Thursday, March 31, 2016

Aloha to Heidi Hormel and THE ACCIDENTAL COWBOY - Book Review


When former bronc rider Lavonda Leigh is asked to guide a Scottish archaeologist through the Arizona desert, she's expecting a fussy egghead. But then she discovers tall, strong Jones Kincaid competing at the local Highland games. She can't help her interest in him--and that's before he puts on his cowboy hat and hits the trail like a pro.

Jones is after more than he's letting on. His quest could clear a past scandal and let him live his dream—studying the old West. But as he spends time with Lavonda in this rugged landscape, he realizes that what he wants isn't just academic--he yearns for a life with her on the ranch. If she discovers his deception, this professor-turned-cowboy will lose his reputation...and Lavonda, too.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys - Waylon Jennings

Lavonda Leigh's mama let her grow up to be a cowgirl in the rodeo circuit.  It was the family business after all.  Yet Lavonda escaped to big business as a communications expert only to find herself downsized.  She returned home to Angel Crossing, Arizona, to rethink her career path.  Lavonda becomes a caretaker of an abandoned ranch bequeathed to the local university.  She finds solace with the resident goat, donkey, and cat.  When the university asks Lavonda to guide a Scottish archaeologist through the desert to study beans, she is taken back when the scientist is not quite what he seems.

Dr. "Jones" Kincaid is trying to escape the damning effects of a failed project (think Geraldo Rivero opening an empty tomb of Al Capone).  He uses the bean study to give him access to Arizona desert where his American ancestor may have stashed ancient treasure. As much as he is desperate to revive his reputation, he soon realizes he needs something more - Lavonda.

Hormel delivers a heartwarming romance between two "wandering" souls who have more in common than first look. Both Lavonda and Jones linger in their respect families' shadows until they meet each other.  The time spent on the ranch and in the desert give Lavonda and Jones the opportunity to see beyond their families' expectations to find a "treasure" of a lifetime - love.

I enjoyed Hormel's vivid descriptions of the Arizona desert - its beauty, mysteries, and dangers. I also appreciated how Hormel introduced me to a cowgirl's life in a rodeo and a Scot's love of his culture, even on horseback in the desert.  I'm off to find Hobnobs (link) in the commissary!

THE ACCIDENTAL COWBOY is available Tuesday, April 5, just in time for National Tartan Day on Wednesday, April 6 (link).   

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

1. Leave a comment about Arizona - what do you know about the home of Angel Crossing?

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

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 3.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Learn more about Heidi and her books at


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday's Warrior - Aloha to Maggie Leffler and SECRETS OF FLIGHT


Coming in May for Military Appreciation Month .... 

This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.

Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.

Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.

As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways.

Check out the book trailer at this link.

A native of Columbia, Maryland*, Maggie Leffler graduated from University of Delaware with a major in English, a minor in biology and was team captain of women's cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. She was the recipient of a Wilmington Trust scholar athlete scholarship and part of a North Atlantic Conference championship-winning women's cross-country team. She volunteered with Americorps before attending St. George's University School of Medicine.

After completing her residency in family practice, she became a board certified family physician. Her essay, The Other Side of the Stethoscope, appeared in the inaugural issue of The Examined Life Journal of University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. In 2011, she received a Presidential Citation for Outstanding Alumni from University of Delaware. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and sons.

Learn more about Maggie and her books at

* Kim now lives in Columbia, Maryland!

Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner & Blanche Osborn
with their aircraft leaving Pistol Packin' Mama 
Public Domain (link)

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

1. If you were a pilot, what would you name your airplane?

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

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 3.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Wednesday's Warrior - Aloha to Jill Shalvis and NOBODY BUT YOU (Cedar Ridge Book 3)


When Jacob was injured in the war, it changed him for life. Now all he wants to do is come home to Cedar Ridge, settle in at his lakeside cabin and get some much-needed peace and quiet. But there's no peace to be had when he finds a spitfire of a woman camping out on his property. Half the time he's not sure whether he wants to spank her or kiss--or maybe both. He's in a dark place and a dark mood, and here's this wildly hot woman who is also funny and light and may be the balm be needs to soothe his aching soul.

Sophie Marren is pretty much penniless after leaving her abusive husband. She doesn't have the money to pay rent or the slip fees for docking the boat where she's been sleeping. She was getting along just perfectly until the good-looking, brooding, I'm-too-sexy-for-myself guy moves into the lake cabin that the slip belongs to. Sure he's hot as the noon sun with those dark lens and even darker 'tude, but god forbid she tie herself to another man who's always telling her what to do. But the more she gets to know Jacob, the more she sees how willing he is to battle for her wounded heart...a battle she might just let him win.

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

Forever Romance is hosting a Cedar Ridge giveaway at this link.

23435151My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge, #2)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Aloha to Amy Sandas and LUCK IS NO LADY

Amy Sandas joins us today to celebrate the release of her LUCK IS NO LADY, Book One in her Fallen Ladies series. 

Amy Sandas's love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother's Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor's degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children near Milwaukee.

Kim: You hail from Wisconsin. What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of The Badger State?

Amy: Definitely autumn. Northern Wisconsin is a web of forests, lakes, and gently rolling hills. When the leaves turn in the fall, the world becomes vibrant with color. The sun still shines, but the wind has a new chill as it rustles through the trees. The air takes on a crisp, earthy scent that is both comforting and exhilarating. I could do without Wisconsin winters, but autumn is something not to be missed.

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

Amy: RWA, for sure! Once I decided I wanted to try to become an author, I spent so much time online researching the process of submitting to agents and editors, the query letter, the synopsis, etc. I told myself it was too soon to join RWA since I didn’t even have a full book written yet. But once I did join, I realized I should have done it a lot sooner. There is so much information available and the community is priceless. It helps a great deal to know you are not alone on this frightening and exhilarating journey.

Kim: What inspired LUCK IS NO LADY?

Amy: It all started with an idea of two people meeting unexpectedly behind a shadowed curtain. I didn’t know why they were there at first, but I loved the sense of intimacies being whispered between complete strangers. There was something poignant about the vulnerability in such an encounter, as well as the liberation. The rest of the story took a couple different forms before it settled into its current state, but everything began with that first encounter.

Kim: What's next for Amy Sandas?

Amy: Right now, I am taking a hop over the pond to focus on an idea set in the American West during the 1880’s. It is about a young lady from Boston who is desperate enough to get travel west that she’ll even accept the escort of a rough and dangerous gunslinger. Once she can convince him to take her, of course. Unfortunately, he has a mission of his own and it does not involve taking on the responsibility of protecting a fine and pampered lady from the east.

Old South Meeting House in Boston

Mahalo, Amy, for sharing a glimpse into a writer's life! Sourcebooks is giving away a print copy of LUCK IS NO LADY to one randomly selected commenter (US only). 

“You should not have kissed me,” she replied breathlessly.

“I do a lot of things I shouldn’t. It does not mean I won’t do them again.”

Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she’d live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father’s death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London’s most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma’s shameful secret or her reputation—and her life—will be ruined.

But Roderick Bentley, the hell’s sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game...and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace.

Amazon  Apple  BAM  B&N  Chapters  Indiebound  Kobo

To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Wisconsin - what do you know about Amy's home state?

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

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 3.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Amy at

The Daniel E. Krause Stone Barn in Chase, Wisconsin 
as built in 1903 as dairy farming spread across the state
Public Domain (link)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Aloha to Samantha Chase and LOVE WALKS IN

The Shaughnessy Brothers are back.

He lives by a schedule

Aubrey Burke is on the run from an about-to-be-disastrous mistake when resort owner Hugh Shaughnessy catches her climbing through his office window. Until Aubrey tumbled into his life, Hugh had relied on work and discipline to safeguard a heart damaged by family tragedy. Now his careful world will never be the same.

She lives for the moment

Hugh’s approach to life and love is the opposite of Aubrey’s, but she soon finds herself falling hard for the handsome hotel mogul. There’s a darker reason behind her “live for today” attitude than Hugh could possibly know, but for the first time Aubrey dares to hope this man’s love might make it worth taking a chance on the future.

Barnes & Noble


Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Learn more about Samantha and her books at

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt from LOVE WALKS IN:

“Aubrey! I’m home!”

Looking up, she saw a very happy and relaxed-looking Hugh standing in the doorway. If she wasn’t mistaken, he might even be a little bit tipsy. She almost giggled at the thought. Men didn’t get tipsy, did they? “Hey, you,” she said, smiling up at him.

“Whatcha doin?” he asked, walking slowly across the room until he could plop down on the bed beside her.

“I was just going to read for a bit while I was waiting for you.” His hair was tousled, his shirt was untucked, and he looked completely adorable to her. Reaching out, she ran a hand through his hair. “How was your night?”

Hugh stretched out beside her as he kicked his shoes off. “I took fifty bucks from my brother. It was awesome.”

She chuckled. “Which brother?”

“Owen,” he said around a yawn. “Served him right. Trying to trick me up with math.”

Her brows furrowed. “Math?”

“Yeah. Such a smarty pants. Thinks he knows everything. But I beat him. He may know about angles and lines and spots but I know how to provide a good distraction,” he said with a silly grin.

“So you cheated.”

“Ha! That’s a good one! No, I did not cheat. I just happened to notice how Owen kept sneaking looks at this girl standing over by the jukebox. So while he was doing his geo…geolo…geomethology…”


“Yeah…so while he was doing that stuff in his head, I went over and introduced myself, then brought her over to meet Owen.” He laughed. “Then he forgot all about how to do…you know…and Riley and I were able to kick his and Aidan’s butts. It was fun.”

Yeah, he was definitely a little tipsy and it was adorable. It was nice to see he could unwind and have fun with his brothers. “I’m glad you had a good time.”

“How about you, darlin? Did you have fun tonight?”

“I did. Anna made burgers and…”

“Oh, man! And I missed it?” He sat up and looked around for his phone. Pulling it from his pocket, he began scrolling through his contacts.

“Hugh? What are you doing?”

“I’m starving. Do you think she’ll make some more?”


“Anna,” he said with a huff. “Sheesh.”

“Hugh Shaughnessy, you cannot call Anna now and ask her to make you a burger!” She tried to sound firm but couldn’t stop laughing at the confused look on his face. “Give me the phone.”

“But…do we have any burgers here?”

She shook her head. “Nope. Sorry. No burgers.”

“Well damn,” he muttered, flopping back down on the bed. Looking over at her, he smiled sleepily. “They were good, right?”

Nodding, she said, “Yup. They were.” Aubrey knew he was going to be asleep in a matter of minutes, but figured she’d humor him for a little bit longer. “Do you want me to make you something to eat? Or maybe just a little snack?”


Turning on her side to face him, she nudged him around until she got him undressed down to his boxers and even managed to get him under the blankets. He made several sloppy attempts to kiss her but she kept it playful to distract him. By the time he was settled, she was exhausted.

“Sweet dreams, wonderful man,” she whispered, kissing his cheek.

Hugh smiled sleepily. “Love you,” he murmured in response. Aubrey was glad his eyes were closed and he was already snoring softly, because she was certain the look of shock on her face would have been hard to explain.

Did he really mean what he’d said? Was it possible Hugh was really in love with her? It was hard for Aubrey to wrap her head around. No one had ever said it to her before. And to be honest, Hugh really hadn’t said it to her either—not consciously, anyway.

But now that it was out there, she had a feeling it was going to be pretty hard to forget.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weekly Winners

We have winners at SOS Aloha!

SOS Aloha 6th Anniversary (Part 3): Andrews AFB, RT, and RWA
- Gretchen wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Monday in Maryland - There's something about Barbara Vey
- Susan F. wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Wednesday in Washington: Spotlight on Lynne Silver - Washington Loves Readers Luncheon (October 8, 2016)
- Silvia wins a book choice from my convention stash.

- Karen C. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Connie Y. Harris' FOREVER IN OCALA
- Kro wins a book choice from my convention stash.


From Aloha Author Assistant, Gammistress66 wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Winners, please send your send your mailing address to


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Celebrate Romance Every Day: SOS Aloha 6th Anniversary Finale - A Blog is Born

I shared the events leading to SOS Aloha at this link, link, and link. I created SOS Aloha while living on Pearl Harbor in March 2010 as a means to stay connected to Romanceland.  At the time, snarky blogs dominated social media - I did not want to create a forum where snarky remarks would be directed at military families.  To date, I have had no snarky remarks. 

Instead, I received enthusiastic support from authors, publishers, readers, and other bloggers.  Romanceland embraced every call to action to mail cards to deployed personnel - thank you!

I tried to register SOS America,, in honor of the charity sponsored by Kathryn Falk, the owner and founder of RT Bookreviews Magazine. But that name was already registered. I amended it to SOS Aloha,

Along the way, other bloggers helped me cultivate my craft:

- Terri from Bodice Ripper Novels (link) taught me how to insert images and links.

- Mary from The Reading Reviewer (link) encouraged me to write reviews

- Dani from Ramblings from the Chick (link), Kati from Romancing Rakes for the Love of Romance (link), and Kim from Book Obsessed Chicks (link) created a community of mutual support.

I also thank the readers for being a part of this journey!

The turning point for SOS Aloha came in September 2010 when Rhonda Penders, Editor-in-Chief of The Wild Rose Press, contacted me to donate books to my blog.  Since I lived in Hawaii, I suggested she mail them to Mary in St. Louis to reduce the shipping cost (Mary would then send the books to winners after we spotlighted the author on my blog).  We were not expecting Rhonda to send over 200 books!  I contacted all the authors for an interview ... and viola, SOS Aloha grew by leaps and bounds!  Thank you, Rhonda, for that boost!

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

1. If you started a blog, what would you call it?

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

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 3.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

PS Check out my other blogs:

- Aloha On My Mind, a travel blog with local interest and international culture:

- Aloha Author Assistant, a helpful guide for authors where I reward readers for their feedback:

I always welcome guest posts from authors and readers to any blogs!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Another walk down memory lane - Aloha to Connie Y. Harris and FOREVER IN OCALA

Growing up in Miami, my family escaped to Florida's rolling hills in Marion County for short breaks.  From its  website (link),

The county is internationally known as the “Horse Capitol of the World” for its more than 700 horse farms covering more than 30,000 acres with 450 of the farms in the thoroughbred. Ocala has capitalized on this with a variety of international horse shows including dressage, jumping and driving events.


The title and cover of Connie Y. Harris' debut novel, FOREVER IN OCALA, caught my attention on social media ...

Determined to protect her life and heal her broken heart, equine vet, Ariel Armstrong, seeks a refuge from her violent ex-boyfriend. Her job working with prized race horses enables her to hide in plain sight and care for her brother, an injured Marine. After losing her father to war and witnessing her brother’s daily battle to overcome his injuries, she’s sworn off military men forever.

Gavin Cross, Navy SEAL, and the son of Ariel’s new boss has one mission in life—to serve his country. After showing signs of PTSD, he’s sent home but vows to get back in the action ASAP. The last problem he needs is an emotional entanglement but the beautiful vet’s love tempts him in an undeniable way and has him questioning his need to return to duty. Will Gavin choose a future with Ariel or protection of America from terrorism?

Connie Y Harris

From Connie's website,,

With close ties to the Navy SEAL community, Connie’s mission as a writer is to offer the reader a realistic portrayal of men who transfer their alpha tendencies and athletic prowess into serving a noble cause.

A former English teacher and corporate executive Connie holds a B.A from East Carolina University. Although she continues her role as Vice President in a busy ad agency, her first love has always been writing. She maintains a portfolio of songs, poems and stories she wrote as early as ten. When she isn’t working or writing, Connie enjoys Zumba fitness and claims her best story ideas come to her while dancing.

Connie lives with her family and two adorable Westies near the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Florida is also home of the Navy SEAL Museum (link). Thank you, Connie, for your close ties to the Navy SEAL community and featuring a Navy SEAL in your contemporary romance!  

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

1.  Leave a comment about horses - do you have any experience with them?  

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 26, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 27.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Horses grazing on Oahu's North Shore
(under the Opana Radar Station)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Aloha to Linda Bond and CUBA UNDERCOVER

Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, Florida
Miami Archives (link)

I grew up in Coral Gables, a suburb of Miami.  From the City of Coral Gables website (link),

One hundred years ago George Merrick had a dream. He wanted to turn the family’s grapefruit plantation, and the surrounding tropical wilderness, into a city.

Inspired by the romantic Spanish and Italian tales he had read in his youth, Merrick’s dream city would bring those faraway places to life in the lush tropical setting of South Florida. He would name it after his childhood home – Coral Gables.

Most of the city streets are named after Spanish cities while the Cuban culture thrived on Calle Ocho - Eight Street.  In May, I will pack up my oldest son at the University of South Florida in Tampa after completing his freshman year. We will then trek down to Coral Gables for Mother's Day. I look forward to a walk down memory lane.


Yesterday, I stumbled across Linda Bond's CUBA UNDERCOVER - how timely with this week's historic visit to Havana.  From the blurb,

His revenge will change her life forever...

Cuban-American TV reporter Rebecca Menendez's success comes from playing by the rules. When she's kidnapped by a fierce and intensely handsome man who needs her help, however, all of those rules seem pointless. Nothing could have prepared her for being taken hostage...or the irresistible reward if she complies: information about her long-thought dead father.

Antonio Vega has spent almost every day of his adult life dreaming of revenging his father's death. With his sister's life and freedom in jeopardy, Antonio isn't taking any chances. But once Rebecca and Antonio are in Cuba, they're immersed in a world of corruption, deceit, and betrayal. It's a deadly game...and there are no rules.

Linda   Bond

Naturally, I was curious about the author. From Linda's Goodreads page (link),

Author Linda Bond was born in San Francisco, California but spent most of her life in the south, attending middle and high school in Greenville, South Carolina and college at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

She’s worked as a television news reporter and anchor in Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa Florida. For the past fifteen years, she’s been a health reporter, sharing important information with viewers on the latest medical breakthroughs and writing emotional, human-interest stories on those who have the courage and spirit to fight for their lives.

This former baton-twirling beauty queen from the deep south, now lives in Tampa Florida with her husband, adopted son from Cuba, two daughters and one stubborn Bulldog named Sanford.

Tampa was also influenced by Cuban emigres.

I love it when I meet a home town gal in Romanceland!  I am giving away "Florida" swag to one randonly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Spanish dishes (link) or Cuban cuisine (link) - have you tried food from these Hispanic countries?  If so, what was your favorite?  If not, what would you like to try?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, March 26, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 27.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Linda and her books at


E Komo Mai - Welcome to SOS Aloha (Bio & Contact)

E Komo Mai - Welcome to SOS Aloha!

From the Sunshine State to the Chesapeake Bay, I have been blessed to sample many cultures. I grew up in Miami, attended high school in Clearwater, and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from the University of Tampa. My commission in the United States Air Force led to assignments in Boston, Germany, the Pentagon, and Illinois. I traded my dog tags for a diaper bag, becoming a mother to two boys (and four cats) while following my military husband to the Netherlands, Baltimore, Pearl Harbor, and back to Baltimore. Along the way, we have traveled throughout Europe, Egypt, Japan, Korea, and China.

I discovered romance books while living in the Netherlands (link). Romance books inspired an Old Fashioned Tea Party (link) and travel to author events (link).  

I created this blog while living in Hawaii as a means to stay connected across the Pacific. I now live outside Baltimore, bringing the Aloha Spirit to Charm City.

I enjoy dark chocolate, long walks, and historic places.  

Connect with me .... 

Travel Blog - Aloha On My Mind,

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Aloha to Darcy Burke and THE FORBIDDEN DUKE

Darcy is celebrating the release of THE FORBIDDEN DUKE, Book 1 in The Untouchables series ...

Spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart is suddenly homeless and employment is her only option. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel’s excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she’s lucky to obtain a position as a paid companion and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn’t be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation...

Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother’s ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart—and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she’s back, and she needs his help. But by “saving” her, he may just ruin her life all over again.

Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Darcy offers an excerpt from THE FORBIDDEN DUKE ...

“We need to take our place,” he said, guiding her to the dance floor, where Lord and Lady Satterfield were already in place at the top of the line that was forming. Kendal positioned Nora to stand beside Lady Satterfield so that they were second in the line. The musicians, set in the far corner of the makeshift ballroom, began to play, and panic seized Nora’s chest. Would she remember the steps? Would she make a fool of herself, or worse, of him?

She felt like an imposter in a scenario she’d mistakenly stumbled into. Surely someone would point her out and tell her she needed to leave. She was a pariah, an outcast. She had no place being here, let alone dancing with a duke.

But it was far too late to run away. The dance had started, and the line traveled the length of the drawing room. This dance would last quite some time, during which Nora would be the center of everyone’s attention and the source of everyone’s gossip. She could hear the exchanges now, imagined them starting up and spreading like a freshly-ignited fire.

“Look at who he chose. Who is that Nobody?”

“Don’t you remember? She ruined herself nine years ago.”

“How dreadful.”

Lord and Lady Satterfield started, dancing their way between the lines. They were rather spry, given their age.

Nora nervously looked over at the duke. “Lady Satterfield is an excellent dancer.”

“Indeed.” The rich tone of his voice soothed her rioting nerves. “She always insists on calling the first, though it’s the only set she’ll dance.”

Nora nodded. Dancing was typically reserved for the young.

She tried not to stare at her partner, but it was difficult as he was situated directly across from her and she should look at him. Look, yes, but not gape. And he was gape-worthy. His reputation suited him for he seemed forbidden, otherworldly almost. Not in an ethereal way, but in a rustic, rough sort of manner, as if Society couldn’t possibly contain him.

Despite that or perhaps because of it, he wore his costume with ease. However, she suspected he was more comfortable in riding breeches and boots as he galloped his horse across the Lake District—she’d ascertained that was where his seat was located—his powerful thighs hugging the animal’s flanks as they moved as one.

Goodness, where had that astonishing image come from?

And then it was their turn to traverse the line. She prayed she would remember the steps and focused on the music as they moved toward each other.

“You look as if you’re headed to the guillotine,” he said just loud enough for her alone to hear.

“Do I?” She tried to laugh but was afraid she sounded like a wounded bird. She longed to ask why he’d chosen her and immediately wondered if Lady Satterfield had put him up to it. She decided she didn’t want to know.

“It’s just a dance.”

The superbly absurd comment coaxed a genuine smile to her lips and alleviated some of her discomfort. “With the ‘Forbidden Duke’ who only dances once each Season. Yes, you’re quite right to characterize it that way. Thank you for putting me at ease.”

He chuckled, and like his speaking voice, it sparked a tremor that seemed to start in her bones and move outward making her flesh tingle and her chest warm. “Don’t be nervous. And certainly don’t be nervous on my account.” He said the last with a tone so dry, she feared it might curl up and blow away in the breeze.

“That is easy for you, a duke, to say. I am just a simple girl who’s been away from London a long time.”

“I daresay you aren’t ‘just’ anything.”

File:Kendal Castle at sunset.jpg
Kendal Castle in Cumbria, England
Image by Tom Richardson (link)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday in Maryland - There's something about Barbara Vey

United States Naval Academy

Last week, the Maryland Romance Writers (MRW) hosted Barbara Vey as their guest speaker.  From her website (link),

As Contributing Editor for Publishers Weekly for 7 years, Barbara Vey left to start her own website with the goal of bringing readers and writers together. She is the recipient of the 2012 RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award and 2013 RT Melinda Helfer Award. Barbara has created the ultimate reader experience with the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon held in Milwaukee, WI every April. An avid reader, Barbara consumed a book a day before taking on the glamorous life of a roving reporting. Traveling all over the world to conferences from Romance to Thrillers, Mysteries to Horror, Historicals to Comic Con, her love of Romance and the Happily Ever After keeps her grounded while she offers readers a place to step away from life's daily trials to take a positive journey through the world of books.

Barbara shared her journey from author cruise to Publishers Weekly to the reader luncheon. She entertained the audience with her own "Lucy" moments while finding readers along the way. Barbara's enthusiasm for life in general, but reading in particular, was infectious to the entire audience. She offered examples of author branding and reader connections. Check out the tweets from the meeting at this link.

I invited Barbara to stay with me over the weekend so I could share the sights of Washington, DC. After our tour of the Pentagon, we joined Diana Belchase (link) for a driving tour of the Marine Corps Memorial, Fort Myer, and the Air Force Memorial. We ended the day at the Chart House in Old Town Alexandria. On Saturday, we visited the United States Naval Academy in search of a few good men and women serving our country.  We found John Paul Jones, "father of the American Navy".

Midshipman in front of the
US Navy Submarine Centennial Monument

Before this weekend, I had a casual acquaintance with Barbara. Back in 2008, Mary Gramlich (link) recommended I check out Barbara's blog on Publishers Weekly - it was a refreshing change to the snarky blogs dominating Romanceland. I attended Barbara's reader luncheons in 2014 and 2015 at this link, link, link, link, link, link, and linkI advocated for more luncheons like Barbara's at this link.

After this weekend, I have found a kindred spirit in this reader advocate. During the meeting, Barbara explained the importance of always carrying a business card and even a book. She shared several examples of how she gave away books to others in restaurants. As we left the meeting, Barbara noticed MRW members left books they received from conferences on a table for other members to take. Since we were the last to walk out of the conference room, Barbara grabbed the leftover books and gave them to the receptionist at the community center. She discovered the receptionist's daughter worked at a local library where books were always welcome. Barbara demonstrated there is always pockets of readers to discover.

I recommend any writer's group to invite Barbara as a guest speaker to a meeting or conference. I also encourage authors to request an individual consultation from Barbara - she is attending RWA in San Diego. Connect with Barbara at this link.

Mahalo, Maryland Romance Writers, for inviting Barbara to Baltimore!

Annapolis Book Store

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

1. Leave a comment about "author event" you have attended - book signing, luncheon, convention, or passing by on the street. What made it special?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, March 26, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 27.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Navy personnel patrol Annapolis Harbor

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekly Winners

I am a winner for having spent the weekend with Barbara Vey (link).  She spoke to the Maryland Romance Writers (link) on Thursday night.  I then played tour guide, showing her the sights in Washington, DC, and Annapolis, Maryland. Along the way, Barbara taught me more about marketing - tidbits I'll share in teh coming week. 

Celebrate Romance Every Day: SOS Aloha 6th Anniversary (Part 2): An Old Fashioned Tea Party
- Charlene wins a book choice from my convention stash.

- Mary wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Dangerous Kisses (A Guild of Hybrids Novel, #1)

WHEN LOVE CONQUERS TIME from Ria Cantrell, Nancy Lee Badger, Dawn Marie Hamilton, and P.A. Crust
- BN100 wins a digital copy from Nancy Lee Badger

Washington Loves Readers Luncheon
- Library Pat wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Aloha to Downton Abbey, Brooklands, and Barbara Cartland
- Girlygirlhoosier wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Aloha to Daphne Du Maurier, Jamaica Inn, and Bodmin Moor
- Patty wins a book choice from my convention stash.

From Aloha Author Assistant, Di wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Winners, please send your mailing address to


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City