Deb Mia is Still Dancing … and a Giveaway!

In 2006, I was invited by Kristy Kiernan to join a brand new blog for debut authors. Back then we lovingly referred to it as a “grog” (group blog) and there were six of us in all (Deb Kristy, Deb Eileen Cook, Deb Jennifer McMahon, Deb Tish Cohen, Deb Anna David, and me, Deb Mia). All of us had first novels coming out in 2007, our literary “debuts,” so to speak. The Debutante Ball was born.

One of these women is not Deb Mia nor Darien. Can you guess which one?

My first novel was called Good Things. It was published in trade paperback by Berkley Books (Penguin USA) under the name Mia King—an alias. The Debs knew I was Darien Gee, and they knew I had chosen to write as Mia because my husband, Darrin, and I had very similar names and he coincidentally had a non-fiction book being released a month after mine. I had originally written Good Things as a romance, and having a nom de plume was a norm for that genre. When Berkley decided to mainstream the novel, a few elements ended up staying—some of the more, ah, mature scenes in the book, as well as the name Mia.

Click on any of the covers to view their book pages at Amazon
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After Good Things, Sweet Life was published in 2008 and then Table Manners, the sequel to Good Things, was published in 2009. It was my intention to write a fourth title for publication in 2010, but my plans were waylaid when my then 8 year old daughter, Maya (“Mia” is a play off of her name), brought home a bag of Amish Bread starter. As I ate a slice of the bread, I saw the image of a woman in my mind, holding up a bag of starter with a frown. I didn’t know who had given her the starter or what she was planning to do with it, but I could tell she was carrying around an unspeakable grief. I started writing a new story that night, a story that became a hefty novel called Friendship Bread.

I filled every available moment, day or night, with writing. My husband recognized that look in my eye so he re-arranged our schedules to give me as much time as possible to write. The woman I had seen was Julia Evarts, and as I wrote, her story quickly began to unfold. I saw her sister, Livvy, next and liked her instantly—her optimism, her bubbly personality. But I sensed that something had happened between her and Julia, that they were no longer talking though they had once been very, very close. I continued to write, and more central characters started to show up, all with stories of their own—Madeline, a lonely widow who opens a tea salon on a whim; Hannah, a former cello prodigy whose marriage is ending; and Edie, an ambitious journalist who is desperate to make her mark. I started to see all the connections, saw how the bread was linking people together in ways that surprised me. Then the rest of the town of Avalon, Illinois, started to show up, and before I knew it, the bread and its starter had made its way into everyone’s home, and hearts.

Can a loaf of Amish Friendship Bread heal broken hearts and unite an entire community?
Read an excerpt of Friendship Bread now!

Friendship Bread releases today, April 5th, as a hardcover from Ballantine Books (Random House). It sold at auction last March along with foreign, e-book, audio, large type, and book club rights, and will be published under my own name, Darien Gee, in large part because the writing and scope of the book is so different from my Mia King titles (plus my husband doesn’t have a title coming out next month, LOL!). It’s been an amazing experience, one that I hadn’t foreseen when I first started dancing at the Ball, and I’m filled with gratitude to still be dancing!

And now for the giveaway … a copy of Friendship Bread (hardcover or Kindle/Nook, winner’s choice) to one random winner! All you have to do is visit the Recipe Box at the Friendship Bread Kitchen website and choose a recipe you’d like to try (or eat)! Then come back here and leave a comment, telling us which one it is. We’ll draw a winner on Friday, April 8, and announce it in our Sunday Newsflash on April 10. Thank you all for being a friend of the Ball!

PS. And a special thanks to Deb Eleanor for so generously offering me her Tuesday spot to post my news!

35 Replies to “Deb Mia is Still Dancing … and a Giveaway!”

  1. Congrats, Darien! Thanks so much for coming back for a dance, and for telling us the story about your name and how the book came to be. Here’s to Friendship Bread!

  2. Happy Book Launch Day! FRIENDSHIP BREAD sounds like an awesome book. 🙂

    Hmmm. So many choices, and they all sound good. But Chocolate Cherry Amish Friendship Bread sounds divine, so I think I’ll go with that one.

  3. I was here back in 2006 and GOOD THINGS became my first book presentation/review! All of Mia’s novels are terrific yet Darien’s FRIENDSHIP BREAD is special and delicious. 🙂

  4. The Butterscotch Amish Friendship Bread sounds amazing. Anything butterscotch sounds amazing. And the book sounds amazing too! Can’t wait to check it out.

  5. Hi everyone! I had so much fun writing this novel and playing with all the Amish Friendship Bread recipes — my daughter, friends and I had a blast, and continue to! Please et me know if you have any questions and I am truly so grateful that you picked up my first Mia King books and became my first readers! I’d love to hear from you anytime!


  6. This is great! I was just looking in the recipe book earlier and found the yummiest looking Carrot Cake Amish Friendship Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting! I am on day 6 of my starter batch and will definitely be adding this to my friendship bread baking list! can’t wait to try it!

  7. Hi! I would love to win a copy “Friendship Bread!” I want to make the Lemon Poppysee Jello version.. and even though I cannot stand coconut… for my Hubby’s bday the Almond Joy version would be great for him!!!
    Thanks so Much

  8. I think the Coconut Walnut Amish Friendship Biscotti (Chocolate-Dipped)sounds really good. There are so many that sound good but this one really called to me. I like reading about your start with writing books Darien. Next week at this time you’ll be in MI.

  9. I love the biscotti, Leigh! It’s one of my favorite recipes that we came up with in the Kitchen.

    And Tara, the white chocolate raspberry tastes divine!

    Jo and Beth, the carrot cake Amish Friendship Bread is the featured recipe today at ( so you can also get it from there!

    Rhonda and Nadine, we love apples in our Amish Friendship Bread — we could probably do a whole series on the apple versions alone!

    As for chocolate mint, Jen and Beth, well, what can I say. It’s CHOCOLATE AND MINT!! That and the Chocolate Cherry version that Linda likes and the Chocolate PB that Madeline favors are a chocoholic’s dream!

    The butterscotch was one of the first recipes I’ve ever tested, Mary, and the cherry cheesecake was a total surprise, Runner10.

    You guys have picked all of my favorites, but I have to say, for me, the Blueberry Walnut with Lemon Glaze is my Secretariat! I could eat that all day and the lemon pairing with the blueberry is PERFECT. It’s also amazingly easy, as many of these recipes are! FYI, I have a special giveaway going on, too, if you want an e-booklet with over 50 Amish Friendship Bread recipes, including the instructions and a recipe for the starter:

    Happy baking, everyone! xoxo

  10. The caramel apple looks so good! I think I will get my neglected starter out of the freezer and make some.

  11. I would love to try the Almond Joy Amish Friendship Bread recipe. I love Almond Joy’s and this recipe sounds delicious. Can’t wait to try it!!!!

  12. I am so ready to try the Coconut Amish Friendship Bread. As coconut cream pie is my all time favorite and I am a coconut fan. I remember eating Amish Friendship bread when I will a little
    girl and only knew of the orginal recipe and now all these new recipes to try. I am sooooo ready
    to get my starter made so I can try out as many as I can share my starter and the website with others. But you can be sure the Coconut Amish will be my very first one. God Bless! Lana

  13. Congratulations Mia on your latest masterpiece…Can’t wait to read it!!! I would love to try the ‘apple spice amish friendship bread.’

  14. I just Rocked the Cinnamon Rolls recipe and posted a picture of it on the Friendship Bread Kitchen page on Facebook!! The family said it was the best ever ♥ 🙂

  15. I want to make the White Chocolate Almond Craisin Amish Friendship Bread. Can I make that in a bread maker, or does it have to be the oven? I know – simplicity equals use the oven. Modern convenience means I can still bake bread for my kids and get life done at the same time.

  16. Hi Elizabeth, Faith, Michele, Penelope, fellow Deb Eileen, Susan, Jane, fellow Deb Tawna, Karen, Lana, Jo, Michelle, and Margaret!

    Thanks so much for adding your favorite Amish Friendship Bread recipes to the mix! All winners — I promise you won’t be disappointed! And you can bake in a bread maker, Elizabeth, but add 1/2 cup flour so it isn’t too moist in the middle as it can sometimes get with bread machines. And all the recipes can be easily modified from loaves into muffins, bundt cakes, mini loaves, mini muffins … the list goes on.

    Happy baking (and happy reading)! xoxo

  17. I am so craving the Morning Glory Carrot Cake bread! I love carrot cake and this sounds so delicious. I may have to give it a try 🙂

  18. Sorry it took me so long to respond! Here in Hawaii and not logging on a lot.

    The book sounds FANTASTIC! I love the story about how you came up with the idea. I just read Syephen King’s On Writing, and your story resonated with me because he believes the best books come from a situation, I.e. A woman gets the starter and has to figure out what to do with it. From there, everything else falls into place as you excavate.

    Can’t wait to read it… And maybe make some friendship bread!



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