I am thrilled to welcome Ava Miles to the blog today! I think she might be my lost twin. She’s a chef. (She says former chef, but whatever. I think once you earn the jacket, you get to keep it.) She writes romance. (Her books are totally on my list because they sound awesome.) And her Hop cookie is a gingerbread house! Do you know how many gingerbread houses I’ve put together?! I threw a gingerbread house birthday party for my oldest daughter! I love those things! I’ll hush now, so she can introduce herself, but hop over to our FACEBOOK PARTY today. Because we’ll be posting gingerbread pics you won’t want to miss! And please enter to win a copy of Ava’s latest book THE HOLIDAY SERENADE in the Rafflecopter at the end of the post!
So, hi there. Happy holidays! I’m Ava Miles, a contemporary romance writer and former chef who simply loves food and writing, especially when they come together so nicely like they have in my Christmas novella, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, part of my Dare Valley series which kicked off with my first book, NORA ROBERTS LAND a few months ago. Thanks to Amanda for hosting me during our incredible holiday hop chock-full of tantalizing recipes (check out mine fyi since I labored over a gingerbread house—not men this time).
Well, as I said, I love to include food in my books, so it’s only appropriate that my heroine is a die-hard Martha Stewart wanna be. And who’s her perfect compliment? Well, my hero is the modern version of Rhett Butler. Seriously. His name is Rhett Butler Blaylock. He’s a poker player just too sexy for words. (Can you tell I love Gone with the Wind?).
Well, Rhett is full of it, as they say, and he lays a charge at my heroine’s feet as she bakes her gingerbread cookies: aren’t gingerbread men just a tad sexist?
Here’s a snippet.
Usually Abbie Maven adored the way Christmas allowed her to get her Martha Stewart on by decorating and baking her heart out.
Usually she loved sharing the thirteen different types of cookies she made with family and friends, everything from star-shaped sugar cookies dotted with candy silver balls to grinning gingerbread men.
Usually she didn’t have a crazy cowboy and badass poker player named Rhett Butler Blaylock in her kitchen popping cookies into his mouth faster than the Cookie Monster while cracking obscene jokes from a barstool in front of her kitchen island.
“You know, Abbie,” he murmured, leaning on the tan granite countertop and waggling his ash-brown brows, “it seems downright chauvinistic of you to make only gingerbread men. Maybe you should add breasts to some of these for balance.”
Like that would ever happen in her kitchen, with its caramel-colored cabinets and stainless steel appliances, now dotted with vintage Christmas cards of red-cheeked Santas, frolicking reindeer, and luminous angels.
Her sixteen-year-old son, Dustin, hooted with laughter from his barstool beside Rhett. She even saw her brother, Mac, and his fiancé, Peggy, standing to her right, bite their lips as if they were trying not to join in on the hilarity. Thank goodness Peggy’s eight-year-old son, Keith, was in the other room watching the claymation version of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, which everyone agreed was disturbing. This was so not the PG-rated cookie baking experience she preferred. Especially when everyone was only watching her work in the kitchen, the biggest hangout room in the house. They’d complained that making gingerbread men was too hard. Wimps.
The urge to squirt the egg-white gingerbread frosting onto Rhett’s red thermal shirt and jeans came over her, but better sense prevailed. Her action might prompt him to strip his shirt off in her kitchen, and frankly, she wouldn’t be able to draw a straight line with her frosting if he did that. The man had the best chest she’d ever seen—not that she’d seen many outside of the movies and firemen calendars.
I just realized that Rhett taking his shirt off would be the perfect entertainment at a holiday cookie swap. Too bad I can’t order that one up for you, but hey, you have your own imagination.
Where did I get this idea about gingerbread men? Well, my mother makes anatomically correct gingerbread (oh yes she does), and she has six kids and is active in just about every church program out there. We laugh at the irony of all of this. I don’t know that my mom decided gingerbread men were sexist exactly. I think she thought it would be rather funny and a bit shocking. She’s sassy that way.
So, what about you? Do you think women need to assert themselves and get baked in their luscious form right alongside gingerbread men? Come on, I know you want to tell me!
Here’s a little bit more about THE HOLIDAY SERENADE:
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?
If you must find out RIGHT NOW, buy THE HOLIDAY SERENADE from iTUNES, SMASHWORDS, KOBO, AMAZON, and BARNES AND NOBLE! If you can stand to wait (I’ll admit I’m not much of a wait-er. I like immediate book gratification, but you never know…) Enter to win an e-copy of THE HOLIDAY SERENADE right here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
A little bit about Ava Miles:
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.
To learn more about Ava, you can find her at: