great state of Florida, a location which has saved the coaster-loving theme park fanatic a fortune on plane tickets.

Learn more about Caro and her books at

Romance Novella:  HIS ROAD HOME by Anna Richland

To avoid an Afghan warlord’s matchmaking, Staff Sergeant Rey Cruz invents a fiancée he’ll never meet—until he’s flat on his back in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and marine biologist Grace Kim shows up with one question: why did you lie?

Cruz can’t explain his fabrication to her, the news media, their families, or their hometown, because his traumatic brain injury has manifested as aphasia, leaving him with few words to navigate his new world.

Grace offers friendship, a big step for a woman who prefers Orcinus orca to most company. Texting throughout his recovery, they connect in ways neither anticipates. She agrees to help drive his classic muscle car home across-country at Thanksgiving. His hands-on method of teaching her to operate a manual transmission is the beginning of his challenges to her comfort zone. She responds by introducing him to the steamy world of South Dakota ice-fishing shacks, and they both learn to look beyond labels into each other’s hearts.


Anna Richland is a former military officer turned romance writer. She lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less-quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle, Washington. Her two favorite parts of being an author are that it’s okay to have imaginary friends talking in her head and that work attire includes a cup of coffee.

Learn more about Anna and her books at

Anna Richland

Congratulations, Caro and Anna!  I also thank you for your service!   Join me in this celebration by leaving a comment for Caro and Anna.  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 8, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 9.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Monday, July 27, 2015

Aloha to Kim Amos and AND THEN HE KISSED ME

I am posting pictures from my recent trip to NYC for the RWA Annual Conference on my travel blog at this link.  During the conference, I met today's guest - Kim Amos!  From her bio,

Kim Amos is a romance writer whose stories usually have hot dish in them, which is the Minnesota name for a casserole. She also writes young-adult novels under the name Lara Zielin.  Currently, she lives in Michigan with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.

SOS Aloha:  What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of Michigan?

Kim Amos:  There is a t-shirt that I love, which says “Four out of five Great Lakes prefer Michigan.” It cracks me up every time. I never get tired of seeing, hearing, and smelling the Great Lakes, and I love how different they all are. Lake Superior, for example, is crazy scary and cold. It’s so deep! I imagine huge monsters living in its depths. And then there’s Lake Michigan, which is the color of a robin’s egg in places, so beautifully blue it hurts to look at. Lake Erie is a survivor—it had toxic chemicals dumped into it for years, but it’s making a remarkable ecological recovery. And on Huron, I’ve seen the fog settle in like a blanket, so thick and soft-looking you’d swear you could sit on it. I’m lucky to live near all this fresh water. The Great Lakes are a treasure—and an inspiration—I never tire of!

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

Kim Amos:  Does everyone say their agent? Because I’m about to follow suit. My agent, Susanna Einstein, read an early draft of one of my novels and instead of just sending me a rejection letter, she actually agreed to meet with me over lunch and tell me what could be improved in the manuscript. This is so unusual—I still can’t believe she did it. What’s more, her notes were crystal clear, and I felt like I understood what she was looking for. I went home, revised the manuscript over many weeks, then asked her if she’d take another look. She graciously agreed, then signed me after that. I think about that act of generosity all the time, and how it changed the course of my writing life forever.

SOS Aloha:  What inspired AND THEN HE KISSED ME?

Kim Amos:  One of the biggest inspirations is the Empire, Michigan, Asparagus Festival, which takes place the third week in May every year. I just knew I had to use this quirky, unusual event in northern Michigan as a backdrop. Not only does the festival have a parade featuring an asparagus queen, they also have a specialty asparagus beer that you can only get that time of year. There are dozens of vendors that serve everything from asparagus pizza to asparagus focaccia to asparagus sausage. And there’s a “kick your ass-paragus 5k” that I actually ran this year (that it did, in fact, kick my ass-paragus). I tried to fold in many of the festival’s details into AND THEN HE KISSED ME, which was great fun.

Kim is celebrating the release of AND THEN HE KISSED ME, Book Two in the White Pine series:

Five years ago, Audrey Tanner flung caution to the wind and herself into the arms of an emerald-eyed bad boy biker she met at the White Pine Asparagus Festival. Two blissful weeks together convinced her that Kieran Callaghan was The One-until The One blew town without a word, leaving her brokenhearted. Now, starting a new job at the new Harley Davidson showroom, Audrey is floored to meet her new boss: Kieran. He's still hot as hell, but she won't fall for his sexy smile again. This time, she's calling the shots.

Kieran never thought he'd return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she's just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn't know why he had to leave-or that he's missed her every day since. But he can't deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he's sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.


Forever Romance is hosting a special giveaway at this link.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Aloha to Lauren Layne and FRISK ME


After spending a week at RWA in NYC, I share the Big Apple with you via Lauren Layne's new release, FRISK ME, Book 1 in the New York's Finest series.  Lauren joins me for a cozy chat ...

A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she's naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren's lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan, and currently lives in the Chicago area. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She's also a total website nerd and insists you check out!

Kim:  Chicago!  What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Windy City?

Lauren:  This is going to sound crazy, but my favorite thing has been the snow. Winter’s long been my favorite season, but coming from Seattle, we usually get snow maybe once or twice a year. Some years there’s no snow at all. Then we tried New York, and I thought *that* would be my winter fix, but we had two pretty mild NYC winters while we were there. But Chicago … Chicago knows how to do winter. Bitterly cold and piles of snow. Perfect :-)

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

Lauren:  Probably a cliche answers here, but my husband, definitely. He was the one that gave me a little dose of tough love early on, telling me I had to stop talking about writing a book and actually do it. And once the book was done, he’s the one who didn’t even hesitate when I nervously asked if I could reduce our dual income household to a single-income household while I pursued the dream of becoming a full-time writer. That sort of unwavering confidence, that belief that the money stuff would work itself out because I was a good writer (note: we went into not insignificant debt, and then crawled back out of it) is a huge component of my success.

Kim:  What inspired your new series and your new title, FRISK ME?

Lauren:  Big shout out to my publishing team here, because it was them that initially had the idea, “Hey, what about a family of NYC cops …” The story is all mine, the characters are all mine, but the premise is what happens when you put a bunch of romance-loving people in a room and figure out what stories haven’t been told yet. There just aren’t a lot of cop books out there, which is strange, because a man in uniform is HOT. I think one thing that’s pretty unique with FRISK ME and the series in general is that it’s not suspense. Most books about law enforcement officers have a “danger” element to them, but while New York’s Finest isn’t without some real-life cop situations, the heart of the series is the romance and the family.

After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York's most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the "American Hero," Luc's boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn't mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who's been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC's lead anchor-but to get there, she'll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava's doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York's finest …

Forever is hosting a giveaway at this link.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Coming soon from the New York's Finest series ...

Weekly Winners

Patience guards the entrance of the NYC Library 

I just arrived home from the RWA Annual Conference in NYC - I will share pictures, stories, and books in the coming week.  Meanwhile, we have winners at SOS Aloha!

- Glenda wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Elizabeth John's JUDGING JOEY
- Library Pat wins a book choice from my convention stash. 


Karida Clarke's CAPTURED HEAT
- Erin 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

Fortitude also stands guard.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Aloha to Misty Evans and DEADLY INTENT

She’ll do anything to find her sister…

Deep undercover with a Tijuana drug cartel, FBI agent Sophia Diaz is two days away from making the biggest bust of her career…and tracking down her sister who went missing ten years ago. But when a rival cartel puts out a hit on her, there’s only one man who can keep her alive.

He’ll do anything to keep her safe…

Immigration enforcement officer, Nelson Cruz, has his hands full with his own operation while undercover as a member of the Savages motorcycle gang. When orders come down that he has to protect the sexy, but oh-so-aloof, Agent Diaz without breaking his cover, Nelson must put his skills to the ultimate test. Especially since a previous relationship with Sophie compromised his career and wreaked havoc on his heart.

South of the border is no place to die…

Nelson’s never gotten over the time he spent in Sophie’s bed or the fact she double-crossed him on their last mission together. He can’t trust her…and she doesn’t trust anybody. As the two fight their red-hot, south of the border attraction, Nelson discovers a secret that could destroy Sophie’s world forever. Once again, he’s forced to put his job—and his life—on the line for her. Can he keep her alive and out of prison? Or will their careers, as well as their hearts, go up in the flames of desire?

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Aloha to Sherri Browning and THE GREAT ESTATE


Pulled apart by past mistakes. Driven by a passion neither could deny.

Sophia Thorne was young and inexperienced when she married the dashing Earl of Averford…and through dark and troubled times, their relationship nearly came to an end. Now she’s determined to transform herself into the fiery, ardent lover she always wanted to be, giving them a second chance at love… before they’re lost to each other forever.

It took nearly losing Sophia for Gabriel to realize he had allowed his love for his great estate to distract him from his beautiful wife. But that time is over. Despite all the obstacles standing in their way, Gabriel vows to teach Sophia what it is to truly love…and to be loved by a husband devoted heart and soul to her every desire.


Sherri Browning writes historical and contemporary romance fiction, sometimes with a paranormal twist. She is the author of critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in western Massachusetts and Greater Detroit Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Find her online at

Downtown Abbey exhibit at Winterthur Musseum

Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, the third in Sherri Browning’s Thornbrook Park series, The Great Estate, comes out this August!  I asked Sherri if she could be an original (new) character on Downton Abbey - who would she be?

I would be Mrs. Lucy Longchamps, a divorcee and dear old American friend of Cora’s who comes to visit and leads Cora into misadventures. Lord Grantham would detest Lucy for being such a bad influence on Cora. Lucy would finally wear out her welcome when found in bed with one of Mary’s favorite suitors. Take that, Lady Mary! I would really love a chance to bring Mary down a notch.

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt from THE GREAT ESTATE:

Thornbrook Park. A warm wave of pride filled him at the sight as Dale drove them up the winding way. The chimneys appeared first over the crest of the hill, followed by the slate roof, and finally the rose stone facade. How could he have stayed away so long?

Sophia wouldn’t be expecting him. He planned to surprise her, perhaps persuade Finch not to even announce his return. He would simply appear at the dinner hour, dressed to the nines, and act as if he had been there the entire time. Darling, I believe the quail is cooked perfectly, but not quite the same as when I shoot it myself… No, it wouldn’t do. She hated it when he left her alone to go off hunting. He’d always known it, but he couldn’t seem to give it up. Old habits. In truth, he couldn’t wait to get his boots on, the good English ones he’d left behind, take up his rifle, and stomp off into the woods. His woods. Alas, there would be no more hunting. At least, not as frequently, and certainly not right away. Not until he was certain that he wouldn’t upset Sophia further. Not until she forgave him.

Perhaps he could suggest other activities that they could do together? His brow shot up. He knew just what activities he had in mind, but they would have to work up to that. Slowly. He meant to court her properly, one step at a time.

“Now, Dale, I don’t want a fuss,” he said. “It’s good to be home but no need for a celebration. I mean to slip in quietly.”


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday's Warrior - Aloha to Karida Clarke and the Phoenix Warriors


It is my pleasure to host my fellow RomVet, Karida Clarke! From her bio,

Karida Clarke is a romance writer with a penchant for anything otherworldly. If it has scales, fur, poisoned talons, throws fire or casts magic spells, it might find its way into her stories. Karida likes her heroines multifaceted and her males swoon-worthy, Alpha-style. She believes that relationships matter more than things and places. In her free time, Karida enjoys lacing up for long runs and cooking ethnic cuisine. Pet peeves include Saran Wrap and people who don’t put their shopping carts away. Karida has an M.A. in English Literature, is a former college English instructor, and currently writes for a small newspaper. She lives with her nerd-tastic husband and two spunky kids in Ohio.

Learn more about Karida and her books at

Kim:  Ohio! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Buckeye State?

Karida:  I grew up in the military and then served in the military, so I have lived in multiple states and countries. When my husband's job moved us here, I was skeptical that I would like it. Ohio has been an amazing surprise for me and my family. We love it here so much that we've decided to put down some roots and stay a while. Ohio is a beautiful, affordable state with four seasons, tons of activities and cultural opportunities, and a low cost of living. I love watching the leaves change colors in the fall and that I can go hiking across creeks with my kids during the day and then go watch a Broadway play with my husband in the evening. Truly, we have the best of both worlds here.

Kim:  Cooking ethnic cuisine - what is your favorite recipe? What is your favorite restaurant?

Karida:  I eat gluten-free, so ethnic cuisine is wonderful since other countries don't rely on wheat as much as the U.S. My favorite cuisines are Indian and Ethiopian. My favorite restaurant is either Ajanta India Restaurant in Kettering, OH, or Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant in Columbus, OH. No chain food--family restaurants with delicious food at good prices. As far as recipes, I love a good dal, a dish made from lentils and spices.

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

Karida:  So many people have helped me as I've pursued writing and self-publishing my novels. My sister most of all--she introduced me to the paranormal romance genre years ago. My husband, too--he puts up with my mood swings and he understands the creative process. Self-publishing was a decision I made so that the product I put out there is true to my vision. Every aspect of the book--from the picture and font on the cover to the names of characters and content of the epilogue--is as I intended it, so the reader is getting the experience I want for them. I am grateful for an editor, proofreader, and cover artist that gets me. 

Kim:  Tell us about your books - what inspired them?

Karida:  I've published three books in my paranormal romance series, Phoenix Warriors, thus far. Paranormal romance is my favorite genre because it combines the fantasy of fairy tales with the heat and spice of a good romance. Rather than vampires and werewolves, which have been done well repeatedly, I chose to make my protagonists Phoenix because they are literally hot.

Kim:  What's next for Karida Clarke?

Karida:  The Phoenix Warrior series will contain six books. I've published three and am working on the fourth. Although all the books can be read as standalone novels, they contain the same characters, so you can learn tidbits about them by reading them in order.

I am also in a writer's group that is putting together a modern fantasy anthology, so I hope to begin writing a short story for that soon.

Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC

Mahalo,  Karida, for serving and writing!  I am giving away a digital copy of CAPTURED HEAT, Book 1 in the Phoenix Warriors series, to one randomly selected commenter.  

The Phoenix Warriors, a group of immortals bound by the gods to protect the integrity of the human realm from otherworldly races, have been led for centuries by Cole, a guarded alpha male.

When Cole learns that an ancient demon has discovered the location of a tool that will enable him to escape from the prison realm, Cole vows to find and safeguard it before the demon's vampire minions.

Rebecca Powell is a high school guidance counselor who is everyone's "lucky charm." She's just not so lucky herself. After being used a time too many, she's through with men...until she runs right into the one she can't resist.

Cole and Rebecca have both been burned before, but can they put aside their misgivings to protect the human realm and learn to love again?

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Ohio - what do you know about the Buckeye State?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 24, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 25.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Monday, July 20, 2015

Aloha to Jane Ashford and A RADICAL ARRANGEMENT

A classic Regency romance from beloved author Jane Ashford!

Brash and Handsome

Sir Justin Keighley is all wrong for a proper young lady like Margaret Mayfield. Everyone knows he is shocking in his opinions, arrogant in his manner, and completely without respect for the common decencies of civilized society. Margaret absolutely will not marry him—no matter what her parents say.

Beautiful and Shy

Margaret was everything Sir Justin detested in a woman—timid, sheltered, and obedient to a fault. It’s not until she runs away from him that he finds he must give chase. Margaret is discovering she can be bold and rebellious—intrepid enough to do what she must, and more exciting than Justin ever imagined possible. She’s the last woman he would have expected to lead them both into uncharted territory…


Jane Ashford, a retired teacher and editor, is now a beloved author of historical and contemporary romances. She has been published in various parts of the world, including Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Spain, and of course the U.S. Jane is also a two-time RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award nominee. Born in Ohio, Jane now divides her time between Boston and Los Angeles.

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt from A RADICAL ARRANGEMENT:

Sir Justin Keighley stood in the doorway, looking them over with a slight, satirical curve of his lips. He wore, like the other gentlemen, conventional evening dress, but this superficial similarity was their only common ground. Ralph Mayfìeld, Philip Manningham, the squire, and John Twitchel were none of them unattractive men or negligible personalities. Each, in his own sphere, had a certain dignity and authority, and all had the confidence that respect engendered. Yet somehow, the moment he entered the room and before he spoke a word, Justin Keighley eclipsed them. It was not charm. Indeed, the newcomer did not look at all pleasant or ingratiating. And it was not mere social position. Keighley held an ancient baronetcy and a substantial fortune, but any of twenty men his hosts were accustomed to meeting ranked above him. Ralph Mayfield could not have said why he felt subdued as he came forward to greet his final guest.

The squire’s wife might have enlightened him. As she had told a friend at a Bath assembly two years ago, “Justin Keighley is a vastly attractive man, my dear. And not just to women. All the young men ape him, my son among them. I don’t know just how it is, but he has a great influence without appearing to seek it in the least. Indeed, sometimes I think he dislikes the idea. But it goes on. It’s something in his manner. No doubt you’ve noticed it yourself. He makes you look at him.” Mrs. Camden had been embarrassed by this speech, but it was quite true. And Keighley’s attraction was the more mysterious because he was not conventionally handsome. Though tall and well made, with broad shoulders and a good leg, his features were rough—a jutting nose and heavy black brows that nearly obscured expressive hazel eyes. And he took no care with his dress, a rarity in an elegant age. His coats were made so that he could shrug himself into them without help; his collars did not even approach his jaw; and he had once been observed in White’s with a distinct thumb mark on his Hessian boots, giving one of the dandy set what he described as “a shuddering palpitation.”

But these sartorial eccentricities were outweighed by Sir Justin’s political influence and sagacity. He was an intimate of the Prince Regent and Lord Holland, and important in the Whig Party. These facts did not explain his fascination for a great number of people, chiefly women, who hadn’t the slightest interest in politics, but they amply justified the Mayfìelds’ attention and suppressed antipathy.

“Good evening,” Keighley said to Mr. Mayfield in a deep, resonant voice. “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”

“Not at all, not at all. Come in. You know everyone, I think.”

Sir Justin bowed his head with a sardonic smile. He always met precisely the same people at his yearly dinner with the Mayfields, presumably those they were certain he could not “corrupt” with his aberrant opinions, and he always felt the same infuriated boredom. For the fiftieth time he wondered why he came. There was no hope of amusement or chance of advantage here. The Mayfields and their friends were just the sort of smug, resolutely conventional people he despised. They held to the views their fathers had bequeathed them and attacked all others. If one tried to make them change even a fraction, they shook their heads and muttered of treason.

He looked around the room. The only addition this year was the Mayfìelds’ daughter. He had forgotten her name, but he remembered that she had come out last season. She looked as one would have expected: a pallid, simpering creature. Keighley shrugged. Politics forced him to endure fools occasionally. The Prince would want to know the climate of opinion here in Devon. He supposed he could get through this evening as he had previous ones, through a combination of stoicism and bitter inner laughter.

Margaret watched him with awed apprehension as he settled beside Mrs. Camden and began to chat with her about London. She had never actually spoken to Sir Justin; her mother had seen to that. But she had heard him talked of so many times that she felt she knew what he would say in response to a wide variety of remarks. It would always be shocking. She gazed at him in an effort to understand how any man could be so utterly depraved in thought and action, almost expecting his rugged face to contort in a grimace of malevolence and his chiseled lips to emit some horrifying revelation.

Suddenly Sir Justin looked up and met her eyes from across the room. He seemed at first startled to find her staring, then his mocking smile appeared again, and he raised one black brow, holding her gaze. Embarrassed, Margaret tried to look away, but something in his hazel eyes prevented it. A spark glinted there, and she felt a kind of tremor along her nerves. It was utterly unfamiliar and unsettling, like a violent thrill of feeling. How could a stranger affect her so? This must be fear, she thought; I am afraid of him. She began to tremble, but still she could not turn her head away. He seemed to understand her reaction and, amused, to prolong the contact on purpose.

Finally Keighley laughed and bent to answer some question of Mrs. Camden’s. Margaret jerked back in her chair and clasped her shaking hands so tightly that the knuckles whitened. He was a dreadful man. She would not speak to him, and if she ever saw him again, she would run away.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Aloha to EXPOSING JUSTICE from Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano


Fans of the Justice Team Series will love this action-packed third installment!

As a Public Information officer for the US Supreme Court, idealist Hope Denby knows how to spin a story. A journalist at heart, she loves being in the middle of a juicy scoop and has her sights set on future Press Secretary for the White House. When the Supreme Court Chief Justice is accidentally killed in a road rage accident, and a high-profile conspiracy blogger claims it was premeditated murder, Hope has to shut down the paranoid blogger—which should be a slam dunk until she discovers he’s not as crazy as she thought and she has more in common with the secretive, hard-hitting investigator then she’d like to admit.

Cyber resistance against government corruption isn’t just a theory for Brice Brennan on his blog, The First Amendment Patriot. As a former ATF agent who blew the whistle on his superiors, he’s no stranger to government cover-ups and scandals. An anonymous tip on the Chief Justice’s death sends him searching for answers. What he finds is a sexy, young idealist about to blow his private, behind-the-scenes world to pieces.

Brice and Hope couldn’t be more opposite, but exposing justice makes them partners—and puts them on the track of a ruthless killer. As their investigation takes them into the dark underbelly of Washington politics and murder-for-hire, it also takes them into the bedroom where passion erupts and emotional walls crumble. But when the killer makes an attempt on Hope’s life, will Brice be able to keep her safe? Or will blowing the whistle on corruption and greed mean losing the one person he’s allowed himself to love?

Barnes & Noble

USA Today bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest

USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane's Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out this excerpt from EXPOSING JUSTICE:

“Denby! Get in here!”

Ooh! Hope Denby shot up, sending her rickety government-issued chair sailing against the back of her cubicle. She peeped over the wall in front of her at her cubemate, Rob. “Ohmygod, she’s insane today.”

Rob didn’t bother looking up from whatever he was reading on his computer. “Seriously fucking deranged. You’d better get in there.”

Because experience dictated she had thirty-point-two seconds to appear in front of her boss or she’d be bellowed at once again.


Hope scooped up her legal pad and a pen and hustled to the boss’s office just twenty-five feet away. Working at the Public Information Office of the U.S. Supreme Court meant each day brought something new. It could be working with reporters wanting to cover a case, preparing transcripts, or press releases, all of it fascinating and tedious and ripe with possibilities.

Today was no different. Eight hours earlier, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court had been accidently gunned down on the Gaynor Bridge while trying to resolve a road rage dispute.

And now, it was all over the news and her boss, Amy Ripling, the Public Information Officer, had been in full-blown crisis mode all day.

“Denby!” Amy screamed again.

Hope kicked off her sky-high heels, left them sitting in the corridor—no time to stop—and picked up her pace. She swung around the doorway, grabbing the frame to slow her down. “I’m here. Sorry.”

Amy sat at her desk, random files and papers and notes strewn across the top. Two ringing cell phones sat on top of the mess joined by the incessant beeping of the desk phone. Amy picked up the handset, tapped the hold button and handed Hope a note. “Call this guy. He’s bugging the shit out of me and I’m trying to deal with the networks.”

She glanced down at the name. The First Amendment Patriot. Interesting. But, woohoo! Finally, her boss ponied up an assignment on a major case, albeit a tragic one. “Yes, ma’am. Who is he?”

“He’s a blogger.”

A blogger.

The Journalism major in her wailed.

“Damned, bloggers. I am on it, Amy.”

“I knew you’d love it. You’re an animal, Denby.”

“Thank you. I think.”

Amy waved it away. “Yada, yada. He wants a statement, but be careful. He’s one of the those conspiracy theory nutcases. Tell him something that won’t hurt us. Until we have more on what happened on that bridge, we’re going with what we know.”

“Sure. But—”

Amy glanced at the still beeping phone, beep-beep-beep, then came back to Hope, her taut skin barely restraining her impatience. “What, Denby? What?”

Ignoring Amy’s tone, she stood a little straighter. “Yes, ma’am. What is it exactly that we know?”

All day long, Hope, like everyone else in the office, had been monitoring the news channels to see who was saying what. For their part, the Public Information Office had released very few details. Mainly because they’d been given very few details.

The police and the FBI were handling the press on this nightmare.

“What we know,” Amy said, “is that the Chief Justice and his security detail, consisting of one Supreme Court police officer, were en route to work today and got stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge. The FBI is looking into that. Apparently, there’s some confusion as to why that lane was closed. They’re talking to DDOT. Anyway, two cars ahead of the Chief Justice some whacko jumped out of a cab and started arguing with the driver of the car next to them. The argument became heated and the judge’s officer got out to diffuse the situation. Justice Turner—God rest his soul—defied his security officer’s order to stay in the car and got out to see if he could help. While the officer tried to convince the judge to get his ass back in the car, the guy who jumped out of the cab fired a gun; the shot missed and accidentally hit the judge. The shooter ran. That’s what we know. But you’re not telling our blogger friend that. For him, you’re keeping it simple. Road rage, two men arguing, gunshot. D.C. Metro and the SC police are handling it from here.”

“Got it. No problem.”

“Good. I’m heading into a meeting with the Justices. I’m guessing it’ll be a while. Make sure everyone knows they should only disturb me if the building is on fire. Or someone else is dead.”

Ew. “I’ll handle it.”

She spun toward the door.



“Where the hell are your shoes?”

20709487Cheating Justice (Justice Team, #2)23556533

Aloha to Elizabeth John and JUDGING JOEY


It is my pleasure to introduce you to Elizabeth John, another romance author I met at the NJRW meeting in June.   From her bio,

Elizabeth John’s love of reading and writing began in her early childhood and blossomed throughout her teenage years. Her first real job was working in a library, and it was there that the cover of a Gothic romance intrigued her. She read it and has been hooked on romances ever since. Elizabeth has published many newspaper and magazine articles and several short stories. For a few years, she enjoyed writing ceremonial resolutions for her state’s senators and assembly members. When she’s not penning contemporary romances and romantic suspense novels, she’s teaching elementary school children how to read and write. Admittedly, she’s a TV and movie junkie and has noble intentions to practice yoga daily. Her day job, family, and writing life keep her busy! In her spare time, she can be found walking her dogs, sharing a meal with friends, gardening, or relaxing at the beach with her nose in a good book.

Learn more about Elizabeth and her books at

Kim:  Jersey girl!  What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of New Jersey?

Elizabeth:  Oh, I like this question! My favorite place is the Jersey Shore. When I drive down the coast and see the water, my body instantly relaxes. The scent of the salty sea air, the call of the seagulls, the beautiful sailboats floating in the bay, ah, the scene is breathtaking. After the big stock market plunge a few years ago, my husband and I decided to scrape together the rest of our savings and buy a tiny house on the shore. The house hadn’t been updated since the 1970s and aside from electrical and plumbing work, we did most of the renovations ourselves. Our bungalow still needs a lot of work but, believe it or not, this house survived Super Storm Sandy, for which we were so grateful. It’s our little sanctuary.

Kim:  You must have been in heaven working in a library! What about the cover of the Gothic romance intrigued you? Do you still read Gothic romances?

Elizabeth:  That’s true! I worked as a Page for the New York Public Library in two tiny Staten Island branches. You wouldn’t believe how small! Since I shelved the books, I could instantly tell a patron if the book was in or not. Those intimate neighborhood branches closed down many years ago to open larger ones, but I have fond teenage memories of walking home with my arms aching from the stack of books I had checked out. After a quick hello to my mom, I’d rush to the corner chair in my pink bedroom and start reading. My love for books hasn’t changed, except now I have stacks all over my house!

Now about the Gothic novels. I read every Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney book I could get my hands on. The covers had a frightened, long-haired woman fleeing from an eerie mansion or ominous castle. My first reaction would always be what is she scared of and why is she running away? The stories were told from the heroine’s point of view, and throughout the story, she would question whether or not she could trust the hero. In my opinion, they were the earliest versions of modern day romantic suspense, which is what I tend to read and write. Today, if I can find a Gothic romance to read, count me in!

Kim:  Thank you for serving as an elementary teacher, shaping the minds of future leaders! What have you learned from teaching that you can apply to writing?

Elizabeth:  First, I was a writer before becoming a teacher. I think that skill gave me a tremendous advantage when teaching reading and writing. Let’s face it, I love to do both and can’t help but show my enthusiasm for the subjects. On the other hand, writers have to fill their creative wells. As an educator, my day is loaded with material for stories, and as a writer, I love to study people. My mind soaks up bits and pieces like a sponge and stores these observations for possible future use. Not only do teachers have to manage and successfully teach all the different personalities of their students, they have to master the art of diplomacy when dealing with parents, stepparents, grandparents, school staff and administrators. Talk about a list of characters!

Kim:  Tell us about JUDGING JOEY - what inspired it? 

Elizabeth:  Joey, the hero in this story, was a minor, comic relief character in another book I had written, but had yet to publish. I put that book aside with the intention that I may write that novel into a cozy mystery series. However, Joey couldn’t wait and insisted I write him as the hero of his own story. What can I say? Joey was right. He needed to meet someone who would challenge him and see the world differently. Madeline came back into his life at the perfect time.

Kim:  What's next for Elizabeth John?

Elizabeth:  I’m writing what I’m calling a cozy romantic suspense trilogy. Three sisters inherit the family bridal shop and each one has her own love story, but before they get their happily ever after, they each have to survive a threat against their lives.

Author Elizabeth John

Mahalo, Elizabeth, for joining us today!  I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Let's chat about teachers - do you remember your favorite teacher?  I had a physics teacher who inspired me consider a career in science.  Twenty years later, I enjoyed working with my son on his Physics' projects!

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 25, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner  on Sunday, July 26.


Kim in Baltimore 
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

What is the physics of the blowhole?
Sprouting Horn on Kauai