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, February 5, 2010

Ancient Israel Celebration

Hello and welcome to The Author Roast and Toast! Today’s celebration will transport us back in time to ancient nomadic Israel. Our featured guest is Aggie Villanueva and we are celebrating her book

So come wander with us through the sands of the desert and experience what life was like for the nomads who made the wilderness their home.

At the foot of Mt. Sinai, the goat-hair tent is being set up for the gala affair. Torch lit lanterns flicker in the starry sky, bathing the hostesses in celestial light. With their jack-be-nimble fingers, they prepare their costumes for the celebration. Working at a feverish frenzy, sweat beading her upper lip, Mary spins wool into fabric on her portable loom. Pleased when she has produced three hostess tunics, hands them to Lyn with a beaming blush. “Whew, thought I’d never get these suckers sewn together, but here they are.”

Lyn snatches them from Mary’s grasp and clucks her tongue. “We can’t be seen in these common fabrics,” she hisses, her hair frizzing from the desert heat. “Have you no sense of fashion, woman?” With a disgusted roll of her eyes, she dunks each of the tunics into the basin of dye she has prepared from the herbs she’s collected all day. Blue from the bark, yellow from pomegranate, lilac from myrtle, and red from henna root. With her stick, she swishes the tunics around until just the right color is desired. Lying them on the stones to dry, she beams at Mary. “Now we’ll be befitting. I want lilac since it’s my favorite color.”

“I’ll take yellow,” Mary snorts. But suddenly the air swooshes through the olive branches as Sharon comes out of the tent, frowning, her lips twitching with annoyance. “Surely, we need a bit more frills for the festival tonight. Allow me to show you how to make our tunics into halugs.” Sharon snaps her fingers. “Over the heads they go.”

Once Mary and Lyn are standing in their tunics, Sharon gathers the material at the shoulder and clips it with a gold artifact. Handing them leather belts to loop around their waists, she nods her approval as she steps into her blue halug and decorates it. “Much better. And once we complete our chores, we’ll add our cloaks and veils. Now we must help Oliver prepare for the celebration.”

Huffing and puffing, Mary climbs to the top of Mt. Sinai to fetch water from the spring. Filling two buckets, she stops to admire a flock of sheep. Cuddles and Junior, donned in their headpieces to shield the sun out, herd the sheep.  
Lyn continues to stir the red henna dye with a vengeance. Wanting just the right color for the makeup, she peers a little closer. Sharon sits at the entrance of the cave, carving pieces of bark into combs. Oliver, dressed in black and adorned in striped headpiece,busies himself by setting up large basins of sweet red wine outside the tent for the gala. On the stones, he bakes Manna cake for the guests.
And it’s just about time for the guest of honor to arrive. Finally pleased with the red dye, Lyn summons the hostesses over to her. And with her flourished hand, she applies subtle red dye to their lips and cheeks and fingernails. Sharon hands them each a comb and they fasten their hair and tie it back, place the veils over their faces and cloak their bare shoulders.

And with a clop clop, a caravan materializes around the mountainside, and on a beautiful camel sits Aggie Villanueva, looking beautiful in a red linen halug, fringes and gold necklace and headpiece. Oliver helps her down and escorts her up the silken road to the tent. When she sees what has been written in stone, she beams:

Rightfully Mine Excerpt
By Aggie Villanueva

Rizpah examined the features of this man Hanniel who she knew still loved her, despite her discouragement. Two weeks ago she could not have realized such depth from his bumbling attempt to comfort her, but she understood now that what he lacked in speech, he made up for in music. Rizpah viewed Hanniel through new eyes. Torchlight flickered over his wide nostrils, quivering in song. His thick, sensitive lips caressed the haunting melody and his face was a circle of mystery and enticement above the embrace of his lyre. Hanniel was attractive enough that maidens of Manasseh continually sought to marry him, yet Rizpah had always found his face unexciting and bland, like unseasoned lentils. But tonight...

“Mistress?” a servant whispered to Rizpah.


“I have a message for you to meet Caleb of Judah in the Tent of Meeting.”

Rizpah stared at Mahlah, who shook her head. “I know nothing of it.”

Ducking out of the moonlit edges of the wedding party, her eyes met Moses’. She thought he winked at her.
Surely it is only the torchlight’s reflection.
The Tabernacle was deserted. Not even the illumination of the full moon penetrated the insulated ceilings of the Tent of meeting. The only light was from the Golden Lamp Stand, throwing divergent shadows across the room at will, slicing the silence with its flames. Rizpah felt chilled.


“I am here.”

Rizpah whirled at the sound of his voice behind her. He stepped from the shadows of the tent door, but said nothing.

“Should we be here?” Rizpah indicated the Holy Place.

“I have Moses’ permission.”

At the mention of their leader, she was alert. “Has this to do with Moses?”

“Yes, I have spoken with him. He took your appeal before Elohim and has heard from the Most High.”

In the following silence, Rizpah searched his eyes for the answer she had awaited with dread these past two weeks, but she could find no clues there. He only watchedher. She shifted her weight, and still he stared. She probed again with her eyes, but he was silent. She could wait no longer. Doubling her fist, she pummeled his
arm, waiving formalities with him. “Will you tell me or not?”

Caleb laughed, startling her. “I told Moses I wished to be the one to tell you the news, but I didn’t know I was inviting battle. I should have guessed the first night under the stars, when you growled at me because you found this plain unfavorable, that I was in the presence of a tigress. Is no one safe from you?”

“You are teasing me,” Rizpah stated, amazed at Caleb’s camaraderie.

At Rizpah’s beseeching look, he relented. “All right, I will tell you. The Lord said you are right.”

“I am right?”

“You are right.” Caleb laughed again.

“The land is ours?”

“The land is yours.”

Rizpah wavered. Caleb’s arm steadied her. What is he saying? I was right? The elders of Israel rebuked me with their shunning and Elohim has declared I am right? Uncle Salu publicly denounced me and the Lord
Elohim declares I was right? She turned a stunned face to Caleb. “Is this a dream?”

“No, Rizpah. And not only that, Elohim has ordered a new law made that if any man dies and leaves no son, his inheritance must go to his daughters.”

“But women cannot own land.”

“This day they can.” Caleb threw an arm high. “Rizpah, do you realize what you have wrought? This day, a new law is made in Israel. You stood for justice and now daughters can own land.”

“I stood for justice?” Rizpah echoed, reminded of her father’s prophetic words.

You will stand for justice and justice will circumcise you.

Now she understood. These two weeks she had thought surely she would be cut off. But now...

“You stood for justice,” Caleb affirmed, touching her chin to guide her gaze back to him. His voice was low. 

“I know I admired you since that night last summer beneath the stars. I gave you the opportunity to deny your father’s words gracefully, about your feelings for me.” Rizpah winced at the painful memory, but Caleb kept a firm hold of her chin. “Though you risked humiliation, you were truthful. That took great courage, the kind of courage that caused me no surprise when you stood against your uncle.”

Caleb’s eyes traced her features, softened by the dim lamplight in the Tabernacle. He lowered her shawl from her head and smoothed her hair. Rizpah’s heart pounded and her breath came in short gasps. “Do you know how beautiful you are?” He continued before she could blush. “My heart has long resisted you, but you battle aggressively even in love. It is true: no one is safe from you, not even I.”

And before we enjoy the sweet wine and Manna cake, answer the question to be eligible for the prize, a download of Aggie’s book. Here is the question: What appeared to Moses on Mt. Sinai?


  1. Hello, and welcome to your celebration Aggie! You look so radiant in your red gown. Allow Oliver to fetch you a cup of red wine and a slice of Manna cake. What a lovely night in the desert! Please, make yourself at home inside the tent or under the stars. It's your day and we are here to help you celebrate!

  2. Welcome Aggie, I hope you enjoy the celebration we have laid out for you. As Sharon says, that shade of red really becomes you. Oliver is at your beck and call and any moment now Nary will be back from fetching yet more water Well, all these camels needed a drink, didn't they?

  3. Hmmmm. Stretching. It's an early winter morning here, so I'm enjoying the warmth of the sand and the wine. Thank you all so much for the party. I am so in the mood for a night of fun. I hope the guests enjoy it as much as we are.

  4. Mary approaches the vast campsite lugging her water buckets. These darn things are heavy. She looks at her blistered hands and then continues to the main tent where Lyn and Sharon wait with lots of other people for Aggie to arrive. Mary gives the buckets over to one of the shepherds. Then she rushes to where the others are.
    Hi Aggie, I hope you have a great day today.

  5. Yes, it's a warm (for a change) winter's afternoon in the UK, but by the magic of the internet I am able to sit here in the desert, warming my toes in the hot sand! Yes, thank you Oliver, I will have a drop of wine.

    I love your excerpt, Aggie, it's so interesting to read a story set in Biblical times, from a woman's point of view. I've also watched your 'virtual photo shoot' and the pictures are just beautiful.

  6. Hello Mary, I'm so glad you made it back safely without spilling any water!

    Let's see those hands, I'm sure I have some ointment somewhere, with my stash of healing herbs.

    She begins to hum 'Hands that lug buckets can be smooth as your face, with mild green herby ointment!'

  7. Thanks Lyn, Aggie you do look lovely, those veils are so beautiful too. Mary watches as Aggie makes her way through the crowd. She waves at all of her visitors and stands to greet them. The crowd roars a greeting to Aggie

  8. Mary, how kind of you to draw water. Many thankx.

    Hywela, the warm sand feels great on the toes, but be sure to rub them first with lots of olive oil, so the sand fleas can't bite. That's a miserable itch.

    This wine is perfect, sweet and tart, just the way I like it.

    Oliver, when did you learn to drum so?

    I am so looking forward to casting lots later, so I can give away the book of Zelophehad's daughters.

    Ah, here's another guest. I'll dip them some wine.

  9. Oh, thanks for the tip about the olive oil, Aggie, these pesky little sand fleas are a bit aggressive aren't they!

    You know Oliver has so many talents, It's amazing - and I've lost count of the musical instruments Sharon said he can play.

    So tell us a bit about Zelophehad's daughters. Sounds intriguing.

  10. No you sit and enjoy your visitors while we take care of your guests.
    The array of food is amazing. Can someone tell me what everything is? Looks just yummy! Someone out did themselves again.

  11. I agree Mary. The smells are hypnotic! I see that 40 years in the desert wilderness, eating only manna, has not stilted the culinary skill of Israel's women folk.

    And it helps that the spoils of war have provided the harvests of a multitude of gardens and flocks. The lamb turning on that spit is making my mouth water. Oliver, you are truly a man of many talents.

    I recognize many of those crisp, yeasty discs. You will all love the breads covered with sesame and coriander seeds.

    Snatching one from the passing tray that seemed to float on the aromas, Aggie indulged in this paste-bun triangle stuffed with pounded almonds.

    Mary, I think this is my favorite. Try it. Aggie holds out one of the twisted rope coils of pasta steeped in a sauce of honey and nuts.

    Hywele, try this one, a thin wafer coated with grape syrup and powdered with pungent seeds and leaf dust. I think I'll have one of those myself.

  12. Mmffuummmm, this is delicious! Can I try that too?
    I hope that no nomads will threaten the camp. That couldn't happen could it Aggie?

  13. Mmmmmmm. Lyn closes her eyes in delight. That wafer was absolutely delicious. Oliver has surpassed himself, I think he must have been very busy charming the women folk into showing him all these delicacies. And that lamb does smell deliciousm as you say.
    This is fascinating to me as I haven't come across most of this food before.

  14. Mmmmmm it smells out of this world. What spices did you use on the lamb?

    When does the dancing begin???

  15. I peeked behind the spit. There is a pot of hot and spicy mustard-lentil dip for the lamb. Oliver, I thought the camp had finished off the dried beans from our Moab raid! You must have been saving them, you dear man!

    Mary, I think we are safe. The closest land is Moab, behind us, and we took all their men as slaves. That's who carried all this bounty back to us.

    And toward the sunrise is the land of milk and honey. I doubt they know we're here, and even if they came sneaking around, they must cross the Jordan, known as the Ghor is this area. We would be aware of them before they were in firing distance.

    The only danger tonight is being burned by the bright starlight.

  16. Oooh that's a relief. We have Oliver supervising the food, Junior and Cuddles watching the flocks on the hillside, so we can just relax and enjoy the evening, without worrying about maurauders coming to attack us.

  17. I don't know Lyn I see clouds of dust in the distance. I sure hope you're rights. We are not prepared for a raid today!!!!

  18. Don't worry Mary, Aggie knows the area - and as she said, we have all the Moab men as slaves - there's no-one left to attack us now!

  19. so no one is lurking in the bushes to grab one of us. That's what scares me!

  20. LOL Mary, what ARE you suggesting?

  21. I just have the feeling that someone is lurking about and might come and steal us away!
    Don't they do that when they raid these days?

  22. Hmmm. I don't think that cloud of dust is from marauders. It's too small. I bet it's more guests winding their way here.

  23. I worry about that stuff, so please lets keep our eyes open.
    Who is that handsome guy who is up there talking?

  24. Ahhh, that's better, I changed my profile!

    I've been meaning to tell you girls how lovely and colorful are your tunics. Perfect for the party.

  25. Lyn picked them out for us. I love the colors. Is there anyone special coming today?

  26. I've invited everyone. My special twitter and Facebook friends are being notified every few hours also. I can't wait for them to arrive.

  27. They will be so surprised to see how lovely you look today.
    I am still concerned about the dust cloud it looks like horses!
    I hope it's your friends, or we could be kidnapped!

  28. Ooh, Like your new profile, Aggie, as| I said, you do look good in red.

    I reckon it's a long journey over the desert so it may take the guests a while to arrive. I'm sure they'll be looking forward to the feast Oliver and the womenfolk have prepared.

    Oh, I'm so glad you like our tunics, it took me a while to mix the dyes just right.

  29. Ha! that was nothing, Sharon had me make the cloth! I swear my fingers are still bleeding! Now that was hard.

  30. After reading Rightfully Mine, I'm glad to enjoy this celebration.

  31. Aggie,

    Sounds wonderful. Your photos are so special to me. I hope to meet you one day too.

    Your book is on my must read list

    Thanks Aggie

    Walk in harmony,

  32. Poor Mary, yes that Sharon can be a tough taskmistress! LOL

    Hell Lillie, welcome to the celebration.

  33. Hi Lilli and Melinda, help yourself to the refreshments! Welcome to Aggie's roast. So what's your secret Aggie?

  34. Hello Melinda, do come into the shade, and you : Lillpe. and share some of our virtual food and drink. Yes, I've been looking at Aggie's pictures too, they're beautiful.

  35. Hi-I've known Aggie for many years. When I read her book it took me to another world. I was always anxious to get back to her book until the story finished.

    How fun to read your comments as if you were there. I think I'll try some of the wafers you are serving.

    Love you Aggie,

  36. Hello Betsy - see Nary, that cloud of dust was just Aggie's guests arriving.
    Of course Betsy, do have some of these wafers, and Oliver will serve you with a little wine, and there are plenty of other refreshments.

  37. Don't say I didn't try to warn you all.
    I think we need extra guards to keep watch over Angie. If a rival tribe got her, I don't know what we'd do.

  38. Oliver, you are quiet. I also found the mint and honey sauce jar cooling in a bucket of water.You've been way too busy. Come sit beside me and rest.

    Hey, Lillie, Melinda, Betsy! I'm so glad you came. This food and drink is the best. Have lots and lots.

    What is my secret about what, Mary? We all have secrets. Do I have to reveal all????

  39. that would be interesting. But what I mean is what is your secret to success? And what's your biggest secret?

  40. Oliver gazes in undisguesed awe at Aggie as he accepts her invitation to sit beside her. He whips her book out from under his robe.

    "If you would be so kind as to sign this for me?"

    "You're right, Aggie," Lyn whispers as Aggie graciously takes the book and signs it with a flourish. It's very unusual for Oliver to be so quiet, I do believe he's speechless with admiration for you. Don't worry - it won't last - the quietness, I mean!"

  41. well I know what that is in the far distance! It's Sharon, she had to go to another tribe to invite them at the last minute and musta gotten held up. She's so far away, hope she can make it back soon.

    So tell us a bit about the story Aggie, I am being good just for you, so that will be my reward. K?

  42. A puff of dust rises in the desert as a camel clops along at its own leisure. Oh, wait, it's a mule and it has the befuddled Sharon as a passenger. When it finally drags its feet to the bottom of Mt. Sinai, it gets a spurt of energy and bucks her off. She gets up and hugs Aggie, Lyn and Mary, begging Oliver for a goblet of wine. She is famished and a bit faint. Then she waves to Lillie, Melinda and Betsy. Wow, these sand dunes are killers, huh, Aggie? The food smells delicious. Manna from Heaven is just the ticket. Mary, dear woman, my tunic is ripped. Can you whip me up another one, please? Lyn, I could use a bit more makeup. Any more henna rroot, dearie?

  43. My secret to success? Not sure I'm successful, unless successful means busy! But I can easily name my biggest secret: that's where are my favorite secret spots for photo shoots.

    You can see videos of some of them here where I take people on my virtual photo shoots, but I don't give away where they are! http://www.aggiev.org/aggielogic/join_me_virtual_shoots.html

    That will be great to see Sharon again. Hope she has no trouble coming back through the desert at night.

    Speaking of the story, Mary, I wish the five daughters of Zelophehad I wrote about could join us. Besides being strong and devout women of Israel, they have such love for each other that they can make it through anything. And you can see in the excerpt what a sense of humor Rizpah has.

    These women are tight, even though so different from each other they often don't understand each other. But when Rizpah stood up for justice against the men of her country, she had the support of her entire family.

  44. Oh Sharon, I'm so glad you made it safely. Sorry if I giggled when that mule bucked you off, but it did look rather funny the way you sailed through the air, evere so gracefully. Good job the sand provided a soft landing.

    Yes, you are ever so slaightly smudged. Come over here and I'll see if I can repair the damage.

  45. Aggie, I've visited your virtual photoshoot before, and I loved it, especially the Cerro Pedernal, with your little dog, Bella Rosa. I don't blame you for keeping those beautiful locations secret. I know a few places near my old home in the Welsh mountains like that!

    The five daughters of Zelophehad sound like just the sort of women we enjoy having around. So is this a sequel to 'Rightfully Mine'?

  46. Oh, thank you, Lyn. Sharon preens her face for a touch up. Still sipping her wine, she inhales the wonderful smells of the feast. Aggie, what an interesting excerpt. Tell me, did you have to do a lot of research for ancient nomadic Israel, and if so, where did you find the information? We all found it interesting to put ourselves back in Biblical times, the dress, the jewelry, the battles over the land. Isn't that right, Lyn? Do tell...

  47. Oh yes, Sharon, as a writer, I find research so fascinating and I'd love to learn how Aggie goes about her research

  48. Mary goes into the main tent mumbling the whole way about how bossy and what a prima donna Sharon can be. She sews a new tunic for her and decides to continue to be strong and ignore it.
    Besides she doesn't want to miss a word that Aggie has to say. She is very impressed by Aggie's talents.
    Here Sharon, she hands the new tunic to her and smiles. Sharon takes it and doesn't say thanks. So Mary asks her where she got those purple and orange checked bloomers from, and chuckles with good nature. They were pretty funny to see when she got bucked off the mule.

  49. My "little" Great Pyranese, Bella Rosa loves to go on photo shoots to the land of the tall trees. So glad you enjoyed to shoot with us.

    Sharon, you made it back. Thank goodness the bucking was the only incident. Oliver, would you mind getting some damp grape leaves for Sharon's neck? That will soothe anything.

    I spent 12 months immersed in research for Rightfully Mine. I read dozens of Customs & Manners of the times type books. I even traveled to Israel before writing the book.

    Books of Jewish tradition and mythology helped too. I tried to study Jewish mysticism in the Kabbalah, but that was beyond my understanding.

    Research was hard and time consuming, but so satisfying when I sat down to write and not have to stop and figure out how they did everything before writing a scene, or spouting a monologue.

    Getting the linguistics was hard. I didn't want to use any King James words, but I wanted a bit of the times to come across in their speech. For that I researched many Jewish proverbs, outside of the Bible. The Torah has a refreshing way of wording things, which is exactly what I needed for authentic dialog.

    Even modern Yiddish proverbs were a great help. I stole from the way the proverbs phrase a thought, the near melody of the speech patterns, even in the raw Yiddish tongue

    I guess my speech research helped because I've had many reviewers and history writers comment that my dialogue was believable. Some have even asked me if I took the songs Hanniel sings straight from the Biblical book of Psalms! I didn't. I wrote his songs myself, winging it from what all I had absorbed.

    Oh my, I've practically written a book here. You should have never asked me about research!

  50. No, you had me enthralled! I would love to have had the experience of going to Israel to do research. I kinda made it easy for myself by picking an area I knew and loved well. But still research for the historical things was very difficult. So I admire your tenacity.

  51. Oh, Mary, hugs, my sister soldier! You know I appreciate your sewing my wardrobe, be it ever so humble... Sharon beams at Aggie. Israel! My goodness, I think going to the Holy Land would be so rewarding and would give you so much of a dramatic backdrop for researching Biblical times. Tell me, did you tour the area here around Mt. Sinai or how about the Dead Sea? I ask because a friend of mine recently went with her husband and church group, rode a camel and walked to the place of the crucifixion, and rode a boat on the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. She had so much to say about it, especially the walls. Did you tour this same area?

  52. That was fascinating Aggie, you seem to have done a wealth of research but as you say, that's what helps a writer know the place they're writing about so that it feels authentic. I would imagine visiting the Holy Land was a fantastic experience.

    Sorry, didn't mean to cut across Sharon's question but I found what you said about your research so exciting. Oh sorry if I insulted Bella Rosa, I'd forgotten she was a Pyranese. All dogs are 'little dogs' to me, although being 5 ft nothing, really I should think of them all as big dogs!

  53. How fun, Aggie! I didn't realize I was going to a bedoin gown-dying party. Had I realized a man would be present, I would've covered my hair.

    Maybe he'll forgive me for being so immodestly dressed if I make my honey cakes. . .

    BTW: Have I told you lately how much I loved your book? When will you be writing another? (Hywela Lyn & company: I've been picking at her periodically to get back into writing fiction. Want to help?) :D

  54. Good evening Lynda, do come and six over here, don't worry about covering your hair, I have a spare veil here which will do nicely (though it's a shame to cover such pretty hair really. Yes, Oliver is our permanent Friday 'help' although he's normally over at Sharon's blog. It's OK, I don't think he's seen you yet, but I'm sure your honey cakes would go down very well!

    What's that - you mean Aggie isn't working on another book already. Oh but you must Aggie, 'Rightfully Mine' seems such a wonderful story. I haven't read it yet but it sounds amazing and it's on my growing 'wish list'!

  55. If you really want something tasty, ask Aggie for the recipe for the almond paste cakes she mentions in her book . . .

  56. Aggie you must continue your research and get that next book done.
    Linda how great you look in that veil, your beautiful hair is popping out the sides. Imagine that!

    Don't have to worry about fashion though huh?

  57. Oh Yummy, give it up girl!!
    Sounds deish!

  58. OOh those almond paste cakes sound wonderful, Linda. I really love home made almond paste.

    (I think I must have sand in my eyes, I asked you to six over here rather than 'sit' no, it's not some new sort of code! LOL)

  59. Hark? Did my perk little ears hear almonds? Mmm. I adore anything with almonds! It was worth walking a mile for after the mule bucked me! Hi Linda, so glad you could join the celebration. Yes, Aggie, your book sounds so intriguing and a sequel must be in the works with all that research. Well done.

  60. Ha, Linda, I wish I had the recipe for the almond cakes! But alas, I have no time for cooking anymore anyway.

    I know, Linda, isn't this fun? You should get roasted yourself.

    Bella Rosa is not offended at all. Actually she never is. All she asks of life is to go with me on my shoots! She runs so much I have to bring treats for her too.

    I'm glad I didn't bore you all with the research ramblings. Its something I enjor talking about.

    I've had two sequels to RM in mind, actually, for ages. Their family is actually spoken of in the Bible for the next two genrations. But completing that would mean taking at least a year sabatical from my blog, which is beginning to spurt with growth, so it can't spare me yet. But the idea for both books always dangles in front of me!

    I am working on other books, they are just both non-fiction. Not nearly as fun or inter

    Yes, I toured all of Israel. And it was a trip of a lifetime. I swam in the dead sea. The salt content is so high you can't sink, and you must wash the water off after swimming in it. They provide shower heads all along the western shore.

    Spent about 1/3 of the time in the Jerusalem area. But went everywhere, except we couldn't go further south than the dead sea because of trouble with the Egyptian government. So we didn't get to see what is thought to be mount Sinai.

  61. That is so awesome. I would love to swim in the Dead Sea. I remember a picture of it in geography class, last year doncha know, hee hee. Mary, Lyn, stop cackling. Hmmm. as I was saying...last year in geography class. There was a picture of a girl swimming and setting a can of coke and it didn't sink. That stood out all these years. Ooops...I mean months later.

  62. Oh Aggie, you really must try and write those sequels. I'm sure they'd be as popular as RM. Even if you could only write 500 or so words a day, they would soon mount up!

    Bella Rosa sounds like a lovely dog, with the same philosophy as my rescued Jack Russell. He loves exploring and wants to go everywhere with me.

    I'd love to swim in the Dead Sea. Even though I lived by the sea all my life, I never learned to swim - wouldn't matter in the Dead Sea, I could just float, couldn't I,!

  63. I am so envious of the experience, Aggie. I'd love to be able to do some on-site research!

  64. No, no one in the dead sea has to worry about drowning. But swimmers are warned that there is an invisible line running down the center of the Dead Sea that we must be sure not to cross or we'll be in Palastinian territory, and they neither country likes people crossing borders outside of the border crossings.

    I had my photos from the trip turned into slides and for years afterwards I gave presentations at my childrens' school.

  65. Aggie, you have been a delightful guest. We hope you have enjoyed your celebration. Feel free to stay as long as you like and drink the wine and eat the food. People come and go. Please do write a sequel or two, with all that research you simply must. I'm sorry I was late for your roast, but my mom is in a nursing home and despite the desert, Pittsburgh is in for a bitter snow storm and I had to visit today rather than the weekend. But you have been most entertaining and such an inspiration. Best of luck in all you do.

  66. I am envious too! Gosh to swim in the Dead Sea, travel the paths of history. Awesome!
    What good is a blog without another good book to boost it up!
    You gotta write a sequel!

  67. Aggie, that must have been so interesting for the schoolchildren to see. I hadn't thought about the dead sea having a 'border'.

    Thank you so much for being our guest, I've learnt such a lot about the history and customs of this area.

  68. I wish everyone a wonderful evening as the sun sets over the desert. The colors are just amazing! Thanks for everyone who stopped by. And Aggie, you're just amazing! The dancing and music has just begun. I am gonna go learn by watching!
    Sharon and Lyn, as always, I love you guys.

  69. Mary, Lyn and Sharon, you've are the hostesses with the mostesses. Thank you so much for having me. I will surely hang with the guests awhile and enjoy a long visit with Oliver.

  70. Thank you for being such a wonderful guest, Aggie, we've really enjoyed having you. I think I'm going to join Mary and watch the dancing, enjoy mingling with the guests and talking with Oliver.

    As always the food and drink are all on the tables for everone to help themselves. Any guests who turn up - don't worry about being late, our parties go on until the last guest is fed and watered! (And beyond)

  71. *walking up to the blazing fire outside the tent, I can see Oliver inside so I sneak up to join the party, late though I am and view the goodies and treats on the table*

    Hi Oliver and Aggie! Sorry I arrived so late, we had such a busy day selling our wares in the market today. Thank you Oliver, I'd love some wine!

    *adjusting my tunic and hair covering, I sit on the cushions next to Aggie*

    Sounds like you've had a wonderful evening with the crowd here! Congrats on your party!

    Hi Mary, Sharon and Lyn! *holding up my glass* Cheers to another roast, well done ladies!

  72. Good evening Deanna, how lovely to see you again. Did you have a good day at the market? I see Oliver's brought you over some bowls of food to go with your wine. It may be getting late and the desert wind is chill, but inside the tent there's a warm welcome for any passing travellers.

  73. Good morning everyone. I slept so well after such good fellowship and wine. I'm still full from all that great food. I'm surprised no one has tried to steal Oliver away from you. He is a gem.

    After casting lots at random.org, the winner of Rightfully Mine: God's Equal Rights Amendment is Melinda.

    Congratulations Melinda. I enjoyed visiting with you yesterday so much. Hope to "see" you again real soon.

  74. Lyn stirs and peeks her head out of the blanket. Sharon and Mary lie curled up in the corner, still fast asleep, as are most of the guests, and Oliver is up and about as usual, tending the fire and getting breakfast prepared.

    Good morning Aggie, I'm glad you slept well.

    Congratulations Melinda , I'm sure you're going to enjoy 'Rightfully Mine'.

    Yes, Oliver is a wonder isn't he. We're very lucky Sharon's good enough to let him 'moonlight'on our blog on a Friday, he always whips up our Guest of Honor's favourtiee food and never fails to captivate the ladies with his charm.

    Thanks again for being such an entertaining guest, Aggie, and telling us so so much about Israel in Biblical times. It was fascinating.

  75. Hywela, it's good to see you're awake and refreshed. Honestly, I couldn't have had more fun. You girls are innovative and entertaining. I've recommended your roast to everyone. Have the best weekend ever.

  76. Aw thank you Aggie, same to you. It was a real pleasure and thanks so much for the recommendation we loved having you.

  77. A big hello to Deanna. Sharon sits to join her for a glass of wine and conversation. Thanks for coming to Aggie's roast. Yes, it was great fun. And congratulations to Melinda for winning Aggie's book. Again, Aggie, a big thank you for being our guest. As Lyn said, we learned so much from you about the history of Israel, and the partitian in the Dead Sea puts a whole new meaning to "the parting" even though it was the parting of the Red Sea. Best of luck in your writings.

  78. And my best to all of you too. This has been the most fun. I thank you all for inviting me. Have the best day ever.


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