Friday, October 31, 2014

Books I'm Grateful I Read - Giveaway Hop with Cathy Maxwell's THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT

Aloha!  I signed up for this giveaway hop before the recent kerfuffle ... but it is a great way to wrap up my week long focus on authors doing good.  Most authors I know appreciate readers and welcome their honest thoughts.  One such author is Cathy Maxwell.   She wrote the first romance book I read, THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT.  This Scottish Regency invited me into a new world of love, hope, and friends.   I am grateful for this experience.

Check out other stops on the giveaway hop at this link.

I offer one more excerpt from the original Colonial catfisher, Benjamin Franklin, a 16 year old boy writing letters as a middle aged widow named Silence Dogood ...

July 9, 1722 • Silence Dogood No. 8

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another: And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only Bounds it ought to know.

This sacred Privilege is so essential to free Goverments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own. Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors.

Benjamin Franklin in Boston

Thank you for joining me in celebrating authors doing good.   I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1.   What is your favorite Halloween candy?  Naturally, I "inspected" my son's bag and sampled Heath Bars - love them!

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 8, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 9.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

November gives thanks to books

11/1: Celebrate Little Victories - Books I'm Grateful I Read Giveaway Hop (coordinated by Stuck in Books)
11/2: Weekly Winners
11/3: HOME FOR CHRISTMAS duet with JoAnn Ross and Jessica Scott
11/4: Nancy Lee Badger's MY DARK HIGHLANDER
11/5: Julie Ann Walker's Black Knights Inc. Quiz Tour
State of Romance - Massachusetts
11/6: Eliza Knight's HIGHLAND HUNGER
11/7: Sharon Page
11/8: Celebrate Little Victories
11/9: Weekly winners
plus Michele Callahan's WHITE FIRE
plus Lynn Cahoon's IF THE SHOE KILLS
11/11: Veterans Day with Sharon Hamilton's SEAL's PROMISE
11/12: State of Romance - Montana
11/13: Regina Scott's THE BRIDE SHIP
plus Michele Gorman's THE RELUCTANT ELF
11/14: Victoria Vane's SLOW HAND
11/15: Celebrate Little Victories
11/16: Weekly Winners
11/17: Monday Night Romance
plus Sallly Orr's THE RAKE'S HANDBOOK
11/18: Elizabeth Langston's I WISH
11/19: State of Romance - Kansas
11/20: Catherine Lloyd's DEATH COMES TO LONDON
11/21: Mia Marlowe's A RAKE BY ANY OTHER NAME
11/22: Celebrate Little Victories
11/23: Weekly Winners
11/24: Shannyn Schroeder's HER WINNING FORMULA
11/25: Eileen Dreyer's TWICE TEMPTED
11/26: State of Romance - New Hampshire
11/27: Thanksgiving
11/28: Shelley K Wall's FIND ME
11/29: Celebrate Little Victories
11/30: Weekly Winners

12/1: Twelve Days of New Adult Romance with Chanel Cleeton's FRENCH KISSED
12/2: Amanda Berry's CASANOVA
plus Susanna Fraser's A CHRISTMAS REUNION
12/3: Collette Cameron's TRIUMPH AND TREASURE
12/4: Regan Walker's THE TWELTH NIGHT WAGER
12/5: Open
12/6: Celebrate Little Victories
12/7: Weekly Winners
and Remembering Pearl Harbor Day
12/8: Charlene Groome's COLD AS ICE
12/9: Open
12/10: State of Romance - Mississippi
12/11: Gina Danna's LOVE & RECKONING
12/12: Open
12/13: Celebrate Little Victories
12/14: Weekly Winners
12/15: Monday Night Romance
12/16: Nancy Lee Badger's SHIVER
12/17: State of Romance - North Carolina
12/18: Open
12/19: Open
12/20: Celebrate Little Victories
12/21: Weekly Winners
12/22: Colleen Shannon's FOSTER JUSTICE
12/23: Open
12/24: State of Romance - Washington
12/25: Christmas
12/26: Boxing Day
12/27: Celebrate Little Victories
12/28: Weekly Winners
12/29: Monday Night Romance
12/30: Open
12/31: State of Romance - West Virginia

1/1: New Year's Day
1/2: Open
1/3: Celebrate Little Victories
1/4: Weekly Winners
1/5: Grace Burrowes' A SINGLE KISS
1/6: Tracy Solheim's BACK TO BEFORE
1/7: State of Romance
1/8: Fiona Lowe's MONTANA ACTUALLY

The Education of Women ... and the Charitable Work of Bonnie Vanak

In response to the kerfuffle between a YA Author and online reviewer, I have spotlighted the original Colonial catfisher, Benjamin Franklin.  As a 16 year old printer's apprentice, he submitted letters as the middle aged widow, Mrs. Silence Dogood, to comment on Boston society.   Today I share her/his thoughts of the education of women:

May 28, 1722 • Silence Dogood #5

If Knowledge and Understanding had been useless Additions to the Sex, God Almighty would never have given them Capacities, for he made nothing Needless. What has the Woman done to forfeit the Priviledge of being taught? Does she plague us with her Pride and Impertinence? Why did we not let her learn, that she might have had more Wit? Shall we upbraid Women with Folly, when 'tis only the Error of this inhumane Custom that hindred them being made wiser.


The women of romance, from all walks of life, have shared their wisdom to make our world a better place.  One such author is Bonnie Vanak.  From her bio (link),

After graduating from the University of Florida with a journalism degree, I worked as a newspaper reporter. After, tired of simply reporting the news, I became a writer for a large international charity. My work took me to countries like Haiti and Honduras to write about famine, disease and other issues. Humanitarian jobs are fulfilling, but emotionally draining. The work is for a good cause, but the pressure can be enormous.

So to counter the suffering I encountered in my travels, I began writing romance novels. 

Because in the end, I believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe. It can make magic happen, renew faith, and give hope for a better tomorrow. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."

Thank you, Bonnie, for caring about our global community!  Bonnie contributed to the box set LAST HERO STANDING (link) to support the medical fund for breast cancer survivor Pamela Clare.  I am giving away a digital copy of LAST HERO STANDING to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  What subject/trade/craft have you enjoyed learning?   I enjoyed learning about Hawaii's history and culture when I lived on Pearl Harbor.  

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Bonnie and her books at

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Aloha to Lady Elinor's WICKED ADVENTURE - Book review and giveaway


Lady Elinor is searching for treasure ...

The intrepid Lady Elinor Tremaine is caught up in the Victorian fervor for exploring distant lands. Her travels throw her back in the company of an old friend-this time, far from the security of polite society.

And uncovering the secrets of her own heart ...

Harry de Vaux, Viscount Tunbury, has loved Lady Elinor for as long as he can remember- but his family's sordid background put her completely out of his reach. Prowling through Etruscan ruins in Italy with Elinor is exquisite torture. 

She is so close, and so forbidden...

Tuscany treats - Public Domain (link)

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. - Amelia Earhart

Lady Elinor is bored with Victorian society.  She can flirt with the dandies but she yearns for an adventure, one to share with childhood friend Harry de Vaux.  He left just as she morphed into a young lady ... and he has returned as she is becoming a desirable woman.  

Harry accompanied his school friend, Pip, home for the holidays, only to fall in love with Pip's family in general and his sister in specific.  They welcome into their hearth and hearts ... but gave him the space to find his way.   When he returns to London from his latest adventure, he is welcomed back to the Tremaine family ... and asked to accompany them to Italy. Since he owes them for his sanity, Harry agrees, knowing it will be difficult to keep his eyes (and hands) off Lady Elinor.

As the extended family travel to Italy, Elinor and Harry begin to acknowledge their growing attraction.  Upon arrival in Italy, the entire family throws themselves into the local culture while exploring the Etruscan ruins.  I don't want to giveaway too much of the plot, but I appreciate that the Marek allows hero and heroine to enjoy their romance.  Likewise, Marek treats the readers to the lush landscape of Italy with a light history lesson in its struggle to unite as a republic.   Marek hits the mark for readers who appreciate antiquities.

Recommended read for fans of lighthearted historical romance, far flung places, and humor laced action adventure.   

I received an ARC from Sourcebooks for a honest review.

Rome's Bridge of Angels
Public Domain (link)

I am giving away a print copy of LADY ELINOR'S WICKED ADVENTURE to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about a place you would like to explore.  I have visited Rome, but not Tuscany, which I would like to explore, too.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Lillian and her books at

Sistine Chapel - Public Domain (link)

More from Authors Doing Good - Inigo Montoya, Mrs. Dogood, and Eileen Dreyer

My family is a fan of the Maryland Renaissance Festival - my teens especially enjoy Fight School. From their website (link):

Here we come... walking down the street... we get the funniest looks from... everyone we meet. Hey Hey We're the Fight School!

The quirky quartet demonstrates famous sword fights, including "the one from a movie we can't identify due to copyright infringement". Yet the audience knows it is The Princess Bride with Inigo Montoya vs. Westley (link).

Inigo Montoya offers up the best quote to combat the ongoing Catfish controversy, "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."  To recap, a YA author accused a reviewer of "catfishing" for using a pseudo name on social media.  Catfishing typically refers to online dating ... but if the YA author wants to use it in this manner, then let us look to the original catfisher, Mrs. Dogood. She portrayed herself as a middle aged widow to comment on social issues in Colonial Boston.  Mrs. Dogood was, in fact, 16 year old Benjamin Franklin.  

May 14, 1722 • Silence Dogood #4

(Mrs. Dogood shares a dream in which she visits the Temple of Learning aka Harvard University):

I reflected in my Mind on the extream Folly of those Parents, who, blind to their Childrens Dulness, and insensible of the Solidity of their Skulls, because they think their Purses can afford it, will needs send them to the Temple of Learning, where, for want of a suitable Genius, they learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, and enter a Room genteely, (which might as well be acquir'd at a Dancing-School,) and from whence they return, after Abundance of Trouble and Charge, as great Blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited.

Benjamin Franklin, through Mrs. Dogood's letters, offers veiled criticims of Harvard University.  It is the Alma mater of the YA author who remains unapologetic for stalking the reviewer.   Mrs. Dogood says its best, "as great Blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited."

I have several friends who attended Harvard - they are not blockheads.  Likewise, not all authors are blockheads.  Perhaps one of the most vivacious, entertaining, and generous is historical romance author Eileen Dreyer.   From her bio (link):

Eileen is an addicted traveler, having sung in some of the best Irish pubs in the world, and admits she sees research as a handy way to salve her insatiable curiosity. She counts film producers, police detectives and Olympic athletes as some of her sources and friends. She’s also trained in forensic nursing and death investigation, although she doesn’t see herself actively working in the field, unless this writing thing doesn’t pan out.

Eileen first published as Kathleen Korbel - gasp!  A pseudo name!  Should you meet her at a book signing, ask her how she picked this name.  Eileen won five RITAs and is the fourth author to be named to the RWA Hall of Fame.  

Eileen (left) laughs with Patricia Rice and
Cathy Maxwell at RT/11 in LA.

Eileen is now putting all her "research" to work as a Jeopardy contestant.   Make sure to watch on Thursday, October 30 - check your local listings.  Meanwhile, follow Eileen's road to Jeopardy on her Facebook page at this link.

Let's celebrate those who are not blockheads!  I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash, including several titles from Eileen.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Jeopardy - which categories would you win money?  Lose money?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Check out pictures from our recent visit to Harvard (during our trip to Boston) at this link and link.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Aloha to Stephanie Laurens and BY WINTER'S LIGHT

Fan favorite Stephanie Laurens returns to romantic Scotland to usher in a new generation of Cynsters in an enchanting tale of mistletoe, magic, and love. 

It’s December 1837, and the young adults of the Cynster clan have succeeded in having the family Christmas celebration held at snow-bound Casphairn Manor, Richard and Catriona Cynster’s home. Led by Sebastian, Marquess of Earith, and by Lucilla, future Lady of the Vale, and her twin brother, Marcus, the upcoming generation has their own plans for the holiday season.

Yet where Cynsters gather, love is never far behind—the festive occasion brings together Daniel Crosbie, tutor to Lucifer Cynster’s sons, and Claire Meadows, widow and governess to Gabriel Cynster’s daughter. Daniel and Claire have met before and the embers of an unexpected passion smolder between them, but once bitten, twice shy, Claire believes a second marriage is not in her stars. Daniel, however, is determined to press his suit. He’s seen the love the Cynsters share, and Claire is the lady with whom he dreams of sharing his life. Assisted by a bevy of Cynsters—innate matchmakers every one—Daniel strives to persuade Claire that trusting him with her hand and her heart is her right path to happiness.

Meanwhile, out riding on Christmas Eve, the young adults of the Cynster clan respond to a plea for help. Summoned to a humble dwelling in ruggedly forested mountains, Lucilla is called on to help with the difficult birth of a child, while the others rise to the challenge of helping her. With a violent storm closing in and severely limited options, the next generation of Cynsters face their first collective test—can they save this mother and child? And themselves, too?

Back at the manor, Claire is increasingly drawn to Daniel and despite her misgivings, against the backdrop of the ongoing festivities their relationship deepens. Yet she remains torn—until catastrophe strikes, and by winter’s light, she learns that love—true love—is worth any risk, any price.

A tale brimming with all the magical delights of a Scottish festive season.

Amazon: link
B&N: link
ibooks: link

No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing romances as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career when her first novel was accepted for publication, and with entirely becoming alacrity, she gave up writing about facts in favor of writing fiction.

Laurens' novels are set in the time period of the British Regency, and her settings range from Scotland to India. Laurens has published fifty works of historical romance, including 29 New York Times bestsellers. All her works are continuously available in print and digital formats in English worldwide, and have been translated into many other languages. An international bestseller, among other accolades Laurens has received the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award for Best Romance Novella 2008, for The Fall of Rogue Gerrard.

Her continuing novels featuring the Cynster family are widely regarded as classics of the genre. Other series include the Bastion Club Novels and the Black Cobra Quartet. For information on upcoming releases and updates on novels yet to come, visit Stephanie's website.

Ho'omaika'i 'ana (congratulation), Stephanie, on continuing the Cynster family is Scotland. Sigh. Alba. I am giving away Scottish swag, including a leather book mark from the castle of your choice. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about big families - what do you love about them in real life or in fiction?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, November 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

I met Stephanie (right) at RWA/11 in New York City.

State of Romance, Benjamin Franklin, and Authors Behaving Humanely

Mount Hood, Oregon
Public Domain (link)

I contribute a weekly column, State of Romance, to USA Today's HEA Column.  Today we visit Oregon, the Beaver State, at this link.   We also return to the other state of romance ... the flow of free thought (link).   I continue sharing the musings from the colonial catfisher, Benjamin Franklin, posing as a middle aged Silence Dogood in his/her letters to the New England Courant.

April 30, 1722 • Silence Dogood #3

I am very sensible that it is impossible for me, or indeed any one Writer to please all Readers at once. Various Persons have different Sentiments; and that which is pleasant and delightful to one, gives another a Disgust.

I intend to proceed, bestowing now and then a few gentle Reproofs on those who deserve them, not forgetting at the same time to applaud those whose Actions merit Commendation. 

No doubt Mrs. Dogood would offer a few gentle reproofs to those authors behaving badly.  Likewise, she would applaud those whose Actions merit commendation ... 

Standing up to Cancer -  LAST HERO STANDING is a box set from Dianna LoveCynthia Eden, Elisabeth NaughtonJoan Swan, Bonnie VanakPamela Clare, Mary Buckham, Adrienne Giordano, Norah Wilson, and Stephanie Rowe.  Proceeds benefit Pamela Clare who is recovering from breast cancer. Learn more at this link.

Supporting deployed personnel - Geri Krotow and Heather Ashby sent books to deployed personnel.  Geri and Heather understand the challenges of deployment - they are Navy Veteran and spouse.  Mahalo, my fellow RomVets!

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

1.  Leave a comment about Oregon, Benjamin Franklin, or an author you know who behaves humanely.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 2.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Remember, you can also support deployed personnel at this link.