Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From RWA .... what makes a blogger tick?

During RWA, an author asked me, "What makes a blogger tick?"  I have asked other bloggers to write a guest post with their answer. For now, here is mine.

Why do we use that phrase, "What makes you tick?"  It refers to what motivates a person.  I assume the phrase is a metaphor for the second hand of a clock, that literally ticks each minute, moving forward to the next hour.  To understand what keeps me moving forward, let's take take a quick peek into the past on how I discovered romance.

Kasteel Limbricht, with a medieval moat and bowling alley

In 2003, I was living in the Netherlands near Kasteel Limbricht - I walked around it every day as part of my morning exercise. My husband worked for NATO and I volunteered with the International Spouses' Club.  I enjoyed afternoon tea with the British delegation.  NATO troops has just deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan as peacekeepers.  They contacted the American Spouses' Club (ASC) to collect and send donations for an orphanage the troops adopted as community outreach in Kabul.  As the president of the ASC, I recruited volunteers to empty the shelves from our long neglected thrift shop.  We sent what we could - clothes, linens, and toys - leaving behind the paperback books written in English.  I  picked up a blue cover with a tartan sash, Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTACT.


Unlike most members of Romanceland, I was not a voracious reader as a child. I read a few Nancy Drew books. As an adult, I indulged in some cozy mysteries (with a cat, no less) while traveling in the Air Force. But it was Cathy Maxwell - Navy veteran and Avon author - who drew me into the enchanting world of historical romance. The heroine, a penniless London debutante, accepts a contract from the hero's sister to marry the "mad" lord who buried himself in the Scottish countryside. The story centers around their discovery of what makes the other tick. For the hero, it is helping his Scottish kin to reclaim their Gaelic culture after a hundred years of British suppression. Maxwell includes an epilogue of the couple's descendants participating in the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 after the Scottish people overwhelming voted for its own government.

I realized that the so called "bodice rippers" were, in fact, smart reads. Romance books delivered the hope that we all seek in our lives ... just as NATO troops was trying to bring hope to the orphanage in Kabul ... and the people of Afghanistan. NATO continues to support an orphanage in Kabul at this link

Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford
"Inventor" of afternoon tea 

Fast forward to 2007 on Fort Meade, Maryland. As the vice president of the Officers' Wives' Club (OWC), I hosted an Old Fashioned Tea Party with romance authors. I previously posted the details on my blog at this link. The first author I invited to attend - Cathy Maxwell. She drove 3 hours from Richmond, VA, in snowy weather to join us. I did not realize how many spouses read romance until they "came out of the closet" to attend this event and share their passion for Romance. This experience taught me that romance brings people together - authors and readers - to celebrate the hope in the books we loved.

Image result for sos aloha pearl harbor

Fast forward to 2010 on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After living in Hawaii for nine months, I felt detached from Romanceland.  So I started a blog, SOS Aloha, to share my life in Hawaii, to offer suggestions for readers to support military families, and, of course, to share what I was reading in romance.  

Fast forward to 2017 at the RWA Conference at Walt Disney World. During the St. Martin's Press cocktail party, an author asked me what makes bloggers tick. Just as I was about to answer, others joined our table and the conversation shifted focus. But author's question has remained in the back of my mind.

And the answer is .... hope! Hope makes me tick. The hope that I can escape into a smart read. The hope that I can find others who enjoy romance. The hope that I am welcomed just as I am into Romanceland.

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall
English Heritage (link)

I am giving away a swag pack from RWA17 to four randomly selected commenters from my posts published in the month of August. To enter the giveaway,

1. Let's chat about castles - do you have a favorite? Mine is Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, England.  Its ruins hug the coast and whisper the legend of Arthur ... a boy who brought hope to England.

2. Comments are open through Thursday, August 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Friday, September 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


  1. We need more people like you, Kim. You've helped so many and your blog is one of the best. I use to visit dozens and now it's less than a handful! And hope keeps most of us going! I don't have a favorite castle but they all fascinate me.

  2. I hadn't heard of your blog before now, but I am so excited to have discovered your writings! I love your reason for blogging. I began blogging because I was blowing through romance books faster than authors could write them, and I wanted to get my hands on some ARCs. It quickly became more altruistic than that, and I now blog to bring smiles to the faces of the authors I write reviews for. The best feeling in the world is getting an email or mention from an author, saying that I brought a smile to their face. :)

    Castles...I don't really have a favorite. I like a lot of the castles in Scotland, where I hope to soon go on vacation. For now I just use Google Maps to get a streetside view of the castles and dream of what they were like back in their heyday.

    ~Meghan, Lady with a Quill

  3. I really don't have a favorite castle.....maybe Windsor's Castle.

  4. I love Warwick Castle - and the y had a Knight in full armor on the grounds plus an archer giving a demonstration.

  5. I don't have a favorite, but there is a Scottish Castle featured in Downton Abbey that is just pure fairy tale - from the outside at least.

  6. Hope is a wonderful reason. My favoite one is one in Spain. I cannot remember its name. I was the only one there one day and loved my time alone in the ruins of a castle.

  7. No favorite, but would love to visit Chateau Fort de Pirou.