Thursday, November 30, 2017

Aloha to St. Andrew's Day

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November 30 is St. Andrew's Day - a celebration of Scotland's patron saint. From,

A Galilean fisherman, he was one of Jesus’s 12 apostles, and was known for being strong, sociable and fair, encouraging people to share what they had with those in need. These are characteristics which people all over the word recognise in Scots, and of which Scots are rightly proud.

On the 30th of November, 60AD, St Andrew is believed to have been crucified on a diagonal cross, a shape which provided the inspiration for the flag named after him – Scotland’s Saltire, which has a white diagonal cross over a blue background.

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Alas, St. Andrew has inspired the hashtag #BeLikeStAndrew:

This St Andrew’s Day is going to be something really special. On November 30, Scotland is coming together to share little acts of kindness with each other in tribute to our kind and generous patron saint.

Check out the ideas for "little acts of kindness" at this link.  

There is something about romance books - historical, contemporary, and fantasy - that are set in Scotland.  Can you recommend a Scottish set book?  I recommend:

- Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT (Scottish Regency)

He was a man exiled from society -- handsome, unpredictable, and proud. Dark rumors surrounded his name. But Anne Burnett had signed a marriage contract binding her to Aiden Black, the Earl of Tiebauld. And although she'd never met him, she's determined to keep her word and make theirs a marriage in truth. Because a well-bred lady with little fortune to recommend her has no choice. 

From the moment she arrived, Anne fell in love with Kelwin Castle and its roguishly handsome laird. By day, he instills a fierce loyalty in his people with his masterful ways...and by night, he tempts Anne to surrender her innocence to him. But while he is willing to offer his body. Aiden refuses to give Anne his heart...making her wonder what prevents him from truly claiming her as his wife.

Note:  This was my first romance book I read ... 10 years later, I am still reading romance!

- Lynn Kurland's GARDEN IN THE RAIN (Time Travel):

Patrick MacLeod is haunted by his past, by events he had no control over and wishes desperately he could change. He hasn’t the heart for love, nor the time for rescuing maidens in distress of their own making. Until he sees a woman who touches his heart and stirs his soul...and makes him believe love might be possible again after all.

For Madelyn Phillips, Scotland is the land of dreams, filled with magic, romance, and handsome Highland lords. Unfortunately, the reality of her dream vacation is no car, no luggage, and a pesky ex-fiancĂ© determined to shadow her every move. She thinks her dreaming is in vain until she sees a man standing on a windswept moor, a Highlander full of secrets and longing, and knows she has seen her destiny. 

- Cathy Maxwell's THE DEVIL'S HEART (Scottish Regency with Paranormal Elements)

They call her the Unattainable. Lady Margaret Chattan spurned every suitor for her hand, vowing never to marry. The only way to break the curse plaguing her family for two centuries is this ultimate sacrifice. But now her brothers' lives are in danger. Determined to save them, she risks her very soul by traveling into the heart of the highlands to battle a force that has transcended time.

Heath Macnachtan is not superstitious. Laird of the most independent, nonconforming, madly infuriating clan ever to grace Scotland, he believes he has his hands full. And then, a woman lauded as one of the most beautiful in England, arrives on his doorstep with wild accusations and a mystical quest . . . one that just might help him discover who murdered his own brother.

But the real danger for Heath and Margaret is not a supernatural foe, but a very real love that could destroy them both.


One randomly selected commenter wins Scottish swag.  Comments are open through Sunday, December 31, 2017. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 1, 2017.

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Aloha to Willa Blair and HIS HIGHLAND BRIDE - Release Day Blitz


We are 48 hours away from St. Andrew's Day on Thursday, November 30. Enter Willa Blair and her new release, HIS HIGHLAND BRIDE (Book 3 in His Highland Heart series) ...

A Dutiful Daughter No More

When Mary Elizabeth Rose’s father marries a much younger lass in hopes of siring a male heir, Mary sees her chance to escape her role as his chatelaine, but fears his next step will be to betroth her to a stranger. She has a different future in mind—with a sometimes charming, sometimes difficult and arrogant wounded Highlander.

He Owes Her His Life

Cameron Sutherland is not too delirious to recognize Mary Rose is the first woman he could seriously consider taking as his bride. He’d like nothing better than to spend years repaying the debt he owes his angel of mercy for taking him in and saving his life. First, he must convince her to defy her father one last time.

Will They Put Love Before Duty?

For Mary, Cameron has become the man whose every smile has the power to bring her to her knees. But he is as duty-bound as she is, and responsibility calls him back to Sutherland, where she fears he will stay, forgetting her and all they’ve shared. With another powerful clan’s interests at stake, Cameron’s return sets events in motion that will have life-changing consequences for the woman he can’t forget.


Willa Blair is an Award-winning Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 Bestselling author of Scottish Historical, light Paranormal, and Contemporary romance. She has been featured on and contributes to USAToday’s Happy Ever After romance blog, Savvy Authors, Romance University, and more.

Her books have won numerous honors, including the Marlene, the Merritt, National Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, The Reader’s Crown finalist, Historical Romance finalist and Honorable Mention in InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE Award, NightOwl Reviews Top Pick, and InD’tale Review’s Crowned Heart.

A life-long student and reader, she has been a stained glass artist and instructor, a foreign language teacher, a computer scientist, an analyst, a manager and an executive. She has visited five continents and can get by in several languages. She loves scouting new settings for books, and thinks being an author is the best job she’s ever had.


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

1. Leave a comment about Scotland - do you have a favorite food, drink, place, and/or person from Alba?

I adore shortbread cookies.  I didn't meet a crumbling castle I didn't love.  I admire Eric Liddell:

Eric Liddell (1902 – 1945) was a Scottish Olympic champion at 400 m and a famous Christian missionary; his inspirational life was captured in the film ‘Chariots of Fire‘

2. Comments are open through Sunday, December 31, 2017.  

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 1, 2017.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Aloha to Nancy Lee Badger and WITH EVERY KISS (An Opportunity Falls Novel)

Nancy Lee Badger joins us today for a sneak peak to WITH EVERY KISS ...

My newly released contemporary romance novel is about an artist bored with city life and a Manhattan lawyer itching to escape his father’s control. They meet briefly, then meet up again in a New Hampshire campground. Creating the story was easy; I grew up in the shadow of New York City, enjoying high school trips to art galleries in Manhattan.

I fell in love with the rural life of New England while attending art school. The mountains and waterfalls were lovely and romantic.

Several visits, later in life, to campgrounds alongside New England rivers and lakes helped me visualize the settings found in With Every Kiss; an Opportunity Falls novel.

A recent trip from my current home in North Carolina took me through New England. I gazed at the mountains, rivers, wildlife, and autumn leaves that reminded me why I had written this book. A trip across the Long Island Sound on a Ferry, a visit with family, and a couple of cemeteries, was a blast from the past. We visited the home I left to head off to college in New Hampshire when I was 17 (many years ago!).

A quick Wikipedia factoid – The city of Manhattan currently has a population of 1.6 million, whereas the entire state of New Hampshire has only 1.3 million. Talk about culture shock!

Heading back to North Carolina, our drive took us through traffic near Kennedy Airport, busy Brooklyn neighborhoods, then over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island. New Jersey looked as congested as ever, and we stopped for the night near Baltimore. I miss both New Hampshire and Manhattan already!

*a personal note- With Every Kiss: an Opportunity Falls novel was released November 3rd. Since this is also my birthday month, I am giving away an Artist’s Assortment of Goodies. No purchase necessary, and it ends November 18th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn more about Nancy Lee Badger, all her books, and buy links by visiting her blog at


Also available from Opportunity Falls 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Happy 242nd Birthday, United States Marine Corps!

Public Domain (link)

Join me in celebrating the United States Marine Corps' 242nd birthday ...

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
On the land as on the sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in ev’ry clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines

Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Aloha to Misty Simon and CREMAINS OF THE DAY (Tallie Graver Mystery Book 1)


During the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) conference, I had the privilege to meet the vivacious Misty Simon.  From her bio,

Misty Simon loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter and three insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at

We enjoyed dinner with a group of friends ... I learned over pasta that Misty has a Hawaiian connection. I'll invite her back to chat about that.  Meanwhile, Misty has a new book in a new series - CREMAINS OF THE DAY was released October 31.  What a title for Halloween!

There's no reverse on the hearse . . .

For Tallulah Graver, marrying wealthy Waldo Phillips seemed like the best way out of the family business, the Graver Funeral Home. But when her marriage falls apart and Tallie is left with next to nothing, she turns to cleaning houses to make ends meet. As humbling as it is to tidy the mansions of the snobby socialites she used to call friends, at least she doesn't have to be around dead bodies. Until . . . 

She discovers one of her employers lying in a closet with a knife sticking out of her chest. This unpleasant shock seems to be part of a web of weird experiences: Tallie's friend Gina's shop is broken into, her ex is stun-gunned where it hurts the most, and now she's receiving flowers from the dead woman. Granted the deliveryman is handsome, but seriously, that's enough to cast a pall over anyone's day. Now Tallie needs to dig deep to clean up this mess--before she finds herself in a grave situation.

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Surf Hearse from Pinterest

Misty send me a copy of CREMAINS OF THE DAY .... review to come!  For November, I continue to giveaway RWA swag to four randomly selected winners from all the comments posted. Plus a bonus prize - a leather bookmark for each winner from one of Scotland's castles in honor of St. Andrew's Day on November 30. To enter the giveaway,

1.  In the opening chapter of CREMAINS OF THE DAY, Tallie visits Gina's coffee shop and enjoys Whoopie Pie - a New England treat that looks like an oversized oreo cookie.  Have you tried Whoopie Pie?  Or do you have a favorite local sweet treat?  

I have not enjoyed Whoopie Pie ... yet.  But I have devoured Berger Cookies - a Baltimore favorite!

2. Comments are open through Thursday, November 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Double Header with Washington Romance Writers - Military Workshop and Blogger Panel

Saturday, November 11, is Veterans Day. I will be spending the holiday with the Washington Romance Writers (WRW) offering my expertise (wink, wink).  From their website (link):

Join WRW for our meeting on Saturday, November 11, 2017. In honor of Veterans’ Day, the program features a military panel in the morning followed by an afternoon session on how to build successful relationships with bloggers, reviewers, and librarians.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

10:00am – 12:00pm: Reporting for Duty–An Intimate Chat with Military Veterans and Family Members
12:00pm – 1:30pm: Lunch
1:30pm – 3:30pm: Great Expectations–Building Successful Relationships with Bloggers, Reviewers, and Librarians

Morning Session:
Military veterans and family members share their experience to ensure military characters are accurately portrayed in romance novels. The panel will teach writers how to decipher military acronyms, identify ranks from the five services, and safely carry a weapon. There will be time for Q&A.

Panel guests include:
Kim Lowe, Moderator– Air Force Veteran and Spouse
Rheanna Bernard – Air Force spouse
Stephanie Brenninkmeyer – Air Force spouse and Subject Matter Expert (SME)
Tif Marcelo – Army Veteran and Spouse
Tamara Worlton – Navy active duty
Delancey Stewart – Marine Corps Spouse

Plus special guest Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) David P. Smay, USMC.

Afternoon Session:
Our panel of librarians, reviewers, and bloggers offer a round table discussion, ala Cheers, to share their perspective of the romance industry. Each panelist came to Romanceland along a different path but collectively they agree that a romance book needs to grab the attention of the reader and deliver the hope expected from this genre. We will discuss how we were hooked onto romance and what keeps us coming back for more. We will also dissect how authors connect with readers through websites, social media, and book signings. Finally, we offer tips on how to maximize your exposure through libraries, review sites, and blogs. We will set aside time at the end to answer questions from the audience.

Panel guests include:
Kim Lowe, Moderator – SOS Aloha Book Blog
Rheanna Bernard – Cammo Style Love Blog
Madeline Iva – Lady Smut Blog
Rae Latte – Books I Love A Latte
Melissa Norr – Washington DC Librarian

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If you live within driving distance of Washington, DC, come join us! I have a few surprises for all who attend, Of course I'll post a recap here at SOS Aloha.

For November, I continue to giveaway RWA swag to four randomly selected winners from all the comments posted. Plus a bonus prize - a leather bookmark for each winner from one of Scotland's castles in honor of St. Andrew's Day on November 30. To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about either panel,

a.What do you like (and not like) about how romance portrays military characters?  Do you think romance books featuring military characters should be accurate?

b. What do you like (and not like) about book blogs? Any advice on the best way to reach readers (and keep their attention) on social media?

2. Comments are open through Thursday, November 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Being Thankful - Sharing Romance with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

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During the RWA Annual Conference back in July, I attended several publishers' signings.  I asked the authors to sign books as "Thanks for your service."  I have donated these books (plus books from other conferences) to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to distribute to the staff, patients, and families. 

 Avon Romance

Berkley Romance

Forever Romance

Harlequin Romance

Kensington Romance

Pocket Books

St. Martin's Press 


Mahalo, authors and publishers, for your donations!

For November, I continue to giveaway RWA swag to four randomly selected winners from all the comments posted. Plus a bonus prize - a leather bookmark for each winner from one of Scotland's castles in honor of St. Andrew's Day on November 30.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Do you have any family or friends who are veterans? I know I have asked this question several times, but we can never thank them enough times. 

2. Comments are open through Thursday, November 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October's Winners plus Romance and the Resistance with Alisha Rai, Alyssa Cole, and Sarah Wendell

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We have winners at SOS Aloha - Mary P., Heather F., Susan P., and Patoct won a package of fun swag from the RWA Conference this past summer. I know you'll like it!

For November, I continue to giveaway RWA swag to four randomly selected winners from all the comments posted. Plus a bonus price - a leather bookmark for each winner from one of Scotland's castles in honor of St. Andrew's Day on November 30.

Do you have any plans for November?  On November 30, I'll be heading down to Prose and Politics at the Wharf for Romance and the Resistance: A Romance Panel with Alisha Rai, Alyssa Cole, and Sarah Wendell (link):

From historical to steamy to subversive, romance novels are doing everything “literary” fiction does. Introducing her Forbidden Hearts series, Alisha Rai’s Hate to Want You focuses on the forbidden love between Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler. Divided by feuding families and a past trauma, they nonetheless have an annual tryst, until a series of complications force them to make a decision. Set in the Civil War era, Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series takes its name from a secret society of freed blacks and slaves funneling information to the Union. The spies in the first volume, An Extraordinary Union, are Elle Burns, a freedwoman posing as a mute slave in a key confederate household, and Scottish immigrant Malcolm McCall, who purports to be a Confederate soldier.

Rai and Cole will be in conversation with Sarah Wendell, who reviews romances on “Smart Bitches,Trashy Books” and is the author of Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City