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, August 30, 2013

Eileen Granfors holds a pinata party for The Pinata Maker's Daughter

“Look at that.” Vonnie gestures to the Pinatas hanging from lines attached to a huge Banyon tree in Carmen Principia’s backyard. “Never heard of San Ysidro, before. What does Ysidro mean? Vonnie shoves AJ, “Hold the phone.”

“She’s always holding the phone. Oh you meant hang on.” Lyn grabs AJ before she stumbles. “We’re gonna be good this week, we all agreed. Right ladies?”

“I never agreed to that,” Mary mumbles. “Why do we have to wear these clothes? My girls are barely contained. And hey, no one else is dressed like this. I couldn’t wear an over the shoulder boulder holder in this white peasant blouse. The arms are supposed to be off the shoulder, so how about the bra straps?”
“I love my colorful skirt. Stop whining Mary.” Mac shakes her head and raises her eyebrows. “Yak, yak, yak.”

“At least you remembered to show up Mac.” Mary snickers.

“TT come back here,” Lilly trips over Lyn’s feet, as she rushes to grab her lap dog. “You’re just jealous cause they wouldn’t let Nibbie come.” She sticks out her tongue and cuddles TT.

“Marina looks like she’s having fun. Vonnie is still sulking over Creighton being left out too.” Mary frowns  as she looks at the Pinatas. “Hey, they have our names on them and they look like us! Does that mean we get first crack at hitting them?”

“I think that’s up to Carmen.” Melissa gestures to Carmen who has her arm around her author, Elaine Granford’s waist. “I imagine Elaine and Carmen’s other guests should go first.  Joe,  Anaissa, Christbel, Lucia, Salt, Shirley and Gayla, not to mention Joe’s fraternity brothers who seem to have crashed the party. By the time we have a chance we’ll be lucky if there is a shred of a piñata left. Is that music the Pinata song?”

“Yes, it is. We might be reduced to crawling on the ground trying to at least get a piece of candy.” Mary moans. “They do have candy in them don’t they? What good is a piñata without candy in it?"

“Whine, whine, whine, did you ever think that while they are hitting our pinatas we will get first crack at the food and drinks?” Lyn reminds them.

“Besides, we are here to introduce our guest author.”

“Wine, did someone mention wine?” Vonnie brightens up at the thought.

“Not just wine, they have watermelon Martinis and watermelon punch.
And I see spare pinatas under the table. Is that one a book?”

AJ points to the food table. “And look at all that food. Taquitos, Tamales, all kinds of Enchiladas and what is that soup?”

“I heard someone call it menudo.” Lilly smiles, “It’s made out of tripe, whatever that is.”

“Tripe, I don’t like the sound of that, I’m skipping the soup. What’s for desert?” Mary searches for the desert table. “Any flan? At least we know Oliver makes a great Tres Leches cake. Yummy.”

“Look at that!” Melissa grins. “It’s that twister game. They have avolleyball net, croquet game set up, and what is that thingee?”

“It’s for jai alai, dingbat.” Mary chuckles.

“Who you calling dingbat?” Melissa straightens and gives Mary the evil eye.

“Just kidding, don’t look at me like that. I forgot my Italian horn, I’m defenseless.” Mary grimaces and hides behind a large butt. “Is that you Lilly, or a caboose?”

“I’ll get you for that.” Lilly grabs a croquet mallet and threatens Mary, who picks up a Cesta and takes a swing at Lilly. Who misses and accidently hits Melissa. Melissa falls into Lyn, after tripping over Lyn’s feet. Lyn stumbles into Vonnie, who grabs AJ to block her fall. AJ lands face first in the menudo. Furious she grabs the menudo bowl and flings what’s left at Mary that when Mary ducks again covers Mac with the soup.

“Mmmm, not bad,” Mac tastes the soup as she wipes her chin. “Hope there is more.” TT leans
over for a lick.

While Foster hides behind Morena he snickers. “We should have stayed with Nibbie, Cuddles and Creighton, it’s less embarrassing.”

Suddenly, the hostesses realize the Pinata song has stopped, everyone is staring as Oliver rolls his eyes.

A voice from the back of the crowd speaks. “Those are the hostesses? Remind me to wear a slicker to their next roast.”

Lyn musters up a smile. “Comic relief?”

Carmen cracks up laughing and answers. “That’s why we put their names on the Pinatas. We figured someone would want to whack them at some point in the day.”

The seven sister Roast hostesses look at each other and break out laughing.
Just another roast and toast.

Let’s welcome Elaine Granfors and her wonderful characters in her new release, The Pinata Makers Daughter.


Blurb: Scholarly, Carmen Principia enters her freshman year of college with high hopes. She knew there would be academic pressure. What she didn’t know is how much Life 101 had in store for her: a weird roommate; the dating scene with Franco, the radical and Joe, the frat rat. Big decisions about who she is and who she wants to be hit her like a tsunami. Emotional and funny, The Piñata-Maker’s Daughter takes you back to the ‘80s vibe as Carmen lives out Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.”
#1 in Kindle category, Hispanic Trilogy

Excerpt: “Mi hija, put all your important papers on your desk. Help me finish this piñata. After we deliver it, we can discuss your plans again. But don’t expect a miracle.”

            “It’s already a miracle, Mama. I’ve been accepted.”  I wanted to call my high school counselor, who suggested I should apply for Concordia, but I came back and sat cross-legged on the floor.

            “Which part should I work on?” I asked.

            “You do the eagle’s bill and his wings. You are so artistic, Carmen. I have big dreams for your designs.”

            “I have big dreams too, not about paste and piñatas, about a college degree and a big career. I will be someone important.”

            “I told you, talk later.”

            We worked together to give the eagle his wings. The piñata got wings. From Mama, I got de nada. Tears filled my eyes, and I blinked them away. Mama doesn’t mind if I cry, but I knew it would give her another reason to keep her little girl home.

 Eileen Granfors lives in Santa Clarita, California. Though born in New Orleans, Eileen grew up in her mother's hometown, Imperial Beach, California, the most southwesterly city in the U.S. Her mother’s love of Mexico and beaches influenced Eileen's relationship with the Hispanic community. When Eileen was a child, she and her brother could walk to Mexico down the beach, after crossing the Tijuana River mouth. Today, an iron fence extends out into the breakers at the border. Eileen is a proud UCLA alumna.  

In June, she published her fourth novel, The  Piñata-Maker’s Daughter, Book 1 of the Marisol Trilogy. Book 2 is also out, Some Rivers End on the Day of the Dead. Book 3 is her work-in-progress, So You, Solimar.

Emails: egranfors@att.net and eggranfors@gmail.com

To win a signed copy of Eileen'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.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Andrea's winner is...


Congratulations Sue, your prize is on its way. This is getting to be a habit, Sue! :)

Thanks to Andi for being such a wonderful and enthusiastic guest of honour, and to everyone who commented and made this Roast such fun.

The hostesses appear on-stage, holding hands, to take a bow
They hug each other and wave before leaving the stage.

"Just another Author Roast and Toast!"

Join us again on Friday,30th August  when our Guest will be

Friday, August 23, 2013

An Ol' fashioned Western bar-BQ in Honour of' Loveland' and author, Andrea Downing

The stagecoach races over the dirt path that passes for a street, leaving a cloud of red dust in its wake. The occupants inside the coach, dressed for a real, down home western barbecue, scramble for a seat next to the window, trying to catch a breeze. Dust settles on everything as the coach bumps along, jostling the seven hostesses and their sidekicks.

Mac nudges closer to AJ, trying to catch a breeze from the open window. "Scootch over!"

"Watch it! You're sitting on my Iphone!" AJ snatches her beloved phone out from under Mac. She caresses it, whispering under her breath. "My precious."

Mac rolls her eyes. "Hmph. Just be glad Lilly didn't sit on it. Her butt is much bigger than mine."

Lilly looks at her own butt and then Mac's. "Yeah, well, I still say we could have hired a limo. Just because Andrea's book is set in Victorian times doesn't mean we can't take advantage of modern technology and conveniences. I mean, if AJ can have a cellphone, why can't we take a car?"

"You know AJ and her phone are inseparable. And, we're trying to keep everything authentic," Vonnie replies. "They didn't have limos in the old west."

"They didn't have werebears either," Lilly grumbles as she strokes the top of TT's head.

"Creighton is helping Morena drive the stagecoach." Vonnie glares at TT. "Unlike TT, he's doing his part to help."

Lilly shifts sideways, hiding TT from Vonnie's view.

Lyn pouts. "Cuddles wanted to help too. He could have been lead horse, but instead he's forced to follow behind. The other horses were scared of him."

"You think that alicorn on top of Cuddles head might have something to do with it?" Mary asks. "And if TT can ride inside with Lilly, why can't Nibbles ride inside with me?"

"That demon dog is four times TT's size," Melissa says.

"Besides, who'd keep Cuddles company?" Lyn asks of her magical unicorn. "He can't be the only sidekick forced to follow us to the party."

"Foster is keeping Cuddles company," Mac says, defending the sometimes arrogant fairy.

"Foster keeps flitting back and forth between flirting with Morena and aggravating Cuddles," Lyn grumbles.

Melissa's eyes narrow. "Foster is too old for Morena."

"She's sixteen," Mac exclaims. "And she's a werewolf. I think she can handle little ole Foster."

"Ladies, please," Vonnie says as she fans herself. "This heat is making us all cranky."

"Look!" Mary leans over Mac and AJ to point out the window. "There's the town and the bar. Just around the corner is the turnoff to the ranch."

"Yee-ha!" Lyn says, sounding western despite her English accent.

Minutes later, a rattler slithers across the road, startling the horses. The coach lurches forward, tossing the hostesses about as it careens around a sharp turn before skidding to a sudden stop
between the ranch house and stable.
The door flies open and the hostess stumble out, shaking dust and wrinkles from their dresses. Some are wearing jeans and brush the dust from their bottoms.

Lilly clutches TT, shaking. "I take back what I said about Creighton. His firm grip on the reins kept the coach from overturning."

"After that bumpy ride, I need a drink!" Melissa stumbles from the coach and heads toward the stables.

Oliver greets her at the door and directs her to the bar set up at the back of the stable.

The horses have been moved and the stable has been transformed into a country and western bar.

Lilly sets TT on the ground and she and Vonnie race
after Melissa. A handsome cowboy is tending bar. He smiles at the hostesses as they skid to a jaw dropping, eye-bulging stop. "Jim and Ginger? Margarita? Jack Black or Jack and Coke? Pick your poison, ladies."
"Margarita," Lilly pants.

Mary nudges Lilly and Vonnie aside and sidles up to the bar. The "girls" nearly pop out of  her low decolletage as she leans forward, batting her eyes at the handsome bar tender. "Ooh, he's cute."

"Not as cute as Andrea's hero, Jesse. He's here." Lyn stares with gaping mouth at the handsome man who enters the stables with a woman on each arm. One is the lovely Lady Alex, the heroine from Andrea Downing's novel Loveland. The other is today's guest of honor, the lovely and talented author, Andrea "Andi" Downing.

"So glad you made it!" AJ rushes forward, her Iphone temporarily forgotten.

"Doesn't the food smell fabulous!" Mac says. "We're having a real old fashion earth roast and the beef smells divine."

"There's also a huge grill set up out back with chicken and real, old fashioned pork barbecue," Vonnie adds.

Lilly harrumphs. "It's not Eastern NC barbecue with a delicious vinegar based sauce. It's western barbecue. It has a tomato based sauce, but it still smells good."

"I bet it tastes good too," Melissa says. "And there's coleslaw and baked potatoes to go with it."

"We also have a few English dishes in honor of Lady Alex," Lyn adds.
"I hope the bread pudding and spotted dick don't make her homesick."

Vonnie wrinkles her nose. "I'm not eating anything called spotted dick."

"But there is also chocolate cake for desert," Mary reassures her. "And look! Cheesecake!"

"What are we waiting for?" AJ asks.

"Let's get this party started!"


Welcome Andrea and Happy Belated 1 year Anniversary to 'Loveland' for 12th August

LOVELAND by Andrea Downing

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...

Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can't seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he's got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?


As the round-up wound down, the Reps took their stock back to their outfits, and soon the men were back at headquarters or at the camps. Alex knew word had more or less got out and found the
punchers were gentler now around her, had a sort of quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to bully them a bit to show them she was still the same girl, jolly them into joshing with her as they had before. It was slow work. At the same time, she yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get life back to the way it was before the argument at the corral, and before he saw the scars. 

The opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him from a distance some days, riding with the herd, sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had, throwing his lariat out with an ease that reminded her of people on a dock waving their hankies in farewell. Hoping to just be near him, she slid into one of the corrals one evening to practice her roping. The light was failing and the birds were settling with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward into his arms. She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret.

“Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?”

He made the throw and pulled in the rope to tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still
entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her  being, and she stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps retreated.

Oliver dressed Just for Andrea!
Andrea Downing has spent most of her life in the UK where she developed a penchant for tea-drinking, a tolerance for rainy days, and a deep knowledge of the London Underground system .  In 2008 she returned to live in the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, was her first book. She has a story, Lawless Love, coming out later this year.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

To win a copy of Andrea'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.