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, February 15, 2013

a post Valentine Birthday bash and chocolate kisses Birthday party for Sheryl Browne

Sporting a variety of snappy red cocktail dresses, Lyn, Mary, Mac and Patsy stroll down the sidewalk stopping in front of a stately building reminiscent of a huge box of chocolates.

Lyn pushes back her heart-shaped sunglasses to get a better look.

“Love the sunglasses!” Mac comments. “Where’d you get them?”

          Lyn readjusts the glasses over her eyes. “Off the sale rack at Macy’s!  Pretty cool, hey?”

          “You should have grabbed us all a pair,” Mary exclaims. “I would look so good in them.”

          “Only set left,” Lyn pats the glasses protectively.

            The women lean back, admiring the huge edifice.  Red hearts and pseudo-truffles edge the stained glass windows. Red and gold double doors covered with gleaming cloisonné slide open.

          The butler, the sexy and charismatic Oliver, greets them with that enigmatic, soul-wrenching smile.  The red silk morning jacket he is wearing is a perfect foil for his manly good looks.  He again smiles that too sexy smile of his.  “Welcome, Ladies.”

Patsy sighs.  “If I was a hunk of chocolate, I’d melt right here and now.”

“You and me both,” Mary mutters.  “Makes me want to…”
  “Remind me why we’re here.” Mac strides through the door and stops in front of a statue of a Greek God completely sculpted in chocolate.
  “It’s a formal chocolate tasting party in honor of Valentine’s Day and Sheryl’s birthday , today. Double the fun!” Lyn runs her finger up the statue’s arm and then licks her finger. “Omygosh!  It’s edible.”

          “Are you kidding me?” Mary leans forward and sniffs.  Satisfied, she samples a small taste. “It is!”
         “Look,” Mac points down. “Even his fig leaf is chocolate.”

          “Think he could have been fine with a strawberry leaf,” Patsy snickers. “Nothing much hiding behind that leaf.”

“You’re so bad,” Mac giggles as she leans down for a better look. “But I have to agree.”

Following Oliver, the ladies stroll down a long hallway.  Red brocade wallpaper and deep red carpets line the walkways.  Overhead, crystal chandeliers sparkle with a thousand diamond lights.

           “I don’t know about you,” Mary lightly taps the wall, “but I’m completely impressed.”

          “Oh, me too.” Lyn pushes back her sunglasses. “I’ve never seen such opulence in a place.”

          Oliver leads the girls into a gymnasium-sized ballroom.  Red swathes of shimmering fabric drape from the massive chandelier in the center of the room.  Beneath the chandelier, a huge heart-shaped fountain gushes warm chocolate filling the base and then spilling down into chocolate rivers winding through the crowd.   Plates of dipping pieces line the banks of the chocolate rivers—fruit carved in heart shapes, lush strawberries, spongy marshmallows, heart shaped cinnamon bears and a variety of caramels, maraschino cherries, and soft centers for those more adventurous who like to create their own taste delights.

 “Good thing we didn’t bring the animals. They’d be at the vet clinic right now from chocolate poisoning.” Lyn takes a sample.  “Oh YUM!  I could eat my way through this place.”

          Resplendent in a flowing red evening gown, Sheryl joins the ladies.  “Better start with some real food.” She leads them to the side tables. “We wouldn’t want you swinging from the chandeliers on a chocolate high!

          She reaches for a long pronged fork and stabs a raw shrimp, dipping it into the sizzling hot oil and wine fondue.  “You have to try the lobster with garlic sauce, oysters on the half shell, shrimp, crab, filet mignon. Oh, and don’t forget the fresh veggies.  They’re cooked in the wine sauce.  My favorite is the asparagus.”

          She pulls the shrimp from the fondue, blows on it and then chews, groaning with pleasure.  “I adore fondue.” She grabs a delicate white lace napkin and wipes her lips.

 “Dessert for those who don’t want to make their own. Forget-me-not fudge, milk and dark chocolate heart-shaped tarts, cupcakes with little love messages on them.  But me, I’m dipping strawberries.” Her brows arch. “Great for dipping, biting and even perhaps…sucking!”

Berry Sweetheart
Oliver's chocolate Martini
Argave Kisses
Oliver steps through the crowd with a huge tray laden with various drink glasses. He points to the tray - we have Agave Kisses, Amarula Kisses,
Berry Sweethearts, Blushing Ladies, Brazilian Rose and Cherub’s Cup.
If you don’t see what you want, let Oliver  know and he'll  find it.

“I’m going for a Blushing Lady,” Mary grabs a cup. “With all this stimulation, I expect to be blushing very soon.”

A male chocolate statue suddenly stands up, rotates and changes position.

“Did you see that?” Mary’s eyes round in surprise.

“Uh,” Lyn gulps. “He moved.”

Sheryl giggles.  “Of course.  All the statues are models from a nearby agency.  They’re dipped in chocolate for the event.  Pretty cool, huh?”

Mac chokes on her drink, face flushing as red as her dress. She peeks over her cup at the other ladies.  “I think I owe a statue a heart-felt apology.”
Cherub's cup

“I’m so embarrassed,” Patsy groans. “Let’s make sure we exit by another door.”

Lyn explains their encounter with the fig leaf.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sheryl bursts out laughing.  “I’m sure he’s heard worse.”

“I can’t imagine when,” Lyn wipes her flushed face. “I could just drown myself in the chocolate river—after I’ve had another Cherub’s Cup.”

“In that case,” Sheryl leads them into another room. “The pièce de résistance!”

A kidney shaped swimming pool covers the entire center of the room. Couples in red swimming suits wade through the chocolate waves as romantic strains of music waft from the loud speakers. As they watch, a muscular young man mounts the diving board and swan dives into the shimmering chocolate below.

“Ladies, enjoy!”

and Happy Birthday Sheryl, wishing you many happy returns and many happy sales with 'A Little Bit Of Madness'.

A Little Bit of Madness 

No rest for the wicked
Saving Charlton hall will burrow into your heart.
Celia Summers loves her job as an art therapist at The Harbour Rest Home, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of her efforts.

Martin, a solicitor, made speculative investments and needs to get his hands on his mother's assets, her home, Charlton Hall, to bail himself out of debt. In order to sell the house, he has to get Rosemary re-housed at The Harbour Rest Home and tries to get Celia on his side with a fabrication of lies.

Meanwhile, Celia fights for gallery space for her charges' artwork, and to keep The Harbour from being closed.

Police Constable Alex Burrows, son of Colonel Burrows, comes to her rescue when she crashes her car. Alex turns out to be considerate and caring with a witty, wicked, sense of humour, which makes Celia laugh, though when she learns of the circumstances surrounding his the loss of his wife, she wants to cry. She ignores his reputation as a womaniser. His trying to influence his father’s Will though, she can’t.  Alex, who little by little has stolen her heart, appears to be just as much a liar as Martin.

Despite all efforts, The Harbour is doomed to closure. Celia decides to take Rosemary home and forestall Martin's plan to sell Charlton Hall. Celia is soon joined by the rest of her elderly independents, who rally together to stop Martin evicting them. Colonel Burrows is ready to thrash the enemy to death with his walking stick when his son arrives in his uniform. Alex explains that Colonel Burrows is the buyer of Charlton Hall and finally does what he's been trying to do for ages: ask Celia to marry him.

A Little Taster:

“I wasn’t talking about the Porsche owner.”  Celia glanced at the driver, who, competing with an idling bus in the next lane, revved his engine even louder.  “I was talking about PC Plod.  What’s he doing?” 
“His duty, I believe,” Eleanor informed her.  “He’s just told Annie White he’ll have to charge her with causing an obstruction.”

“Jobs-worth,” Celia huffed.  He could look as exasperated as he liked, she wasn’t about to sympathise with someone who’d sided with the enemy.  

“Whoops-a-daisy.  Now he’s looking a bit put out.  His father’s just told him he’s not orf duty either and plonked himself down.”

Uh, oh.  Celia snuck a peek.

“Da-ad.” Alex pushed his cap back, exasperated. “Would you please stop this, before I’m in it up to my neck?”

“No can do, lad.  Sorry.  Can’t let the chaps down.  Wouldn’t be cricket.”

“Christ, Dad, this isn’t cricket!  It stopping traffic and it’s against the law.”

“So should making people homeless be, m’boy.  Can’t move, lad.   Principle at stake, y’see?”

“And so is my bloody job!  I have to move you on, Dad.  Please?”

The colonel notched his chin up and stayed put.

“Right.”  Alex sighed, ran his hand over his neck and motioned to his partner. “Sorry, Dad,” he said, as they heaved the colonel cross-legged from the road.  “Duty and all that.”

“Damned outrage!  Contravention of civil liberties!” Colonel Burrows blustered.

“No, Dad, I think you’ll find preventing people going about their business is a contravention of civil liberties.”  Alex gave Celia a disparaging glance as he ‘escorted’ his father to a waiting police van.

Celia reciprocated and turned away.  Then back quickish as he muttered, “Ouch!  Shit!  May, for Christ’s sake!”

“Unhand him,” said May, beating Alex about the head with one removed trainer, whilst someone else did banner duty.  “Put him down, I say, sir, or I shall…”

Celia blinked astonished as May, having failed to deter Alex from removing the colonel with her lethal weapon, resorted to the use of another.  ‘Oh, God, she’s going to bite him.”

“Gum him, you mean.”  Eleanor placed a hand over her eyes.

Celia placed one over her mouth.  Don’t let him drop the colonel, she prayed as May, in the absence of teeth, pinched Alex instead. 

“Jesus.” Alex winced.  So did Celia and Eleanor.  “That had to hurt,” said Celia. 

“Definitely,” said Eleanor.  “Delicate area, that.”

“I’ve had just about enough of this,” Alex growled as he returned from depositing his protesting father in the police van.  “May, that was below the belt!”  May, who’d trotted over to join Eleanor and Celia, flushed from her cheeks to her now bare feet.  “Assaulting an officer of the law is—”

“Against the law,” Eleanor suggested helpfully.

Alex glared at her.  “A criminal offence.”

“Ooh, smouldering eyes,” Eleanor swooned.  “Doesn’t he look gorgeous when he’s angry?”

Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. A partner in her own business, a mother and a foster parent to disabled dogs, Sheryl has also been writing for many years, the road along the way often bumpy.  She was therefore thrilled beyond words when Safkhet Publishing loved her writing style and commissioned her to write her debut novel. 

RECIPES FOR DISASTER - combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews and was shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Festival of Romance Award.

Sheryl has since been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single father’s search for love and his autistic little boy, launched July 1. WARRANT FOR LOVE, Blackmail, lies, adultery, entrapment - three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly - released August 1 and A LITTLE BIT OF MADNESS -White Knight in Blue rescues the Harbour Rest Home - releases Valentine’s Day 2013.

Sheryl is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association


loveahappyending featured Author and Editor

Twitter: @sherylbrowne

To win a copy of Sheryl'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 Sheryl, congratulations on your book release, and Many Happy Returns.

    Good morning sister hostesses. I hope everyone had a really nice Valentine's Day - don't worry if you missed out, there's plenty of chocolate here for you today! :)

  2. Morning Sheryl, Lyn! My congrats as well on the release and here's *she lifts her glass* my wish for many sales.

    Think I'll wander over to the chocolate statute and take another look

  3. This is such a fun party. OH YUM *she wipes chocolate from her mouth*. Who cares about all these well built statutes when there's chocolate in the house. I need another Blushing Lady.

  4. Morning chickies. *blows airkisses all around*

    Congrats on your release, Sheryl. It sounds like a fun story, and a little bit of madness is just what this party is!

    Do you believe how we insulted Mr. Hunk-O-chocolate? Gah! I'm so embarrassed. Quick, I need another one of those Berry Sweetheart drinks.

  5. LOL sisters, we'll never forget that little incident, will we!

    Mmm I think I'm in chocolate Heaven!I'll just have some more truffles and another chocolate Martini, while I make sure the chocolate's dry on that hunk over there!

  6. I can't stop looking at the hunks, I mean pieces of chocolate. I've been looking for the ones with the raspberry filling. Hey, it wasn't me taking the bites out of those pieces, is Nibby here, thought I left her home, cause of the chocolate. Now I wonder if those teethmarks are hers??

  7. Where is everybody???
    There's so much chocolate, enough for everyone! And no calories too!
    Lyn, get your face out of that chocolate fountain!

  8. Why Mary sweetie? Cummon, who wouldn't want to put their face in and wallow in all that gorgeous chocolate!

  9. here I am. I was just swimming in the chocolate pool.

  10. Ooh, I’ve got loads of chocolate, girls, fear not! Here you go. Now, while they’re all otherwise occupied writhing in chocolate-induced ecstasy, I’ll just have a wee sample of… Wha’d’y’mean Oliver’s already being sampled?! ;) xx

  11. PLP – Did you peek under the leaf is what I want to know? Haw, haw! Ooh, Blushing Ladies all around, please, Oli …. Oooh, laaaa laaaa! :) xx

  12. Thanks, Mackenzie! I think I need artificial respiration. Over there, look! Now that’s what I call a well-sized … fig leaf. ;) xx

  13. Lyn, he was dry. Unfortunately you’re melting the poor man. Do put him down. *sigh*. Pass her another Martini, girls, or will never get her away. ;) xx

  14. Mary, don’t look now, sweetie, but that’s not the chocolate fountain Lyn has her face in. Oops! ;) xx

  15. Thank you soooo much for partying with me today, girls. So sorry I was late – to my own party! Doh! Loving it! Thank you, too, for your fabulous comments! What a blast. Just off to change into my chocolate fondue diving gear, but - I will be back! Keep it warm, Oliver. What? I meant the chocolate. Honestly, some people. Wash your minds out girls. And save me some of that Martini! ;) xx

  16. Lol Sheryl, I'm blinded by chocolate, not sure what I have my face in, but it sure tastes good! :)

  17. Oh, here I am. Sorry, chocolate coma!

  18. Chocolate Heaven! Enjoy, sweetie! ;) xx

  19. I am having a chocolate rush, feeling zippy. Now if only the internet would stop messing me up. Every time it rains...
    So, ladies, who's hot and who's not?
    Did Jessie show up yet? He better not be holding people up for chocolate, especially when it's free!
    Jessie, you devil you! Stop that, wait not yet!

  20. Now wouldn't you just know Jesse and the Gang would sneak in here! I suppose the Duke around somewhere too!

  21. Quite the party! And you, Sheryl Browne, you're looking mighty sexy in that long red gown! You must be beating off the hunks... and not the pieces of chocolate.

  22. Hi Melanie, thanks so glad you could come to help us celebrate Sheryl's Birthday/Release. Do help yourself to chocolate and drinks, there's plenty to go round! Yes. Sheryl does look rather gorgeous doesn't she - and what a fun excerpt!

  23. Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday dear Sheryl, and many more to you!
    May you have a terrific day sweetie!
    Oliver, one kiss only!!!

  24. I guess I'm going leaf diving :) Anybody with me?

  25. Count me in! I'll flash and stop them and you grab the leaves!

  26. Well it is sort of like looking under a kilt - we all wonder!

  27. I'll try that again.

    Looking fab in red everyone & I do love chocolate.


  28. Hi Mary, so glad you could join us. do help yourself to some more chcolate, there's mountains of it. (I do love mountains!)

  29. Mary, I think I’ve over-indulged. More endorphins called for, obviously. No, Oliver, I asked for ‘hair o’ the dog’, not a hairy dog. Ah, well, never mind. You could forgive that boy just about anything, couldn’t you? *sigh* …. Slurrrrp. ;) xx

  30. I was supposed to be beating them off??? Oops, sorry, Melanie. I’ll just spit this one out. ;) xx

  31. Aw, Mary,, don’t be a spoilsport. Oliver can have another kiss or two, if he wants. Or three, or four… Oooh, delectably scrummy! :) xx

  32. Sexy red dresses, however, are not conducive to mountain climbing. Pardon? Yes, well, I know my legs are worth insuring, but tucking it in my knickers would be absolute fashion disaster, darling. I’ll just pop off for my designer swimwear. Hold that pursed-lipped pose, Oliver!

  33. LOL Sheryl, I'm not sure if Oliver can stand the excitement of seeing you in a swimsuit! :)

    And I'll climb any mountain Range if it's made of chocolate, just for the pleasure of nibbling down to the base. (Thinking Toblerone here, actually!)

  34. Well it took ages to fall asleep after the chocolate high. Now where's the cocoa? You've been a blast Sheryl!

  35. Hope it's not too late to join the party ladies. I always eat chocolate when I'm feeling depressed about something in my life, because it's hard to cry and eat chocolate at the same time. This party has been a real upper. Sheryl, your novel looks like a very enjoyable read. Can't wait to read it. "Recipes For Disaster" looks great too.

  36. Hi Eveldyn, no of course you're not too late, our parties usually go on all weekend, or until the last guest runs out. (The food NEVER runs out. LOL!

    I agree, chocolate is a great cure for the 'blues' and Sheryl's books are delightful.

  37. I got here as soon as I knew there was a roasting going on - and that roasting was in honour of Sheryl Brownes's Recipes for Disaster book - which sounds soooo deliciously good, doesn't it?!

    Okay, so I'm wearing my deep plunge scarlet ball gown - where is the gorgeous Oliver?

    Oy Sheryl - put Oliver down!

    Chocolate Martini...? Well, it would be rude not to....

    Hello ladies and kisses all round!

  38. Sorry so late. Busy weekend. Don't you ladies look pretty. Oliver is handsome as ever. Look at all the yummy food! Sheryl your book sounds wonderful. Congrats on your 3book contract.
    Sue B

  39. Hi Janice and Sue, so glad you could stop by and come to Sheryl's party. Put on your gladrags and indulge in some serious virtual chocolate - and don't forget to read Sheryl's excerpt, like Oliver and the chocolate, it's addictive!

  40. Lyn, Oliver won’t be able to stand if he sees me in a swimsuit. Quick pass him a chair - and a double Martini! :) xx

  41. ‘It's hard to cry and eat chocolate at the same time’. Oh, I love this lady! Evelyn you’re our kind of girl. Evelyn, you can part with us anytime. Hmm? I see that’s brightened, Oli, up a bit! Thanks you so much for your kind words. The cover model for Recipes for Disaster was a bit shy, btw, so no peeking under his pinny. Girls… I said NO peeking... ;) xx

  42. Haw, haw! Janice, I’ve only just picked him up. Mind you, he is hyperventilating a bit. Poor boy. I’d better give a bit of artificial respiration. Oh. He’s fainted. :O xx

  43. Thank you so much, Sue! I think Oliver’s rallying a bit now, bless him. Lyn’s just offered to show him her mountain range. ;) xx

  44. Thank you everyone for your fabulous company! As Mary said, it has been a totally decadent blast! Do you think Oliver will ever recover his gorgeous composure ... or his clothes? Um, do you think the muscular young man will ever come out of the pool? Mary, you really shouldn’t have, you know. He’s quite sensitive under the chocolate… LOVE you all! :) xxx

  45. Sorry we went to a movie or I would of been back sooner. Loved the excerpt. Did someone say chocolate?!! Love chocolate. LOL.
    Sue B

  46. Hi Sue, there's plenty of chocolate here, dig in, and enjoy!

  47. Haw, haw! Plenty, Sue! They're licking fingers and hunks all over the place. Oooh! Thanks all so much! :) xx


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