As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mexican Fiesta with Ashley Ludwig

Thank God It’s Friday! And time for a Mexican Fiesta at The Author Roast and Toast! Today the hostesses welcome the talented Ashley Ludwig. And to start things out with a bang amidst the gorgeous Arizona sunset, let the strolling mariachi band begin! And costumed in his sombrero, the sexy and charismatic Oliver leads the mariachi band, playing the rhythmic Viñuela. Cuddles strums the violin with his horn and Junior plucks the strings of the guitarro with his claws. Let the fiesta begin. There’s music to entertain, a taco bar with plenty of chimichangas, enchiladas and burritos. And to get this party rolling, grab a seat under the umbrella tables where Oliver has set up warm tortilla chips and spicy salsa dip. And when your mouth gets hot from all those Mexican spices, don’t cry uncle. Call Oliver and he’ll bring you one of his special margaritas! And stick around because once the sun sets, there will be fireworks. But this comes after Ashley pops the pinata!

Now with no further ado, here is the lovely Ashley Ludwig to tell us a bit about herself before Oliver escorts her to the stake!

I’m Ashley Ludwig — an inspirational romance writer, and mama of two amazing little girls, ages 5 and 3. I spend the majority of my time wrangling them (with the help
of my amazing husband — whom everyone knows is a superhero in disguise!)An Arizona
native, love uprooted me about ten years ago, and transplanted me alongside my husband
in Southern California wine country.
I received my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona, with a degree in Anthropology,
and a minor in History & Humanities.
I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and worked as an Archaeologist across the
American southwest for several years. I studied under some amazing archaeologists
and historians. I’ve poured wine (for a living – and for fun!), constructed silk trees, worked as
a cook, server, and caterer.

I’ve turned my passion for research and attention to historical detail to my true
love: writing inspirational and historical romances. All or Nothing and my inspirational novella, By Another Name, are now available from
White Rose Publishing, Powell’s, Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobel, IndieBooks.com, and
other online retailers.

Please visit www.ashleyludwig.com for ordering information. Drop by my Contact page,
or email ashley (at) ashleyludwig (dot) com to request a press kit, schedule an interview,
or request a title for review.

A young widow starting over nearly dies on the perilous, winding road to Tucson,
Arizona in 1876.
An accident turns out to be a cover-up for a heinous crime at the hand of a murderous
bandit. Robbed and left for dead, all that remains for RuthAnne Newcomb is her faith,
and the talents God gave her. She needs both to endure the handsome, vengeful cavalry
captain who saved her life.

Captain Bowen Shepherd offers aid in exchange for information leading to the criminal’s
capture. El Tejano, as the bandit is known, is bound to strike again and RuthAnne
is the only living witness to his crimes. Left with nothing but her savvy and unwavering
faith, RuthAnne is forced to return to the scene and help with the intolerable soldier’s
quest. Already, the criminal is after the lone witness who can destroy him. Bowen and RuthAnne
must risk everything to unmask the bandit once and for all, before he can strike
again at the one who cost him the most. Will their newfound love, or their lives,
be the cost of bringing a murderer to justice?

“Mara!” Her voice choked; the raspy words burned like fire.
She searched the scene on hands and knees in the silver moonlight. Lord, not Mara.
Where is she? She’s just a girl...please!
Footsteps crunched on the gravel-filled dirt. Nowhere to hide, RuthAnne willed herself
invisible. Her hand closed around a fist-sized rock. The bandit wouldn’t take her
without a fight.
He knelt down beside her. A large, rough hand cupped her cheek in an all too familiar
way. “You’re awake. Thank God.”
With a ragged battle cry, RuthAnne lunged at her would-be attacker with the stone,
cracking him just above the shoulder. He shied away from the blow, and the lump of
granite glanced off him. With little effort, he peeled it from her fingers. “You’re
coming with me, whether you like it or not.”
The brigand picked her up like a child and marched her off to her doom. Terrified,
she fought and bucked while he carried her. Tears of frustration streamed down her
face; her hair, a mass of golden curls, tumbled loose about her as she thrashed in
his arms. RuthAnne hammered at him with ineffectual fists. He carried her so easily,
as if she were feather light, though he did pin her arms close against her body.
“I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to help.”

All or Nothing
By Ashley Ludwig
Print ISBN 1-60154-561-4

And as Oliver ties the lovely Ashley to the stake with silken ropes as to not pierce her tender flesh, he kisses her on each cheek. But because it’s a celebratory sizzle and far from a torture chamber, he pops a yummy chocolate covered strawberry made with raw sugar into her mouth, his eyes glazing over as he watches her devour the succulent berry and lick her fingers. Then with a parting wave and one more longing stare, he casts her wicked wink and struts off to mix margaritas for the guests.

So here is the question for Ashley’s guests. Leave your answers in a comment and Ashley will choose one winner tomorrow for a download of All or Nothing. And the question is…drum roll…
If you were RuthAnn, what romantic song would you want the brigand to serenade to you as he carts you off to some romantic getaway?

Enjoy the fiesta! And may the best serenade win!


  1. How about Brooks & Dunn's I Can't Put Out This Fire.

    Great excerpt Ashley! My mother is a Ruth too and they are feisty women.

    Is it too early for a margarita?

  2. Welcome Kathleen Buenos Dias. I'm afraid Oliver is still a little busy putting the last minute touches to the party, but since I'm always early I'll get that margarita for you. Help yourself to refreshments - I'll just go call OLivr and ask him to tear himself away from the mirror - I mean his work - and he'll serve you with your favourite martini.

  3. Thanks For the drink, Lyn and happy birthday.

  4. I've been reading the older posts and laughing out loud!

    Welcome Ashley. I hope Oliver is gentle--or not. (Your call.)

    As for a serenade, I hardly know where to begin, but this one came to mind. Cara Mia (Mine) by Jay and the Americans.


    Hasta luego, amigas.

  5. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, Kathleen. Hello Maria, yes, we have a lot of fun here - help yourself to refreshments and a drink, the guest of honour and the other hostesses should arrive soon. I'll pop over and have a look at that video, good suggestions from you and Kathleen.

  6. Hey hey, the Mexican fiesta is already swinging? Wow, look at all those empty margarita glasses! Welcome Kathleen and Maria. And hello, Lyn and Cuddles. It's never too early to party and have fun. Oliver is singing in Spanish. Ohhhh myyyyy! You sexy thing you!!

  7. *yawn...*


    WHAT the... *looks around, tugs ropes*


    *looks up*

    Why Oliver! *bats eyes* Please bring me some coffee... and a straw?

    Good morning, Kathleen! Lynn! and Sharon! This sounded so fun. Why am I suddenly... Nervous...

  8. Well Ashley this is your life.
    Mary holds a small microphone in Ashley's face.
    How's it feel to be a successful author? Whooops Junior stop kissing her you've washed all the makeup off. Sorry Ashley. Junior likes you.
    So back to the question.

  9. Wsit it's me Oliver don't call the guards. By the way is this someones hacienda?
    Oliver why are you dressed like that?

  10. Lyn!

    Keep that animal away from my caffeine!

    *straightens in comfy chair, takes another slug of coffee through straw*

    *Oliver blots lips with a dainty, lace napkin, lips pursed, then fades into background*

    I love being an author. I still have to remind myself to answer that's my career when I talk to people--for the book. And I believe in RuthAnne and Bowen's love story with all my heart.

    It has action. Adventure. Romance. Intrigue. And, a faith journey for the characters as they discover redemption.

    I'm going to start their follow up tale in November -- if I finish my current WIP in time.

    What's that, Oliver? My 1000 words aren't finished!

    *unties hands, delivers keyboard. A thin sheen of sweat beads on Ashley's forehead*

    Be right back...

  11. Welcome to your roast, Ashley! No need to be nervous with all of us here to cheer you on. And look how smitten Oliver is once again. He still has rather fond memories of you at the beach party in your bikini. What's that Oliver? Well, I don't know? You'll have to ask Ashley if she'll model it when she breaks open the pinada!

  12. Mary pokes Oliver in the stomach and asks him where Ashley is?
    He gives that sexy, jet at the same time goofy laughs and walks to the beverage table to serve more drinks.
    Kathleen needs another margarita Oliver.

  13. Hey Oliver, where did everyone go?
    I could hear the party going on out front as I parked my car. Now everyone is gone.
    Quick get the munchkin police force, they will find...hey did the party move? Or did those banditos show up?

  14. I'm here! Just getting to the good scene...

    *types furiously*

    More coffee! stat!

    Oooh, Kathleen. I love Brooks and Dunn -- I'm a huge country fan... but that's not what I listen to when I write.

    Who can guess what my favorite type of music is? Any ideas?

    Sharon! no telling!

  15. It has to be country and western?
    Cuddles will you stop dropping those streamers, they are covering everything.
    Call off the munchkin police they are eating all the food Oliver!

  16. Maria,

    My daughter just heard Cara Mia and said, "That's a BE-YOU-Tiful song."

    We're watching it now, and swooning along with the audience...

    *(she's 4)

    Now run along, sweetie! mommy's uh... working...

    Here's another one...if you haven't seen it...the trailer for All or Nothing, song Camelia, by K.D. Devlin...



  17. Mary rushes to bring some coffee to Ashley. Oliver is chasing the munchkin police out. Cuddles is still dropping streamers and yelling TeeHee as he does it. Lyn could you catch the little bugger and tell him to stop.
    Mary sits next to Ashley and quietly waits for her to finish writing.
    Junior lays at Ashley's feet and looks at her in adoration.

  18. Nope, that's not it Mary! I know because I played it (holds her ears) all day long when Ashley was my guest on my blog a few weeks back. Or wait, Oliver and I were on location to sunny CA. Hey Ash, remember how all the beach babes were drooling over Oliver in his lime green speedo?
    Oliver, more coffee over here please!

  19. Oh my the trailer is wonderful. I felt the wild west all around me. Amazing!

  20. Thanks, Mary...

    FINALLY got it onto YouTube...

    Once upon an era ago, I worked in the Movie Trailer business... I like to think that's carried over.

    I have some hints if anyone needs help with theirs!

  21. I may just take you up on that!
    Sorry about the munchkin police. I just got worried, now it's hard to get rid of them. Boy can those little cops eat!

  22. Happy Birthday Lyn!

    Did I say that yet?


    What? 500 words still to go! Jeez, Oliver... you're a tough one!

    *blushing furiously...tap, tap, tap on keys*

  23. How can you write over the noise of that Mariachi band?

  24. You worked in the theater Ash?Tell us about that.

  25. Great trailer, Ashley, and I love the 'old film' effect. Thank you so much for the Birthday wishes I do hope Oliver's looking after you - Oliver why are you chasing after Cuddles? Oh! Cuddles, come back with Mary's mouse at once, she still has 475 words to go!

  26. I was the production manager for a movie trailer company. Basically, the editors pieced the movie trailers together for film studios. I lent my opinion, wrote those fancy "In a world..." Voice over lines... and made personal friends with the FedEx man...

    SAY.... Oliver... he looked a lot like YOU!


    basically, if you can't say it in under 2 minutes, you're saying TOO much.

    I loved the business. Hollywood was so much fun. The lights. The glamor. The parties. The premiers...


  27. That's not my mouse. I have a laptop, Oh wait is Louie loose in here. He's just a tiny mouse he can't hurt anyone.
    Sharon, um Sharon, don't look now but my mouse Louie is on your head.
    Hold still...
    Stop Screaming will you.

  28. Wow, meet any stars?
    Work on any good movies?
    What a great cool job!
    Sharon it's still there.

  29. Oh Ashley, you've led the life, girl. I bet working in production was mar ve lous, dah ling! Ohh get that mouse off me. I'm afraid of them. Did I ever tell you the time one got into my condo and I called the police? I knew they wouldn't come running for a twitter so I told a little white fib and said there was a huge rat on the attack. They came barging in, billy clubs at the ready! And then the wee mouse twittered out and not one of them could catch him. But hey, it was fun!

  30. Margaritas in the morning? LOL

    How about "Have you ever really loved a woman" from the Don Juan De Marco soundtrack! *slurp*

    Lisa :)

  31. Hey Ashley..what a party,,if Oliver gives me two margaritas..one for each hand..I will do a hat dance around a sombro and act crazy. I can't talk dirty in spinish but maybe I can try. susan L.

  32. If you don't listen to Brooks and Dunn ..could it be Garth Brooke? Oh maybe Sammy Kershaw and Lorrie Morgan. susan L.

  33. Dance Susan!!! The band is playing, just kick the lead guy with the horn and get him to play your music.
    My what a great voice you have. I have never heard Happy birthday sung in quite that way.

  34. Hello Lisa and Susan! Oliver will be happy to serve a two handed Margarita. Why it's his specialty. Wow, look at him shake his hips while he runs the blender! Ooops, he lost his sombrero when he tossed his head back. Isn't this beach nice? Where's Ashley? Did she sizzle to a crisp. I'll bet she's ready for a margarita. Ash?

  35. Hi Lisd, Hi Susan/

    Sorry Mary - my mistake, it was Ashley's mouse Cuddles ran off with.
    *Pant* I had to chase him six times round that big cactus before I got it off him. Sharon - I didnt know you were afraid of mice - um how do you manage to type, or do you use a laptop too? :)

  36. Margaritas before TEN?? You ladies know how to throw a party! Count me in. :)

    Hey Ash!!! Fred and I are here, sombreros on our heads, empty glasses waiting to be filled...

    Fred seems to think you should be serenaded with Friends In Low Places... but me? I'll go with another Garth song... "To Make You Feel My Love." It's so sexy when that man sings it. *sigh*

  37. Congrats on your release Ashley and I enjoyed the special effects on your trailer.

    I think Garth Brook's song, "Make You Feel My Love" is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written and sung (by him). It goes well with any moving love story.

    Now, someone direct me to the taco bar...

  38. Oops! Jeannie R and I were on the same wave length and she beat me to the post button. But I agree with her-great love song by Garth Brooks!

  39. Hey nobody at this party gets to have empty glasses. Jeannie and Fred, let me find Oliver, oh there he is feeding a taco to Ashley. When he's a...finished drooling, he'll get you some chilled margaritas. Do help yourselves at the Mexican buffet.

  40. Susan! so glad to see you dear.

    Oliver... please see to the guests.

    *sounds of clinking ice, pouring whatnots into the pitcher*

    No blended margaritas out here in the west. We do the real deal.

    The secret's in the salt! A little dash of chili powder to go along the rim of your glass... scrum-delicious!

    Thanks for the kudos, everyone! Don't we all have glory days? Isn't that why we write?


  41. Jeannie - :)

    I'm seeing The Cactus Moon in my mind's eye. Our college hangout, where we danced with REAL cowboys, invented pseudo identities... mine was a free spirit named "Star" whom Diva would have highly approved. Danced many times around that track to friends in low places...

    And look! I've still got some! ha ha


    One of my Garth Brooks fave is Thunder Rolls or my all time toes-curling fave... "Shameless"

    Keep guessing!

  42. Danielle, you've returned. Tell Ashley it's not so bad. She was so nervous, poor girl, she was up all night worrying about the stake. But Oliver is taking real good care of her and look. He's putting a huge umbrella over her so she doesn't get sunburn. Now he's letting her sip a margarita from a straw. Someone's in love. Oh he of fickle heart.

  43. Let me give a shout out to two of my favorite new authors...

    Danielle Thorne has penned an AMAZING tale. I have a new favorite hero in Jack. He's such a strong, cavalier guy -- with a soft spot for turtles in Turtle Soup!

    Jeannie Ruesch writes in the regency genre...the Willoughby family series. I'm personally on pins and needles waiting for the next one!


    Time for drinks! Oliver?

    Darn. Where'd he go? I think I saw him chatting up one of the waitresses...

    He does love those traditional costumes, doesn't he?

  44. Chili powder. Oh God what the heck is Oliver wearing???? He's dressed like the chiquita banana lady, the fruit on his head toddering precariously on his head. And behind him is the Mariachi band. Wow. He can wiggle his hips well Sharon!

  45. Fickle, indeed! The only thing Ash will have to worry about is losing her heart to that wily waiter. The rest of us can dive into her romance to lose ours (and get our Happily Ever After).

  46. Sharon!

    Ask and Oliver delivers!

    It's still a trifle hot out here in the Southwest, even though it's October...

    Will you fan me a bit? I think I hear the band striking up.

    There goes Fred, starting his Mexican Hat Dance! Diva's clapping along!

    Boy, Jeannie - our muses know how to party! :)

  47. I know what you mean about Thunder and Shameless. Not a huge country fan but gotta love Garth! Here's a real Mexican margarita, salt rimmed an inch thick all around. Drink up, Ash!

  48. Danielle...

    Just wait until you read about Troy Shepherd, the hero in my WIP... I have trouble staying away from him.

    He's even better cut than Oliver, if you can imagine, (modeled after Josh Holloway from Lost -- sigh -- I mean, my HUSBAND! ahem...focus!) Troy is fiercely devoted to his leading lady. He's on an impossible mission to protect the fiery tempered marine archaeologist from herself.

    He's also the distant relative of Bowen Shepherd from All or Nothing... The ultimate in the scowling, brooding, vengeful Alpha Hero... looking for a shot of redemption...

    I find it tough to break away from my family/world that I built for Bowen and Ruthanne... does anyone else feel that way when you get to The End?


  49. Who is that doing the Mexican hat dance. He ain't bad at it!

    I got rid of the munchin police, I'm sorry about calling them. I don't now what I was thinking. but Oliver's costume is a hoot.

  50. I hate to leave them so much, I had to do a sequel.
    Troy is my kind of hero!

  51. Diva and Fred are really going to it. Do they have Mexican jumping beans in their pants? Wow those muses can entertain! No wonder you girls can write! Oooo don't let them pop the pinata. Ohhh too late....candy and coins all over the beach. Cuddles and Junior, those are for the guests!

  52. That's interesting you chose to do a sequel to your historical in present day. I have done the exact same with THE PRIVATEER, my 1729 historical. I think ancestry can provide great stories set in the future. I think I probably shouldn't read your WIP until I've finished mine though!

    I do love a fiery hero though. Courage is becoming a thing of the past in today's stereotypes, but much like fiction, it takes a major disaster in our real world to show us there are still good men with guts out there.

  53. Junior get away from the chocolate and Cuddles stop laughing about it. He could get sick!
    That was one pretty pinata. Look at people grabbing that candy. Should we tell them it's endless?

  54. Oliver stands in front of Danielle, puffs his chest out and pumps his biceps. Then he kisses her hand and grins his roguish grin.

  55. amen, Danielle!

    It takes guts to stand up for what you believe in.

    I tend to write one character who sees in black and white, and the other in shades of gray. Together, they find balance...

    I think that's what I loved about your hero, Dani - was his ability to know right from wrong, but to have the tendency to do the wrong thing and beg for forgiveness later. ;-)

    So like a man.

  56. Just popping in to say hi to fellow White Rose Ashley!!! I've read All or Nothing and it's a fantastic read.

    Blessings, Teri

    Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul


  57. Lisa,

    If I didn't mention it -- your song is close... so very close ...

    One of my FAVORITES...

    What is it about Bryan Adams? That rugged voice... I used to cruise around the house as a lovestruck teen singing Heaven and One Night Love Affair...

    But, the Don Juan De Marco... *sigh*

    I also love watching "Spirit" with my girls... Bryan Adams did the entire soundtrack... between him and Matt Damon who narrates the story??? I have no trouble watching that cartoon movie over and again!

    That's a good one! Thanks for popping over, my fellow SDRWA friend! :)

  58. Teri!

    Reading Once Upon a Collar! If any of you haven't seen it, it's a great cover, great story...

    Teri really has a way with words... Thanks for coming over to say hello!


  59. Oliver Ashley is visiting with her guests, get into another costume maybe she'll pay more attention to you them. Just bring hr another drink. She talking to her guests now. So no sulking!

  60. Back, Oliver! We're talking about heroes, not hoydens. Go fawn over your guest. You won't distract me this weekend!

  61. boundaries Oliver, Junior would you please protect the other guests.
    Oliver is drooling again. And what has he done with poor Sharon?

  62. Teri came back all in one piece! Oh about Bryan Adams, what a voice. Did anyone hear that he was madly in love with Lady Di? The song Diana is supposedly writtenfor her.

  63. There you are Sharon. Oliver is doing it again. He's doubling up on the drinks and the guests are starting to act strange.
    What is that on Lyn's back?

  64. Hold the phone!! The loudspeakers suddenly break into Who Let The Dogs Out. Junior jumps up to greet his friends. Ruff, ruff, roof, roof.
    He belts out as Deputy Dawg, Pluto,Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, my goodness there are a ton of them. They pass Ashley and bow to her as the line of dogs weaves amongst the guests. Cuddles is riding Lassie and bursts of energy are released through his horn as he tries to sing the song too. (Pluto helps Lyn down and lets her ride on his back to sit next to Ashley. My this is unprecedented! An honor!

  65. Huh? Oh, it's um., just some sand. Good job I was wearing my leather vest! Hmm I wonder how that got there. I mean, it's not as if I've had time to lkie back on the sand drinking chocolate martinis!

  66. Don't worry Lyn Sharon grabbed the tarantula from on your back and sent him home. No wait he's, he's, he's joined the dogs. He's a bit slow but for a spider this is truly unusual behavior.

  67. Lyn, a little bird told me it was your birthday. Have a great one!


  68. Hey, Helen!

    Helen - I just love your Heroes blog...

    Dani and I are TRYING to discuss the elements of what makes an excellent hero...

    Come to think of it, many of the same characteristics go into making a good villain, don't you think? I mean, minus the redeeming ones...


  69. Ashley! First of all, I love Mexican food, so a fiesta sounds great to me.

    I absolutely love your trailer! I can't believe I haven't seen it before now. Very creatively done. I wish I could do stuff like that.

    Happy Roast!


  70. Wow - what fun! I have to come back later when I have more time to read all the comments.
    Hmm song for me- how about What are you doing the rest of your life? Don't know the artist.
    But you do not need to include me in the drawing as I have the book and will be reading it next week!! :o)

  71. Oliver, stop plying Ashley with martinis. She's been in the sun too long. What's that? She needs something stronger? Well she is from the Wild Wild West. Ask her if she wants to do a shot with you! Oh I'm sure she wont mind if you lasso her with a rope and plant your sombrero on her head to brand her as your hot tomoli!

  72. Okay, guys... it's excerpt time!

    Here's a taste of Chapter 1...

    *clears throat, holds book at arms length...*

    *Mariachi's come to halt... everyone turns eyes to Ashley, sitting on stool, in spotlight...*

    Chapter 1
    Arizona Territory, 1876

    It’s too steep!

    RuthAnne Newcomb’s mind raced as she clung to the rattling stagecoach door.

    “Easy! Steady!” Their driver hollered at the horses from up above. There was nothing easy or steady about the twisty pass over the rugged mountain or the sheer drop into the jagged canyon below. Suddenly, at the bend, the road vanished into a wall of tumbling boulders and
    clouds of dust.

    Wind whipped RuthAnne’s honey-blond hair into her eyes and stung her cheeks, burned from exposure to the desert sun. Fear gripped her heart as she stared ahead in disbelief. Debris buried the road by half. Rocks and pebbles flowed down the mountainside in an insane torrent that rained onto the carriage roof and pelted her forehead through the open window. Her quick touch yielded fingertips flecked with blood. Still, the horses showed no signs of slowing. She could do nothing but hang on and pray for herself and her sister, trapped and at the mercy of the out-of control

    We’ll never make it around that curve ahead. We’re going too fast. The stage can’t possibly take it. A loud splintering crack interrupted her thoughts.
    The angry shriek of metal assaulted her ears as it tore loose from wood. RuthAnne’s back struck the cabin wall as the horses increased their efforts, their hooves thundering even faster.

    The stagecoach shuddered and groaned as she and her younger sister were flung around the hard wooden seats.

    Mara clutched the family Bible close to her chest and clung desperately to RuthAnne, alternately squeezing her eyes shut and praying to her Father in Heaven, hallowed be His name. Her midnight black hair, loosened by their harrowing journey, flew about her face.

    “Hang on, Mara, we’re gonna make it,” RuthAnne promised.

    “Do you really think so, Ruthie?” Mara’s voice trembled. Panic filled her dark eyes, soulful beyond her sixteen years.

    “Just hold tight. And pray.” RuthAnne felt none of the reassurance she offered. Above, the
    driver cursed a blue streak, his terror palpable as a horse whinnied in protest. She knew as they did: the stage would never make it around the rock slide.

    RuthAnne swallowed a spear of fright and reached out for the peace that passes
    understanding only to be jarred back into the world. Another shudder rocked the cabin as a
    wheel spun off into oblivion. The stagecoach careened around the bend at an impossible angle.
    “Mara! We’re going over.”

    The axle snapped. RuthAnne watched in horror as the horizon disappeared.

    *Ashley straightens. Smiles. Closes book.*

  73. Mary - THANK you - so that's what happened to my pet spider, Cedrick, I'm so glad he's OK!

    Helen, how nice to see you and thank you so much for the Birhday wishes, I hope Oliver's looking after you properly, he seems to be a little distracted by our guest of honour, Ashley, here!

  74. Oh gosh if only Oliver had been there he could have helped them. Do they make it???

    You're welcome Lyn, he seems to like it here.

  75. Martha!

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on All or Nothing...

    So glad you're here! :)

    *turns to crowd*

    Now, what would you all like to hear about next? Meeting the villain -- the infamous El Tejano? Or RuthAnne and Bowen going toe to toe?

  76. Hi Helen. Here comes Oliver to make you a margarita and wait on you. He makes a mean martini too. Ashley, I've got to get that book now that you've drawn me in! Are you ready for some chips and salsa and another margarita! Oh Oliver has started the mariachi band again and is strumming away on the guitar and swooning over you with that glazed look in his eyes. Look out.

  77. Ms Sharon! I have to get some work done this afternoon but please ask Oliver to save a martini (shaken, not stirred, up with an olive or two!) for me later today! I would love to have him serve me! The martini,,, I mean of course!

  78. Well the dogs have left, Junior goes back to lie by Ashley's feet in adoration.
    He enjoyed that.
    Watch our for your treats Cuddles is eating ambrosia and offers it around. (What else could a unicorn eat?)

  79. Mary, Lyn

    You all sure know how to make a gal feel welcome.


  80. Hi Martha. So glad you're here for the siesta...I mean fiesta! LOL Make sure to pop back later. The fireworkds on the beach are awesome!

  81. Mary, I think if my oldest daughter was around, she'd go nutty for Cuddles. think he can hang around and help me pick her up from a playdate later? maybe take her for a little prance around the corral?

  82. Ashley, I have a message from Laurie. She left a comment and they wouldn't accept her password. She said to tell you she's cheering you on and wishing you a good roast.

  83. Exciting excerpt, Ashley. I can't imagine tipping over in a wagon OR stagecoach. They didn't have airbags back then. It was not a pleasant experience and few survived. I am betting your lovely heroine does!I can't imagine the fear or the pain.

  84. Oh, I love a fiesta! This is a fabulous book for anyone who hasn't read it!

    Song? How about "Don't" by Billy Currington :)

    Great, fun post and site!


  85. Sharon, thanks for the note from Laurie... :)

    How am I doin' so far?

  86. You'll have to get Sharon's permission for Cuddles to go with you. I am sure she won't mind, Lyn is so generous.
    Cuddles can you do a magic trick to show us some of your talent? Or are you going to just fly around Ashley looking cute?

  87. Wow, looks like the party is really rocking, ladies. I love all of your song suggestions so far. As far as a romantic serenade goes, I was always partial to "Eres Tu" though I agree Garth certainly has a master touch with them.

  88. Hey HeatherWelcome grab a seat Oliver will
    be around to get your beverage order. Have you seen the amazing martini menu?

  89. I didn't know that many martini's existed, actually. Oliver, could you make my margarita a virgin--hate to be a party-pooper, but I just know a brilliant idea is going to come to me for my current WIP this afternoon and would hate to be fuzzy headed. Extra salt on the rim!

  90. Hi Renee and Heather. Welcome to the fiesta where we are rockin' on the sand. Oliver drinks over this way and more chips and salsa. The buffet is brimming with the best of Mexican cuisine so dig in. Ashley, do you need anything? And you are doing great! You're a real crowd pleaser and your fans adore you!

  91. Oh yummy! Oliver is bringing out flan. Mmmmmmmmm!! These guava pastries are the best ever!

  92. And here comes the beaming Oliver with a Virgin Margarita, plenty of salt. He hands it to Heather with a wicked wink.

  93. Hi, Heather!

    So glad to see you here!

    *sips margarita* -- it's that spice in the salt that gives such a lovely zing.

    So, tell us about your favorite type of character? Who's your idea of a hero worth a good Happily Ever After?

  94. Renee!

    Thanks for joining us... Billy Currington!


    We're getting close...

    BTW - my 5 yo daughter can sing "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy..." Here's to hoping that that one doesn't make me a bad mom!

  95. Great party, ladies! Love the excerpts, Ashley. Are you feeling roasty and toasty yet? LOL :)

  96. As long as you weren't the one to teach it to her? Ha!

  97. Oliver, do you have any sopapillas for me?

    With honey? I just love a flaky, fresh, hot pastry, filled with honey...

    *bats eyelashes*

  98. What are they? Get us all some would you Oliver, please?

  99. Churros? Please.

    Ashley, do you you find it difficult to let go of your characters in the final pages? I imagine having the book released helps?

  100. E.A.!!!!

    My favorite favorite person! :)

    How are you? Miss you, sister!

    For those of you who don't know E.A., she penned "Dreams Come True"
    and did a beautiful job of it...

    I'm getting fairly crispy over here... just launched my Pandora Radio to Billy Currington station... check it out...

    Ashley's Pandora Radio Station

    Grooving right now to Everything...

    Hoping THE song gets played soon...


  101. Sopapillas...

    here you go... it's a fried pastry, full of air pockets that are blissful when filled with sticky, sweet, clover honey.

    All you ever wanted to know about a sopapilla

    The kids love them... ;-)


  102. I'll try one please.
    Mmmmmm mumph, munch, munch, delicious. I'll skip the beans in it though.

  103. And don't ya just know Oliver is at the ready with a whole platter of those things he can't even pronounce. Wow, Ash. you've got him wrappd around your little finger. Look at him beaming like a school boy! Hi E.A. Isn't our Oliver fickle? Ahhh...wasn't it only yesterday he was swooning over you.

  104. Mary, you don't have to have beans in them, silly.

    You can fill them with anything!

    I like the honey...dusted with powdered sugar...

    *licks fingertips*

  105. Sopapillas? I have to admit I've never heard of them, and I just love Mexican food, although there's not so much of it over here in the UK. ]

    Of course Cuddles would love to go with you and pick your daughter up from her playdate - and he'd enjoy giving her a ride as well. He has a lovely long mane to hang on to.

    Cuddles, stop showing off with your horn, I knolw it's fun turning martinis into lemonade (better than the other way round I suppose, he does get carried away and last time it took a week for everyone to sober up) Oliver will not be amused with you!

  106. Ladies,

    Just noticed up above...

    The link to my web site has a teensy weensy issue...

    it should be:


    This is where i regularly talk about villains, heroes, the old west, and how to be build a strong author platform using social networking.

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled roast. I'm stuffed on desserts!

    Oh, mr. Mariachi man? Can you please play - El Rey?

    Wait... is that...
    George Straight??? Singing El Rey for ME??

  107. No Oliver she did not request Mr. Sandman send me a dream... But Oliver grabs Ashley and does the cha cha with her and commands the mariachi band to get wild! Oh layyyy!

  108. Mm...sopapillas. Please pass some my way, Oliver. I must see how they compare to the wonderful molten lava cake you served the other day. ;)

  109. Yay Ashley! Congrats again on your book!

    And . . . you wrote voice-over lines for movie trailers??? Awesome! I agree w/ the sentiment that goes something like: "If you can't say it in under 2 mins, you ain't got nothing good to say anyhow." LOL

    Sorry you had to leave all that movie glamour behind, tho, poor kid . . .

    The use of the word 'roast' in the blog title would make one thing one ought to, well, *roast* you. Hmmm . . . I can't think of a single thing I'd want to cook up. You're too cool. ;-)

  110. Kris,

    Thanks to you and Griffyn for dropping by!

    Those of you who don't know her, Kris Kennedy is one of my FAVORITE Medieval authors.

    The Conqueror is multi-layered romance, intrigue, mystery, with a saucy heroine and a brooding, fantastic alpha-male hero...

    Hugs to you!

    I know it's just after lunch out here on the left coast, but it's almost 5 o'clock out east, isn't it?

    Lyn? You still awake across the pond?

  111. Hi Asyley... love the excerpt and the bio where "love uprooted you"... My Mom was a Ruth, too. And after she had passed we got a puppy and kids insisted on calling her "Ruthie"...

    I'd love a margarita, too!

  112. Ashley, I'm still getting caught up on the comments. Thanks for the kudos on Dreams Do Come True. You're such a sweetie!

  113. My mom is a Ruth too. I can still hear my father calling her.
    Root, Root, my DH still imitates him.

  114. Hi Ashley - yes I'm still awake (athough a bit groggy with all those martinis Oliver keeps plying me with). Oh about that link, apologies for that, good job Cuddles has an enchanted horn - it'll fix anything!

  115. Oliver feels bad for poor Lyn she's been up for five hours more than the rest of us. He swoops her in his arms and she giggles as he places her in the lounge chair next to Ashley. The one I was sitting in. I'm on the floor now. Hmmmmm.

  116. She would always tell him she'd rather be called Ruthie, but Root is was and Root it stayed.
    And my father was loud!

  117. Oliver, another margarita for Chris over here. And you remember E.A. of course look at the smile. Here he comes with a tray full of delights. Ashley, you're rockin' the page, girl! You really draw them in and are such a good guest. I can't believe how many Ruths there are. So are you roasted yet Ash? Is she done folks?

  118. Okay -- here's my BEST moment from living/working in Hollywood.

    Sitting at Taverna Tony in Malibu, waiting for world's worst boyfriend (not the good part)...

    B/c said boyfriend was late, as usual, I ended up chatting with the most handsome man I'd ever seen. Dark hair, deep and endless ebony gaze, seriously surreal moment just chatting about life, the universe, and everything while he waited for his date to show up...

    Tony ambles over, shock of white hair and bravado as only the Greeks can muster, and calls the man I'm chatting up "superman" -- I blink.


    Yeah. It was Clark Kent. Lois and Clark. Dean Cain.

    I almost fell out of my chair...

    I had another good one recently, at Disneyland -- but before I do, any other star sightings anyone wants to share?

    NOT you, Oliver!

  119. Christine! nice to see you!

    Sharon, is it winner time already?

    As no one picked THE song... I will have to peruse and see who came closest...


  120. Who could beat that one Ash? Just pa leaseee don't tell me you spotted Elvis leaving the building!!!!!

  121. That's a great story Ashley, think the only hunky star I've ever met was a beautiful Appaloosa reining stallion from Canada, called Joeglow, at a show here in England.

    Lyn collapses in a heap, still giggling and hanging on to Oliver's arm for dear life!
    Oliver sweetie, what DID you put in that little Martini I had a while ago?

  122. My DH was repairing a cash machine and next to him someone came up to use the other one.
    There were two guys, and one of them said to Chris as he worked.
    "Ya know who this is?" My DH with his I could care less about stars or celebrities at all attitude, says no.
    The guy says to him its, James Caan. My DH goes ,"so, who's that?" He continues to work as the star starts to stutter, "you don't know me?" Chris goes, "nope." Says to him, "are you a nice guy or do you think your poo don't stink?" He didn't say poo, for blog purposes I have changed the word. (grin). Well James Caan slapped him on the back and shook hands. Says,"too bad you don't life in LA, I could use a friend who is not star struck." At which point his friend punches him in the arm and they walk away. I asked where the autograph for his wife was, and he just laughed at me. As if.

  123. Don't pick till tomorrow Ashley, so the late people who work can have a crack at it.

  124. Sharon, everyone knows Elvis didn't leave. He went home.


    Lucky winner will be announced at 5PM EST...

    Oooh, see, it's my turn to keep YOU on pins and needles!

  125. You heard the lady!

    I stand corrected!

    Tomorrow morning it is -- and that will be tomorrow morning PACIFIC Time!


    Mary, do you have any celebrity sightings you want to tell us about?

  126. Hey Ash!

    Don't put me in the contest because I already have my book and am eagerly waiting for book club! But I couldn't help chiming in--I Swear, John Michael Montgomery. Who can resist that? :)


  127. Okay here's my little fame to claim. So I'm at a soap opera charity for the Young&Restless and Jack was there, Peter Bergmen. I chatted with him after the show and could you die! Star-struck and half in love with him, I threw myself at him and kissed him and said "Wow, I just kissed Jack!"

  128. Sharon, why does that not surprise me? LOL

    You kissed Jack!


    Goodness... John Michael Montgomery... Swoon...

  129. Well Ashley, it's just about fiveish. You did real good! And you were the perfect guest today, so gracious and full of fun and charm and wit. Wow what a package! We hope you come back again. Hi Dona, there's still plenty of food and the parrot head..er..Oliver never stops stirring up the margaritas. So Ash, feel free to stick around but your roast is officially just about over. We the hostesses thank you for this delightful Mexican fiesta! Wishing you all good things with your writing and the sequel. Big cyber hugs and loads of cyber love!

  130. I told you about my DH but me I've only met famous authors!

  131. Please feel free to stick around and comment if you like. I like to wait for the after work crew, so they don't feel slighted.
    Oliver give me a chocolate margarita please. Junior will have water.

  132. Thanks, my lovely hostesses all!

    Keep guessing my favorite song...

    I've dropped some clues, but here's another one...

    It's an obscure title by a relatively new band -- who's fond of things like:

    * cold beer on a Friday night
    * a pair of jeans that fit just right

    This particular country song is about about a man trying to put his finger on what he loves about his fiancee...The words blow me away...

    That's all the hints you get! I'll be back!


  133. Lyn slowly comes round 'huh' did I miss anything? Thank you Oliver, I really appreciate you fanning me to revive me, but I hope you'll see Ashley safely on her way now, it's been wonderful having you here, Ashley, you've been a great guest!

  134. Lyn you must be exhausted, why don't you go home now?

  135. Lyn helps herself to another tortilla. Hmm, good idea, Mary. Oliver - oh I forgot he's driving Ashley home. OK then it'll have to be Cuddles - oh he went with them too so he could give her daughter a ride. Can I kip on the floor at your place? Oops I nearly forgot, the party's still going on at Sharon's place. That's why I'm dressed in my witches costume! Gosh I don't know whether I'm coming or going flitting between two blogs! I don't think I'll bother going to bed, I'll just party all night!

  136. Cuddles could create a room to rest in for you.

    Or you can celebrate your birthday until midnight! I'll be here, checking.

  137. Did I miss the strolling mariachi band? I'm loving the theme today, ladies! And the "roasted" widged on front - very clever!
    Congrats on your release, Ashley! The blurb and excerpt really intrigued me, as did your interview, especially when you said you constructed a silk tree - how do you go about that exactly? :)

  138. Hi Cate, Lyn did all the graphics, she's good at it huh?

  139. Cate

    The silk tree construction involved exotic wood branches, plaster of paris, five gallon buckets, armfuls of exotic silk greens, and a hot glue gun. Oh, yes. And power tools.

    I still have the scars to prove it.

    I worked in a warehouse, by myself, surrounded with spiders and cobwebs, constructing custom impossibly tall ficus trees, and dracena marginatas, often teetering on a large, rickety ladder.

    Yes, building silk trees is not for the weak! And yes, writing romance novels is WAY more fun. ;-)

    Thanks for popping over!

  140. Lyn! send Cuddles and the girls back when you see them! They're laughing all the way across the pond!

    I saw them heading your way... and we have dinner plans!


    Cuddles! Woo hoo! over here!

  141. Where are we going for dinner? Is Oliver going to serve us tonight?
    Can't swim anymore so I came back when you called. I don't know why I was going there, I live in FL.

  142. Great build-up, Sharon. Enticing excerpt, Ashley. I hope Oliver does hurt you. If he does, he's got me to reckon with!

    (Sorry I'm late. Had internet problems for 2 days.)

    The song would be Glen Campbell's, "Burning Bridges Behind Me." But don't put me in the contest, since I already have an autographed copy of "All Or Nothing."

    It's a great read. Get ready for some spine-tingling episodes with the ferocious bandit, El Tejano.

    But Beau will protect his sweet RuthAnn.

    Congrats and well wishes, Ashley.

    Happy Birthday, Lyn! Woo-hoo, the celebration is underway.

  143. Hi Laurean and Cate, thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed it. Phew, between my Birthday Bash over at Sharon's Blog, and the Mexican party here - and the time differences - I'm not sure if I'm coming, going, or just been! It's been so much fun though, thanks again everyone, and Ashley for being such a great sport and all round fantstic roatee. Hope Cuddles got the girls back to you OK after their visit across the pond!
    (Mary he was far too busy having fun with Ashley's youngsters to think about ME! I think he's been associating too much with Oliver*Sigh* I'm just the one who pays for his ambrosia!)

  144. Our lucky winner is Lisa Kessler - Lisa - please send me an e-mail at:

    ashley (at) AshleyLudwig (dot) com

    Thank you so much everyone, for playing!

    What a fun and crazy time...
    Author Roast & Toast Rocks! :)

    Be sure and check out my new "SmashWords" release of:

    By Another Name, by Ashley Ludwig

    4 1/2 * by Long and Short of it Book Reviews:

    "...By Another Name is one of those stories to remind us all to renew our hearts, souls and minds. To give up those angry or disagreeable resentments and memories and begin again. I expect to see great things from her in the future."

    Thanks to my lovely hostesses, and of course, to Oliver and Cuddles.

    See you soon!


This is an interractive blog - please feel free to pop in and comment throughout the Roast as much as you like - and remember to leave your email address if you wish to be put in the draw to win this week's prize.