Category: Heroines


A Recipe for Happiness

I spent the weekend with Nikki, and will be spending next weekend with her too. To help settle Breck’s upset, she sent me home with a special something to make for him. I may have to make it more than once. 🙂

Apple Dumplings
2 granny smith apples
crescent rolls
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
2 t cinnamon
10 oz sprite

Melt sugar, butter and cinnamon together. 1/4 apples and wrap with crescent rolls. Pour sugar mixture over dumplings in a casserole dish. Add sprite to the dish. Do not pour over dumplings. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until apples are tender.

Kami

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Bethany Haynes visiting from Hickeyville

Since Nikki is busy with BD and Maggie, having given in to his champion whinefest a couple weeks ago, I agreed to cover her this week.

I am Bethany Haynes and I am coming to you from the sticks of Hickeyville, Canada. And yes, I have gotten a hickey or two while here. *wink* See, I took a vacation, but found myself in jail in a very small town and had no choice but to wait for the Instpector to return from a vacation of his own to decide my fate. I never would have guessed the fate would have been what it has turned out to be. Unexpected. Sexy. Adventurous. I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Are you curious? Check it out here at www.samhellion.com.

A Happiness Spell (from Brenna Quentin)

Hi. You may not know me, but I’m Brenna. I’m the witch in the paranormal series Nikki is working on (cross your fingers she finds someone in publishing to love us soon.) I’m agoraphobic and haven’t left my house in ten years, and no, it makes absolutely no difference to me to know that the fear is in my head. I’ve tried overcoming it and it isn’t happening. So, I have settled for the peace I find running my Bistro with the hands on help of highly trusted family and friends. And hey, the hands-off approach I have to take does give me more time to cook and experiment with pastries.

So, when the happiness spells and wish fulfillment spells and fear banishing spells fail, here’s a fallback that almost always makes me feel better. 🙂

The traditional éclair uses vanilla pastry cream as a filling and rich, almost ganache-like chocolate glaze. Make this recipe with basic choux pastry dough.

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Ingredients:
Basic choux pastry dough
Vanilla pastry cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preparation:
Make vanilla pastry cream according to directions and chill.

Preheat oven to 425F and lightly grease 1 baking sheet. Spoon the prepared basic choux pastry dough into a pastry bag fitted with a wide, plain tip and pipe 8 5-inch lengths onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the éclairs puff up and turn golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before filling.

Make the chocolate glaze while the éclairs are baking and cooling. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl and set aside. Heat the heavy cream just to boiling over low-medium heat and remove from the heat immediately. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until it forms a thin, smooth consistency. Set the chocolate glaze aside at room temperature for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To assemble the éclairs:

Fit a pastry bag with a medium-sized plain tip and fill it with vanilla pastry cream. Insert the tip of the bag into the end of an éclair and pipe about 2 1/2 tablespoons of pastry cream into it. Gently spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate glaze onto or carefully dip the top of each filled éclair into the glaze before serving.

This chocolate éclairs recipe makes 8 servings.

Character Spotlight: May Aiona

I asked May Aiona to come by and talk to you all about her Hawaiian heritage. She’s my first Hawaiian heroine and her brother will be the hero of A Little Harmless Addiction, out this summer.

Aloha! May Aiona here. First off a big Mahalo to Mel and Nikki for letting me come by today. Mel asked me to chat with you about my Hawaiian background. I’m half Hawaiian, and half a lot of other things, lol. My father says I get my blue eyes from my mother’s side, an Irish devil who came over on a ship and never left the islands after he married a local Hawaiian girl. Since Mel has lived in Hawaii, she knows what life on the island is like. Granted, I know from our conversations, it wasn’t exactly her thang, lol. She really hated being cooped up on a little island and well, you all know how she feels about bugs.

Hawaiian culture, or Hawaiiana, is rich in the arts and we have our own unique way of cooking. I’m not sure if I moved to the mainland if I would be able to handle the withdrawls. We like pork…a lot of pork. We like it the traditional way, cook in the ground as described here, or the way Mel cooks it in her home in Virginia. I particularly like it served on pizza like we do at Dupree’s. Mel also likes to tease me about SPAM. In the 40’s, during the war, we had a HUGE warehouse here on the island. This was because the government was afraid there might be a blockade. While we have a lot of fresh fruits and veggies on the islands, we are limited, and we don’t have a lot of cattle ranches, lol. So, to ensure we didn’t go without something, they built a huge warehouse for it. We actually serve it in restaurants, and with eggs in the morning, with a side of rice. Another thing we cook with is macadamia nuts. From cookies and brownies to fish, we use the rich nut to enhace the taste of food. And well, there is poi, but Mel really hates anyone bringing that up, lol.

But there are many other things I love about my home state. Hawaii is a blend of cultures that is very unique. Yes, you have the Hawaiian, but you have many different Asian cultures threaded throughout our tapestry. There is a tight connection to the Catholic church because of the missionaries who came over to help the “savages.” Of course, with travel today, we have so many different races and creeds living on our island. With 850,000 people on Oahu, you can’t help but bump into someone just a little different than you.

Our attitude about life is different. We don’t always understand the rush to get things done. No, we aren’t lazy. As Mel always said, the best movers they had were in Hawaii. We work hard, but we also understand the importance of Ohana, family. You will find many families living in the same home with two or three generations, as I do. Part of the reason is because of the economy. Hawaii is expensive and with little land, housing is extremely expensive. But, we also like to keep our families close by. That is why so many people don’t leave the island. Being on the mainland would be too far away.

That attitude feeds into our other main idea, ain’t your business. We aren’t truly private, but I think most of us don’t care what our neighbors are doing, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. That isn’t to say we don’t care about our neighbors, but we do understand privacy. And worrying if your next door neighbor is gay. Who cares, really?

Of course, there is the beauty. While Mel is crazy and loves that cold weather, I can’t stand a nighttime low below 60, brrr. Even so, she talks of driving through the mountains on H3(the most expensive highway in the US) and enjoying the ride because of the scenery. Lush green mountains, a rain forest, waterfalls, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. How can you top that? Mel here- with SNOW, you crazy woman.

For all those reasons, I could never see myself living anywhere else. My heart will always be here on the island, with my Ohana and my ku`uipo(sweetheart) Evan.

A hui hou kakou (until we meet again )

May

May is featured in my newest release, A Little Harmless Obsession.

An Unexpected Family

Hi. I’m Ava Malia, the newest addition to the FBI Specialized Crime Unit. Nikki has been kind enough, though I didn’t always consider it a kindness, to introduce me to Dr. H. And yes, that’s really his name. Well, unless you get to know him very well. He allows a select few to call him something a little different, but that’s not my point here today.

I was going to talk about how my life has changed since meeting Nikki. See, when we first met, I was working as a call-girl. How’d I get into that you ask? Well, I working contract for a company and when some issues arose, they sent me in as an escort. I never dreamed agreeing to the extremely unorthodox assignment would lead to where I am today.

On that job I met Kami Evans, who is now a great friend. Kami was having some trouble and I was able to help her out a little. Not as much as her new fiancee Breck, but I did help. And I’m going to keep helping. See, her step-brother was killed and though there has been some progress on the case and I’ve joined Breck’s FBI team we haven’t completely snipped the loose ends. One such loose end was Dr. H.

Dr. H is a bit of a mystery, even to me still. The man hates secrets, but he is one. A loner in the world, except for keeping his sister close, he’s guarded. Suspicious of pretty much everyone. And I think he has a right to be. Only by repeated proof will he allow himself to trust someone enough to open up to them, and even then he holds part of himself back as much as he can. His life has been rough, but I’m determined to help him keep smoothing it out.

What has surprised Dr. H and me, is how connected we became and how quickly. With a kiss, and I don’t mean this in a cliche way, he shattered everything I thought I knew about myself and my world. His touch awakened a part of me I didn’t know existed and I have to say I’m grateful for it. With the discovery of our connection, and the exploration of the discovery, we’ve found in each other a family we never expected.

I have my blood family, who I love, but I am learning to cherish the family I’ve found in my new team and with Dr. H and Dana and our shared abilities. I never knew there were so many kinds of family. I’m loving the journey.

Thank you, Nikki for showing me this new world. And for giving me Dr. H to help me embrace my uniqueness.

A Surprise from Ian Cabrera

So, I talked last week about how I was going to miss Ian while I was out of town with Nikki. I was looking forward to the trip, but was all geared up for some bummed out moments. At the parties I would miss Ian touching me when we danced. At night I would miss him holding me in bed. At breakfast I would miss playing footsies under the table and the way his eyes spark when he laughs at something I say, but I knew he wouldn’t want to be at a Reader Appreciation Weekend with 200 women.

Or so I thought.

My man showed up a few hours after me, never having said a word about his plans to be there. Now, he didn’t hang out with us much, but what sane man would want to? Though he did miss getting to see some uber hot and sexy outfits. Not that I minded his lack of ogling. 🙂

RAW was a blast and Nikki stayed very busy entertaining her readers by dancing and laughing and riding the mechanical bull at the bar down the street. The amazing thing to many people seemed to be that she willingly acted crazy without courage from a bottle. lol

But as much fun as I had, I am thrilled my man came to be with me. His willingness to endure the giggles and squeals and screams is just another reason I love him.

A ROAD TRIP WITH NIKKI

I was supposed to blog yesterday, but got sidetracked wrapping up a case and getting stuff packed. See, I’m going on a litle trip with Nikki for the weekend and we leave very early in the morning. I’ll be meeting her in Huntington, WV for Lora Leigh’s Reader Appreciation Weekend, where she’ll be signing SOUNDS TO DIE BY and partying like a fool from the stories I’m told. I can hardly wait to see what fodder I will come back with.

I’m wondering though, as excited as I am about going, is it weird that I’m worried about leaving Ian alone? It’s the first time we’ve been apart since getting together and I’m already missing him. How do you handle missing your loved ones?

Kieralyn

My Life in Movies:

Mel and her oldest are watching Zombieland together and that got me to thinking about what characters I would like to play in different movies. Right off the bat, I thought of Wichita from Zombieland of course. Not because she is the only grown woman in the movie. There is a little bit of me who would love to play Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the type of person who just didn’t care one whit about what other people think. Of course, that is sort of like my own character so it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch.

But, then, there are characters so different from mine, I would like to see what it would be like to step into someone else’s shoes, someone who is very different from I am. Rose from Titanic comes to mind. She was a bit of a wimp at the beginning of the movie, so not like me. She let her mother push her around and she was marrying a crazy man. Still, she grew during the movie,  and had the nerve to get her own life by the end. Granted, I would have made sure to share my little space with Leo. I don’t get the live my life to the fullest because I had good sex in a car on a boat. I mean, really, who hasn’t had good sex in a car? But I still liked the idea that she made her way in the world without her overbearing mother. But, still, she is a bit wimpy for me.

What about Peter Gibbons in Office Space? This is a guy who gives up on his corporate job and doesn’t work. Still he gets a promotion out of the deal, lol.

One character that comes to mind is Wanda in A Fish Called Wanda. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to be a woman so full of herself, lol. She had one lover helping her steal jewels and another defending him in court. In the end, she leaves one at the hands of the man he tormented and gets the guy we want her to end up with. All the while, she not is not only sexy and strong, she is the smartest one of the bunch. I think that is what I like about her the most.

So, tell me, who would you love to play and why?Answer by 8pm eastern tomorrow and I will throw your name in the hat for a download of A Little Harmless Obsession. Just make sure you don’t tell Mel, because I haven’t cleared it with her, lol

Anna’s story is in A Little Harmless Sex and she is featured in the free story, A Little Harmless Fling.

So, what character would you like to play?

Nikki’s First Booksigning

Kieralyn here. I’m running between appointments today, but wanted to swing in and talk about this last weekend.

My sources have been reporting on Nikki’s first booksigning for SOUNDS TO DIE BY this last weekend. From what I hear, that woman knows how to gather a crowd.

Noone was brilliant enough to keep count of how many books were sold, and I have no doubt Nikki is working on a system to track that in the future, but the signing was a tremendous success. From the cake, which I hear was delicious, to the giveaways, which included Godiva chocolates, to the warm and genuine support of Nikki’s friends, to the excitement of new readers, the bookstore was hopping with activity. Laughter, boisterous conversation, pictures being snapped, and customers demolishing the cake. I wish I could have been there.

Maybe I’ll make her signing next month on the 18th. Maybe I’ll see you there.

In the meantime, I have to get back to work. Breck’s signalling me with the two finger come hither sign he uses often.

Finding Your True Self in The Most Suprising Places-Cynthia Myers

Harmless #2

 

If you could time travel three years back and find Cynthia Myers, you would not recognize her. I was a woman who did everything just right. Had the right friends, went the right schools, dated the right men. But, the odd thing was, for me, everything felt…wrong. No one else seemed to recognize it. They went along as if nothing were amiss. And, I did too. I was raised a good Southern girl. Do as your told, make your family proud, don’t make waves. Well, at least in my family. Later, I found out that a good Southern girl stands up for herself. But, I didn’t. I was even engaged to be married to a man I didn’t love and really couldn’t stand to have touch me. Max didn’t gross me out or anything. It was just that in bed we were not compatible. I felt nothing. 

I am sure you are thinking that should have told me something. You didn’t know my life. I had spent most my life feeling numb to the world, and the two men I had sex with did nothing for me. My mother was very conservative and any sexual talk was not to be had. In fact, I would worry about asking her because I really didn’t want to hear the phrase, “just lie back and pretend to enjoy it.” ICK. Anyway, it wasn’t until I broke it off with Max that I started to feel something. First, was fear. My father was downright furious. My daddy is scary when he is mad. He didn’t see my marriage as a love match, but more of a business transaction. Even saying that now makes me feel icky. I started to feel as if I were being prostituted out for the good of the family. As if I were in the Middle Ages or something. 

My one act of defiance cost me Max. Thank God. He and Anna finally admitted their feelings to each other and I was off the hook. And, thanks to my second act of defiance, going to their wedding, I met the man who would change my life. 

Chris Dupree was the best man and a tall drink of sweetness. He was gorgeous, had one of the great Nawlins’ accents, and he didn’t live in the area. I had never had a one night stand in my life. Of course, it turned into happily ever after for me, so I am glad I took the chance. One thing I found interesting that night was for the first time in my life, I enjoyed sex. Really enjoyed sex. And it was because I took charge. It took me awhile to figure it out, and for Chris to teach me just why I needed it. I started to take risks in my own life after that night. I moved out of my parents’ house. Well, okay, my father kicked me out, but still. I got my first real job working for Anna as a baker, got a birthday tattoo (thank you Anna for going with me) and then I took a leap. I moved to Hawaii, to Chris. Six months before that, I would have told you that you were crazy if you suggested all these things would happen. 

While I think being sheltered by your family can sometimes be a good thing, it can also be oppressive. If you don’t allow your child to be themselves and be happy with who that is, you run the risk of hurting your child. If I hadn’t found my true self, I wouldn’t have been able to fall in love with Chris. I wasn’t confident enough, didn’t love myself and who I was enough, to love another person. Thanks to Chris, my acts of defiance, and one night of harmless pleasure, I found my way to  my true self. 

Cynthia and Chris’ story is A Little Harmless Pleasure, now out in digital and print from Samhain publishing. They are also featured in my free short story, A Little Harmless Kalikimaka.