Saturday, June 28, 2014

Aloha to the Frederick Book Festival

Frederick, Maryland, is home to the historic Hood College (above) ... and the Frederick Book Festival (at Hampton Inn).   From its link,

The Frederick Book Festival was created to open a new venue for readers and authors in the Western Maryland and surrounding areas. Frederick Maryland has the unique quality to be in a central location to many areas. It is less than an hour drive from Washington, DC, Gettysburg, PA, Baltimore, MD, West Virginia and Virginia. This area is home to a multitude of talented authors from many genres. With Frederick’s natural richness of history and arts, it seemed to be a perfect location for a festival for literary stimulation.

Romance Mash Up with Jean Murray, Reesa Herberth, Lynne Silver, Eileen Slovak, and Mary Behre:

Authors discuss how storytelling have begun to cross genres and how the blending of genres builds a better story.

I enjoyed the lively discussion ... and learned that Reesa grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii!

Back in the promo room, I chatted with Jean ... and learned she is a Navy Veteran!

Jean introduced me to Loni Lynne ... another Navy vet turned romance author!  We are all members of the RomVets (link).

I caught the tail end of the YA panel with Julie Lindsay, Lea Nolan, Jodi Meadows, Brigid Kemmerer, and Elizabeth Kirk:

Join this year's featured YA authors as they share and discuss their passion for speculative stories, fantastical settings, and fierce, unapologetic love.  These ladies take YA thrills to another world ...

The blogger panel featured Joy (from Joyfully Reviewed), Ericka (from Bookpushers), Kelly (reviewer turned author), and Jen (from Jenuine Cupcakes):

Join our book bloggers and reviewers for a lively discussion about books, heroes and heroines, and the world of romance.

Last, but not least, Romancing the Hero with Wine and Chocolates hosted by Jean Murray, Melissa Schroeder, and PJ Schnyder.  Not pictured:  Vivi Dumas and AC Arthur.  We chatted about ...

... what makes a good hero, why we love them, our favorite heroes from popular books.  And if that wasn't enough, we'll be sampling delicious wine and chocolates.

I enjoyed seeing Melissa again ... she is another military spouse who previously lived in Hawaii!


I am giving away swag from all these authors plus an autographed copy of Melissa's novella, TEASE ME.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about any "literary events" you have attended ... at the library, at a bookstore, or even at a convention!

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, July 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, July 6, on SOS Aloha (link).


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Supporting Military Families - Care Packages for Deployed Personnel

Kelly in Columbus is a romance reader, RT Convention volunteer, and the keeper of a list of deployed personnel seeking mail.   Her list includes individuals as well as whole units.   Contact her at for more information.

Readers often ask what they should write or send when signing up to correspond with deployed personnel.   All Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coasties enjoy cards.   Here's a suggestion:

1.  Ask for several names (or a whole unit).

2.  Grab the neighborhood kids, church youth group, and/or Scouts.

3.  Pass out construction paper, fold in half, and have the kids write the cards:

Front cover:  Greetings from (town, county, state)

Inside card:   Thank you for serving.  We know you are away from home.  But we will think of you as we enjoy freedom and liberty.   Signed, First Name.

4.  Include a pack of gum, an individual tea packet, an individual drink powder, etc.   

5.  Insert into an envelope.  Address to the individuals.  If they are assigned to a unit, you can group together into one envelope to save on postage.  

If you are interested in sending a care package, I recommend the priority mail flat rate box.  the boxes are free and the USPS discounts the mailing cost to APO addresses.   I refer to Tamara Argyle, @tamara_argyle, a romance reader I met at RT/09 in Orlando.  As a Navy surgeon, she has plenty of experience being at sea .. and in the desert.  Here's what she recommends:

1.  Soap and shampoos, especially the kind that soldiers can use while holding a spout over their head.

2.  Foot powder and other personal hygiene items.

3.  Air freshener.

4.  Individual packets of drink mix that will replace lost electrolytes from sweating in the extreme heat.  She noted that care packages often include a large container with drink mix, which is thoughtful, but difficult to use if no pitcher is available.  The individual packets can always be mixed into water bottles.

5.  Candy that doesn't melt.

6.  Paperbacks, crossword books, and Sudoku books.

7.  No batteries - they require special disposal to prevent them from being used for bombs.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Supporting Military Families - Soldiers' Angels

Hawaii's angels 

Continuing our spotlight on how to support military families, one of my reading buddies recommended Soldiers' Angels.  From its website (link),

Soldiers' Angels provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families and to improve the lives of a growing veteran population.

Founded in 2003 by the mother of two American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of Soldiers' Angels "Angel" volunteers assist veterans, wounded and deployed personnel and their families in a variety of unique and effective ways.

"May No Soldier Go Unloved," encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers' Angels. The volunteers of Soldiers' Angels work tirelessly to demonstrate active care and concern for veterans, the wounded, deployed service members and their families.

To date, our volunteers have sent hundreds of thousands of care packages and letters to "adopted" deployed service members; we have supplied the wounded with over 25,000 of our First Response Backpacks directly at the Combat Support Hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan and the major military hospital in Germany, as well as provided care and comfort to those in stateside military and VA facilities; we have provided emergency aid to military families in need; we have partnered with the Department of Defense to provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptops to over 6,000 severely-wounded service members, as well as other technology that supports rehabilitation; we have provided flights to soldiers on leave or in emergency situations, and to their families wanting to be with them upon return from overseas; we provided Level III KEVLAR armored blankets to give personnel extra protection in their vehicles when it was needed early in the Iraq war; and we help to honor and uphold the families whose loved ones have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and safety. With the assistance of our generous supporters, the many volunteers of Soldiers' Angels have accomplished this and much, much more on behalf of the grateful citizens of the United States of America.

To see more about how Soldiers' Angels supports the troops and their families, click on the site menu or the link under "Teams and Projects - How to Help" on the homepage.

Soldiers' Angels was incorporated in the state of Nevada in June of 2003, Tax ID # 20-0583415. Click for the Guidestar Profile.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Submit any blurbs about ways to help or services for military to

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Supporting Military Families - Matthew Freeman Project

Many readers ask me how they can support military families.  Likewise, several organizations ask me to post information about their services for military families.    I am using the time between Flag Day and Independence Day to do just that ... share info with you!

First a tidbit from the Cyber Command Weekly Newsletter for military families:

The first time Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart applied to join the military, he was actually rejected for being 2.2 kilograms (5 lb) underweight. He did everything he could to gain extra pounds and managed to join the Air Force as a private, despite already being in his 30s. At first, his status as a movie icon was an inconvenience—instead ofseeing action, he was assigned as a pilot instructor. Eventually, though, Stewart went on to take part in multiple high-risk missions. He earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses for his actions during World War II and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Despite the war being over, Stewart continued his military career and was promoted to Brigadier General. He finally retired from duty in 1968 and in 1985 he was presented with the Medal of Freedom and the rank of Major General by President Ronald Reagan.

Jimmy Stewart in uniform
National Museum of the Air Force
Public Domain 

I've seen several posts on Facebook about the Matthew Freeman Project.  From its website (link),

He was a true renaissance man. A two-time tennis champion for his high school team, a saxophonist in the marching band, Matthew sang at his high school graduation – having been nominated and accepted at the United States Naval Academy.
Matthew’s true passion though, was flying. As a young boy he fell in love with flying and went on to become a Marine pilot – the third generation of Freemans to wear Navy wings.

In 2009, he married his childhood sweetheart, Theresa Hess. Three weeks later, he opted out of the relative safety of the cockpit and volunteered for ground action when he heard the Marines needed more ground forces – in Afghanistan.

A week after he arrived, he saw something that led him to call his mother. He said, “Mom, the kids would rather have pens and paper more than anything, even food or water. Would you please start a collection and send them to me?”

Two days later, he was killed in action.

The Matthew Freeman Project: Pens & Paper for Peace was not created because Matthew is dead. Not because he died serving his country. It’s because of how he lived.

A life well spent.

A life given.

In service.

The Matthew Freeman Project has expanded to making "bears" for family members from military uniforms.   The website also offers scholarships for military families of fallen soldiers.   Learn more at


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Submit any blurbs about ways to help or services for military to

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Aloha to the Stawberry Festival


Saturday brought sunshine and strawberries to Savage, Maryland!

I popped into the church for its bake sale ... oh, my, this beach cake looks delicious!

Here's an aerial view of the beach with teddy grams floating in livesavers!


These cupcakes would brighten any day ...

... the octopus is ready for summer ... 

... rainbows over chocolate!

Over on the town green, Troop 97 offered snow cones ... 

... the Maryland Chapter of the Marine Corps Association sold grilled sausages!  Semper Fidelis!

This lovely ballerina demonstrated her skills ...

... and promoted her school.

Baltimore's own hero, Commodor Joshua Barney, made a guest appearance.

From the Navy History website (link),

Joshua Barney was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on 6 July 1759, and died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1 December 1818, having served with distinction in the Navy during both the Revolution and the War of 1812.

Several ships have been named after Joshua Barney, among them a torpedo boat built in 1900; a destroyer launched 5 Sep 1918; and a guided missile destroyer launched 10 Dec 1960.

I  had to look twice at the animal on a leash - a lamb! According to her owner, the lamb was orphaned and the family accepted her as their pet. They still bottle feed her ... and she followed the human mother around as is she were her animal mother!

Do you like strawberries?  Cupcakes?  Snow cones?  


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

What's a town festival without a pony?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Taste of Aloha - Food Review

Hubby and I recently lunched at TASTE OF ALOHA (link):

Na Ohana No Na Kau A Kau - "families are forever"

Our mission is to serve the best Polynesian comfort food, in an enjoyable atmosphere for customers & employees. It's a popular place to meet friends & enjoy good, affordable food. Perfect for the business lunch crowd, families & students.

One of my coworkers recommended it.  She was curious of our thoughts as recent Hawaiian residents.

We ordered the Moloka'i Slide - Sampler teri pork, teri beef & BBQ Kalua on King's Hawaiian rolls.   

Ono!  Delicious!

By the way, Chef Robert Alcain hails from Moloka'i.   Check out my trip to Moloka'i at this link.


I ordered the Kanak Attack Burger - Seasoned, grilled burger, topped with pepperjack cheese, teriyaki pork, fried egg, grilled pineapple, sautéed onions & teri mayo.  The burger was tasty ... and so was the mac salad.

Hubby ordered the Teriyaki Beef plate lunch.  The plate lunches comes with three scoops of rice and/or mac salad. Hawaiians never met a carb they didn't like ....

I took home an order of Lomi Lomi Salmon - salt-cured salmon, seasoned and mixed with tomatoes & onions.  I enjoyed it as an afternoon treat.

We made our selves at home.  Have you sampled Hawaiian food?


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Yes, Eddie would go to Taste of Aloha.  Eddie Aikau was a beloved lifeguard along Oahu's North Shore. He gave his life in trying to save others.  His friends also placed a monument at Waimea Beach Park (link).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Aloha to Antietam National Battlefield

During Memorial Day weekend, my family joined Boy Scout Troop 424 for a 10 mile hike through Antietam National Battlefield in Northwest Maryland.  From its website (link),

The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History

23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

The battle raged between the Army of the Potomac versus the Army of Northern Virginia.

"There are no better teachers for those who come after us than the silent monuments on the battlefields, marking the places where men died for a principle they believed right, whether they wore the blue or the gray uniform."

Major Wells Sponable, 34th New York Monument dedication

"In my feeble estimation, General McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age, the angel of the battlefield."

Dr. James Dunn, Surgeon at the Battle of Antietam

“…we are driven to protect our own country by transferring the seat of war to that of an enemy who pursues us with a relentless and apparently aimless hostility.”

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate State

September 7, 1862

“God bless you and all with you. Destroy the rebel army if possible.”

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America
15 September 1862

Over 500 cannons participated in the Battle of Antietam, firing over 50,000 rounds of ammunition. The cannonade was so severe that Confederate artillery commander Colonel S.D. Lee described the battle as "artillery hell."

Private Johnny Cook, a bugler with Battery B, 4th U.S., was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Antietam when he was only 15 years.

Union General John Gibbon who served at Antietam and fought in the infamous Cornfield had three brothers who served in the Confederate army.

President Abraham Lincoln visited Antietam Battlefield two weeks after the battle and spent four days visiting General George McClellan, touring the battlefield and visiting the wounded of both sides.

Robert Gould Shaw served as a Captain in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry and was wounded in the Cornfield at Antietam before taking command of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry made famous in the movie Glory.

Have you visited any battlefields?


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City