Do you have something to celebrate? Whether it's a Birthday, New Release, or something else

Do you have something to celebrate? Whether it's a Birthday, New Release, or something else - Book your Celebration Roasting Bash now ! BUT FIRST PLEASE READ OLIVER'S RULES !

lease Note:
We don't do reviews or interviews. just virtual parties to promote your book!

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, November 9, 2012

Paula Martin cruises in for an Egyptian Roast

The sun lights the water creating crystal splashes as the ship travels from Luxor to Aswan. The Nile is an amazing sight.

The Sun Goddess earned its name; we have a Jacuzzi tub, right in our room. It’s awesome.” Patsy smiles.

Lyn straightens the bottom of her costume. “These things have tendency to slide up and I keep tripping over the veils that hit the floor.” Mary shakes her bosom and Patsy gets knocked down. “Sorry, hey where’s Mac?” “I’ll bet she got lost on this ship. You know, or she mighta even forgot we were supposed to join the entertainment. I never thought I’d be floating on the Nile in a cruise ship.”

Patsy who really can belly dance!
Lyn stares the tables laden with food like she’s never seen before. “I hear this kinda food is good for you. Where’s the mead.”

Patsy picks herself off the floor and groans. “Will you watch it with those things. I am the one who knows what she’s doing ya know. I took lessons and well, I’mmmm good if I do say so myself.”

“Somebody had to.” Lyn snickers.

“I’ll have you know…” Patsy shakes her hips and clicks her hands.

“Just imitate her over to the food table. Let’s see what Oliver has served up.” Mary urges. “Look here’s a menu. At least it tells what’s in each dish.”

Ful medames - fava beans with olive oil, onion, garlic and lemon, Koshari - rice, lentils, chickpeas and macaroni, topped with tomato sauce and fried onion
Molokheyyah  - chopped jute leaves with garlic and coriander) served with chicken, lamb or rabbit
Falafel - patty made from chickpeas or fava beans, served in pita bread with tahini sauce, Shish kebab, Kofta – lamb meat balls mixed with spices and onion, served with spicy sauce,  Kessiah – milk pudding, with flour, onions and chicken broth
Shawerma beef, lamb or chicken in pita bread with tahini sauce
Shakshouka – eggs with tomato sauce and vegetables

Dand look at these deserts -
Basbousa – semolina soaked in sugar syrup and topped with almonds
Baklava – layers of filo pastry with nuts and soaked with syrup
Fatir – filo pancakes stuffed with fruit
Kahk – shortbread biscuit covered with icing sugar, with dates and walnuts
Kunafah – batter fingers filled with pistachios and whipped cream
Umm Ali – raisin cake soaked in milk and served hot.

“We’re lucky we’re on this ship or we wouldn’t be able to have that mead Lyn.” So be grateful for that. Oh, and hand me that stuff Patsy is drinking. What is it?”

Mary smiles and elbows Patsy. “Save some for me.” “It’s called Karakadey, and it’s made with Hibiscus flowers. Or you can have some of the beer. They say the Egyptians make the best beer. Try the Meister Max, or one of their wines.”

Patsy grins. “Or you could just add a little vodka to the strawberry juice they always have, or watermelon juice. Just sayin’ .” Patsy raises her arms and steps out on the dance floor shaking her booty. Oh, there’s Mac! Where were you?” Patsy yells to Mac.

 “Getting ready.” Mac walks over to the other hostess’. “How do I look.” The other three look at each other and chuckle. “That doesn’t go on your head Mac, you hold those in your hands and click them.” Lyn chuckles. “But, you do look cute in that outfit.”

Mac shakes her head and laughs. “My hands will be too busy eating all this food. And hugging, I mean, finding the hot guys.”

“There’s our guest.” Mac booms, using her outdoor voice. “Let’s welcome the author of 'Her Only Option', Paula Martin. “Pick up your drinks be it milk or whatever, let’s give a welcome to our wonderful author! To your Ka!”

Her Only Option


Neve Dalton loves her job as a tour guide on a River Nile cruise ship as much as she values her independence. She isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend, despite his repeated proposals and his father’s desire to see him married.

Nor is she ready to meet Ross McAllister, a compelling and fascinating archaeologist. She struggles against her growing attraction to him until she can no longer ignore what her heart is telling her. This is the man who sets her soul on fire.

When she starts receiving cryptic messages, and Ross’s work in the famous Valley of the Kings is threatened, Neve has to make a heart-breaking and life-changing decision which she feels is her only option.

Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?


She leant back on the sunbed, relaxed and closed her eyes.

About half an hour later, conscious of something she couldn’t quite define, she half-opened one eye. A broad chest partly hidden by an unbuttoned blue shirt filled her line of vision.

Squinting against the brightness, she saw strong arms and well-formed hands. His slim fingers curled over the top rail of the neighbouring sundeck and she let her gaze travel down the horizontal bars. Her glance took in his strong abdominal muscles, the curve of his slim hips, clad in tight-fitting red swimming trunks, and his long, muscular legs.

Mmm, rather nice, was her immediate reaction.

“Good afternoon,” he said.

Embarrassed that her eyes had surveyed the length of his body, she looked up at his face. Even though he wore sunglasses, she knew he was staring at her.

“Oh—hello.” She sat upright and wished she could pull her large beach towel around her as a shield against his scrutiny.

He slid his glasses to the top of his head, flattening his thick dark hair. She couldn’t help but notice his amazing blue eyes. They reminded her of the shimmering ultramarine water of the ship’s swimming pool. His tanned features were as impressive as his male physique—broad forehead, high cheekbones, the slight indent of dimples in his cheeks, a wide mouth, and a finely chiselled jaw.

Some primeval response stirred inside her.

“I was admiring your beautiful figure.” His deep voice held the faint lilt of a Scottish accent. “I hope you don’t object?”

A shaft of disappointment quenched her initial spark of interest. For some reason, she’d expected him to be different from the smooth-talking posers who sometimes tried to chat her up. Instead, it seemed he was simply another cruise ship Casanova who thought flattering words in a deep honey-rich voice would make women fall at his feet.

Politeness to guests was rule number one, however, especially as he was on one of the Rahman cruise ships. Her professional persona surfaced. “Not at all.” She kept her voice casual while giving what she hoped was her best ‘I know your type and you don’t impress me one bit’ smile.

“You look lonely,” he said.

Realising her coolness hadn’t put him off, she reached for the bottle of sunscreen from the small table next to her lounger. “I’m enjoying the solitude. It doesn’t happen very often.” Maybe he’d take the hint from that.

He didn’t. “So where’s everyone else?”

“If you mean the guests, they’ve gone to the airport. The next group is due to arrive about five o’clock.”

“Ah, you’re staff then. What do you do? No, don’t tell me—” His glance slid down her body again. “With a figure like yours, you have to be with the Health and Fitness Club.”

“I’m a tour guide,” she replied, with as much dignity as she could muster.

“Oh, one of those.”

She bristled with indignation. Not just a cruise ship Casanova, but a rude one too. “One of those? What’s that supposed to mean?”

He shrugged. “You hear them everywhere you go. Churning out half-baked facts from poorly written and often inaccurate guide books.”

Her indignation flared into annoyance. “And that’s what you think tour guides do?”

“Most of them, yes.”

The man was insufferable. If she hadn’t been so annoyed by his condescending dismissal, she’d have informed him that she held a degree in Egyptology. But he wasn’t worth the effort. Anyway, he’d probably make another derogatory comment in response.

“So what do you do?” she asked with sugar-coated politeness.

“I’m an archaeologist.”

“Oh, one of those.” She couldn’t stop herself from repeating his earlier words but wished she hadn’t when she saw the lift of his eyebrows followed by an amused glint in his eyes.

“I asked for that, didn’t I?” His grin, showing even white teeth, was disarming and infuriating at the same time.


Paula Martin had some early publishing success in her twenties with short stories and four contemporary romance novels, but then had a break from 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 retiring from teaching. and has had three romance novels published, ‘His Leading Lady’ in June 2011, ‘Fragrance of Violets in February 2012’ and ‘Changing the Future’ in May 2012. Another novel will be published in November 2012 and she is currently working on two more romances.

She lives near Manchester in North-West England, and has two daughters and two grandsons. Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her favourite places are the English Lake District and Ireland. She’s also interested in musical theatre and tracing her family history.

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 on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.


  1. Good morning Paula, welcome to your Roast. What a lovely day for a cruise up the Nile!

  2. Hi Lyn - I finally got here (had a hospital appt this morning). Cruising up the Nile is definitely preferable! Love your belly dance outfits - but am glad you didn't insist I had to wear one too!

  3. Morning ladies. What a great idea for a party, Paula. The sun, the sea, the pampering. I love cruising. The perfect atmosphere to curl up with a good book. They don't call me Vacation Mac for nothing. ;-)

    Oh, and congrats on Her Only Option. It sounds fabulous. Love that excerpt.

  4. Good Morning Paula, Sister Hostesses. *Patsy warbles an Egyptian cheer* I have always wanted to go on a Nile cruise, perhaps not as the entertainment, but what the heck - here I am! *She shakes her bootie* Just excited to be here and can't wait to taste the goodies. Congratulations on the release, Paula, blur sounds wonderful.

  5. I meant "blurb" of course. Another echo!

  6. Hi Paula, Glad to have been able to visit Egypt for the first time.
    Thanks so much.

  7. Okay, everyone, line up, I'm going to teach you the basic steps for bellydancing. Later on we'll try hip pops and undulations.

  8. Hello again all - sorry to be AWOL - just had a 20 minute phone interview with a reporter from the local paper. It's all happening right now :-)

  9. You're right, Mackenzie - relaxing on the sundeck of a cruise ship is a perfect place for reading. The terrace of the hotel, overlooking the Nile,w as pretty good too!

  10. Hi Patsy - I'm sure everyone will join in the belly-dancing, once you show us how it's done. It won't take much for my belly to start undulating!!

  11. Glad you enjoyed your 'visit' to Egypt, Margaret!

  12. As well as the belly-dancing, we can also have a competition to wrap someone up as a mummy - and don't forget the towel 'scupltures' for everyone's bed.

  13. I'm so jealous, Paula. And lol on the belly undulations. I can totally sympathize.

    You know, Patsy, I can be your assistant in the dance lessons. I took a belly dancing class back, oh, about a hundred years ago, and loved it.

  14. Hiya Margaret.

    Come stand by me for the dancing and I'll show you how to use the zills. Patsy is a little rambunctious with those things, but she can't help it because of her overdeveloped biceps.

    *bats her lashes at Patsy* Show us how it's done, chickie!

  15. I want to learn to belly dance!!
    A Nile cruise would be nice, too.

  16. Hi Paula and all you lovely belly dancers. Oh, I wish I could join in the fun but I'm going to have to abandon ship before it gets underway. I have a cruise of my own for an out of town two day visit with my friend from third grade. Yeah, that was a long time ago. Don't ask! I'm not looking forward to this fifty mile drive with all the deer in mating season jumping onto the Interstate in their mindless chaasing. Have fun today and Paula, please give that handsome Oliver a big hug for me. And I wish you great success with HOO. I know it will be as wonderful as all your other books I've read.

  17. Patsy, the music's starting - so time for that undulating!

  18. Ana - stick with these ladies and they'll teach you anything! Thanks for popping in!

  19. Linda - have fun with all the mating deer, hope they're not too - hmm - distracting!
    Thanks for popping in - have a great weekend!

  20. Ana, you might want to try some of this Karaky stuff to loosen up the muscles before the dancing starts. Yumm and phew! Talk about liquor fumes!

  21. Hiya Linda. Thanks for stopping in and be safe out there amongst the mating wild life. Deer make terrible hood ornaments.

  22. I'm off to wrap Lyn up as a mummy now!

  23. *eyes the cloth in Paula's hand* Um, have you seen Lyn's feet? You might need a bit more wrapping than that.

  24. Oh yes, I forgot that, Mac (grabs two large kitchen rolls!)

  25. Hip lifts everyone! Up, down, up, down. No Mary, make them pop, not slide. Shoulder shimmies! We got it now! I'm loving this cruise, love to dance and show off my other skills!

  26. Shimmying my shoulders like mad - and feeling more like I'm a lump of jello on a plate.

  27. Well, I do look hot in this outfit if I do say so myself.
    I don't suppose Jessie will show up, it's a long way to get here!
    Too bad we had to leave the critters home. Nibs woulda loved this!

  28. Very interesting. Good luck with our book. We've been there when it was "quieter."

  29. There isn't any alcohol in that drink Mac, you're on a natural high!
    As a matter of fact, if we weren't on this ship, we couldn't drink alcohol at all. Not that I ever imbibe. I have to stay sober so I don't loose my balance. I'm a bit top heavy. Lyn never loses her balance, but she trips a lot!

  30. I'm afraid if I shimmy, I'll knock someone out Paula!

  31. Julie - we were there just three months before the revolution broke out. I'm so glad I managed to see all the wonderful ancient sites before the political situation in Egypt became so volatile.

  32. Wish I could see the pyramids... One of my dreams but too scary over there to go now! I'm staying on this boat!

  33. *shimmy shimmy shake*

    There is when you dump several shots of vodka in it, Mary. *grins*

    I'm with you, Patsy and Julie. I'll have to visit the pyramids in my dreams.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Let me know when we are gonna have the dream, so I can go too!
    Chances of me going anywhere out of the country are pretty slim. Unless, are there any sugar daddies on board?? LOL! I'll take the bells offa Mac's head and hang them somewhere, so when I walk they will jingle!! HeHe! Watch out, here I go!!!

  36. Well hello there - sorry to have been absent so long, this nice young Egyptian found me some mead and things got a little blurry and next thing I knew I was wrapped up in bandages from my head to my feet! Luckily the wraps around my feet were only made of kitchen paper so I managed to kick them off, but I had the dickens of a job with the rest of it.

    Aw, and I missed Patsy's belly dancing lessons - I always wanted to learn to belly dance!

  37. Well, the vodka is going fast but more dancing lessons on B Deck! *hic* - Now where is that sexy cabin guy!!!!

  38. You weren't supposed to unwind yourself, Lyn - I was going to enter you in the best-dressed mummy competition!

  39. Lyn, I'm shocked. Do you remember anything about it at all?
    Why is there a big sign on your back? It says, "smile if you got happy last night." or today...

  40. Patsy and Mac - I'll make you jealous by telling you we could actually see the pyramids from our hotel in Cairo!

  41. Mummy competition, Lyn, not dummy. Wanna put it back on?

  42. Mmmmm, I don't remember much, but I woke up smiling! :)

    ~Oh Paula, I'm jealous too. I am fascinated by ancient Egypt and I'd love to see the pyramids - and the Sphynx!

    Did Patsy say she was going to be giving more belly dancing lessons?

  43. Oh, so it was you who wound me up in the bandages, Paula! Sorry, didn't realise you'd entered me for a competition. How fun!

  44. I didn't know that was you. I thought it was a real mummy. Shoulda known by the feet. Sorry...Didn't mean to step on your mummy material.

  45. It's not nice to make your friends jealous, Paula. Waaaa. I wanna see the pyramids too!

    I think we should wrap you back up, Lyn. Are there prizes for the mummy contest, Paula. I bet a belly dancing mummy would take top honors.

  46. A belly-dancing mummy? That should be interesting! Will have to think up a special prize for that - maybe the winner get serenaded by the Nile boatman in my novel who sings Elvis songs.

  47. You wanna cover me up again? Completely? I could get a complex, you know!

  48. Yeah, let's do it Patsy. She looks so cute as she hobbles along like a penguin! (with big feet, so she won't lose her balance!)

  49. All right, we'll just let you belly dance without all the bandages!

  50. Ah, I love a good Roast and Toast.

    Ladies, it's lovely to see you. I've heard that Belly Dancing is very good for your waistline!

    Oliver,'s been too long. Kisses my love.

    Paula, Congrats on your latest. I can't wait to read it.

  51. Hi Debra, thanks for dropping in - but ladies, I think Oliver's been hijacked!! Debra, put him down now!

  52. Seranading Nile Boatment? Ooh. that sounds a whole lot nicer than being swathed in bandages!

  53. My Nile boatman, called Wasim, 'invented' himself one evening (to my surprise - I was like 'Where did he come from?'), but I liked him so much, I gave him a bigger role later in the story (or maybe he decided he wanted a bigger role?).

  54. Oh, don't you just love it when a monor character decides they want to take centre stafe, Paula? Another reason to read your book, it sounds such a great story!

  55. *she wipes her forehead" Whew! I've just been running around the deck trying to out-distance this mummy with big feet. Can you believe it? It kept calling to me like it knew me or something. I can tell you I was really scared.

    Okay, time for more dancing. Lets do veil work. Did you know that the veil dance is actually a dance of the virgins. On second thought, let's do shimmies - I don't know if any of us can pass for virgins! LOL

  56. Phew, that's better,it took ages to get these bandages off again, I kept caling out to my sister hostesses to help me and they just ignored me and ran the other way!

    (Flutters her eyelashes) can't wait to learn the dance of the seven veils!:) )

  57. Although my Nile boatman was unplanned, he somehow became as real as the main characters - and he ended up with a pivotal role to play - even though I didn't realise that when he first invented himself!

  58. Am giggling at the thought of you being pursued by a mummy, Patsy! But virgin veil work? Hmm, better pass on that one!

  59. Okay, I'm trying to think of something witty to say here but I can't because I'm laughing butt off at Patsy and Lyn.

    No more for me, Oliver. Vodka hurts when you snort it out of your nose.

  60. I still think we shoulda put the wrappings back on her. Virgins indeed. I'm surprised that they remember what that was. Is? Well, I forgot...

  61. Excerpt time!!! One last one for the evening?? Please! Pretty please!
    Patsy, Ida run too!!!

  62. Huh! You saying I should be kept under wraps? You're just jealous sweetie, don't want people swooning over my little feet!

  63. Lyn, you're one of those lucky people who can wear anything *snort snort*

    Paula, this was such a fun party. *She waves as she falls overboard*

  64. I'll save her! Mary jumps overboard, it's a long way down. Even though she can't swim, she does have a first line of defense! Grabbing Patsy, as she flails around in the water. Yelling, "woman overboard". Mary grabs her about the neck and holds her up. Luckily, Lyn and Mac, scream until they back the boat up and scoop up both Patsy and Mary.
    AAAHHH, Mary signs, holding up her girls, "thank God they float!."

  65. We need a new outfit, see you all later. Mary holds her head up and drags Patsy along as Foster laughs in the background. Did he push Patsy over?? Hmmm Little green devil eh Mac?

  66. *Mac narrows her eyes at the little green devil in question, who winks and disappears*

    He needs his wings clipped, Mary.

    *she hurries to catch up to the girls and slips suddenly on a puddle she could sware wasn't there a moment before, landing on her behind with a squeal*

    Foster! You'll pay for that.

  67. Sheesh. Swear. He makes me so mad sometimes I can't spell!

  68. I'm only here for the baklava - schooch over Lyn!

  69. PL Parker - I've tried belly dancing - turned out to just be a jelly roll! I sit the classes out. K?

  70. Mary darling - you do look stunning. Can you imagine the cats dashing around after the sparkles on your costume? Could be a CATastrophe!

  71. Paula, if she dances without the bandages, will she still have some clothes on? I certainly hope so or Oliver will be in a mad dash to cover her and save her dignity and all the undulating could cause issues. We wouldn't want that now would we?

  72. Egypt is fascinating. Allow me to visit today.


  73. Good morning everyone! *Waves to Tami and Mary*

    Well, it took me all night to get these darned bandages off, and yes, Tami, I'm fully clothed underneath! Well, underwear, anyway.!

    I thought we hadn't brought the sidekicks? Oh of course, Foster can fly. So can Cuddles of course. Oh dear, if those two get together there could be trouble ahead!

    Oh well, breakfast anyone?

  74. Hi everyone! Loved the excerpt Paula - it had my heart racing and I could feel the heat off that sundeck. I loved Eygpt and have visited twice but have never done a cruise on the Nile - so until I do - I'll read your book, which sounds fabulous.

    Love Janice xx

  75. Well done, mary - glad you managed to save Patsy!

  76. Hi Tami - think Lyn managed to take off the bandages without removing any other clothes!

  77. Hi Mary P - thanks for joining us on the cruise!

  78. Thanks, Janice :-) I loved Egypt too, and the cruise was the perfect way to relax in between all the visits to the ancient sites - and the food was fabulous too. Talking of which, I'm off to find some more lamb kofta - if my friends haven't eaten it all!

  79. Hi Paula, oh you can't imagine how much those bandages tickle!

    Hello. Janice, great to see you again. So glad you could join us at Paula's party.

  80. I've always thought I'd be good at belly dancing. Ther hips are still mobile but the back and knees are going a bit now. Probably too late.
    Great post. Very funny. gx

  81. My hips would definitely creak, Gilli!

  82. So you mean all those mummies were tickled to death, Lyn? :-D

  83. LOL, Paula, yes, they neglected to tell us that in the history books didn't they!

    Hi Gilli - yes a lifetime of abuse by horse has left my hips and knees a bit the worse for wear too, but belly dancing is so graceful and sensuous. I looked at a couple of videos when I was doing the research for my novella about the muse of dance, and it really made me wish I could do it!

  84. Paula, I'm so sorry I'm a day late getting here. What an entertaining blog and the recipes look fantastic. I see you got a big response, too. Great blog.
    All the best to you.

  85. Hi Sarah - don't worry about being late. We always love to have visitors and stay open overe the weekend specially for anyone who can't make it on Friday!

  86. Hi Sarah - thanks so much for joining our Nile cruise! You only missed the belly dancing, but there's still plenty of food!

  87. What a fun time we had with you Paula, thanks for being such a great guest, and wishing you much success in the future and many sales with 'Her Only Option'.


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.