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 !

P
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.
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Sandra Sookoo's small town garden party at the Author Roast and Toast


“Wow! How beautiful is this?”

Mary rushes through the elaborate, wrought iron gate, pausing beneath a natural arch of towering wisteria. The hostesses follow, stopping beside her to admire the spring garden spread out before them like a post card. Blooms of various shapes and sizes line the brick walkway and beyond. The busy chirp of birds competes with the conversation of the many gathered near the white lattice gazebo across a freshly mowed lawn. A group of young children struggle to keep a kite aloft, skipping past the old men at their game of Bocce Ball. Happy daffodils and tulips sway in the gentle breeze, their faces lifted up to bask in the early spring sunshine.

“Geez, who lives here? Martha Stewart?” Mac smirks when the hostesses all turn her way.

“You’re just jealous because you have a brown thumb, Mac.”

Mac snorts. “Hey, I had a garden once.”

Lyn sniffs at the sweetly scented breeze. “How’d that work out for you?

Mac shrugs. “Better than I thought it would, actually. I harvested one tiny strawberry and two tomatoes.”

The hostesses snicker and Mac arches a dismissive brow.

“Laugh if you want, but you try gardening in one hundred and ten degree heat. I may as well have planted those seeds on the surface of the sun!”

Patsy grins. “Well, this isn’t Arizona, Mac. We’re in Indiana. Sandy said she wanted to have a spring picnic for her party. What better place than a community garden?

“Oh, look!” Patsy points at a pair of robin red breasts hopping on the lawn in search of worms. “I always love seeing my first robin of the season. It means spring has sprung.”

Mac jams a sun bonnet on her head. Mary gives her a questioning look.


“I’m not taking any chances. Remember what happened last time we threw a party in
a garden? It took three washings to get the bird poop out of my hair.”

The girls laugh, but one by one, they all slip on their own hats.
 A small town feast meets them when they arrive at the gazebo. Surrounding it, table after table groans under the weight of the many dishes contributed by the party goers. Included in the pot luck dishes are platters of sandwiches, fried chicken, hot dogs for the kids, potato and pasta salads, and a huge bucket of spring corn on the cob. Not an inch of space is left on the pastry table. Various plates of brownies and cookies  share the space with a large watermelon.
At the center sits a sweetly decorated angel food cake.

“Oh, my.” Patsy rubs a hand over one hip. “I think I gained five pounds just looking at all of that stuff.”

Mary hums low in her throat. “I know what I’m having for dessert.”

The hostesses follow her gaze. A dozen shirtless, corn-fed specimens tussle on

the lawn. Laughter and grunts of exertion fill the air as the men line up in two teams. Muscles bulge and glisten with healthy sweat, courtesy of the touch football game in progress.


“Oh, goody.” Lyn bumps Mary with her shoulder. “There’s enough for everyone.” They share a greedy grin.

“Ladies!” Sandy rushes up to give hugs all around. “Isn’t this garden wonderful? Alice, my heroine in Coming Up Daffy, would just love it. And the food!” She heaves a sigh. “Make yourselves some plates. There’s plenty.”

Mac drags her gaze from the testosterone feast, to eye the brownies, but Patsy flexes her arms and grins. “If you don’t mind, Sandy, I think I’ll play a little football first.” She winks. “I have five new pounds to work off before I gain them back.”


Welcome to Sandra Sookoo, let's hear all about your book 'Coming Up Duffy'.





Blurb for FROM COMING UP DAFFY
He loves me, he loves me not, he… wait, am I like a platypus?


Alice Attler has a green thumb in everything except cultivating relationships. Though she’s more comfortable encouraging green things to grow, she’s mystified that every relationship she’s had has withered. When a client’s daffodils won’t grow, she heads to the bait shop for earthworms where she meets Mark.


Mark Kincaide doesn’t know what to do with himself. His brother is on his honeymoon and he’s stuck with Grandma for company. Plus, he’s not a fan of the evil llamas. Just once he wants to do something heroic and be known as someone other than the bait guy. When the local plant specialist/florist comes calling, he can’t take his eyes off her…and it’s for more than catching a glimpse of bird poop in her hair.


An innocent trip to a river bank to dig up bulbs puts Alice in danger and Mark finally has his chance to play the hero. After things settle down, he hopes he and Alice will have more in common than just worms and a penchant for taking tumbles into embarrassing moments.


EXCERPT:
“Any luck in the dating department?” Mel brushed at a spot of dirt near the hem of her robe.

“Not really.” Alice glanced at one of the daffodils that had come up but never produced a bud. That’s what my love life is like. A dud. A fizzle.

“Oh, too bad. What about that one guy you were dating a while back?” Genuine sympathy wove through Mel’s voice. “You seemed really into him.”



“Frank? Yeah, I liked him.” Alice shrugged. Their relationship had ended six months ago, and not even with a big break-up fight. It was more of a “so, this really isn’t working for me…” and by a text message no less. She heaved a sigh. “He decided the commute back and forth from Indy on the weekends was too much. I guess I wasn’t worth the mileage or the gas.”



“I’m so sorry.”



“It’s okay. I just can’t seem to make a relationship go the distance.” She continued to dig up bulbs and then savagely pulled up the greenery, chucking them all out of the flowerbed. Of course, being too eager to please a guy in the physical department could have been the cause of that relationship’s early demise. Maybe next time I won’t let things rush into the bedroom, and I’ll actually get to know what a guy is really about first. “I need a new tactic.”



“Maybe you just need to spruce yourself up, you know, like you’re doing with my flowerbed.” Melissa’s smile held nothing except warmth and encouragement. “Put some highlights in your hair, get a manicure, and wear something that’s not streaked with dirt.” Alice snickered. It seemed like her fingernails were perpetually stained as well as her clothes. “All of that is expensive, but I’ll think about it. I guess I always thought if a guy liked me, he’d like me no matter what I look like.”

“True, and that would work if we lived in a perfect world. Too bad dirt’s not attractive, huh?” She wiggled a bunny slipper. “It’s such a bummer, though.”

“What is?”

“You’ve got the magic touch when it comes to plants and flowers. I mean, goodness, you sold every single one of your orchids at the Winter Carnival, and to folks who don’t have a hoity toity bone in their bodies. Can you focus your talent on growing yourself a relationship?”

 From somewhere inside the house, the electronic shrill of the phone sounded. Melissa bounced up from her perch. “I’ve got to take that, plus if I don’t hurry, I’ll be late to the store. Will you be okay here?”

“Yup. Don’t worry about me.” Alice heaved another sigh, more than a little glad when Mel disappeared inside the house with the door firmly closed behind her. “As long as it’s plants, I’m real good .”  Still, Mel’s words echoed in her head. Grow myself a relationship. She snorted as she searched for any straggler bulbs. Yeah, I’ll get right on that. Putting in the time, effort, and money to alter her appearance just to catch a guy’s notice made her stomach clench. Not to mention, it wasn’t as if Francesville was a hotbed of the single, attractive man scene. For heaven’s sake, she’d met Frank at a gardener’s convention in Indianapolis. Well, not at the convention but at a bar next to her hotel while she was there.

PURCHASE LINK

BIO

Sandra is a writer of romantic fiction. Her portfolio includes historical, contemporary, sci-fi, and paranormal romances in full-length books as well as shorts and novellas. No matter if the heat level is spicy or sweet, she loves to blend genres and oftentimes will add humor to the mix.
When not immersed in creating new worlds and engaging characters, Sandra likes to read, bake, taste new teas, watch The Big Bang Theory, and Psych as well as Finding Bigfoot and travel. Her favorite place to spend vacation hours is Walt Disney World: it's where dreams come true and the soul can play. When she's not writing, she's keeping things interesting at her Believing is Seeing blog or spending time with her husband, who patiently answers questions she has about men, sci-fi-related subjects, and the odd "what if".
Sandra loves to hear from her readers. You can write to her at sandrasookoo@yahoo.com.
  Website, Facebook page, Twitter, or Believing is Seeing blog




***GIVEAWAY***
To win a copy of Sandra'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.

50 comments:

  1. Good Morning Sandra, Sister Hostesses! Love the Garden Party. You know, I think I have a giant X on the top of my head. Do you know how many times in my life I've been pooped on my birds - I don't even want to tell you. But the hats are terrific.

    Sandra, love the concept of the book and great blurb. Much luck with sales and congratulations on the release. Good to have you here!

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  2. Thanks for hosting me today and thanks for such a lovely spring picnic venue. Love the flowers and butterflies :-)

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  3. Most welcome. You are a busy lady. See your posts everywhere. My, isn't the view just...luscious - I mean the food of course! I'm off to play football.

    No other ladies - oh well, I must do what I must do.

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  4. Yup. It seems right now I'm beyond busy. Sometimes book releases come all at the same time, but hey! I'm looking forward to next month. I have nothing new coming out LOL

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  5. Little time to rest never hurts. Sometimes I feel like I'm going in twelve different directions.

    Ooooooo - I'm going out for a pass ...er... back to football.

    Mary *she waves* jump on in, the water's fine!

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  6. Hey Hey Chickies! *air kisses*

    Sandra, I love that cover! This sounds like such a fun story. And when an author is excited she has nothing new coming out, you know she's running strong. You go, girl!

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  7. What a beautiful place to have a party. And don't you ladies look wonderful in your pretty hats. Nothing to say about Oliver except "wow!" I was exciting to hear Sandra was going to be here. Love her books! She is an amazing author. Sounds like another great book and it sure is a beautiful cover.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. Morning Sue. I find myself drooling a bit over Oliver this morning too. Nothing like a well developed, bare chested man to brighten a spring morning, is there? :-)Especially when he's so good at serving mimosas.

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  9. Hi sisters (Group hug) what a lovely day for a picnic. Welcome to your party Sandra, I loved your excerpt and I agree about the cover. So nice to have some flowers and springlike weather after all the cold.

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  10. Hi Sue! Good morning to all my lovely hostesses :-) I've been waiting for spring for so long. Seems like we've dealt with the never-ending winter this year. Thanks for the compliments on the cover. It's gorgeous and goes with the first book in the series well :-)

    So, who wants to pass me some iced tea?

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  11. It will be nice to see my flowers come up. Still a bit snow covering but; it's melting. Lot's of robins. My first sign of spring when I see one. Forgot to say I really enjoyed the excerpt too.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. Perfect time for your book after a miserable winter most place. Best of luck with it.

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  13. MMMM, carrot cake!! I loved 12 Kisses Later, so I'm sure I'm gonna love Daffy! And I can get a bit daffy over flowers -- love the pix!! Can't wait to dig in my flower beds! CONGRATS, Sandra, and many sales to you!

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  14. Hiya Meg and Julie, welcome to Sandra's roast. Have you tried Oliver's mimosas? Oh, so yummy. But sip carefully. I think he's added a secret ingredient. They pack a punch.

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  15. Did you know that I had to not only research daffodils for this piece, but also earth worms and the platypus? The things authors do for a story LOL

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  16. That is interesting Sandra. Love hearing what authors have to do to get a book out. Could you tell us something interesting you found out about each of those?
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Hi Sue *Waves* to Sue B.

    Yes, research can be fascinating can't it Sandra! I love daffgodils, especially as they're the national emblem of my native Wales (along with the red dragon, of course). I'm intrigued as to how the platypus fits into your story.

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  18. I am not having fun. My flowers are wilted and the blog is fighting me!! Where are the lilacs??

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  19. Looks like I finally mastered the blog comment thingee. It was fighting me all morning!
    The thing I hate about Florida is there are no spring flowers. And the sub tropics doesn't have the wonderful season changes, they make spring glorious!
    By the way, looking good Oliver. Patsy sorry to block your face...

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  20. Hi Hywela~waves back. Aww Mary so sorry. Love lilacs. My lilac tree didn't fair so well this winter. All the branches got broken from the snow.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. LOL Mary. Glad you got things figured out. And I feel your pain. Arizona doesn't have the 4 season either but we do have a short span of time in the spring (right now) when wild flowers pop up everywhere. They are so naturally beautiful. I love seeing them. Then again, there is nothing like seeing a bloom on a cactus. That takes my breath away.

    Oh, geez. I'm waxing poetic. LOL

    I'd rather hear about the platypus.

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  22. Here Mary, you can have some of mine, I've been picking them all morning. Wha...? I'm not supposed to pick them. Oh oh!

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  23. Well, I had to research how earthworms worked and why folks might use them in a flower garden. I guess if soil isn't aired properly, it chokes plant roots. Plus, the platypus... well, Alice in my story switches conversations like the wind. They are an aquatic mammal that lays eggs. Really strange lol But I like them.

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  24. Why can't you pick them?
    Mary hides her filched blooms behind her
    back.
    The smell so good...
    Someone ought to make perfume outta these things.

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  25. How about a little teaser from Coming Up Daffy? This is between Melissa (one of Alice's friends) and Alice.

    “I need a new tactic.”

    “Maybe you just need to spruce yourself up, you know, like
    you’re doing with my flowerbed.” Melissa’s smile held nothing
    except warmth and encouragement. “Put some highlights in your
    hair, get a manicure, and wear something that’s not streaked with
    dirt.”

    Alice snickered. It seemed like her fingernails were perpetually stained as well as her clothes. “All of that is expensive, but I’ll think about it. I guess I always thought if a guy liked me,
    he’d like me, no matter what I look like.”

    “True, and that would work if we lived in a perfect world. Too bad dirt’s not attractive, huh?” She wiggled a bunny slipper. “It’s such a bummer, though.”

    “What is?”

    “You’ve got the magic touch when it comes to plants and flowers. I mean, goodness, you sold every single one of your orchids at the Winter Carnival, and to folks who don’t have a hoity toity bone in their bodies. Can you focus your talent on growing yourself a relationship?” From somewhere inside the house, the electronic shrill of the phone sounded. Melissa bounced up from her perch. “I’ve got to take that, plus if I don’t hurry, I’ll be late to the store. Will you be okay here?”

    “Yup. Don’t worry about me.” Alice heaved another sigh, more than a little glad when Mel disappeared inside the house with the door firmly closed behind her. “As long as it’s plants, I’m real good.”

    Still, Mel’s words echoed in her head. Grow myself a relationship. She snorted as she searched for any straggler bulbs.

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that. Putting in the time, effort, and money to alter her appearance just to catch a guy’s notice made her stomach clench. Not to mention, it wasn’t as if Francesville was a hotbed of the single, attractive man scene.

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  26. I could use some sprucing up myself. My cups runneth over.
    Did someone mention a platypus?
    What a terrific excerpt!!! This sounds like an incredible story...
    Roses, ah I smell roses.

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  27. Yes it does, doesn't it Mary. Shhh, let's go replant these flowers, we can stick them in the ground and no one will notice they're dead now.

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  28. I'm off to play more football - after I have had some of these delicious treats.

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  29. Oooh Patsy, that's a bit naughty, why not just throw them in the lake, at least they won't die so quickly poor things!

    Great excerpt Sandi. I have to admit to be rather fond of the duck billed platypus, such a crazy mixed up animal, but kind of cute. I've only seen them in pictures though.

    We're having the weirdest weather over here, the poor flowers don't know whether they're coming or going. It's been really cold for months, lots of places had snow over Easter and although January andFEbruary weren't as cold as normal, we had snow then too. The grass and most of the flowers are several weeks behind where they should be at this time of year and we're all still wrapped up in our winter woollies!

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  30. Oh, I'm sorry. My attention got snagged watching Oliver. The man is dangerous without a shirt. I got sidetracked. :-)

    Love that excerpt, Sandra. Nothing like a little self consideration to shake up one's life or a good romance. :-)

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  31. It ain't only you Mac. Lookin' good there Oliver!
    Some of them might just regrow new roots, Lyn, If we throw them in the lake they'll die for sure. I have plants that re root. Talk about plants, has anyone seen Jessie?

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  32. I'm getting hot flashes just thinking about no shirt. Fanning self. Sandra really loved that teaser. I must have some good soil as I have lots of earthworms. Never knew that about the platypus. Interesting.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  33. Are there earthworms in Florida??
    Hmmm. There's lottsa ugly spiders and snakes...never saw those in a spring garden up North.

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  34. Sorry Mary, I have to agree with the others - Jesse can't hold a candle to Oliver - with or without a shirt!
    There must be earthworms in Florida Haven't you ever seen one there? Perhaps they live deep under the soil to avoid the heat.

    You may be right about the flowers. If they're watered well they might root - perhaps, but I wouldn't bet on it though I've grown African Violets by planting their leaves in soil.

    Anything else you can tell us about this book without giving too much away, Sandra?

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  35. I never compared Jessie to Oliver. It's like apples and oranges. But, I must say Oliver is looking very buff this week. Has he been working out?
    Favorite flower ever??? Anyone??

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  36. That's a hard one. I love flowers. Favorite would be white daisies.
    Sue B

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  37. It's a toss up for me, I love lilacs and the smell of Gardenias. Our Sharon loved Roses. How about the rest of you?
    I just got a bottle of rose oil, it smells terrific. Jasmine, is supposed to be good for your health and well being.
    Mead, however, I hear will make you happy.

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  38. I think my picture on this weeks blog makes me look as if I have to walk hunched over. Is that really me?
    If so, why aren't I more popular with the hunks we meet each week? Huh? Answer me that will you.

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  39. Have a good night everyone. Breakfast starts at whatever time you get up!!
    Oliver is cooking.

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  40. I like lilies of the valley, lilacs and lavender and daisies. Not a big fan of roses.

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  41. Those are all pretty flowers. Have a great night all.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  42. Good morning everyone - mmmm something smells nice, Oliver is a real treasure and we owe everything he is to our dear Sharon!

    Sue and Sandi, you're first in the queue m'dears, after you!

    Asfor favourite flowers - I love lily of the valley too - my sister and I were brought up by my Aunt Grace, after our Mum died, and lily of the valley were her favourites - they smell gorgeos. I also love snowdrops, another white flower. In fact I love most flowers really.

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  43. Mary sweetie, I don't think you look hunched over - but if you are it must be the sheer weight of your assets!

    As for being popular with the menfolk - methinks you're being coy - don't think we haven't noticed how you always seem to disappear into the hills after each roast, and usually one of the best looking guys is missing too. Funny that! :)

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  44. Good morning. I brought coffee, tea, donuts, cookies.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. Mmmmmm, thank you Kat, you're a super-fantastic guest at the Roast!

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  46. Good morning chickies. I'll skip the coffee and go straight for the bloody marys. Oh, Oliver, love. :-)

    My favorite flower is the bird of paradise. I just love the bold colors and sharp edged blooms.

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  47. Good morning ladies! Thanks for the invite to the garden party.

    Sandra,
    You are one busy woman. You have so many books -- and in different genres to satisfy any reader's fancy! I love it!! I wish you the very best success.

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  48. Thanks! I know as a reader I get bored reading in the same genre over and over, so as a writer, I want to exercise and challenge my brain :-) I like writing in different genres. It keeps me sharp and reaches different readers too.

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  49. Well what a beautiful day. What's for dinner? Leftovers. Sandra your book is terrific and I wish you the best of sales! Cheers!

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  50. Hi Karen, so happy you could join us for Sandra's party. Help yourself to refreshments there's still plenty left!

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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.

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