Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aloha to the Navy Boneyard - A steersman for a stormy day


I recently spotted a travel writing contest on social media.  I wrote the required 500 word essay only to realize the prize - a trip to San Francisco for a travel writing workshop - conflicted with the dates I am taking my son to college.   Still, my interest in travel writing is piqued ... and you, dear readers, will be my test audience.   I look forward to writing more essays.  

Over on my book blog, SOS Aloha, we have been celebrating National Military Appreciation Month. It is only fitting that we close this celebration with a tribute to the silent warriors of Pearl Harbor.



He ho'okele wa'a no ka la 'ino.
A steersman for a stormy day.

Hawaii overflows with natural beauty. Yet a quest for buried treasure sent a van full of military spouses from Pearl Harbor to a concrete jungle. Inspired by Storage Wars, we embarked on an adventure off the beaten path to a storage auction in West Oahu.

Our quest took us through Waipahu, a gritty outgrowth of immigrant camps from the Oahu Sugar Plantation. We threw caution in the wind in search of quick riches in an industrial park heavily guarded by razor wire. Despite the questionable neighborhood, a crowd of kama’aina (locals) greeted us in pidgin, a common language developed between the immigrants. They talk story (chit chat) of the bounty they found in other auctions across the island (and places where they could resell the items). Once the auctioneer called for the started of the sale, we followed the crowd through the halls, as depicted on the reality show, only to find broken furniture in the delinquent units. But we all drew our breath when the auctioneer opened the last unit of the day; it contained four military foot lockers neatly stacked like toy soldiers in formation. Purchased for $800, the buyer promptly secured the unit with his own lock, refusing to satisfy our curiosity of what treasure might be found in the chests. The crowd dispersed, breaking apart the temporary bond we formed in search of a secret cache. Yet the foot lockers motivated an impromptu detour on our way home.

We still drove back to Pearl Harbor, but headed to the Middle Loch, where few tourists venture. We arrived at the Navy bone yard and parked along the chain link fence erected for utility, not viewing. The ghost ships floated less than 500 feet away. We sat on the concrete barriers, watching these gentle giants in silence. The seawater slapped the docks, creating a rhythmic drumbeat calling koa (warriors) to action. The decaying ships faced an uncertain future; they could be scraped, sold, or sunk for target practice. Yet the koa still had stories to tell and we listened to wind.  The Valley Forge, the New Orleans, the Belleau Wood – ships named after famous battles – served valiantly for our country, only to find themselves abandoned in Pearl Harbor.   In honor of their bravery, we saluted them upon our departure.

Later that night, my family asked me if I found buried treasure at the storage auction. I replied I found something better – a steersman for a stormy day.


If you were to write a travel story, what would be the topic of your essay?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Saturday, June 6, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, June 7, at SOS Aloha. 

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Monday, May 25, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Katy Trail and Historic Sights


Historical author Sally MacKenzie and I walked several days in the morning, trekking over 5+ miles.  Along the way, we discovered the Katy Trail.  From Wikipedia (link):

The Katy Trail is a jogging, walking, inline skating, and bicycling path that runs through the Uptown and Oak Lawn areas of Dallas, following the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, which was known as MKT or the Katy.



Back in Downtown Dallas, we passed the Texas School Book Depository Building ...



... marking a dark day in American history.


Here's the Old Red Museum we spotted from the Reunion Tower (link).



Speaking of the Reunion Tower, it stands guard over the Hyatt Hotel to the right.   We dodged the raindrops back to the hotel.



Do you have a walking path near you?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



Aloha to Dallas - Giant Book Fair


The Giant Book Fair features authors of all genres - Teen, New Adult, Inspirational, and Fiction.  Above is JD Hart (actor and narrator), Sharon Hamilton (author of military romance), and Tamara Argyle (Navy Surgeon).  I hang out with very talented people!


Crista McHugh is an Air Force vet ....


Julie Miller is the daughter of a Marine Corps veteran ...


Here's the flight suit from Jamie Rae, an Air Force vet ...



Susan Stoker is an Army spouse ...


Fun loving Angel Payne loves all military men!


Julie Rowe is my favorite Canadian author ...


Victoria Vane kicked up her heels ...


Mary Burton remains calm ... 


Rebecca Yarros is an Army spouse ...


Tamara poses with a cover model ...


Blogger extraordinaire Kim Rocha also snuggles with a cover model.


Sally MacKenzie and Ashlyn Macnamara hide the chocolate ...


Kennedy Layne is married to a retired Marine ... 


Randi Alexander hangs out with Rowdy, the battle buddy bear.



The book fair makes interesting table mates, including Sara Humphreys and Elizabeth Hoyt.



Megan Mulry always smiles.   What swag do you like from authors?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



I found the chocolate! 



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Make Your Own Fascinator with Eloisa James


Saturday's FAN-tastic Day turned into craft day courtesy of Eloisa James

You don't have to be going to a royal wedding — or be a duchess — to have the trendiest little hat in town. Join hostess Eloisa James and her guest authors: Lynda Aicher, Elizabeth Boyle, Elizabeth Essex, Shana Galen, Erin Knightly, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Sheila Roberts, Damon Suede, and Meredith Wild for an afternoon of trimming your very own fascinator! The authors will even join you in this millinery mayhem by creating their own fascinators. There will be tons of glitter, feathers, flowers, giveaways, refreshments, time for pictures — and most importantly, fun! With a huge thank you to Lisa Kleypas for so lovingly co-sponsoring this fun event.


Shana Galen and Elizabeth Essex came dressed in fascinators! Eloisa made several fascinators as examples ...


A white bird with purple flowers ...


A yellow bird with red flowers ...


Two birds with swirls ...


 Blue feathers with ribbons ...


A reader posed for me in the lobby ...


Two readers posed in the elevator.   What materials would you use to make your fascinator?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Friday, May 22, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Avon Book Signing, Paris Style


Avon's heroes greeted readers in the hotel lobby.  Kathryn Falk mentioned during the Welcome Party that the poster included the books of Avon authors attending the convention.



On Friday afternoon, Avon hosted a book signing event, A Night in Paris ... Texas:

Tout arrive en Texas! Y’all are all invited to join the authors of Avon Books for an exclusive, kick-your-heels-up adventure in the City of Lights…right here in the Lone Star State, home of “The Second Largest Paris in the World!” Join us for a tr─ôs romantique interlude featuring all your favorite Avon, William Morrow, Harper Voyager and Harper Teen authors (list TK), who will be signing copies of some of their most beloved books—just for attendees of the RT Booklovers convention. Be our guest and enjoy beaucoup de vin delicieux, compliments of our co-sponsor Little Black Dress Wines, and a variety of tray-passed sweets and French-style treats! All sweetness and Light, just for one night!



I stocked up my convention stash with Avon Books!




 I also enjoyed the sweet treats, including the macaroons!



Do you like macaroons?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31.  I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Evening Parties


We sneaked into the ballroom early to take a picture of the mechanical bull for the Taste of Texas Romance Rodeo:

RT’s opening night party is sure to set the tone for a wild Western fun time in Dallas. A Texas barbeque celebration — pulled pork sandwiches and some traditional Texas-style side dishes — will be served up and, for entertainment, there will be line dancing, country music and a mechanical bull! Be sure dust off your cowboy boots, break out the hats and pack your finest Western attire for this fun-filled fantasy evening.


Two nights later, Heather Graham hosted the Lone Star's Supernatural State:

Come party on down, deep in the heart of Texas! The cowboys, ranchers, vamps, ghosts, ghouls and werewolves are all are planning on some good old Southern hospitality! Solve the demise of the vampire rancher, Nate Bloodworthy, in the midst of the barbecue festivities, and win the grand prize, or pick up one of a dozen fun, lovely, and creepy pieces in the costume competition!


The Little Princess wanted to dance on stage ... 



... and she stole the show!  Would you ride the mechanical bull? Do you know how to two step?  Would you dress up in paranormal costume?  One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Aloha to Dallas - Take a Walk on the Historical Side

 

Fan favorites dressed up for the annual Historical party.  

Top row, Hildie McQueen and Elizabeth Hoyt (aka Wiggy). 

Middle row:  Sharon Page, Sabrina Jeffries, and Beth Williamson.  

Bottom Row:  Victoria Vane, Ally Broadfield, Elizabeth Essx, Julia Justiss, Ella Quinn, and Gina Conkle.


Elizabeth Essex dressed in a Regency gown; she hosted the Battle of Trafalgar table at the SOS America Military Tribute (link).


The tables were decorated with shoes ... above is the 60s!


Beth Williamson loves cowboys!


This shoe represents time travel.


Victoria Vane is all smiles for readers.  If you dressed in a historical costume, what time period would you represent? One randomly selected commenter from my RT posts wins a book choice from my convention stash. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1, at SOS Aloha.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm Cit
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Below, Heather Graham in blue.