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, November 26, 2010

Debra St John 's Celebration Picnic Party

Nestled in the woods is the cozy, log cabin, where Debra's party is to be held. Out back an old barn from the 1800s is filled with hay and the fresh, yet musty, smell, makes Lyn sneeze. The hostesses have been swinging from a rope in the loft of the barn and landing in the hay. "Lyn, you look like you slept in your clothes," Sharon chuckles. "We'd better brush ourselves off and make sure things are ready." Sharon, daring and adventurous, takes one last ride and lands next to Lyn, somewhere underneath them they hear a muffled voice asking for help. More hay and dust fills the air and Lyn sneezes again and again. "I think I have an allergy to this stuff. But it sure is fun." Lyn helps Sharon up and they dig under the the stiff, dry, grass to find Mary.

"I don't know how you do it Mary, only you could get stuck under a pile of hay." They help her out and all three of them brush the hay out of their hair and off of their clothes then head to the creek. Lyn stamps her large cowboy boots, Sharon brushes off her big butt, and Mary picks pieces of grass out of her large cleavage. They laugh at each other and head out of the open, off kilter, barn doors. Lyn eyes, an old cemetery and pokes Mary in the ribs. "How many people are dead in that cemetery, she asks her.

"Who knows." Mary shrugs. "All if them." Sharon, Mary and Lyn all laugh and as they walk to the wonderful spread set up and ready. Oliver, with Zach's help has set up tables and laid blankets out under the shade of maple and elm trees.

The soothing sound of the rushing creek and the warmth of a beautiful summer day make it perfect for a picnic and the launch of Debra St. John's book, This Can't Be Love

The meadows are filled with wildflowers and Oliver has placed them in old glass canning jars on each table. He looks handsome in his button down, western shirt, cowboy hat and snug jeans. His new boots shine in the sunlight. All three of the hostesses are dressed in the same way, each with different color shirts.

 "Look," Mary points to the acres of fields where ATVs buzz in the distance. "I wanna do that too."

 "Did you see the kids over behind the barn? They are having an archery competition, and they are blowing the adults away." Sharon can't wait to get her hands on a bow and arrow. She used to compete in the sport herself.

 "Look at Oliver, he is enjoying Zach's company for sure." Sharon is pleased she wasn't sure how Oliver would take Zach's help. But, they seem to be getting along just great. The girls want every one of Debra's favorite foods. Heaping piles of crisp fried chicken, corn on the cob, fresh from the garden, home made potato salad with eggs and without, burgers sizzle on the wood fire and smell delightful, and sliced tomatoes, onions, all kinds of condiments lie in wait for hungry guests.

When they are done playing the food will disappear. Huge tubs of hand churned ice cream and luscious hot fudge sauce will fill the craving for a sweet desert, alongside the icecream cake decorated with Debra's cover.

Oliver has set up a special table with bottled water, sparking grape juice, and the makings for virgin strawberry daquiris sit read to quench the thirst of even the most picky of visitors. Bottles of crisp cold beer sit in chests of ice for those who like it.

John Deere tractors start up for those who like bush hoggin' and he is eyeing the one he plans to use.

"I think I'll take a dip in the creek after lunch." Mary is tired, from walking the fields and seeing all the bluebird boxes with eggs ready to hatch in them.

Glorious mountains fill the horizon and the emerald green will turn to violet and blue as the sun later slides it's way to evening. "Did you bring your suits to change into in the cabin or do you both plan to skinny dip?" She laughs and Sharon swats her on the head in jest."Only if I find the right person to skinny dip with." Sharon smiles and hugs her sister hosts.
"Look it's Debra." Lyn points to a gorgeous appaloosa gelding and the pretty girl who jumps  from its back.

"Hi Debra. Welcome to your roast!" They all say in unison and then crack up laughing,

"Hi everyone, boy this place is really jumping. Look at all the people." She points to a table under a weeping willow tree where her books are waiting to be enjoyed. "I hope everyone buys one!"

They will Mary tells her. "We've come up with a great question for our guests. What is that thing under your saddle called?"

Lyn laughs as she just recently told Mary what it was called.

Sharon whistles a loud whistle to get everyone's attention and announces with glee!

"Eat, laugh, play, swim, love, and be merry. And have fun at Debra's roast. We are happy to see you and hope you have a blast with us today!
After the disastrous end of another dead-end relationship, all Jessica Hart wants is solitude and time to heal at her grandfather's mountain retreat. Instead she finds Zach Rawlings.
Zach has made himself at home at the cabin. He's house-sitting while the owner is away, and the temporary nature of the job suits him perfectly. For Jessica, Zach is everything she wants to escape.
As she gets to know him better, she realizes there's more to him than meets the eye. His patience and tender concern begin to heal something deep inside of her. But can she trust her heart to a man like Zach?

They laughed together, then fell silent. Crickets chirped in the darkness. The scent of Zach’s aftershave drifted to her on the light breeze.

            After a while, he turned toward her. “Do you?”
            “Do I what? Like apple pie and ice cream?”
            “No,” he said softly. His gaze dropped to her lips. “Do you kiss and tell?”
            Jessica’s heart kicked into a fast rhythm and she caught her breath. “I…”
            “Shhhh.” He leaned closer. “I won’t tell if you won’t,” he whispered before his mouth claimed hers.
            His lips stroked over hers, not aggressively, but softly, tenderly. He didn’t touch her anywhere else, but brushed her mouth with gentle intent.
            Her first instinct was to pull back, but something stirred deep inside her. A feeling she’d nearly forgotten. Whispery shivers danced along her nerve endings and fluttered in her stomach. Without meaning to, the action was purely a reflex, she opened to him.
            The kiss deepened. Their breath mingled. Her palm slid up his chest, feeling the play of muscle beneath his shirt. She fisted the flannel of his open collar in her hand.
            His knuckles grazed the sides of her face.
            Her body tingled with awareness. Scattered thoughts flitted through her mind, but she couldn’t hold onto any of them. Not while Zach kissed her. Not when his mouth fitted so perfectly against hers. Not when the pulse racing at the base of his throat matched the cadence of her heartbeat. 
            She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt like this. Had felt anything.
            Should she be feeling this way about Zach?
            Almost as if sensing her conflicting emotions, he softened the kiss, tenderly brushing his mouth over hers one last time.
            She waged a silent war within, trying to calm her racing heart.
            She still clutched his shirt. She relaxed her fingers one at a time, releasing the twisted fabric from her grasp. Finally she drew in a deep breath, then slowly let it out.
            Her eyes found his. 
            Zach’s gaze searched hers. He smiled. A smile as soft and tender as his kiss. He touched his finger to her lips, then rose. “Good night, Jess.”           

Debra St. John
coming November 5 from The Wild Rose Press
Champagne Rose and Rosebud #1 Bestseller!
a FREE read from The Wild Rose Press                                          


  1. Hi Debra

    Welcome to your Roast to celebrate the release of 'This Can't Be Love' earlier this month.

    I hope you enjoy it, the weather's lovely, the creek is inviting and we'll just sip some cool grape juice while we wait for the guests and the other hostesses to arrive.

  2. Hi Ladies,

    I am so happy to be here. Thanks so much for hosting such a wonderful party.

    Oliver, everything looks delicious! You and Zach did a wonderful job preparing the food.

    I think I'll start with a glass of sparkling grape juice and kick back by the creek to wait for our other guests to arrive.

  3. Oh, and I almost forgot. If you answer today's question correctly, you'll have the chance to win a PDF of "This Can't Be Love"! Good luck!

  4. Howdy Debra, Hope you are having a super time - I didn;t have any turkey yesterday so I am going to stuff into all this lovely food on offer...ooh, I spy the dishy Oliver - catch you later.

  5. MMM, yes this grape juice is rather good isn't it, Debra. It's so nice to be able to sit in the warm sun thanks to the miracle of the internet. It's cold and frosty where I am in the UK, so a virtual picnic is just the thing I need to warm up!

    Hi Margaret, so glad you could join the party. Aw, sorry yoo didn't get any turkey yesterday - neither did I, so we can both enjoy the turkey drumsticks Oliver and Zach have been barbequeing, mmm and some of those chicken pieces too, they look rather tasty!

  6. Hi Lyn and Margaret,

    So glad we could provide a tasty feast for you today!

    And, yes, it's crisp and chilly here in the Midwest today as well, so some warm, sultry Internet weather is just the thing.

    And on that note, I think it's time to dip my toes in the creek!

  7. OOHHH! That creek is cold! Mary has just tested the water and decided to come back later in the day when it's warmer. Hi everyone! Today is one of those lay back and watch kinda days for me. I might take a ride on one of those John thingees. Oops I mean the tractor. Anyhow what is bush hoppin' anyways?
    Sounds like my kinda fun? Or is it Lyn's?
    Mary laughs and hugs Lyn and Debra, this is gonna be some day!
    Now I wonder if Sharon is still rolling in the hay? Lyn smacks Mary and chuckles. Our sweet, innocent Sharon, more likely she split her pants. Mary and Lyn laugh, while Debra lifts her eyebrows. Yes, we tease each other a lot. We love each other just as much Mary adds.
    Lifting a glass of grape juice Oliver has stuck in her hand she raises her glass and smacks her lips. Mmmmmmmm! Good stuff!

  8. We'll get the oars. Lyn,you just take off your shoes and we can go paddling in the creek anytime you want. I won't ever drown with these babies. She points to her large boobs, they float you know!

  9. Mary,

    You'll get used to the cool creek. Just take a deep breath, and take the plunge!

    And somebody had beter find Sharon...that hay can get stratchy you know!

    Ah, the John Deere...my favorite thing to do at the creek...Kenny Chesney was right...tractors ARE sexy!

  10. John Deere in the creek? What is bush hoppin'? Does it involve bushes or hopping?
    Hope you sell a ton of books today!!

  11. Lyn splashes Mary a bit more robustly than she'd intended. Mary shrieks as it soaks down her cleavage. Lyn hugs her -oops sorry sweetie, didn't mean to cool you down quite so thoroughly!

    Wotcha mean you don't know what John Deere's and bushopping is? Sweetie, you've never lived!

    Let's hope our sweet sharon's OK, I guess it depends who she's rolling in the hay WITH!

  12. Nope never heard of it! What is it? And will I like, like, it or just, like, it? Tee Hee!
    Sharon does like to make an entrance doesn't she?

  13. Mmm, mmm some great eatin'. I could eat a little bit of everything. And it sure looks pretty around there. Beautiful horse. Your book sounds really good. Great cover. Don't enter me as I just won the last roast.
    Sue B

  14. Every one can enter, if fate has you win twice, then fate is on your side katsrus! Don't you just wanna jump in that creek?

  15. Hi Sue

    Welcome to the Roast! As Mary says, it's all in the ljuck fo the draw - if you're on a roll, go with it!

  16. Sharon and John Deer lope across the open meadow, plucking hay from their hair, mischief twinkling in their eyes. John gives Sharon a playful pat on her petite little butt.
    Spotting Debra dabbling her feet in the creek, Sharon rushes over and gives her a hug. Welcome to your roast, Debra. Congratulations on This Can't be Love. They ;look at John Deer and laugh so hard they tumble head first into the water...

  17. Hi Sue,

    You'd be a lucky gal to win twice in a row! You go girl.

    No, no, Mary, you don't put the John Deere IN the creek, you just ride it near-by the creek.

    Lyn, looks like you and Mary are all set for that wet T-shirt contest.

    Jessica, my heroine in THIS CAN'T BE LOVE, had to learn all about brush-hogging. Let's just say Zach is an excellent teacher. (In many, many ways...*wink*)

  18. Sounds great, Debra! I'd love to know more about 'This Can't Be Love'.

    Talking about Zach, he's doing a great job at the barbeque, but what about Jessica? Will she be joining us?

  19. Lyn and Mary plunge into the creek with a loud splash, swimming to save Debra. Lyn extends one of her big boat feet and Mary gallantly offers an inter tube size boob and rescue Debra, leaving Sharon gasping for air with the fish.

  20. Sharon frantically waves to Margaret and Sue to flag them down. HELPPPPPP

  21. This Can't be Love looks like a fantastic book, Debra. I loved all the beautiful images on the blog. Can I have the guy on the tractor?
    I wish you the very best.

  22. That's because that huge bubble butt don't float! Lyn throw her a life preserver will you? She's sinkin' like a rock!!! Sharon!! Love the outfit!!!

  23. John Deer finally takes a nose dive and pulls out the befuddled Sharon who glares at her sister hostesses.

  24. Hi Sharon, Welcome! Glad to see you finally made it out of the hay!

    Lyn, Jessica is never far from Zach's side, so I'm sure she's over there helping him dish up some yummy food. Oliver is still working the drink station...thanks, Oliver. I think I need a refill on my sparkling grape juice, you handsome thing you. *wink, wink*

    Mary, Sorry. Zach is definitely NOT available. His heart belongs to Jessica. (Not to mention all the good parts!)

    Sarah, Thanks for joining the party! The setting for THIS CAN'T BE LOVE is based on a place my hubby and I go each year for vacation. It was so kind of our lovely hostessess to use some of my very own pictures on their blog.

  25. Making a bee line to the food table, Sharon does the bump with Mary, hurling her into the water. Take that Mary Ricksen. HAHAHA

  26. Thank goodness I brought three clothing changes. I'm ready for you Sharon. Mary splashes Sharon who hurls bucket of water using her big butt as a sweeper. Lyn jumps in and makes a splash that drenches anyone withing 20 feet. Oliver shakes his head. Embarrassed again!
    But the three hostess's don't care they splash each other till soaked to the skin. A quick change and they are back at the party.
    Did you see that hot guy by the archery range guys. I'm gonna Robin Hood myself over there! HeHe!
    Where did all the hot guys come from anyways? Friends of Zach?

  27. Welcome Sarah. Allow Oliver and Zach to grab you some good eats.

  28. In the distance a lone singer is heard. "I love myself I think I'm grand, I go to the movies just to hold my hand. Put my arms around my waist and when I'm fresh I slap my face."
    Mary looks at Debra,Is that someone you know?

  29. Ooh, a country BBQ! Hi Debra. Love your excerpt! It's so sensual and the chemistry between the characters is sizzling! (Or is that the bbq-ed ribs I'm hearing, lol!)

  30. Sharon dear friend, allow me to remove those whisps of wet straw from behind your ear! I dunno, you and John Deere - and I always thought John Deere was just a tractor! Then there's Mary off with Robin Hood, oh it's a good job one of the hostesses is chaste and down to earth! *Grin*

  31. HI Alison,

    Welcome to the party...it could be that grill sizzlin'...although Zach is pretty smokin' hot!

    Mary, Nope. I don't know any singers. Must be a party crasher...oh well...everyone is welcome. Oh, and Zach does have some hot friends. Jake probably would be at the archery range. Grab him while you can...his story is in the works, and then he'll be off the market, too!

    Ladies, so glad you're having a splashin' good time. Great idea to bring changes of clothing!

  32. Hi Allison, so glad you're enjoying Debra's Roast. Yes, 'This Can't be Love' sounds great, doesn't it. any chance of another excerpt, Debra?

  33. You got it.

    Since brush hoggin' seems to be a hot topic around here...here's an excerpt of when Jessica first learns the term. As you can tell. at this point, Zach and Jessica aren't exactly sold on each other as of yet. But don't worry, they'll get there...

    “I’ll finish up here.” Zach ran water in the sink.

    He glanced over his shoulder. “What are your plans for the day?”

    “My plans for the day?”

    “Yeah, what are you going to do?”

    “I want you to tell me what needs to be done around here.”

    Zach rinsed the pan, then shut the water off. He turned, then leaned his hips against the counter and crossed one bare foot over the other. “Oh, yeah. Why’s that?”

    “So, when you leave,” she said pointedly, “I’ll know what needs to be done.”

    “I thought we settled this last night. I’m not going anywhere.”

    “And I thought I made myself perfectly clear.” She straightened to her full height. “We don’t need your services anymore. So, like I said, if you tell me what needs to be done, I’ll take care of it.”

    His gaze roved from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. “Really?” His mouth twitched as if trying to hide a smile.


    “Fine. Today the side field needs to be brush hogged, the thistles need to be cut down in the upper field, the ATV tanks need to be filled, and the garden needs to be weeded.” He folded his arms across his chest, a smug look on his face.

    She bit her lip. She was pretty confident about filling the gas tanks on the ATVs. And she could probably handle weeding the garden. But that’s all she was sure about. She didn’t know a thistle from an eggplant, and as for brush hogging, she had no idea. Since Pops didn’t own any animals, she was pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with actual hogs, but beyond that, she didn’t have a clue as to what Zach meant.


    She’d have to Google it.

    She glanced at Zach. He still wore that infuriating expression. Worst of all, he was right. She had no idea how to do the things he’d said.

    Double damn.

    She put her hands on her hips and jutted out her chin. “That doesn’t sound too bad.” She’d figure it out. She had to. Zach couldn’t stay. And she’d cut off her right arm before she asked for his help before he left.

    He had the audacity to laugh. “Okay, then, have it your way. Since you won’t be needing me, I’ll be down at the creek.”

    He strode from the room, whistling.

  34. Look there is a swing that goes over the lake, anyone wanna come? It looks like fun and I've never done it before. Who can make the biggest splash?

  35. Fantastic excerpt,Debra, that Zach sounds more attractive every moment!

    I might just stroll over to the barbeque and ask him if there's any more chicken --

    Aah! OK, Mary, OK, I'm coming with you to the swing just let go my hair -- ooch!

  36. Ah, swinging and splashing...fun stuff, ladies.

    Yes, Zach is...well, fabulous.

  37. Great excerpt,Debra, drew me right in. Now now ladies, just keep your hands off my sexy John Deer and I won't have to play Bob for Apples with your heads. GRIN

  38. Hi there Allison, yes the grilled food is indeed sizzling...or is that Oliver and ZachLOL

  39. Now, now, Sharon. You can have John Deer all to yourself...

    We won't get in your way, will we girls?

  40. We wouldn't dare, Debra, Sharon's like a kitten on the rampage when she's angry! LOL

    There are plenty of handsome hunks here today for us gals - and knowing Mary, she's probably invited The Duke and the James gang... she usually does!

  41. I had a lot of fun in the country with you ladies! Debra, do you really have an appy gelding? I'm a horse nut, too.

  42. All right, Debra but can Zach duck me just once? Pretty please with sugar on it?
    You are so right about Mary, Lyn. She's down by the creek exposing her boobs like a common saloon girl screaming for the Duke and the James Gang to come back. It's embarressinfg.

  43. Hi Bianca

    Thanks so much for joining the party - especially as another 'horse nut'! :)

    Not sure about Debra in real life (she'll probably tell us) but Mary and Sharon both used to ride and I have two horses myself, a black Welsh Cob and a paint/Quarter Horse!

  44. Oh I know, Sharon, she will insist on wearing a shirt two sizes too small so she can show off her enhanced figure, and then the buttons just go 'pop'! *Sigh*, just as well she didn't set her sights on Zach or there might have been a cat fight. I mean, Jess isn't just going to stand by without taking action, is she?

  45. Ahem Sharon, I can't help it that I lost my top. You're just jealous that your John Deer came onto me and ditched you to run to the creek and help me. He offered me his shirt. What a gentleman. And You saw the Duke Lyn? That's impossible he's doing a heavenly movie and couldn't make it. But the James gang has been with me for awhile now. The two brothers both asked me out. But I'm not sure which one I want. And by the way bubble butt, you split your pants again! Ha! Take that!
    Sharon chases Mary all around the field behind the barn. Mary leaves her in the distance and comes back to the party. I hold these babies so they don't bounce them. But Sharon, well, what can she do, but drag her butt. Ha! I'm so good...

  46. I didn't actually say I'd SEEN the Duke today, Mary dear, and I know you're jealous because Jesse fancies me and not you!

    Anyway, no-one, not even Oliver, can do better than Zach at enticing the ladies today, ooh, he's such a hunk!

  47. Hi Bianca,

    Welcome to the party!

    No, in real life I don't have a horse. (But that is me on the tractor!)

    Okay, Sharon, Zach can dunk you ONCE, but any more than that and Jessica might get a little...um...antsy.

    Mary, be careful...we certainly don't want any cat fights as this wonderful party...Jess spent a long time looking for the right man, and now that she's found him, she's not going to let him go!

  48. Lyn,

    Zach really is a hunk...I hope there are no hard feelings from Oliver today.

    Oliver, honey, I still love you! (blowing kisses)

  49. Debra, you look great on that John Deere, I thought it might be you! 'Course we all live fantasy lives on the Roast, but that's what we writers do, isn't it, so if you wnat to ride an Appy, wheeeeeee, you're a crack horsewoman!

    Hmm, I guess we're all a little bit jealous of Jerss really, that Zach sounds like such a lovely guy. Tell us- how did you come to write this story?

  50. This is actually the second in a series of sorts. In my first release, THIS TIME FOR ALWAYS (from TWRP), Zach was a secondary character: the heroine's best friend.

    When I first thought of writing ALWAYS many, many years ago, I purposely put a few other characters in the mix who I thought could eventually get their own stories some day.

    THIS CAN'T BE LOVE is Zach's story. One of our favorite vacation spots became the setting, and wa la...Zach gets a love of his own.

    Right now, I'm working on Jake's story. He also appears in my first book with Zach. Jake's a bullrider. Mnnn mnnnnn. Yummy. Alas, this hot country boy doesn't expect the city gal who comes into his life. She's going to give him the ride of his life.

  51. Great excerpt! What a wonderful site.

  52. Hi Bianca and welcome to Debra's roast. There's plenty of fried chicken...er...if you're a marathan runner. Don't look now but Lyn is making a bee line to the picnic table and can she beat feet in those paddle boat dogs of hers. OOPS...she just bowled over a herd of grazing moo cows in the meadow.

  53. Debra, Zach's getting fresh in the water....ahhh...a little lower. Sigh

  54. Mary dear, here comes your precious Duke and it's my split jeans showing just a hint of my red hot lace thong...not your exposed cleavage, sweet cheeks.

  55. Hi Pamala, Welcome to the party!

    Sharon...just don't tell Jessica. And I'm lovin' the red hot lace. No wonder Zach is getting fresh.

    Lyn? Are you okay? Don't let those cows trample you. We'll save you some chicken, never fear.

  56. Lyn rolls up to the grill, spitting feathers!

    Who tripped me up? good job I'm a cow whisperer! they made sure they didn't tread on me - cows don't like putting their hooves in anything soft and squishy!

    Debra, isn't it great when your secondary characters ask for their own stories. That's what happened to me too. and it's great to have them in a real setting that you know well. I have to admit Jake sounds like a hot character too!

    Welcome Pamala and Bianca. Help yourself to refreshments, Zach and Oliver will keep the barbeque going as long as their are guests to feed!

  57. Ladies and Oliver,

    Thanks so much for a wonderful party! I had a blast...

    I'll pop by later today to choose a winner for the PDF of THIS CAN'T BE LOVE.

  58. Thank you for being such a sporting and fun guest, Debra, Hope it added to your Thanksgiving fun and wishing you many sales with your books. Thanks also to Zach of course, he certainly added a certain something to our Roast this week!

  59. Red lace, I thought it was polka dot undies Sharon...
    Lyn, Let me help you to get the feathers off. Oh wait, you look like a bird. And you stepped in cow poop!
    My, my, aren't we the hot ones?
    The Duke is all mine. Wait I just invited Jessie too. Hmmmmm.
    Debra you have been such a good sport. Sorry, we took the dogs to the doggie park and just got back!
    They had so much fun. And we all had so much fun with you! I hope you sell a million copies of your wonderful story. Yes! It is love!!! Thanks for allowing us to cater your party. I wish you the best!