Friday, March 30, 2018

Aloha to Erica Monroe and THE DETERMINED DUCHESS (Gothic Brides Book 2)


Early this week, Erica Monroe celebrated the release of THE DETERMINED DUCHESS, Book 2 in the Gothic Brides series ....

Death is just the beginning in this dark, chilling Gothic Regency Romance...

After the death of her beloved guardian, Miss Felicity Fields is left adrift, her future uncertain. Grief-stricken, she launches a plan to use her knowledge of alchemy to build a Philosopher's Stone, and bring back to life the woman who was like a mother to her. The last thing this blunt bluestocking needs is the return of Nicholas Harding, the Duke of Wycliffe and rightful owner of her home on the wild coast of Cornwall. He stirs an unexpected passion within her, and Felicity has had enough change in her life.

When they were children, Nicholas never understood his aunt's brilliant but unemotional ward, or her many strange scientific studies. He ought to take her back to London, so she can make a proper society match--except he can't stop thinking about her. But with the line between life and death blurred by Felicity's macabre experiments, can he convince her that she's no longer alone, and her proper place is by his side?


I met Erica last summer at the RWA Conference in Orlando ... where she took the above pictures!  From her bio,

USA Today Bestselling Author Erica Monroe writes dark, gritty historical romance. Her current series include Gothic Brides (Regency Gothics), The Rookery Rogues (pre-Victorian gritty working class romance), and Covert Heiresses (Regency spies who are the children of a duke). She was a finalist in the published historical category for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Romantic Suspense, and her books have been recommended reads at Fresh Fiction, Smexy Books, SBTB, and All About Romance. When she's not writing, she's drinking coffee, reading comic books, or watching televison. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. Visit Erica online at

Let's giveaway some swag!  Tell us what you know about Erica's home state of North Carolina.  One randomly selected commenter wins the swag.  Comments are open through Monday, April 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Tuesday, May 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Baseball is Back - Opening Day

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Today is opening day for baseball fans! This morning, I opened the windows and spotted two cardinals singing in the tree - perhaps a good sign for the St. Louis Cardinals! My father rooted for the Cards - he listened to them on radio as he grew up in rural Mississippi. I grew up in a Miami suburb before the Marlins came to town. I attended high school and college in the Tampa area before the Devil Rays came to town.  

I did not know it at the time, but rising star Tito Martinez played baseball at the University of Tampa while I was working on my Math degree.  He left UT before graduation to join the  MLB, where he played for the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  

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Fenway Park hosting the 2013 World Series
Public Domain (link

My first baseball game came when I moved to the Boston area with the Air Force. My roommate and I attended the home game on Patriot's Day at Fenway Park. We were more focused on soaking up the atmosphere than paying attention to the game itself.

Ten years later, my husband and I were assigned to Scott AFB, IL, across the river from St. Louis. My office attended a special fan day to cheer Mark McGwire in his pursuit of the home run title - he achieved 70 on September 27, 1998.

Mark McGwire

That's the extent of my baseball experience. Do you have a favorite team?  How about a favorite book, movie, or TV character featuring baseball romance? 

My office is split between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals. I enjoyed Kate Angell's NO ONE LIKE YOU featuring a baseball star during spring break in Florida. I adored Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones in FIELD OF DREAMS. Tom Selleck as Magnum, PI, is handsome in his Detroit Tigers cap.

One randomly selected commenter wins swag. Comments are open through Sunday, April 1, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Monday, April 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Aloha to Cathy & DD MacRae and THE HIGHLANDER'S NORSE BRIDE (Hardy Heroines Book 4)


National Tartan Day is Friday, April 6, celebrating all things Scottish. Let's get the party started with Cathy & DD MacRae's THE HIGHLANDER'S NORSE BRIDE:

Caught between two kings vying for sovereignty of the Isles and Western Scotland, Hanna of Hällstein has lost everything—and vows to repay the Scots for the deaths of her husband and children. Fleeing the smoldering ruins of her village, Hanna crosses the Strait of Mull and chooses the Laird of Clan MacLean as the object of her revenge.

Alex MacLean has buried a wife and three children. Ignoring the clamors for him to wed again and produce an heir, he finds himself drawn to a Norse refugee who defies him and tests the limits of his patience—and his power as Laird.

Torn between revenge and honor, Hanna fears setting aside her vow of vengeance means she has lost her reason for living. Alex is determined to save her, even if it means defying the king.

Cathy MacRae lives on the sunny side of the Arbuckle Mountains where she and her husband read, write, and tend the garden—with the help of the dogs, of course.

You can visit with her on facebook, or read her blogs and learn about her books at Drop her a line—she loves to hear from readers!

* * *

DD MacRae enjoys bringing history to life and considers research one of the best things about writing a story! With more than 35 years of martial arts training, DD also brings breath-taking action to the tales.

You can connect with DD through It’s always exciting to hear from readers!

Goodreads: Cathy and DD

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

1.  Leave a comment about Scotland - what do you love about it?

2.  Comments are open through Sunday, April 1, 2018, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Monday, April 2, 2018.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Friday, March 23, 2018

Aloha to Sabrina Jeffries and THE SECRET OF FLIRTING (Sinful Suitors No. 5)


What to do after shoveling the spring snow?  Cozy up to a great book.  Enter Sabrina Jeffries and THE SECRET OF FLIRTING:

The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Anne of Chanay, he's positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she's actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets...and ruin the woman he's rapidly coming to love.

The Secret of Flirting is a sizzling historical romance filled with fast-paced storytelling, an enchanting heroine, and a sexy hero, perfect for fans of Regency romance.

Sigh. Let the adventure begin! THE SECRET OF FLIRTING is available Tuesday, March 27, 2018 from Pocket Books. Order you book from Sabrina's website at this link.

Sabrina Jeffries is the NYT bestselling author of over 50 novels and works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze of dreams and madness is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 9 million books in print in 20 different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world. 

She always dreams big.

Thank you, Sabrina, for dreaming big.  You've taken readers to new heights in romance reading!   


I am giving away "dream big" swag to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about Sabrina's passions - jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music.  

Do you have a favorite puzzle?  Nothing like surfboards to tempt me!

How about chocolate?  I need a daily chocolate fix, preferably for chocolate chip cookies and Heath Bars.

Music? 80s hair bands for me!

Comments are open through Sunday, April 1.  I'll post the winner on Monday, April 2.  


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Aloha to Tracey Livesay, Romancing the Rosetta Stone, and the Maryland Romance Writers

The Maryland Romance Writers (MRW) recently hosted Inter-racial Contemporary Romance author Tracey Livesay.  I love her tag line,  True Love ... in Black and White. From her bio (link),

A former criminal defense attorney, Tracey Livesay finds crafting believable happily ever afters slightly more challenging than protecting our constitutional rights, but she’s never regretted following her heart instead of her law degree. She has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post and on CBS This Morning. Tracey lives in Virginia with her husband–who she met on the very first day of law school–and their three children. When not answering the call of wife, mother or author, she runs marathons and daydreams about designer purses.

Tracey shared her workshop featured on Romance University - ROMANCING THE ROSETTA STONE:

Have you ever found yourself frowning during a workshop as the presenter used terms you were unfamiliar with? Nervous to raise your hand out of fear that others may jeer at your confusion? Worry no longer. Learn the basics of romance writing terminology: POV. Turning points. Black moments. We’ll discuss them all, and you’ll find yourself fluent in the craft of romance writing faster than the presenter can say, “And by using deep third person POV, your reader will experience each turning point more fully, leading to a more satisfying reader experience.”

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Rosetta Stone in the British Museum (link)

Tracey was a fabulous speaker ... and we had several new authors in the audience to learn from Tracey's own experience.  Thank you, Tracey, for sharing your knowledge!  Following the meeting, we conveyed at the Ram's Head Tavern in Savage Mill for lunch.  I enjoyed the tidbits of conversations with various members.  It was a refreshing break to enjoy the company of writers!

Spring is here ... what are your plans?  One randomly selected commenter wins swag from Avon Romance who published Tracey's Shades of Love series.  Comments are open through Sunday, April 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Monday, April 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Aloha to Sherry Harris and I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery #5)


Sherry Harris presents the fifth installment of this charming, bestselling cozy mystery series! One man's junk is another man's treasure. But finding that treasure can be murder. As Sarah Winston discovers, someone is always ready to kill someone else for seemingly worthless pieces of junk.

When it comes to running a successful garage sale, Sarah Winston believes in doing her homework. She also believes in giving back. But when she agrees to manage an athletic equipment swap, she doesn't bargain on an uncharitable killer. The day of the event, the school superintendent is found dead in the gymnasium.

Suddenly the murder suspects are the school board members--including the husband of a very difficult client who's hired Sarah to run a high-end sale and demands she do her bidding. In between tagging and haggling, Sarah studies the clues to see who wanted to teach the superintendent a lesson. But as she closes in on the truth, the killer intends to give her a crash course on minding her own business . . .

Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.  Learn more about Sherry and her books at

Hanscom AFB, Massachussets

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

- Nat King Cole

Soda, pretzels, and beer are go-to snack foods for a lazy afternoon. They also pop up in the plot of I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER. For me, any Sherry Harris book is a go-to "snack" read for a lazy afternoon. The Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries series is set around the Minute Man Historical National Park outside of Boston where the real Hanscom Air Force Base is located - it is obviously the inspiration for Fitch AFB in the series. Both Sherry and I have spent time (separately) at Hanscom ... so I am naturally drawn to this series.

Indeed, there is much to cheer with I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER. I love the title as it relates to Sarah's passion and profession - finding bargains at garage sales, second hand stores, and estate auctions. I also found it to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the teen scream movies that are predictable but entertaining. Indeed, I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER follows the standard cozy mystery pattern - capable heroine in a small business finds a dead party, becomes an amateur sleuth, finds a few red herrings, puts herself in jeopardy, but solves the mystery. Yet Harris adds a few layers of intrigue with three back-to-back incidents with shadowy characters. These incidents are seemingly unconnected ... but who believes in coincidences?

Harris features a subplot with taste testing lasagna ... it adds comic relief to the story line. Sarah's efforts to sample the pasta staple in the surrounding towns reveals that she is human, that readers can relate to her, as she indulges in carbs galore.

The story unfolds from Sarah's first person point of view. This enables Harris to educate the reader about local customs, such as indulging in fluffernutter sandwiches - marshmellow fluff and peanut butter staple of New England's hardy population. Sarah also offers tips for hosting garage sales .... and haggling at garage sales. The first person POV is helpful at times .. but also distracting. Sarah often explained operational procedures on the military base when Sarah - a civilian - frequently gained access to the restricted area. To be fair, I found it distracting because I am already familiar with the military procedure as a veteran. But other readers might find it helpful.

Still, my one critique did not take away from my enjoyment of I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER. It kept my attention through the plot curves. To discuss the plot further would spoil the story ... just know that it all comes together at the end for a satisfying read. Once I finished the book, I could then see how Harris planted clues along the way.

I believe I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER could be enjoyed as a stand alone novel, but I recommend starting at the beginning with TAGGED FOR DEATH. All five books in the series are easy reads, so you can catch up just in time to join Sarah on the garage sale circuit.

I received a copy of I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER - mil spouse to mil spouse - for an honest review.

Hanscom AFB, Massachussets

Sherry Harris gave me a second copy of I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER to giveaway here on my blog. So let's chat about garage sales, thrift shops, and other places to find a bargain. I invite you to share your own experience - good, bag, or ugly? Special find or total dud? One randomly selected commenter wins the autographed copy of I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER. Comments are open through Sunday, April 1. I'll post the winner on Monday, April 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City