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, 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)


  1. Come on in and welcome to my lovely party! Much thanks to the hostesses and the scrumptious Oliver for making it all possible.

  2. Hiya Ute, and welcome to your roast. Isn't Oliver a doll? Here's a champagne punch toast to your release of All Things Returned. Congrats, sweetie.

  3. Wow! What a lovely party. Ute, you and Oliver dance well together, but don't hog him. The other hostesses (especially Mary-lol!) Might get jealous! BTW, I love your book cover!

    1. Thank you. Lily. You hostesses know how to do it up right. I may give Oliver back. Eventually... The cover was done by Petra Kay. She's done a few for me, but I think this one may be my favorite.

  4. What a party and the dress, mmmm would look great on me. Me jealous? Ya bet your life. BTW who is available to have a nice dance and then walk in the garden or whatever....? Lilly is that spinach in your teeth??

    1. The gardens are lovely. And it's a beautiful night.

  5. Hi ladies,
    Sorry I'm here late. The kids are off today so the Snark residence is much busier than usual.

    Good morning! :)

    1. Hello, Melissa. Thank you for coming.

  6. Well at least there are no creatures taking you to court Melissa!
    So where are the bachelors? I do love a man in a top-hat.
    Is this punch spiked? I'm feeling like causing some trouble, no I mean just a bit of excitement. Oh Foster, I got a job for you...
    ??? HeHeHe

  7. We need to grab some more visitors. Not enough guys if you ask me. So don't forget to use the little thingees and share today with facebook, twitter, etc.
    Now let me think. What can I do to liven things up. I don't think that chandelier would hold me do you guys??

  8. Hi guys! I'm in the same boat with kids home today so I'm sorry I'm running late. Plus child #1 has a birthday this weekend, on Easter Sunday! Can't believe my baby boy is turning 14. Ute, I LOVE that excerpt! This one sounds right up my alley! Congrats on your Roast and Toast and now I'm wondering if there's any more punch! Off to find some and share the post to my sites!

    1. Hi AJ. Thank you. My babies are in their twenties. Sigh. I do think the punch is in a magical bottomless bowl. That's what Oliver said, anyway. :)

  9. What great prelude to the Easter weekend. Hope you all have a lovely holiday (if you celebrate) Sadly, I will celebrate the holiday with a clear liquid diet in preparation for my surgery on Monday. So tonight, ladies, let's live it up. Cheers! Hey Ute, how about another excerpt before we all stagger off in different directions?

  10. Thank you for the lovely party. Lily, I wish you a speedy recovery. And for now, one more toast to a happy holiday weekend and here's a bit more of All Things Returned:
    The phaeton and driver had already left. I considered going down the hill to the Mathers, but I hated to bother them at this late hour. I told myself it was nothing, some trifle or oversight, and I was making far too much of it. Still, I crossed the threshold with some care and then, despite the warning, was so shocked I dropped the blueprint I carried under my arm.

    On my settee sat Jacob Lowell as though he were an invited guest. He sneered at my dropped parcel and came over to pick it up. Instead of handing it back to me, he unrolled the paper.

    This proprietary action served to take me from being frightened to being furious. I snatched the blueprint from his grasp, tearing it at the corner. “What is the meaning of this? How dare you walk into my home unannounced.” I rerolled my treasure.

    Jacob sneered yet again. “Protecting stolen goods, are we?”

    “Not stolen.” I felt little need to defend myself further and put the print down on the table. “Please leave.”

    Jacob came up behind me, pinning me between his body and the table. “Is that any way to treat an old friend, Lenora?” At close range, his breath smelled of whiskey. Still, he was someone I had known since childhood. I thought perhaps I could count on him to act as though we were, indeed, old friends.

    “Why are you here, Jacob?”

    He took my hair between his fingers. “Sweet girl. I have often thought of you. The softness of your lips and your sweet young body. Wasted on a scoundrel.”

  11. Uh-oh! Lenora needs a hero. RIGHT NOW! I don't see Anton anywhere. Oh, Oliver!!!

  12. Hi everyone, sorry I'm late for the party, hope you all had a good time. I'm sorry I'm late, my coach was held up by highwaymen and it took me a while to fight them off. Your books sound fantastic, Ute, and I love the excerpts, so intriguing!

    Hope you all had a lovely Easter!

  13. pretty nice blog, following :)


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