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, December 16, 2011

'Dancing With Dogs' - Eileen Granfors celebrates her latest book - Stairs of Sand - with a beach party of the canine kind

          “I love this place!” Lyn waves her hand around Imperial Beach Dog Park, Imperial Beach, California. “Look at all this. “I can’t believe this whole part of the beach is set aside for dogs!” Mary adjusts the top of her bright pink swimsuit stretched tight across her full bosom.

“Well, it’s only from 5 to 10 p.m. No dogs on the beach during regular hours. But tonight it’s dancing and surfing lessons for the canines. ” Lyn’s big feet stride down a sand dune, headed towards the activity, her bright flowered skirt fluttering in the sea breeze.

Five trucks enclose a huge area of the beach. Goodies for the hungry, prepared lovingly by Oliver!


One is set up strictly for desserts—cupcakes, carrot cake with raisins, and butterscotch pudding, another for Somali food, and still another for multicultural, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, relenos.

The fourth offers mixed tropical drinks and Hawaiian punch for the kiddies,

and lastly a truck strictly catering to the dogs with such treats as frosty paws ice cream and healthy dog biscuits.

Dogs in every shape and size, from mutts to pure breeds, wander through the enclosure, stopping to inspect and sniff the human bystanders.

Hampy and Cuddles squeak as they race for cover. Nibbie stands her ground, growling at the intruders on her new found territory.

“Oh my!” Sharon squeals, her bubble butt in the lime green boater pants jigging in excitement. “It’s Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers! My absolute fav!”
Mary heads to the bar truck. “I can’t wait to have a Margarita or a Rum punch! My mouth is watering. Oh, Look! Little umbrellas in the drinks!” Sharon eyes the trucks. “Why the Somali food?”

Lyn reaches for a cupcake. “Eileen told me that one of her friends, Chloris, loves that stuff.”
Patsy flexes her arms, the tank top a perfect foil for her muscular biceps.

“Yippee! There’s a video screen set up and the Three Stooges is playing! I am in Seventh Heaven!”
Eileen, looking absolutely terrific in a strapless sun dress, races over and hugs them all. “So glad you could come! Did you bring sweatshirts? The beach gets a little cool as it gets dark. But we’ll have a fire pit going later on.”
Mary beams over the top of a frosty Margarita! “I brought the beach chairs and blankets!”

Eileen claps her hands. “The dog surfing lessons are starting for those who are interested and everyone needs to pick a dog partner. Zoozle will demonstrate the Cha Cha and Tango with Phillip McKillop and Lordman and after that, Zoozle and Jacques, a Newfoundland Retriever, will judge the dancing contest. Join Eileen's blog as round one of the dog-owner dance competition: www.authoreileengranfors.blogspot.com or

The winner gets a copy of my novel, Stairs of Sand!”

    “Dancing dog partner?” Patsy’s brows arch in surprise. “We’re dancing with dogs?”

    “Yeah!” Lyn laughs. “That’s what this party is all about! What fun!”

 A Great Dane wanders up, pausing to give Mary’s face a juicy swipe with his giant tongue. He rears up, huge paws resting on Mary’s chest.
“I think he likes you,” Sharon says. “Me, I’m picking something smaller.” She heads towards a Brittany Spaniel.
A white toy poodle races up to Patsy. “This is my kind of dog! Sure hope Hampy doesn’t get jealous!”
Lyn heads into the foray. Minutes later she comes back, leading a Scottish Terrier. “This one looks promising.”
Mary wipes her face, grimacing. “I think I need a smaller dog. Where’s Nibbie when I need her?”
“But he likes you!” Sharon frowns. “You don’t want to hurt his feelings!”
The band starts up and Zoozle enters. “Now everyone,” she yells. “Time to learn the Cha Cha and Tango.”

Dogs yip and howl along with the rock music. Mary struggles to lead the Great Dane. Patsy picks up the poodle and holds her while they dance. Sharon drags the Brittany Spaniel around the enclosure and Lyn patiently waits for the Scottish Terrier to move. Several dog owners are chasing their pets around the circle. Mass confusion erupts as the humans attempt to dance with the dogs.

“This is so wonderful!” Eileen gushes as she dances with a retriever. “And it will only get better as the night goes on!”

Stairs of Sand opens with Zoozle, an unemployed dancing teacher, reaching the lowest ebb of her life. With the help of a new friend, a Newfie dog and his gallant master, she finds allies to help her prove that she is more than her psychiatric diagnosis. Can she overcome the rages and impulsiveness of Borderline Personality Disorder and learn to love her mother before suicide beckons again?


Lately, I don’t much talk except to Mel. I make an exception since he has a dog. “May I pet your dog?” I ask him.

“We’d love that, wouldn’t we, Jacques?” He rubs his dog behind the ears.

I sink to my knees to pet the dog, who is tall enough to look me in the eyes when I do. His gaze is direct and soft with affection. Though he’s wet in the misty air, it feels wonderful to put my head on his. My heart uncurls one nanometer.

“Hi Jacques,” I say. Jacques smiles. He licks my face, my new short hair, spiky with hair gel. I push my hair with my fingers, then rub the dog’s slobber and my hair gel on my jeans, and I smile back.

“His full name is Frère Jacques. But we cut it short.” The old man grins with the pride of a father. “I’m Phillip McKillop.” He takes off his hat and sweeps it across his heart.

I scratch the dog some more. “Hello, Phillip. I’m Suzann, Suzann Zimmerman.” I don’t know why I don’t tell him Zoozle. “I used to have a dog, a little guy, part spaniel, part Pomeranian. My ex has him now.”

Javier has Boo, Javier has a house, Javier has a new life. Me, I’ve got Mel. I’ve got a roof over my head with Big Daddy, Mel’s meth-making friend, which was cool until I stopped doing meth. Now, I wouldn’t want a dog around Big Daddy. I don’t want me around Big Daddy.

“Bye Phillip. Bye, Jacques.” Holding the dog has tightened the knot in my throat. I can’t swallow it down. Despair claws with more powerful digs into my stomach. I look off into the dark night, back towards the car where Mel is tracing patterns on the fogged windows. What escape route should I take from this huge mess I’ve made? I can’t run home again. My mom wouldn’t want me there and she won’t come here, she’s made that clear enough. Life with Mel is all I’ve got, and now I am certain I don’t want that either.

Across the dark water, I see houses on the shoreline, alight with the business of living. I visualize my old life with Javier; my heart squeezes around my thoughts of Grandpa Joe in Imperial Beach. Grandpa likes to brag how it’s the most southwesterly city in the United States. It’s right on the border with Mexico. He wins bets when people don’t believe him. “Gotcha!” he laughs every time.

The ferry churns into a wave, and my happy memory of Grandpa’s folksy stories about the ocean’s waves and the currents lurches into the voice and image of my first dancing teacher, Francis, his acne-scarred face and peppermint breath, his oily hands moving my body into postures, saying “do that turn again, repeat that step, the arm like this,” each time touching my budding breasts or my inner thighs. I scrape my fingers against my pockets, trying to get the hair gel off because oil on my skin makes me shudder. The scene with Francis morphs back into Mel, whom I followed from my amazing appointment as a dance professor to emergency medical leave to the drugged-out living dead. I sold my condo for drug money. Dumb, so dumb.

I am through with do over’s.

I walk to the other side of the boat, away from the crewman and Mr. McKillop. I unzip my boots, aligning them underneath the life preserver ring. The boots are the right size for Mel.

I clamber over the chain guard and dive away from the ferry into the sea.

Amazon, Kindle and paperback; smashwords.com

Eileen Granfors lives in Santa Clarita, California. A former army brat who was born in New Orleans and lived in Germany, she and her family settled in Imperial Beach, California, where her mother’s love of body surfing turned her into an avid surfer girl. Eileen is a proud UCLA alumna. In July, she published her second novel, set in Imperial Beach.

Stairs of Sand is the novel I began six years ago, and all my other work has filtered around it. The plot of a mother and a daughter, both with borderline personalities, is full of conflicts and learning. The youtube video gives you a good idea of what is going on in the novel.”

Eileen's first novel, Some Rivers End on the Day of the Dead, is a coming-of-age multicultural look at the Hispanic tradition of the Day of the Dead. She is working on its sequel, So You, Solimar and a volume of historical fiction, a prequel to Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities.


Dog-owner dancing prize: Contest to be judged by Zoozle and Jacques, the Newfoundland retriever. Your choice of an e-copy ofStairs of Sand or a paperback copy mailed to your home (don't want to get it all sandy).

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


  1. Welcome to your party, Eileen, let's have lots ofr 'doggone' frolics on the beach! ;) Plenty of food and drink, everyone welcome.

  2. Stairws of Sand sounds like such a great read, Eileen, I love Jaques already!

  3. Welcome to your party Eileen. Tears of Sand sounds wonderful.

  4. Lyn hugs her sister hostess.

    Hello Sharon, dear Sister, isn't this fun, lovely to see so many excited, happy dogs too|!

  5. Hugs Lyn, sister hostess. Let's have some fun. Hugs to Mary and Patsy, kisses to Oliver.

  6. Thank you all for coming! We are going to have so much fun! Did you bring your costumes for the dog/owner dance contest?

    Frere Jacques here refused to wear a Samba dress, so he's going to put on his kilt for a Highland fling later or maybe a grass skirt for a hula. He's one fantastic dance!

    Hey--I'm going to check out the food trucks. I'm still starving!

  7. Sharon, your comment gave me an idea for a sequel! This book is STAIRS of Sand, but the next one could be TEARS of sand. Maybe I'll meet a dog today that I could feature in it!

  8. Sharon, Could you take your cat in her party bag back to the car? All the dogs are going crazy because they smell cat! I'll bring her a little cat nip in a minute.

  9. OOPS my bad Eileen, so sorry about the title and my kitty! So sorry but if I gave you an idea for a sequel, all the better. My kitty is meowing for that treat now. LOL

  10. Eileen my pretty, you look simply gorgeous. Allow me to get you a cool drink.

  11. Sharon, Lyn, Mary, Patsy, my lovelies, here we go cool beverages.

  12. LOL, I can't spell either today, Eileen, it's cold in the UK and my fingers weren't typing properly. Perhaps I'll be better now I've warmed up on this lovely beach.

    *Blows kisses to Oliver* Oliver, coulld I have one of those delightful looking cocktails with the umbrella thingie please?

  13. OMG - so sorry it took me so long to get here. My computer at home (internet) is down. Welcome Eileen. Love the party. So fun! I'm dancing with this sweet little poodle - I'll call her Biddy!

  14. Such cute dog photos. My dog Zoe loved Frosty Paws. Your photo brought back such bittersweet memories of my precious one. P.R. Mason

  15. OMG! Here comes Winona! Hide me from the lady in the purple muumuu! She'll talk your ear off. I cannot deal with Winona. I do like her dog Poochie though.

  16. HIDE EILEEN! Let's pile sand on her and pretend she is a little dune! We got yer back Eileen!

  17. HIDE EILEEN! Let's pile sand on her and pretend she is a little dune! We got yer back Eileen!

  18. Mary leads a pack of dogs in a conga line. Feet kicking she heads toward her sister hostess's. Limbo anyone?
    I love this roast! Doggies are so wonderful. Nibby stop chasing those little pooches!

  19. Mary dances up to the bar that Lyn and Patsy are holding. She knocks it down as her perfect double D's hit it.
    Sharon sashays behind her and Mary exclaims, "Hey, no fair, you aren't supposed to scrape the ground with your bum Sharon!"

  20. Mary, you crack me up. Did you bring your dog?

  21. Oh, there's Nibby! Come meet Frere Jacques and Poochie. Just don't get cornered by Winona!

  22. Nibby loves to be chased. If one of those cute pooches will do that, Nibby will be in heaven! Run doggies run!

  23. Poochie! Come chase Nibby. The last time you chased something you were being a brat. Today, it's okay!

    Has anybody seen Chloris? You can't miss her, she's so statuesque and she'll have on a Somali dress.

  24. "Patsy staggers through the sand doing her best to cha cha"
    Whew! *she wipes her brow" This is tough and carrying Biddy gets kind of tiring! I think I need something to wash down the grit in my teeth!
    I'm hungry too and all the food looks terrific. I saw Chloris down by the beach watching the dog surfers!

  25. Dog surfers! Look at Hampy on that little bitty surfboard. Cool! Go Hampy Go!
    I never saw a dog do the Limbo before! And watch out!!!Here comes the pack running up the beach, GET OUTTA THE WAY! WATCH OUT!

  26. Eileen, if your dogs tire Nibby out, I'd be very pleased. Limbo Eileen?

  27. Girls! Help! Nibby is chasing a bunch of cats down the beach. She is leading a heard of doggies who want to get the cats! What can I do. Lyn, stomp your feet, Patsy flex your muscles, Sharon sashay that butt! I'm jiggling let's get them!!! Save the kitties Eileen, save the kitties!

  28. Oooh, I'm rather good at limbo, though I say it myself, being five foot nothing can be an advantage!
    Confucious Cat - welcome to the roast,it's sad when we lose our beloved pets, they leave 'pawprints on our hearts' but also leave us with precious memories.

  29. No limbo for me, but challenge Zoozle. She's so limber, it's amazing!

  30. Ladies, more beach cocktails for my pretties. Wink

  31. Ooh Oliver, thank you so much, you're such a dear!

  32. Thanks Oliver, I think I love this place, Nibby has never been in the water like that, Look at her swimming.
    Oh No! Is that a shark fin? I gotta go save her! Wait is that Poochie out there chasing that big toothed fish? Look at that! The shark is wait, the shark wants to do the Limbo. I can't go very low, my center of gravity is off. I fall right on my back! But Lyn with those feet can really balance well. Wait look at Patsy, she and Hampy are riding Dolphins out there!

  33. Lyn hugs Mary excitedly. I want to swim with dolphins too! Hey you're right, I can surf without a board. I knew these huge flippers you made me wear would come in useful! :)

  34. Mary winks at Sharon and Patsy. Yup, just for you Lyn, You poor delusional thing you!
    I have a confession, yes, it's the truth. I cannot resist opening packages, especially when they don't say who they are from on the outside. Ahem! Doggie biscuits all around Oliver!! Sharon, big hug, Patsy, Eileen, Lyn, group hug!!! Hey who farted!

  35. Today is so quiet! I think we are the best blog there is and no one beats us. We love your muse Eileen and I look forward to reading your book! I adore books with pets of any kind in the, especially dogs. I also always bring my pets back to life in my writing! It takes a special person to love animals, they have to have a good heart and soul. I wish...I so wish...that I can share many more times with my sister hostess's...we help our roastees to laugh at themselves...everyone has one special gift from Santa...and I wish that I could meet all the special souls I have learned to love through writing, and I thank you all for being my buddies. Sniff, blubber, sniff, I still want to know who laid the bomb during our group hug. Nibby did you do it?? Hampy? Cuddles? Oliver????

  36. Frere Jacques races out of the water. He has been trying to save every person going in swimming.

    "Oops," says Phillip McKillop. "I know Newfies better than to bring them to an event where there's swimming!"

    Frere Jacques jumps up to give all the hosts of Roast and Toast a high five. He almost knocks each one over, but they hug him. He's such a good dog.

    Zoozle walks up. "Hi Phillip. You didn't bring my mother did you?"

    "No, I asked her, but she couldn't take the day off."

    "So typical."

    "Now Zooz."

    "Yeah, whatever. It's a beautiful day, and these ladies have really made it special for us. Thanks, all."

  37. Mary sweetie, you are incorrigible!

    You say such lovely things and get me all chocked up - and then you go and drop a naughty!

    I dunno!

    It is a bit quiet isn't it! Perhaps folks are all out Christmas shopping!

    Eileen, your book sounds terrific, and I agree with Mary, animals are the best - and I usually manage to include one or two in my own writing.

    Ah well, if Sharon and Patsy are staying out there playing with dolphins, I'm going to watch the doggies dance together - what say we enjoy some of this lovely food and drink!

  38. I swam with the dogs - shouldn't that be the dolphins. I think the St. Bernard surfs much better than I do.

  39. Well let's all go take our flea baths and put on our Advantage, so we can still swim tomorrow! Why are you scratching Patsy. Is that a tick!!
    AAHHH!!!Tick attack, save the dogs!
    Oh wait sorry, it was a watermelon seed. False alarm. HeHeHe!
    Incorragetroulbe! That's me!
    Tomorrow, I'm going to my end of the bed and sleeping like a dog! Move over Nibby, you hog all the room!

  40. Hi Patsy,

    Glad you're back from your swim.
    Come and sit by me and Mary by the campfire and enjoy the feast, before we have our cvatnaps - or should that be dognaps! You sure you weren't swimming with dogfish? Just asking? LOL!

  41. I smell like wet dog! Is that normal? Come on guys, be honest! I can take it.

  42. PRINCE of PETWORTH and MP3 with MOON BIRD?
    They already know REDPATH does the TORPOOD WALTZ with RUTH.
    And GUY gave the books on HYDRA so there goes DEDOONV.
    SCHAR 169 blew than all away, too.
    ALLICARE and INDAR got tossed by CARMEN.
    So there goes FRADO.

  43. Mmm Patsy,

    I don't really mind the smell of 'wet dog'. Perhaps if you move away from the fire just a little? :)

  44. Oh my! Patsy are there supposed to be flames coming from your backside? I think you were too close to the fire!
    Well now you smell like scorched dog fur? Where is poor Hampy?
    Let's play frisbee! The dogs will love it! Watch out, Lyn, you're supposed to catch it!
    Sharon wiggle that butt!

  45. Eileen, I wish you the best of luck with your latest book. I hope it's a stairway to success for you! Good luck and thanks for visiting with us! You rock the waves!!!

  46. Breakfast is served my pretties. We have doggy biscuits, omelets, hash browns. sausage, bacon, chocolate muffins, berries and cream, tea and coffee. Dig in. Here we go Eileen my sweet.

  47. Eileen, thank you for being a delightful guest. Best of luck with Stairway of Tears.

  48. Thank you, Sharon! Stairs of Sand is out now, but Tears of Sand will definitely be in the running for the sequel title as will Stairway of Tears! You can bet there will be more dogs in the sequel!

    Oliver, breakfast was better than breakfast at Tiffany's. You rock.

  49. Mmm, thank you Oliver, that's better!

    We've loved having you and all your doggie friends as guests, Eileen, and wishing you even more success with 'STairs of Sand' and the sequel!


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