Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Winners

Hawaii is a winner for hosting the Pro Bowl today - check out my pictures from my family's visit in 2012 at this link.

I am a winner for your support of my lifestyle blog, Getting Every Benefit Available (link).  It was an experiment to demonstrate social media to my boss, separate from books and travel.  I will be returning my full attention to books ...

We have winners at SOS Aloha:

Staying Power of Romance
- Janice wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Willa Blair's SWEETIE PIE
- BN100 won a digital copy.


- Emily wins a print copy.

Kirsten Lynn's THE AIR I BREATHE
- Lexi wins military swag.


Laura Trentham's A BRAZEN BARGAIN
- Catslady wins Regency Swag.


From my travel blog, ALOHA ON MY MIND, Jane wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Plus Nancy Lee Badger's guest post for Burns Supper
- Debby G. wins a digital copy of MEDIEVAL REDEMPTION

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, January 29, 2016

Survey says ... Multicultural Romance

Hawaii taught me diversity ...

I discovered Buzzr TV during Winter Storm Jonas. The cable station replays game shows from the 80s - Match Game, Super Password, Card Sharks, and Family Feud with Richard Dawson. During Family Feud's Fast Money, Dawson asked, "Name an occupation that makes people feel good."  

My answer, of course, was romance writer.  Romance creates hope. Romance sparks love. Romance delivers the Happily Ever After.  I intended to write more about this topic ... but a family feud has erupted in Romanceland.  A feud that needs to be addressed. 

Freelance writer Bobbi Dumas posted an article on Kirkus Reviews, New Year, New Reading Resolution, at this link.   Bobbi introduced her month long promotion of Celebrating Diversity in Romance at this link.

Scroll to the second comment to read the questions posted by historical author Courtney Milan

Bobbi responded to Courtney in a second post at this link.

Courtney posted a summary of the issues on her own blog, Speaking up against systemic racism in the publishing industry, at this link.  She wrote,
If you care about romance and the future of the romance genre, why aren’t you angry with me?

Wendy the Super Librarian adds her thoughts, The One Where Wendy Talks About Diversity, at this link.

I understand Courtney's anger.  I've seen injustice in the military, as an officer and a spouse.  I have witnessed officers and their spouses, who had the means and opportunity to address injustice, simply ignore it.  I have reported unethical behavior to commanders, only to find myself the target of retribution.  I know my actions made a difference, but it was painful to be isolated by my own community.  This happened during my family's last year in Hawaii when my husband was away in Korea.  Two other military spouses kept me sane - NL Gassert, author of Gay Fiction, and D. Renee Bagby, author of Interracial Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. 

Nadja and the Laie Sea Arch

Nadja, Renee, and I met on a weekly basis to tour the island. We would chat about books, TV, and movies. I would share my adventures at conventions. I think they would have enjoyed the 2014 RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, especially the Welcome Party (link). RT sponsored the delicious crepe breakfast along with a salute to romance trailblazers, including:

- Lindsay McKenna as the pioneer of Military Romances (she is a Vietnam era Navy veteran)

- Heather Graham for her efforts to revitalize New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

- Brenda Jackson, Sandra Kitt, and Beverly Jenkins for pioneering multicultural romance.

Sadly, the audience talked through Lindsay's comments. Then, most of the audience walked out after they finished their crepes just as Kathryn Falk took to the stage to introduce the multicultural pioneers.  They missed hearing how these women overcame challenges to bring their stories to life in romance novels.  I was embarrassed that many attendees did not take the time to hear these legends. From this experience, I understand why multicultural writers feel dismissed by the romance industry.

(I will ask RT if they recorded the Welcome Party.  If the staff did, I will encourage RT to post it on YouTube ... it is worth watching!)

File:LoC Barse Romance.jpg
Barse's Romance in the Library of Congress
Public Domain (link)

In February 2015, I attended a special symposium, What Is Love? Romance in the Digital Ageat the Library of Congress (link, link, link, and link).  The first panel, Romance Canon, featured multicultural pioneer Beverly Jenkins.  As I wrote on my blog,

I borrowed a pen from the lovely lady next to me - a fan of Beverly Jenkins - so I could take notes. I uncapped the pen just in time to hear Beverly discuss that African American romance has been absent from romance canon. She added that it took Terry McMillan's WAITING TO EXHALE to hit the best seller for the publishing industry to realize black women actually read books (Beverly was very funny in her delivery).

I skipped the second panel to watch the documentary Love Between the Covers (link).  The film spotlighted the everyday lives of several authors, including Beverly Jenkins.  She spoke to the camera (paraphrase), "If readers can accept vampires fall in love, why can't they accept African Americans in a relationship?"  Beverly's comments still resonate with me.

One year later, Beverly's question has been answered with her latest release, FORBIDDEN.  It landed on Sarah MacLean's recommend reads for February in the Washington Post (link),

Jenkins does not shy away from the challenges that Eddy and Rhine and all black Americans face in the 1870s, and the truth of their journey makes this romance even more powerful when Rhine must reveal the truth to be worthy of Eddy’s love. This is historical romance at its very best.

Military friends at RT in Dallas
Tamara Argyle, Sharon Hamilton, Jackson Young,
 Siera London, and Kathy Crouch.

Back to Family Feud.  Dawson asked, "Name an occupation that makes people feel good."  The number one answer, "Nurse."  I immediately thought of Siera London.

I met Siera, a retired Navy nurse, during the 2014 RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans.  She introduced herself to me as a fellow RomVet at the SOS America promo table. The following year, we bumped into each other at the Library of Congress.  She also attended RT in Dallas, where I invited her to be a guest on my blog (link).  

Thank you, Siera, for your service!


In celebration of nurses and authors, who make people feel good, I am giving away Siera's latest release, A DOCTOR FOR CHRISTMAS: A Bachelors of Shell Cove Romance Novella, to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Siera currently lives in the Florida Keys - what do you know about the keys?  I grew up in Miami, so the Keys were a weekend escape where we enjoyed Key Lime Pie!

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

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


More books from Siera London

Aloha to Elizabeth Boyle and THE KNAVE OF HEARTS (Rhymes with Love)


In the fifth novel of the captivating Rhymes with Love series from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, a young woman’s hopes of a match encounter a wickedly handsome complication…

Lavinia Tempest has been eagerly anticipating a spectacular Season. But one disastrous pile-up on the Almack’s dance floor derails all her plans. Add to that, the very stunning revelations about her mother’s scandalous past have become the ton’s latest on dits. Lavinia’s future has gone from shining bright to blackest night in one misstep.

Alaster “Tuck” Rowland admits he’s partly to blame for Lavinia’s disastrous debut. But it’s not guilt that compels him to restore her reputation. Rather, he’s placed a wager that he can make Lavinia into of the most sought-after ladies in London. Who better than an unrepentant rake to set Society astir?

Tuck’s motives are hardly noble. But in teaching the lovely Lavinia how to win any man she wants, he suddenly finds himself tangled in the last place he ever imagined: in love.

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

ELIZABETH BOYLE has always loved romance and now lives it each and every day by writing adventurous and passionate stories that readers from all around the world have described as “page-turners.” Since her first book was published, she’s seen her romances become New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and win the RWA RITA Award and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards. She resides in Seattle with her family, her garden and always growing collection of yarn. Readers can visit her on the Web at

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Elizabeth offers an excerpt from the KNAVE OF HEARTS ... 

London, 1811

Lavinia walked down the aisle of the London church, her gaze searching every pew.

“Looking for this?” Up near the altar stood the charwoman, who’d come in right behind the wedding party. In her hands she held an elaborate bouquet of roses and peonies.

A bridal bouquet, to be exact.

“Oh, dear, yes. I don’t see how that could get left behind,” Lavinia exclaimed as she hurried forward to claim the lost treasure.

“Well, there were quite a few tears being shed, my own included,” the lady said, “so it isn’t hard to see why these beauties might be forgotten.” The old woman smiled. “’Sides, ’tis my experience that it’s a love match when so many have to reach for their hankies.”

“A love match? Oh, yes, decidedly,” Lavinia agreed as the lady handed over the mislaid bouquet.

“Still, such a fancy collection of posies. Would be a terrible shame for them to be left behind,” the old woman said, not even seeming to mind the petals falling where she’d been sweeping. She looked down at them and smiled. “I do like the roses, even when they leave a mess. Pretty bits of confetti, I like to say. I takes them home and dries ’em.”

Lavinia couldn’t help herself, she inhaled, and the sweet scent of roses surrounded her.

And just as quickly she found herself tearing up again. She dashed at her eyes with her sleeve, having already ruined two handkerchiefs.

“Oh, there now,” the old charwoman told her kindly. “Weddings do that to a soul. Leave one all tied up in knots. Why, when me sister got herself married, I cried for a week.”

“You did?” Lavinia began. “I suppose I am still in shock. When we came to London, my sister made it quite clear she had no intention of ever being wed … and now …”

Lavinia looked over at the altar.

“Glad tears, though,” the charwoman said. “Always glad tears at a wedding. Your sister seemed ever so happy when she married His Lordship. And everyone saying him a big brute, but he looked over the moon with her at his side, now didn’t he?”

Lavinia shifted the bouquet from one hand to another and looked away. “Yes, they are quite meant for each other.” And once again, a sheen of tears rose in her eyes.

Oh, the devil take her! Would she ever stop crying? Louisa had married her beloved Piers … and now …

“Those are tears of happiness I see, aren’t they?” the charwoman prodded.

Really, the woman was a terrible busybody, but having come from the village of Kempton, a place rife with such spinsters, Lavinia found the old lady’s inquiry oddly comforting.

So she leaned closer to the woman and said, “I have to admit, as I watched my sister marry her viscount, the tears you witnessed were hardly charitable ones.”

The charwoman prodded her toward a place in the pews. “Tell old Tildie all about it.” She plopped down in the front row and patted the space next to her.

Lavinia looked down the aisle toward the open door. Outside, the May sunshine shone brightly. Beckoning. “I really should be going—”

“Oh, come now, no one is going to leave without you. Besides, do an old woman a favor and tell her the story.” The woman winked with a cheeky glee. “I saw that kiss at the altar. I’d wager my broom there’s a bit of scandal and romance to all of this.” Then she looked at the door as well. “And more to come if I’m not mistaken.”

Lavinia smiled, for Tildie had the right of it. Everything about this wedding and the days leading up to it were filled with scandal … and romance.


More books from the Rhymes with Love series ...

Aloha to Joanne Kennedy and HOW TO WRANGLE A COWBOY (Cowboys of Decker Ranch, Book 3)


The last thing this cowboy expected

Inner-city veterinarian Lindsey Ward always loved visiting her grandfather’s Wyoming ranch, so it breaks her heart to have to sell it. She’ll miss the scent of hay and sagebrush under the wide-open sky, but at least the sale will help fund the clinic she’s always dreamed of.

Was to get roped by a city girl

Ruggedly handsome foreman Shane Lockhart and his adorable son aren’t making it any easier for Lindsey to focus on what has to be done. It’s exhilarating going toe to toe with a rough, tough cowboy whose stubborn idealism matches her own, but it’s Shane’s tenderness that might tip Lindsey’s heart over the fence.

Barnes & Noble

Joanne Kennedy is the RITA-nominated author of ten contemporary Western romance novels, including the Cowboys of Decker Ranch series, which began with How to Handle a Cowboy, one of Booklist’s “Best Romances of the Decade.” Joanne lives in a secret mountain hideout on the Wyoming/Colorado border with two dogs, a cat named Earl, and a husband who is an airline pilot, military officer, and volunteer fireman. When not loving a man in uniform, she occupies her obsessive personality with cowboys, quarter horses, hiking in the mountains, and squirrels.

One of the reasons I love the West ... the big sky. The Wyoming sky is a unique shade of bottomless blue, with popcorn clouds that build up behind the mountains and float over the plains. There’s nothing I love more than sitting on a rock at the top of my favorite hill, watching the changing skyscape.

Learn more about Joanne and her books at

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway at this link.


More books in the series ...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Aloha to Laura Trentham and A BRAZEN BARGAIN (Spies and Lovers Book 2)


Lauara Trentham is celebrating the release of A BRAZEN BARGAIN:

Love soothes the deepest of scars. Spies and Lovers, Book 2 Minerva Bellingham is at her wits' end. Her younger brother, Simon, will have them penniless and on the streets if his extravagant gambling habit isn't curtailed. An enormous debt to Lord Rafe Drummond is the final indignity. Signing over her dowry is their only choice. Until Lord Drummond suggests something much more scandalous. She can keep her dowry-in exchange for the Bellinghams working three months as a housemaid and stable boy. Scarred from his service to the Crown, Rafe recognizes the young Simon Bellingham has the makings of a good duke. Minerva is a different story. Her pure, delicate beauty only underscores Rafe's tarnished, bleak soul.  

Yet he delights in cracking Minerva's icy reserve to reveal a fiery, stubborn woman. And Minerva discovers the gruff master of Wintermarsh has the heart of a poet. But before they can find a future safe in each other's arms, a menace from Simon's licentious past slithers back into their lives, forcing Rafe to plan the most important rescue mission of his life. 

Warning: Contains a paragon of the beau monde who gets the hang of polishing silver, and a master of the house who'd like her to make his bed-preferably with him in it. Also passion unleashed with the mere touch of a finger. Readers are encouraged to swoon.

Servants' costumes from Downton Abbey

From Laura's bio,

I was born and raised in a small town in Northwest Tennessee. Although, I loved English and reading in high school, I was convinced an English degree equated to starvation! So, I chose the next most logical major - Chemical Engineering- and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years. Now I live in South Carolina with my husband and two children. In between school and homework and soccer practices, I love to get lost in another world, whether its Regency England or small town Alabama.

Learn more about Laura and her books, including an excerpt from A BRAZEN BARGAIN, at   Check out my review of AN INDECENT INVITATION, Book 1 in the series, at this link.   Stay tuned for my review of A BRAZEN BARGAIN!  I am giving away Regency swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Laura's home state of Tennessee - what do you know about the Volunteer State?  I'll share my father's favorite joke.  What did Tennessee?  What Arkansas. (He was a country boy who enjoyed corny humor).

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

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Book 1 in the series

Aloha to Theresa Romain and A GENTLEMAN'S GAME (Romance of the Turf)

In Book One of Romance of the Turf, a refreshing new Regency series from rising star Theresa Romain, a mystery demanding to be solved brings unlikely allies together in more ways than one...

How far will a man go

Talented but troubled, the Chandler family seems cursed by bad luck—and so Nathaniel Chandler has learned to trade on his charm. He can broker a deal with anyone from a turf-mad English noble to an Irish horse breeder. But Nathaniel’s skills are tested when his stable of trained Thoroughbreds become suspiciously ill just before the Epsom Derby, and he begins to suspect his father’s new secretary is not as innocent as she seems.

To win a woman’s secretive heart?

Nathaniel would be very surprised if he knew why Rosalind Agate was really helping his family in their quest for a Derby victory. But for the sake of both their livelihoods, Rosalind and Nathaniel must set aside their suspicions. As Derby Day draws near, her wit and his charm make for a successful investigative team…and light the fires of growing desire. But Rosalind’s life is built on secrets and Nathaniel’s on charisma, and neither defense will serve them once they lose their hearts…


Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest. Learn more about Theresa and her books at

Theresa Romain’s Road Trip Tip: Travel with plenty of snacks! Otherwise the human members of your party might start passing the flask, and the animals might wander off in search of forage. My hero Nathaniel learned this lesson the hard way.

Jean Louis Théodore Géricault 001.jpg
The Derby at Epsom, 1821, by Théodore Géricault
Public Domain (link)

Sourcebooks is hosting a special giveaway at this link ... and offer an excerpt from A GENTLEMAN'S GAME:

When the farmer had led his chestnut away again, Nathaniel dangled the medal before Rosalind’s face. “Look there, Rosalind Agate. I’ve finally won a medal, and I didn’t even have to tidy myself up for a meal.”

“Or arise early.” At the end of its white ribbon, the medal turned in a slow breeze. It was a small circle of some silver metal, maybe tin, buffed to shine and catch the eye. “It’s pretty,” she said. “I’m glad he gave it to you. He wouldn’t have won without your help at the right moment.”

“Oh—well.” He shrugged this off, then stuffed the medal into the pocket of his waistcoat, from which the ribbon poked out alongside his fob. “This is a pleasant village, isn’t it? If home felt like this, I mightn’t be so eager to take to the road.”

“And how does it feel to you?” She couldn’t seem to stop asking questions. Her tidy control was packed away. Today she was a woman who danced, and who owned a ribbon so green it would bring a man to his knees.

The thought made her smile as she blinked up at Nathaniel. His eyes were blue, as blue as the Suffolk sky in springtime. She had learned the shade of their brightness.

Slowly, he smiled. “It feels,” he said, “like the sort of place where a man might kiss a woman with a crown of red flowers in her hair.”

Her heart thudded a bit faster; her knees went watery. “It does feel that way,” she whispered. “To me too.”

He tipped up her chin, his hand strong yet gentle along the line of her jaw. “Thank God for that.” And there in the shadow of a building once devoured by flame, he lowered his lips to hers.

* * *

Once their lips met, Nathaniel could not imagine how he had waited so long to kiss her.

Oh, there were reasons on reasons not to. She was his father’s secretary, and he had some sort of business arrangement with her about…something…

Honestly, who cared about the reasons why not? There were even more reasons why this was right.

The soft, almost hesitant curve of her mouth before he covered it with his own.

The surprised inhale that smoothed into a hmmm of pleasure.

The sweet-spiced taste of her as her lips parted, letting them fit together more deeply with his. As the tip of his tongue brushed hers, setting them both to shivering, he tasted the candied almonds. He tasted the heat of her and breathed in her scent. She was flowers and laughter and all the joys of a muddled morning. Of a race won. A medal for doing what was right.

Her hands wound around his neck, nails trailing lightly through his short-cropped hair. He could have groaned at the feeling, gentle and intimate, and he bent to wrap her more closely within his embrace. His hand trailed from her face to her shoulder to her back to fit her close to him. To press against her, solid and smiling and crimson-crowned and lovely.

She made another little hmm, and he went tense as a bowstring at the erotic sound. He laced his fingers into her plaited hair beneath its wreath of blooms. Feeling the shape of her head through her sleek hair was intimate. He almost felt as though he were holding her thoughts. Could he tell what was on her mind? How could he understand her, a woman so eager for sweetness but who had never yet claimed it?

Isinglass wins the Derby (1893)
Public Domain (link)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday's Warriors: Aloha to Kirsten Lynn and THE AIR I BREATHE - Book Review


In memory of the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 1973, which officially ended the Vietnam War for American troops .... I reviewed Kirsten Lynn's THE AIR I BREATHE:

A New Breed Of Warrior…
LTJG Jack “Cowboy” Kerr doesn’t know crap about corn and cattle. But put him in a firefight and he’ll clean up like Wyatt Earp on the streets of Tombstone. An elite warrior unleashed on the mangroves and rice paddies of Vietnam, he and his men are common men with an uncommon desire to succeed. It’s not long before the name given to them by the Vietnamese, Men with Green Faces, strikes fear in the enemy and gives hope to allies. His life is the Navy…his family the brother SEALs on his left and right. He’s the ultimate hunter/operator. But Jack never thought stealing a kiss from a USO girl would change his life and turn him from hunter to hunted.

An Old Soul And Tender Heart…
Libby Boden is a Wyoming cowgirl, born and bred. Her determination to serve her country and follow her cousins and brother lands her in Vietnam. She’ll do anything to stay in-country, as part of the USO, to be close to her loved ones and the SEAL who stole a kiss and her heart. When tragedy strikes separating her from her Frogman, Libby will use all the lessons learned at the feet of her grandparents, Kyle and Lena Allaway, to hunt him down and show him the Navy forgot to issue him one essential…her.

Across three continents…

In a world gone crazy, these two might find all they need is the air they breathe and each other ...

Mai Chau, Vietnam
Image by Franzfoto (link)

I decided to fly through the air and live in the sunlight and enjoy life as much as I could. - Evel Knievel

Jack Kerr, like many Navy SEALs, embrace life as Evel Knievel.  The difference between the frogman and the stuntman is the ultimate goal - Jack is serving his country.  He remains committed to that service even in an unpopular war. His saving grace - a Red Cross volunteer named Libby Boden. Her all American smile, and stolen kisses, sustains Jack through the rice paddies of Vietnam.

THE AIR I BREATHE is an epic love story, challenging the hero and heroine to examine their motives, talents, and dreams - can they overcome their diverging paths?   Lynn creates sizzling passion and heartbreaking action in this mesmerizing novel.   It is more than a romantic journey into American history; it is a beautiful tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty.

Lynn drew me into the budding relationship between Jack and Libby with her vivid descriptions and the raw emotions of the hell to come.  Lynn relied upon her experience as a military historian to create a realistic portrayal of combat while demonstrating that love can conquer all.

I received a print copy from the author for an honest review.

Ann Margaret sings during USO tour in Vietnam
Public Domain (link)

I am giving away military swag to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Wyoming - Libby's home state.

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

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Wednesday's Warriors - Aloha to Terry Spear and SEAL WOLF IN TOO DEEP

Love spells danger for an alpha SEAL wolf and the woman who steals his heart in this steamy shifter romance from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear (an Army vet!)

His love is dangerous

As a Navy SEAL and police diver, alpha wolf shifter Allan Rappaport knows how to handle tough situations, but the arrival of a human diving partner—especially one as attractive as Debbie Renaud—is a whole new challenge. Getting involved is dangerous, but Debbie’s offers are hard to resist. As the heat between them rises and a murder plot thickens, Allan is on the brink of exposing his biggest secret.

But she’s diving in headfirst

For Debbie, working with another top-notch diver like Allan is too good to be true, and their mutual attraction is hotter than she could have dreamed. Debbie suspects he’s hiding something, though, and she’s set on figuring it out—one off-duty rendezvous at a time. But when Debbie gets between a werewolf hunter and his intended victim, suddenly she is plunged straight into the heart of Allan’s world—a world she never knew existed.


Terry Spear, right

USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008 Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world and is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Crawford, Texas. Learn more about Terry, her books, and her bears at

An Excerpt:

He pulled out a couple of mugs while she warmed up the cocoa. He chuckled and she turned to see what was funny and nearly had a heart attack.

He was holding one hot pink and white mug while reading it, the other sitting on the counter: Men should be like my curtains, easy to pull and well hung.

Her lips parted, she had to have turned cherry red, and she turned away quickly before she burned the cocoa. Now what? Explain that a friend had given them to her when her last boyfriend and she had parted company? Or just ignore the fact that they were drinking out of those cups while she was having hot cocoa with him and pretend she wasn’t embarrassed to the tip of her toes?

He brought the mugs over. “Anything else?”

“There’s a can of whipped cream in the fridge, if you want some.”

“Real cream,” he said, eyeing the can. “Looks good.” He gave it to her, and he lifted the mugs.

She shook up the can and pointed it at the right mug, pushed the nozzle, and the cream dripped and fizzled. Not to be thwarted, she shook it again, hoping that it wasn’t defective. And then the whipped cream swirled around with perfect ridges in a twirl on top with a cute little pointy peak. Perfect.

Then she turned to the other mug, shook the can again, and pushed the nozzle. It was working great until halfway through her little mountain of whipped cream twirling to perfection, when the nozzle malfunctioned again and spewed whipped cream everywhere.

In horror, she stopped what she was doing and stared at the white cream splattered all over Allan’s chest and a few that had dotted his boxer briefs. Her mouth agape, she glanced up at him.

His eyes sparkled with mirth and he laughed.

“Oh, oh, let me get something to wipe it up,” she said, belatedly, and set the can of whipped cream on the counter.

She grabbed some paper towels and wetted them, then rushed back to wipe the mess up. He was still holding onto both hot pink mugs of cocoa. She had every intention of taking one of the mugs and letting him clean himself, but he just moved his arms apart as if to say she made the mess, she could wash it up.

She thought she was going to die. Yes, he was totally hot. And yes, she’d fantasized about making love to him—since they were both unattached, and she truly liked him. But in her wildest dreams she would never have imagined making him cocoa in the middle of the night in her duplex while he stood in sexy silk briefs, not baggy, but nice and form fitting, and then she proceeded to splatter him with whipped cream. All over his tanned chest and those black briefs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Aloha to Kelly Bowen and DUKE OF MY HEART (Season for Scandal, Book 1)

Kelly Bowen is celebrating the release of DUKE OF MY HEART, Book 1 in her new series, Season for Scandal:

Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he's returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl - quite inconveniently deceased - tied to his missing sister's bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he's at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.

Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she's somehow...flawless. It's just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected - yet absolutely true.

Google Play

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.

Forever Romance is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers and excerpt from DUKE OF MY HEART:

He tipped his chair forward on two legs, bringing himself closer to her. She held her ground. He was close enough to kiss her. He braced his elbows on his knees, the bottle dangling from his fingers, his ice-grey eyes searching her face. There was a sheen of liquor on his lower lip, the moisture visible in the flickering lantern light. She could taste it on her own tongue, imagined tasting it on his.

Her heart seemed to be crashing in her chest louder than it should, and her stomach felt as it would have on heaving seas. Her control was slipping, and taking with it her judgment and her wits. “Do you think differently of me? Now that you know who I am? The things I’ve done?” The questions slipped out of their own volition.

“The things you’ve done?” His forehead creased.

“I sold myself, Max.” There. She’d said it. “Before I had enough power to control my own destiny.”

He stared at her. “I know who you are. You are Ivory Moore. You are the woman who redressed a corpse to save my sister. The woman who kissed me to save me from myself. You are the only one who understands why I can never be put in a prison that was built for me by fate and circumstance.”

She swallowed, emotion clogging her throat.

“You are the woman I trust.” He pushed himself away from her abruptly, and the chair came back down on four legs with a thud. He stood and set the bottle back on the table with great care. Reaching down, he caught her hands in his and pulled her to her feet. He studied her hands before bringing them to his lips. “The woman I want more than anything.”

Desire streaked through her and settled somewhere deep in her belly. Time seemed to have slowed. His lips grazed the insides of her wrists.

“Max.” It came out like a plea, when she had meant it as a protest.

“I lied,” he said. He pressed his mouth to the flesh of her palm, and her knees nearly buckled.

“What?” It was hard to follow the thread of conversation, what with the feel of his lips on her skin.

“I said I wasn’t sure of anything anymore,” he said quietly.

“But that’s not true. I am sure of you.”

Ivory searched his eyes, seeing only a raw vulnerability in those clear grey depths.

“You’ve more courage than anyone I’ve ever met,” he whispered, pulling her closer to him, their hands still joined.

“You’re drunk.”

“Not nearly enough. But I wish I was.”


“If I were drunk, it might excuse what I’m about to do.”

Ivory didn’t have time to even respond before he kissed her.


More books from Kelly ....

Aloha to Jodi Thomas and RUSTLER'S MOON (Ransom Canyon, Book 2)

From the desk of Jodi Thomas ...

When I began writing RUSTLER’S MOON, I wanted to tell a story of love and mystery, of trusting someone even when you don’t know all about them. Angela Harold was a woman running for her life after her father died. She wants to move to this small town in Texas and vanish from all who knew her, only she didn’t count of bumping into Wilkes Wagner. They might have nothing in common, but sparks fly from the first. Wilkes considered his life an open book while Angela is afraid to let anyone really know her.

In ranching a rustler’s moon is a sliver of moonlit night were rustlers can see to steal cattle, but it’s too dark to see the outlaws well enough to identify them. It’s also thought that a cowboy can still his sweetheart’s heart beneath a rustler’s moon. My story circles through the shadows between the lives of the characters as they learn who to trust, who to believe, and who to love. This one will keep you reading long into the night and who knows, you might finally fall asleep beneath a RUSTLER’S MOON.

One thing I love about writing a series is that characters can play small parts in one book and major parts in another. The reader gets to watch a character learn and grow. As the series continues, the people of Crossroads, Texas will seem like old friends dropping by to visit.

Maybe I like this so much because I’ve grown up in the same town I live in now. I love knowing the histories of whole families and knowing that there are people who care about me just because they knew my father or worked with my uncle, or went to school with my brother. I know there are great advantages of having lived all over the world, but there is a peace too in being in a small town.

A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at

I am giving away a print copy of RUSTLER'S MOON to one randomly selected commenter:

On a dirt road marked by haunting secrets, three strangers caught at life's crossroads must decide what to sacrifice to protect their own agendas…and what they're each willing to risk for love. 

If there's any place that can convince Angela Harold to stop running, it's Ransom Canyon. And if there's any man who can reveal desires more deeply hidden than her every fear, it's Wilkes Wagner. Beneath the rancher's honorable exterior is something that just might keep her safe…or unwittingly put her in danger's path.

With his dreams of leaving this small Texas town swallowed up by hard, dusty reality, all Wilkes has to show for his life is the Devil's Fork Ranch. Though not one to let false hope seduce him, he can't deny the quiet and cautious beauty who slips into his world and changes everything.

Lauren Brigman finally has freedom at her fingertips. All she needs is Lucas Reyes's attention—a look, a touch, some sign that she's more to him than a girl he rescued one dangerous night. But now it's her turn to rescue someone, and the life-altering decision may cost her more than a chance with Lucas.

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about the moon - did you see the full moon on Christmas night?  My family ventured outside to see it through the cloud cover.   Here's an article about the full moon from NASA.

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

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


More books in the series ...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Aloha to Patience Griffin and THE ACCIDENTAL SCOT - Audio Book


January 25th marks the annual celebration of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns. Find out about his life and poetry, the Burns supper, and this year’s festivities at this link

To celebrate Burns Supper, I invited Patience Griffin, author of the Kilts and Quilts series set in Gandiegow, Scotland, as by guest today.  

The Joy of Being Read To

Who as a child didn’t love to be read to? As the fourth child in four and half years, the adults around me were so busy that when someone did read to me, it was a huge treat. I remember cuddling with my grandmother in her padded rocking chair—the same grandmother who taught me to sew—with her reading Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat. Leaning against my grandmother, hearing her heartbeat while she read, I fell in love with the cadence of story as it came alive.

My love of stories-being-read-aloud continued into elementary school. Sadly, at around fifth grade, teachers quit reading to us. When I hit high school, I thought I’d outgrown hearing stories until my sophomore year, when a new English teacher arrived on the scene, shaking up the establishment. Her first rebellious act was to move the straight columns of desks into a circle, with her occupying one of them. Because she was part of the classroom circle, she felt more like an equal than a superior. When she announced she would be reading various books aloud throughout the year, a collective groan went up across the room. But within minutes of the opening lines of Pigman, she proved to a bunch of fifteen-year-olds that we weren’t too old to have storytime.

We loved it! She educated us about mental illness in Lisa, Bright and Dark, how things can go terrible wrong in Lord of the Flies, and showed me a different life from my small town roots in the The Outsiders. Because no one had read to us in so long, we soaked it up. The words poured over us, calming our teenage angst, nurturing our souls. Being read to fed my need for story and touched me way behind high school as I’m sure it touched my fellow classmates, too. 

After high school, life got busy. Work. Marriage. Then Reading to my own kids—Goodnight Moon, The Friendly book, Little Critter, Little Women, Harry Potter—you get the picture. Then there was university—yes, I finished my two engineering degrees as a single mom of two, but reading to my kids was always a priority. The next time that I would be read to was when I took an engineering job, commuting three and half hours a day.

Oh, the wonder of audiobooks!

It was as if heaven opened up and dished out a heaping helping of love in the way of story. I ate it up. Story became my addiction. I couldn’t wait to get on the road in the mornings, or leave work in the evenings to find out what the characters were going to do next. Though I was a huge letter writer growing up, and I knew that one day I would write non-fiction, it wasn’t until I devoured audiobooks that I got the fiction bug…especially in writing it.

Last year, after the release of my debut novel, To Scotland with Love, I was ecstatic when I found out that my book was going to audiobook. I think I jumped around and hooted and hollered for a full fifteen minutes! This fall I found out the rest books in the Kilts and Quilts series will be in audiobook as well. I never dreamed such a wonderful thing would happen to me!

At quilt shows, I speak with many quilters—men and women—who love to listen to books while they work. I love to listen to books when I walk, but my favorite by far is on long road trips. Books, snacks, and hours of listening time; there’s nothing better!

On December 1st, The Accidental Scot, book four in the Kilts and Quilts series was released, and its audiobook came out on January 21st for your listening pleasure. PhD, my husband, is my biggest audiobook fan. He thinks Kirsten Potter, the narrator, is the best. I have to agree with him. For a sample, click at this link.

How do you feel about audiobooks? I’m always surprised at those who don’t listen to them on a regular basis; but then I remember, if it wasn’t for my long commute, I wouldn’t have been as exposed to audiobooks the way that I was.

What are your favorite books that you’ve listened to, either as a child, or as an adult, either in audiobooks or in person?

For your chance to win one of five Mp3 copies of THE ACCIDENTAL SCOT, please enter below. (US only. Sorry to my international friends.)


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.


Christmas in the small village of Gandiegow brings holiday cheer—and a chance for love between two strangers…

When her father is injured in an accident, Edinburgh engineer Pippa McDonnell comes home to Gandiegow to take over the family business, the North Sea Valve Company. Now she’s working overtime trying to fix NSV’s finances and find the cash to get her father proper medical care.

One possibility is to accept a partnership with MTech, an American firm desperate to get their hands on her da’s innovative valve design. He was against bringing in outsiders, but Pippa is desperate enough to at least listen to MTech’s charming representative Max McKinley.

As Christmas approaches and with the help of Gandiegow's meddling quilters, Pippa and Max slowly find themselves attracted to each other. Max seems honorable, but is he there to steal the valve design…or Pippa’s heart?

Check out my review of THE ACCIDENTAL SCOT at this link.

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