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Avon Holiday Ring: Auntie D’s Totally Awesome Meatballs

These are wonderful if you are going to/or having a party and need something that will feed a crowd. These are always what I get asked to bring:

1 pound of ground beef
2 T finely chopped onions
1/2 C fine bread crumbsavonrecipe copy
1 T parsley
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/3 C milk

Mix all this together thoroughly and then form into small, bite sized meatballs. In a pan, over medium heat, melt 1 T butter and 2 T of oil, and add an 1/8 of curry, then brown the meatballs in lots so as not to crowd the pan. When cooked, drain on a paper towel to remove excess fat. Keep warm in a crock pot while you make the sauce.

In a heavy saucepan, mix:
1/2 C pineapple juice (I used the juice drained from the tidbits below)
1/3 C vinegar
1/4 C sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1 T soy sauce
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1 green pepper, finely chopped

Cook over medium heat until the sauce turns clear and it has thickened. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and allow to simmer a bit on low in the crock pot.

Hints: I usually double this recipe, but then again I’m usually feeding a CROWD. Also, if you are pressed for time, pre-made frozen meatballs (like Costcos) are a great time saver. When you cook them, don’t forget to add the curry. You can also make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them.

And now that you’ve got your appetizer ready, about a little something sweet: Lenora Bell’s Candy Cane Cookies. Enjoy these and the rest of the recipes in the Avon Holiday Recipe Loop.

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Have You Met: Avon Addict Merle

Have you met Avon Addict Merle yet? She’s come by today to share five things about herself that we probably don’t know! Welcome, Merle…avonaddict

1) What is the very first romance novel that you read? I’m actually relatively new to romance — I only started reading it a year ago! My very first romance was Courtney Milan’s Unclaimed. I adored it so much I went out and bought all of her books immediately afterward.

CMILAN2) Favorite place to find new books? There’s a large used bookstore here in my city called Gardner’s, and I LOVE wandering through their large romance section to find all sorts of goodies.

3) Who are your must-buy authors? Courtney Milan, of course; Tessa Dare; Theresa Romain; Simone St. James for her utterly perfect Gothic ghost stories; Elizabeth Loupas, who writes stunning historical novels; and N.K. Jemisin, for truly unique and exciting fantasy books.

4) Do you immediately start another book once you finished one? Typically, yes! I’ve got so much to read that if I take too long a break in between books, I’ll never get anything done. I don’t usually have a problem with it, either; I can separate the two in my head.

5) What are your top three favorite movies? Toughie! Right now I’d have to say that my favorite movie is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The first Thor movie holds a special place in my heart as well, and I’ll always adore Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

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5 Things with Katharine Ashe

Katharine Ashe is the award winning author of adventurous, bestselling Regency romances from Avon! But her newest novella, in the anthology At the Billionaire’s Wedding, is a romp in contemporary romance. Here, she shares with us five things you probably didn’t know about her.

1) Did you have a nickname growing up? “Katie, Katie, the Paper Cup Lady”. One day in 1st grade I was innocently sitting cross-legged on my fuzzy blue Cookie Monster mat at snack time, when my teacher asked me to pass out the paper cups for juice. Someone called me that name, and it stuck, swiftly morphing into “Katie, Katie, the Big Fat Lady”, and so on. I’m proud to say that (after decades of therapy) I have finally gotten over this trauma. But if I could remember which nasty kid made up the name, I’d hunt him down and…

2) Do you celebrate when you finish a book and what you do? I drink champagne and dance in my living room to really loud music.ATBW

3) Where do you go for inspiration when the creativity well is running a little dry? The romantic core of my creative imagination never runs dry; there are always couples in my imagination eager for me to tell their love stories. But when I’m pondering plot ideas, I go to history books. History is so rich and complex and astonishingly unreal. I’ve found my best — and often my most outrageous — plots in the pages of history books.

4) What is the very first romance novel that you read? Once More, Miranda by Jennifer Wilde (who was a man). Full of action and delicious sensuality, with a strong heroine and excellent hero, I fell in love with it. I remember little of it now, but thirty years ago it changed my life.

5) What are your top three favorite movies? Moonstruck, The Cutting Edge, and The Hunt for Red October. Romance, comedy, strong heroines, alpha heroes, fabulous acting, perfect settings, action, conflict, noble deeds, and heart-swelling happily ever afters. And, of course, they’re infinitely quotable.

Ronnie: “I’m a wolf? You run to the wolf in me, that don’t make you no lamb.”

Kate: “Toe pick!”

Ramius: “‘And the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep doth dream of home.” Christopher Columbus.”

Ryan: “Welcome to the New World, sir.”
[cue the swelling Russian choir music]

Thanks for having me visit, Elizabeth!!

You can find Katharine on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

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Have You Met: Avon Addict Veronica Arellano

Welcome, Avon Addict Veronica Arellano. If you don’t know Veronica, the questions she answered below for us should get you started…

1) Where is the most beautiful/romantic place you’ve ever been?avonaddict Hands-down: Buzios, Brazil. It’s a tiny resort town made famous by Brigitte Bardot vacationing there in the 1960s. There’s even a saucy statue of her on the town’s main drag! The beaches are beautiful, the food is amazing, the music is lovely and I swear the sunsets are the most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen. As soon as my vacation was over, I was homesick for Buzious. I just felt at home and at peace there, which made it the most romantic place on earth.

GoodDebGuideToRuin2) Favorite name for a hero or heroine. DECLAN. I can’t get enough of that name. Sophie Jordan uses it for her hero in A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin, and it is so sexy.

3) What new to you authors are you crazy about? I have a total reader’s crush on Theresa Romain and Carolyn Jewel. They’re so different–Jewel’s writing is angsty and dark and Romain’s novels are fantastically witty and smart–but they both know how to write these great off-kilter heroes that I find really appealing.

4) What is the most embarrassing song/app on your ipod? The song has to be Gato Astronauta by !Fantastico! (That’s right, there are double Spanish language exclamation points in the band name). It’s about a cat astronaut who travels to outer space. In my defense, it’s a track off of a Spanish-language kid’s CD I picked up for my son!

5) Name three books on your keeper shelf and why.TessaDare

  • Romance: A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
    It’s a total feel-good romance. No angst. No drama. Just two people falling in love on the road. I read it whenever I need a pick-me-up.
  • Fantasy: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
    The Mists of Avalon is a great feminist re-telling of the classic Arthurian legend. It’s a welcome respite from the off-handed misogyny that you often find in fantasy and sci-fi.
  • Epic: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
    I am a huge sucker for epic family sagas, and this is one with a twist! The protagonist is an inter-sexed individual named Calliope/Cal, and through Cal’s amazing voice you’ll travel from Greece to Detroit to San Francisco.

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TBT: Brazen Angel

I don’t know how many people told me NOT to write Brazen Angel. An editor at a conference. More than one agent. Critic partners. Contest judges. Every single one of them said that any story set around the French Revolution wasn’t romantic, would never sell. One of my critique partners joked that it was the tale of springtime in Paris with Robespierre. Yeah, very funny.Robespierre

I wrote it anyway. And look what happened. It won the Dell Diamond Debut–which came with a publishing contract. It was nominated for two RITAs, Best First Book and Best Long Historical. It won for Best First Book. Brazen Angel, the book I wouldn’t have written if I had listened to everyone else, ending up being the story that launched my career. The one everyone told me not to waste my time on.

This is why you, if you believe in a story with all your heart, and you know it is THE story you have to tell, then you must tell it. Write it from the heart and tell it. I wrote this book on fire–the story would not leave me alone. I Had. To. Tell. It. And it was mine to tell. Brazen Angel

So is your story.

Now, 18 years later, I still write–every day because I can’t not write. And always, I stick to crafting the stories that intrigue me, the characters who won’t leave me alone, the plot that leaves me breathless.

Haven’t read my first book? You’ll find an excerpt from Brazen Angel here, or order your copy here.

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