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, July 2, 2010

Medieval Fairy tale in a Castle

Hello and welcome to the Author Roast and Toast! We are celebrating Donna Hatch’s Queen in Exile today in grand medieval style. For those of you who believe in magic, telepathic powers and knights in shining armor, we invite you into the medieval castle overlooking the peaceful Arden countryside.

As Lyn, Mary and Sharon stroll through the forest, a wind snakes through the branches of the undulating pines, whispering dark and forbidden secrets. Dressed in maiden clothes, their booted feet crunch along the dry leaves and twigs carpeting the floor of the forest. As nighttime blankets the sky, Lyn stumbles over a mushroom-peppered log in the path. A hyena laughs, its warbling echoing through the thicket.

“Almost tripped over my dainty feet,” she snips, peering over her shoulder and into the darkness shrouding the forest. “Are we there yet?”

“Quiet,” Mary hisses in her ear. “We don’t want to disturb the sacred chayim…or get him mad at us.”

“Relax, sisters,” Sharon nearly jumps out of her skin when a giant leap frog splashes into the lily pond. “Donna assures us the beast is a gentle creature with telepathic powers. If we get lost before we find the castle, his thoughts will enter our brain cells and show us the way.”

A nightingale whistles as Mary passes. Puffing out her chest, she smiles. But when the sky turns as dark as midnight, her smile freezes on her face. Grabbing her sisters hand, she screams loud enough to wake the living dead. “We’re lost!”

“Let’s try and form a telepathic bond with the sacred chayim,” Sharon announces. “It’s our only chance.”

“Hmmmmmmmmm….” the sisters chant, forming a circle in the deep, dark woods, fingers pointed to their temples. Soon they are feeling the vibes sent from the chayim, and within seconds, the full moon bathes the castle in an eerie light. “There it is!”

Lyn beams as they enter the courtyard. “And once we cross the bridge, we transform from lowly peasants into beautiful princesses for the gala. And even though we will be serving the food and drinks Sir Oliver has prepared, we will have a few knights in waiting winking our way for a dance or two.”

But before they cross the bridge leading to the courtyard, they must win the respect of the sacred chayim keeping vigil. Standing on all fours, the enormous golden-brown animal stares down at the sisters with intelligent eyes, its iridescent fur shimmering in the moonlight. Proceeding with caution, they reach out and stroke the magnificent creature until he blows on their faces and grants access to his castle.

Greeted at the door with a tune of welcome by a knight in shining armor, the banquet is off to a lovely start. “Welcome me ladies!” The knight shouts with gusto. “If you will please follow me right this way.”

He leads the hostesses up the castle steps and across the draw bridge before going onward to the upper Great Hall where Sir Oliver is preparing the banquet for the Queen of Exile.

And as if by magic, as Sharon, Lyn and Mary enter the great hall, their peasant clothes transform into gorgeous medieval gowns worthy of a royal gala. Cuddles and Junior appear, wizard hats gleaming with silver stars. They leap about the polished marble floor, kicking up their feet to the sound of fiddle, harp and violin floating across the great hall. A gorgeous terrace overlooks the forbidden forest where night creatures roam free.

“Before the Queen is served,” Oliver proclaims with great ceremony, “A taster will sample each course in the unlikely event that someone might wish to bring harm to the queen.”

The hostesses set out heaping platters of turkey legs, grilled salmon from the sea, Tomato Bisque, fresh fruit and crusty brown bread with whipped butter.

In the corner, bathed in the ethereal light of standing candelabras, a strawberry shortcake gleams.

And from a stone fountain of cascading lava rocks, sparkling cider gushes.

But when the shrill cry of the trumpet announces the arrival of the Queen in Exile, all heads turn as Donna saunters in, looking drop dead gorgeous in a lovely medieval gown. Sir Oliver dashes off to escort her in, the music escalating to a staggering crescendo.

For an autographed copy of Donna’s book, please answer the following question as a comment:

What would you say to win the respect of a telepathic chayim?


Rumors of war hang over Princess Jeniah’s peaceful country of Arden, a land that shuns both magic and warfare. Following a lifelong dream, Jeniah forms a telepathic bond with a revered creature called a chayim, who is prophesied to save her kingdom. But when a Darborian knight comes upon Jeniah with her chayim, he sees only a vicious monster about to devour a maiden, and he slays the beast.

Devastated by the loss of her chayim, and fearing that her own magic is evil, Jeniah doubts her destiny. When an enemy invades Arden City, they slaughter the people, storm the castle, and execute the entire royal family except the princess. Rescued by the knight who slew her chayim, Jeniah is now heir to the throne of Arden and the only hope for freeing her people from tyranny.

On the run and hunted by enemy soldiers, Jeniah must place her life and the fate of her kingdom in the hands of this trained killer. Torn between embracing her destiny as queen of Arden, and her love for a mere knight, she must ultimately rely on her magic to save herself and her people from death

Jeniah stepped over a log peppered with mushrooms and walked deeper into the woods, following the irresistible call. Fallen leaves crunched under her riding boots. She hurried along the sun-dappled path, eager to discover the source of the compelling summons. At the rise of a hollow, she stopped. Chills of excitement tingled her spine. She held her breath.

An enormous golden-brown animal stood on four legs at the far edge of the hollow. Sunlight slanted down through the woodland trees, giving his thick pelt and mane an iridescent shimmer. Jeniah gasped. Truly, it could not be! She stared in disbelief at a sacred chayim.

He was magnificent. She felt as if she were in the presence of deity, ancient and wise beyond human comprehension. Her mouth went dry and she fell to her knees.

She’d heard the stories, of course. She’d listened, enraptured, as minstrels related accounts—legends, some said—of a chayim choosing a maiden of surpassing purity and courage, bonding with her, and guiding her as she led her people to a bright new future. In private moments of hope, Jeniah had dared to dream a chayim would choose her.

Jeniah’s heart pounded as if trying to escape her chest, and her breath came in gasps. Nearly overcome, she waited for the chayim to determine her worthiness. She stood and lowered the hood of her cloak, careful to make no sudden movements lest she frighten him away.

Moving with regal grace, the chayim padded down the slope into the hollow and stopped barely out of reach. His shoulders were level with her head, and he was even longer than he was tall.

Quivering in excitement, she held out a hand. The beast took another step toward her. His long neck curved and his head dipped down while a pair of dark, intelligent eyes probed hers. She waited, trembling in anticipation, as if poised at the summit of a mountain. A step to one side would mean death. A step to the other would bring limitless freedom.

He blew gently into her face, a sign of acceptance. Her heart soared and tears of joy streamed down her cheeks. Driven by a compulsion to touch him, she raised her hand higher. When the beast opened his mouth, revealing two rows of sharp teeth, she felt no fear, only wonder, peace, and light. Her heartbeat slowed and she felt a smile curve her mouth as she spoke softly to him.

After a brief pause, the chayim answered with a low growl others might have found fearsome. Jeniah continued to extend her hand until it finally touched the long, square muzzle, finding the golden fur softer than she expected. The chayim closed his mouth and uttered a noise much like a purr.

Acceptance and an all-consuming love flowed into her as the chayim’s mind gently touched hers. Through the images he sent her, she witnessed changes to the land the chayim had seen during his long life. He mentally deepened their connection, wrapping her in warmth and safety and truth.

For the first time, she saw herself as more than an annoyance, more than a pretty distraction, more than her father’s pawn to forge a political alliance. She saw herself as a young woman of much greater worth. That knowledge filled her with indescribable joy and a renewed dedication to her duty. And it gave her hope.

Using her powers for others now became paramount, a realization both humbling and liberating.

Through emotion and image, the chayim assured her that her ability to blur was not a power to fear, but merely a small part of a greater magic that would serve her, and serve her people.

Buy link:


Donna Hatch has had a passion for writing since the age of eight when she wrote her first short story. In between caring for six children (seven counting her husband), she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night
instead of sleeping.

A native of the Southwest desert, Donna writes Regency romance and fantasy, and she thrives on a happy ending. All of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over twenty-two years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.


  1. I Would say that I come in Peace and Bring Gifts.To the wise Chayim.


  2. Welcome to your Celebration Feast, Donna

  3. Good morning Stacey, and welcome to Donna's Fairy Tale Banquet.

    A wise greeting for a wise Chayim. While we're waiting for the others to arrive make yourself at home and partake of the refreshments.

  4. A warm welcome to Donna for her celebratory roast today. I hope you enjoy the banquet we have prepared for you. Oliver has been cooking for days and has assured us that a taster has proclaimed the food as being fit for a queen. Grin.
    Stacey, our first guest. Welcome! Eat, drink and be merry.
    Lyn, dear, air kisses darling. So glad we found our way and won the nod of his majesty at the entrance. I do believe Oliver has smuggled in some mead as well. Come, let's go see if we can twist his arm to pop the cork. LOL

  5. Lyn hugs her sister hostess and waves once more to Stacey and Donna.

    Good morning Sharon dear, you're looking rather lovely! Mead did you say? Oliver, daahling, you're the best!

  6. Donna,

    It's such a wonderful and romantic fantasy tale having the pleasure of reading it! Love your alpha males :) and I won't give it away, but had a very difficult time deciding who I liked better. Maybe another sequel is in the making? Have a fun day at your roast and toast.


  7. Stacey, that sounds like a great thing to say to a Chayim.

  8. Thank you Hywela and Sharon! This looks wonderful. Wearing such a gorgeous gown and dining on such fabulous food is a sure guarantee for a great time. (Getting waited on by handsome knights doesn't hurt, either!)

  9. Aw shucks, Vicki, you're too kind. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Good Day, Donna, enjoy your Roast with us today, and yes, Oliver and the knights are here to please you and to obey your every whim! You look as lovely as your beautiful book cover and I think you're going to break every male heart in the castle today!

  11. Donna, you are the exotic and gorgeous queen indeed. And yes, Oliver and we three hostesses will be happy to see to your every need. And may all the nights in waiting have a chance to dance with you at this regal ball.
    Vicki, a warm welcome. Please make yourself at home and partake in the food and beverages. Isn't the music lovely? Donna, tell us about the inspiration of Queen in Exile. I think it's a fascinating excerpt and would love to hear more.

  12. "I am humbled in your presence." Okay that goes for you, too, Donna! What beautiful magic you weave with your words...

  13. I would say I cannot do it on my own, being but a poor damsel in distress, and am desperate for the help of the wise, infamous Chayim.

  14. My inspiration for Queen in Exile is hard to trace. I actually began the story way back in high school when I was really into, ahem, Dungeons and Dragons. It began as a vague concept and evolved into much more.

  15. Thanks for stopping by, Deena.

    Bonnie, I, too wish I could have the guidance of some wise and powerful magical creature to vanquish my foes and give me wisdom.

  16. Mary is lost in the beauty around her. She's heard of the wise Chayim, but never saw one. In every corner she looks, hugging her sisters they update her on the lovely story Donna has woven into the hearts of her readers. Will the Chayim greet me? I can only hope.
    In her excitement Mary trips over rushes and finds herself flat on her butt. Sharon and Lyn all twitter with sympathy, that floor is hard!
    Suddenly a handsome gentleman offers her a hand, kisses her palm after he helps her up, takes a deep bow and walks away.
    "So who was that handsome devil," Mary begs to know. And where do we find heroes like that?

  17. Hi Bonnie and Deena, welcome to Donna's party. Please allow Oliver to fill your cups and plates until they runneth over. Donna, dragons never go out of style. In fact, they seem to grow momentum and your story is truly captivating. To have such wisdom would be awesome.
    Mary, Sharon rushes to hug the other hostess. So happy you're back after your little incident of late. You look mar ve lous, darling. But a bit pale. Oliver, some sparkling cider is in order. What's that? You're looking a bit pale from fainting from the handsome knight? I don't know who he is. Donna, inquiry minds want to know?

  18. Maybe if I pinch my cheeks?
    I don't know who he was Sharon, but oooh he was so manly.
    They don't make em like that in the 21st century, not anymore.
    Have you guys seen the Chayim? You know how I love all creatures!It's beautiful I hear.
    Lyn I hear you lost your glass slippers. Shouldn't be too hard to find. But you both do look lovely. What a magical place. I just had a dragonfly tell me to move!

  19. If that knight was so handsome that the strength completely drained out of you, he had to have been Kai Darkwood, or as I sometimes call him, His Dreaminess. A knight of legendary acclaim, Sir Kai has been slaying foes with his sword, and stealing hearts of maidens with his smile all across the land.

  20. Thanks for coming, Mary! Be careful, falling in love with Kai Darkwood may leave you forever comparing him with others and finding them lacking.

  21. Mary, it's magical here and we are all enchanted. You look most lovely and the moonlight pouring through the windows becomes you. Here comes your knight. And there is Donna chatting to more guests. Now where oh where is Hywela Lyn? We can all gather round and have a toast for the Queen in Exile. Maybe Donna will teach us how to best handle the striking golden creature. Isn't he lovely?

  22. The beautiful chayim is being remarkably social tonight. Normally, he's extremely shy. It must be the influence of the queen, who is bonded with him. Even though he's huge, and rather fearsome-looking, he'd never hurt any of you, so no need to fear. Still, I wouldn't get too close, either to him or the queen. He's rather protective of her. Isn't he beautiful?

  23. Donna, perhaps you can persuade the handsome Sir Kai to give each of the fair maidens a spin about the dance floor? We would be most enchanted, even if so spoiled for other knights in waiting. Wink.

  24. Yeah, please, he's ssssoooooo dreamy. Does he have any available brothers? Cousins?
    Will the Chayim let me touch him, providing Queen Donna says it's okay. He's so beautiful. Tell me more about him, and his part in your new story. It's so mysterious and magical I love it!!
    Sharon and Lyn, you both look so nice tonite, yes I know I'm usually very bad, but I'll behave. I don't want any more medicine from the pharmcopia, ugh they taste awful. What powers doe the Chayim have?

  25. Kai considers it his duty to dance with fair ladies, even though he'd be the first to admit he didn't know how to dance before he went into service for the king.
    I catch his eye, smile and nod toward the ladies. After bestowing a kiss upon the queen's hand, he saunters over Sharon, offers a courtly bow, and extends a hand, all the while flashing that heart-stopping smile.
    Remember to breathe, Sharon.

  26. Lyn! Wake up! You'll get a chance with him. Oliver, could you help me to get Lyn off the floor? She swooned and thank God she has those huge sturdy shoes to land on.
    Oliver lifts Lyn and lays her on a close fainting couch, he says that's what they are for!
    Wake up Lyn, Hey, I know! Mary grabs a knight standing guard and rips off his face armor. You'll do, kiss her awake will you?Lyn's eyes flutter and she grabs the knight by the back of the head kissing him more. I guess she's okay Oliver. She's got that dreamy look on her face, kinda like the one Sharon has on with Kai.

  27. See, isn't Sir Kai so gallant to dance with so many of the guests? It's pretty easy to see who's already had a turn with him by the dreamy look on their faces.

    Oh, look, there's the queen dancing now. She's magnificent isn't she?

  28. oooh, I was having such a lovely dream - and then I woke up - and it was real! Ooooh mights and need - er I mean knights and mead! What a combination.

    And see that beautiful creature over there, blinking while Sister Hostess Mary talks to him. I think she has him spellbound - or is it the other way around? That must be the mythical and wonderful Chayim. Donna, thank you so much for bringing him and the knights with you to your special celebration. I longing to hear more about your wonderful story 'Queen in Exile', that sounds like something I need to read!

  29. Sharon blushes and nearly trips on her petite back side as the handsome Kai drags her to the dance floor for a spin. Oops, Donna wasn't kidding. I should borrow Lyn's sturdy shoes. But it's okay. What's a few missing toes when he's looking at me with those dreamy eyes....

  30. The party has been an unprecedented delight and honor. I've enjoyed getting to know my lovely and gracious hostesses and meeting the wonderful guests, and hey, anytime I can return to the magical land of Arden is always a joy. (Okay, I admit it, much of the appeal comes from being in the presence of Kai.) However, I have been summoned to an important royal gathering and must bid you all a fond farewell. But please, continue to eat, drink and be merry. I will stop back by later and I look forward to getting filled in on all the happenings during the party.

  31. Donna, have a great time and we'll carry on with the guests and Sir Kai will entertain us. We love hearing all about Queen in Exile and the magic and legends associated. Happy celebration!

  32. Yes Donna, farewell for now, enjoy your Royal Gathering and we will look forward to your return. In the meantime we'll try and entertain the noble Sir Kai to the best of our abilities *sigh*.

  33. Can't we clone Kai, he's so dreamy...?

  34. Oooh, do you think the world is really ready for two Kais, Mary - the ladies can hardly cope with one! LOL. (on the other hand ... it would save a lot of fighting!!)*Grin*

  35. I'd say: "I'm shy too. So dont worry, dear Chayim; we'll sit in the corner together and watch all the fun."

    WHAT a fantastic plot! Cant wait to read it!!!

    hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

  36. Hi Kari, welcome to Donna's Roat at the Fairy Tale Castle/ It's going to be one of those 'weekend affairs' again I think, as a lot of folk will be away celebrating July 4th.

    No problem, there's plenty of food and wine, and the party just keeps going as long as guests arrive!

  37. I would say..would you please join me as I need your support here...I hate being alone here. I would love Oliver to serve me a tall glass of bubbly and some fresh fruit. susan L.

  38. I don't know what you would say to a beast like that. May be you would just think how beautiful he is and how awesome.LOL
    Debby Creager

  39. Glad to see the party still going on! Hope everyone is having a great time. There's still plenty to eat and drink and Oliver looks quite chipper.

  40. From Margaret Turley
    "Sacred Chayim:
    Please accept my humble desire to serve you."

  41. Hi Susan and Deb, welcome. Oliver will be happy to serve drinks and food and winks with a smile.
    Donna, the celebration has been going on all weekend long and so has the dancing with the handsome Kai!

  42. The winner of the drawing is Kari Thomas. Congratulations, Kari! Please contact me at donnahatch29@gmail.com to arrange shipping your book.
    Thanks to everyone for joining the party!!!

  43. Thank you so much, Donna, and congratulations to Kari.


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.