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 1, 2013

Amber Polo entertains the hostesses at 'Starbarks' to introduce her new series

“Nibbie, calm down! I know you’re really excited about this party. But, remember what I told you. They are shapeshifting dogs, not like you.” Mary does her best to convince her devilish dog, that the shifters might not feel the same about her as she does them. Nibbie, ignores Mary, confident that the canines at the Shipsfeather Library underground Starbarks, will love her. After all a dog is a dog.

“I don’t want you to be upset if they aren’t too keen on you. Hampy, Foster and Cuddles love you and they will always be your buds.” Mary hugs Nibs, who plants a sloppy wet kiss on Mary’s cheek

You don’t have a clue do you. Nibbie’s huge grin, even wider than usual, stretches her muzzle wide and even though she is smiling, her teeth are fearsome. A dog is a dog, and we all have feelings for each other. It’s the werewolves I don’t care for. Did you see the sign, NO WEREWOLVES ALLOWED?

“I hope so,” Mary hugs her sometimes devilish pooch and sighs.

“Lyn, you left Cuddles home? Foster is hiding, but Hampy wants to go.” Hampy, perched on Nibs' head grins from ear to ear.

“Even though they have removed the Theobromine from the coffee and chocolate you’d better not have any You know how sensitive your tummy is.” Mac warns her.

“You Hampy will not drink anything that I don’t give you.” Patsy plants a kiss on Hampy’s head. “They said they don’t eat hamsters, but I don’t want you to drink anything. One of them might try to drug you, you know, for a Hampy burger without the bun.”

“Don’t fret ladies, Liberty says it will be fine.” Lyn chuckles and adjusts her rhinestone collar. “How do I look?”

“Like you need a leash.” Mac laughs. “Come on, I hear there is an internet company they started and I want to see what it’s for.”

“As if you know how to use a computer.” Patsy jokes.

“I know how to use one, I just forget I’m on one.” Mac sighs.

“Well if anyone tries to eat Hampy, they will have to deal with me!” Patsy flexes her huge biceps for effect.

“Girls, girls,” Lyn chuckles. “They are shapeshifters, as I understand, and quite human at times. Besides they prefer the sugarless treats at their local Starbarks. I heard their dog biscuits are to die for.”

“Oliver says there will be all kinds of food there, that shifters, dogs, humans, whatever, will enjoy.” Mary tells them. “Oliver has outdone himself. Ham, roast beef, chicken and all kinds of meat dishes will line the tables in the basement of the library. Have no worries we will all be able to enjoy the decaffeinated coffee, and sugar free drinks, even chocolate Nibs. Imagine that!! But, Patsy is right, no coffee for you.

 Nibbie raises on eyebrow and bats her luscious lashes. Try and stop me, you know if I want it I will have it.

Mary, Patsy, Lyn and Mac all arrive together. They descend the hidden stairway to the Library basement. They are all ready to party! Maybe use the gym after they have eaten and the spa too.

Vincenzo, Fabio and Fila, greet them as they arrive at the Starbarks, after passing the dog park under construction. Starbooks empties as all the shifters head to meet the girls.

“Woof, rawl, yip, ruff-ruff.” Nibbie is so excited she can hardly contain herself and runs into the party.

“Hey, come back her Nibs!” Mary is worried and rushes to her beloved dog. But before she reaches her she sees the guests hug and greet Nibbie, almost as excited to see her as she is them. “Now these are my kinda people! I mean dogs, I mean…well you know.” Mary grins and the smiles of welcome are almost overwhelming.

“Whatever you do Mary, do not tell the story of why dogs sniff each other’s rear ends. They won’t think it’s funny if you tell them they are still looking for the right one as they had to hang their tails and butts, at the door of a massive pet store to enter.  No it ain’t funny that there was a fire and they all grabbed the wrong one as they left in a hurry, and have been looking for the right one ever since.” Lyn chides her.

“Well you just have no sense of humor.” Mary chuckles.

Amber rushes to greet them and welcome them to the party. Her book 'Released' from the Shapeshifters Library tells it all and all the girls are anxious to get their own copy.

 As they are introduced, a bunch of dogs rush over to get attention and sniff Nibbie. Nibbie is thrilled she will have a chance to meet new friends. And the hostesses are thrilled to celebrate Amber’s tail, or rather tale. 

Let’s give a huge welcome to the guest of honor a terrific author and dog lover, shifter lover, and genuine animal lover, Amber Polo to the Author Roast and Toast!

Let’s give her a big hello bark, and let the party begin!!!

Love dogs?  Love books?  Love libraries? Hate Book-burning werewolves?
You’ll love The Shapeshifters’ Library series

Welcome to the Shipsfeather, Ohio, where an ancient race of dog-shifters struggle, under an ordinary public library, to save the knowledge of the world from book-burning werewolves.

For years a curse has imprisoned the dog-shifters in the basement of the Shipsfeather Library—where they have made the best of things with a gym, a spa, a Starbarks, and, of course, their wildly successful internet company, Zoogle—but now, thanks to librarian Liberty Cutter and her zany staff, they may actually have a chance to break free.  If only they can convince Liberty to believe in magic…

Book 1 "Released" available now!
Book 2 "Retrieved"  released November 15th!"
Love dogs?  Love books?  Love libraries?
Book 3: Recovered (Due 2013)

Hate Book-burning werewolves?
WordShaping Blog
Amber's Website

An introduction by:
Vincenzo Imhoff (St. Bernard)
Shipsfeather Academy Barista

Vincenzo Imhoff
I’m the manager of Starbooks and Starbarks cafés in the Shipsfeather Academy. I don’t do it all myself. We run 24/7 and for many years provided the only entertainment and gathering places for 200 dog-shifter  staff and librarians.
Fabio Rodrigo
My top manager is Fábio Rodrigo, a solid black Fila Brasileiro. The guy is huge like a Mastiff, as big as Cynerik Trent-Croft. None of his staff brace him or argue about their schedule. He’s super self-confident but isn’t good behind the counter, because he has a problem with strangers. His family owns mucho coffee plantations in Brazil and supplies us with a wide variety of beans for custom roasting.
I love developing new recipes. I’ve worked out a version of Pacifico’s grandmother’s Mexican hot chocolate recipe with hot peppers and coffee that is one of our best sellers. Godiva Anglesey loves it, but then Diva loves anything chocolate. 

During the curse, when Liberty and Chronus discovered that caffeine and sugar consumed in human bodies did serious damage to dog bodies if shifting happened before these substances were fully digested. I worked with Fábio to develop a completely caffeine free coffee drinks based on a new strain of varietal bean from a secret location. We’re proceedings with patenting it under the name NoNoCaf. Griswald agreed to act as our patent attorney for free food and drink in all locations. 

My good friend Pacifico Lopez and his programmers are my best customers. Pacifico is helping me create a franchise opportunity for the Starbooks/Starbarks concept. I think the Starbarks café franchises will be popular in other shifter academies worldwide. Starbooks in libraries in this country could also catch on, especially considering all the dog-shifter librarians employed in U.S. academic and public libraries. And Starbarks dogpark kiosks is in the planning stages.

Amber Polo has had a lifelong love of libraries. A fascination with ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new urban fantasy series The Shapeshifters' Library filled with librarian dog-shifters.

To help writers and readers reduce stress, her Relaxing the Writer:'Guidebook to the Writers’ High', offers suggestions and simple exercises.

To win a copy of  Amber'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, Amber, welcome to your Roast. What an interesting and idea Starbarks is, love it! Hope you enjoy your Roast.

  2. Hiya Lyn. *air kisses*

    Good morning, Amber. What a fun premise your stories have. Since Foster was too afraid to come along, I should have brought along my neurotic Pomeranian, Itzy. I'm thinking Vincenzo and the others might be a good influence on him. ;-)

  3. Hi Mac *air kisses back*. Yes this is a great place isn't it! All the hostesses are dog owners and lovers. Yes, I think Itzy would have had a good time here.

  4. Good Morning Ladies - I'm going to let my poodle roam free - uh - she'll be okay won't she. Don't want her to end up like "Poodle on a Stick" or something. Congratulations on the release Amber and wishing you many sales.

  5. Hi Patsy - Lyn hugs her sister hostess and strokes the cute poodle. Aw,she's so cute.

  6. Hiya Patsy. *more air kisses cause I don't want to catch your crud* ;-) Hope you're feeling better, hun. Poodle on a stick wasn't on the menu, was it? Cause...ewwww.

  7. Hey girls, I think it's OK to bring our dogs - I've arranged for Itzy and Bouncer to be dropped off here too - Bouncer's always wanted to meet the other hostesses' dogs and he loves the idea of Starbarks.

    Don't know about poodle-on-a-stick, but Bouncer says he'll protect her!
    (Especially if he can get hold of some of that special non-toxic to dogs chocolate!

  8. I'll keep a mask on today so I don't spread the crud I've got. Interesting place here. Is that guy over there snarling at me? Okay Buster, back off!

  9. *Nibble nibble nibble* - Kind of tastes like puppy chow, but not bad!

  10. Mmmm -non fattening too I reckon!

  11. Hi ladies! I was wondering, if they bite you, do you turn into one! Nibbs would love it, but, I'm not sure about it. What if I turned into a yapping little runt! Then What?
    Who threw the rawhide chew at me?? Was that you Lyn?
    Where's Amber, did the pound get her by mistake??? Do they have to get rabies shots? I have so many questions for her!!

  12. Oh my, someone brought Nibbie's sister BoBo, she is gonna eat everything and steal food from your hand if you ain't careful. She's needy too, look she's rubbing against everyone looking for more affection!
    And totally ignoring me!

  13. Hi Mary - lyn hugs Mary and cuddles Nibbie. LOL I think of you more as an Old English Sheepdog than a 'yapping Little Runt' not sure why.

    I hope Amber is OK, I have questions too.

  14. Hi all you early birds!
    Your puppies must have woken you all up.
    So hold on while I pour myself some of Vincenzo's yummy coffee. Hope you all had some. He has the best.Bring your dogs! There's plenty of biscuits and treats for them.

    (And the book winner gets dog biscuits for her fav pooch.)

  15. Hi Amber, great to see you, what a fantastic place this is and the coffee is fantastic!

  16. Old, you calling me old Lyn??LOL
    Now about those questions Amber???
    Is there any tea? Gravy Train, or the good stuff?? Nibs will only eat Natural Balance. She has expensive taste. BOBO! Don't lick the food!

  17. Don't worry Starbucks has only the best. Nibs will get spoiled. Is that a problem?
    And BTW is Nibs a shifter?

  18. Oh no. Ladies control your dogs! Bouncer just knocked over the French Roast urn. Now Itzy is on the table.
    And who let that poodle loose.
    Is that Buster's barging back into the kitchen where Fabio and Oliver are nose to nose. How come such gorgeous men can't agree?

  19. Oliver, be careful! It's a dogs world ya know! Can the shifters get rabies?
    Nibbs wants to be a shifter and is trying to get the shifters to bite her so she can be human too! I told her I don't think it works that way.
    Oh, and she is already spoiled. But so furry for a German Shepherd and BoBo is envious of her fur.
    I braid around her face and at her doggy elbow.Cute ain't it?

  20. My dog shifters don't bite. It's just their DNA. But now my book burning werewolves are a different story.
    They are NOT invited to this party.

  21. ALL doggie eyes turn their attention to the door as Baby Evy walks in (okay, so she actually RACES in)....Telepathic thoughts fly around the room: "She's hyper! Watch out!" Any dog, shifter or not, with an ounce of sanity will avoid her at all costs! LOL!

    GREAT BOOKS, Amber!! I love them!!!!!

    hugs, Baby Evy's owner Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.com

  22. OH NO! Evy is here!
    I thought I said ALL dogs were welcome EXCEPT Evy.

    And that haircut. She looks like a Brussels Griffin on speed. Oh, that's what she is.

    Hide the cake.

  23. Hi Evy and Kari

    So glad you could join the party. I do apologise for Bouncer, he gets a little excited at times.

    'Course I'm not calling you 'old' Mary, it's just that you're cute like a Dulux dog!

    (Have I done enough to get myself out of trouble?)

  24. Excuse Evy hopefully she won't stay long.
    I hope Godiva Anglesey stops by after work at the library. Her family's from Wales. This chocolate Lab shifter librarian has a great family. Godiva’s brothers: Cadbury (Cadwynne), Hershey, Peter Paul, Clark, Heath, and Bosco.
    girls; Caramel, Dove, the twins Joy & Tootsie, and the baby Ruth.
    Wish they could all come.

  25. Oh Amber, Godiva's family sounds delicious. Oh, did I say that out loud? Not my fault, really. I turn to puns when I get hungry. Maybe I need a ... hot dog.

    Gah! LOL Okay, I'll stop now.

  26. Hiya Kari. And Evy, meet Itzy or as we call him, His Hyperness.

  27. I was just going to say, Vincenzo says the hot dogs and burgers are almost ready so line your buns up.

    Bouncer, Buster, no cutting in front of Mac and BoBo. Manners, please.
    Like Itzy. Oh no she's crawling up Oliver's leg to get to the brownies.

  28. Amber, I just love your names, especially Cadwynne and Godiva Anglesey. (Being Welsh myself.) She's not a Corgi is she? I was owned by a Corgi once.

    Manners, Bouncer, like Amber said, you're not starving. *Sigh* No wonder he's called the Terrierist'!

  29. Diva's one of the Druids that came over to Labrador. Corgi's legs are a little short for swimming...
    Look out. Evy got into the espresso and Nibbs is licking Hampy. I think he's licking. Mary could you put his leash back on?

  30. Sorry - I was getting confused and thinking Diva was one of the doggie-shifters. Yep a Corgi's legs are quite short - although it didn't stop mine from swimming, he loved the sea!

  31. You were right, Diva's a chocolate Lab inter-library loan dog-shifter.
    A happy-go-lucky complex character. :)

  32. Hot dogs, Nibbie is looking worried over that one!
    So how about another excerpt Amber to give us all a thrill!

  33. Hey everyone - having to hide out from the rotweiler. He seems to have taken a fancy to me. ULP - here he comes again! *she streaks away*

  34. If you beg me. ;)
    Can I just plop it in here?

  35. Oh poor Patsy. I think he just wants to be friends you know!

    You're right, Amber, of course Diva's a chocolate lab - here picture#s right there in the post - and very beautiful she is too! Dear me I think I've been eating too much chocolate, it's fuddled my brain!

    Oh, an excerpt would be wonderful, yes just copy and paste it into the comment box please Amber. Thanks.

  36. Since you party animals seen to love to eat, just push those plates away for a few minutes for this excerpt.

    As part of Diva's battle with Sybilla she must cook a meal her werewolf opponent loves.
    Here's Diva’s Dinner-

    She lit the candles, lowered the intensity of the chandelier, and adjusted the soft strains of “Arrivederci Roma.”
    The ten diners circled the dining table reading place cards until all were seated before place settings of English bone china decorated with exquisite hand-painted lilies of the valley.
    Bliss served salads of mixed organic greens with prosciutto and asparagus with a light balsamic dressing. When every salad plate was clean, Cynerik brought in bowls of shurba, a lamb stew fragrant with coriander, cumin, and cinnamon with hints of dill, saffron, and ginger while Bliss passed baskets of steaming garlic bread crusted with asiago cheese. A separate covered dish, heaped with a medley of eggplant and zucchini garnished with fresh purple basil, was as beautiful as it smelled.
    “Please add whatever you please to your shurba,” Godiva directed as she surveyed the feast, one hand behind her back with crossed fingers praying every dish tasted as good as it looked and smelled.
    After Sybilla served herself, Cynerik leaned over her with a pepper mill. “May I?”
    “I suppose,” she agreed, inhaling the heady aroma of spiced rice and chickpeas, garlic, and handsome dog-shifter.
    All waited with baited breath for Sybilla to take the first bite. She casually spooned a portion of the savory stew. She bit into a piece of lamb, then crunched a piece of bread, and failed to disguise her pleasure or her canine teeth. When she thought no one was looking, she used her fingers to stuff chunks of meat into her mouth.
    The judges and guests and began to eat.
    “May I ask the recipe?” Gwynne asked politely then added with a gleam in her eye, “I can’t resist wolfing it down.”
    Godiva smiled. “Al Baghdadi, thirteenth century.”
    When the guests could eat no more, Bliss brought Sybilla a warmed washcloth and bowl of rose water and waited while the were-pack leader cleaned pieces of meat and sauce from her face and arms.
    After Bliss cleared the dishes, Cynerik poured rich espresso. Godiva helped Bliss serve plates with squares of warm honey-sodden baklava, topped with cinnamon gelato.
    When the guests stood, the judges stepped to one corner and conversed with nodding heads, then turned.
    Gwynne announced, “Congratulations, dear Godiva, you are the victor in the first round.”
    Bliss, Cynerik, and Aldwyn applauded as Godiva hugged Lily.

  37. Oh, what a fantastic excerpt, Amber - trouble is now I am really, really hungry! (And I really want to read more!)

  38. Patsy, if you'd stop holding onto that huge chunk of beef, he's leave you alone.LOL
    WOW! Terrific excerpt!!!!! Applause all around!

  39. Thanks ladies, and one or two of the dogs that listened. I think Nibbs is a shifter and maybe Itzy...
    Do they ever sneak out to internet cafes?

  40. I have to tell you Amber, I have fallen in love with your huge puff of white love. What is he/she besides beautiful!
    Nibbie hopes it's a boy! She loves furry dogs like me!

  41. Nibbie is a shifter wannabe, she wanted to get bit to be a shifter, and was really put off, when I explained it wouldn't work. I just call her Nibbs, Nibbles, Nibbie, Nib, hey you dog get over here too, if she don't listen! Which happens when she gets excited. Her eyes really turn red in photos too!

  42. My big puffy is an Old English Sheepdog. Book One's hero, Chronus is my tribute to my first one, who I always suspected was a guy in a dog suit.
    In another life I had a lot of them. Trained, showed, and loved a bunch. Now I just have the stuffed one from the thrift shop.

  43. Aww, he's beautiful. I was trying to make up my mind if he was real or not. Old English Sheepies are beautiful! How lovely to include your dog in your writing - a great way to pay tribute to a much loved friend.

  44. I hate to say this - but I sometimes suspect my Bouncer of being a *whisper* werewolf. He goes out late at night when it's dark and howls and howls - but perhaps he's a beagle shifter, 'cause beagles howl too. Actually, Bouncer is far too sweet and loving to be a werewolf, I think he's really just letting the neighbourhood cats know he's on guard duty!

  45. I better warn Nibbie and BoBo, no howling together, like at home when you want something, they might think you're werewolves! Uh Oh!!!! No NIBBS NO BOBO don't howl!!

  46. Unfortunately, Itzy is just a plain old dog. No shifting, no internet cafes. Truthfully, sometimes I wish he WOULD run off to a cafe, so I could pack up the house and move while he is gone, but the little guy won't let me out of his sight. He considers himself my 4 lb alpha.

  47. Aw, you don't mean that, Mac! Itzy is so cute! :)

  48. LOL Not really, Lyn, but sort of. He has a sweet little personality but he is a real pill at times. He was a stray a neighbor brought over asking if I would keep him until his family came back. He couldn't keep him because Itzy was scaring his poodle. It's been seven years and I'm still waiting for his family. I think THEY moved! ;-)

  49. LOL. I'm glad you've 'adopted him' I'm sure you wouldn't give him up really. They all have their moments, but that's what gives them their character isn't it!

  50. My dogs are so huggable, and they speak English better then I do!
    Gotta go, they want their Natural Balance dog food. Spoiled brats, oh and the yams with chicken jerky were out at the pet store. That's why BoBo was running wild!

  51. Just wanted to stop over and say I really have to move this series up in my tbr pile!

  52. Thanks all for coming! Hope you had fun - and enough to eat.

    Plenty of leftovers for dogs and their guests.

  53. Hello Buckeyed girl, so glad you came to the party.Amber's series sounds such fun, and so different, doesn't it.

    Oh, Amber we've so enjoyed having you as our special guest. As you say there's still plenty of food so any latecomers won't go hungry!

  54. I seriously just want to take all these dogs home.

  55. Hi Mary - LOL I know what you mean! Dogs come in so many shapes and sizes it's difficult to choose - most of my dogs actually chose ME rather than the other way round. If you're a dog person it's easy to fall in love with them all!

  56. Good morning. Sounds like a wonderful book. Sadly I cannot have dogs where I live. I have my kitties though.
    Sue B

  57. Hi Sue, always nice to welcome you to our Roasts. Hes, Amber's book sounds amazing doesn't it.

    Pity you can't have a dog - but kitties are good, I'd just keep an eye on them though with so many dogs around!

  58. Forgot to say great excerpt. Congrats on the release of your book.
    Sue B

  59. Glad to see some Saturday guests. Wipe the sleep from your eyes and have some of Vincenzo's fresh coffee.

  60. Boy I sure could use a whole pot of coffee as I have been up since 2:30am when one of my cats decided to hang from my hanging plant. LOL.
    Sue B

  61. Hi Amber, might just take you up on that! Oh poor Sue, that doesn't sound good! (Quite funny to visualize though!)

  62. Thanks for playing with us Amber. And may your sales be many!!!

  63. It was funny. Well maybe not at 2 or 3 in the morning. ROFL. He is into everything and up most nights. His name is Tubby and he is a cute little stinker. LOL. Wish you could of seen at supper. He was eating and someone farted and it scared him and he ran in the other and kept trying to figure out what happened.
    Sue B

  64. Yes, Amber, you've been such a fantastic and fun guest, we've love having you and all the doggie shifters!

  65. Our Random generator came up with
    Sue B
    Cogratulations Sue!

  66. Wohoo!Thank you so much. I use this email and have a Kindle if you need to know.
    Sue B

  67. Well I left a comment and it disappeared. LOL. I am so excited to win. Thank you so much.
    Sue B


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.