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Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Book That Made Me A Romance Reader

I cannot remember a time when books weren't a part of my life. If you are anything like me, you love books.

Different moments in my life can be defined by different genres. Little Women, Sweet Valley High when I was a pre-teen. The Age of Innocence when I was a teenager along with Pride and Prejudice and other classics. In my late teens and early twenties, it was all about mysteries.

Then in my mid-twenties, a friend lent me a romance novel, Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens. I had read romance before but none started my obsession like Devil did. He tempted and I fell.

I devoured that book when I should have been doing my homework. I stayed up all night long reading and falling in love not just with Devil but romance. I closed that book, more than wanting more books--I needed more romance books.

Some people say they read romance to escape and I wanted that too but it was something more that I searched for. I was searching for passion. At that point in my life, I was empty and numb. I had lost the optimism that had always been a part of me.

Romance novels gave that back to me. Each novel was like a balm that helped heal me. I couldn't get enough. I would save every extra dime and buy books. My Friday night outing was heading to Borders or Barnes and Nobles to get more books. My to-be-read pile grew just a little higher than my already-read pile.  I was a romance reader, fan, and devotee and will always be.

What about you? What book made you a romance reader?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Families, Politics, Religion and Strange Bedfellows...and Romance

Before you get your hackles up, I'm not here to announce my views on the world's two testiest subjects...politics or religion. At least not in specifics. But when asked some time back, what themes, other than specifically romance, seemed to crop up in my books, the answer was family--the ones we make as well as the ones we are born with.

I am one of 30 grandchildren on my father's side. 14 or 15 on my mother's, depending on count. I have more first cousins than you can swing a cat at. I also had two brothers, but they were quite a bit older and I don't really remember living with them. I had a good relationship with my parents, and I have wonderful in-laws. I am genuinely lucky when it comes to family.

Going away to college was something of a culture shock. I made friends, but I'm really not that good at social skills--something your older cousins don't tell you. It took me a while to find my tribe. Once I did, life changed. Many of those people are still friends today.

Being a nerd, it turned out, wasn't trendy in the 80s. But with my new friends, it was just who we were. Still are. Still am. I married another nerd. Thank goodness. I don't think we'd have survived this long (34 years last month) if we didn't connect on the fundamental level we do. But this isn't about being nerdy either.

Not everyone is born into an easy going, loving family. My sons both fell for women with far more complex family backgrounds. They are learning, though, that when they're with us, they're just family. Loved, teased, called out if needed, but always there for back up. THAT is the feature that finds itself at the heart of most of my novels, novellas and stories. That family is what you make it. You might disagree on big things, like religion or politics, or on little things like Pepsi or Coke. (How I got a child who prefers Pepsi is beyond my ken.) You might fall for someone, or be chosen family of some one who is utterly different on the surface--you might look like stange bedfellows. But if the bond is there, if these are people you can call at 4 pm to bail you out or pick you up from and airport, then maybe you've found your chosen family. 

Romance books are inherently about love, specifically the love between a couple or trio. But there are so many more kinds of love that make your life happy ever after. And those are important too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Margaret Hamilton, Software Engineer: It Took More Than A Village To Send A Man To The Moon

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa

This month is the fiftieth anniversary of mankind’s first landing on the moon. July 20,1969. The BIG 5-0! The Apollo 11 mission was a “big deal” at that time in our history, and it is still a “big deal." No doubt we'll be hearing a lot about this historical event in the media. The movie may be on TV every day for longer than many of us would like.
During this momentous event, we focus primarily on the men who made the 500,000 mile journey --as we should-- but let’s not forget the other 400,000 men and women who made the flight possible. We should also honor all those scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff necessary to deal with a vast number of system and sub-systems necessary to put these men on the moon.
The Challenge: Pay attention and listen for the name Margaret Hamilton. If you hear it, let me know … but I’m betting no one will mention her and they should.


Margaret Hamilton was the head of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory when the company contracted with NASA to develop the on-board flight software for the Apollo program. Her team developed the framework of software engineering for Apollo’s guidance and navigation system. In fact, she invented and named the discipline of software engineering. She published over one hundred papers and reports about the 60 projects and six major program to which she was assigned while working with NASA.

Official photo for NASA, 1989
Photo source:
Margaret Hamilton (née Heafield) was born in Indiana in 1936. After studying at the University of Michigan for a while, she transferred to Earlham College and graduated in 1958 with a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in philosophy. There she met James Hamilton and they subsequently married. After graduation she taught high school math.
Hamilton and her husband moved to Boston where James attended Harvard Law School. Her plan was to attend Brandeis University to study abstract math after her husband graduated, so she accepted an interim position as a programmer at MIT, working on programs to predict weather. While she was at MIT she also did postgraduate work in meteorology.

In the early 1960s she transferred to MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory where she worked on military defense systems and wrote programs to identify enemy aircraft.
Hamilton moved on to a position at MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory (which later became the independent Charles Stark Draper laboratory) and was there when NASA contracted with the Lab to develop the guidance systems for the Apollo Program.
She headed the team responsible for developing the software for the guidance and control systems of the in-flight command and lunar modules.
In later interviews, years after the fact, Hamilton said that computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines at the time. The scientists and programmers simply learned by doing -- apparently over and over -- until it worked. She and her colleagues developed the paradigm ideas in programming writing the code for the world’s first portable computer.
When I first got into it, nobody knew what it was that we were doing. It was like the Wild West. There was no course in it. They didn’t teach it,” Hamilton said. “The world didn’t think much at all about software back in the early Apollo days.”
As the project progressed, it soon became apparent how crucial the software was to the success of the mission. By 1965, Margaret was responsible for all the onboard flight software.
Margaret Hamilton inside mock-up of the Apollo command module.
Photo Credit: MIT  Photo Source
There are many significant achievements in Hamilton’s career. I won’t bother with the details. If you’re interested, I have a good list of sources.
In my opinion, there are two significant reason why Hamilton stands out among the many thousands who contributed to the success of Apollo 11: Her constant focus on reality and the need for reliability – the systems had to work correctly the first time – and her personal foresight that saved the mission from being scrubbed.

Here’s how it happened. In addition to being the Mother of the field of Software Engineering, Hamilton was also a real mother of a daughter, Lauren, who, at this time, was about four years old. She would bring Lauren with her to work in the evenings and on weekends, and the child would sleep or play while her mother wrote programs for the Apollo’s command module computer.Margaret and her daughter, LaurenPhoto source:

As the story goes, on evening Lauren was playing with the MIT command module simulator’s display and keyboard unit when an error message appeared. The child had “crashed” the simulator by accidently activating a prelaunch program called P01 while the simulator was in flight.
As a result, Hamilton foresaw the necessity for adding error-checking codes to prevent a crash under the same circumstances. She was overruled by NASA superiors, and the reason doesn’t surprise me. Besides being too costly and time consuming, “This could never happen in space because—“ Hamilton was told emphatically, “Astronauts do not make mistakes.”
After losing her point, she instead programmed a “program note” available to NASA engineers and astronauts that said “Do not select P01 during flight.” As it turned out, the event that “could never happen,” happened.

On the fifth day of the Apollo 8 mission, Jim Lovell inadvertently selected P01 during the flight, which deleted all the navigation data the mission had collected. Without it, the computer wouldn’t be able to plot the course back to earth. Hamilton and her team spent nine hours figuring out a way to save the day, and brought Apollo 8 home to earth. After that Hamilton had no trouble convincing NASA to let her design error and recovery software for future missions.

And sure enough, there was a critical moment in the Apollo 11 mission where Hamilton’s foresight saved that mission as well. Just minutes before the Lunar lander neared the Moon’s surface, alarms went off indicating a computer overload “with interrupts caused by incorrectly phased power supplied to the lander’s rendezvous radar.” The alarms meant the computer couldn’t handle all the tasks at once. Because of the alarms built into the flight software’s error detection and recovery techniques, the mission, which came close to being scrubbed, managed to land on the moon.

Dr. Paul Curto, senior technologist who nominated Hamilton for a NASA Space Art Award, called her work “the foundation for ultra-reliable software design.”

Hamilton remained with MIT until the mid-1970s, then left to work in private industry. She cofounded several software companies, and in March 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The company was developed around the Universal Systems Language (USL) and its associated automated environment, the 001 Tool Suite, based on her paradigm of Development Before The Fact for systems design and software development. Her contributions to the field have continued throughout her career.
Based on what I read, one of the things that impressed me most about Margaret Hamilton was her constant focus on connection between humans and computer, particularly in relation to the Apollo Missions.  In 2009 she describer for MIT News her contributions to the Apollo software.
“From my own perspective, the software experience itself (designing it, developing it, evolving it, watching it perform and learning from it for future systems) was at least as exciting as the events surrounding the mission. … Not only did it (the software) have to work, it had to work the first time. Not only did it have to be ultra reliable, it needed to be able to perform error detection and recovery in real time. … We took our work seriously, many of us beginning this journey while still in our 20s. Coming up with solutions and new ideas was an adventure. Dedication and commitment were a given. Mutual respect was across the board. Because software was a mystery, a black box, upper management gave us total freedom and trust. We had to find a way and we did. Looking back, we were the luckiest people in the world; there was no choice but to be pioneers.”
The world can thank Hamilton for expanding the notion of just what humanity could do on earth and beyond.
1986 - Hamilton received the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award, an honor bestowed by The Association for Women in Computing on individuals, men and women, who have excelled in two areas of endeavor: 1) Outstanding scientific and technical achievement, and 2) Extraordinary service to the computing community through their accomplishments and contributions on behalf of women in computing.
2003 - NASA Exceptional Space Act Award for scientific and technical contributions. The award of $37,200 was the largest awarded to any individual in NASA's history.
2009 - Outstanding Alumni Award from Earlham College.
2016 - Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
2017 - Computer History Museum Fellow Award, recognizing exceptional men and women whose computing ideas have changed the world.
2017 - A "Women of NASA" LEGO set went on sale featuring (among other things) mini-figurines of Hamilton, Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, and Nancy Grace Roman.
2018 – Hamilton was invested honoris causa by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
It saddens me (and angers me, a little) to point out that this is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, to which Margaret Hamilton made such a large contribution, and almost twenty years passed before she was honored for her work. The rest of the honors have been awarded after the year 2000. Better Late Than Never.
AUTHOR R. ANN SIRACUSAConverting oxygen to carbon dioxide for more than three quarters of a century

Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue
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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Have you heard the News? by Joanne Jaytanie

There are new releases from the Authors of Romance Books 4 Us. And that’s not all. Enter for the chance to win a $50 gift card. Best of all…each book is only 99c! Check them out!
A Romance Books 4 Us World

Rhett Fortune settled on the small parcel of land he purchased in 1858 with his wife Clara and founded the beautiful landscape that surrounded his newly built home and what is now known as Fortune, TX. A veteran of the United States Army and as a Colonel who served with honor in the Mexican American War, Rhett and Clara raised a large family. Sons and daughters, and grandchildren to follow, their clan grew throughout the decades.

Now in the 21st Century, two of their descendants remain at the helm. Chance Fortune, a former member of the Army's Delta Force and co-founder of Soldiers of Fortune, has an innate duty to serve and protect. Working with his brother, RJ Fortune, a former Navy SEAL and wounded warrior, they take the cases that their government won't. And vow to protect the civilians that no one else can.

They have quietly put out the word and now, after three years, other former brothers-in-arms have contacted them bringing situations that span not only the country but the globe. On Fortune family land they have built a facility out of the public eye for their office, a helicopter, a gun range, and whatever else they might need.

They are the Soldiers of Fortune... 
and these are their stories.


Rogue's Return by USA Today & Award Winning Author, Desiree Holt
Sacrifice by USA Today & International Bestselling Author, Nicole Morgan
Operation Unknown by International Bestselling Author, Krista Ames
Rage Against the Machine by International Bestselling Author, Deelylah Mullin


A Limited-Edition Romance Books 4 Us Collection

The weather is heating up, but it’s not just the sun and the sand which will keep you hot.
This summer anthology brought to you by the authors of Romance Books 4 Us will bring temperatures to your eReader that will set unheard of heat records. Burning the tips of your fingers while you turn the pages.
Sultry temperatures.
Passionate couples.
Unbelievable desire.

This is your ticket to… 
Hot Fun in the Summer Time.

Just Tell Me What You Want by Tina Donahue
Second Chance at Love by Marianne Stephens
Curating Love by Cara Marsi
Pleasure Quest by Tina Donahue
Building Up To Love by Joanne Jaytanie
Nailed by Cindy Spencer Pape
Dare to Feel by Nicole Morgan
More Than Friends (Friends to Lovers Book 1) by Krista Ames
Ripped at the Seams by Deelylah Mullin
Cowgirls Don't Cry by Janice Seagraves
Firecracker by Desiree Holt

Enter the Rafflecopter on the right-hand column for your chance to win a $50 Gift Card and other goodies.


They are the Soldiers of Fortune... 
and these are their stories.

 S.O.F.: Soldiers of Fortune, Vol. 2 


Rogue's Return by USA Today & Award Winning Author, Desiree Holt
Sacrifice by USA Today & International Bestselling Author, Nicole Morgan
Operation Unknown by International Bestselling Author, Krista Ames
Rage Against the Machine by International Bestselling Author, Deelylah Mullin 
Award Winning Author, Joanne Jaytanie

Until next month… 



Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Second Chance at Love - Erotic Contemporary Romance - Sensual Stranger - Tina Donahue Books #SensualStranger #SecondChanceatLove #EroticContemporaryRomance #TinaDonahueBooks

If you love second chance at love romances, motorcycles, and a hero who's HOT, dominant, and tender then check out Sensual Stranger, my erotic contemporary.

Zach and Toni's love story earned a Book of the Year award.

PREORDER - Ready to Read July 5


Into his life she came—wanting…willing…wanton

It’s no ordinary morning when Toni Starr arrives at Zach’s garage. Flat broke, with a past she won’t share, Toni’s instantly taken by such a potently virile man. Direct and unashamed, she tells him she’s a motorcycle performance artist who needs work and knows motors.

Zach knows women, and Toni’s unlike any he’s met. Lushly sensuous, exceedingly assured, she’d easily be his match in business and bed. A provocative challenge that stirs him as nothing has since losing his wife. A chance he’s reluctant to take, offering no more than a month’s employment, then she’ll have to be on her way.

The hours tick by. Each word and glance intensifies their denied yet escalating desire, forcing them to surrender to passion. Driven by carnal hunger, conquered by yearning, they face the unforeseen truth of Toni’s past and a future neither of them expected.


The door clicked then swung inward, steam drifting out.

Unaware of his presence, Toni looked behind herself at something in the bath. Her skin glowed from her shower and smelled of soap rather than her cologne. Her stretchy blue camisole and plaid boxer shorts clung to her damp flesh.

Zach’s heart beat violently. The tee slipped from his hand.

He told himself to pick it up and race downstairs before she saw him.

His legs refused to move.

Moisture dripped from her freshly washed hair and rolled down her temple to her cheek. Her thin satin strap fell over her shoulder.

Ignoring it, she lifted a brush to her hair, turned, and froze. Her gaze slipped down his naked chest, paused at his fly, and settled on his erection. Desire quickly replaced her surprise. Her lips parted. A gentle breath spilled out. She looked at him, her gaze receptive and yearning.

He slipped his hand behind her neck and pushed her into the door.

The wood smacked the doorstop and vibrated, matching the sounds from his sprinting heart.

Toni dropped her brush. It tapped across the linoleum.

Her skin was so ungodly hot, Zach thought he might die. He captured her mouth and drove his tongue inside, filling her as much as he could, his kiss savage, uncivilized, and punishing for making him wait…for making him want.

She suckled him deeper, her mouth tasting of peppermint toothpaste and female lust. She ran her palms up his pecs, wreathed her arms over his shoulders, and dug her nails into his back, imprisoning him with one leg wrapped around his.

Roused beyond control, he ground his stiffened cock into her mound and angled his mouth for greater penetration.

They made sloppy, lewd, joyous sounds, telling each other and the world they were alive, they deserved this, kissing brazenly for what might have been minutes. When the initial fury ebbed, their passion turned tender and exploring, stoking his desire even more.

Toni melted into him, her chest pumping with her strangled breaths.

Obsessive need sliced through him. He tore his mouth free, heaved air, and stepped back, forcing her leg from around his.

Wearing a disapproving look, she glanced at the space separating them then him pulling her arms from his shoulders.

She slumped. “What are you doing?”

“Shh.” He imprisoned her wrists in one hand, lifted her arms above her head, and held them to the door. The wood shimmied again. On a rough breath, he pushed her camisole up, exposing her right breast.

A faint sound rose from her throat, sounding like pure pleasure.

His legs went rubbery. Dizziness hit so hard he had to lower his head to stop it. Her nipple was a paler pink than he would have guessed, tight and puckered, waiting for his mouth.

He made his first lick unhurried, his tongue skimming the hard bud. His next was hungered, his laps exploring the bumpy areola and the creamy skin beyond it.

Air whooshed from her. She sagged against the door.

He tightened his hold on her wrists and cupped her breast, loving its weight and warmth, then drew her nipple into his mouth, sucked hard, soft, then hard again, incapable of settling on either. He wanted to fuck her raw on the bathroom floor, take her to the guest bedroom, tie her to the bed, and do things with her he’d done with no other woman.

Finished with her nipple, he slanted his mouth over hers, accepting her tongue and pulling it deep. He slid his hand over her boxer shorts and cradled her mound. God, God, God. His ears rang from too much desire. Perspiration broke out on his chest.

Toni moaned indecently, encouraging him to do more.

He dipped beneath the thin cotton fabric and touched her damp curls.

She spread her legs.

Good girl. As far as he was concerned, they could spend the entire day here.

What reviewers have said about Sensual Stranger:

"Two lonely people find love when they least expect it in this fast-paced story."

Jill Brager - Romantic Times

The characters are well developed, each with their personal demons. Their sex is hot and heavy with some domination.


Nominated for Book of the Week at Whipped Cream Reviews

(WC Best Book - For a book or story that is truly exceptional. You think about it when you're not reading it. You wonder what happens to the characters when you finish. You would absolutely buy everything else this author had to offer. The highest praise - and reserved for only a few.)

"The story flowed very nicely with lots of boiling tension all leading up to an emotionally explosive finale, just be aware to keep the tissues close while reading. The sex scenes are pleasurably creative and hot, hot, HOT!"

This story is incredible. If you’re a stranger to the wonderful work of Ms. Donahue then make sure to check out Sensual Stranger and get yourself familiar with this amazing author!

To read the full review, click here

"Sexy and full of so much sexual tension and scrumptious emotional cat and mouse it is hard to put down, you just have to keep reading to find out how Zach and Toni will end up."

Brande  - Book Junkie

One thing that I like was that the chemistry between Toni and Zach was on fire from the get go, it was something that neither could hide too well and that tension added to all the drama in a deliciously decadent way.
To read the full review, click here

Recommended Read
Five Lips

"On the surface, Sensual Stranger may seem to be a sexually driven story but not with author Tina Donahue’s skillful ability to take us into the emotional depths of her characters and make us care deeply about them."

Once again, Ms. Donahue captures our hearts and takes us on a journey of redeeming joy.
To read the full review, click here

"Guilty Pleasure Alert!  The wounded falling in love with the damaged made this an awesome read."

This is one of the most emotional and erotic books I’ve read in a long time.  Do yourself a favor and read it.

To read the full review, click here

"Hot, hot, hot. That’s the best way I can describe Sensual Stranger."

Lillie - Novel Thoughts

From the first page, when Toni first sees Zach, there is a ton of sexual tension that continues through out the book.

To read the full review, click here

Nominated for Book of the Month at Siren Book Reviews


"The chemistry between Zach and Toni is mesmerizing and will draw you in and lead you on to find out what happens."

This story is entertaining, definitely sensual, and will leave you wanting more of Tina Donahue’s creations.
To read the entire review, click here


"Sensual Stranger is a wonderful read. Not only is this a hot story but it is also a beautiful love story."

I am a big fan of Tina Donahue’s books and once again I found myself getting lost in a great story written by a talented author making this a book that should not be missed.
To read the entire review, click here

"Tina Donahue blew my mind away in this sexy, hot tale of a woman who says she doesn’t need anyone, yet she craves love."

Tina Donahue outdid herself in Sensual Stranger and I can’t wait to read more books that involve her wonderful imagination.

To read the entire review, click here

"Sensual Stranger is an intriguing story, you have a mystery surrounding Toni's background that draws you in."

Emily - Sensual Reads

A wonderful love story.
To read the full review, click here

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