Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Aloha to Pearl Harbor

Punchbowl National Cemetery

Today is the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Oahu.

I am teary eyed as I write this post.  I lived on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam from 2009 - 2013. I have visited the various sites around the base (and island) which were attacked.  I have met veterans who returned.  I have sat near the USS Arizona and USS Utah, listening to the water lap on top of the sunken ships.  

Romance author Pamela Clare shares the story of Uncle Joe aboard the USS Utah at this link.

Defense Media Activity remembers the nurses who were there at this link.

Learn more about the 75th anniversary activities from the National Park Service at this link.

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Looking at the USS Arizona from the USS Missouri

To this day, I can still hear actress Stockard Channing narrating the film at the Visitor's Center, asking, "How do we remember them?"

Here are my suggestions:

1.  Thank a veteran.  

2.  Appreciate the freedom they defended.

3.  Buy a poppy fron veterans' groups selling them outside grocery stores. 

4.  Watch the Hawaii Five O's episode, Ho'onani Makuakane - Honor Thy Father, from Season 4.  The episode travels back in time to that day of infamy.  Here's a preview from the producer, Peter Lenkov, at this link.

5.  Write to deployed personnel - contact me at for addresses.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

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Vintage photo of Boy Scouts at Punchbowl

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekly Winners and Sinter Klaas

We have winners at SOS Aloha:

- Carol L. wins a book choice from my convention stash.

- Dani D. wins the box of Scottish books.

Tonight, children in the Netherlands will be winners when Sinter Klaas visits their homes. From,

Sinterklaas, also known as Saint Nicholas, is dear to the hearts of Dutch children. He can be recognized by his eye-catching red cape with red miter and his long white beard. The saintly man arrives each year in mid-November on a steam boat filled with gifts and together with his helpers, all referred to as 'Piet’ (Peter).

For children, this means they can put their shoe next to the chimney or back door. At night, Sinterklaas rides across the rooftops on his white horse Amerigo and places little treats or gifts in the children's shoes, assisted by his helper, Peters. Traditional sweets are gingerbread men, marzipan and chocolate letters. 

When we lived in the Netherlands, I volunteered with the International Spouses' Club (ISC).  Each year, the ISC hosted a holiday fair for each country to sell crafts for charity.  The ISC itself sold chocolate treats from the Rousseau Chocolate Factory (link).  Since I lived near Rousseau, I volunteered to be the coordinator - big mistake.  You can imagine the temptation as the chocolate was stored in my house!

Do you have an "international" traditions in your family and/or town?  One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Sunday, December 11, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Monday, December 12.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Aloha to Anne Elizabeth and THE SOUL OF A SEAL

Today is RED Friday - Remember Everyone Deployed! Romance author Anne Elizabeth is an ardent supporter of the military community; she is married to a retired Navy SEAL. Anne Elizabeth is celebrating the next week's release of THE SOUL OF A SEAL, Book 4 in her West Coast Navy SEALs series ...

Love may be the toughest battle of all

Captain Bennett Oscar Sheraton
Navy SEAL, the best of the best

Dr. Kimberly Warren
Brilliant engineer, founder of secret space program

When scientists on Dr. Warren’s super-secret space mission start dying, Navy SEAL Captain Sheraton is sent in as an astronaut candidate with a hidden agenda—find the person sabotaging the program.

Kimberly and Bennett’s instant attraction may prove to be a major distraction—or it might be the key to both of their dreams coming true… 

Barnes & Noble

Anne Elizabeth is a romance author, comic creator, and a monthly columnist for RT Book Reviews magazine. With a BS in Business and MS in Communications from Boston University, she is a regular presenter at conventions as well as a member of The Author’s Guild and Romance Writers of America. Anne lives with her husband, a retired Navy SEAL, in the mountains above San Diego. Visit her website at 

Anne Elizabeth offers an excerpt from THE SOUL OF A SEAL ...

As he turned the corner, he smacked right into her as if he had conjured her, sending her heading for the floor. He wasn’t a small guy. At six feet and 160 pounds, he was all muscle and could have been a decent wide receiver for any NFL team, even in his early forties. He ran every day, worked out, and had serious stamina for whatever task was at hand.

His hand caught hers, and with one tug he had her safely in his arms. He cradled her against him. He murmured in her ear, “Sorry about that.” His first instinct was to be polite and distant, but this contact brought a wave of protectiveness with it that made him even more uncomfortable. He needed to keep his perspective. “I always seem to be apologizing to you.”

“Must be something about me,” she murmured against his chest. Her body changed from pliant to stiff almost instantly. They were locked together for several seconds.

“Guess so.”

Realizing that she had to be at least five feet ten inches was kind of nice. It meant he wouldn’t have to bend down when he kissed her. Shit, there went his libido. He was attracted to her. Now he was going to have to be careful he didn’t compromise the mission.

Bennett righted her, and his hands dropped away from her gorgeous form. “Dr. Warren…”

Kimberly looked up at him. Her hands settled on her hips. Frowning, she said, “Captain, it was me. I wasn’t watching where I was going. I needed to consult with you anyway.”

“You were…looking for me…”

“I…I have files for you.” The way she was groping for words meant he definitely had an effect on her. At least they were both in the same boat. Besides, his gut told him that she was an ally, wanting to get the shuttle off the ground and to find out who had killed the SEALs.

She pushed several files into his hands. “If you’ll excuse me.” She stepped around him, making a wide arc. Before she rounded the next corner, she stole a glance at him and blushed.

He smiled at her. Damn, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so drawn to a woman. The scent of lavender still filled his senses, and a hint of something else. Not rosewater. What was it, jasmine? Mmm, intoxicating.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Aloha to St. Andrews Day ... with giveaway!

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Glenfinnan  Monument

November 30 is St. Andrew's Day, the patron saint of Scotland. How about a few Scottish proverbs to celebrate this day?

A good tale never tires in the telling.

A misty morning may become a clear day.

Be slow in choosing a friend but slower in changing him.

Better bend than break.

Choose your wife with her nightcap on!

Danger and delight grow on one stalk.

Egotism is an alphabet of one letter.

Friends are lost by calling often and calling seldom.

From saving comes having.

Learn young, learn fair; learn old, learn more.

Never draw your dirk when a blow will do it.

To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties.

Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion.


I am giving away a box of Scottish historical romances:

Kathleen Harrington's THE MACLEAN GROOM


Margaret Mallory's KNIGHT OF DESIRE


Cathy Maxwell's THE DEVIL'S HEART


plus a leather bookmark from Edinburgh Castle!


To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Scotland - what do you love about it?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, December 4, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, December 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Urquhart Castle

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly winners, Beach Blanket Bingo, Kate Pearce, and THE RELUCTANT COWBOY

We have winners at SOS Aloha:

- Sharlene M., Library Pat, Christy, and Susan P. win a book choice from my convention stash.  Winners, please claim your prize by sending your mailing address to

The Oahu chief (above) greets the school children at Hickam Elementary School.  From its website,

Kalani I Ka Lewa
Ascend to the Heavens

Kalani I Ka Lewa by artist Viliami Toluta’u was inspired by the natural instinct in humanity to be free as we are in America. The young Ali’i (chief) is releasing an eagle into the heavens, symbolizing the potential of children to soar high in life with education as their wings. The young Ali’i also pay homage to the spirit of the Freedom Tower with hope that the children emulate the eagle in exploring and scouting their horizons and its limitless possibilities. A grant from the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (Art in Public Places Program) provided the funding for this special work of art.

He is also ready to celebrate THE RELUCTANT COWBOY, as new series from Kate Pearce, who happens to live on the Big Island of Hawaii:

After a turbulent childhood, the Morgan brothers went their separate ways, leaving the family cattle ranch and their cowboy days far behind. But now, one by one, they’re being called back home to California. Have they been summoned to save the land—or to start a new legacy? 

Chase Morgan high-tailed it away from ranching life as soon as possible. But running a successful technology company can’t erase the memories, or secrets, of his youth. Coming home to help his Grandma Ruth may finally put some ghosts to rest—if he can just get a certain smart, beautiful houseguest out of his business. But getting her out of his head is proving even more difficult…

Determined to save the Morgan ranch, historian January Mitchell has pinned her hopes on the surprisingly rugged, surprisingly likable, and exasperatingly stubborn Chase. Surely his love of this breathtaking, mysterious land runs deep enough that he’ll once again embrace his inner cowboy. Or maybe, despite both of their skittish hearts, she’ll have to find a way to get him back in the saddle…any which way she can.

Check out my review of THE RELUCTANT COWBOY on Goodreads at this link.  THE RELUCTANT COWBOY is available on Tuesday, November 29, from Kensington Books (link).

Kate will be participating in the BEACH BLANKET BINGO (link) at the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta.  From her website (link),

NYT and USA Today bestselling author Kate Pearce was born in England in the middle of a large family of girls and quickly found that her imagination was far more interesting than real life. After acquiring a degree in history and barely escaping from the British Civil Service alive, she moved to California and then to Hawaii with her kids and her husband and set about reinventing herself as a romance writer.

She is known for both her unconventional heroes and her joy at subverting romance clich├ęs. In her spare time she self publishes science fiction erotic romance, historical romance, and whatever else she can imagine. You can find Kate at her website at, on Facebook as Kate Pearce, and on Twitter as Kate4queen.

I enjoy following Kate on social media - she is an enthusiastic knitter and cat lover.  She also gives us peaks of life in Hawaii. Sigh.  Hawaii.  I sure miss it.

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway, let's chat about Kate's newest series, the Morgan Ranch (link). Have you visited a ranch?  I have not ... something I'll have to change.  Comments are open through Sunday, December 4, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, November 25, 2016

Letters to Santa .... and Letters to Deployed Personnel

Yesterday my family watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade from the comfort of our home.  We enjoyed the Hawaii All State band, representing 47 high schools.  The band was followed by a Hawaiian themed float sponsored by King's Hawaiian Rolls.  Yum, Yum!

The Macy's parade ends with the arrival of Santa Clause. I share this press release from the USPS ...  

NORTH POLE — Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus — and the U.S. Postal Service can help you prove it when Santa replies to your child’s letter — complete with a North Pole postmark.
“Letters from Santa” must be received by the Anchorage, AK, postmaster no later than Dec. 15. Santa’s helpers at the Postal Service will take care of the rest.

Learn more about this program, including tips, at this link.

USPS Letters FROM Santa Program

Let's not forget deployed personnel!  I have a list of men and women who would like to receive holiday cheer!  You can send cards to individuals ... or a units of varying sizes.  Please contact me for the mailing list and helpful hints at

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about holiday cards - when do you start writing them?  Do you include a "recap" letter?  Family photo?  Or something else?

We write a "recap" letter, set it aside, and remember to send the cards after Christmas.  

2. Comments are open through Sunday, November 27, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, November 28.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Check out my pictures from the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade 
in 2014 on my travel blog at this link.

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Military personnel on duty during Thanksgiving 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Aloha to Laura Levine and MURDER HAS NINE LIVES - Book Review


The future is looking bright for freelance writer Jaine Austen. She's signed up for a new job, she's looking forward to a tropical vacation, and her cat Prozac is slated to star in a major commercial. But when the claws come out behind the scenes, Jaine worries that murder might be the only thing to meow about. . .

A writer's life is far from glamorous. Still, Jaine's new gig to write an ad campaign for Toiletmasters' new line of self-flushing toilets comes with a few perks--including a date with the president's dreamy nephew. And with a much-needed trip to Maui on the horizon, it seems life couldn't get any better--until her cat Prozac is tapped to star in a Skinny Kitty commercial. But Jaine never would have guessed the world of cat food could be quite so catty. . .

Jaine is nervous that Prozac won't be able to take direction, but the finicky furball ditches her diva behavior for the camera, eating and napping on cue like a seasoned pro. But just as Jaine begins dreaming of fame and fortune, Skinny Kitty's inventor drops dead on the set. Everyone is a suspect--including Jaine. And she'll have to get her paws on the truth before the killer takes a swipe at another victim. . .

Curiosity killed the cat because he wanted to know if it really had 9 lives. - Anonymous

MURDER HAS NINE LIVES is Book 14 in Laura Levine's Jaine Austen Mystery series. Jaine is a freelance author living on the edge of Beverly Hills with her cat, Prozac, and her neighbor, Lance. A chance meeting with an animal agent at the vet's office leads Jaine and Prozac to the filming of a Skinny Cat commercial. Fans of the series know that Prozac plays by her own rules ... and things go awry with the filming ... ending with the death of the Skinny cat's creator. Jaine dons her favorite "Count Chocula" t-shirt and grabs the fake USDA badge she bought at a yard sale to investigate the murder and clear her name.

Levine is no stranger to humor.  She is the creator of Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereals for General Mills. She also wrote for The Bob Newhart Show, Three's Company, and Laverne & Shirley. Likewise, Jaine is no stranger to chocolate ... or cinnamon raisin bagels ... or Burger King drive thru. Her diet is a who's who among junk food. Jaine's life is equally chaotic with her constant search for a new writing gig to pay the rent, navigating the LA dating scene, and wrangling Prozac for her cashmere sweater.

MURDER HAS NINE LIVES is pure escapism into a familiar world where laughs abound with Jaine's expanding waistline. Likewise, Prozac's expanded role demonstrates she is more than a diva - she has feelings ala Blanche DuBois from A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE when she realizes she is the "before" cat in the Skinny Cat commercial.  Jaine goes to extreme measures, including a Reiki healer, to bring Prozac out of her funk.  I applaud Levine for poking fun at pop culture - it adds another layer of humor into the lighthearted plot.  Levine also includes the email exchange between Jaine and her parents, retired in Florida, but reeking havoc just the same. 

MURDER HAS NINE LIVES is a refreshing break from reality, akin to meeting a friend for coffee for a respite from our hectic lives. MURDER HAS NINE LIVES can be read as a stand alone novel since Levine provides enough background information about Jaine, Prozac, and Lance.  

Recommended read for fans of cozy mysteries, diva cats, and anything chocolate.

I checked out a copy of MURDER HAS NINE LIVES from my local library.

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

1. Leave a comment about TV commercials - love them or loathe them?  Do you have a favorite, especially with the upcoming holidays?  I enjoy some of the Geico commercials, including:

- Salt N Pepa's "Push It" (link) - I love the song and the man mowing the lawn.
- Playing Marco Polo in a pool (link) - I love the llama.
- Kids selling lemonade with Ice T (link) - Ice T is an Army vet.

2. Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US resident. But I welcome any comments from our international readers.

3. Comments are open through Sunday, November 27, 2016, 10 pm in Baltimore.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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