Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **AUTHOR SPECIAL** with Ava Miles
Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors.
Introducing author, AVA MILES, and her favorite recipe for GINGERBREAD MEN!
Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, BlogCritics says “It [NORA ROBERTS LAND] captures the best of…a Nora Roberts novel,” while USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog praises the series noting its “wonderful, idyllic setting… [and] great characters.” Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” Now, Ava releases the fourth book in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, with her recognized wit and charm, creating happy endings with humor and heart. A descendant of generations of journalists, Ava—a writer since childhood—now lives in her own porch-swinging-friendly community with an old-fashioned Main Street lined with small businesses. Much like Dare Valley.
THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, Book 4, The Dare Valley Series, by Ava Miles
October 2013/On Sale 10-21-13/$2.99 (eBook), ISBN: 9781940565026
THE HOLIDAY SERENADE by AVA MILES
Professional gambler Rhett Butler Blaylock is everything Abbie Maven doesn’t want in a man—flamboyant, flashy, and unreserved. After a horrible experience in her youth, she has spent her life trying to make all the right choices, pouring her energy into being the best possible single mother to her son. But though Rhett doesn’t seem to be husband and stepfather material, he awakens emotions in her that are as frightening as they are powerful. They had a fling she’s never forgotten, and now he has followed her to Dare Valley, Colorado with the intention of winning back her heart…this time, forever.
Rhett’s determined to show Abbie he can be the man of her dreams. He’ll do whatever it takes for the woman he loves, including giving up his flamboyant lifestyle and bad-boy image. As Christmas approaches, he prepares a special surprise for her, hoping the holiday will work its magic and grant him a miracle. Will his holiday serenade heal Abbie’s heart and convince her to give love a second chance?
What Happens When Rhett Butler Wants Martha Stewart?
So, hi there. I’m Ava Miles, a contemporary romance writer of the new Christmas story called THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, part of my Dare Valley series. I want to thank Karen for hosting me today to talk about the heroine of my newest novel, Abbie Maven, who really wants to be Martha Stewart when she grows up.
Abbie loves Christmas, and she loves baking. In fact, she even bakes my family’s gingerbread men recipe, which gets her into a little trouble with the hero, who teases her about only making men. Well, let me give a little more background here. My hero, Rhett Butler Blaylock (yes, you heard me right), is a professional poker player, and he’s carefully crafted a bad-boy image, which includes these two women who serve as his scouts disguised as well…poker babes. They wear beauty pageant wigs and lots of sequins, and they’re beyond embarrassing to Abbie. I mean, she’s a single mother and Rhett’s…well, Rhett. Here’s an excerpt.
THE HOLIDAY SERENADE by AVA MILES
Instead she gestured toward the remaining dough in the bowl, which gave off that special gingerbread scent she loved, redolent of coffee and spice. “Since your poker babes have such remarkable attributes, perhaps you should be the one to shape some female cookies?”
He must have caught the challenge in her eyes. Their ongoing battle over his poker entourage was one of the main reasons why she’d refused to renew their relationship when he moved to her new town of Dare Valley, Colorado, months ago with the sole purpose of getting her to agree to marry him. He’d played poker in overseas venues for a year after she broke off their secret relationship. He’d returned six months ago, declaring his love for her and saying he wouldn’t ever leave her again. And, shockingly, he’d stuck by that vow.
Dustin angled his head to the right and flashed a smile at their ongoing banter, and suddenly he reminded her of his father, a man whom she’d believed to be sincere and kind until he’d blown that illusion to smithereens.
Trusting men hadn’t been her strong suit since then. Add in the fact that she and Rhett were still ill-suited beyond words, and she hadn’t caved to Rhett’s dogged pursuit.
If there was one thing Abbie had learned to value in life, it was order. Okay, and control, but that made her sound like a control freak, which she was so not. Mostly.
“I just might do that,” Rhett replied, pinching some of the dough out of her holiday Christmas bowl and rolling it into a ball.
“Sweet!” her son cried, jumping up from the bar stool right in front of her kitchen island like he was preparing to make Playboy centerfold gingerbread cookies, a teenager’s Christmas fantasy.
Like she would ever allow that to happen in her home.
Rhett put a hand on Dustin’s shoulder, and he eased back into his chair, about as deflated as an undercooked soufflé.
“Maybe we can just put a dress on them,” Rhett said. “That way your mama can still maintain her dignity, Dustin.”
The compliment did little to diffuse her. As a poker player, and a flamboyant one at that, Rhett had created a rough-and-tumble image for his act. Every time he played poker, he was accompanied by his poker babes—two women clad in tight, low-cut, often sequined gowns, with death-defying cleavage.
Few knew these women were total brainiacs who worked as his scouts. Frankly, she didn’t care that they both had MBAs from Harvard and that he’d never been anything but professional with them.
They were embarr-a-ssing, and she didn’t want them anywhere near her son.
Plus, how could Rhett expect her to walk into a poker tournament with him if his poker babes were flanking them? Abbie wore conservative Ann Taylor suits most days. She was a single mother. Being respected and respectable was important to her, and she’d fought hard for it. She wasn’t about to give it up.
Especially after the horrible way in which Dustin had been conceived when she was just eighteen. Why couldn’t he understand that?
Peggy dropped a plastic container filled with the silver balls in front of Rhett. “If you’re going to make women with dresses, this might work for sequins.”
Abbie gave her future sister-in-law a smile of genuine appreciation. Though there had been some bumps in their relationship, she and Peggy got along pretty well now. True, they didn’t always understand one another. As Dare Valley’s deputy sheriff, Peggy was a cop to the core, and Abbie really did aspire to be Martha Stewart. But they shared a more important commonality—they were both single mothers.
“What a great idea!” Rhett agreed with his usual aw-shucks ease. “Do you have any of these bells in gold? I don’t always like my poker babes to wear the same outfits.”
And that’s pretty much the push-pull relationship Martha (oops Abbie) and Rhett have.
So, if you could have Abbie bake your favorite holiday treat, what would it be?
And now, here’s the gingerbread men recipe (or gingerbread women). And FYI, my own church-going mother makes both sexes, which makes all of us sometimes uncomfortable. But I can tell you this: they are definitely a conversation piece. 🙂 Enjoy!
Links to Ava’s website, blog, books, etc.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Ava is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 114 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
GINGERBREAD MEN (& WOMEN)
Recipe by Ava Miles’ Great-great Grandma Miles, circa 1900
Baked by Abbie Maven at Christmas
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
Cream these two ingredients.
Add ½ c. hot coffee
¾ c. molasses
5 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cloves
Mix the ingredients. Chill for at least 1 hour. Overnight is best.
Form them into gingerbread men or other shapes and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Then decorate to your heart’s content.
4 egg whites
5 c. sifted powdered sugar
Beat egg whites until stiff and slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep covered when not using since the icing dries quickly.