Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wednesday's Warriors - RITA Winners Caro Carson and Anna Richland

I posted pictures of RWA's Literacy Autographing at this link.

It is my honor to spotlight two winners from RWA's Annual Rita Ceremony ... and they are veterans!

Contemporary Romance - Short:  A TEXAS RESCUE CHRISTMAS 

Home for Christmas...

Trey Waterston has been on the outside looking in for so long, he nearly forgot where home is. But when he has to go back to the ranch that is his Texas birthright, he expects it to be as difficult to navigate as everything else in his life. He does not expect to find a halfhearted search afoot for a missing heiress. Beautiful and innocent Rebecca Cargill has disappeared, and nightfall--and a snowstorm--is coming. If they don't find her, she could die.

Not on my watch.

Instinctively, and directed only by a photograph, Trey knows he is the only one who can help her. Maybe he can finally claim his legacy. But why is he suddenly so sure Rebecca is a part of it?


Despite a no-nonsense background as a West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, Caro Carson has always treasured the happily-ever-after of a good romance novel. After reading romances no matter where in the world the Army sent her, Caro began a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Little did she know the years she spent discussing science with physicians would provide excellent story material for her new career as a romance author. Now, Caro is delighted to be living her own happily-ever-after with her husband and two children in the great state of Florida, a location which has saved the coaster-loving theme park fanatic a fortune on plane tickets.

Learn more about Caro and her books at carocarson.com.

Romance Novella:  HIS ROAD HOME by Anna Richland

To avoid an Afghan warlord’s matchmaking, Staff Sergeant Rey Cruz invents a fiancĂ©e he’ll never meet—until he’s flat on his back in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and marine biologist Grace Kim shows up with one question: why did you lie?

Cruz can’t explain his fabrication to her, the news media, their families, or their hometown, because his traumatic brain injury has manifested as aphasia, leaving him with few words to navigate his new world.

Grace offers friendship, a big step for a woman who prefers Orcinus orca to most company. Texting throughout his recovery, they connect in ways neither anticipates. She agrees to help drive his classic muscle car home across-country at Thanksgiving. His hands-on method of teaching her to operate a manual transmission is the beginning of his challenges to her comfort zone. She responds by introducing him to the steamy world of South Dakota ice-fishing shacks, and they both learn to look beyond labels into each other’s hearts.


Anna Richland is a former military officer turned romance writer. She lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less-quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle, Washington. Her two favorite parts of being an author are that it’s okay to have imaginary friends talking in her head and that work attire includes a cup of coffee.

Learn more about Anna and her books at annarichland.com.

Anna Richland

Congratulations, Caro and Anna!  I also thank you for your service!   Join me in this celebration by leaving a comment for Caro and Anna.  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 8, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 9.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Monday, July 27, 2015

Aloha to Kim Amos and AND THEN HE KISSED ME

I am posting pictures from my recent trip to NYC for the RWA Annual Conference on my travel blog at this link.  During the conference, I met today's guest - Kim Amos!  From her bio,

Kim Amos is a romance writer whose stories usually have hot dish in them, which is the Minnesota name for a casserole. She also writes young-adult novels under the name Lara Zielin.  Currently, she lives in Michigan with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.

SOS Aloha:  What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of Michigan?

Kim Amos:  There is a t-shirt that I love, which says “Four out of five Great Lakes prefer Michigan.” It cracks me up every time. I never get tired of seeing, hearing, and smelling the Great Lakes, and I love how different they all are. Lake Superior, for example, is crazy scary and cold. It’s so deep! I imagine huge monsters living in its depths. And then there’s Lake Michigan, which is the color of a robin’s egg in places, so beautifully blue it hurts to look at. Lake Erie is a survivor—it had toxic chemicals dumped into it for years, but it’s making a remarkable ecological recovery. And on Huron, I’ve seen the fog settle in like a blanket, so thick and soft-looking you’d swear you could sit on it. I’m lucky to live near all this fresh water. The Great Lakes are a treasure—and an inspiration—I never tire of!

SOS Aloha:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Kim Amos:  Does everyone say their agent? Because I’m about to follow suit. My agent, Susanna Einstein, read an early draft of one of my novels and instead of just sending me a rejection letter, she actually agreed to meet with me over lunch and tell me what could be improved in the manuscript. This is so unusual—I still can’t believe she did it. What’s more, her notes were crystal clear, and I felt like I understood what she was looking for. I went home, revised the manuscript over many weeks, then asked her if she’d take another look. She graciously agreed, then signed me after that. I think about that act of generosity all the time, and how it changed the course of my writing life forever.

SOS Aloha:  What inspired AND THEN HE KISSED ME?

Kim Amos:  One of the biggest inspirations is the Empire, Michigan, Asparagus Festival, which takes place the third week in May every year. I just knew I had to use this quirky, unusual event in northern Michigan as a backdrop. Not only does the festival have a parade featuring an asparagus queen, they also have a specialty asparagus beer that you can only get that time of year. There are dozens of vendors that serve everything from asparagus pizza to asparagus focaccia to asparagus sausage. And there’s a “kick your ass-paragus 5k” that I actually ran this year (that it did, in fact, kick my ass-paragus). I tried to fold in many of the festival’s details into AND THEN HE KISSED ME, which was great fun.

Kim is celebrating the release of AND THEN HE KISSED ME, Book Two in the White Pine series:

Five years ago, Audrey Tanner flung caution to the wind and herself into the arms of an emerald-eyed bad boy biker she met at the White Pine Asparagus Festival. Two blissful weeks together convinced her that Kieran Callaghan was The One-until The One blew town without a word, leaving her brokenhearted. Now, starting a new job at the new Harley Davidson showroom, Audrey is floored to meet her new boss: Kieran. He's still hot as hell, but she won't fall for his sexy smile again. This time, she's calling the shots.

Kieran never thought he'd return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she's just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn't know why he had to leave-or that he's missed her every day since. But he can't deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he's sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.


Forever Romance is hosting a special giveaway at this link.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Aloha to Lauren Layne and FRISK ME


After spending a week at RWA in NYC, I share the Big Apple with you via Lauren Layne's new release, FRISK ME, Book 1 in the New York's Finest series.  Lauren joins me for a cozy chat ...

A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she's naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren's lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan, and currently lives in the Chicago area. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She's also a total website nerd and insists you check out laurenlayne.com!

Kim:  Chicago!  What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Windy City?

Lauren:  This is going to sound crazy, but my favorite thing has been the snow. Winter’s long been my favorite season, but coming from Seattle, we usually get snow maybe once or twice a year. Some years there’s no snow at all. Then we tried New York, and I thought *that* would be my winter fix, but we had two pretty mild NYC winters while we were there. But Chicago … Chicago knows how to do winter. Bitterly cold and piles of snow. Perfect :-)

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Lauren:  Probably a cliche answers here, but my husband, definitely. He was the one that gave me a little dose of tough love early on, telling me I had to stop talking about writing a book and actually do it. And once the book was done, he’s the one who didn’t even hesitate when I nervously asked if I could reduce our dual income household to a single-income household while I pursued the dream of becoming a full-time writer. That sort of unwavering confidence, that belief that the money stuff would work itself out because I was a good writer (note: we went into not insignificant debt, and then crawled back out of it) is a huge component of my success.

Kim:  What inspired your new series and your new title, FRISK ME?

Lauren:  Big shout out to my publishing team here, because it was them that initially had the idea, “Hey, what about a family of NYC cops …” The story is all mine, the characters are all mine, but the premise is what happens when you put a bunch of romance-loving people in a room and figure out what stories haven’t been told yet. There just aren’t a lot of cop books out there, which is strange, because a man in uniform is HOT. I think one thing that’s pretty unique with FRISK ME and the series in general is that it’s not suspense. Most books about law enforcement officers have a “danger” element to them, but while New York’s Finest isn’t without some real-life cop situations, the heart of the series is the romance and the family.

After a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York's most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the "American Hero," Luc's boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn't mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who's been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC's lead anchor-but to get there, she'll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava's doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York's finest …

Forever is hosting a giveaway at this link.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Coming soon from the New York's Finest series ...

Weekly Winners

Patience guards the entrance of the NYC Library 

I just arrived home from the RWA Annual Conference in NYC - I will share pictures, stories, and books in the coming week.  Meanwhile, we have winners at SOS Aloha!

- Glenda wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Elizabeth John's JUDGING JOEY
- Library Pat wins a book choice from my convention stash. 


Karida Clarke's CAPTURED HEAT
- Erin wins a book choice from my convention stash.


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


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Fortitude also stands guard.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Aloha to Misty Evans and DEADLY INTENT

She’ll do anything to find her sister…

Deep undercover with a Tijuana drug cartel, FBI agent Sophia Diaz is two days away from making the biggest bust of her career…and tracking down her sister who went missing ten years ago. But when a rival cartel puts out a hit on her, there’s only one man who can keep her alive.

He’ll do anything to keep her safe…

Immigration enforcement officer, Nelson Cruz, has his hands full with his own operation while undercover as a member of the Savages motorcycle gang. When orders come down that he has to protect the sexy, but oh-so-aloof, Agent Diaz without breaking his cover, Nelson must put his skills to the ultimate test. Especially since a previous relationship with Sophie compromised his career and wreaked havoc on his heart.

South of the border is no place to die…

Nelson’s never gotten over the time he spent in Sophie’s bed or the fact she double-crossed him on their last mission together. He can’t trust her…and she doesn’t trust anybody. As the two fight their red-hot, south of the border attraction, Nelson discovers a secret that could destroy Sophie’s world forever. Once again, he’s forced to put his job—and his life—on the line for her. Can he keep her alive and out of prison? Or will their careers, as well as their hearts, go up in the flames of desire?

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Aloha to Sherri Browning and THE GREAT ESTATE


Pulled apart by past mistakes. Driven by a passion neither could deny.

Sophia Thorne was young and inexperienced when she married the dashing Earl of Averford…and through dark and troubled times, their relationship nearly came to an end. Now she’s determined to transform herself into the fiery, ardent lover she always wanted to be, giving them a second chance at love… before they’re lost to each other forever.

It took nearly losing Sophia for Gabriel to realize he had allowed his love for his great estate to distract him from his beautiful wife. But that time is over. Despite all the obstacles standing in their way, Gabriel vows to teach Sophia what it is to truly love…and to be loved by a husband devoted heart and soul to her every desire.


Sherri Browning writes historical and contemporary romance fiction, sometimes with a paranormal twist. She is the author of critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in western Massachusetts and Greater Detroit Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Find her online at sherribrowningerwin.com

Downtown Abbey exhibit at Winterthur Musseum

Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, the third in Sherri Browning’s Thornbrook Park series, The Great Estate, comes out this August!  I asked Sherri if she could be an original (new) character on Downton Abbey - who would she be?

I would be Mrs. Lucy Longchamps, a divorcee and dear old American friend of Cora’s who comes to visit and leads Cora into misadventures. Lord Grantham would detest Lucy for being such a bad influence on Cora. Lucy would finally wear out her welcome when found in bed with one of Mary’s favorite suitors. Take that, Lady Mary! I would really love a chance to bring Mary down a notch.

Sourcebooks is hosting a giveaway at this link ... and offers an excerpt from THE GREAT ESTATE:

Thornbrook Park. A warm wave of pride filled him at the sight as Dale drove them up the winding way. The chimneys appeared first over the crest of the hill, followed by the slate roof, and finally the rose stone facade. How could he have stayed away so long?

Sophia wouldn’t be expecting him. He planned to surprise her, perhaps persuade Finch not to even announce his return. He would simply appear at the dinner hour, dressed to the nines, and act as if he had been there the entire time. Darling, I believe the quail is cooked perfectly, but not quite the same as when I shoot it myself… No, it wouldn’t do. She hated it when he left her alone to go off hunting. He’d always known it, but he couldn’t seem to give it up. Old habits. In truth, he couldn’t wait to get his boots on, the good English ones he’d left behind, take up his rifle, and stomp off into the woods. His woods. Alas, there would be no more hunting. At least, not as frequently, and certainly not right away. Not until he was certain that he wouldn’t upset Sophia further. Not until she forgave him.

Perhaps he could suggest other activities that they could do together? His brow shot up. He knew just what activities he had in mind, but they would have to work up to that. Slowly. He meant to court her properly, one step at a time.

“Now, Dale, I don’t want a fuss,” he said. “It’s good to be home but no need for a celebration. I mean to slip in quietly.”


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday's Warrior - Aloha to Karida Clarke and the Phoenix Warriors


It is my pleasure to host my fellow RomVet, Karida Clarke! From her bio,

Karida Clarke is a romance writer with a penchant for anything otherworldly. If it has scales, fur, poisoned talons, throws fire or casts magic spells, it might find its way into her stories. Karida likes her heroines multifaceted and her males swoon-worthy, Alpha-style. She believes that relationships matter more than things and places. In her free time, Karida enjoys lacing up for long runs and cooking ethnic cuisine. Pet peeves include Saran Wrap and people who don’t put their shopping carts away. Karida has an M.A. in English Literature, is a former college English instructor, and currently writes for a small newspaper. She lives with her nerd-tastic husband and two spunky kids in Ohio.

Learn more about Karida and her books at karidaclarke.com.

Kim:  Ohio! What is your favorite sight, sound, and smell of the Buckeye State?

Karida:  I grew up in the military and then served in the military, so I have lived in multiple states and countries. When my husband's job moved us here, I was skeptical that I would like it. Ohio has been an amazing surprise for me and my family. We love it here so much that we've decided to put down some roots and stay a while. Ohio is a beautiful, affordable state with four seasons, tons of activities and cultural opportunities, and a low cost of living. I love watching the leaves change colors in the fall and that I can go hiking across creeks with my kids during the day and then go watch a Broadway play with my husband in the evening. Truly, we have the best of both worlds here.

Kim:  Cooking ethnic cuisine - what is your favorite recipe? What is your favorite restaurant?

Karida:  I eat gluten-free, so ethnic cuisine is wonderful since other countries don't rely on wheat as much as the U.S. My favorite cuisines are Indian and Ethiopian. My favorite restaurant is either Ajanta India Restaurant in Kettering, OH, or Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant in Columbus, OH. No chain food--family restaurants with delicious food at good prices. As far as recipes, I love a good dal, a dish made from lentils and spices.

Kim:  Who or what helped you along the path to publishing?

Karida:  So many people have helped me as I've pursued writing and self-publishing my novels. My sister most of all--she introduced me to the paranormal romance genre years ago. My husband, too--he puts up with my mood swings and he understands the creative process. Self-publishing was a decision I made so that the product I put out there is true to my vision. Every aspect of the book--from the picture and font on the cover to the names of characters and content of the epilogue--is as I intended it, so the reader is getting the experience I want for them. I am grateful for an editor, proofreader, and cover artist that gets me. 

Kim:  Tell us about your books - what inspired them?

Karida:  I've published three books in my paranormal romance series, Phoenix Warriors, thus far. Paranormal romance is my favorite genre because it combines the fantasy of fairy tales with the heat and spice of a good romance. Rather than vampires and werewolves, which have been done well repeatedly, I chose to make my protagonists Phoenix because they are literally hot.

Kim:  What's next for Karida Clarke?

Karida:  The Phoenix Warrior series will contain six books. I've published three and am working on the fourth. Although all the books can be read as standalone novels, they contain the same characters, so you can learn tidbits about them by reading them in order.

I am also in a writer's group that is putting together a modern fantasy anthology, so I hope to begin writing a short story for that soon.

Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC

Mahalo,  Karida, for serving and writing!  I am giving away a digital copy of CAPTURED HEAT, Book 1 in the Phoenix Warriors series, to one randomly selected commenter.  

The Phoenix Warriors, a group of immortals bound by the gods to protect the integrity of the human realm from otherworldly races, have been led for centuries by Cole, a guarded alpha male.

When Cole learns that an ancient demon has discovered the location of a tool that will enable him to escape from the prison realm, Cole vows to find and safeguard it before the demon's vampire minions.

Rebecca Powell is a high school guidance counselor who is everyone's "lucky charm." She's just not so lucky herself. After being used a time too many, she's through with men...until she runs right into the one she can't resist.

Cole and Rebecca have both been burned before, but can they put aside their misgivings to protect the human realm and learn to love again?

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Ohio - what do you know about the Buckeye State?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 24, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 25.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City