Sunday, August 30, 2015

Aloha to Amanda Forester and THE HIGHLANDER'S BRIDE - Character Interview

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Their attraction is forbidden

All Highland warrior Gavin Patrick wants is to get back to his native Scotland. But before he can leave the battlefield, he’s given a final mission—escort Lady Marie Colette to her fiancé. Under no circumstances is he to lay hands on the beautiful, clever-tongued heiress…no matter how desperate the temptation.

Their desire, undeniable

Forced to pose as a married couple to make their escape from France, Gavin and Marie Colette find themselves thrown into peril…and each other’s arms. As the danger mounts, so does their forbidden passion. But it isn’t until Marie Colette is taken from him that Gavin is forced to decide—is he willing to lose the woman who stole his heart, or will he jeopardize his honor, defy his promise, and steal her in return?


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Full Name: Sir Gavin Patrick
Nickname (if applicable): Gavin
Height: 6’1”
Hair Color: Dark brown
Eye Color: Brown
Age: 22
Originally from: born in 1337 near Balquidder, Scotland

Describe yourself in 200 words or less: Hullo. I am Sir Gavin, pleased to make yer acquaintance. I hail from the Highlands, under the clan MacLaren, where my uncle is laird. I came to France several years ago on a quest, which remains undone. It grieves me to leave it unfinished, but I was ‘requested’ (neatly tricked, if ye care for the truth) to escort the spoiled Lady Mary Colette to the Highlands to her new husband. When I saved the life o’ the duc de Bergerac and he promised me a rich reward, escorting his brat of a daughter, wasna exactly what I had in mind. But, I am a man o’ my word, so the lady will be deposited wi’ her affianced husband as soon as may be. And trust me, it canna be too soon.

What matters the most to you in your life? Beyond serving the Good Lord, as every knight is sworn to do, my family and my clan are the most important things in my life. That is why I sought this quest, to find the resting place o’ my father, who died in battle in France, and mark it wi’ the honor that is his due. I regret I have not been able to find this place. And yet, in my return, I ken my mither will be greatly pleased to see me, so I shall be content in that. Perhaps when I return to the Highlands I shall find a bonny lass o’ my own and start a family. As soon as I can rid myself o’ the Lady Colette, that is.

What is your favorite way to pass the time? I have’na had much time to pass in leisure, truth be told. Since I have been in France I’ve been busy lending my sword to help the French fight against the increasing presence o’ the English. They are clever bastards they are, and they know how to fight, I’ll give them that. Back home, I did enjoy a bit o’ fishing. It shall be good to get back to the quiet life—if I can manage to sit still long enough to enjoy it!

If money was no object and you had 3 weeks free of responsibility what would you do with your time? That is a question that is. I am looking forward to seeing my clan again. ‘Tis not easy being a Highlander in the French court, wi’ some little noble always looking down their nose at me, or actually looking up their nose at me for I am taller here than any other knight I’ve met. And yet, I’ve got a bit o’ the wanderers soul to me, and I would no’ mind travelling a bit to see the world. Though I prefer to travel alone and no’ saddled wi’ this French lady and all her ladies and all her belongings. Saints preserve me!


Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance was way more fun. A Publishers Weekly Top Ten author, her books have been given starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews. Whether in the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland or the decadent ballrooms of Regency England, her novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. You can visit her at amandaforester.com.

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Sourcebooks offers an excerpt from THE HIGHLANDER'S BRIDE ...

France, 1359

Lady Marie Colette had one chance. She needed to secure the Highlander’s agreement to decline marrying her, and she needed to do it quickly, before her father returned. She had never before defied her father, but if he thought he could protect her by arranging a marriage with a Highland warrior and send her far away to Scotland of all places, he was much confused.

In truth, Sir Gavin was a fine specimen of a man. She was fair enough to admit it. He was a young man and built on a large scale, towering over most men. He had broad shoulders and a muscular chest, well-defined beneath the formfitting surcoat. His dark brown hair hung down to his square jaw and had a bit of a thick wave to it. He was clean shaven, a surprise considering he was a barbaric Highlander.

“I have heard rumors o’ yer beauty, but ye’re bonnier than anything I heard described.” Sir Gavin spoke in a rich tone with a lyrical accent, pleasing to her ears. However, if he thought he could win her over with compliments, he was much mistaken. She had been told so often she was beautiful that the words no longer had meaning.

“Please understand. It is impossible for me to marry you. But if you make an arrangement with me now, you will not leave empty-handed. Name your weight in gold to walk away.” Her heard pounded to make such a blunt offer. In truth, she would never have made such a crass offer to a French knight, whose honor would have been greatly impinged, but Sir Gavin was a foreigner. A Highlander. Were they not only here in France to profit off of the long war?

Sir Gavin’s eyebrows rose for a moment before falling back down in resignation. “I will no’ take the fortune of a lady, nor will I force anyone to marry me.” He spoke in a careless manner, as if what she offered was nothing to him.

Colette released a breath she had not realized she was holding. Had he just agreed not to marry her? Would he simply walk away? “So you will tell my father you will not marry me?”

A wry smile played about his lips and she had the distinct impression he was not taking the situation as seriously as she thought it deserved. “I am yers to command. If ye wish me to leave, I will go.”

Relief washed over her. She would not be banished to the wilds of Scotland with some strange, albeit attractive, man. “Thank you, Sir Knight. My father, he wished to protect me by sending me far, but I cannot see myself in such a wild, foreign place. We would be most unequally yoked.”

Gavin leaned a shoulder against the stone wall and stared out the dark window into the night. “The Highlands are a rugged place and my home is no’ nearly as grand as this fine castle. ’Tis a wild place, but in the evening, when the sun’s rays touch the high peaks, setting them aglow with the fiery light, ’tis so beautiful it robs yer breath. No finely decorated hall could ever compare.”

Colette opened her mouth but no words came.

He turned back to her, appraising her finery with a critical eye. “Someday, God willing, I shall take my bride there, a bride who chooses me above all men. We will no’ be surrounded by courtiers or pageantry or fancy clothes or ridiculous pointed shoes.”

Colette swallowed, heat creeping up the back of her neck. Had he seen the points of her shoes?

He stepped close to her, moving with a fluid grace that made her heart beat faster. “In the Highlands we dinna have all yer comforts, but what we do have we fiercely defend.”

“What do you have?” she asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“Freedom. In the Highlands, m’lady, ye would be free.”

Free? She stared up at him. He dangled before her the one thing all her riches could never buy. He offered her freedom.

He leaned nearer and her eyes fell to his lips, which inexplicably appeared soft. She could not help but respond to the irresistible pull of his inviting mouth. He moved slowly, bending down so that their lips drew dangerously close. She breathed in the scent of him, an intoxicating mix of wood smoke, fine wine, and pure man.

The door creaked and her father strode back in the room as both Colette and Gavin jumped away from each other. The duc de Bergerac spread a scroll out on a table. “This is the marriage accord I have made with the Baron of Kintail.”

“Wait…who?” Colette tried to gather together her swirling thoughts in order to form speech. She glanced at Sir Gavin. The careless smile was gone. They had both made the wrong assumption.

Gavin wasn’t meant for Colette at all.

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Weekly Winners


We have winners at SOS Aloha:

Sophie Kinsella's MINI SHOPAHOLIC
- Chelsea B. wins a book choice from convention stash.

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Patience Griffin's SOME LIKE IT SCOTTISH
- Martha wins a copy from Patience.


Good things come in three 
- Gamistress66 wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Jodi Thomas' RANSOM CANYON
- Gretchen wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Winners, please claim your prize by sending your mailing address to sos.aloha@yahoo.com.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in charm City


Friday, August 28, 2015

Aloha to Kelly Bowen and YOU'RE THE EARL THAT I WANT


THE EARL DOTH PROTEST . . .
For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it's always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.

. . . BUT THE LADY KNOWS BEST
In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she's always been able to count on. That doesn't mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases-and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It's put Heath in peril once, and Joss won't let that happen again. She'll do what she must to ensure the earl's safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.


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Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance. When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields. Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

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Forever Romance offers an excerpt from YOU'RE THE EARL THAT I WANT ...

Joss watched him, wanting to smooth the troubled lines from his forehead. “I once knew a boy who told me, when he was grown up, he would become a pirate king and sail his own ship to the four corners of the world in search of treasure,” she said quietly.

His mouth twisted but his eyes remained hard. “That boy grew up. And discovered that there were no such things as pirate kings, and no time to search for treasure.”

“Yet that boy now owns his own ships.”

“He does.”

“And what stops him from sailing them where he pleases? What stops him from doing and taking what he truly wants?”

His eyes caught hers and held them trapped within their brilliant blue heat. The remoteness was gone, replaced by a sudden predatory hunger that made Joss swallow convulsively. Her breath stuttered, anticipation and desire roaring to life and sending frissons of longing pulsing through her. The question she’d flung at Heath was swirling around in her brain now, demanding an honest answer from her own conscience.

What was stopping her from taking what she truly wanted? Because what she wanted was standing before her in perfectly tailored evening clothes, his hands clenched around a pile of newspapers, looking at her with such raw covetousness that it was making her nearly drunk with a reckless want.

“Perhaps one day I’ll take you there,” she said into the sudden silence.

Heath stilled. “To Bombay?”

“To start.” She’d meant it to sound like a jest, but it came out as an invitation. “I could take you a lot of places.” Holy hell, but what was she doing?

Heath seemed to have stopped breathing, though he took a step closer, his scent enveloping her. Instantly her mouth went dry, and a steady throb built in her belly. She squirmed, but she was backed against the desk and had nowhere to go. Sanity was rapidly disintegrating around her, crumbling beneath an overwhelming ache to touch this man. To have him touch her.

“Of course I don’t have my own ships, so I’d have to hitch a ride on one of yours.” She barely recognized herself.

There were reasons why she shouldn’t do this, she knew. She just couldn’t think of one right now.

Heath’s expression shifted suddenly, as if something within him had given way. He took another half step closer, close enough that he was pressed against her skirts now, the hard steel of his legs nudging hers apart so that he dominated her space and trapped her against him. He dropped the newspaper carelessly and braced his hands on the edge of the desk on either side of her waist, bringing his lips a breath away from hers.

“Would you take me?” she whispered, and neither of them could pretend she was still talking about ships.

“Yes,” Heath rasped.

And then he kissed her.


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Aloha to Sara Humphreys and BRAVE THE HEAT

 

Men in Uniform by Sara Humphreys

Who loves a man in uniform? ME!!! I also love a band of brothers and that’s why I simply had to write The McGuire Brothers series. These five sexy bros are all men in uniform and they are as devoted to each other as they are to their jobs. When the guys introduced themselves to me (I know that sounds weird but that’s kind of how it feels when the characters come to life in my head) one of the first things they told me about themselves was which uniform they wore.

Gavin, the hero in Brave the Heat is the oldest and the fire chief in their hometown. Ronan, the second born, is a K9 officer in New York City and a die-hard ladies man. His longest relationship, outside of his family, is with his partner, a bloodhound named Bowser. Tristan is the middle son, and admitted bad-boy. A former Navy SEAL, he is now freelancing as a gun for hire and bodyguard. The twins, Finn and Dillon, are the youngest of the bunch. Finn is an armed first responder in Miami and Dillon is an Air Force pilot but is on leave due to PTSD.

What I love most about these heroes—and all men in uniform—is their unwavering commitment, fiercely protective nature, and a clear sense of right and wrong. They are devoted to family and their mission—whatever that may be. All uniforms are sexy, except for maybe the UPS or mailman gear. If you find a hot mailman or UPS guy…please share.

To celebrate the release of my McGuire Brother series, I’m here to count down my fave men in uniform from movies and television:

1. Chris Pine in Star Trek: The reboot of Star Trek is probably the best example of re-casting ever! Pine does Captain Kirk proud and looks fine in his Star Fleet uniform.

2. Don Johnson in Miami Vice: A throwback, I’ll admit but don’t lie…you loved him in those white linen pants and the big shouldered blazer. The music? You’re hearing it right now, aren’t you?

3. Erik Estrada in CHiPs: Another oldie but goodie. Something about a man on a motorcycle…and those sunglasses.

4. Bradley Cooper in American Sniper: Not only an incredible performance but he filled out those fatigues nicely.

5. Chris Kyle in real life. A true American hero. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Gavin, and all of the McGuire brothers, wear their uniforms proudly and like most men in service, they are as devoted to their families as they are to their duties. I think it’s that quality which stands out above all the rest—devotion. Isn’t that what all of us want? We want to be loved, cherished, and protected and no one does that better than a man in uniform.


The only fire he can't put out...

Jordan McKenna is back in town, and Fire Chief Gavin Maguire's feelings when he sees her after all these years are as raw as the day she left. Then he was just a kid wearing his heart on his sleeve. Now he spends every day trying to atone for the tragedy he couldn't prevent.

Is the torch he carries for her

Jordan's life has not exactly worked out the way she expected. A divorced mother of two with a failed acting career, Jordan's biggest concern about coming back to Old Brookfield was seeing her first love. But when a series of suspicious fires breaks out, Jordan and Gavin realize that dealing with the sparks between them may be the least dangerous of their problems.

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Sara Humphreys is the award winning author of the Amoveo Legend series. The third book in the series, UNTAMED, won two PRISM awards--Dark Paranormal and Best of the Best. The first two novels from her Dead in the City series have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award. Sara was also a professional actress. Some of her television credits include, A&E Biography, Guiding Light, Another World, As the World Turns and Rescue Me.

She loves writing hot heroes and heroines with moxie but above all, Sara adores a satisfying happily-ever-after. She lives in New York with Mr. H., their four amazing sons, and two adorable pups. When she's not writing or hanging out with the men in her life, she can be found working out with Shaun T in her living room or chatting with readers on Facebook.

sarahumphreys.com

Sourcebooks is hosting a special giveaway at this link.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Kim's picture of FDNY

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Aloha to Marina Adair and A TASTE OF SUGAR


A TASTE OF SUGAR by Marina Adair (August 25, 2015; Forever Mass Market; Sugar, Georgia #3)

A blast from her past…

Charlotte Holden, Sugar’s favorite pediatrician, knows better than anyone that love only leads to heartbreak. Instead, she’s focused on creating the Grow Clinic, an outpatient center for children. All she has to do now is to host the best Founder’s Day Parade in the history of Sugar, Georgia, to win over a big-city donor. Easy as peach pie. Then sexy Jace McGraw blows back into town and utters those three words every woman dreads: we’re still married.

…leads to tantalizing trouble

Jace McGraw was making an offer on his dream business in Atlanta when he was told that his wife had some credit issues. Wait, his wife? The annulment went through years ago—or so he thought. He’d walked away only to keep his troublemaker reputation from ruining her dreams. But now that they have a second chance, Jace offers Charlotte a deal: he’ll grant a discreet divorce in exchange for 30 days and nights of marriage. Because this time he isn’t going to let her go without a fight.


Marina Adair is a lifelong fan of romance novels. Along with the Sugar series, she is also the author of the St. Helena Vineyard series and the upcoming Shelter Cove series. She currently lives in a hundred-year-old log cabin, nestled in the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with her husband and daughter. As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her at MarinaAdair.com.


Top 5 Delights of the Founder’s Day Parade in Sugar, Georgia, from A TASTE OF SUGAR:

1. The Miss Peach court. A parade just wouldn’t be a parade without the Miss Peaches from pageants past. Dressed to the nines, sashes and crowns on display, the former Miss Peaches bring tradition, taffeta, and plenty of drama.

2. The annual Sheep Scurry and Trails, where the biggest and most cunning sheep and farmers team up to race for the glory. With yarn-jockies strapped to their back, wool sheered for speed-enhancing aero-dynamics, the cream-of-the-flock race their way down the track at lightning speeds. Some people come to race their sheep, others come to bet the farm on who they think will take the trophy, but everyone turns out. 

3. It’s doesn’t get any sweeter—or more competitive—than the Great Sugar Jam-Off and Tasting. An event that gives the town enough sweet peach jam to last the year—and the winner bragging rights for eternity.

4. The food! Whether you’re looking for the hunting club’s the Double Barrelled and Double Dipped soft serve or Hattie McGraw’s Blue Ribbon peach cobbler, the Sugar Founder’s Day Fair has all of the sweet treats that south has to offer.

5. The big, beautiful men of Sugar, Georgia as they parade their cars down Maple Street with their rag-tops down and their swagger dialed to can-I-get-an-amen. There is so much horse-power and testosterone on display it has women sighing from nine counties over.


Forever Romance is hosting a special giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt from A TASTE OF SUGAR:

“You can’t work here,” she said, angry that he hadn’t called to warn her he was coming home. He at least owed her that.

“Can and do.” He grabbed a rag off the hood of the car and wiped off his hand, then stuck it out. “Jace McGraw, Sugar’s newest resident mechanic.”

She swatted his hand away. “Since when?” Because Jace didn’t do home visits. And he didn’t stick around one place long enough to be a resident of anywhere.

“Since today.” He cupped the bill of his hat and pulled it lower on his head. “Let me guess, you’re here as the official Sugar welcoming committee. Where’s my pie?”

“What pie?”

“Pie? Something in a covered dish? You know, all those neighborly things people are supposed to do when someone comes to town.” He looked at her empty hands and then without a word his eyes dropped to her skirt and there went the other dimple—and her good parts. “Unless there’s something I can do for you, Charlie?”

The way he said her name in that low, husky timbre, almost whispering it while flattening the vowels, reminded her of a different time, a time when she naively thought he’d meant it. But she wasn’t that wide-eyed woman anymore. She knew what he was offering, and what he wasn’t capable of giving.

After all, once upon a time she’d been married to him. Yup, Charlotte Holden had fallen in love with and married the town’s biggest bad boy. Not that anybody except the two of them knew, since it had ended as fast as it had begun. But those few weeks as Mrs. Jace McGraw had been the most amazing of her life—and what had followed had nearly broken her.

“Yes,” she said. “You need to leave.” Because wasn’t that what he did best?

The briefest frown flashed across his face, and he grabbed some kind of wrench doohickey and busied himself with tinkering under the hood. “Wish I could, but it seems like my services are needed in Sugar for a bit.”

Charlotte didn’t know what hurt more, that he wanted to leave as much as she wanted him gone—which was ridiculous since him being here, during the most important time in her career, was a disaster waiting to happen—or that, after all the time she’d spent praying he’d come back to Sugar, he finally had. Only it wasn’t for her.

“That doesn’t work for me,” she said.

“Well, this isn’t about you. Now is it?” He wasn’t even looking at her but tightening some bolt inside the engine.

Which was a good thing since she was pretty sure her eyes went glassy at his comment, because at one time he’d made her believe that everything he did was for her. Including walking away from their marriage.

“I need to go. So if you could just point me in the direction of my keys.”

“See here?” Jace walked over to her car and squatted down. She did her best not to notice the way his jeans cupped his backside—tried and failed. He filled out a pair of Levi’s like nobody’s business. “Teeth marks. Looks like you got yourself a raccoon or possum problem.”

Seems she had lots of pest problems these days. “So can you just throw some new tires on it and I can be gone?”

“You don’t need new tires, what you need are new valve stems.” And wasn’t that just like a man, telling her what she needed. “Which for your sporty, two-door tiara on wheels is a special order. Imagine that.”

“So what you’re telling me is that I’m stuck here? With you. And my car won’t be ready until—”

“Best-case scenario, end of the week.”

She let out a completely undignified huff and resisted the urge to stomp her feet. She’d begged the universe for a way out of dinner, and apparently whoever was in charge of granting wishes had chosen today to listen.

She looked at her phone, considered calling Ben, and then realized she could only handle one man from her past at a time. Plus, he was on a date with the new nurse from radiology, which meant Charlotte was stranded. Something that must have shown on her face because Jace set the tool down and stepped closer—so close he was all up in her personal space, which did crazy things to her emotional space.

“I can take you home.” He looked at her buttons and back into her eyes. “Or I can take you across the street to the Saddle Rack and buy you a drink.”

Then he did something he hadn’t done in over four years, he cupped his palms around her hips and drew her to him, and damn it if she didn’t shuffle closer.

“Why would I let you buy me a drink?” she asked quietly, although her brain kicked off a hundred and one reasons on its own. The first being that was how their relationship had started.

Charlotte had been a stressed-out resident in Atlanta, lonely and so homesick it hurt, when she’d walked into a bar and seen Jace. He flashed her that bad-boy smile, bought her a drink, then another, and before she knew it he had sweet-talked her into his bed, then down to the Justice of the Peace.

“Because I think you could use a shot of something strong right now,” he said. “And we need to talk.”

“You lost the right to tell me what I need a long time ago. As for that talk you want, you’re about four years too late.”

“Not according to the great state of Georgia,” he said, and her stomach dropped. “Since legally we’re still married.”

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aloha to Sue-Ellen Welfonder and TO DESIRE A HIGHLANDER


AN UNWILLING BRIDE
Proud, passionate Lady Gillian MacGuire is known as the Spitfire of the Isles. She can take care of herself and hasn't yet met a man who could impress her . . . especially not Donell MacDonnell, the man she was promised to five years ago. She's been dreading his return, but when her intended comes back to claim her, she's stunned at how different he seems. The man she swore she would spurn forever now invades her thoughts, her dreams, and her heart.

AN UNEXPECTED DESIRE
When Roag agrees to assume the identity of the recently deceased MacDonnell chieftain, no one warns him that the man was betrothed. As a member of the King's Fenris Guard, he is oath-bound to embark on whatever mission the crown gives him. Of course, he was expecting a battle-not a bride. Yet after sharing one kiss with Lady Gillian, the powerful Highlander becomes the one seduced and captivated. Now giving in to temptation could ruin them both.


Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines.

Now a full-time writer, she's quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.

Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.

Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.

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Forever Romance offers an excerpt from TO DESIRE A HIGHLANDER

The glint in his eye, the hard set of his jaw, made her forget every word he and her father had just exchanged. Indeed, even her reason for standing here almost slipped from her mind.

She saw only Donell, the slight narrowing of his dark, intense eyes.

She held up a hand, hoping to halt him.

He kept on, ignoring her objection. “You needn’t assure me of her talents.” He tossed the quip to her father, not breaking stride. “Lady Gillian’s skills are renown, as is her beauty.”

“See here….” Gillian couldn’t finish, needing a steadying breath more than arguments. Sparks leapt between them, the very air shifting. Heat rose around her, warming her skin despite the racing wind, the day’s bitter cold.

He was almost upon her and she felt more than saw his displeasure. He’d caught himself quickly, even before her father finished speaking. If he’d been shocked by the implications behind praise of her housekeeping talent, he’d again seized the advantage. He wore a wickedly devilish look that jellied her knees.

She also bristled.

He might be roguish, even wildly attractive, but she wouldn’t bat her eyelashes, allow him to fluster her. There were surely enough women who did. And she wasn’t about to join their ranks.

She wasn’t so easily charmed.

So she lifted her chin, willing a steely glint into her eyes. She knew with feminine instinct that he wasn’t pleased by her father’s reminder of their betrothal.

Perhaps he’d met another woman during his years away, wished to marry her?

One could hope.

She wouldn’t mind releasing him from their ties, freeing him to claim another.

Unfortunately, the closer he came, the more she discerned an entirely different intent. As he loomed before her, his towering presence blocking her family and even her view of the landing beach, she knew she wasn’t mistaken. Especially when he set his hands on her shoulders, a slow smile spreading across his strong, bearded face.

He meant to kiss her.

She frowned, hoping to dissuade him.

“It’s too late for posturing, sweetness.” He shook his head, the thick raven silk of his hair teasing his broad, plaid-draped shoulders.

“I did not expect to see you again.” Gillian straightened, flicked at her sleeve. “Not this day, not ever. In truth, I scarce recognize you.”

“Then I was gone too long, I’m thinking.” He caught her hand, linking their fingers, bringing her wrist to his lips. The warmth of his mouth against her skin and the light brush of his wind-chilled beard sent a rush of tingly sensation along her nerves.

Kim's photo of Dunnottar Castle


Aloha to Jodi Thomas and RANSOM CANYON


In the new series I’m writing, RANSOM CANYON, I blended the beauty of the canyons on West Texas into my stories. Once, when flying into Amarillo, the lady next to me looked out at the flat land and said, “Why would anyone want to live in Texas? I just smiled wishing she could see the beauty of it like I did. The red mud of the Red River, the sunsets that run on forever, the ribbons of layers of the earth dancing along the canyons. In this series, I invite the world into my world. So, pull on your boots and step into a town you’ll enjoy filled with people you’ll consider family before the series is over.

I knew I had to open RANSOM CANYON with Staten Kirkland. He is a well-respected rancher who believes he needs to work harder than any hand he hires. He’s strong and honest and broken inside by the death of his only love, his wife. When his son is killed during a storm a few years later, Staten runs to a quiet woman who has been his friend since grade school and his wife’s best friend. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him. She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.

Their friendship develops into a gentle, loving affair that grows to rock both them with its depth. Staten will have to learn to love again and Quinn will have to open up to someone. The whole town watches the birth of passion and love as Staten stands beside her letting her be strong, and quiet Quinn discovers one man’s love can wash away all the pain in her past. Through storms, cattle rustlers, and facing Quinn’s greatest fear, they fight for each other as the whole town stands behind them.

Readers will feel, not like they came to visit, Crossroads, Texas, on the edge of Ransom Canyon, but the town will start to feel like home. My goal as a writer is to keep you up late reading because you have to know what happens next.

So, saddle up with me and step into RANSOM CANYON.

Jodi Thomas
jodithomas.com
facebook.com/jodithomasauthor



WINTER'S CAMP, the prequel to RANSOM CANYON, is free to readers through August 31:

A wanderer’s life was all James Randall Kirkland had known since he was an orphaned boy in San Antonio. And while years of adventure had satisfied his younger self, now he’s longing to put down roots of his own and is prepared to go it alone. But when he sees the Apache slave woman with the startling blue eyes, the course of his journey is changed forever.

Ever since the Comanche raided her village and took her for their own, Millie hasn’t known any kind of freedom. After years of being outcast, beaten and traded from tribe to tribe, she’s unprepared for James’s patient tone and gentle ways. Still, as her handsome savior slowly earns her trust, Millie struggles between desire and fear, sure it’s just a matter of time before James tires of her and her burgeoning feelings are nothing but another wasted memory.


Winter's Camp (Ransom Canyon, #0.5)

I am giving away a print copy of RANSOM CANYON to one randomly selected commenter:

Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon's founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O'Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.

Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand's son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn't imagined.

Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn't plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town's weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car's pedals, isn't prepared for what he encounters.

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Texas - have you visited the Lone Star State?  I enjoyed San Antonio last summer (link).

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 29, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha  Spirit in Charm City



Monday, August 24, 2015

Good things come in three - Aloha to Hawaii Statehood, 50th Birthday, and the Ambassador of Aloha



Historic Hawaiian state flag on display in Lahaina, Maui.

On Friday, Hawaii celebrated its 56th birthday as the 50th state. The state motto is: 

Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono

The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.


On Friday, my oldest son joined Air Force ROTC at the University of South Florida.


On Sunday, we flew home from Tampa.  As I unpacked our luggage, my husband procured a birthday cake for my 50th birthday (I am going on a cruise with college friends who also turned 50 this year ... pictures to come!) 


Today is the birthday of Duke Kahanamoku - an Olympic swimming champion, the father of surfing, and the Ambassador of Aloha.  

In Hawai’i we greet friends, loved ones and strangers
with Aloha, which means with love.

Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real
hospitality, which makes Hawai’i renowned as the
world’s center of understanding and fellowship.

Try meeting or leaving people with Aloha.
You’ll be surprised by their reaction.
I believe it and it is my creed.

Aloha to you.

Dog Beach near Fort Kamehameha

Today, we closed on a house closer to my youngest son's high school.  We bought it from a retired Army family who previously lived on Fort Kamehameha, Hawaii (now part of Hickam AFB). When we first looked at the house, I spotted chalk writing in the garage, "Aloha" and "Shoots".  It made sense when we met the family at the closing.  I believe the Aloha Spirit will fill our new home!

Do you have any good news to share?  One randomly selected commenter wins Aloha swag plus a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Duke's statue on Waikiki

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Aloha to Patience Griffin, SOME LIKE IT SCOTTISH, and the Kilts and Quilts series


I have Scotland on my mind ... enter Patience Griffin, author of the Kilts and Quilts series.  From her bio, 


Award-winning author Patience Griffin has been sewing her whole life but didn’t discover her love of quilting until her late thirties. She decided the best way to acquire her first quilt was to make one for herself. At nearly the same time, she started commuting three and half hours a day for her dream engineering job. To pass the time on the long drive, she got hooked on audiobooks—especially books with love stories. Within a couple of years, she was writing stories of her own. It was no surprise to her family and friends when she combined her love of quilting, her small town roots, and her obsession with Scottish romances into novels. She has gained some recognition with her September 11th Story Quilt which has toured the country as the property of the Pentagon. She has a master's degree in nuclear engineering but spends her days writing stories about hearth and home, and dreaming about the fictional small town of Gandiegow, Scotland.


Patience joins me for a cozy chat ....

Kim:  Texas - what is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Lone Star State?

Patience:  When I moved from Iowa to Texas, the first thing that stood out to me was how big the sky was here and how blue. After eleven years, I’m still amazed by the big sky and the gorgeous shade of blue when I’m out walking in the mornings.

I love the late fall in Texas when the wind is blowing and my chimes outside my back door are singing to me.

Finally, the smell of the Lone Star State is epitomized in the aroma of Salt Grass Steak House. Pure yumminess.

Kim:  Tell us about the September 11 Story Quilt - I've seen it at the Pentagon.

Patience:  On September 11, 2001, I was home from work with my youngest child and watched on TV when the Twin Towers came down. Along with the rest of the country, I was devastated. To try to make sense of the tragedy, I made a story quilt of the events of the day.

When the quilt was completed, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I spoke with the owner of Iowa Star Quilts, Cynthia Stary Drajna, and she suggested I donate it to the Pentagon. You can’t imagine my shock when I called the Pentagon, told them I had a quilt to donate, and they said, “Yes, let me connect you with the person who oversees the quilts.” I wasn’t the only one who had used quilting as therapy to get through those early days after the tragedy.

The quilt went on tour across the country as the property of the Pentagon. The woman in charge would send me pictures of servicemen and servicewomen hanging the quilts in their locations—Presidential libraries, big quilt shows, etc. My family was invited to Washington D.C. to tour the Pentagon when few others could get in. We were fortunate enough to see my quilt hanging in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center while we were in Washington.

For many years, I lost track of the quilt. Recently, while posting my quilts on Facebook, I came across a picture of the September 11th Story Quilt. I took a chance and made another call to the Pentagon to see if they knew what had happened to the quilt. Last I knew, my September 11th Story Quilt was hanging in the National Women’s History Museum. The operator at the Pentagon immediately connected me to the right person who said my quilt was indeed still around. The September 11th Story quilt is hanging in the Pentagon, along the tour route, and had been for several years.

I’m sure at some point, the quilt will be packed and stored away, but it makes me smile that so many people have been able to enjoy a quilt that gave me comfort to make.


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

Patience:  The list is long, encompassing all of my family, RWA in general, and a few key people specifically.

From the first moment I said I wanted to write a novel, PhD (my hubby) and my three children have been behind me one hundred percent. My children love to write as well.

While I was working on my first manuscript, I found RWA on an Internet search which led me to my local chapter, Iowa Romance Novelists, and then to Dallas Area Romance Authors. Both of those groups are filled with giving, talented writers.

But the number one person who has been my cheerleader and mentor is Kathleen Baldwin who invited me to join her critique group when I went to her booksigning in the fall of 2004. I have been involved in the multi-genre critique group ever since. Grace Burrowes is someone else who I owe a lot to for being my champion. Finally, Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency is my wonderful agent who found the right place for my book and series. She has also answered a ton of questions for me along the way.

Kim:  How did you research for your debut series, KILTS AND QUILTS?

Patience:  First of all, I’m a quilter and have been fascinated with the strong bond within the community of quilters. Our group in Iowa met the first Saturday of the month where we sewed our projects together, had potluck meals together, and laughed together. I didn’t know it, but I think I must’ve been doing research even back then because my journals have little snippets from those times of us together.

I’ve bought a lot of books and have done a lot of reading about Scotland. I’ve spent a huge amount of time on the Internet pouring over photos and gathering information, and enjoying every second of the research hunt. Finally, I’ve gone to Scotland and traveled to many small fishing villages and other sites around the country. It’s incredible to walk in the same places that I’ve seen in the pictures that I love so much.

Finally, I think it comes down to putting it all together in my imagination. I grew up in a small town of roughly six hundred people. I’ve taken bits and pieces of what I know, what I’ve learned and experienced, and came up with Gandiegow and my other villages in Scotland. When people ask me if I have based my books on one specific town, the answer has to be ‘It’s a lot of places.’

Kim:  What's next for Patience Griffin?

Patience:  I’m off to Scotland in mid-September, doing research in a small fishing village and then I’m off on a quilt tour. I’ll be speaking at the International Gathering of Guilds in Glasgow while I’m there. I’m so excited about this trip that I’ve been packing for weeks! While I’m in Scotland, I’ll be finishing book five in the Kilts and Quilts series, The Trouble with Scotland, release date April 5, 2016.


Right now, I’m also gearing up for the release of The Accidental Scot, book four in the Kilts and Quilts series, which comes out December 1, 2015. For anyone who quilts, the next Quilt Block contest will be starting near the end of September which will ultimately lead to us giving away then next quilt by the end of the year. I’ll post the contest details around September 15th and of course, send out a newsletter to let people know.


Shortly, I’m going to start something fun on Facebook. I’m crazy about the feature quilt for The Accidental Scot, called the Gandiegow Hometown Quilt. I’m going to make time to get the quilt started—pick out some fabric while I’m in Scotland (with the help of readers), post pictures and videos of my progress, and hopefully finish the quilt in the next year. Here’s the draft of the quilt designed by Iowa Star Quilts. Cynthie wants everyone to know that this is a preliminary design because she plans to add a thistle applique around the motif. It will be lovely. But I can get started on the Jacob’s Ladder quilt blocks now. I hope everyone will help me pick out fabrics and join in the fun. 



But I can get started on the Jacob’s Ladder quilt blocks now. I hope everyone will help me pick out fabrics and join in the fun. 


Lastly, in October, I’ll start work on the sixth book in the Kilts and Quilts series. I know what the story is about but I don’t have a title or a release date yet. I’m having the time of my life with this series, writing about the quilters and the trouble they can get into.

Kim's picture from Alba

Mahalo, Patience, for sharing your love of kilts and quilts! Patience is giving away a copy of SOME LIKE IT SCOTTISH to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about quilts - do you have a treasured one?  I have three made by my husband's fourth grade teacher (and family friend).  She made one for our wedding, my oldest son's birth, and my youngest son's birth.  She make the final quilt two years after his birth, when we were living in the Netherlands, so she incorporated "Dutch boy" into the pattern. I look forward to hanging them in our new home (we are closing today, transforming us from renters to owners).

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Patience and her books at patiencegriffin.com.

Check out my review of her Rita nominated debut book, TO SCOTLAND WITH LOVE, at this link.  Stay tuned for more reviews from the Kilts and Quilts series.

18812348

Weekly Winners

 
 
My family is flying home today after a week in Tampa.  My son is now enrolled in the University of South Florida (link) as a civil engineering major.  USF's mascot is the Bull (above).  Let's hope he sets his alarm ... 
 
... we have winners at SOS Aloha!
 
 Alyssa J. Montgomery's THE DEFIANT PRINCESS
- Girlygirlhoosier wins a book choice from my convention stash.
 
25613321 

Aloha to Dylann Crush - A First Timer's Perspective of RWA 
- Catslady wins the PREMIERE Anthology
 
Aloha to RWA's Librarian Day
- Danielle M. wins the PREMIERE Anthology
 
23550663 
 
Aloha to Rachel Grant and Mary Sullivan, Treasure Hunters at RWA 
- LSU wins a book choice from my convention stash
 
My workshop at RWA - How to Promote Your Book (and Have a Life) 
- Mary P. wins a book choice from my convention stash

Hester Browne's THE FINISHING TOUCHES - Book Review
- Danielle M. wins a book choice from my convention stash

6780791 

Winners, please claim your prize by sending your mailing address to sos.aloha@yahoo.com.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

 
USF' Science courtyard - 
Water molecules or Mickey's ears?