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, June 27, 2014

Birthday Party and Giveaway for the Portals Anthology

Thick mist obscures half of the full moon, and surrounds the medieval castle in a shroud. The hostesses of the Author Roast and Toast gather on a battlement, looking out over the eerie landscape.

 "Ooooh, creepy," Melissa says. "Hard to believe this is a summer night."

"Hard to believe we're not here for a gothic horror novel," Lyn says.

With an indelicate snort, Mary glances down at her steam punk attire. "Even harder to believe that someone told me to dress like Lara Croft from Victorian Britain."

Sniggering, Lilly and AJ hide behind their hands. Both ladies wear modern evening gowns better suited to the  gala event being thrown to honor the fantasy anthology, Portals. The authors of the newly released work are likewise tastefully attired, so Mary appears even more the sore thumb.

"I don't know what could have happened," Lyn says to Mary. "Didn't you get the memo? I had it sent out via courier. Hand delivered by none other than-"

Mary cuts her short, glaring fiercely. "Mac!"

"Don't kill the messenger!" Mac throws up her hands and hurries away. She takes off in pursuit of Oliver, headed in the opposite direction with a tray full of a sinister looking red beverage being served in wine glasses.

"I'm so glad I'm not on the hook this time," Melissa mutters. "Mary, I think you look adorable."

"Oh yes," Lilly and AJ chant together. "You're just so darn cute!"
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Before we tuck in to the deliciousvirtual fare on offer - all with connections to the stories in the book: Ma's Grizzly Bear Stew and Delia's Homemade Lasagna, a chocolate ' Whistling Past 'the Graveyard' Cake,*  Cup o' Worms*, Battlesby Hall cheese and red wine, to go with Mexmur's wild game appetizers and Night Queen's Brew -

let's welcome the authors of 'Portals' and find out a little more about their stories.  Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest to win a print copy of the book.  (And don't worry, no Grizzly bears were harmed in the making of this feast!)
Happy Book Birthday to Portals!
Genre: Fantasy Anthology (mixed sub genres)

Release Date: June 5, 2014

Keywords: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Short Stories, Picture Prompt

Description: No matter what world you call home, or what your station in life, there are just some paths that weren't meant to be tread.

Ordinary World by Laurie Treacy
Imagine a new neighbor moves next door, a creepy guy who gives fifteen year-old Amy Silva the willies? Amy wonders what the stone archway in the backyard is for. Her life becomes even more stressful when her family reveals they’re witches. 
Could Amy’s new neighbor have anything to do with a local girl’s disappearance or be a threat to her magical loved ones?

Maronda’s Quest by Christy Thomas
The Grand Wizard has decreed Maronda enter the Portal of Life to embark upon a quest of great importance, but despite her Ma’s claims it is a blessing, premonitions of danger persist.
Lenox works to prove his worth to wed her, his true love, but it appears a wizard plots to remove him from Maronda’s life forever. To secure their future together, Lenox decides to accompany her on the quest, even if forbidden. He must ultimately choose between using his dragon fighting skills which could lead to his death, or give Maronda her greatest desire.
In the end, it’s Maronda who must learn to live with the consequences of his decision

Mexmur, the Huntress by Anna Simpson
Long ago a dragonkeeper betrayed his charges. To bring back magic, to set things right, Mexmur is sent through the portal.
Can she succeed armed with only a poem, talon and blade.

Entrance of Lost Souls by Echo Shea 
A guardian to the entrances between worlds, Gladys has been called to bring a little girl back from Fairyland. Passing through the Entrance of Lost Souls is no fun, neither is hunting down a deranged banshee, but what is a guardian to do?

And, is the banshee really kidnapping the girl...or saving her from something else?

Where Once were Hearts by Havva Murat
After losing both his parents, his entire fortune and his childhood sweetheart, Master Bartholomew Battlesby sets out into the wilds of Northern England to make the acquaintance of his only surviving relation, the landed recluse, Mr. Horatio Grimsby who has an eerie penchant for both tinkering and clockwork. But, on finding his relation dead, with a gaping hole in his chest, and the beautiful, but scornful, Miss Evangeline Witherop ruling in his place, Bartholomew learns there is more than one way to lose your heart.
Can Bartholomew reignite the spirit of love and mercy within Miss Witherop, or will he suffer the same fate as his poor, heartless cousin?

The Lunatic Queen by Michael Siciliano
The land of Mershinka has been thrown into perpetual night. Their King is dead and a moon witch, known as The Night Queen, rules from the royal palace in Grosnov. An endless fog shrouds the land, killing crops and starving the populace. Cold-eyed enforcers put down rebellions while volksa, twisted wolf-creatures, roam the mists looking for prey. Many have given up hope and wait for the inevitable end. All seems lost.

Two teenagers, Pavel and Tamara, devise a plan to kill Vazya the Night Queen when the moons Kainsk and Seresnya are down, end the stifling enchantment, and bring the sun back to their dying land. But, they need a watch to tell time, a compass to guide them through the mists, weapons to fight off Vazya’s minions, and all the courage they can muster.
*Courtesy of 'Ghoulish Goodies Cookbook

Tour Schedule
Book Blitz and Tour-wide Giveaway
Paperback copy of Portals and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Ends 7/03/2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing's marketing department.

[ Click the image to close window ]***GIVEAWAY***
To win a copy of this book, just leave a comment and 
enter the Rafflecopter above 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Brenda Whiteside's party and Rafflecopter giveaway for The Art of Love And Murder

The hostesses pause to admire the impressive, restored 1920’s hotel in historic, Flagstaff, Arizona. Rippled glass sparkles in the many windows and a dozen, two story, white pillars frame the aged brick building and support the charming second floor balcony. A gentle breeze ruffles the hem of AJ’s party dress as she snaps pictures of the surrounding vistas carpeted in tall pines.

“Are you sure there aren’t any Saguaro cactus around here, Mac?” Lyn squints her eyes and peers around the downtown streets. “I was really looking forward to seeing some.”

Flagstaff Arizona Tourism & Vacation Guide Advertising Site Map Terms of Use ...“We’re at about seven thousand feet, Lyn. They only grow at lower elevations.”

Melissa bumps Lyn’s shoulder. “Cheer up, hon. It’s time for Brenda’s roast, but maybe a pack of coyotes will attack us on our way home.”

Mary snickers. “Or a flock of roadrunners.”

“It’s called a marathon of roadrunners.”

Lilly arches a brow at AJ. “How do you know that? I thought you were a Midwestern girl?”

AJ holds up her phone and grins. A picture of the elusive bird fills the screen.

Lilly shakes her head and grabs AJ’s arm to tug her toward the entrance of the hotel. “I think you need an intervention. You spend way too much time with that phone.”

AJ scowls as the other hostess scramble to follow. Six pair of sassy cowboy boots thud on the brick sidewalk as the hotel doors swing open. Period lighting compliments the large lobby decorated in beautiful antiques. Lyn coos with delight as the girls step into the past.

Brenda rushes forward to greet them with warm hugs. “Oh, you’re here. Isn’t this place fabulous? Come on.” She spins to head toward an archway at the far end of the lobby. “The party is in the martini lounge.”

“Martinis?” Mac shoves her way to the front of the group.
Brenda laughs over her shoulder. “Chocolate martinis. Oliver has a special batch whipped up just for you girls. There’s also red wine, and the food! I gained five pounds just looking at the cake and there’s grilled flatbread with brie, asparagus spears, and my favorite, grilled beef and pepper skewers.”

Melissa’s stomach rumbles and Lilly laughs.  “What are we waiting for? Let’s eat!”

Mary hurries her steps and Mac and AJ skitter after her.

Lyn bolts ahead of them all. “After we toast Brenda’s new release, The Art of Love and Murder. It would be a shame to let those chocolate martinis get warm.”

Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn't what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.

Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.

Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past...until Chance's connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?

Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.

His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”

She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.

He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture. 

He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”

The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”
He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.” 

“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.

He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”

His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art. 

Brenda spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love. The rest of her time is spent tending vegetables on the small family farm she shares with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Together, they’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States - multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

To win a copy of Brenda'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)