Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Christopher Murphy and NASHUA

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Check out my weekly column, State of Romance, at USA Today's HEA blog at this link.  This week I spotlight romance books set in New Hampshire as the Granite State has a connection to Thanksgiving.

The second largest city of New Hampshire is NASHUA ... the title of Christopher Murphy's debut novel:

Located just north of Boston, Nashua, New Hampshire, is known as a quiet city--until a series of violent murders makes front page news just before Memorial Day weekend. The brutal killings leave citizens terrified, and the NH State Police respond by bringing in an experienced investigator. Detective Sergeant John Osborne is an abrasive but competent state trooper from the major crimes unit. Osborne immediately butts heads with Detective David Boyle, his liaison to the Nashua police department. Both men begin investigating the grisly murders, which seemingly happened with absolutely no apparent connection except for the killer placing a white pillowcase over the victim's head and tying the end of it off in a knot around the neck. As if the killer didn't want to see the victims face, the skull is pummeled rendering them unrecognizable. Nothing is as it seems as both investigators clash every step of the way. Their own personal dislike and inter-departmental hostility for each other threatens to jeopardize the investigation. Ironically, both of them might actually be closer to the truth than they realize upon learning of an eerily similar crime committed in Maryland the year before. In fact, the killer has already decided that one of them must become the next victim.

Amazon link

Christopher Murphy is a former police officer and native of New Hampshire. He has been on active duty in the United States Marine Corps for the last fourteen years. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, Donna, and their six daughters.

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

1.  Leave a comment about Thanksgiving - do you have a favorite dish?   

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

State of Romance - New Hampshire with Nancy Lee Badger and MY DARK HIGHLANDER


Each week, I host State of Romance at USA Today's HEA Blog. This week, we visit New Hampshire in honor of its connection to Thanksgiving at this link

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have an extra special treat ... Nancy Lee Badger offers a guest post with gorgeous pictures of New Hampshire!

Loon Mountains


I recently traveled through New Hampshire, a state wedged between Maine and Vermont, with Massachusetts beneath, and Canada above. Fall was in the air. Could winter be far behind? Folks love its sparkling coast where Portsmouth and Dover fishermen ply their trade. The ski slopes in the White Mountains are eagerly waiting the first snowfall. Waterfalls, streams, beaver dams, and mountain lakes are filled with wildlife. 

A little history: New Hampshire is one of the 13 original states. Named after the English county of Hampshire, it once included the land we now call Vermont. These two ‘mirrored’ states are separated along the border of the Connecticut River. The state motto found on its license plates is ‘Live Free or Die’, and it is referred to as the ‘The Granite State’. New Hampshire still uses the granite profile of the ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ as their state symbol even though this huge outcropping of granite tumbled down into the valley. This happened back in May 2003 while I was at work at NH 9-1-1. I can remember the sorrow of learning this famous, ancient grouping of rock was gone, while White Mountain National Park rangers searched for any hikers caught in the disaster (no one was hurt).

Another reason that this crumbling visage hurt the state is because tourism is a major economic product. Every fall, starting in mid-September, tourists drive past where the “Old Man” used to stand, as they enjoy the changing colors of the leaves. Snowfall starts in November, and ski areas fill with visitors who enjoy brisk white slopes dotted by groves of dark green pines. Summertime brings people to their summer homes; small two room cabins on the edge of a lake or pond, or multi-million dollar mansions along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ellsworth Falls

My Dark Highlander

Stranded in 1603 Scotland, veterinarian Jenny Morgan is eager to get home to New England. Hiding her ability to read auras, a powerful witch comes to her aid. All Jenny will miss is the man who stole her heart, one dark night.

Laird Gavin Sinclair has a missing brother, a murderous father, and a dark-eyed beauty on his mind. When Jenny returns to a dangerous future, he sets aside his obligations and searches for her at the New England Highland Games. Jealousy and lust ravage his dark soul, until he and Jenny fight evil together.


Amazon ebook
Nook
Smashwords
All Romance
Amazon Print
iTunes
Kobo
Barnes and Noble Print

ISBN 13: 978-1502558558

More About Nancy Lee Badger

She loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, she moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Area Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Connect with Nancy & check out her Books on her BLOG.

Dover Point Inlet

Mahalo, Nancy, for sharing your love of the Granite State with us! I am giving away "Highlander" swag to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about New Hampshire - what do you know about it?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, November 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Photos from Nancy Lee Badger

Monday, November 24, 2014

Aloha to Eileen Dreyer and TWICE TEMPTED


The fabulous Eileen Dreyer joins me today for a cozy chat to celebrate the release of TWICE TEMPTED.  From her bio,


A retired trauma nurse, Eileen lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

Dreyer won her first publishing award in 1987, being named the best new Contemporary Romance Author by RT Bookclub. Since that time she has also garnered not only six other writing awards from RT, but five RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, which secures her only the fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Since extending her reach to suspense, she has also garnered a coveted Anthony Award nomination.

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.

eileendreyer.com
facebook.com/EileenDreyer
@eileendreyer


Kim:  Where do you keep the RITAs?

Eileen:  Actually, they're on a bookshelf in my office. Now, to be specific, it's the office where I store my research and do business. I have another little cubby where I write, because I found that when I tried writing with my awards sitting over my shoulder, they had a disconcerting habit of chuckling evilly whenever I got stuck. Kind of like, “Yeah, you thought you were so good, romance girl.” So now they laugh at my research books, and in my cubby I can't hear them.

Kim:  What Olympic sport would you be best suited to win a RITA, er, Gold?

Eileen:  I just heard my parents whimper in my head. I come from a family with five boys and athletes all around. My mom and dad coached us all in sports when I was a kid. My mom tried to teach me tennis and my dad tried to teach me golf (that experiment failed when I sent him to the ER for stitches with my backswing). And while my mom had to have me on the softball team for my unnatural ability to hit a ball (my legit batting average was in the .700s. I couldn't hit for power, but I could always dink the ball over the infield. I was lead-off hitter for five years), she put me in short-center so all the other girls could support me. I can catch a ball, but when I throw, even my four-year-old grandson says, “Oh, grandma.”

And that was as close as I got to being athletic. I was even called The Klutz in theater and asked never to dance. So I guess if they had reading, acting, singing or gardening in the Olympics, I might stand a chance to even be at opening ceremonies (I did sing the National Anthem at a minor league baseball game once—it was one of the coolest things EVER). Otherwise, my sport is watching the Olympics from my living room.

Kim:  Which movie director would you like to direct what book from your penned books?

Eileen:  Ooh, that's a good one. If I were to film any of my medical-forensic suspenses, I'd definitely want Christopher Nolan (Memento, Dark Knight, The Prestige—maybe he could also get Hugh Jackman to star...). He just has the touch for suspense.

For my historical romances, I think that the most filmable would be my first Drake's Rakes book, ONCE A RAKE, since it begins on the Eve of the Battle of Waterloo and I'd love to see that filmed. If David Lean was still directing, I'd ask him (think Lawrence of Arabia). But since Tom Hooper is directing now, I'd ask him (who did not only HBOs John Adams, but King's Speech and Les Miserables—which shows he can do scope. And might talk Colin Firth into starring as Jack, although really Hugh Jackman is Jack). If I filmed my newest book, TWICE TEMPTED, I'd ask Neil deGrasse Tyson because astronomy and science are at the heart of my heroines's lives—and I have a mad science crush on Neil deGrasse Tyson. I think he'd love to direct a movie that highlights the contributions of women to astronomy in the late 18th and early 19th century, and Fiona and Mairead Ferguson are not only witnesses but pretend participants. As for the nefarious spies chasing Fiona and Mairead and the lovely relationships they form with Alex Knight and Chuffy Wilde (yes, those who've followed my Rakes, Chuffy is one of the heroes), I figure Tyson is smart enough to ask help from Nolan (and could get Hugh Jackman, although Alex is really Richard Armitage) and maybe Jon Turtletaub, who directed one of my very favorite romantic movies, While You Were Sleeping. Easy, huh?

Thanks so much for inviting me to play. This was fun!  If you want to know more about the research for Twice Tempted, it's going up on my website eileendreyer.com.

Eileen (left) with Patricia Rice and Cathy Maxwell
A good time was had by all ...

TWICE TEMPTED

Fiona Ferguson's troubles began with a kiss . . .

It feels like a lifetime ago that Alex Knight saved Fiona from certain doom . . . and stole a soul-shattering kiss for good measure. Wanting nothing more than to keep her safe, he left her in the care of her grandfather, the Marquess of Dourne.

But Fiona was hardly safe. As soon as he could, the marquess cast her and her sister out on the streets with only her wits to keep them alive.

Alex has never forgotten that long-ago kiss. Now the dashing spy is desperate to make up for failing his duty once before. This time he will protect Fiona once and for all, from a deadly foe bent on taking revenge on the Ferguson line-and anyone who stands in the way . . .

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-A-Million
Powell’s
Google Play
iTunes


I am giving away a print copy of TWICE TEMPTED to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  What is your best sport?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

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Aloha to Julie Ann Walker and FULL THROTTLE


She Needs a Hero... 

Abby Thompson didn't sign up to be the daughter of the President of the United States. The position was forced on her by the small matter of her birth. Preferring a quiet life of study, she's content to leave the politics and the international intrigue to her father. Unfortunately, the most powerful man on the planet is sure to make enemies. When a group of armed thugs takes her hostage half a world away, demanding the U.S. government release prisoners in exchange for her safe return, she fears her father's policy of "not negotiating with terrorists" means she'll never see the shores of the Potomac again. Luckily, there's one glimmer of hope. His name is Carlos Soto. And though she abruptly ended things with him years ago, she knows now he's the only man who can save her…

Black Knights, Inc. to the Rescue...

Carlos "Steady" Soto has taken part in his fair share of dangerous missions working at the covert government defense firm of Black Knights Inc. But nothing prepared him for the emotional rollercoaster he faces when he's tasked with rescuing the only woman he ever loved-who also broke his heart. Racing against time and outmaneuvering a group of trained terrorists will take everything he's got. Plus there's the heat simmering between them which is threatening to ignite into an inferno. While ruthless enemies stalk them, they must learn to trust each other again. Even if they do make it out alive, will Abby turn her back on him... for the second time?

Goodreads link
Amazon: link
Barnes and Noble: link
iTunes: link 



Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission. 

julieannwalker.com
goodreads.com/JAWalkerAuthor
facebook.com/jawalkerauthor
twitter.com/JAWalkerAuthor


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Julie Ann is hosting a giveaway at this link .... and offers an excerpt from FULL THROTTLE:

So far, so good…

The hum of the Ducati was reassuring, as was Abby’s tightened grip around Steady’s waist. They were riding down the devil’s own washed--out, rutted, rock--filled hell of a rubber tree logging road, and for the first ten minutes of the harrowing journey, while she’d still been suffering the lingering effects of the sedative, it was just as difficult to keep her on the bike as it was to navigate the frackin’ jungle track.

But now they were clipping along at a steady, if decidedly slow, pace. No JI goons could be seen in his rearview mirrors—-though it was hard to tell exactly, given the fact that the forest encroached from both sides and above. And if his calculations were correct, a half hour or so more should see them entering the lovely kingdom of Thailand.

See, he wished he could call and tell Dan, sometimes it’s better to Lone Wolf McQuade things…

Abby squirmed against his back, interrupting his thoughts and alerting him to the feel of her supple thighs pressed against the outsides of his hips and legs. Which, in turn, immediately focused his attention on her soft breasts—-and distended nipples?—-grazing his back.

Okay, so who was he kidding? Like he hadn’t been keenly aware of each of those things since the first moment. Even while worming his way through the dense undergrowth of ferns and vines after escaping the encampment and hiking back to the Ducati, he’d been hard--pressed to concentrate on anything other than the feel of Abby squeezed all nice and tight against him. Abby’s soft skin touching his. Abby’s sweet smell—-even sweaty and bedraggled, she still emanated a soft cloud of dryer sheets and cocoa butter lotion—-filling his nose and making his head spin.

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Aloha to MK McClintock and A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

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MK McClintock joins us for a cozy chat to celebrate A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS:

MK McClintock spins tales of romance and adventure inspired by the heather-covered hills of Scotland and the majestic mountains of home. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, she lives and writes in Montana.

Kim:  I am envious of your extensive travels! Can you share a funny story? I know, I know, it's hard to pick just one.

MK:  I haven’t been to nearly as many places as I would like, but I can definitely say that Scotland is my favorite thus far. There were a few interesting experiences, one of which took place as soon as I left the airport. Many Americans have stories about driving on the opposite side of the road, but boy was it an experience. Luckily I knew how to drive a manual transmission. I was very careful to stick with the speed limits, but I kept noticing that everyone else seemed to be passing me on the road. Each person who passed looked directly at me with the strangest expressions. To this day, I feel like they somehow knew I was a tourist who didn’t know what I was doing. Almost everywhere I went, I opened the door on the wrong side of the car, which isn’t embarrassing unless someone else sees. Then there was the haggis . . . it was an awesome holiday.

Kim:  Culinary school - how fun! What is your best dish to make?

MK:  O was always more into the pastry side of the business. Asking me to pick a best is a tough one, but I’d have to say chocolate croissants for pastry. For a regular dish, I’d have to go with a cast iron deep dish pizza. It’s not fancy or French, but it’s mind-blowing delicious.

Kim:  Montana - what is your favorite sight, sound, and smell?

MK:  Watching a bald eagle soar over the lake with the mountains in the background. The sound of waves crashing against the lake shore on a stormy day. The fresh scent of pine after a rain or on a snowy day.

Kim:  Tell us about A HOME FOR CHRISTMAS - what inspired it?

MK:  It’s a collection of three historical western short stories that all have a bit of sweet romance, but really focus on family and the special moments that can happen around the holiday. I really wanted to put out a Christmas book, and I had all of these stories rolling around in my mind that I could easily have put into full-length novels. I then considered a short story collection because I understand how insanely busy the holidays can get. Story lines and settings just seem to pop into my head, but those are usually inspired by places I’ve been or something I read during research. I named four of the characters after nieces, and their personalities definitely inspired their character counterparts!

Kim:  What's next for MK McClintock?

MK:  The audiobook version of A Home for Christmas is in production, and I’m hard at work on my third British Agent novel, which will be out in early 2015. I also have two more installments to my Gallagher series planned for 2015. Needless to day, I’m going to be pretty busy this winter. Lucky for me, Montana winters can be long and cold which makes for great writing weather.

Thank you so much for allowing me to visit with you and your readers today! I can’t express enough how much fun I had writing these Christmas stories, and how honored I am to be sharing them with everyone.


Mahalo, MK, for sharing your holiday cheer with us!  I am giving away holiday swag to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your home ... how do you decorate for the holiday?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about MK and her books at mkmcclintock.com.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Aloha to Shannyn Schroeder and HER WINNING FORMULA



The Wishful Traveler

I am not well traveled. I rarely go far from home, even though there is a huge part of me that would like to. My mom took our family to Ireland and London when I was a small child. It was the year after my father had died and she wanted us to meet his family. I was so young, though, that the trip didn’t make much of an impression. We went to Wisconsin Dells once and I went to Houston with my aunt to visit another aunt (all we did was sit around the apartment).

When I turned 18, my graduation present to myself was a trip to London. I went for 2 weeks. Although I traveled alone, I was able to stay with my dad’s aunt so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel. It was a great trip. I still have vivid memories of what it was like to stand and wait for the tube or sit and people watch at Picadilly Circus. I only wish I would’ve gone to Scotland from there, spent more time exploring. Ever since then, I promised myself that one day I’d travel more.

But then there was college and then a career and marriage and kids. Having kids prompted me to do more traveling, but it was all kid-related: many trips to the Dells, a trip through central Illinois to visit 3 kids’ museums in a weekend, Indianapolis for another kids’ museum, a trip to Michigan where we rented a house walking distance from the lake, a few trips to Disney World… You get the picture. But in all of those trips, it was about making memories for the kids, not me.

As a writer, I’ve played it safe with setting. All of my single title books take place in and around Chicago because I’ve lived here my whole life. It wasn’t until I wrote my Hot & Nerdy trilogy that I left Chicago for two of the novellas, but even then, setting only played a small role. I did my research and kept it simple.

I went to RT in New Orleans last year. It was only the second time I’d ever gone on a trip without my kids. The conference was fun, for the most part, but I enjoyed walking around just experiencing parts of the city. By the time my week was over, and I was sitting in the airport, I opened a notebook and wrote an epilogue for my first book. It took place in New Orleans. The flavor of the setting was all over that short piece. I wrote about the things I saw on my walks, the food I ate, the sounds I heard, the smells I smelled. No amount of research could really give me that.

My hope as I continue to write and explore outside my comfort zone is to travel more, to make my writing more authentic. Of course, I still have my kids and travel is expensive, so I’m not sure how to make it happen, but I can wish.

What is your favorite place to visit?


Kim's photo from the Honolulu Airport
Note the surfboard case!

HER WINNING FORMULA

Spring break was supposed to be a last blast of fun for three friends before the reality of adulthood set in. But for the trio’s science whiz, it’s an education in instant attraction…

Chemistry major Felicity Stone can tell you everything about the way chemicals interact, but when it comes to social interaction, she needs schooling. Abandoned by her friends, Felicity is faced with spending spring break alone—unless she accepts a gorgeous stranger’s invitation to pose as his girlfriend at a family wedding. Not one to turn down a research opportunity, Felicity never expected it to produce such breathtaking results…

Teacher and baseball coach Lucas Tanner is fascinated by Felicity’s potent mix of spirit and scientist, not to mention her delicious curves. When Felicity asks him to return the favor by teaching her how to pick up guys, he can’t refuse—but he’s not at all happy with the idea of her using a formula for flirting on anyone but him. Can he convince her that together they have the perfect chemistry?


Kindle link
Nook link
iBooks link
Kobo link

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

shannynschroeder.com
Goodreads link

Kim's photo of the island hopper

Shannyn is giving away a digital copy of HER WINNING FORMULA.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Answer Shannyn's question - what is your favorite place to visit?  Mine, of course, is Hawaii.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, November 29, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 30.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Kim's photo of Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekly Winners


From my travel blog, ALOHA ON MY MIND (link),
- Di wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Sharon Hamilton's SEAL's PROMISE
- Mary K. wins a book choice from my convention stash.

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Elizabeth Langston's I WISH
- Karen C. wins convention swag from me.


Catherine Lloyd's DEATH COMES TO LONDON
- Diane wins a print copy from me.

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Mia Marlowe's A RAKE BY ANY OTHER NAME - Author interview
- Susan P. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Winners, please claim your prize by sending your mailing address to sos.aloha@yahoo.com.  

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha  Spirit in Charm City