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, October 19, 2012

Duffy Brown's Haunted Savannah

Mac glances over her shoulder at the retreating cab with longing.

“Are you sure about this, chickies?” She eyes the shadowy Spanish Moss dripping from the grand oaks lining the cobbled walk leading to the porch of the Gothic Revival home. Welcoming light glitters from the many windows, competing with the glow of the full moon to illuminate the path . “It looks normal enough, but I heard this place is haunted.”

Lyn passes out sequined domino masks. “According to Duffy, it’s definitely haunted. Why do you think she chose this place to celebrate her new release, Iced Chiffon?”

“An October mystery book release party at a haunted house.” Mary grins. “What could be better?”

Mac groans and slips on her mask. Patsy grabs her hand to drag her along. “Face it, Mac. Savanna is America’s most haunted city. No matter where the party is held, there are bound to be some spooky attendees.”

Mary winks down at Nibbie, trotting at her side. Cuddles, Hampy and Foster cling to her collar, riding silently on her back. “At least the sidekicks will behave themselves tonight. There’s nothing like the chance of a two hundred year-old specter appearing in the middle of the party to keep their mischief in check.”
Mac cringes at Foster’s sly grin as they climb the steps. “Wanna bet?”

They spot Oliver in the open doorway, looking dashing as usual in his formal attire. His face takes on a mysterious glint with the black slash of mask covering all but his nose and mouth. A tray of martini glasses balanced in his hand, he nods in welcome.

“Chin up, Mac. Oliver will protect you.” Patsy snorts a laugh. “Look. He’s waiting with your favorite drink. There's Witch's Brew, Zombie, Vampire Kiss, Green ghoul, Margarita Ghost Buster or Bloody Eyeball Martini.

Mac gratefully accepts the glass he holds out to her. She brings it to her lips and shrieks, “Is that an eyeball?”
Lyn laughs and takes her own glass. “Ah. Thank you, Oliver. I’ve been dreaming about these bloody eyeball martinis ever since Duffy mentioned they were on the drink menu.” She sips and hums. “Oh, these are gooood. Drink up, ladies. A few of these and we won’t even notice the moans and rattling chains.”

“That’s not funny, Lyn.”

“Yes, it is,” Lyn, Mary and Patsy say in unison and laugh.
Excited conversation and laughter hum through the historic, southern home. Masked women in black cocktail dresses laugh with handsome, masked men in tailored tuxedos. Tiny white lights sparkle in exquisite chandeliers over the ornate antique settees and lounges filling the drawing room beyond the foyer.

On a long, linen covered table, groaning under the weight of an elaborate spread, a large, purple witch’s cauldron holds Witch’s Stew, beside  platters of Mystery Meat, Deviled Eggs, Leach Quiche, Bloody Brie and Spaghetti and Eyeballs.

A towering, devil’s food, Grave-Digger’s Dirt Cake shares a smaller table with several Boo-Berry pies. 

Mary’s stomach growls just as Duffy, looking gorgeous in a long, black gown appears at the top of the staircase.

“Welcome everyone. I’m so glad you could come.” She descends the stairs to appreciative applause and makes her way to the hostess’ side.  “Isn’t this place fabulous?” 

Before anyone can answer, the lights flicker and fade, leaving the guests gasping and shuffling in the dark.

Mary squeals as Nibbie shoves up against her thigh and little feet scurry up her leg and over her dress to dive beneath the material of her low cut bodice. Mac yelps as a large foot steps on the toe of her high heel. “Is that you, Patsy?” she whispers and reaches out but her fingers find no body to blame for her aching toes.

“Is that me, what?”

Mac spins around when Patsy answers from several feet behind her. “I told you this was a bad idea.”

Soft laughter meets their ears. “Okay, Foster. I think we’ve scared them enough.” Light floods the house once again and the hostesses turn to find Duffy grinning, Cuddles and Hampy pop their heads out of Mary's cleavage and Duffy laughs. “Don’t blame me. It was his idea.”

They all turn to watch Foster perform an extravagant bow before sliding down the banister to land gracefully at their feet.

Lyn shakes her head. “Oliver, I believe we need to drink a toast.” They all raise their glasses toward Duffy. “To Iced Chiffon.” They clink their glasses together and suddenly, a freezing cold draft encompasses them all and a loud thumping sounds from upstairs.

Mac turns a glare on Foster who shakes his head adamantly.

“Oh, hell. Drink up, ladies.” Lyn tosses back her glass and laughs. “It looks like it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Halloween Art Competition -

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime. Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell and is a USA Today bestselling author.

Duffy Brown
Berkley Prime Crime
Consignment: Murder series
-Iced Chiffon  Oct, '12

To pay for rehabbing the dilapidated Victorian house she loves, Reagan Summerside opens the Prissy Fox Consignment Shop and gets involved in the lives of her Savannah customers, neighbors, ex husband and the attorney who screwed her over in the divorce.

At the consignment shop, it’s murder and mayhem for the ex, his Cupcake and the badass attorney.


Auntie KiKi scurried out the front door waving her hands in the air. “Where in the world have you been?” she panted, leaning in through the open car window. “When I got home, there were three people waiting on your porch ready to shop! They said they got one of those tweets.” She tisked, the universal sound of exasperated Southern women everywhere.

“Whatever happened to the days when you got a nice phone call from a friend telling you what was what?” she lamented. “You have customers in your dining room looking for bargains, and I have a waltz lesson with Bernard in ten minutes.” She heaved a weary sigh.
Bernard Thayer was seventy, had no rhythm, less coordination, been Mr. Weather on Savannah TV for thirty years and he was determined to wind up on Dancing with the Stars.

KiKi thrust a wad of bills at me. “I went and got stuff from my own closet to sell to spruce up your inventory and what in the world are you doing with the Lexus?”

     “I sold that fountain in the back yard to Raylene Carter for a small fortune. Now I have to deliver it as well as get the car back before Hollis knows I took it. I sort of didn’t tell him.”

    “Oh, honey, Grand Theft Auto, your mamma will be so proud.”

    I ignored the possibility that my scum-bucket ex would call the cops and I popped the trunk. “Take a look-see at how much room we have. Hollis stores his real estate junk in there.”


    I grabbed my purse and rummaged for keys to the shed as I headed for the back yard. “I’ve got a cart. We can haul the fountain and--”
“Sweet Jesus in heaven! Uh, Reagan, honey,” KiKi called, her finger crooked at me in a come-here gesture. “We have junk, a great big pile of it.”

“Dump it on the lawn,” I said hurrying back to the car to help unload. “If I have to hire movers I won’t make any money and I have an electric bill due and-- Holy mother of God!” My gaze landed on Cupcake, eyes wide open, and dead as Lincoln right there in Hollis’s trunk.

    KiKi and I stared, neither of us breathing. KiKi finally whispered, “She doesn’t look nearly as good in the pink chiffon as you do.”

    “Maybe because she has blood in her hair and is rolled up in plastic like a hotdog in a bun.” I made the sign of the cross for disrespecting the dead.

    “There is that.” KiKi sounded faint and slowly slumped to the curb. “You wouldn’t happen to have a martini in that purse of yours, would you?”

To win  copy of Iced Chiffon or one of three Iced Chiffon totes, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.


  1. Good morning Duffy, and cngratulations - this sounds like a spellbinding book!

    *Hugs* fellow hostesses.

  2. Good Morning Duffy - welcome to our blog and what a great party you've conjured. I love my bustier, makes me look so very slim. Congratulations on the release, perfect time of year for this!

  3. Hi, everyone!!
    Welcome to the party! Lots of drinks and food for everyone. Enjoy. It is Friday and time to celebrate. Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in the US. Just in time for Halloween.
    Can't wait to chat with you today.

  4. Thanks, Hywela and PL.
    I'm thrilled to be here. Lots of fun things always going on in Savannah. Reagan and Auntie KiKi are always getting into trouble solving the latest murder. And of course there's the hunky Walker Boone trying to talk Reagan into just minding her business...yeah, like that's going to happen.

  5. Mac grins and passes out hugs. Oh, Duffy, congrats on the release of Iced Chiffon. It sounds like a perfect read for this Halloween season. That blurb is wonderful. Nothing like a body in the trunk to jump start your heart and I can't wait to see if Reagan really does have a martini in her purse. She sounds like my kind of heroine! ;-)

  6. Have to say that excerpt really drew me in, Duffy, and Reagan and aunty Kiki sound like fun characters, as fr the hunky Walker Boone - well sounds like he's the icing on the cake!

  7. Good morning! I'm definitely hooked from the excerpt and can't wait to curl up with this cozy mystery. Congrats on your release and Happy Halloween everyone!!


  8. Hi Saralyn

    Welcome to Duffy's party, please help yourself to drinks and refreshments - and a Happy Halloween to you too!

  9. Hi, Mackenzie
    Every time I open the trunk of my car I think of Reagan. That must have been one big shock.
    Reagan has everything else in her purse, why not a martini or two.

  10. Hi, Mackenzie
    Every time I open the trunk of my car I think of Reagan. That must have been one big shock.
    Reagan has everything else in her purse, why not a martini or two.

  11. Hi, Saralyn.
    Glad you like the excerpt. Gets right to the action, that's for sure. Have a good Friday

  12. Thank you! I'd like a martini as well. A great way to start off the weekend. And some that Grave Digger cake sounds absolutely delicious. :)

  13. Hi, Hywela,
    Yea, Walker Boone is a hunk...a badboy gone to the good side. He's now a lawyer so he runs on both sides of the fence. Problem is he's the one who took Reagan to the cleaners in her divorce so at the moment they aren't exactly friends. LOL

  14. So many yummy things to serve up at Halloween feast. Anything chocolate works for me.

  15. Mmm. yes that gravedigger cake is rather yummy, I just had a slice myself! 'Dig in' as they say!

    Duffy - I think you've got me nervous about going into my own boot now, too! (I'm a Brit so what you call 'trunks' are 'boots' to us. Trunks are large packing boxes - oh yes, divided by a common language! :) )

  16. I love Reagan already! I can't wait to get to know her better. I have a feeling that we would get along great.

  17. Good morning everyone *waves*

    Congratulations Duffy on your release, ICED CHIFFON is the newest add to my TBR :)

    I always love haunted stories about Savannah. You'd think as close as I live, that I would have visited. I hope to very soon.

  18. Hiya Saralyn, Happy Halloween to you too! If you don't mind, I'll just stand here with you for a bit. Not because I'm scared or anything. It's just that, martinis and Grave Digger cake? I like how you role, girl. ;-)

  19. Good morning, Alyssa. *waves back* I've never been to Savannah. I wonder if the ghosts in this place speak with a southern accent.

  20. Mackenzie, I don't mind at all! No better way to get the day started. Now we just need this awesome book, so we can go sleuthing also. :)

  21. Hi, Alyssa.
    Hope you get to Savannah. So much fun. Eat your way though the city, wonderful food! Take a haunted tour, they are a blast and the city at night is sort of magical.

  22. Saralyn,
    Reagan is a gal at the end of her financial rope. Hollis divorced her for Cupcake, and she signed a prenup so the money is running out. She loves her old Victorian, did the repairs herself and needs cash so she opens the Prissy Fox consignment shop.
    She and Auntie KiKI sit on the front porch, drink martinis and solve the murders.
    Wish I was with them...then again, I suppose I am. LOL

  23. Hi Alyssa - I know what you mean. It's so easy to ignore what's on one's doorstep. I don't expect I'll ever get the chance to visit Savanah, but it sounds amazing.

  24. The Halloween spread looks delish! I think I might be partial to the spaghetti and eyeballs....lol...I love cozy type mysteries and "Iced Chiffon" sounds like a good one! Thanks for the great giveaway

    junegirl63 at gmail dot com

  25. Welcome, Maria. Feel free to dig in and make sure you give your drink order to Oliver. He's the best. And I agree. Isn't Duffy's excerpt a hoot?

  26. I think I'll pass on the eyeballs but the Grave Digger Cake sounds super! Can't want to see what pops out when it's cut!

  27. Lol. Sounds like they spend their days perfectly. Nothing better than a good drink and some mystery to spice things up a bit. And a little romance, of course. :)

  28. Hi, Heywela
    That's right...the boot! See, now every time you look in there you'll think of Reagan too. LOL

  29. Saralyn, there's this place in Savannah, Jen's and Friends that has terrific martinis. They have Snickers, martini, strawberry-short-cake martini, candy-cane martini etc. Such a fun place to go. We need a roadtrip to Jen's and Friends!

  30. Hi PL. I wonder what will pop out. Someone holding a fork? I loooove anything chocolate.

  31. Oh, that place sounds amazing! I would love to be able to go with you, but it's somewhere between a 15-20 hour drive for me. We finally had our first long road trip this past summer down to Gulf Shores, Alabama. I have two little boys and they were so excited to go on a real trip. We fell in love with that place and look forward to going back someday. That was just one place off of my long list of places to go. Georgia, Kentucky, and all along the east coast is where I long to go.

  32. Chocolate! Duffy, you're a lady after my own heart!
    Sounds like you and your two boys had a great trip, Saralyn.

    Any chance of another short excerpt, Duffy?

  33. Oh yay! I'd love another excerpt.

    And isn't Gulf Shores fantastic, Saralyn? We did a family reunion there once, the year before a hurricane wiped out the condos we rented on the beach. We need to plan another.

  34. Saralyn, Golf Shores is terrific! What a great trip for the kids and parents. I bet the boys were excited! Beach, sand and sun...nothing's more fun than that!

  35. Hywela, Yes, chocolate and peanut butter!! Food of the gods!

  36. Here's the beginning of Iced Chiffon.
    Anyone who as chatted so far and wants an Iced Chiffon tote email me DuffyBrown@DuffyBrown.com with roast and toast in the subj line and I'll send one along.
    You all are amazing. Thanks for chatting today.

    Chapter One
    I poured out the last of the Pinot and lifted my glass as I gazed around the dining room table. “Good-by Louis, Donna, Diane, and Ralph.” A vintage Armani cocktail dress and Kate Spade pantsuit were draped over the dining room table, sad and abandoned. “To friends. We’ve been through luncheons together, dinners, weddings, and funerals. You made me feel good when I was PMSing and bloated or put on five pounds from a Godiva bender. You’ve been there for me from country club dances to the Hobart bar mitzvah and I appreciate it, I truly do.”
    I gulped down another toast as Auntie KiKi, my mother’s only sibling, sashayed in through the back door from her house next to mine. “Reagan honey, don’t you think it’s a mite early in the day for tying one on, even by Savannah standards?”
    Today KiKi’s hair was frizzed out from the humidity and she had on her favorite red floral skirt. When she was born the angels hovered over her crib chanting cha-cha-cha and turned her into a dance instructor. For my mother they’d chanted follow the elephant that led to her being a staunch Republican and I ended up with the name Reagan.
    “Who in the world are you talking to anyway?” Auntie KiKi asked.


    I cut my eyes to the grandfather clock in the living room, the only thing left in there since I’d sold off the Chippendale davenport, Oriental rug, two matching chairs, and the Tiffany lamp that had been wedding presents seven years ago. “Don’t you have foxtrot lessons at nine on Wednesdays?” I blurted, feeling a little stupid for talking to a bunch of designer clothes. “The future beaus and belles of Savannah need to be up to dancing speed for the spring cotillion or their mammas and daddies will be deeply upset and that is not good for business.”
    “I threatened to play my Sinatra collection if they didn’t keep practicing while I ran over here to see what was happening. Your lights were blazing all night long. Why are your nice things laid out like a Sunday buffet?”
    “Hollis Beaumont the third had the social connections in our marriage,” I told KiKi. “Now that we’re divorced, I’m back to being Reagan Summerside the first. I have no need for designer clothes and I’m taking them to that consignment shop on Broughton.”
    I waved my hand over the Ralph Lauren slacks with the cute red trim. “I put this wardrobe together from resale shops and eBay. I did it for Hollis. His motto was we had to look successful so he could be successful. Being a real-estate broker in these times, the man needed every advantage.” I sighed. “Now he’s dancing in the high cotton and I have overdue bills.”

    Pg 3

    “And the moral of that particular story is never sign a prenup. Like Cher used to say, ‘If you put everything you know about men on the head of a pin there’d still have room for The Lord’s Prayer.’” In college Auntie KiKi was a roadie for Cher, and she’d never quite left the tour. “There’s just no figuring men,” she continued. “Especially the one you happened to pick.”
    “Seven years ago I was young, knew everything, and believed love conquered all. Now I’m thirty-two, divorced, broke, living in a half-restored Victorian and knew that over-due bills conquer all.”

  37. Brilliant Duffy, thanks so much for this tempting taster of 'Iced Chiffon'. I love the humorous undertones, this sounds such a gripping read too!

  38. Oh ladies, Gulf Shores was simply amazing. We adapted to the salt life very well. Sorry it took me so long to reply, had to run some errands around town. I see that a teaser has been given to us while I was away, I have to indulge now. :)

  39. You'll love it, Saralyn - help yourself to some more gravedigger cake and enjoy Duffy's latest excerpt!

  40. Oh, I'm loving Reagan and I want my very own aunt Kiki. Fun excerpt, Duffy.

  41. Love it! I have to read Iced Chiffon soon! I can already see that I will be laughing all throughout the pages of this book. Thank you so much for the sneak peek, Duffy!

  42. Mackenzie, isn't Reagan and Aunt Kiki just great? I'm so glad that we have been introduced to them.

    Hywela, thanks so much. More chocolate? Well you certainly don't have to tell me twice. And another martini sounds refreshing also. :)

  43. Mary approaches huffing and puffing."The dress didn't make it, when Hampy dove in, it was okay. But Nibby was too big. Blew out the bust of my sexy dress? It took me all day to walk to the store and then I had no money. Who was responsible for the spare dresses this week? Me? Anyhow after the long hike, I need a drink. Please nothing with eyeballs, just a stiff drink and don't let Foster make it. Last time I was drunk for two days.
    Hi everyone, I see a bunch of party poopers who have pooped out already!" Mary shakes her booty. "Where are the guys? Did Jessie make it. I saw a show about him, gosh he's cute. Bad, but cute!"

  44. Well hello there Mary sweetie! (Lyn hugs her sister hostess and sticks a large safety pin in the bodice to protect Mary's modesty.
    There. that will have to do for the moment. Have a slice of cake and I'll bet you'd love a Vampire Kiss (the drink I mean, not the action). I'll find a needle and thread and see if we can repair the damage. You may have to wrap yourself up in a towel for a bit though, while I'm doing it. Good job I'm handy with a nerdle. I mean *hic* needle.

    So glad you made it, you know there's a rumour going round that Jesse James and his gang rode off into the hills with you and held you captive. Glad it's not true!

    Talking about hunks - have you met Walker Boone - the hero in Duffy's book. He's something else!

  45. No, Jessie and the guys didn't take me, I woulda gone willingly. Sniff
    Another hot guy Walker, walk this way!!
    Sound like a keeper to me! Is he taken, has he got a friend?? Or did Patsy and Mac take them all?

  46. OMYGOSH - been running like crazy to find my way out of the dark recesses. Such a *trial* and all those Walkers - some aren't so hot, have you seen Walking Dead? Well some look like that!

  47. LOL Patsy m'dear, I'm glad you're safe, I was getting worried. It's dark outside and the lighting isn't terribly good in here.]

    Walkers? You mean like in zombie walkers? Yikes! I'm running to Duffy's Walker - Walker Boone, that is. I'm sure he'll protect us!

  48. *shrieks and hugs Mary and Patsy*

    I wasn't going to say anything, but I was afraid the ghosts got you two. Foster said there is a locked door upstairs with some moaning behind it. I've been tossing back eyeball martinis trying to built up some Dutch courage and go look for you.

  49. Oh Mac, I'm glad you're here. This place is getting spookier. You sure Foster's not having you on?
    Will the hostesses see what's on the other side of the door?

    Will Walker protect them?

    Is Duffy safe - and what are the strange sounds coming from the boot of her car Mary says she heard when she arrived?

  50. Dun Dun Daaaaaaaaa! LOL Sorry, I broke out it spooky music there. I'd better back off on the martinis.

  51. So sorry I wasn't here yesterday. I had book fair here in Cincy.
    So glad you all enjoy Reagan and Anutie Kiki. They get into enough trouble running after murderers. LOL
    Living next to Reagan on the other side are the Abbott sisters...professional mourners. Nothing's more important in Savannah than a big funeral and no one gets people a weeping like the Abbott sisters.

    Have a lovely Sunday.

  52. Hi Duffy, hope you enjoyed the book fair and sold many books!

    The Abbott sisters sound like great characters, in every sense of the word!

  53. Sorry I missed the party. It looked fun too. Spooky eyeballs and all. LOL. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Love the excerpts. Really enjoy mysteries. Your book cover is so cute. Happy Halloween.
    Sue B

  54. Hi Sue, where've you been, we missed you!:)

    So glad you were able to pop in, there's still some eyeball spaghetti and martini left, we saved them for you.

    Happy Halloween to you too!

  55. Thanks Hywela Lyn. I just try to cram so much into weekends it just gets away from me. LOL. Oh boy you saved some eyeball spaghetti and martinis. Cam I get extra eyeballs? LOL.
    Sue B

  56. For you,Sue, anything! Extra eyeballs coming up!