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.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Karen's winner is:

Samantha Marie

Congratulations, Samantha, your prize is on its way. 

Thanks to  KAREN ROCK   for being such a wonderful a 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 2nd May, when our Guest will be DIANE ESCALERA

Friday, April 25, 2014

Karen Rock's Lakeside Party

The sun slides behind the green mountains of Vermont. In the distance and sends one last sparkle on the crisp waters of Lake Champlain. The localsfrom far and wide are arriving for the annual Pot Luck Dinner, sponsored for years by the local Knights of Columbus. People come from all of the Islands, North Hero, South Hero, Grand Isle, all to attend this wonderful occasion. Today an author with a history in Vermont is a very special guest…

“Hurry up Lyn, they need the casseroles set up with the side dishes.” Mary eyes the tables full of delectables. 

Shepherd's Pie, BBQ Ribs, Roasted Turkey, Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes, Ambrosia Salad, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Creamed Onions, Green Bean Casserole, Deviled Eggs, Three Bean Salad, Pulled Pork, Homemade Biscuits, Corn on the Cob, Chicken and Biscuits, Bread Pudding, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Iced Chocolate Brownies, bread and butter pudding and lots and lots of Watermelon- just to name a few of the home made dishes in front of them. 

“Yeeeee-Haaaaaw! There is gonna be some eating tonight.” Mary swats Lilly on the butt and she falls into AJ knocking her precious phone out of her hands and down the hill towards the water. It comes to rest next to Mac, who answers its sudden ring.

“Hello.” Mac grins as she listens to the caller. She uses her long arms to hold AJ back. “Yes, she’s here Karen, phone!” Mac Yells to Karen Rock, clever author of the Camp Boyfriend series. Karen sits under a Weeping Willow tree and waves to the hosteses as she signs books for the long line of people arriving from the nearby camps. “After all she is the Hometown Girl isn’t she?” Mac smiles a cheeky grin at AJ. ”Can you imagine that?”

Mac cracks up laughing, unable to hold it in. “It’s Melissa, calling from inside. She knows how AJ feels about her phone. She teases AJ, ”Gottcha, and here.” She hands the phone back to AJ. As AJ snarls at her.

Lyn raises her eyebrows. “Behave now, I’m shocked it isn’t Mary causing the trouble today. Well ladies let’s welcome Karen. And tell Melissa to get out here. We’re about to start the party. 

His Hometown Girl
by Karen Rock
his hometown girl
He'd always managed to best her…Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair.

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?

You can add His Hometown Girl to your to-read list on Goodreads.

At last, off they went with a jerk that made her teeth knock together. 

Wow. The thrum of the machine beneath her and the sense of control as she steered 
filled her with a rush of adrenaline. It’d been such a long time since she’d driven a 
tractor, and the thrill of it returned to her. The wind whipped her hair behind her, carrying 
away her fear. Tyler’s screeching echoed her own elation and the air she breathed smelled 
slightly sweet, like growing things. 

When she looked over her shoulder, Sue waved and Daniel jogged beside them. When 
they rounded the last barn and headed out into lush, open fields, Tyler squealed and she 
wanted to join him. She hadn’t been surrounded by this much unbroken greenery in a 
long time. Even when she spoke with farmers, she met them in their homes, not on their 
fields. Perhaps she should have followed up on Midland’s purchases and seen the 
improvements they’d made as Daniel had suggested. She’d actually missed this. When 
she returned to Aunt Grace’s house, she would set up an appointment with a company 
farm and bring Daniel as promised. 

Daniel disappeared for a moment and she thought they’d left him behind until she felt 
the tractor dip in back and his voice whisper in her ear. 

“So far so good.” 

She shivered in awareness of his proximity as he balanced behind them on the storage 
box. His fingers rested on her shoulders as he stood to his full height. 
Jodi peeked up at him and took in the handsome picture he made. Beltless, low-slung 
jeans rode on his narrow hips and a thin T-shirt stretched across his well-defined chest. 
From this angle, his jaw looked more square than ever, his muscular neck rising from 
broad shoulders. The bright blue sky behind him contrasted with his dark hair and hazel 

Another bone-jarring mud hole made Tyler flap his hands and Jodi return her eyes to 
the straightaway. And that’s when she saw them… 


The sun-kissed rows of plants stretched to a distant tree line, the berries so blood-ripe, 
so rich and lovely, that the invitation to pluck and sink her teeth into them was 
irresistible. How long since she’d gathered fruit? Delight filled her. 

“The local schools and families have picked most of the fields, but this section is 
unharvested,” he hollered over the engine’s roar. 

“Okay.” She slowed the machine, feeling shaky but victorious when it rolled to a stop. 
Since her father’s accident, she’d avoided machinery like this. Now she’d conquered it, 
and a feeling of lightness grew within her. 

Daniel jumped off and held out a hand, his eyes dancing. The sun brought out the 
lighter brown in his hair and made the yellow flecks in his eyes shine like gold beneath 
thick lashes. “Ready?” 

More than, she thought, her excitement hard to contain. She wanted to rush through the 
rows of plants, trailing her fingers along the crinkly leaves, inhaling the earthy goodness. 
Her hands fumbled to take out Tyler’s earplugs before she undid the buckle and handed 
him to Daniel. He held the wiggling boy with one hand and extended another to help her 

“Thank you. Oh.” An idea pulled her up short when her heels sunk into the ground. 
“What will we put the berries in?” 

You can buy His Hometown Girl here:
- Amazon U.K. (Print and Kindle
- B&N
- eHarlequin (Print Book)

About the Author:
karenKaren Rock has adored romance since receiving Harlequin Presents books from her grandmother each summer. She formed her Young Adult writing partnership, J.K. Rock- pseudonym for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, with her sister-in-law and Blaze author, Joanne Rock in 2011. When Karen heard of a call for submissions to Heartwarming, Harlequin’s latest line, she was inspired by the possibilities of writing unforgettable, deeply romantic, tender love stories that mothers would feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. Since then, her first Harlequin, WISH ME TOMORROW came out in September, 2013 and her next novel HIS HOMETOWN GIRL comes out in March, 2014 with three more releases expected this year.

When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes, hiking the ‘high peaks’, and redesigning her gardens. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love. For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website at http://www.karenrock.com, Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 . She’d love to hear from you!

You can find Karen here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Pinterest
His Hometown Girl Grand Prize

To win a copy of Karen'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.
(We reserve the right to waive the prize in any week when there are not enough contestants for a draw to be deemed fair and unbiased)

Friday, April 18, 2014

A period ball to celebrate Ute Carbone's 'All things returned' and a Givaway

The hostesses, dressed to kill in beautiful period gowns are so excited about Ute's virtual party, She asked to go back in time. The scene is a mansion on Rincon Hill and the setting is beautiful.

The ballroom has an oak floor polished to a high sheen, a chandelier winks above. A string quartet plays.  

Champagne punch is the drink for today. In a crystal punch bowl, of course. Here’s a lovely one from chef Emeril  and he's kindly given us the recipe:


1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup superfine sugar

½ cup grand marnier
½ cup triple sec
½ cup cognac
½ cup fresh orange juice
2 bottles chilled dry champagne
Orange slices, lemon slices and fresh strawberries
Combine liquers, juices and sugar until sugar is dissolved
Add Champagne and combine until mixed
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour
Put into punch bowl and garnish with lemon slices, orange slices and strawberries.

The tables in the great dining hall groan beneath a wonderful array of food.

The Anton and Lenora series Ute explained when the party was being organised,   is all about sea faring folk and so the menu is mainly from the sea, with a taste of San Francisco.

Oysters on the half shell to start, followed by fabulous bouillibasse of shellfish in a tomato broth.
The main dish is a frutti del mare—a mix of seafood over pasta or, for those who don’t care for seafood, there are other options, including roasted chicken.

Desert is a beautiful Lemon Crème Cake.

A hush falls as Ute walks in  on Oliver's arm, looking absolutely exquisite in a beautiful ball gown like this one from the  Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Oliver is also dressed for the occasion. All the males in the room turn to look at Ute as she makes her entrance, and the women gasp in admiration.

On a table near by is a stack of Ute's books.

 Ute is giving away a set of books 1 and 2 in this series to one lucky visitor, so don't forget to leave a comment with your email address to  be in the draw. Without more ado let us welcome Ute Carbone and find out more about  
'All Things Returned'.

Anton pulled off his cravat for the second time. “Foolish speck of clothing—like to choke the life out of a man.”

He fumbled with it until I took the scrap of silk and tied it around his neck, sealing my action with a kiss. 

“You should try wearing a corset.”

“I think we should pull off all of these confounded garments and run about like babes in Eden,” he said, nuzzling my neck.

I dearly would have liked to take his suggestion. “We have to attend. For our own sakes and for Edward’s.”

Anton knew well enough attendance at the mayor’s ball was not an opportunity we could squander. In the year since we’d been in San Francisco, Edward, my brother, Anton, and Frederick Earnhart, a  solicitor and good friend of Edward’s, formed a partnership. They planned to ship timber from Seattle, 
where it was plentiful, to San Francisco, where it was needed to support the city’s growth. To that end, 
they bought and repaired a clipper ship called the Sea Spray.The ship was even now sitting at anchor in 
the bay waiting for Anton to take command of her inaugural voyage north. They would set sail on the 
morning tide.]

Anton shrugged into his coat. “The sooner we go the sooner we shall get home.”

Ute Carbone Biography

Ute (who pronounces her name Oooh-tah) Carbone is an award winning author of women’s fiction, comedy, and romance. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, where she spends her days walking, eating chocolate and dreaming up stories.

Books and Stories by Ute Carbone:

For more about Ute and her books, Please Visit:
Blog: http://ute-carbone.blogspot.com/                
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/utecarbone/

To win a set of  Book 1 and 2, 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.
(We reserve the right to waive the prize in any week when there are not enough contestants for a draw to be deemed fair and unbiased)

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's the Crime of the Century with Jo-Anne Myers!

It's a glorious day for another Author Roast and Toast with Jo-Anne Myers, and we're going to have an exhilarating and exhausting day filled with fun and adventure. The meeting spot is her favorite Ma and Pa restaurant in her town of Logan, rightly named The M & M family diner. There the hostesses meet Jo-Anne and stuff their faces with unlimited flapjacks, ham, bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy and cinnamon coffee cake - washing everything down with juices, coffee, teas, milk and hot cocoa.

From there, everyone piles into limousines for the short scenic ride to neighboring Vinton County, population, 13,435, and named after the 19th century U.S. congressman Samuel Finley Vinton. The county is abundant with deer, bobcats and coyotes, and is known for staying true to its hometown Appalachian traditions. Parades that run straight down Main Street and small-town festivals filled with fun for the entire family are as much a part of the life here as pizza parlors and ice cream shops that also deliver a hot meal. Fine dining and good, old-fashioned country cooking, are easy to find in these Appalachian foothills.

The tour begins at the Wayne National Forest where everyone fishes for lunch and is entertained by a local bluegrass band. While the chef prepares the catfish and blue gill they caught in the lake, along with salads, breads, homemade ice cream and all the keg beer one can drink, the hostesses visit the local historical attractions. Mt. Olive Bridge, erected in 1875 by Civil War veteran George Washington Pilcher, is one of five covered bridges the beautiful area of rolling hills offers. A hike to the Hope Furnace tour is next, one of 46 iron furnaces in the area known as the hanging rocking iron region which extended from northern Kentucky to Logan, Ohio.

Returning to the lake for a relaxing meal, the hostesses find Kenny G in full swing, who breaks from playing to beg Jo-Anne for an autograph and a photo. Her guests tell comical stories about her, like the time she accidently bought two of the same blouse at different stores or how she gets her work schedule wrong and shows up on her day off. Afterward, is an afternoon of rock rappelling and horseback riding. For the faint of heart, Vinton County also offers bird watching and Hummingbird feeding at the local Visitor Center.

One mile farther, is Lookout Rock. Legend has it a group of men coming to Moonville were surrounded by a pack of wolves. The men built a fire and took refuge on Lookout Rock all night, fearing attack. The Atkinson Fire Tower is next. Constructed in 1929, this fire lookout station is 1000 feet tall and gives a person a spectacular view of the surrounding hills. The last stop on the tour is the Lake Hope-Zaleski ceremonial mounds. More than 25 burial sites have been discovered in the Lake Hope-Zaleski area. They are believed to be erected by the prehistoric Adena people between 900BC and 200AD. The largest is 14 feet high and 80 feet in diameter at the base.

Exhausted, everyone returns to Ravenswood Castle, a medieval inspired Inn. They are greeted by eager staff members who whisk them off to our suites, each with an adjoining master bath. After a nice long soak in a hot tub scented with bath oils, they each enjoy a massage, manicure, pedicure and facial.

Jo-Anne dresses in a Dolce & Gabanna red beaded ankle-length gown with matching jacket, knowing the male guests will be sporting designer tuxedos by Emillio Pucci. She and the hostesses are lured into the massive dining room by the delectable aroma of baked ham and pineapples. Homegrown vegetables, breads and desserts, including cheesecake, pies, German chocolate cake with coconut and almond frosting, await them. The room is lavishly adorned with antique armor and other medieval décor, and stuffed deer, boar and bear heads stare down at them from the walls.

The gloved, uniformed servers dutifully stand by, waiting on their beck and call. White taper candles brighten the room and the soft sultry sounds of world-renowned Harrison Harp Orchestra play in the background. Each of the guests toast Jo-Anne with compliments of her great writing and painting abilities.

Drinks and coffee are served on the patio where the sensual sounds of pianist Evgeny Kissin cut through the cool air. After a quick change into jeans and boots, the hostesses accompany Jo-Anne for an evening stroll through the abandoned town of Moonville, a railroad station and loading place for timber and other products. Moonville is famous for two things: the Tunnel and the Moonville Ghost.

Constructed in the mid-1800s, the 100 yard Tunnel is the most isolated, desolate stretch of track on the B&O from St. Louis, Missouri to Parkersburg, West Virginia. Sound travels well in the tunnel, and when one of hostesses whisper from one end, their voice is heard all the way to the other side.

Spooky things have occurred at Moonville, but none compare to the story of the Moonville Ghost. A long time ago, a train supposedly struck a brakeman on a rainy, cold night. The man was drunk and swayed into the path of the oncoming locomotive. Folks claiming to have seen the ghost, say the lantern of the brakeman glimmers and waves as if to stop that train.

Holding tight to their lanterns, the hostesses dare one anther to walk the entire distance of the eerie dark tunnel, but only Jo-Anne is brave enough to complete the creepy task.

Afterward, everyone returns to the castle for the limousine ride back into town, but the fun doesn't end there. Everyone hits the bars into the wee hours of the morning, playing quarters, a drinking game with Tequila and Jack Daniels.

When dawn breaks, the hostesses wish one another farewell and go their separate ways to prepare for Jo-Anne's next roast and toast.

The Crime of the Century:

The residents of Rolling Hills, a hamlet in southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of two missing teens were pulled from the local river. Multiply suspects surfaced, but only one was railroaded, Richard Allan Lloyd, a known nudist and hothead.

What began as an evening stroll turned into what found only in horror films, and dubbed ‘the crime of the century’.  18 year old Babette, a voluptuous beauty contestant and horsewoman, and her 19 year old boyfriend Shane Shoemaker, a jealous and possessive unemployed printer, were last seen crossing a trestle bridge. Within fourteen days, their mutilated torsos and severed heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.

With an investigation smeared with contradicting statements, and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against Richard Lloyd. The three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, fairytale theories, and forensic mishandling.
This heinous crime shattered the sense of security for Rolling Hills, destroyed two families, and forever scarred the town. This story is a detailed account of finding justice for Babette and Shane, and of one man’s perseverance to gain his freedom from death row.

Excerpt: The Disappearance

            October 4, 1982, started out as an ordinary autumn evening, for this mined-out Appalachian region in southeastern Ohio. The sticky summer was gone. The ground was blanketed with gold and red leaves, and the last full moon before All Hallows’ Eve, was complete. A cosmic cycle said to stir passions in some, anger and rage in others.

“Beggars’ Night,” was just around the corner. Homes were elaborately decorated with Paper-Mache witches and goblins, as carved pumpkins of all sizes sat on porches and in yards, made even creepier with lit candles.

            Yes, it would have been an average evening, if not for two unnerving events. First, the arrival of the notorious motorcycle gang, The Devil's Disciples. The group frequented The Home Tavern, a sordid bar on the corner of Gallagher and Motherwell. According to police reports, having a thirst for alcohol, the bikers and their sweaty, leather-clad women produced numerous problems while in town. Calls from residents, concerning fistfights and disorderly conduct, flooded the police station. Locals reported spotting some members of the gang roaming the streets as the reports of vandalism kept the police busy.

            Originally the Depot Hotel, The Home Tavern, sat directly across the street from a twenty-five acre “infamous” cornfield. A common place for knife-fights, pot parties, and hanky panky from all ages. Running through the cornfield was the murky and meandering Hocking River.

            The second incident, involved sex, lies, lust, and murder as gunfire emanated from the opposite end of the cornfield. The sounds of shots echoing from the nearby cornfield was such a common sound that it caused them little concern.

            What shortly followed was a frantic search for two missing sweethearts, 19-year-old Shane Shoemaker, and 18-year-old Babette Lloyd. Chief White immediately posted an announcement in that day’s newspaper, stating the “public was invited” Lt. Phillipes was put in charge of that search party.

            The meeting sight was the old Kroger building on Round Street, near the home of Shane Shoemaker. At 4 pm., despite being a chilly and windy day, sixty to seventy people showed up for the search. Among the crowd, were Babette’s mother and stepfather, Nancy and Richard Lloyd, the local news team, deputy sheriffs, city police, and officers from the Masonville Vocational School.

             Attorney Jack Jones was also present. He now represented the Shoemaker family, who were out of town. He used this time to tighten the noose around the stepfather’s neck.

 What took place within a few hours became legendary for the close nit community.

            At 5:45 pm., Chief White used his walkie-talkie, to radio Lt. Phillipes, who stayed at the command post with Richard and Nancy. Only a few short words were needed.

“We found something, but we don’t know what it is,” said the chief.

            What searchers found . . . was unthinkable.

            Just 150 yards north of the railroad trestle spanning the Bottle Neck River, Sheriff Reynolds and one of his deputies reported “something entangled in debris,” near their small boat.
            The officers initially said they believed the object was an animal carcass. Once it was dislodged and floated down stream, they realized it was human. Both torsos were reportedly snagged against brush along the riverbank. Both torsos were nude and so badly decomposed, officers said they were unable to determine their sex.

            The remains were pulled to shore and coroner Rausch was summoned to the riverbank. Many searchers, upon leaving the crime scene, were overheard by reporters asking one another “Are the authorities looking for one killer or two?”

            After his initial examination of the bodies, the coroner said he was unable to rule on the cause of death. What he did say, was that if one man committed both murders, it was “during a great rage” and by someone with something “very personal” against one, or both, of the victims.

            The discovery of the bodies shocked and silenced the group of volunteers. Some remained silent, while others were seen conversing in hushed tones, telling reporters they “expected the search to turn up nothing.”
            When officers carried a body bag from the river, Lt. Phillipes approached Nancy and Richard, who he described as “the quiet couple.” He claimed Richard calmly asked, “Is it them?”
            Lt. Phillipes reluctantly admitted it was two individuals. He claimed Richard then asked, “Are they all chopped up?”

            Phillipes said he was shocked by that comment. He claimed when he asked Richard why he would ask such a thing, he said Richard claimed to be psychic. Phillipes said he was taken back by the man’s “strange statements and unemotional attitude” of the discovery of two murder victims. He said Richard then suggested officers should search the adjoining cornfield.

Note: All names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty.

JoAnne’s books along with her original canvas paintings, can be found at: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com
Contact JoAnne: joannetucker98@yahoo.com
Website: Books and Paintings by JoAnne

Order your copy of “The Crime of the Century” by JoAnne Myers HERE

Other books by JoAnne:
Murder Most Foul-a detective/mystery
Wicked Intentions-a paranormal/mystery anthology
Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between

Upcoming Releases:
Loves, Myths, and Monsters- a fantasy anthology available April 24
Twisted Love-a biography true crime anthology available in May
Flagitious-a detective/mystery novella anthology

To win a copy of '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.
(We reserve the right to waive the prize in any week when there are not enough contestants for a draw to be deemed fair and unbiased)