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, June 10, 2011

Annie Nicholas - The Beta

It’s magic from the old world. Dark arts and  White magic.  Werewolves and vampires and demons. Hello and welcome to the Author Roast and Toast! If you are a werewolf and vampire fan, you are in for a treat. Annie Nicholas is in the house to celebrate  the release of The Beta

An eerie whistle swooshes through the dark forest entombing the cave as the hostesses enter. They shiver in eager anticipation of the evening ahead. A party in the dark forest of Lincoln Park. Oh, what a thrill.

“Tonight is the night I will fulfill my fantasy,” AJ says, clutching the amulet stone close to her heart. “To be bitten by a werewolf, and I can hardly wait to grow my hair back.”

“Once smitten, twice bitten,” Sharon chants, rubbing the amulet around her neck for dear life.

“But you sisters know why we came to the dark forest, so no matter how frightened, stay focused and repeat the chant. Once smitten, twice bitten, soulmate of the charismatic Count Vlad. Grant me back my bubble butt.”

“We’re off to see the werewolf, the wonderful werewolf,” Lyn soldiers on, anointing herself with oils to ward off demons. “We must be bitten so we can break the curse and have our props returned. March, sisters, march. Never thought I’d miss my big feet, who knew”

“Aoooo” Mary howls, pounding her boobless chest. “Aoooooo werewolf of Chicago. I want him to bite me so I can get my hooters back. Anoint me, Lyn, dang girl, quit hoggin’ it.”

As the sisters get deeper into the forest, donned in black flowing capes, amulet stones around their throats, the crisp night air awakens their senses, nerve endings snapping beneath their flesh.

And then they see it—the cave, dark and foreboding. But darker still is the sky as the blood-red moon skitters across the hemisphere like the gleaming eye of a serpent. From deep in the forest, a werewolf howls, the cry of the wild, chilling.

Gothic cathedrals and chateaux grace the Chicago skyline, while fertile vineyards and lush green hills pepper the landscape. Then the sisters spy the cave in the cemetery.

Suddenly, a flash of lightening splinters the sky with forks of brilliant white light. And in that brief second, a vaporous glow illuminates as Annie appears. Looking gorgeous in a crimson gown, flowing cape and ruby red gem stones, she blows kisses.

Oliver stands guard at the cave, looking smashing in his vampire attire.

The smell of Chicago deep dish pizza and wings waft through the cemetery.

The cake is lemon with white chocolate frosting and raspberry center. Kegs of beer line the cave

Oliver kisses Annie, his eyes gleaming in the moonlight. Annie smiles and agrees to read a teaser of her book.

In order to win a download, please answer the following question.
What is your  potion to ward off evil demons? Enjoy the party.

Here’s Annie:

As the pack’s Beta, Robert needs to watch over the Vasi werewolf pack for a few days.

He hates the responsibility, but his job is to dissolve any problems while his alpha honeymoons. Nevertheless, trouble comes to town and her name is Esther. She's beguiling, beautiful and picks his pocket. Although Robert doesn’t trust her, he still wants to possess her.

Esther arrived in Chicago with the intention of slaying a vampire named Daedalus.

While trailing her quarry, she encounters Robert who unhinges her world. He doesn’t know her trade, and she doesn’t know his connection to the vampire. Disturbed by her attraction to this unusual werewolf, she can’t decide which prey to hunt. The one who’s stolen her heart or the one who’ll fill her bank account.

He couldn’t believe his ears when she asked him for the time. Tall, she had long legs with a nice curve to her hips and breasts, intelligent blue eyes and a personality playful enough to draw him out his shell. She’d taken control of the conversation, no hesitation in asking him to accompany her home or in kissing him. He loved smart,confident women but one had never liked him back.
Grinning like a fool, he jogged to his car, burning off the extra energy her kiss produced.

He’d wanted to do so much more with her, like push her against the wall so she could wrap her legs around his hips and allow him to grind against her core. Maybe tomorrownight, he’d get what he fantasized.

Approaching the car, he pulled out the keys. The gas gage was on empty on his wayhere. He needed to fill the tank, but he couldn’t recall how much cash he’d broughtwith him. After working for banks and credit card companies for the last few years,he never liked using either, not trusting the system. His right back pocket, wherehe usually placed his wallet, was empty. Checking the left pocket, his heart sank into his gut as it turned out empty as well. He patted the front ones and only foundhis cell. Maybe he’d dropped it while wrestling with Talon?

Deep down inside, he knew the truth. Esther.

He was such a fool. Beautiful women didn’t ask geeks like him for a kiss. Grinding his teeth, he pictured her laughing at him as she flipped through his wallet, countingwhat little cash he carried.

The hole in his gut grew wider. Crap, he didn’t have anything to buy gas and no way to get home but his own two feet. The last thing he wanted to do was call Daedalus or anyone from the pack for a lift. He’d never hear the end of it.

Respect was something you earned, and how would he ever obtain any if he fell for
obvious scams?

Clenching his fists, Robert turned around and marched back to where he’d left Esther. His beast stretched inside him, frustrated that he wouldn’t release it. Control over one’s inner monster sounded easy, but the struggle became an hourly routine. Shifters dealt with this all the time, day or night, in sickness or in health. The first rule of the Vasi pack was human dominance over animal instinct, because once the beast started calling the shots the shifter began to forget right versus wrong and listenedto the laws of the jungle instead.
Robert crouched by the spot where Esther had stood as she’d kissed him. Sometimesanimal instincts came in handy. Her scent left a trail. He wanted his wallet back, and his pride.

Released May 16th



Annie just got news that the whole Vanguards series will be out in print on July 1st!

To win a copy of Annie's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends tomorrow and everyone who comments is elligible.


  1. Thanks for throwing this eery party for my release! *pats Oliver on the butt as she passes*

  2. Good morning Annie, welcome to your Celebration Party. You're looking very lovely in your crimson robe.

    Congratulations on the release of 'The Beta', it sounds like a wonderful read.

  3. What is your potion to ward off evil demons?

    We're supposed to ward them off? I was thinking more perfume and a hot red dress. ;)

  4. LOL CM!You sound like a brave, feisty lady! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Great party! I have chills running up and down my spine - my mantra "There's no place like home, there's no place like home." But I'm still here. Maybe I'd better have a piece of pizza. Congratulations on the release and many sales.

  6. CM: Great minds think alike! I'm already wearing my red dress.

    PL: Thanks!

  7. Welcome to your dark forest party Annie. Congratulations on The Beta, sounds enticing. You look fabulous in red dah ling. Enjoy your day and mega sales!

  8. Air kisses Lyn dear, let's go get bitten. We need our props returned after all, race you

  9. LOL CM that's a perfectly chillingly delightful answer.
    Patsy, welcome. Yes, by all means, grab a pizza, YUMMY

  10. Lyn hugs Sharon and Annie and waves to Patsy.

    Hi Patsy, enjoy your pizza - while you can, *evil grin*!

    Where's our Mary I wonder? and AJ? Ah well I guess they may have got delayed. Who knows what they might have encountered in the woods.

  11. Who knows about our sisters Lyn. Perhaps we ought to have Annie do her call of the wild.

  12. Now there's an idea, Sharon!

    Annie, do you think Robert and Esther could help our critters, Cuddles, Nibbie and Thor find our missing sisters?

  13. *Checks the crowd for Robert* He hates crowds. I'll have to send Esther to drag him in but I can break out MY call of the wild.

    *takes another sip of her martini before letting out a pitiful howl*

  14. I have more to celebrate than my release of The Beta. I just got news that the whole Vanguards series will be out in print on July 1st!

  15. WOW! That's great news, Annie. E-books are great, but there's nothing quite like the feel of 'real' paper and the look of that glossy cover, is there!

    We'll add that to your post now!


    I think that howl of yours had an effect - what's that thundering through the trees?

  16. Oh what wonderful news Annie, congratulations! A call of the wild explodes through the dark forest.

  17. Here here Lyn, was that our Mary's howl

  18. Sorry AJ, didn't see y'all in that dark cave. Oh, MG you got your big hair back. Snicker, yall know what they say 'bout being careful what you wish for

  19. you first Lyn, go on get bitten so you can get your stompers back

  20. Annie my lovely, kisses and congratulations, my dear. A glass of champagne and a toast for your news. You are indeed an enchanting ccreature. Might I be so bold as to take a little nibble on your sweet neck

  21. Ladies ladies, welcome to the dark forest, my lovelies. Sharon, Lyn, Mary and AJ, drinks with a potion for my she devils. Wink wink

  22. Patsy and CM, such sheer beauty, come into the dark den for pizza wings and beer. Grin

  23. Oliver, so bold. *blushes* Of course, you can.

  24. Oliver grins and bears fangs

  25. I have to admit it would be worth being inflicted with big feet to be bitten by Oliver - not quite so sure about the werewolf though!

    Hey folks, Cuddles just flew in with a message from Mary. Hold on let me get nearer the candle and I'll tell you what it says.

  26. Mary grabs the blob she has put into her bra, and she stuffs it back in. The real ones, though oversized, are fixed permanently to my chest. "But to make Sharon have something to play with, I had these removable phonies made. Work rather well and they enhance my figure.
    Congratulations on your book Annie, it sounds wonderful."

    Suddenly Mary's phone rings. "I know I was supposed to turn it off. But Nibby has been a bad doggie. She pulls on her leash trying to run across the street!
    She chased a little kid and then got mad when I disciplined her.
    Well, apparently she has been arrested for barking at kitties and chasing them. She also stole some shoes, and chewed them into pieces. That was added to the shredded newspaper. She says she couldn't help it she doesn't like to be left alone. So I will be at the doggie police station, trying to bail
    her out. She is a little devil! She growled at the nice policewoman, tried to snatch a sandwich off of the Sergeant's desk. And God knows what else she did."

    So Mary reluctantly changes into regular clothes, pats her beautiful dress one more time, as she grabs the car keys Oliver tosses to her with a wink.

    "Bye everyone, I have to go get Nibby. The vet says she is a devil too. What am I to do! I know she was a runt of the litter, but you'd think she's get over those
    issues? Anyone wanna come along? "

    Mary sighs and waves as she goes to spend her day in the jailhouse. Who knows how long it will take. Nibby is a bad doggie.

  27. Mary, thank goodness you're ok. Go bail bad Nibby and we'll hold down the forest. Now if we could find AJ. Lyn, good show, you got your feet back. No need to stomp on me sweetie

  28. *Sigh* I hate wearing these oversized shoes, although I did kinda miss them for a while there. Only a while though!

    Cuddle, Nibbie, Thor, go and see if you can find AJ. Hope she hasn't been kidnapped by a werewolf or anything!

    Annie, any chance of another excerpt from your book? I can't wait to hear more about Robert and Esther

  29. I'd love to share another excerpt. Let's see if blogger will play nice with me.

    Another man exited the building not long after the vampire. He wore a rumpled button-down, short-sleeved shirt tucked into loose jeans. His mouse brown hair cried for a cut and a comb.

    He pushed his glasses up his nose and bent to tie his running shoes.

    Recognizing him as the person who had accompanied Daedalus earlier, Esther heard opportunity knocking. He didn’t look like a threat being thin and weak. She crossed the street and approached him from behind. “Excuse me. Do you have the time?”

    Glancing over his shoulder, his gaze traveled along her bare legs, to her knee length loose skirt, and finally met her stare. Her breath caught in her throat. The irises of his eyes reflected a non-existent light and shone pale amber. He blinked and it vanished, must have been the glasses that gave such a strange effect.

    He rose in a single fluid motion that set her predator alarm off. Checking his cellphone, he gave her a shy smile. “It’s ten after two.” He scanned the area around them. “This is a dangerous part of town, ma’am. You shouldn’t walk around alone. Trouble is going to find you.”

    Or maybe find him. She eyed his wiry arms and changed her assessment of him. Lean, tight muscles slid under his skin as he moved. He wasn’t weak, more like a cross between a martial artist and a geek.

    “Are you offering to walk me home?” Flashing him her most flirtatious smile, she toyed with a piece of her hair.

  30. He swallowed. “S-sure.” Shuffling to her side, he fell in next to her, eyes darting around them.

    Men were so easy to manipulate, but this one actually wanted to protect her. So cute, she could have pinched him. Trying to be discreet, she took quick peeks at him. Nice strong chin and straight nose. Maybe a hint of freckles? It was difficult to tell in the dark.

    “I’m Esther.” She held out her hand. What the hell prompted her to use her real name?

    Wrapping a firm hand around hers, he shook it. “I’m Robert.”

    His touch sent tingles along her arm. The name seemed too mature for him. “What are you doing out so late, Rob?” How did such a polite man like him get involved with a Nosferatu? She checked his neck for bites and didn’t see anything, but there were more places on the body to feed from besides the neck. It would be a shame if he was a blood slave.

    “Robert is fine. I was checking on a…friend.” He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “And you, Esther?”

    She laughed. “I’m up to no good.” And she winked at him.

    A rosy blush surfaced on his cheeks as he stumbled.

    Something in this man attracted the devil inside of her. She entangled her arm around his and leaned into his hard body. The strength hidden under the geeky exterior sent a pleasant shiver through her body. Not all things were as they appeared. She hated surprises but not this one. If this was an act then he deserved an Emmy. She glanced at him, pleased that she needed to arch her neck back slightly to meet his sharp green gaze.

    God, what was she doing? She assessed him like a potential lover instead of a possible avenue to get her mark. Stupid, focus. Once Daedalus was out of the picture she’d come back for Rob if she still wanted him. Until then…she stopped in front of a duplex. “This is my place.” She lied with the ease of an expert.

  31. OOO shivers Annie dear, bravo. More champagne or pizza or wings? Some cake perhaps

  32. Lyn sweetie, kick the werewolf with your ah...slightly larger than normal foot and make him grant me back my fine asset. Grin

  33. Annie, perhaps y'all can distract me by sharing a bit about your wild imagination and characters you bring to life.

  34. Lyn digs the lurking werewolf gently with the pint of her oversized shoe.

    He snarles, lips curled back over long white fangs and sinks them into Sharon's butt as she bends over, to read the pages of Annie's book more closely.

    Sharon shrikes, leaps up three feet in the air and claps her hand to her swelling posterior.

    Lyn almost falls over, laughing so much. Sweet sister Sharon, you know I'll do anything for you!

    Yes Annie, we'd all love to know more about you and your characters!

  35. Kiss kiss sweet Lyn, feels so good to have my wiggle back. Now where oh where is AJ, and sure hope Mary is managing to keep Nibby out of trouble. What we need is the...Sharon rubs her eyes at the sound of hooves and gunfire...could it be...dare it be

  36. The Vanguards series in based upon my original pack The Omegas who are the pansies of the paranormal. Geeks, nerds, introverts whatever you wish to call them, they are faced with challenges as werewolves and have to meet them in their own way.

    Not all heros need to be chest pounding alphas. Sometimes a woman needs to route for the under dog.

  37. Robert is the pack introvert and computer geek. His best friend is the pack's alpha who insists on making Robert the beta. Nobody believes in Robert's skill as second in command including Robert.

    I've tossed enough problems at Rob in this story to give him an ulcer and in three days his life is turned inside out and upside down.

  38. Esther on the other hand is cool as a cucumber and confident enough in her killing abilities to consider slaying a Nosferatu vampire. In her line of business, the men in her life have always been overbearing assholes who thought they knew everything. Robert never acts or does as she expects and the confident woman becomes insecure and jealous enough to kill.

  39. Poor Rob! What a fascinating and original premise, Annie, as you say, sometimes we just have to root for the underdog!

  40. Crumbs! Look what's coming up over yonder hill - you're right Sharon.
    The Duke and the James Gang. They must have heard our Mary's in a spot of trouble and are heading over to break poor Nibbie out of dog-jail!

  41. I knew it, talk about riders of the purple sage, and is that our Mary hanging onto the Duke for dear life

  42. You're right, Sharon,you ain't wrong.

    Oh dear, you know the Duke, all guns waving, but he's like a pussy cat really. I can see this all ending in tears and the lot of 'em getting slung into jail!

    Any mead around Oliver dear?

    Oh, Annie, I can sure imagine the sparks flying between Annie and Rob, looks like I'm hooked too!

  43. Here we go then, Lyn, my sweet pet, a nice mead, a perfectly chilled chardonney for the fair Sharon, ice beer for the diva queen Annie, a strawberry smoothie for the sweet Mary and a sweet tea for the lovely AJ. And a whole keg o beer for the Duke and the James Gang. Here here

  44. Mary, Sharon hugs her. All's well that ends well. AJ is hooked to a dark demon in the den...what to do. She is smiling after all. Any suggestions Annie

  45. Oliver!!! I'm on my way - in the dark - all alone where no one can hear me scream! Where are you my darling?????
    Guess I'll just go eat pizza - can I add a beer?

  46. Patsy my sweet darling girl, take my hand, although I must say I do bite. grin

  47. Woo hoo Annie! Congrats on your release (and the book going to print!!!)

    Well, since it already is all Chicago-y in here, I'm going to try to ward the demons off with Garrett's Popcorn....though clearly I'm not going to try that hard.

  48. Hope I'm not too late to the party. I love the cover art, Annie. The skyline is so picturesque. (HeeHee)

  49. Oliver, you are such a dear! You can always produce everyone's favourite tipple. Don't know how you do it!

    Sasha, welcome to Annie's party, go easy on the popcorn now! ;)

  50. Welcome Kary. No, you're not too late! Our parties tend to go on for most of the weekend if the guests can stay on their feet that long! :)

    Yes, that is a very 'interesting' skyline on Annie's cover, isn't it!

  51. Welcome Sasha and Kary, just in time for my mushroom and cheese omelets, so light and fluffy they'll melt in your mouth. Plenty of crisp bacon, blueberry muffins, and piping hot coffee and tea. Annie love, the first heaping platter has your name on it. Enjoy.

  52. Sharon waves to Sasha and Kary, then looks around the dark forest. All is quiet and the sisters agree as they skip off to line up for Oliver's omelets, that there are worse things than getting bit by a werewolf. A OOOOOOOOO

  53. Lyn gulps down a mouthful of light as a whisper omelette and waves to Sasha.

    Hi Sasha, sorry I think I forgot to say hello to you earlier on! Must be that nip on the neck Oliver gave me, my mind just went blank!

    Sharon, sweetie, is that fur growing on the back of your hands?

  54. Snicker Lyn, fraid so sister. But before you crack yourself up, honey. That's some five o'clock shadow you're sprouting on your chinny chin chin

  55. Oh crumbs!

    Cuddles, here boy, we need your healing horn!

    Darn where is thast little unicorn when we need him?

  56. Congrats on your new release. What a yummy cover! Great excerpt. Adding this one to my reading too. What a great party ladies and Oliver.
    Sue B

  57. Hi Sue

    Thanks so much for stopping by, great to see another of our 'regulars'! :)

  58. Whoo *wipes sweat from forehead* running with the pack is a lot harder than they told me!

    I had one of shiters pick a name out of a hat. *plucks paper from his claw* The winner is Sasha! I contact you before tommorrow!

  59. Sorry to be late to the party, but it took me a long time to work up the courage to attend. All those werewolves and vampires scared me. I hope I can find my way home through the dark forest. Wish I'd brought my flare gun and flashlight.

  60. Hi Caroline

    Lovely to see you - tell you what these vamps and were's aren't really as scary as they pretend to be! Come sit by the campfire and have some pizza.

  61. Hugs Caroline, don't fear, eeere comes Oliver to hold your hand.

  62. Thanks so much! I can't waaaaaait to read this!


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.