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, September 27, 2013

Amber Polo's wonderful Cross Country Pet-Friendly Virtual Pot Luck Roast Party

“I’ve never been to New Mexico before, have you guys ?” Vonnie stares into the huge town hall building located smack dab next door to the Local Library in Taos. She balances bowls of potato salad and cole slaw between a green jello mold, full of fruits, and all wobbly. 

The hostesses  gape at the huge tables covered with foods of all kinds. Their own arms all full of foods they each made too.

For breakfast Oliver helped Amber prepare the same breakfast Bliss, the children’s librarian Greyhound-shifter, and her werewolf hybrid boyfriend Harry find waiting for them in Taos - burritos with homemade tortillas, fresh eggs, roasted chilies, goat cheese, plus salsas (mild, hot, hotter, and sizzling) - two varieties - with or without chorizo.

AJ stares at, Precious, her beloved I phone. “Where will I put her when I need both hands to eat?”
“I’d stick it down between the girls if it was me.” Mary chuckles and shakes them for effect.

“Yeah, well we all aren’t endowed with massive book ends to hold our valuables in. Some of us use pretend big shoes to hide them in.” Lyn flutters her eyelashes, scrunches her eyes to see better, and barely misses kicking Mac as she swings her foot up to

Mac rolls her eyes. “Even I know better than that Lyn, I’ve seen those boats with flip flops remember? Watch out for my jello mold Vonnie” Mac bellows at her.

“Figures, who else would make a jello mold for a pot luck dinner.” Vonnie shakes her head and the jello mold slides closer to the edge of the plate.

“Well I made scones! You Yanks don’t have a clue how to make the real things.” Lyn raises her nose and moves just in time to avoid Lilly’s bubble butt. “Did you pad that thing or what?” Lyn asks all innocently.

“No, I have it stuffed with bookmarks, postcards and even trading cards for Amber Polo’s new release, Recovered. I promised to put them on the table for her.” Lilly sticks her tongue out at Lyn.

Vonnie starts to laugh and snorts so loud that Melissa moves away. Melissa opens her mouth to speak. But before she gets more than the words, “you could use that platform as a tab.…” Mac drops her bag of home made rolls to cover Melissa’s mouth.“...ble for food.” Melissa finishes.

“Melissa, you really must think before you speak. You know how sensitive Lilly is about her rear end.” Mac watches the rolls as they disappear in different directions and several rescue dogs argue over the rolling rolls.

Mary points out all the tables covered with local delicacies, as well as a variety of foods from different regions of the country. Everything from fried chicken, pizza, homemade salads, stews, slabs of ribs, roast beef, hamburgers, lamb, brisket, fish, soups, vegetable, potato, and rice dishes, beans of all kinds.

“I’ve never seen so much food in my whole life, and it’s all fresh. Oh my God, look at the desert table!”

“Are you drooling?” Lyn shoves her in the arm. And the disaster begins. Mary falls straight into Vonnie, the jello slides down Lilly’s back and through her shirts right down her enhanced bum. She screams and tosses the Baked Beans and deviled eggs she holds in the air. Time stops as the girls gaze up and watch the aforementioned foods slowly fall to hit them as well as AJ. 

AJ, horrified, has large clumps of brown beans all over her face, covering her prescription sunglasses. She bounces her own bowls of fried okra and clam chowder off of Lilly’s butt which suddenly appears as Lilly tries to pick up her mess in vain. Mary’s lemon meringue pie finds itself plastered in Melissa’s face. 
Melissa wipes from her chin the tangy pie. “Mmmmm, not bad.” She savors the flavor as she sticks her lemony fingers in her mouth. Vonnie covered with the macaroni and cheese, AJ  previously carried, offers a bit to Melissa for a taste of the ruined lemon pie

Mac drenched in banana pudding and whipped cream she was carrying along with the rolls, notices Lyn has nothing on her at all! 

“That ain’t fair is it girls?” She points to Lyn whose, 'what me?' look is definitely not working. Finds herself covered in the various foods mentioned before.

“Thank goodness for the food inside.” Mary grins, “Why don’t we change into our spare jeans and tops and try this one more time.” She points to Amber’s next morning breakfast sign.

Special Guest- Amber Polo, Guest Author Roast and Toast :
Notice- Welcome to Our Pet Friendly Pot Luck Dinner

“I hope you’re hungry ladies.” Lyn smiles.  “We have lots of things to try.” She grabs a microphone at the entrance to the building. “Let’s welcome Amber Polo to her roast and quick someone keep an eye on our sidekicks!”

 TT, Cuddles, Nibby, Creighton, and Morena,  led by a sassy Foster wave as they scramble into the huge room. bringing in an assortment of rescued dogs, and Bastet the bookstore cat, with them. “Put the phone down AJ and help us, this could be big trouble!”

Mary sighs as she chases after Nibby. “Just another Author Roast and Toast.”


RECOVERED - The Shapeshifters' Library 

Book Three by Amber Polo 

Bliss D. Light was just an ordinary children’s librarian until one day she discovered she could grow a tail. Now her life is filled with more magic than any of the fairy tales she tells the children who gather at her feet at the Shipsfeather library. Like many of the other residents of Shipsfeather, Ohio, Bliss is a dogshifter, and her newly discovered ability to change from human form into that of a sleek white greyhound has left her yearning to know more about her true heritage. The answer to all her questions, she is certain, lies with the dogshifters’ long lost Library of the Ancients and, undeterred by the fact that thousands before her have searched, she sets out to find it.

Accompanied by her best friend Harry, a disgraced werewolf/dogshifter mongrel, and hotly pursued by the evil werewolf team of Sybilla and Blaze, Bliss’s quest takes her across the sacred sites and ancient mounds of the American Southwest. Though kidnapped by dogcatchers, sold into racetrack slavery and forced to fight wolf dogs to survive, Harry and Bliss never lose sight of their goal—or each other. Because the only thing more important than finding the ancient lost treasure might just be preserving what they already have found: an unlikely love that could be the first step toward bringing two ancient enemy races together.

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


The Shapeshifters' Library is open!
Book 1 "Released"
Book 2 "Retrieved"
Book 3 "Recovered"out Sept. 2013!
Love dogs?  Love books?  Love libraries?
Hate Book-burning werewolves?

WordShaping Blog
Amber's Website


Since parties with prizes are more fun, I’ll be giving away a copy of “Released” (Book One of The Shapeshifters’ Library series) to one lucky reader guest. Our Hostesses will impartially choose the winner.

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. Lyn and Mary are back from their fantastic vacation in Ohio and ready to crack the whip and make certain everything runs as smooth as silk *sigh* in our dreams!

    Welcome Amber, your books sound wonderful - wishing you huge success with book Three 'Recovered'.

  2. G'morning,

    I've been to New Mexico a few times. It's a lot like Arizona--hot and dry.

  3. Hi Melissa, I've never been to either, although I loved Ohio! Back in reality here in the UK it's cool but sunny!

  4. Lyn,
    We drove through New Mexico once on our way up to Yellowstone. Wyoming is just GORGEOUS. It's a vacation I'd like to take my own kids on when they get a bit older.

    England/Ireland/Scotland are on my bucket list. :)

  5. Hi Lyn, Hope you had a great time. Now's your chance to try some American goodies.
    Do you think there is enough food?
    I'm going to check on Oliver in the kitchen. He said something about getting the hot hot hot chilis...

  6. Sounds beautiful - I loved the sound of Wyoming ever since I read 'Thunderhead' as a kid! I wish I could have seen more of the US but I really loved what I saw of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

    Why isn't Wales on your bucket list? Mid and south Wales especially are beautiful, with many parts wild and rugged with mountains and lakes.For me it's the most beautiful country in the world (though I know I'm biased!)

  7. I'm writing a short story about Anglesey Island as a Druid center of learning. What food would they have eaten? Fish?

  8. Hi Amber, welcome to your Roast!

    Anglesey is off the northernmoast tip of Wales, and since it's an island, as you say, they probably would have eaten a lot of fish, although I imagine they might have had goats, lamb and fowl as well, (And copious amounts of mead, hoefully! :) )

  9. Lyn,
    Sorry, I know this is wrong but I regard Wales as a part of England. (I had a friend once of Welsh descent who would've kicked me for saying so. :D)

    I'm trying to think of a good analogy and failing. The only thing I can come up with are Indian Reservations. They operate independent of state regulations regarding taxation but they're still part of US and subject to federal regulation.

  10. Lyn, also-->I LOVED Thunderhead! Best horse book ever. :)

  11. Horses? I suppose horses fit the pet-friendly theme.
    I live in Arizona and my area is still pretty wild Westy. Indian rez land is in my backyard and a fort that fought them is in the center of town. Horses all over and lots of Mexican restaurants.

  12. Glad that food fight is over. I'm hungry. And so are TT and the cats. You all did say the roast was pet friendly today. So, I bought my new kitten Grable. Hope she doesn't pee on the furniture. She's done that, you know. And then there's my daughter's cat, Cha Cha. He's more panther than cat. I think he could eat TT if he got hungry enough. Cha Cha is visiting while my daughter is in Germany visiting her sister, and he is a handful. Oh no! He's checking out books on ancient cat shifters. Maybe Cha Cha is a panther shifter. He's almost as big as a panther now. Quick, Vonnie, send Creighton over there to check on Cha Cha. He's a werebear. He might can handle Cha Cha even if he does shift in to a werecat or something!

  13. Hiya chickies! *air kisses all around* Congrats on book three, Amber! I'm in Phx. Where are you?

    I didn't realize we could bring along our pets or I would have brought Zoe the blind cat and Itzy the neurotic Pomeranian. On second thought, no I wouldn't. Zoe is a scardy cat and Itzy's breath might kill someone. Besides, Foster's enough trouble.

    Psst. I'm with you on the Wales analogy, Missy. I thought it was a region of England.

  14. Aargh! (Lyn nearly chokes on a piece of Amber's devil's food cake.)

    Sorry (cough,splutter) - I've just read Melissa's and Mac's comment on Wales being in England! YIKES! That's about the biggest insult you could give a Welsh person. Look at your maps ladies - The British Isles is composed of FOUR distinct and separate COUNTRIES - England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and WALES!
    Wales is NOT repeat NOT part of England! And England is just a part of Britain, it is NOT Britain as a whole. It has no similarity to the Indian reservation system because England, Ireland, Scotalnd and Wales are four distinct countries in their own righ!

    Phew, sorry about the geography lesson ladies but I had to clear up that particular misconception!

    OK - group hug and let's get back to Amber's book! This is probably the most origiinal 'were' concep I've come across, Amber.

  15. Somebody really feels strongly about Wales. Definitely time to change topics. Lyn, have some of the Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and lots of whipped cream and take a deep breath.
    Oh and would everyone put their dogs back on leashes and keep them off the buffet table.
    Now, if your dog were a shifter, what kind would he/she be. All the dogs in my books turn into librarians.

  16. Yeah, sorry about that Amber, but even the countryside in Wales is different to that of England, and it's a shame that it often just gets lumped in with England when it has so much to offer in its own right.

    Oh, that Mexican chocolate with cinnamon and whipped cream certainy hit the spot! To answer your question, if my dog, Bouncer, were a shifter, I think he'd be a male nurse, because he's so gentle and loving and seems to really care about people.

  17. Howdy, all and a hug and kiss to Amber for allowing us to host her roast! Glad to have you here, hon, and congrats on your series! Your books sound fabulous!

    All of the aforementioned places are on my bucket list. LOL I never go anywhere. Can't wait until the day I can make it across the pond.

    Amber did you ever find Oliver? Where is he with those chilis?

  18. Sorry, I didn't mean to upset anyone. The analogy was only supposed to illustrate "perception" not reality. Native Americans and the Welsh were both violently annexed and subjugated. Later, they attained differing degrees of autonomy. (Obviously, less on the part of Native Americans.) I'm aware it wasn't factually accurate. I was only trying to explain why I didn't bring up Wales. My perception of it is regional (akin to maybe Sussex). And I really hope this isn't another poor explanation.

    I'll go sit in the corner now.

  19. Get out of that corner, Melissa and let's party. Wales is in Europe and all of those countries have buildings older than dirt. lol! Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England are all on my bucket list. I'd love to visit the British country side and see where one of my fav shifter movies was filmed. Anyone remember American Werewolf in London? Loved, loved, loved that movie. Scary and funny. As for dog shifting, TT would be a princess. The way she piles pillows on the sofa and climbs on top to sit with paws crossed makes me think we should have named her Princess Paw Paw. But then someone would have shortened her name to PP or 3P and I just couldn't have that. It was a battle to stop my daughters (one of whom doesn't even live in the same country, much less the same house!) from calling Grable, GG. They thought it would be cute. Not!

  20. No worries, Melissa, sorry if I'm a bit sensitive, since circumstances mean I currently live in England, and really miss my beloved homeland of Wales, which is not a county, but IS a country in its own right.

    Getting back to horses, I read all the Thunderhead books and loved them. Since Amber said we can bring our pets, I wonder if Harri and T'pau my two horses, would behave themselves if I brought them. There again, if I add Cuddles to the mix that might be asking for trouble! :)

  21. LOL Lilly, Blaze the little dog I had before my rescue, Bouncer, sounds very much like your TT, She was such a little lady!

    No sitting in the corner, Melissa, come and have a hug -er - oops sorry, I forgot I was still holding a large piece of devils's food cake!

  22. I learned the hard way. Why Lyn beat me to a bloody pulp when I said England and not the British Isles. Still sporting the black eye. I think it rivals the feelings some Southerners and Northerners have for one another. We all stand together when we have to, but there is pride of home. Which everyone usually has. And home is not the same for everyone. Seriously.
    And as Lyn mentioned the whips and stuff, I say do whatever you want as long as our Author is in on it. I love the premise of this book Amber. It's so real...
    Lyn has such a great accent, I almost started to talk like her after 10 days! Next time we drag everyone.
    Would it be too soon for an excerpt Amber?
    As far as bringing the horses!! That's a yes, and all pets allowed. So, I'm bringing BOBO and Skinny too. Are DH's considered pets??

  23. I'll bet you could take Lyn, Melissa, shes a tiny, feisty, little pixie. She just caught me unaware. She forgave me for saying England and I warned everyone we spoke to if I thought they might say it. My mother,( her father, an Irishmen in the IRA), was so against the English to the day she died. She refused to let a nurse from England touch her. Those feelings I think are strong for the Scottish, Irish, ans Welsh. The people of Southern Ireland are free of English influence. And I didn't realize that!
    Amber, my first dog Dusty was a Heinz 57 rescue. She had a heart of gold and was affectionate to anyone. Like Lyn told me about Bouncer, he was so abused and left in pain, yet is so loving. Animals are all so wonderful, but dogs seem to read our minds...

  24. Here's an excerpt. My heroine Bliss (children's librarian and white greyhound shifter) is rescued from a race track, and unable to shift back to her human form without her friend Harry the dog-shifter werewolf mix, is taken to her new home as a bookstore dog.

    Bliss poked her long muzzle through the crate’s mesh toward the crack of the nose-printed window. Diana’s van was infused with smells of dogs, bags of kibble, and rubber toys. On the drive to the town Diana called Gutenberg, Bliss tried to identify individual dogs from their scents and gave up. She’d overheard Diana talking on the phone to a woman she called Cleo, so she knew she was being taken to what Diana called a forever home. Not what she wanted. All she wanted was to find Harry and shift back into her comfortable human body.

    When Diana stopped, she came around, and opened the door. Unlatching Bliss’s crate, she hugged the dog tight. “This is going to be a great home for you. You’re a special dog. Of all the greyhounds I’ve placed, your eyes have more than the look of the eagles. You really look like you want to talk to me.” She kissed the spot between Bliss’s eyes. “Here in Cleo’s bookstore you’ll meet people all day and rest at night. Her rambunctious kids wouldn’t give you a minute’s rest at her home.” She laughed, choking a little with emotion. “But why am I talking to a dog? I guess I always do. But you’re the only one I truly believe understands me.”

    Bliss looked over Diana’s shoulder at the cutest bookstore she’d ever seen. The door and trim were the prettiest shade of blue. Two windows jammed with rainbow-hued book jackets glistened in the morning sun. Across the front an awning read “The White Hound Book Shoppe.”

    Diana slipped a lead over Bliss’s head and Bliss jumped to the ground and looked down the town’s main street. Gutenberg reminded her of Shipsfeather. A small town with hopefully friendly people. And the bookstore reminded her of Elmendorf’s, a store where she’d spent many happy hours.

    “Come on, girl!” Diana gathered the leash and gave it a little tug. “Time to meet your new mommy.”

    One step inside the store and the familiar smell of paper, ink, and wooden shelves engulfed her senses. The dark oak shelving looked like it had been there forever. She closed her eyes and imagined she was back in the library waiting for children to skip in for storyhour. She raised her head and flared her nostrils searching for more smells. Coffee, tea, cinnamon, nutmeg. Memories of chai lattes at Elmendorf’s with Harry flooded in. Jean-Paul had made her promise not to ingest caffeine in canine form, but smelling couldn’t hurt.

    And another smell. A woman who smelled of books, lavender, and sandalwood knelt in front of her and whispered, “Hi, my name is Cleo. I’m so pleased to meet you.” The woman reached out her hand, let Bliss smell, then stroked Bliss’s head and drew her fingers down her neck with just the perfect amount of pressure. “We’re going to be good friends.”

    Bliss liked the bookstore owner and pressed her head against Cleo’s hand. When the gentle woman who smelled of books said, “What shall I call you?” Bliss raised her muzzle to Cleo’s ear and whispered, “Bliss,” hoping it sounded more like a sigh than a word.

    Cleo looked up at Diana. “She’s so sweet. I think I’ll call her Bliss.”

  25. I'm pleading happy ignorance, but appreciate the geography lesson. It's all Greek to me! :-)

    Hugs Lyn. I love a patriot, proud of her homeland!!

    Okay, now, if Itzy were to shift, I just know he'd be a disco dancer. :-)

  26. Terrific excerpt Amber! Grabbed me for sure. I am a sucker for animals and just imagine a person stuck in dog mode. Sometimes I wonder, they are so smart in their own right. Hey, now that i think about it, my two Shepherds and one calico kitty have trained us to be their servants!
    Hmmmm. Smart aren't they.

  27. BoBo would be a clown right outta the closest circus. Nibby would be a beautiful, shy, skittish, exotic dancer. With an agenda.
    Skinny would be the next Queen of some country.
    I've had six dogs since we got married and two cats.

  28. Hi Mary! (Me-thinks you exaggerate just a little,sweetie, I've never given anyone a black eye! (thick lip, perhaps, but...)

    LOL Mac, Geography tends to be all Greek to me too, most of the time! :) Hugs back.

    Amber - what an amazing excerpt! I just wanted to go on and on reading, it drew me right in, even more than the first one, and that was great too I love horses with a passion, but I've always loved dogs too, and would never now have any other than a rescue, they're so loving and forgiving and give back so much.

  29. Amber,
    Great excerpt! Your book has an adorable premise. I love all types of shifters. :)

  30. Mac,
    Have you gotten any of my emails? I'm thinking they're either getting sent to spam or you're secretly mad at me...

  31. She hides from me all the time too Melissa!

  32. Did I mention how much I love the photo of the Taos Library. Thanks to the hostess who found it. I've been there while on writing retreats and mention that my characters in "Recovered" drive past the library and also the "Moby Dickens Bookstore." Both real places.

  33. Lyn found that one. Did you grow up there Amber?

  34. No I visited Taos for 6 years for a retreat. Wonderful.
    I grew up in Wisconsin and lived a lot of places in the U.S. Twelve years ago I moved from Key Largo Florida to Arizona. Love it here.
    Plus all those locations come in handy when you're a writer.

  35. Can you hear me now? Testing Testing! Ack! Has blogger been purchased by yahoo? I'm locked out!

    Save me Obi Wan, you're my only hope!

  36. I'll sat, ready research. Where was your favorite place. I moved a lot growing up, so I understand. I moved to Florida and it's just too hot for me. But, up North the thought of six months of winder...
    So I want to be a halfback, what the people at Cooper's creek, In NC, said I was. For moving halfway back to NY. I never knew people felt that way, I just wanna live where I love the countryside myself. And not hear my neighbors every word, living in a suburb.

  37. I'm hearing voices, sounds a bit like Mac. Mac, oh Mac??

  38. I hear you Mac, I hear you! Shhhh - listen to the Force. Fine I think you are being, little one!

  39. I'm so glad you like that picture, Amber, it looks like a lovely place, so quiet and unspoiled.

  40. I'm so glad you like that picture, Amber, it looks like a lovely place, so quiet and unspoiled.

  41. I can only sympathise, Mary dear, it's so hard to have to live away from the place you really love, isn't it!

  42. Lots of people move to Florida and then move away. I love the open spaces in Arizona. And looking at the mountains. Yum!

  43. I'm with you on the open spaces, Amber - and the mountains. I love mountains, they're what I miss most about Wales. The English hills are green and pretty, but more rolling and not so high, whereas the mountains of Scotland and Wales are very rugged and wild. Give me lakes and mountains and I'm happy!

  44. Mountains touch me too! I know Lyn, you are a fish outta water too. It's sad when you can't afford to go home, because rich people have bought all the land and there is nothing affordable. There's no place like home and Vermont is the same way for me as Wales is for you sweetie.
    I have only driven through Arizona and it was just amazing. And it's wonderful if you feel at home there!!! What's it like Amber, suburbs? Or mountain view? I hear it's not humid and a great place to park yourself! Where is everyone else living?
    Mac, I hear your screaming. Are you looking for another Martini? What can I do to help. Sorry, no pie for you! ( I dropped it hehehe)

  45. What about all the leftovers? Anyone staying for dinner? It's only 4.00 in AZ.
    I can see mountains out the window all the time. This time of year is perfect. And winter isn't bad. Snow on the tops but only once in a while does it fall on me. This Wisconsin girl grew up with plenty.

  46. Geez. I finally jimmied the lock and no one is here! Waaa. Ah well. Great excerpt, Amber!

  47. I guess everyone east of the Mississippi have packed it in. They left Just us with all those desserts here in the desert. Is there coffee left?

  48. I love the mountains too, just so there is cabin with aroaring fire in the fireplace, as I know Lilly would rather be at the beach, even on cold days! Brr! Sitting by the fire reading a good book such as I know Amber's The Shapeshifters' Library series must be, is my cup of tea!

  49. I see Oliver rushing over with his special coffee brewed specially for Amber.

    Oh Amber, I see you said you grew up in Wisconsin. I had a penfriend in Wisconsin, as a teenager. I'm currently trying to find her again after we lost touch years ago.

    Mary - we may not have been where our hearts are, but I'll never forget sitting with you beneath the stars in Ohio!

    Mac - you're back! What happened? We could hear you but you didn't seem to be able to hear us. Glad you finally escaped - and isn't that a fantastic excerpt, Amber really seems to have got inside Bliss's head. I felt I was really there with them!

    Hi Rebecca! Lovely to see you again. A cabin in the mountains with a log fire and one of Amber's books sounds idyllic! Help yourself to refreshments, there's plenty left!


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