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, May 31, 2013

Tessa Berkley has a barn dance to celebrate 'Castello's Fiery Texas Rose'

“I have never been to a barn dance before. Is it anything like a night club?” Mac asks bewildered. “I mean the dresses are kinda corny, but everyone is wearing dresses like that or jeans and Western shirts.” She points to Lyn who is kicking up her heels on the straw covered wooden floor. “Look at her go!”

Lyn twirls around the dance floor as if she was born to square dance. Her huge western boots, pointed and a lethal weapon on a normal foot, she flies around do-se-doing all over the place. “She shoulda been born in Texas, I swear.” Mary chuckles and turns to Patsy. “Have you done this before?”

Patsy smiles through barbeque sauce spread liberally all over her face. “Mmm, num, ummm.” She nods her head as she reaches for the chili bubbling it’s spicy aroma and competing with the scent of biscuits, fried chicken, cole slaw, roasted pork, slabs of tender beef, and homemade biscuits drizzled liberally with butter so the tops are a golden flaky delight. 

“I’ll take that as a no, and by the way, save room for desert.” Mary points to the desert table, where numerous pies, cakes, and sweet confections overload the top. 

Mary looks around to be sure no one is looking before she swipes her finger in the buttercream frosting on a coconut cake nearest to her. “Oh my God, this is sooo yummy.”

Lyn wipes sweat from her brow, as she approaches her sister hostesses. “I saw that Mary! And if they see you doing that, they’ll toss you otta here. Those are the cakewalk cakes.”

“You mean these cowboys and cowgirls are going to kick their heels up high and see who can kick the highest. I though they only did that at college fraternities during home football games and such.” Mary eyes the cakes as she drools.

“No silly, this cakewalk is like a game of musical chairs, only you have to stand in a square on the floor when the music stops. It should be fun.” Lyn grins.

“Who ever heard of competing for cake, for goodness sakes there’s plenty here enough here for everyone to have some isn’t there?” Mac asks quizzically.

“There  are hunks here and you are worried about cake?  Besides, you get the whole cake if you win, dingaling.” Lyn gives Mac a shove on the shoulder.

Mac, not expecting it, falls directly into Mary, who falls into Patsy, who falls just inches from the cake table grabbing a cupcake on the way down. “Are we allowed to eat these?”

Lyn sighs, “Please get yourselves together ladies! Patsy, wait till the cakewalk is over before you snatch the cakes, and stop flexing your muscles, guys don’t want your biceps bigger than theirs. Mary, keep your fingers out of the icing, and try to find a bra that holds the girls in place, before you kill someone when you accidently knock them out as you walk by. And Mac,” Lyn gazes at her with a cheeky grin. “Just try to pretend you know what’s happening even if you don’t.”

“Sure Lyn, if you promise not to participate in the cake walk of the kicking kind. We don’t want to go to the pokey for accidentally blinding someone.” Mary wisecracks and they all start to laugh out loud.

Oliver’s raised eyebrows and muffled chuckle as he watches the girls, makes them laugh all the louder. He is used to the insanity, but it never ceases to surprise him.

‘Oh look, there’s our author, Tessa, and look at the people waiting for her to sign her terrific book, Fiery Texas Rose.  They’re dancing as they wait!” All four of the hostesses are spellbound as Tessa signs each one with a flourish, while she dances from partner to partner. “Come on lets go join them. I love square dancing!” Lyn hollers and runs back onto the dance floor.

“I never saw anything like it!” Mac exclaims as she watches Lyn dance. “I think I remember Elaine on an old Seinfeld episode dancing like that!”
Eyes pop out of heads as Lyn takes over the dance floor. Her dress bounces along with every part of her body. “I can’t look anymore!” Someone in the crowd shouts. “She looks possessed!” Suddenly, shouts of fear fill the room. “That woman is possessed! She needs an exorcism!” Another person screams. 

Someone knocks over a lantern and fire starts near Lyn, instantly she jumps into action. With her huge booted feet she stomps it out and looks around with shock, as everyone around her loses it. “Heck, I was only dancing geez, what is wrong with these people? The whole place goes nuts!!!"

Pandemonium ensues as some people run one way and the rest, run in another. “Great job girlfriend! Once again we have scared the masses. Have you noticed, the suddenly stunned faces, the wails of terror, the screams for mercy, the crying, the laughing, the complete chaos, the running and confusion all around us?” The other hostesses nod at Mary’s comment, as they gaze around the room to take in the utter confusion. 

“This is terrific! My kinda party! YeeHah! Talk about fiery Texas, but without the rose!” Mary yells as she holds her side, erupts with laughter and exclaims, “Ah well, just another roast and toast…”

Please give a welcome to Tessa Berkeley-Costello, and let’s let her know her book, Castello's Fiery Texas Rose, is terrific!

Short blurb

Mary Rose Thornton is the only survivor of an attack that leaves her brother dead. Although investigation suggests he was planning to sell army weapons to the Mexican renegades, she knows he would never have done such a thing. Avenging his death and saving the family business by running it herself are a double challenge, and a lawman with a mistaken sense of honor stands in her way. 
U.S. Marshal Trace Castillo is committed to keeping the peace, but no badge can protect his heart when it comes to a fiery Texas Rose. His hands are full with a hotheaded Irishwoman determined to find justice. Can he clear her brother's name and locate the stolen rifles before innocent people are murdered?


Tessa loves nothing more than to be immersed in a good story. Growing up, in Tidewater Virginia, she would often rewrite books that didn't end as she imagined. Graduating from Old Dominion University, she taught school for a few years before retiring to her five acre farm where she raises pets that include Black Angus heifer named Esmeralda, a cat name Simba, and a dog named Bandit to round out the menagerie. She loves to hear from readers.


“Let her go.”

            Moe glanced around at the small crowd that had gathered. His hand flew from her arm, as if holding it scalded his palm. Indeed, the big man seemed ashamed and hung his head to study his boots.

            “That’s it.” The man’s voice, soothing and calm, seemed to steady the giant. “See, it was easy.”

            Moe’s shoulders slumped. He focused on the ground. “They told me she wanted to ride with me. They said it would be all right.”

            Mary Rose pulled her forearm close and rubbed where his hands had been. The stranger stepped next to Moe and extended his hand.
            “You did the right thing. That’s all that’s important.” Moe glanced back at her. Mary Rose schooled her features and tried to hide her anxiety.

            “Mary Rose,” she heard Daniel call from the door of the general store.
            Twisting to glance over her shoulder, she couldn’t help but give a sigh of relief as he pushed through the onlookers to her side. “What’s going on?” he asked, looking from her to
the cowboy beside Moe.

            “Just a misunderstanding,” the cowboy responded, placing a reassuring hand upon Moe’s shoulder. “Go on and see to your team. I’ll have a talk with those fellows. They won’t give you any more trouble.”

            Moe nodded and sent a harsh glare at the men across the way.
            “Did he hurt you?” Daniel inquired in a low voice.
            “No.” Mary Rose shook her head. “He frightened me. This gentleman stepped in and soothed the situation.”

            “Just doing my job.” The cowboy touched a forefinger to the brim of his hat. “If you don’t mind a bit of friendly advice,” he said, looking straight at Daniel,
“Never bring a woman on a run. They’re always a source of trouble.”


Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press (e-book)
The Wild Rose Press (print)
All Romance E-books

To win a copy of  Tessa'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. Whooeee, you don't give a lady much chance to slow down. Do watch out for that cowpoke in the corner. He likes to step on toes. Thanks so much for inviting me to this wing ding of a party. You ladies are just a top bunch of hands to have by my side.


  2. Hi Tessa, welcome to your party. Thanks for the warning about the cowpoke with the feet - wouldn't want to get or toes tangled up!:)

    Congratulations on your book - it sounds like a fantastic read!

  3. Ah, the internet gods have allowed me to comment!
    Well, well, well, this party sure needs music! Mmmm. What county music would get things hoppin'? Not neckin', hoppin'...
    Patsy leave some ribs for the rest of us!

  4. Not a problem, Hywela Lyn. Yes ma'am these boys get off the range and they still think their wranglin' cattle not waltzin' delicate fillies. I'm so glad you came.


  5. Well, great big western howdy, Mary. I wonder if someone cut your telegraph wire??? Could be some shenanigans going on. Music, well perhaps we can get some Texas Swing with Bob Wills or even better a little King George or Tim McGraw!


  6. Tim it is! Mary sashays over to Tim, sing for us will you?
    Whoops. Wardrobe malfunction, Lyn, picked tight dresses.
    No, I don't need any help, it happens all the time. I remember a whale with a blowhole bouncing my...well that was another party.
    Do be careful Lyn, those boots are lethal weapons!

  7. Yeehaw! I Love Me A Good Shindig! Hiya Tessa, chickies. *Air kisses*

  8. Patsy! Look at that cowboy by the rib table. He has his eyes on you. And he is hot!!!
    Oh wait, must be the sauce all over your face. Here, have some cake. Mary
    accidentally trips and the cake flies over Patsy and hits Lyn square in the face. UH OH! Running!!!!

  9. Mareeee! I'm coming to get you!

    Mmmmmm, actually this cake is rather delicious! Yum!

  10. Mary walks back and Lyn shares the cake with her. Cake fight!!! Mmmm it is rather delicious! Buttercream, my favorite.

  11. Now look what ya'll done. Miss Essie's over there waiving her ruler. We're about to get our hands slapped with her ruler just like back in school. She's shaking her head. Here comes that lecture about being ladies. Grumble, Grumble

  12. Oh dear -

    Put that ruler away Miss Essie and have some cake - take that, oops, sorry, that wasn't quite how I meant it, butter cream does suit your complexion though!

    Lyn walks quickly away, humming softly to herself.

  13. Wait! Did I miss the Texas Two Step? Texas Swing? How 'bout a Tush Push, ladies?

  14. Hi Andrea, so glad you could join us for Tessa's party. Oh there's still plenty of ddncing going on - probably all weekend! :)

  15. Wow,you guys sure are having fun. Oh well, nothing better than enjoying a good time on the last day of May. Hey, Tessa, congrats on being the guest of honor and on your book. Sounds like a great story. Women are a source of trouble on a run? Ha! Bet the heroine's gonna show that dude just how wrong he is.

  16. Hey Andrea, thanks for stopping by. Do have some of that rum cake, I hear Carlotta used a whole bottle! Oh yes, let's boot scoot and boogie!

  17. HI Darcy,

    Miss Mary Rose Thornton is about as stubborn to ignore is ideas as he is about holding up the law and what is right. Yes man that line between love and hate might need to be crossed. Those two can sure heat up the night.

  18. Great party. Oliver looks good in his cowboy hat. Tessa, love the blurb. Then again, I love a good western romance!

  19. Yeah, Oliver is making eyes at all the unattached ladies. I'm glad you stopped by Lilly.

  20. Hey, I'm up for just about anything, but I'm not sure about the boot and scoot? Does it hurt?
    Boogie, now that I can handle! Not well, but...
    Let's get some of those hot cowboys dancing and the lady with the ruler. We at the Author Roast and Toast have ways to deal with people who are party poopers. Sspppt...Hey, Lyn, how far can I go without getting arrested or tossed out like on the Ellen show? I'll handle that ruler lady, I had a nun rap my knuckles for sneezing and I have wanted to get one of those ruler ladies ever since!!

  21. hi Darcy and Lily, how nice to see you both.

    LOL, Mary, you know I 'accidentally''custard pied' that ruler lady. I'm sort of lying low at the moment! :)

  22. Oh, chaos, Lynn opened the wrong door and let the bull in! Tables are a turning, and Mac has headed to save the drinks! Mary you stop laughing and help me and Patsy muscle ole' Chisholm away. If Lynn didn't have that pretty red calico on and wasn't wearing that Dodge City cologne, he might not get his tail in a twist.

  23. I got it Tessa, I'll lure it away with my assets!! Oh and this ole red blanket...AHHHHHHHHHH!!! Where is that cologne? HELP!! Mary runs as fast as she can, screaming at the top of her lungs.
    Lyn, tastes the buttercream that landed on her face.

  24. Well, off for the evening. See ya
    in the morning. I finally outran the bull. Where did the day go.
    Gotta go take a bath, buttercream and bull, not a pleasant combo. Tomorrow I hear the James Gang is gonna stop by...Ahhh Jessie.

  25. Here bull, nice bull, it's all an old wive's tale about you not liking red, isn't it! Aaaaaaaaaaaargh, where's Cuddles when I need him? Run ladies, run!

  26. LOL sorry I was interrupted by a gentleman who wanted to show me the stars. I had a blast. This here is the best dang root 'in toot 'in barn dance I've been to in a long time. Thanks, Ladies for having me.

  27. Oh, geez, is there any cake left? Or dudes? I hate missing the fun, Tessa, but I'm splitting my time this weekend between your awesome barn dance and a conference. Unfortunately my smart phone outwitted me and wouldn't let me comment, but I have to say, I'm glad I avoided ol' Chisholm. I'm skeered of dad gum cows. :-)

    *finger waves to Darcy, Lilly, and Andrea* Hiya chickies!

  28. Oh what fun!! It's been ages since I went to a country dance. Everyone looks so beautiful.

  29. Good morning. Really enjoyed the excerpt. Love the cover. A barn dance. How fun! And look at those sweets and yummy food.
    Sue B

  30. Oh, Mackenzie, don't apologize those new fangled telegraph systems often have a mind of their own. I think there might be some pineapple cake left if someone hasn't licked all the butter creme icing off the layers. I hope your conference is going well. Thanks so much for taking time to stop by.

  31. Oh Tessa, we've so loved having you - you're such a fun guest of honour. We're keeping the barn doors open until tomorrow though, because there are still plenty of vittles on the barbeque and the punch is flowing!

  32. Thanks Mary,
    The ladies here in town worked mighty hard putting this all together. I've had so much fun. I hope you had chance to get some cake and to swing around the floor with some of those handsome cowboys.

  33. Oh good, Lets keep er' going. Barbeque and cold beer for everyone!

  34. Hi Mary, Hi Sue, great to see you both. Are you up for a little more square dancing?

    Lol Mary - you're always hoping for the James Gang! Mac, hope the conference is going well and your smart phone gets smarter! LOL

    Now, where did I see Patsy last? Bet she's off with that tall handsome cowpoke who just wandered in.

    See you later folks, I'm just going to indulge in some more cake!

  35. Oh Sue, thanks for bringing that pretty kitty. It looks like my Mr. Man. He can keep the mice at bay. Thank you for your kind words about the story. I appreciate you stopping by.

  36. Tessa, you're amazing and I hope your success matches your terrific energy and great personality!
    Good luck and many sales.
    Hey, I never did doe-see-doe, or whatever it's called, (or spelled).But, I do remember square dancing in high school with a kid who was sneezing all over me.
    Now, that's why I love a good Western, cowboys have a history of hotness!!! Pass the cake ladies!!

  37. Thanks Mary,
    Lord, a sneezer. Ew, when they say bow to your partner you best hope he wasn't the one. Cowboys do have that history of hotness. They sort of managed their lives according to what seemed right. A lot wasn't written down but you can find glimmers of it such as this rule. Remove your guns before you sit down to the table and the all important Never shoot a woman, no matter what. Waggling my brows. Yep, that code of ethic will come into play in my next book.

  38. I used to love to go to barn dances when I lived in Colorado. Great fun and good food.
    I am always looking for new authors to read. Glad I discovered this site. I have put your name on my TBR list

  39. Hi Joyce, welcome to the party. I love barn dances to, we used to have a lot of them when I lived in Wales, and country and western music was quite popular at the time - I love it!

    This sounds like a wonderful book doesn't it, it's on my list too!

  40. That my Garfield kitty. He is a character. I think he would run if he saw a mouse. LOL. My feet hurt from dancing so much. And in between I grabbed some food.
    Sue B

  41. What I wouldn't give for a real cowboy...

  42. Amen Mary, amen. We have to make do. Right now my wrangler is riding the tractor cutting the lawn.

  43. Hey Joye,

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad to see you here. These ladies run a fine site.

  44. I tell ya this has been a blast. I don't know when I've had so much fun.

  45. And we've loved it too, Tessa, you're a fantastic Guest of Honour as well as a talented author!

  46. You guys sure make a girl welcome. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you who came out for this barn dance. I'm so excited to share Castillo's release. This has just been a dream come true. Good luck to those who are entered. I'll be talking to the ladies and we'll be getting a winner soon. Contest ends on Sunday, so tell your friends and neighbors.

  47. whoo hoo .. Luke Bryant wanta be just walked in. I'm feeling a little "Country Girl shake it for me" coming on. Gonna make this good time last.

  48. Let's raise a toast to Tessa and her wonderful characters.
    Thank you again for being such a delightful guest of honour and once mor, congratulations on the release of 'Castillo', wishing you many, many sales.