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, April 27, 2012

A Fairie Feast and Ceilidh Dance to celebrate Gift of the Realm by Mac Crowne

“I don’t care what you say I am not stepping into that circle of stones.” Mary crosses her arms over her more than ample bosom. Lower lip in a pout she firmly shakes her head no!

“Listen, you say you like time travel, what if you stepped in there and went back to ancient times. Just picture a stunning Irish native, with strapping muscles and arms strong enough to pick you up and whisk you away to his love-nest.” Lyn eyes the stones with a dreamy look on her face.  

Patsy cracks up laughing and points to Lyn’s feet. “First off, those hoofs are already in the stone circle and nothing has happened to you yet.” 
Nibby rushes up with Cuddles and Hampy both riding on her back. Red eyes flashing she rams her head into Pasty, who falls into Lyn, who puts her hands out to protect herself and pushes Mary. All three of the Author Roast and Toast hostesses fall into the ring of faery stones. Lights flash, little sparkles of all colors flash and in a blinding glow the girls all scream.  Mary sits up and shoves Lyn and Patsy off of her. She looks around her as mumbles and groans from the others suddenly stop. “You know ladies, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” 
“Kansas, we were in Kansas?” Lyn sits up and holds her spinning head. “I feel as if I drank a quart of Mead.” She groans.  Suddenly Patsy hollers and points, biceps bulging. 

“What the heck is that.” In line with her pointed finger Lyn And Mary eye what looks like a faery. “Hey, it's a faery.” 

Lyn laughs, “I think you’re right, look at those beautiful wings. And he’s soooo handsome.” She fans her face.  Mary elbows Lyn. “Put your tongue back in your mouth. We have to find out where we are. Mac is gonna be really mad if we don’t make it to her Roast. And I don’t know about you but, that handsome faery has green skin. Is that normal. Where is Nibby I’m gonna give that dog a tanning.” Mary groans.
“Ye’ll not touch the animal my lady. She but followed the mental request ‘twas sent her. Mac’s party is beginning and ye are almost late. Hurry now, me colleens.The townspeople have outdone themselves. The tables are filled with food from the sea. 'T would be a shame not to  have a piece of faery chocolate cake. 'Tis the Queen’s own recipe!  Get on,  ye are expected. And my skin ain't green.”  

The girls stand, and with a wave of his hand they are at the party. The cozy town reminiscent of a Thomas Kincade painting. Mary sighs as she takes in the beautiful blooming flowers, the sweet scented blooms only rivaled by the sumptuous foods filling the tables.

 “Hey girls, there’s Mac.” Lyn grabs their arms and they rush to where   a crowd has gathered. Mac smiles and waves a welcome. “Hi there!” A grin fills Mac’s face as she introduces them around. 
“Donovan has gone to get your animals and Colin promises not to scare them by changing into a wolf.”

Mary laughs, “Have you met our creatures? They are not gonna have any problems. Lyn come back here you cannot go with the guy who brought us here. First we have to see the celebration starts with a roar. Patsy, will you do the honors?” 

Patsy flexes her popeye arms and smiles. “Welcome one and all to our roast. Today we are in Ireland to celebrate the release of   Gift Of The Realm by our wonderful author Mac Crowne with a special Fairie Ceilidh. Let’s raise our glasses and toast our guest! Mac, we wish you the best with your new story. Thanks for this wonderful story.” Patsy raises her glass which holds a frosty faery cosmopolitan, their own special brew, and secret elixir.

 “Irish Toasts to Friends.
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.
There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.

May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.

Here’s to you and yours,
And to mine and ours,
And if mine and ours ever come
Across you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do
As much for mine and ours,
As mine and ours have done
For you and yours!
I have known many,
and liked not a few,
but loved only one
and this toast is to you.

To live above with the Saints we love,
Ah, that is the purest glory.
To live below with the Saints we know,
Ah, that is another story!

May the lilt of Irish laughter
lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic
shorten every road...
And may all your friends remember
all the favours you are owed!

Here's to the land of the shamrock so green,
Here's to each lad and his darlin colleen,
Here's to the ones we love dearest and most.
May God bless old Ireland, that's this Irishman's toast!

We wish you the best of luck Mac! Slainte!!!”

Beneath the fairie mound of Dunhaven's Door, two dreamers meet their destiny…
After a decade of trying to outrun her debilitating dreams, Keely returns to Ireland to face the ancient ring of stones and the man haunting them. Within the stones, she embraces her fairie heritage and her mystical gifts. But can she trust the handsome Halfling who shares her dreams and holds her heart? 

When Keely reappears in his life, Colin’s fairie blood threatens to gain the upper hand. Compelled to assist the lovely Halfling, he agrees to help her break the three-hundred-year-old curse on their families, but he'll do it on his terms—as the black wolf. 

Together, two Halflings can stand against any power, but only love can break the bonds of bitterness. Will Colin’s arrogant plan to outwit the King of the Fairies doom Keely for eternity? Or is their love enough to break the curse?

Gift of the Realm Excerpt

“They were real, Colin.  Saraid and Owein aren’t just fictional characters from a heartbreaking legend.”

“So it would seem.”

“They’re your ancestors.”

“And yours,” he reminded her.  “You’re a descendant of Saraid and Owein too.”

“I didn’t miss that detail."

“Yes, but has it occurred to you just what that means?” At her blank look, he added, “We carry Owein’s blood, Keely, as well as Saraid’s.”

She stared at him for a moment. Her disbelieving laughter took care of the residual tightness in her belly.
“Fairie blood?” she scoffed.  “Please!”   A lifted brow was his only response.  “That’s as ridiculous as it is impossible.”

“As ridiculous and impossible as sharing your dreams with a handsome Irishman for a decade?”

She narrowed her eyes at his taunting grin, but had to admit, he had a point. Fairie blood?  Good God! How was she supposed to feel about that?  She had no clue.  She was going to need some time to come to grips with all she’d learned in the past few hours - if coming to grips with the unbelievable was even possible.

I'm a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I were blessed with two rambunctious little boys we managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around our house, and life at the 'Testosterone Ranch' more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s Leave It To Beaver. My love of the romance genre has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened my resolve to see my stories shared with others. As of today, I am a four-year survivor, living her dream.

Visit me at
As part of Mac's blog tour, including Author Roast, she is  running a contest in the form of a virtual scavenger hunt. She'll be posting a question on her website to coincide with each of her hops, then directing her followers to the blog she's visiting that day where they will find the next clue in her interview answers. At the end of her tour, the visitor with the most right answers on her website will win a free e-copy of Gift of the Realm and a $25 Amazon gift card.

To win a copy of Mac 's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends Sunday 29th  April and everyone who comments is elligible.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tribute to Sharon

On 11th April, 2012, God in his great wisdom, decided to take our dear friend and sister hostess, Sharon Donovan to join the other angels in Heaven.  Today our 'Author Roast' is a tribute to Sharon, and a celebration of her life and works.  We love and miss you so much, Sharon. Thank you for enriching our lives and making the world a better place.

The covers of Sharon's Books

Her Greatest Fan and Charade of Hearts

'Touched By An Angel', The Claddagh Ring and 'Lasting Love'
 (You'll need to type Sharon's name in the Author searchbar  on the left of the page when you go into the site)

Mask Of The Betrayer

Echo Of A Raven
Sharon loved Ireland, she said "Wear a shamrock on your left lapel and you will be blessed all year with the wink of St. Patrick himself. This is fun and we all partake in it, but the true meaning of the shamrock, the three-leaf flower of Ireland, was used by St. Patrick to demonstrate the Trinity." 
She set her Inspirational story 'The Claddagh Ring', published by The Wild Rose Pressin Ireland.
Sharon wrote wonderful stories of suspense and inspiration, but probably her greatest creation, and the one she will be remembered for best, is her sexy virtual butler, Oliver, flirtatious, accomplished, occasionally a little foolish (although one suspects that was an act) and his personality shone through Sharon's words. He starred in her prize winning novella 'Charade of Hearts, for the WRP's series 'Jewel Of The Night' and also in the story she wrote for the 'Whimsical Publications' anthology 'Winter Wonders', entitled 'Christmas Angel'.  He became an extension of herself in many ways. One thing for sure, however much he may have flirted with the guests, somehow it was obvious that his heart belonged to Sharon, although he never said so - even when he overstepped the mark and Sharon would yell at him - "OLIVERRRRRR!"

In January, 2012, Sharon was awarded the Preditors & Editors Reader's award for 'best short story' for her novella, Charade Of Hearts

Sharon collected Carnival and Masquerade masks, which she featured in her suspense novel, Her Greatest Fan. She had her photo taken wearing a selection of her own masks

 This is Sharon's memoir, written to help others fighting diabetes and loss of sight, to provide information a based on her own experiences. Contains  information on the support and help available.
 Sharon said she would
 "... donate a certain percentage from sales of ECHO OF A RAVEN to the JDRF Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fight for a cure. If I can prevent even one child from going through the nightmare of losing his or her vision, my book will be a smashing success."

"A kind and loving person and friend to all.  I can honestly say I never heard a negative comment from her about anyone or anything. She always found the bright side and the good things.  My prayers included her every night during her illness and I keep her in my prayers now. God has a special place for her I am so sure.  She is missed.

"In my life I have met many people. You don't get to my age without thinking you have seen it all. Then someone comes into your life and changes you forever.

I never heard her complain, not like I would if I were in her shoes. She lost her art when she lost her sight. Did that stop her? Not in the least, she learned how to use a computer with voice adaptive software, and poured her stored up talent into wonderful, entertaining, stories. She had a great sense of humor and a smile that lit up her face like a sparkler. Her tender feelings for animals and children said a lot about her. I used to laugh when she called us the Golden Girls. Which one was I, I'd ask her. Well which one do you want to be? She came right back. And darned if she didn't know I didn't know one from another.

Through two difficult heart surgeries she still never felt sorry for herself. She'd ask how you were. I can't imagine life without Sharon. I go to call her and it's a need which I will never fill again. Lyn still can hear her voice, and I think about her and cry. Not because she's not happy, for surely her wings are white as snow. But I cry because I am not with her. And yet she is till in my heart. So she is still here. As long as there are storytellers, as long as there is love, she will be here. As long someone who loved her lives, she will never be gone and will live on in her family and friends. So many people mourn her loss. Yet rejoice her fight! Because Sharon was a fighter and she gave inspiration to those around
her. Just because she was Sharon.
"Sharon was one of the most loving people I have ever known. She loved her family, her friends and animals, including horses, and used to ride until she lost her sight. Horses feature in 'Her Biggest Fan' and 'Christmas Angel'.  She loved Ireland and often talked about her visit there.  She also talked about the little black cat, Freddie, she used to have, which she obviously loved and  missed very much.  Now they are re-united beyond the Rainbow Bridge! 

And of course she loved being creative.  When she could could no longer create beauty with her brush she used words to paint her pictures and tell her stories - and what stories. I first met her when I read an interview where she mentioned how she'd turned to writing after she lost her sight. I was so full of admiration for this brave, determined woman and had to drop her a note.  She answered my email straight away and we started corresponding and soon formed a lasting and loving friendship. I  offered to make a trailer for her lovely Easter Inspirational story 'Lasting Love' and was so happy to be able to do something to help publicise her book. 

It was never one sided either. Sharon was always so full of gratitude and appreciation of any little thing one could do for her, and it was always a pleasure to help out.Sharon was the most generous and giving person, and would always be the first to offer an interview or a promotional post on her blog, where one would be waited upon, and flirted with, by her charming Man Friday, Oliver. The day she came out of hospital after her first heart attack, she telephoned me to wish me a Happy Birthday.  I am so glad I got to hear her voice through our telephone conversations. Her physical presence will be sorely missed by her friends and loving family, but her spirit lives on and her words will continue to give pleasure now and in the future.

 If there’s one person in this world who has taught me so much and influenced me on a positive level, it’s my aunt and godmother, Sharon Donovan. She has lived nothing less than an inspiring life in which she still continues to impress those all around her, especially me! I can only hope to be half as successful as she has been, while managing to overcome nearly impossible obstacles. 

At the young age of twelve, Sharon was presented with disturbing news that was sure to affect anybody’s life. She was told that, by the age of twenty-five, she would lose her sight. The cause of this (tragedy) was diabetes, which had been diagnosed at the age of six. In her late teens and early twenties, Aunt Sharon became involved in art classes and demonstrated true talents at painting. When the day came, though, that she could no longer see the canvas in front of her, she had no choice but to give up her dreams of painting. However, this did not discourage her. When painting was no longer an option, she turned to a new outlet: writing. Now, nearly thirty years later, Sharon has put so much time and effort into writing and has become the author of three published novels, and countless short stories. 

As if suffering from diabetes and blindness wasn’t enough, last month Sharon suffered a major heart attack and a stroke as well. The chance of a complete recovery was pretty slim, but my family never doubted her ability to over these obstacles. Sure enough, she did. Though much has changed and she will have to be more careful than ever, Sharon found the strength to make it through. In her heart, I believe she knows she still has much more writing to do, and I believe that her writing will only improve. Not only has Sharon handled these situations well, but in the years between, she has gone through numerous surgeries, therapy, and countless doctor appointments. I truly believe that my Aunt Sharon’s story is amazing and one that could anyone could look up to. 

Sharon’s strengths and perseverance have influenced me in so many ways and have made me see things in a new light. First of all, one of her clearest, most admirable qualities is determination. Not only has she decided to live her life to the fullest, but she always strives to help others in the process. I can go to my aunt for help with anything, and I know that she’d be there for me. She also taught me to have faith and strength. Without these things, I now know it is impossible to survive any sort of challenge in life. To reach goals, we must believe in ourselves and she has inspired me to do just that for my future. My aunt has given me even more reason to want to be as educated and successful as possible. Finally, one of the most important things I have learned from her is not to take anything in life for granted because it could literally be gone in a second. 

I am so thankful to have the opportunities that I’ve had in my life. Even more importantly, I’m extremely blessed to have Sharon Donovan not only as my aunt, but my godmother. I’ve learned to see life in a new perspective and appreciate all things that have come my way when I strive to achieve, while at the same time staying motivated to be successful.
Kendal McCaulley

This was written by Sharon's niece. It got her accepted into one of the colleges she applied to. She loved her Aunt dearly. And what a great role model she had in Sharon!

 Sharon had an impish sense of fun and loved getting up to mischief at the Roasts. Her quirky sense of humour made us smile and our pranks on each other were always played with love.  Here are some excerpts of her comments on past Roasts:
"Sharon ever so slyly sneaks
up on Mary and Lyn, 
sweetly offers banana splits,
 then swiftly shoves 
in their mugs and runs
 off singing 
roll out those hazy crazy 
lazy days of summer..."

"Hi Lyn sweetie, give me a hug.
 Isn't Scotland beautiful, and the castle  
is so whimsical. I'm so glad that
Nessie didn't steal Mary's hooters."
                                                                                                           Hugs    sisters, looking good girls, 
even sopping wet. 
What fun we'll have, 
my butt is wiggling
 to the pulsating water jets.
OOOO I hope
they'll play Shake Your Bootie
 so I can show 'em 
how a real woman shakes it!

"Paul, here I am, a  
blood thirsty Irish lassie
 here to swoon over 
a writer of Irish songs. 
Save me a dance, handsome, 
right after I kick up me heels with Pat.

                                             "Sharon runs  from Mary and her squirt gun
 through the caves, 
Lyn, a hair behind.
 Somehow they
find those same steep steps 
and take another tumble down.
 Just another roast and toast."

"When God calls me home and I soar into the sweet hereafter, I would like to think I made a difference," she told me. "We are put on this earth for a reason. We all have a mission. If we do enough soul searching, we’ll find the answer. For the longest time, I didn’t know why I was put on this earth. During my long bout with progressive blindness, I walked around aimlessly, searching, wondering, floundering. Nothing made sense. And after the final operation that took my remaining vision overnight, I wanted it all to end. No more heartache. No more pain. Peace and tranquility. If I couldn’t see or paint, what was the point? But God works his magic in mysterious ways. When one door closes, another door opens. And once I took the first step to regaining my life back, they have never stopped opening. I think my purpose on earth is to create words of inspiration. Never give up on a dream. Reach for the stars. When my star faded, it was up to me to polish it and make it shine. And long after I’m gone, my star will twinkle in heaven with eternal brightness because I completed my work on this earth."

Sharon 'in costume'

  The Cladagh Ring

Mask Of The Betrayer

Lasting Love (Trailer by Hywela Lyn)
Sharon, what a wonderful legacy you left us.  You will always live on in our hearts.  Let's raise a glass of Chardonnay in your honour  - we love you, Sharon!
Lasting love Rose
The Rose Beyond the Wall
Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in the Sun’s light, Watered and fed by the morning dew, Shedding it’s sweetness day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall, 
Slowly rising to loftier height, It came to a crevice in the wall through 
which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the  crevice’s length and unfolded itself On the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view were found the same as they were before, 
And it lost itself in beauties new, 
Breathing it’s fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve 
And make our courage faint and fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive–
The rose still grows beyond the wall, 
Scattering fragrance far and wide
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forevermore.

~ A. L. Frink ~