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.

Sunday, February 26, 2012



Congratulations Susan

Thanks to Sandra for being such a fantastic  guest of honour, and to everyone who commented and made this Roast such fun.

Sharon, Mary, Patsy and Lyn appear on-stage, holding hands, to take a bow
They hug each other and wave before leaving the stage.

"Just another Roast and Toast!"

Join us on 2nd March when Allison Kinght will be Guest of Honour at

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paula Martin's Violet strewn barn dance

Situated beside a vast lake, the rustic barn lit with a hundred flickering lanterns holds sway over the nearby landscape.  A gentle breeze wafts from the water, cooling the heated bodies inside.

Mary leans over the buffet table, fairly slavering about the wondrous repast. “Look at this! Oh Yum!” She points to a delicacy. “What is that?”

Rum nicky pud
Lyn dips a finger in and takes a wee taste. “It’s Cumberland rum nicky pud with crème fraiche!”

 “And this?” Patsy waves at a  stack of pale brown objects.

 “Don’t you know anything?” Lyn chuckles. “That’s  Cumbrian oakcakes  I adore them!”

      Sharon sniffs, a smile wreathes her lips.  “Everything smells heavenly!”

Cumberland sausage

Oh the delicious odors emanating from the plates! Makeshift tables of rough sawn boards set atop sawhorses are lined with Cumberland sausage and mashed potatoes, mushy peas, Westmorland mutton and potato pie with chips, more mushy peas, Lancashire Hot Pot with beetroot, red cabbage and pickled onions.
Lancashire hotpot
Pie, chips and mushy peas


 - and for dessert - Grasmere gingerbread,

Kendall mint cake

Cumberland rum butter pudding, Quiggins triple chocolate pudding and Kendal Mint cake. 

In a far corner, the bulk of the males are busy sampling the local libations - Damson and sloe gin and blackberry liqueur. An assortment of local beers are offered but Hawkshead Brewery Prime Ale and Nettle beer seem to be the drinks of choice.
 “This is my kind of place!” Patsy claps her hands. “I grew up in farming communities and a barn dance was regular fodder.”

Paula joins the group. “You haven’t been to a barn dance until you’ve been to one in England’s Lake District. I plan on getting you all on the dance floor and doing the Cumberland Square Eight or Strip the Willow! Oooooo, it will be so fun!” 
   “Dancing,I’m all for that” Sharon exclaims. “Ladies, the night is young and the men are too! !”

Handsome Oliver strolls over leading Nibbie on a chain, Hampy tucked under his arm and Cuddles perched on his shoulder. 

“Let’s just see if these young men can keep up with us mature women.”  Mary struts onto the dance floor eyeing the selection of males. She points to a smiling young man holding a mug of ale. 

“You there! Let’s dance!” He sets down his mug. “That’s a nice set you’ve got there!”

“Wha….!” Mary exclaims, blushing.

“Your pets,” the young man explains.

Oliver ties Nibbie to a post then sets Hampy and Cuddles down.  He offers Sharon his arm. 

“The first dance is yours my lady!”

A mountain of a man dressed in a kilt grabs Lyn, literally hauling her onto the dance floor. Lyn’s eyes bug out! She trips but he catches her with ease.

“Let’s dance little lady,” he roars. Dragging her behind, he throws himself into the crowd.

“What about me?” Patsy scans the available dance partners. “I need a guy who can keep up with me!”

From the center of the male pod, a hand tentatively lifts. “How about me?” a squirrel voice squeaks.

He steps forward. “He looks like a chicken” Patsy whispers to Paula.

“Yes, he does,” Paula laughs. “But take if from me, he’s a dancing fool. I hear he’s won more contests than this room has people!”

“Grap your partner!” The caller yells. The musicians play a few lively chords. “Cumberland Square Eight!”

          “Wahooo!” Patsy chortles grabbing her partner’s hand. 

          Mary bumps into her. “This is so great!”

          Paula cheers from the sidelines. “I knew you’d love it here!”
Paula Martin has always lived in North West England. She had some early publishing success with short stories and four novels, but then had a break from fiction writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after taking early retirement. Her contemporary romance, ‘His Leading Lady’ was published by Whiskey Creek Press in June 2011, and her latest, ‘Fragrance of Violets’, is released in February 2012. A third novel ‘Her Only Option’ will be published later in 2012.

'Fragrance of Violets' is released by Whiskey Creek Press in Feb 2012. The title is from a quote by Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is thefragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

It’s a story of two people who have to learn how to forgive both themselves and each other. It’s set in the English Lake District which I know and love, and this setting inspired a lot of the story. I’m sure the village, which I’ve called Rusthwaite, will be immediately recognisable by anyone who knows the Lake District!


Abbey Seton distrusts men, especially Jack Tremayne who destroyed their friendship when they were teenagers. Ten years later, they meet again. Can they put the past behind them? Abbey has to forgive not only Jack, but also her father who deserted his family when she was young. Jack holds himself responsible for his fiancée’s death. He’s also hiding another secret which threatens the fragile resumption of their relationship. Will Abbey ever forgive him when she finds out the truth?

Excerpt from ‘Fragrance of Violets’

Abbey swung her car into the car park and pulled up beside the shop. After she’d unlocked the side door and switched on the light, she returned to the car and opened the boot.

She’d just lifted out the first box when a voice startled her.

“Want some help with that?”

She spun round in the direction of the voice. It was dark but she didn’t need to see him. Her mouth went dry and her hands tightened on the box.

“No, thanks, I can manage.”

Jack Tremayne stepped into the dim light cast by one of the car park lamps. As her eyes adjusted, Abbey caught her breath. His dark sweatshirt stretched across wide shoulders and broad chest, and mid-blue jeans encased his slim hips and long legs. No longer a teenage boy, but a man whose compelling figure exuded confident masculinity. Something deep inside her turned a double somersault.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Resentment at her involuntary reaction to him lent an extra sharp tone to her voice.

“Welcome to Rusthwaite,” he said with amused irony.

“You aren’t welcome here,” she retorted. “Not by me, not by anyone.”

He shrugged. “Maybe not, but I’m back, and I intend to stay.”

Shock ran through her like a cold shower. “You’re staying?”

“Why not? It’s my home.”

“The home you betrayed,” she said bitterly.

“That was eight years ago. People forget.”

As he took a few steps towards her car, the light spilling from the shop doorway illuminated his face. His blond hair seemed to have darkened to the colour of light sand and was brushed back instead of the tousled look she remembered. But several stray strands escaped over his broad forehead, and her glance took in his handsome features – the blue eyes, the high cheekbones, the well-defined jaw, the perfectly shaped mouth and the cleft above his chin.

A quiver rippled through her but she ignored it. “No, Jack,” she said, as calmly as she could. “This village hasn’t forgotten. People here won’t ever forgive you.”

“What about you?” His eyes challenged her, forced her to remember the night everything had gone wrong between them.

She returned his look with a defiant glare and tried to distance herself from the unwanted sensations inside her that threatened to destroy her composure. “I don’t think you and I have anything further to say to each other. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to unload this shop stock.”

“Are you sure I can’t help?”

“Absolutely sure.”

“Okay,” he said briefly as she turned away and took the box into the shop.

When she returned to the car, he’d gone. She stared through the darkness towards the main road, but he’d obviously walked quickly. There was no-one there.

She made herself concentrate on carrying the boxes into the storeroom and stacking them tidily, ready to be unpacked the next morning. But as she put down the last box, she realised she was shaking.

Meeting Jack Tremayne again had catapulted all her feelings into total disarray.

To win a copy of Paula'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 eligible.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sandra's Winner is...

Olyn Warfield

Congratulations Olyn!

Thanks to Sandra for being such a fantastic  guest of honour, and to everyone who commented and made this Roast such fun.

Sharon, Mary, Patsy and Lyn appear on-stage, holding hands, to take a bow
They hug each other and wave before leaving the stage.

"Just another Roast and Toast!"

Join us on 24th February when  PAULA MARTIN will be Guest of Honour at

Friday, February 17, 2012

'They Stood Alone! (with Sandra McLeod Humphrey at the Author Roast)

“Gosh it’s scary in this place.” Lyn picks up each foot and as daintily as possible places one in front of the other as the hostesses of the Author Roast and Toast enjoy a book signing and party at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City.

“What’s scary?” Patsy flexes her huge biceps. “I could take just about anyone. I’ll protect you!”

 Mary chuckles and pats Lyn on the back.

“If Sharon were here she’d want them to replicate her. What are you afraid of, getting waxed.” Mary breaks up with laughter. “Get it, getting waxed. Truly I make some great jokes, If I might say so myself.

 “That’s good Mary, because no one else is laughing.” Lyn smiles.

“What’s the matter Lyn? Shoes too tight?” Mary remarks.

 “Please you two behave, have you seen the darn guest list? Look at this thing. This is a veritable cast of who’s who for goodness sakes.” Patsy fluffs her cuffs. “I do look good in blue.”

Lyn and Mary scan the list as Patsy begins to check out the wax figures. Guests of Honor: Christopher Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Blackwell, Nikola Tesla, Booker T. Washington,

Mother Teresa
Harriet Tubman
Marie Curie, Mohandas Gandhi,
Orville Wright, Albert Einstein,
Amelia Earhart, Margaret Mead, Marian Anderson, Margaret Bourke-White, Rachel Carson, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson,
Neil Armstrong.

“You’ve got to be kidding, most of those people are all, dead.” Mary shivers.
 “How are they gonna get here? As ghosts?”

Mary looks around, and starts to get creeped out by the wax figures all around. “No dingbat.” Lyn taps her on the head. “Is anyone there? I see lights, but no one is home.” Patsy’s laughter can be heard from up ahead in the dim rooms that housed the figures. “They are going to each come to life and spend time with us. Three at a time so we each have our own celebrity or noteworthy person to talk to. Haven’t you wanted to ask Columbus if he knew he wasn’t the first to discover the Americas?” Lyn asks Mary.

“Come on, I see Patsy up there and she is yapping with someone. Oh, look! Oliver is at the tables and the food is ready! Did you know that Sandra McLeod Humphrey gave us a list of what they each like? We can mingle with them and have their favorites! Look at this.” Mary takes the list from Lyn and scans it.

Culinary Requests from Guests of Honor- Christopher Columbus: boiled salt cod drizzled with good oil from Andalucia with sea biscuits (just scrape off any weevils you may find on the biscuits). Insalata Nizzarda (another name for Nicoise salad) made with anchovies on a base of crudite and hard boiled eggs drizzled with olive oil and topped with onions and basil but no tomatoes. Other favorites were ratatouille, sardines, anchovies either fried or cooked "in carpione" -- a marinade of garlic, wine vinegar, and sage.

Leonardo da Vinci: grilled eel with orange slices, Risi e Bisi, Saffron Risotto with Duck and Mushrooms, and Spinach Soup with Hazelnuts.

Harriet Tubman: Southern cornbread, roasted sweet potatoes, Clara Barton: Bread, cheese, and Rhode Island Greening Apple. Nikola Tesla: Green veggies and mashed potatoes.

Mohandas Ghandi: aloo dum-- an Indian food with potatoes and curry and peas. Albert Einstein: spaghetti and fettuccine.

Amelia Earhart: Cheesecake, roast turkey, roast beef, gourmet breads, roast summer sausage, garlic chicken, Irish cream with blueberry ice cream, and caramel and chocolate peanut brittle.

Rosa Parks: lemon pie and applesauce

Since many of our guests of honor are vegetarians, we will be offering a variety of vegetarian entrees. In Honor of Valentine’s Day, we will also be offering a fountain flowing with chocolate martinis.

 “Wow, that’s a lot of cooking. Thank goodness we didn’t have to do it!” Mary walks up to Patsy and Leonardo Da Vinci, Copernicus, Albert Einstein, and Sandra as she tries to stop the three scholars from arguing.

Leonardo da Vinci
 “You guys are really causing a scene here. I don’t care which one of you came up with what theory first. You all have a wonderful legacy which will always be a part of history.” Sandra urges the three to come to an agreement. The three of them nod at her, nod at Mary, nod at Patsy and nod at Lyn. Then continue to argue.

Albert Einstein

Amelia Earhart
Orville Wright

“I can imagine what will happen when Orville Wright, Amelia Earhart and Neil Armstrong get together and discuss who made the biggest impact on flying!” Lyn exclaims. “Well ladies, lets mingle.” They lock arms and together make a secret wish for Sharon. “Just another Author Roast and Toast!
Neil Armstrong
Which inspiring person from history would you most like to meet?

Imagine this: For centuries everyone has believed that the sun and all the planets revolve around the earth. But by studying the old books and observing the heavens, you have concluded that the earth and all the other planets revolve around the sun. Your theory is so radical that you are hesitant to tell others about it. Your name is Nicolaus Copernicus. Although at first your beliefs are denounced and ridiculed, your observations are eventually proved correct. In time, you come to be called the founding father of modern astronomy.

Or imagine this: It's the early 19th century and women have few legal rights. Married women can't own property, their wages belong to their husbands, and they don't even have the right of guardianship over their children. You know the laws are unfair, but as a young woman yourself, what can you do? Your name is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. You spend your life fighting for women's rights, and later many give you credit for being the architect and founder of the Women's Rights Movement.

Nicolaus Copernicus and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are just two of the twenty-five extraordinary men and women whom you will have a chance to meet in this inspiring book that explores and celebrates people who had the courage to follow their own convictions, even when everyone around them said they were wrong. They were people of vision who saw life from a new perspective and were willing to question conventional wisdom. And their revolutionary breakthroughs changed and shaped the course of history.

Author Sandra McLeod Humphrey invites you to have the courage to stand alone too, hold on to your dreams, and follow your heart wherever it may lead. Like the twenty-five pioneers who lived before you, you too may someday make a difference!

     "You have just read about some extraordinary men and women who made unique contributions which changed and shaped the course of history. They were not afraid to take a risk even when it meant standing alone, and by stepping out and away from the crowd, they changed their world.

     You have seen that one one individual can indeed make a difference!

     My hope is that their lives will inspire you to believe in yourself and to soar to new heights of your own.

     Although all these people stood alone--at least against the beliefs and expectations of their particular society—-I should note that in another sense, no one ever really stands alone. All our lives intertwine to some degree.

     Although Copernicus argued against the commonly held Ptolemaic view of the universe, he still relied heavily on Ptolemy’s work. Galileo “stood on the shoulders” of Copernicus, both Copernicus and Galileo influenced Newton, and Newton influenced Einstein. Thoreau influenced Gandhi, and Gandhi’s
influence was felt by Rosa Parks and the entire Civil Rights Movement in this country. And so on and so on.
We all need role models, so let us choose our role models carefully. And hopefully we, in turn, may become role models for those who follow us.

I want to leave you with a few suggestions to consider which may influence how you live your life:

Live your own life as only you can live it.

Do what you love and love what you do.

Discover your passion and have the courage to follow your heart.

Remember, you, too, can make a difference!"


Sandra McLeod Humphrey

Author Bio:

Sandra McLeod Humphrey is a retired clinical psychologist, a character education consultant, and an award-winning author of eight middle-grade and young adult books.  She’s also the recipient of the National Character Education Center’s Award for Exemplary Leadership in Ethics Education (2000) and the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature. 

You can learn more about her books by visiting her Web site  at www.kidscandoit.com and her blog at www.kidscandoit.com/blog/

To win a copy of Sandra'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 eligible.