Monday, May 30, 2016

Aloha to Lily Blackwood and THE BEAST OF CLAN KINCAID


Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.

Also check out my video tribute to military personnel, from the Spanish American War to Operation Enduring Freedom, at this link.

Lily Blackwood is kicking off a new series, Clan Kincaid, with THE BEAST OF CLAN KINCAID on Tuesday, May 31, from St. Martin's Press:

A Highland warrior battles to reclaim his birthright in the first of a new series filled with seduction, revenge, and soul-stirring passion…

They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…

Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?

Lily Blackwood lives in Texas with her family and mini-menagerie of two cats and a dog. When she isn’t writing, she loves reading, cooking, travel, sleeping and not cleaning her house!

Lily is also an Army brat.  She shared with me her memories of spending Memorial Day at the Corozal American Cemetery in Panama and the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Thank you, Lily, for your family's service!

Learn more about Lily and her books at

Corozal American Cemetery

Lily is giving away a copy of THE BEAST OF CLAN KINCAID to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Can you share a memory of Memorial Day?  Three years ago, my teens and I flew from Honolulu to Seoul to visit my husband working in Korea. Check out pictures from Korea and China on my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, at this link (use the archive to scroll through posts in May, June, and July).

2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 4, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Coming in December 2016

Honoring Extraordinary Heroism: The Service Cross Medals

 94th Aero Squadron - Group.jpg
The 94th Aero Squadron received the first 
Distinguished Service Crosses during WWI.

Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.

Also check out my video tribute to military personnel, from the Spanish American War to Operation Enduring Freedom, at this link.

Aloha! I received this press release from the USPS ...

The Honoring Extraordinary Heroism: The Service Cross Medals Forever Stamps will be dedicated at 11 a.m. ET May 30 at the world’s largest stamp show that only takes place in the U.S. once a decade, World Stamp Show NY-2016. More than 250,000 visitors are expected to attend the show that runs May 28-June 4 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Many recipients of these awards died or were severely wounded as a result of the valorous actions for which they were honored, while a number of others died in subsequent battles before receiving the award for their earlier actions. Many recipients rescued wounded service members or drew enemy fire to buy time for others to regroup or be rescued. Some continued fighting despite their own wounds. According to official accounts, all braved enemy fire, made bold decisions and took selfless actions to rescue or protect their fellow service members. These medals pay homage to such valorous actions and dedication to duty.

The Distinguished Service Cross was the first of these decorations to be established, in 1918, followed the next year by the Navy Cross. The Air Force Cross was instituted in 1960, following the creation of the Air Force as a separate military service independent from the Army. The Coast Guard Cross was only recently instituted, in 2010, to recognize its members for qualifying actions taken when not operating under the Department of the Navy or during military operations against international terrorists. This decoration is yet to be awarded.

The Service Cross Medals are the second highest military decoration for valor in combat, after the Medal of Honor. In the official language authorized by congressional legislation, the Service Cross Medals are given for extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor while:

· engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
· engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
· serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The Postal Service previously issued Medal of Honor Forever Stamps honoring recipients who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Mahalo to the United States Post Office for honoring our military heroes. Do you have a favorite commemorative stamp? I always enjoy the holiday stamps.

One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Saturday, June 4, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Aloha to DD Ayres and FORCE OF ATTRACTION (K-9 Rescue Book 2) - Book Review


The only thing more powerful than fear is desire...

A seasoned K-9 officer with the police in Maryland, Cole Jamison has left her old life behind her. With a new home and a new partner-a protective canine named Hugo-Cole is ready for fresh challenges. A crucial position on an important drug task force is exactly what she wants...until she discovers her gorgeous, infuriating ex-husband will be the DEA agent in charge.


Agent Scott Lucca may be a pro when it comes to undercover assignments, but this job is daunting even for him. Posing as a happy couple on the dog competition circuit means he and Cole need to get a lot closer than they've been in years. Playing a live-in couple should seem like a walk in the park compared to tracking a brutal criminal, but suddenly nothing could be more dangerous than the passionate fire they've rekindled...

A U.S. Marine rewards his explosive-sniffing dog.
Public Domain (link)

It is not the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the size of the fight in the dog. - Barry McGuigan

FORCE OF ATTRACTION is a tour of force from DD Ayers. She offers multiple story lines rolled into one action packed roller coast ride through the lives of law enforcement officers and their canine partners. Nicole "Cole" Jamison is a rising star in the Montgomery County Police Department, having recently been assigned to the K9 unit with Hugo. Her experience with the dog show circuit makes her the perfect candidate for a joint task force investigating pedigree dogs being used as drug mules. The catch - she would work undercover as a dog handler with her another DEA agent posing as her significant other - her ex-husband.

Scott Lucca lives on the edge, making him a capable agent but a lousy husband. He regrets that he did not at least try to save his marriage, leading him to recommend Nikki - now Cole - for the task force. Their professional reunion is overshadowed by Cole's anger, Scott's remorse, and their mutual attraction. They make some progress in healing as they train for the mission, only to encounter a dangerous criminal from Scott's undercover assignment which lead to their divorce.  Their canine partners enable them to find their happily ever after.

Ayers delves into Scott's psyche to demonstrate what makes a "normal" kid from New Jersey take the risk of undercover assignments. I enjoyed Ayers incorporating how dogs are trained for sniffing out drugs ... and preparing for best in show. I also appreciated the secondary characters who trained Scott and Cole to act as a married couple ... and heal as a divorced couple.

I tend to shy away from romantic suspense. Yet I was drawn to FORCE OF ATTRACTION by its cover and blurb.  From page one, I was enchanted by the dogs and entrenched in the action. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

Recommended read for fans of law enforcement characters and second chance romance. 

Public Domain (link)

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash, including a copy of FORCE OF ATTRACTION, to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Do you have a favorite name for a dog? Max is a great name, especially for German Shepherds!

2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 4, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about DD Ayers and her books at

18779673Primal Force (K-9 Rescue, #3)26114614

Weekly Winners

Boy Scouts placing lei at National Cemetery of the Pacific

- Cathy P. wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Rachel Goodman's SOUR GRAPES
- Ladbook Fan wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Carly Phillips' DARE TO TAKE
- Janice H. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


From my travel blog, Di wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Winners, please claim your prize by sending your mailing address to


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Aloha to Kirsten Lynn, CHOCOLATE COWBOY, and Gorgeous Wyoming


Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.

Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the summer travel season. Navy historian turned romance author Kirsten Lynn joins us today with gorgeous photos which inspired her latest release, CHOCOLATE COWBOY.  Bonus: the hero is a Marine.


First, thank you Kim for hosting me today and for all of your wonderful support!

Hello! My name is Kirsten Lynn and took to heart the saying “write what you know,” combined it with what I love and so I write Western and Military romance. All roads lead to Wyoming in the majority of my stories, even my Marines and SEALs tend to end up spending some time in the Cowboy State.

In my most recent release, CHOCOLATE COWBOY, Gunnery Sergeant Jared Worrell returns home to Ten Sleep, Wyoming at the request of his mother. For a man who wanted to be an active duty Marine until the day he took up a new post at heaven’s gate, he can’t muster up any enthusiasm for returning to small-town Wyoming…until he meets Lucy Thomas. Lucy is a photographer and through her eyes, Jared can finally see the beauty of his home state.

Like Jared, I left my home state of Wyoming to work with the Navy and Marine Corps as a historian in Washington, D.C. Unlike, Jared, I have always appreciated the great beauty of this wild country, and I was more than ready to move back and soak in the wide open spaces. Like Lucy, I love taking pictures of Wyoming and thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures I took while writing CHOCOLATE COWBOY for inspiration.

So come on and join Jared, Lucy, and me on a trip over the Bighorn Mountains and around Ten Sleep, Wyoming. (PSA: My photography skills aren’t as advanced as Lucy’s)

We’ll start where the story does on the “main street” of Ten Sleep.

There are as many stories as storytellers as to how the town got its name. One story says the name Ten Sleep came from the Indians' reference to a ford across the creek, on the old Bridger Trail, as being 10 days (sleeps) journey from Fort Laramie in the southeast or Yellowstone to the west. The other story relates to a large Indian camp on the Platte River near the present site of Casper, Wyoming, which was known to the early trappers as the Old Sioux Camp. To the north, near the present site of Bridger, Montana, on Clarks Fork River, was another large and well-known Indian camp. They both were important crossroads of the nation and trails led from them in all directions. Half way between the two was Ten Sleep. The Indians measured distance by the number of sleeps - which was 10 - between the two camps.

The land around Ten Sleep is gorgeous and was a major source of contention between the cattlemen and sheepherders during the late 19th Century. Today the land is still some of the finest ranch land with many spreads passed down from generation to generation. Jared’s family was one of these. I couldn’t resist capturing a few shots of some information for the Worrell family ranch.

Throughout the story, Lucy visits some of the most beautiful places in Wyoming and I try to bring places like the Tetons and Wind Rivers to life and paint a picture for the reader. I could share hundreds of pictures, but for today I’ll limit the pictures to the mountain range near and dear to my heart, and nearest Ten Sleep. I’ve driven over the Bighorn Mountains a hundred times as I visit various areas of Wyoming, but they never grow old and I always have stop for pictures. Their beauty is why I set the majority of my stories in the basins and valleys around them. 

There are two highways over the mountains. One will lead you over the mountains and to Ten Sleep. In summer the mountains dress up in their finest. 

But there’s always the rugged beauty.

And then we reach the bottom and Ten Sleep Creek.

We can’t take a tour of Wyoming without a picture of cows. J Since Red Angus are featured in CHOCOLATE COWBOY, and for good reason since they’re a popular breed, we’ll end this brief tour with a two bovine who weren’t camera shy. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour. I tried to choose those photos that would give you the best peek at the area.

Before riding off into the sunset, here’s the blurb to CHOCOLATE COWBOY:

GySgt Jared Worrell wanted one thing—to live and die a Marine. He’s made a good start at the first and come close to the second more times than a man should. One call from his mother changes all his plans, and he’s headed back to Ten Sleep, Wyoming. The Reserves feed his need to be a Marine, but what does a man do the rest of the year in a town so small it doesn’t even have one stoplight? His mom has the perfect solution; Jared should use another talent and become the town chocolatier. He’s just recovering from that bomb when she drops another…

Lucy Thomas fell in love with Ten Sleep when her parents fulfilled their dreams of owning their own ranch. Now Lucy is living her dream of photographing Wyoming from its landscape to its people, but she’s never really felt a part of the small town where everyone has known everyone else forever. Turning the doorknob to her friend’s house brings her face to face with a man whose arms she’d love to call home. He’s a Marine, cowboy, and can a woman resist?

Coming home never tasted so sweet.  I’d like to giveaway two e-copies of CHOCOLATE COWBOY. Just tell me what’s your favorite chocolate treat?

Thank you for stopping by! 

Kirsten Lynn

Learn more about Kirsten and her books at

Mahalo, Kirsten, for sharing CHOCOLATE COWBOY with us!  To enter the giveaway,

1. Answer Kirsten's question - what's your favorite chocolate treat?  Mine is Heath Bar Crunch!

2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 4, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Aloha to Jennifer McQuiston and THE SPINSTER'S GUIDE TO SCANDALOUS BEHAVIOR - Book Review


Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.

In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McQuiston's enticing new Seduction Diaries entry, a mysterious journal may provide a potential spinster with instruction—or lead her to her heart's desire...

Free-spirited Lucy Westmore isn't yet a spinster, although she fully intends to be. Fortunately, an eccentric aunt has left her both a diary detailing the secrets to spinsterhood and a cottage in Cornwall. Unfortunately, an insufferable marquess is angling for her prize! Turning Lord Thomas Branston down flat should be easy. So why does this man who won't take no for an answer make Lucy's body and soul sigh yes?

Thomas knows the real value of Heathmore Cottage, and he has no intention of letting some silly Society miss get her hands on it. He'll simply have to charm Lucy into selling. But the clever young woman he encounters, first in London, then en route to Cornwall, stands stubbornly on her own two (quite lovely) feet. And now, Thomas can think only of sweeping her off them.

Kynance Cove, Lizard, Cornwall c Shutterstock

Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. - Henry Fielding

Lucy Westmore has been groomed by her parents to marry for prestige within the ton.  But that is not her vision for her future. An unexpected inheritance - Heathmore Cottage - from her spinster aunt gives Lucy the opportunity to live independently on the Cornish coast, away from the gossiping ton.  Lucy also receives her aunt's diary in the mail, giving Lucy a glimpse into her aunt's life in the wilds of the West Country. Yet Lord Thomas Branston stands in her way with his unwavering interest in buying Heathmore Cottage even though he owns a larger property nearby. Lucy's curiosity is piqued with his repeated offers - why does he want the cottage? And why is he hiding away in Cornwall?

The adventure begins when Lucy and Thomas discover they are traveling aboard the same train to Cornwall - Lucy to inspect the cottage for herself and Thomas to return home. During the train ride, Lucy sees Thomas in different light when she learns he befriended her aunt during his self imposed exile to Lizard. Her good opinion of him continues once they arrive in Lizard where it is clear he cares about the villagers. They are suffering from an economic downturn of the fishing industry which supported town for centuries. Lucy is drawn to their plight. However, her sympathy for the villagers does not deter her from securing Heathmore Cottage for herself.  

McQuiston delivers a heartfelt romance between two lovers who are adrift from their peers. Lucy is too much of an independent thinker (like her aunt) to make a love match in the ton. Meanwhile, Thomas carries the guilt of failing his sister who could not face the society's scorn for a scandalous mistake. Yet Lucy and Thomas are two pieces who fit together in Lizard. Thomas is clearly the stronger character as the beta hero - McQuiston creates an emotionally raw man who, as a Marquess, prefers botany to politics. Lucy can be unsympathetic at times with her stubborn behavior. But I forgave her more often than not, recognizing she has been sheltered by her aristocrat family. Together, Thomas and Lucy complete each other as they seek to save those they love in Lizard and themselves.  

The creme de la creme McQuiston's vivid descriptions of the physical landscape and the local culture within Lizard Bay. I grew up visiting my English granny in the West Country. THE SPINSTER'S GUIDE TO SCANDALOUS BEHAVIOR was a comfy trip down memory lane with two characters who enchanted me.

I purchased THE SPINSTER'S GUIDE TO SCANDALOUS BEHAVIOR since I enjoyed the first book in the series, DIARY OF AN ACCIDENTAL WALLFLOWER.

Lizard Peninsula

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash, which includes a copy of THE SPINSTER'S GUIDE TO SCANDALOUS BEHAVIOR, to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. If you inherited a cottage, what would you name it?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, June 4, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Jennifer and her books at

More books in the series ... 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Aloha to Carolyn Brown and WHAT HAPPENS IN TEXAS

Reminder: I have a special giveaway for Military Appreciation Month at this link.

Carolyn Brown brings her unique voice to this tale of twin sisters finding love in a small Texas town ...

Cathy Andrews’s biological clock has passed the ticking stage and is dangerously close to “blown plumb up”. While her twin sister Marty thinks settling down with one man is just a waste of good cowboys, Cathy wants it all: the perfect husband, the baby, and a little house right there in Cadillac. But even as the town is laying bets on whose wedding will be next, Cathy doesn’t see happily-ever-after happening anytime soon.

Fortunately, Cathy and Marty have best friends who aren’t afraid to stir up a ruckus—and if it means Cathy’s got to bust out and set the town on its ear they’ll back her up—no matter how hot things get.


File:Texas State Capitol Night.jpg
Texas State Capitol: North side by night
Creative Commons (link)

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books. These days she is concentrating on her two loves: women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

Learn more about Carolyn and her books at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Carolyn offers an excerpt from WHAT HAPPENS IN TEXAS ...

If Prissy Parnell hadn’t married Buster Jones and left Cadillac, Texas, for Pasadena, California, Marty wouldn’t have gotten the speeding ticket. It was all Prissy’s damn fault that Marty was in such a hurry to get to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society monthly meeting that night, so Prissy ought to have to shell out the almost two hundred dollars for that ticket.

They were already passing around the crystal bowl to take up the voting ballots when Marty slung open the door to Violet Prescott’s sunroom and yelled, “Don’t count ’em without my vote.”

Twenty faces turned to look at her and not a one of them, not even her twin sister, Cathy, was smiling. Hell’s bells, who had done pissed on their cucumber sandwiches before she got there, anyway? A person didn’t drop dead from lack of punctuality, did they?

One wall of the sunroom was glass and looked out over lush green lawns and flower gardens. The other three were covered with shadow boxes housing the blue ribbons that the members had won at the Texas State Fair for their jalapeño pepper entries. More than forty shadow boxes all reminding the members of their history and their responsibility for the upcoming year. Bless Cathy’s heart for doing her part. She had a little garden of jalapeños on the east side of the lawn and nurtured them like children. The newest shadow box held ribbons that she’d earned for the club with her pepper jelly and picante. It was the soil, or maybe she told them bedtime stories, but she, like her mamma and grandma, grew the hottest jalapeños in the state.

“It appears that Martha has decided to grace us with her presence once again when it is time to vote for someone to take our dear Prissy’s place in the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society. We really should amend our charter to state that a member has to attend more than one meeting every two years. You could appreciate the fact that we did amend it once to include you in the membership with your sister, who, by the way, has a spotless attendance record,” Violet said.

Violet, the queen of the club, as most of the members called it, was up near eighty years old, built like SpongeBob SquarePants, and had stovepipe jet-black hair right out of the bottle. Few people had the balls or the nerve to cross her, and those who did were put on her shit list right under Martha, aka Marty, Andrews’ name, which was always on the top.

Back in the beginning of the club days, before Marty was even born, the mayor’s wife held the top position on the shit list. When they’d formed the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society, Loretta Massey and Violet almost went to war over the name of the new club. Loretta insisted that it be called a society, and Violet wanted it to be called a club. Belonging to a club just sounded so much fancier than saying that one belonged to a society. Loretta won when the vote came in, but Violet called it a club anyway and that’s what stuck. Rumor had it that Violet was instrumental in getting the mayor ousted just so they’d have to leave Grayson County and Loretta would have to quit the club.

Marty hated it when people called her Martha. It sounded like an old woman’s name. What was her mother thinking anyway when she looked down at two little identical twin baby daughters and named them after her mother and aunt—Martha and Catherine? Thank God she’d at least shortened their names to Marty and Cathy.

Marty shrugged, and Violet snorted. Granted, it was a ladylike snort, but it still went right along with her round face and three-layered neck. Hell, if they wanted to write forty amendments to the charter, Marty would still do only the bare necessities to keep her in voting standing. She hadn’t even wanted to be in the damned club and had only done it because if she didn’t, then Cathy couldn’t.

Marty slid into a seat beside her sister and held up her ballot.

Beulah had the bowl in hand and was ready to hand it off to Violet to read off the votes. But she passed it to the lady on the other side of her and it went back around the circle to Marty, who tossed in her folded piece of paper. If she’d done her homework and gotten the numbers right, that one vote should swing the favor for Anna Ruth to be the new member of the club. She didn’t like Anna Ruth, especially since she’d broken up her best friend’s marriage. But hey, Marty had made a deathbed promise to her mamma, and that carried more weight than the name of a hussy on a piece of paper.

The bowl went back to Violet and she put it in her lap like the coveted jeweled crown of a reigning queen. “Our amended charter states that only twenty-one women can belong to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society at any one time, and the only time we vote a new member in is when someone moves or dies. Since Prissy Parnell got married this past week and moved away from Grayson County, we are open for one new member. The four names on the ballet are: Agnes Flynn, Trixie Matthews, Anna Ruth Williams, and Gloria Rawlings.”

Even though it wasn’t in the fine print, everyone knew that when attending a meeting, the members should dress for the occasion, which meant panty hose and heels. Marty could feel nineteen pairs of eyes on her. It would have been twenty, but Violet was busy fishing the first ballot from the fancy bowl.

Marty threw one long leg over the other and let the bright red, three-inch-heeled shoe dangle on her toe. They could frown all they wanted. She was wearing a dress, even if it only reached midthigh, and had black spandex leggings under it. If they wanted her to wear panty hose, they’d better put a second amendment on that charter and make it in big print.

God Almighty, but she’d be glad when her great-aunt died and she could quit the club. But it looked like Agnes was going to last forever, which was no surprise. God sure didn’t want her in heaven, and the devil wouldn’t have her in hell.

“One vote for Agnes,” Violet said aloud.

Beulah marked that down on the minutes and waited.

Violet enjoyed her role as president of the club and took her own sweet time with each ballot. Too bad she hadn’t dropped dead or at least moved to California so Cathy could be president. Marty would bet her sister would get those votes counted a hell of a lot faster.

There was one piece of paper in the candy dish when Beulah held up a hand. “We’ve got six each for Agnes, Trixie, Anna Ruth, and two for Gloria. Unless this last vote is for Agnes, Trixie, or Anna Ruth, we have a tie, and we’ll have to have a runoff election.”

“Shit!” Marty mumbled.

Cathy shot her a dirty look.

“Anna Ruth,” Violet said and let out a whoosh of air.

A smile tickled the corner of Marty’s mouth.

Saved, by damn!

Agnes was saved from prison.

Violet was saved from attending her own funeral.

The speeding ticket was worth every penny.

Alamo at Night