Friday, October 31, 2014

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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



Anne Barton is celebrating the release of SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS, Book 3 in the Honeycote series ...

Lady Olivia Sherbourne isn't shy about speaking her mind, except when it comes to James Averill. For ten long years he has been her brother's best friend and her heart's only desire. But when Olivia hears James will soon set sail for an expedition to Egypt, she knows the time has come to make her move. It's now or never . . .

James has always found Olivia bewitchingly attractive, but what kind of gentleman takes up with his best friend's sister? Not that he's thinking particularly gentlemanly thoughts when she appears on his exploratory trip-three hundred miles from home!-and incites a tavern fight. No matter what the devil she's doing there, it's his duty to see her safely back to her family. But how safe will she be when every starlit night brings wicked temptation . . . ?


Five things that draw James to Egypt:

1. Adventure – England is a little too tame for James. (Luckily, Olivia isn’t at all tame!)

2. Mystery – All those ancient pharaoh’s tombs are filled with secrets, just begging to be explored.

3. History – He’s fascinated by ancient Egypt and wants to see mummies, pyramids, and hieroglyphs—in person.

4. The exotic sights – Cairo is nothing like the civilized streets of London, and that’s part of what makes it so appealing.

5. The lack of cravats – no one on his expedition will care who his tailor is or what type of knot he tied in his cravat. In fact, he plans on leaving all of his cravats at home.

Five things that make him want to stay in England:

1. His weekly boxing matches at Gentleman John Jackson’s

2. The ale at his favorite pub

3. His family and friends

4. Hot cross cinnamon buns

5. And most of all…Lady Olivia.

Anne Barton began swiping romance novels off her mom's bookshelf as a teenager, so when she had the chance to spend a semester in London-home to her favorite heroes-she packed her bags and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and in 2011 won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband (who, sadly, is not a peer of the realm-but a great guy nonetheless) and her three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and caffeinated beverages of all kinds.


Aloha to LAST HERO STANDING - a box set to stand up to cancer featuring Cynthia Eden

Eleven authors have donated their work to a box set of novellas to raise money for the medical expenses of a colleague stricken with breast cancer. The LAST HERO STANDING box set, which is set to release on Oct. 28, features 11 novels and novellas for only 99 cents, including a bonus short story from New York Times bestseller Dianna Love. All the proceeds from sales of the box set will go toward the medical expenses of USA Today bestselling author Pamela Clare, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April and has been unable to work since then. 

Learn more about Pamela's story at this link.

This box set will be available for ONE MONTH ONLY, and all proceeds go directly to the medical fund for box set author Pamela Clare, who is in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer. Everyone who touched this project donated their time and stories. Please help us help her by treating yourself and your friends to a box set full of great stories!

New York Times Bestseller Dianna Love

KISS THE ENEMY, a Slye Temp novel

"It seems with each book, this series gets better..."

New York Times Bestseller Cynthia Eden


“Plenty of passion to fan yourself but also enough make you swoon.” –So Many Reads

New York Times Bestseller Elisabeth Naughton

FIRST EXPOSURE, an Aegis Security prequel novella

“This series is off to an explosive start.”

New York Times Bestseller Joan Swan

SINFUL DECEPTION, a Renegades novel

"Another fast-paced, action-packed, sexy Covert Affairs story!"

New York Times Bestseller Bonnie Vanak


"Highly recommend to anyone who likes steamy, sexy novels."

USA Today Bestseller Pamela Clare

FIRST STRIKE, an I-Team novella

“If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, you must read Pamela Clare!”

USA Today Bestseller Mary Buckham

INVISIBLE FEARS, an Invisible Recruits novel

“The powerful descriptive ability this author displays raises the bar for Urban Fantasy!”

USA Today Bestseller Adrienne Giordano

THE EVASION, a Justifiable Cause Novella

"Adrienne Giordano delivers everything romantic suspense readers want…"

USA Today Bestseller Norah Wilson

NIGHTFALL, A Vampire Romance Novel

" edge of your seat series."

Award-Winning Author Stephanie Rowe

ICE, an Alaska Heat novel

“ICE delivers pulse-pounding chills and hot romance!”

Award-winning Author Tracey Devlyn

LATYMER, a Nexus novella

"Powerful…and gripping."

Amazon Kindle: link
Barnes & Noble Nook: link
Kobo: link
Apple iBooks: link

Each stop on the blog tour spotlights one of the contributing authors.  Please join me in welcoming Cynthia Eden.

1. How has cancer touched you personally?

I’ve watched friends and family members battle cancer too many times. Every battle breaks my heart. I’m ready for cancer to be defeated, once and for all! I don’t want to lose anyone else that I love to cancer. No more!!! I want a world that is cancer-free.

2. Why did you participate in the LAST HERO STANDING fundraiser for fellow author Pamela Clare?

I participated in this anthology because—quite simply—I think Pamela Clare is amazing. She is an incredibly strong woman, and I would do anything I could to assist Pamela in her fight with cancer.

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas.

Cynthia is a “hybrid” author. She has published extensively with New York (her New York publishers include Avon, Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin), and she has also enjoyed success in her indie writing career.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cynthia offers an excerpt from First Taste of Darkness

“I promise, you’re safe with me.” A new intensity had entered his voice, one that gave her pause. Again, Jess wished that she could see him better. She wished that she could look deep into his eyes.

The limo’s interior had seemed huge to her moments before, but it suddenly felt very small. Or maybe Blake was just too big. His wide shoulders stretched, filling the space, and he seemed to cage her next to him.

“When dawn comes,” her words weren’t as sharp anymore, “I get to leave?”

“If that’s what you want.”

Jess nodded. Sure, that was exactly what she’d want.

His fingers trailed down her cheek, then slipped over the curve of her neck. “Your pulse is racing so fast.”

She swallowed and knew he felt the small movement. “Being shot at will do that to me.”

Blake laughed. The sound sent a shiver over her. A man’s laugh shouldn’t be so sexy. “You are unexpected.”

Uh, okay.

He bent his head. His mouth replaced his hand on her neck. He kissed her lightly. Softly. And then she felt the rasp of his tongue on her throat.

Jess’s fingers dug into that fancy leather seat.

“Once you step into my world,” he murmured, and the edge of his teeth scored her flesh, “you may not want to leave.”

Her eyes had drifted closed, and Jess was working really hard to hold back a moan, so she barely heard his words.

A shoot-out, a seduction in the back of a limo—that was probably commonplace for him.

Not for her.