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 30, 2012

A Roast at an olde English pub with Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo

“You were right, Lyn. A trip to England wouldn’t be complete without a tour on one of London’s famous, red, double-decker buses.”

Enjoying her role as a cheesy tourist, Mary snaps pictures while the other hostesses toss out questions to the perky young tour guide speaking into the intercom system. They’d seen many of the local points of interest and learned some fascinating history on the ride from London to the small English village where Mitzi Szereto’s roast and release party would be held.

“Oh, will you look at that!” Patsy presses her nose to the window by her top deck seat as the bus bumps along the worn cobblestones on the narrow road.

Lyn, Mary and Mac shift in their seats to admire the crowded stretch of storefronts lining the village’s main thoroughfare like a charming, old English postcard. A steeply pitched common roof connects the local businesses with fall flowers blooming in the boxes below the rows of second story windows.

The bus comes to a stop in front of a pair of matching, rough hewn benches bracketing each side of a sturdy, mullion windowed door below a sign announcing the village’s one and only pub.

“Here we are, Ladies.” 

Mary sighs. “It’s so English. You don’t see that in the states.”

Mac nods. “I feel like we’ve stepped into a scene out of that old movie, The Quiet Man. I love that movie!”

“That was in Ireland, Mac,” Lyn points out.

Mac’s brows jump together momentarily in a confused frown before her shoulders slump. “Geez, that’s right. Well, Pffttt. I’m an American. What do I know?”

Patsy chuckles and bumps Mac’s shoulder. “Cheer up, Mac. A pint is a pint, and Mitzi said the whole town will be at the pub for the release party for her Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. There are bound to be a few hunks in the bunch.”

“Hunks I can handle. It’s a local murder mystery I’m afraid of. Are you sure Mitzi hasn’t planned one of those murder mystery dinners to go along with her story? Because I suck at finding clues.”

Mary’s eyes widen with excitement. “I LOVE those, but I think Mitzi’s party is a simple English pub celebration. You know, hunky locals sharing pints of beer and delicious English fare.

“As long as I don’t have to eat Spotted Dick.”

Lyn laughs. “Have you ever tried it? It’s delicious.”

Mac shudders. “I’ll pass, thank you.”

“Speaking of hunks.”

They all turn to see a group of strapping young men in casual country attire round the corner, laughing amongst themselves as they file inside the pub. Lyn jumps from her seat and smoothes her sweater over the waist of her jeans. “What are we waiting for? Come on.” The other hostesses scramble to follow her, filing down the stairs and off the bus.

Soft music and laughter meet them when they step inside the pub.

“Wow! This is so cool!” Mary snaps more pictures.

Dim lighting illuminates the dozen round tables and the long, dark wood bar. A brick fireplace takes up all of one wall and thick, rough cut wooden beams run the length of the low ceiling. A large crowd is already gathered, several of whom wait at the bar as a burly bartender works the taps. Patsy spots a dart board in the corner. She flexes her biceps and grins.

“Oh, yeah. I’m going to challenge of few of these gorgeous guys to a game.”

Mac returns her grin. “Just don’t beat them too badly. You don’t want to make them mad and spoil things for the rest of us.”

Across the room, Oliver appears with a tray of glasses full of dark golden brew balanced on one hand. He nods his head in a silent greeting, looking dapper as usual.

“I hope that’s mead!” Lyn heads straight for him.

A waitress smiles at the rest of the hostesses as she passes by. Mary eyes the plates of fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and gravy on the woman’s tray and her stomach growls.

“Oh, my. What’s that she’s eating?” Patsy points to the closest table and the woman dipping her fork into a scrumptious looking confection covered in what looks like caramel.

Mary licks her lips. “I think it’s Sticky Toffee Pudding with custard.

Teddy Bear picnic cake for Teddy Tedaloo

“Yumm! We’re going to have a blast, girls.”

Mac scans the large crowd and spots Mitzi hugging Lyn. “Come on. There’s Mitzi. I can’t wait to talk to her. I just know I’m going to love her accent.”

Let's all welcome Mitzi Szerato and Teddy Tedaloo with 'Normal For Norfolk' (what a great title!

The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) 
by Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo


Little Acre was all abuzz with news about the murder of one of their native sons. Derrick Pickles, long-time proprietor of The Black Stag public house in the adjacent village of Kelton Market, had been found bludgeoned to death. Pickles had lived in the village since the day he was born, the pub having been in his family for generations. He’d taken it over from his father, who’d taken it over from his father, and so on and so on. The Pickles were a Norfolk institution, and Derrick was well-liked and respected in the community. Not even the taint of his only son going off to work in The City rather than positioning himself to one day take over the reins of the family business could dampen the locals’ affection for the family, though forgiveness wasn’t always as easy to come by. Feelings and memories ran deep in this part of the world, despite young Pickles defection to London taking place nearly two decades before, which, at least to the locals, might as well have been yesterday. Not even the death of his mother many years later could bring young Pickles back in line. But old Derrick stubbornly clung on, running the pub long after most publicans would have sold up and retired to Spain or Portugal—especially a widower with no one to stay behind for.

Being the only pub in the village, The Black Stag was a magnet for the locals, not to mention tourists in search of some local colour. Kelton Market was conveniently situated in the county, what with the ruins of an old castle located just outside the village and a bustling crafts and antiques market taking place on weekends, so it was a rare day, indeed, when the pub wasn’t busy. The fact that a murder had been committed was not something the residents of this part of Norfolk were accustomed to. The most crime they ever got was of the sort involving the theft of a cockerel from a farm or some youths out joyriding on a tractor. But murder? No. Murders happened in London and Birmingham and Glasgow. They did not happen in Kelton Market.

Therefore when Thelonious heaved open the heavy glass door of Little Acre’s one and only newsagents in his quest to buy a copy of the local newspaper (or as local as he could get), he discovered quite a crowd gathered inside the cramped little shop. A trio of men representing three generations and an elderly woman who had to have been pushing the century mark were gathered in front of the till, talking animatedly and all at the same time, the garrulous din being added to by a frumpy sixty-something woman behind the counter. She appeared to be refereeing the conversation, her heavy arms flapping and waving about as if she were attempting to direct a newly landed plane to an airport gate.

The youngest of the men was dressed in a white beekeeper’s suit, the hood of which had been pushed back behind his head. Hair the shade and texture of the round bales of hay Thelonious had seen in the fields of the surrounding landscape kept falling down over his eyes, causing him to reach up to swipe it away, whereupon the same thing happened all over again. He had the open and guileless mien of someone who’d grown up in the country and had little to no experience with big city life. The oldest of the trio had a pickled and world-weary look about him that could only have been achieved from a lifetime of heavy drinking. His deeply creased face was the colour of cured tobacco leaves, his overall appearance untidy and unwashed. He clutched an unlighted cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, the skin and nails stained a sickly yellow-orange from nicotine. Had it not been for his expensive-looking leather jacket, Thelonious might have mistaken him for a homeless man. The third fellow was aged somewhere between the two and, judging by his collar, appeared to be a vicar. He kept trying to get the group to quiet down, his pale palms making circles in the air as if he were washing invisible windows. Instead of having the desired effect, the group became even more animated, as if seeking to exorcise the vicar’s fruitless attempts at calm.

The elderly woman to whom no one paid any mind bashed the rubber-tipped feet of her Zimmer frame against the worn linoleum floor until she was in danger of toppling over. Nevertheless, the accompanying staccato of protestations coming from her shrivelled maw continued to fall on deaf ears. Her hunched form looked as if it might crumple into a heap of ancient bones as she slammed the rattling frame of steel to the lino again and again, her grey head bobbing up and down on her withered neck like a nodding dashboard dog. But no matter how much she crashed and banged and spluttered, she could not be heard above her village compatriots, who were determined to get their points across despite the fact no one was listening to anyone.

It didn’t take long for Thelonious to determine that something was definitely up—and the headline shouting at him from the front page of the Walsham Courier pretty much confirmed it. He pulled a copy out from the news rack and waddled over to the side of the counter, stretching upward on his short legs to hold out some coins to the sour-faced shopkeeper, who abruptly ceased her refereeing to gawp at him. Not that this was unusual—Thelonious got gawped at a lot, especially by people who’d never encountered his sort before. You would think she’d be a bit more discreet when it came to paying customers, he grumbled inwardly, biting back the urge to tell her to get a new front door fitted. The one she had weighed as much as a London bus. His right shoulder was beginning to ache something awful from the impact of it against the glass when he’d pushed it open. He hoped the B&B his publisher’s UK office had booked him into had a bathtub and decent hot water system so he could have a long soak later, because he didn’t fancy looking elsewhere for accommodation, especially at the beginning of the summer tourist season. For him to be able to work, he needed a home base, a sense of order. Chaos was not Thelonious’ style.

With newspaper in hand, he made his way out of the newsagent’s, only to pause outside to examine the cards and notices that had been placed in the shop window (which apparently cost each poster the princely sum of five pounds a week to display). He was curious as to what kinds of items and services people put on offer in these Norfolk villages and expected to see advertisements of either an agrarian nature or for church jumble sales. Not surprisingly, they were positioned too high up for him to read properly, but he did manage to make out a card for an electrician slash handyman as well as a flyer for a beekeeping school before his neck threatened to join his shoulder in protest.

Thelonious trundled back to where he’d left the Mini, climbed up onto the driver’s seat with the usual fanfare and aggro, then set off down the little high street with its requisite tea shop/café, gift shop, post office (closed due to government cutbacks), and pub, which went by the rather portentous name The Drowned Duck. Within moments he’d reached the Norman church that marked the end of the village high street. It was also the turnoff for Baxter House Bed and Breakfast. Home at last!

Mitzi Szereto is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction, has her own blog “Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog” and is creator/presenter of the Web TV channel “Mitzi TV”, which covers the “quirky” side of London.

Main website: http://mitziszereto.com 
"Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto's Weblog" http://mitziszereto.com/blog
Mitzi TV: http://mitziszereto.com/tv
Twitter: @mitziszereto
Also @ Facebook, MySpace, Flickr

To win a  PRINT copy of Mitzi's book (US only) all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday


  1. Good Morning Mitzi, Sister Hostesses. Looking forward to a day in ye olde village pub! Looks to be really fun and loved the excerpt for the Thelonious T Bear Chronicles

  2. Welcome everybody! I realise it's a wee bit early to have a pint, but this is jolly olde England - and in jolly olde England it's NEVER too early to have a pint! So please avail yourself of the delicious Oliver's offerings (and by that I mean those in a pint glass!) and join both myself and the handsome Teddy Tedaloo for our author roast and the celebration of our quirky crime novel/cosy mystery Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)!

  3. Lyn hugs her fellow hostesses and Mitzi. Hi Mitzi, welcome to your Roat Party, and Teddy Teddaloo as well, of course. I'll have a shandy please - ooh and some pork scratchings!

  4. hay everbudy! thankz for koming to our pardy! i hoped sum kute gurl bearz are goinged to showed up tho. so far itz all blokedz and ladyz.

  5. I hope I'm in time for lunch! I'll have what she's having - as long as I get the sticky pudding for dessert.
    I do love that delicacy!

    Mitzi, you've found a wonderful, cozy little place to celebrate your latest creation. And Ted, it's a pleasure to meet you 'in person,' so to speak.

    Congratulations on your first co-authored effort. I trust it brings you even more fame and hopefully some good fortune as well.

  6. Hello Teddy, how delightful to Have you here with us and Mitzi. I'm sure there must be some lovely girl bears around somewhere, I'll send
    Cuddles off to search, shall I. Cuddles, take Nibbie and Hampy and Foster with you p and don't get into any mischief, you hear?

  7. Hi Madeleine, welcome to the Roast.
    I'm tucking into fish and chips, but the shepherd's pie looks good, not to mention the roast beef and Yorkies. I'm torn between the spotted dick and cream, and the sticky toffee pudding - reckon the sticky toffee will win!

  8. Hi Teddy! I think I saw a cute girl bear over in the pub, or maybe it was just a really hairy human girl. I've had one to many already this morning - but such a fun party!

  9. So what the heck is spotted dick anyhow? Where are the hunks? All I see is a bunch of old guys guzzling mead and eating the great food. Are they hiding? No wait, is that Lyn over there, she must have a dozen guys hanging on her every word. What the hey, man hog!!!

  10. Don't worry Mitzi, drink up, it's five o'clock somewhere in the world. Besides, it's virtual!!! Have all you want! LOL
    I just don't know why you'd put cream on spotted dick...How does it get the spots??

  11. LOL Mary, me hog hunks, never, I think they thought I was Mitzi, actually!

    Spotted dick is just steamed sponge pudding with currents or raisins and it's very tasty.

  12. Sure, don't sound like pudding to me. Who came up with that name? Certainly not a Welshman! Pass the mead and grab Patsy, she's sitting in someone's lap and his girlfriend is about to kill her. No bar fights please, just grab her before she gets killed.
    Mac, stop grabbing those buns.

  13. 'course it's pudding Mary. Don't they have steamed sponge puddings in Americy? LOL. I don't know who came up with the name, but I don't think it was meant to be rude! :)

    Oh-oh, looks like Lyn's got to break up the fight again. Hey you with the funny hair, leave our Patsy alone!

  14. Oh my God! *hugs her sister hostesses and Mitzi* I'm so sorry. I spotted a guy herding a crap load of sheep down the middle of the street and I just had to follow. I wonder if they have pooper scoopers in England, cause they sure need one out there. Man, sheep stink!

  15. Yeah hands off. Ouch, she hit me!
    Hold me back Lyn!!!!

  16. Look out Mac, crazy, jealous, woman, after Patsy. I think she missed her spinach today, she needs help! Mary grabs the woman and Lyn pushes her out the door. She runs away yelling, "Crazy yanks!" Hmmm.

  17. Mac we thought we'd lost you. Ha ha, whoever heard of pooper scooping sheep! :) We have a lot of sheep in Wales too, but they're mostly on the hillsides.

    Hold on Mary, we're coming to help - wow, did Mary really throw that punch? Wow!

  18. Sheesh, I never would have thought of holding someone's head in my cleavage while giving them a noogie! Then again, my sisters are quite as intimidating as Mary's. We'd better go pull her off that chick before she smothers the poor thing.

  19. Absolutely Mac! She doesn't know her own smother power!

  20. This is a guy I'm sitting on??? I thought it was a bear. I don't think you'd find anyone over here calling a dessert Spotted Dick - just asking for trouble!

  21. I'll save you Nell - er Mary - OH YUK, it's me that needs saving!

  22. LOL Patsy - we did come to save you, but I think you're doing OK by yourself!

    As for spotted dick - we Brits like to live dangerusly - perhaps we're all just inncent little flowers!

  23. Thanks for holding me back girls. You know I act before I think. Don't mess with my girls, any of them!

  24. BBRRRRAAAHAHAHA. Innocent like flowers! ROFLOL not for a long time...

  25. Blush! You are such a kidder!
    Wild woman!!!

  26. A romance writer who remembers how to blush? I think Lyn is twisting our knickers, chickies.

    Oh, that sounds so English!

  27. Ah but I write very sweet romance, Mac dear. Well, all right, it may get a little sensual at times, but yes, I still know how to blush. (One glance from a hunky hunk can do it! :) )

  28. I'm afraid I'm going to be an old stick in the mud. I have tried spotted dick (the name being enough to put me off in the first place). It didn't leave that lasting an impression. I shall stick faithfully (in a manner of speaking) to my sticky toffee pudding!

  29. And don't encourage that rascal Ted about those girl bears. He's married and his wife is in London. She's a darling little lass, and the mothers-in-law get on like a house on fire, so it's all good!

  30. OMG! Is that Fag-stain Man I see over at the bar with Zimmer-frame Granny? They're going head-to-head with those shots of whisky again. I thought Zimmer-frame Granny never strays from her local in Norfolk?

    Sounds like a case for Thelonious T. Bear!

  31. Oh Mitzi, I love your accent but I need an English slang dictionary. ;-)

  32. Now head to head shots, could definitely be cause a bar fight! Do they fight in pubs ever over here??

  33. Stick in the mud, now that sounds like a desert! What's granny slugging them down?

  34. that granny iz in my booked! shez kool.

  35. No I mean why is she slugging them down? I gotta read this book!! :0)

  36. I'd better clarify in Teddy's stead - Zimmer-frame Granny is a regular at The Drowned Duck pub in Little Acre, the village in Norfolk where much of the action in "Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)" takes place. Fag-stain Man (a serious nicotine fiend as those in the UK may have surmised) is also a regular. He's a famous rock guitarist who makes a habit of downing whisky with the old lass. He also buys. It's pretty much their nightly ritual!

  37. Oh Mitzi - you mean Ted is a- a - womaniser? And he looks like such a sweetie!

    I have to say I rather like spotted dick, provided it's made with vegetable oil or butter and not the traditional beef suet. I do agree with you that sticky toffee pud is much better though, yum!

    Zimmer-frame granny and Fac-stain Man sound like wonderfully eccentric characters. There's an old dear in our village who everyone calls 'Fag-ash Lil' because she always has a fag drooping from her lips. Wonder if she and Fag-stain Man might be related?

  38. Oh, thanks for the clarification Mitzi. Hmmm. Think I need to sit down and read this adventure.

  39. Fag-ash Lil sounds like Dot Cotton! Or at least when she used to be Dot Cotton, rather than Dot Branning.

    And no, Teddy isn't a womaniser. He, like most males, is all talk.

  40. I got the last part about all males. But, the code you and Lyn are using, is beyond this fool!!!
    Pass the mead! Lyn share now!

  41. Zimmer-frame = Walker

    Fag-stain = cigarette stain (ie nicotine)

    Dot Cotton Brannon = long-time character from BBC TV's "EastEnders"


  42. Branning. Sorry. It is Branning, I think. I'd better check.

  43. I have no idea what all these words mean! Sheesh, it is English?

  44. Yes as you say, Mitzi, our local Fag-ash Lil is a bit like Dot Cotton, except not so religious. (I don't actually watch 'East Enders',or at least not very often, but Dot Cotton is as popular over here as the late great J.R. is over there!

    For my dear sister hostesses. Yes, it's English 'but not as you know it', *giggle*. It's 'English' English! Or to be more precise, 'Cockney', I'm Welsh, but I know a bit of the Cockney rhyming slang, but I'll close my 'North and South' ,won't say a 'dickie' and go up the 'apples and pears' to my 'Uncle Ned' 'cause I'm 'Cream Crackered'.

  45. Sorry I'm late to the party - got stuck behind a tractor on one of those narrow country lanes! Is there any sticky toffee pudding left?
    Mitzi, I love the characters in your excerpt!
    And Lyn, I understand exactly what you're saying, even if the Americans don't!

  46. Hi Paula

    So glad you could make it. Yes, I've been stuck behind many a tractor myself. Nothing you can do until he turns into a gateway!q

    Yes, there's still some sticky toffee pud left. I thought you'd understand what I was saying, bet Mitzi did too!

  47. Oh to be in England when the hunks hit the pub. I"m on my way.

  48. Yeah, those tractors can really hog the roads in the Norfolk countryside. Mind you, some of the tractor drivers aren't too shabby!

    There's one piece of sticky toffee pud left - and I'm afraid Teddy Tedaloo has his paws ready to snatch it!

  49. Good morning. The tour was wonderful. So pretty. All that food looks so yummy! Really enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds really good.
    Sue B

  50. I visited a lot of pubs while in London, and there were loads of hunks there. You just have to wait until the dinner hour. Great excerpt Mitzi. I love cozy mysteries, especially British cozies.

  51. Hi Shelley, so glad you could join us hunk-watching!

  52. Hello Sue, great to see you, you're one of our 'regulars' - are you and Ted going to share that last piece of sticky toffee pudding?

  53. Hi Evelyn, thanks for joining the party, glad you enjoyed the excerpt, it's brilliant, isn't it!

  54. That sticky toffee pudding is officially history. You need to be pretty quick on your feet to get one over on our Teddy.

    Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. We can't wait to start on the next installment of the Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. We've already got a new location all picked out - and the novel will be even crazier than Normal for Norfolk!!

  55. what puddeding? i didnt see no puddeding.

  56. That sounds great Mitzi - keep us informed of its progress.

    Aw, Teddy, you are so cute!

  57. We will indeed! And trust me, Ted knows he's a hottie.

  58. This really does look like the quintessential English country town! And I'm not sure I'd be sharing that toffee pudding with anyone!


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