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, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Celebration for Beyond The Fortune Teller's Tent and The Witching Well

Cinnamon wafts through the air, the comforting smell in sharp contrast to the room full of spirits, ghouls and terrifying beasts.

“Wow, Lyn. The decorators have done a great job getting this place ready.” Mac runs a hand over the mock stone walls and grins. “It’s like a real castle!”

“Isn’t it just? I thought it fitting since our author, Kristy Tate’s stories are set in historic England.” Lyn’s gaze sharpens on Mac and she grimaces. “That makeup is hideous. Don’t grin so wide, it does weird things to your face.”

Mac grins wider, the zombie makeup making her mouth seem to stretch grotesquely. “Aww…don’t you think I look bee-oo-ti-ful? Give me a kiss.”

Lyn shrieks and dodges behind Mary and Lilly who’ve just joined them. Oliver approaches with a tray of sparkling apple cider and the hostesses all sigh in unison. Even with makeup turning his skin pallid and blood dribbling down his chin from glistening fangs, he was a gorgeous creature.

“Thank you, Oliver.” Lilly takes a glass and flutters her lashes up at him. His brow creases momentarily before he recovers himself, smiles and glides away towards the kitchen.

Mary turns to a confused Lilly and bursts out laughing. “You’re a pirate remember?” She covers an eye with her hand and blinks furiously in demonstration. “You looked like you had an eye condition.” Her glance moves past Lilly’s shoulder and her large bosom suddenly quivers with suppressed laughter.

Lilly turns from the arresting sight to see Oliver returning, a damp cloth in his hand and a sympathetic smile on his beautiful mouth. “Thanks,” she mutters and ducks her head, dabbing at the supposedly affected eye.

“Hi, girls! Sorry I’m late. Story of my life. How’s the party going?” LaVerne snags a couple of cinnamon spice cookies from a nearby table. “It looks so good! Exactly how I’d imagine a haunted castle – right down to the cobwebs.” The hand holding the biscuit freezes midway to her lips and her eyes widen. “They are fake, right?”
“Of course they are.” Lyn offers her the plate of pumpkin, chocolate chip muffins. “And speaking of fake, your makeup looks fabulous. So ghostly.”
LaVerne raises a brow. “Uh, thanks, I think. But this is how I always look. It makes dressing as Morticia Addams that much quicker, that’s for sure.”
Lyn groans. “These darn feet. They’re always finding their way into my mouth.”
“I find that impossible to believe.” Mac pats Lyn on the arm in a kindly gesture then winks at LaVerne and continues. “They’re huge. You surely couldn’t get more than your big toe in there.”

Lyn lets out an indignant squeak and goes to shove Mac with her shoulder, but she’s already scooted away with a giggle.

“Oh, look.” Lilly lowers her cloth and gestures towards the entrance. “It looks like the party can officially start. Kristy is here!”

Kristy glides in, waves at the hostesses and makes her way over. When she reaches them, Lilly hands her a glass of Apple cider and raises her glass.

“Welcome to your Roast party, Kristy and Happy Halloween! Let’s party loud enough to raise the dead!

When Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred spirit in Emory Ravenswood. 

Emory must thwart the plans of religious zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always play fair. 

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent?


Fester, who had been sitting in the corner, somehow suddenly flashed to Petra’s side. She flinched from the strong, garlicky smell and the warmth of his body. Petra held her breath and took a step closer to the curtains that led outside.
He followed. “If you think your life is here and now, you are mistaken. Indeed, there is no time or space.”

“My only mistake was putting twenty dollars in your jar.”  Petra’s voice sounded screechy in her ears.
“Harbingers of ill will do not always mean you harm.”  Fester laid his fingers on Petra’s arm and sent a jolt of electricity that lifted her off her feet.

Petra watched the crystal ball sail through the air and the strings of hanging beads swayed, sounding like a rush of wind chimes. Potion jars spun in the air, tarot cards floated around her like large, one-dimensional snowflakes. The ball connected with a flying jar and shattered into thousands of pieces, crystal and potion glinting midair as the  poles supporting the draped damask groaned and teetered.

Earthquake, the rational part of Petra’s mind told her, but Petra was listening to another voice, one that said, run. Amidst the fluttering curtains Petra flew, whirling her arms and feet, a mid-air mime pantomiming running.

When the earth settled, Petra found herself buried beneath a pile of fabric and pillows. She sat up, dazed. Other than the drapes of cloth and the swaying crystal beads, the tent looked about the same, give or take the tarot cards scattered about. She pushed them away so she wouldn’t step on them.

Looking around, she didn’t see the fortuneteller. She wondered where he was and if he was hurt. Dazed, she tried looking for him, but the incense stung the back of her throat and filled her head. Needing air, she pushed through the curtains, brushed off her dress and straightened her tiara. Taking a few faltering steps, she stopped.

Blurb for Autumn's Kiss--the anthology where you can read The Witching Well.

Ten sweet stories of love. Ten great authors. Ten ways to celebrate Autumn. 
Falling in love is timeless. From a sexy medieval stonemason to a small town shopkeeper - Regency England to Napa Vineyards, this selection of Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal and Time-Travel short romance stories is sure to capture your heart.  

Featuring THE WITCHING WELL. KristyTate. Time Travel 
Celia Quinn holds Jason West responsible for the demise of her grandmother's dress shop, so when she takes a sip of water from the Witching Well and is transported back to Regency England, Jason West is the last person she wants to see--or kiss.
Kristy Tate writes Women's Fiction with a dash romance, mystery and humor. Her debut novel, Stealing Mercy, was on Amazon's top 100 list of historical romance for more than fifteen weeks and spent two weeks as number one. Her participation in the Christmas on Main Street Anthology, an Amazon #1 bestseller, inspirational romance, made her an Amazon top 100 author for more than a month. Her novel, The Rhyme's Library, was a 2013 Kindle Book Review semi-finalist, and Hailey's Comments was 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel quarterfinalist.

Stealing Mercy
A Ghost of a Second Chance
The Rhyme's Library
Hailey's Comments
Losing Penny 
A Light in the Christmas Cafe 
Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent 
Beyond the Hollow

To win a copy of Kristy'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, October 24, 2014

Temporarily Employed - Come Party with Vicki Batman

Wow!  Just look at all those balloons!  The hostesses, dressed in their best party clothes grin from ear to ear as they walk into the room, festooned with banners and balloons.  

Is it someone's birthday? Mac asks, looking around her in awe.

"Well it's certainly a celebration," Lyn says, nearly tripping over her own feet as she forgets to watch where she's going. "Vicki's book, 'Temporarily Employed' was published a week ago,  and  I just can't wait to meet her and find out more about it.

Mary tugs at the bodice of her dress, which, stretched across her ample curves, is having a difficult job to defy gravity.

"Are you sure you haven't got a couple of those balloons hidden under there?" LaVerne asks mischievously, neatly avoiding the large clutch bag Mary swipes at her.

"Hey girls, just see the spread Oliver's put out for
us," Lilly says, stepping between the two  hostesses still engaged in friendly sparring.

"Good job the sidekicks aren't here," Mac sighs, "look at all that chocolate, it's terribly bad for dogs."

"But not for us, luckily," La Verne grins, "And I hear Vicki's very partial too it!

At that moment Vicki Batman herself steps into the room to a round  of applause. She looks absolutely stunning in a beautiful red cocktail dress. Oliver can't take his eyes off her and rushes up to give her a glass of the best champagne and a red rose
to match her gown.

 "Welcome to your Roast", Lilly says, as the hostesses rush to greet her.  "Congratulations on your new release - let's drink a toast to Vicki Batman and her wonderful new romance 'Temporarily Employed'.


Purchase from Wild Rose Press

Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite Insurance Company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced.

Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life.  He evolved from a pocket protector-wearing geek to a handsome police detective.  When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.

Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?

Wild Rose Press. Crimson Rose

How embarrassing.
After killing the engine, I flopped back in the seat. Shooting the morons the finger was an idea. Nah. I'm too exhausted to care.

A litany of:  "No, not hiring." "Just filled the position." "You're over qualified." "You're under qualified…" tornadoed through my head. Coupled with the intense job search through various outlets like the internet and completing numerous online employment applications, no wonder my body had been depleted of all life force.

Not even a breeze blew to take the edge off the unbearable summertime heat. Tangled wild trees and dry scrubby bushes banked the roadside. The grass had taken on a scorched look. Rolling down the driver’s window, I surveyed my surroundings. Nothing great. Nothing new.
I stole a glance in the side mirror at the policeman who strode purposefully along the shoulder. The gravel crunched under his boots. He looked huge, probably because his uniform, which appeared to be bulked with a bullet-proof vest, made him resemble a buffed-up superhero in size. Exceedingly intimidating.

Sigh. When things went wrong, they were really wrong.
BIO: Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm--the list is endless.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, MUSEITUP PUBLISHING, and THE WILD ROSE PRESS. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.

Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"

Available 10/17  Temporarily Employed  New job. New love. And murder.
Available now!     Bug Stuff...and Other Stories 5 stars

Handbags, Books...Whatever  *  Plotting Princesses  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Pinterest

To win a copy of Vicki'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, October 17, 2014

Laura Simcox In 'Various States of Undress'

It's a beautiful fall day in Northern Virginia. The sun is shining and a gentle breeze is blowing as the hostess and their sidekicks prepare a celebration on the grounds of a historic estate.

LaVerne sighs and breathes in a breath of fresh air. "Oh my. Such a cool, crisp day. I just love getting to see so much of America via the Roast."

"It is a lovely country," Lyn agrees. "And this part of Virginia reminds me a bit of  England. At least, the landscape does."

"We don't have anything as old as some of the estates in Europe, but this part of Virginia is full of history." Lilly says. "And we have Elvis...or, an Elvis impersonator at least. So, I can't wait for the entertainment to start."

"There is a lot of history in these parts," Mac agrees. "It's the perfect location for today's roast."

"Laura Simcox's Various States of Undress series has a somewhat patriotic flare," Mary adds. "The only place I can think of that would have been better for our celebration would have been some place in DC."

Lilly frowns. "But then our sidekicks couldn't have come along,"

"And look how much fun they are having," LaVerne points to Cuddles, Jazzy, TT, Foster and Nibbie as they scamper over the hilly landscape. "And they're staying away from all this delicious food."

"What a feast!" Lilly says. "And very patriotic. There's nothing more American than hot dogs and apple pie."

 "Oh look! Airforce One is landing," Lyn says. "Since Caroline, Virginia, and Georgia are the president's daughters in the Various States of Undress books, there's going to be a lot of security here today."
"And hunky secret service agents," Mary adds with a wiggle of her eyebrows.

Mac smacks her arm. "Always thinking of sexy men, aren't you?"

"Who isn't?" LaVerne replies with a laugh. "Even if we don't touch, it is so much fun to look."

"Don't forget, Jake is with Carolina," Mac adds. "Let's not do anything to upset any of Laura's heroines."

"Let's go." Lyn tries prodding the hostess toward the small landing field. "We need to welcome Laura and her guests to the Roast. And remember, she's sharing some yummy recipes today so if you don't get to try something, you can make it yourself later."

Lilly laughs. "I'd rather take it home in a doggy bag."

"And I bet you won't even share it with TT," Mac says with a laugh.


LaVerne grins. "Let's grab a drink on the way to the plane. We can wave that fruity concoction 
 like a flag!"

"Sounds like a plan," Mary says. "And luckily, there are Shirley Temples for the teetotalers and any underage guests."
Oliver meets the hostesses on the runway, passing out drinks, and as promised, Mac waves hers like a flag when Laura Simcox and company disembark from the plane.

Look for the recipe for Stars and Stripes cocktail at: http://mixthatdrink.com/fourth-of-july/


What happens when the president's daughter and her sexy Secret Service agent find themselves snowbound? A little cabin fever, some serious forbidden attraction, and Various States of Undress.

When Carolina Fulton, daughter of the President of the United States, dumps her cheating fiancé, she knows she needs a break from life in Washington. Spending some quality alone time in her family's Wyoming cabin seems like a perfect escape-except for the sexy Secret Service agent who shadows her every move. Miles away from civilization, Carolina quickly realizes that ignoring the smoky eyes, carved chin, and mile-wide pair of shoulders is going to require more than a little self-control. 

Elite agent Jake Baxter knows better than to develop feelings for his clients. After all, he's not being paid to fantasize about running his fingers through Carolina's dark hair, kissing her senseless, or waking up next to her petite, curvy body. But as a blizzard rages outside their all-too-cozy cabin, Jake knows he has to put the freeze on this attraction, lest his job-or his heart-is suddenly laid on the line.


When the president's daughter risks everything with her sexy new boss, they're bound to find themselves in some Various States of Undress!

If she had it her way, Virginia Fulton-daughter of the President of the United States-would spend more time dancing in Manhattan's nightclubs than working in its skyscrapers. Tired of dodging paparazzi, she needs a change. And a real chance. So when she finds herself in the arms of sexy, persuasive Dexter Cameron, who presents her with the opportunity of a lifetime, Virginia sees it as a sign...but can she take it without losing her heart?

CEO-to-be Dexter Cameron knows he's taking a risk by hiring a stylish party girl to jumpstart his family's legacy department store. But the gorgeous president's daughter has her thumb on the pulse of Manhattan and the partnership seems like a win-win... until Dex discovers that his goals now include more than securing the corner office-they include Virginia herself. Dex must decide: does he make a move up the ladder? Or on the girl of his dreams?


Releasing January 6, 2015! Follow Laura on social media, and check her website for updates, fun stuff and contests leading up to the release!


Carolina Fulton sighed. The more time she spent with her fiancé, the less she liked him. He was a chronic workaholic and since resuming Chief of Staff duties for the woman who’d filled her dad’s Senate seat, Roger had been more and more evasive about…well, everything. She closed her eyes and swallowed.

            “Everything all right, Miss?”

            Carolina turned with a ready smile for the butler near her shoulder. “Yes, fine. Thanks. But would you be able to get me an aspirin or something?”

            The man nodded. “Of course. Be back in a minute.”

            The phone in her hand came to life and Carolina looked down at Roger’s return text: Sorry babe. Be there in a sec.

She shook her head, her fingers flying. This party is driving me nuts. Where r u? I’ll come find u.

Tapping her foot, she waited. A few seconds later, he answered.

            Back up? He’d probably gone down to the China Room. When visiting the White House, he tended to go there when he wanted to make phone calls. Which was often. Carolina’s eyes scanned the doorway. The butler walked through, a tray in hand. She met him halfway, took a glass of water and two aspirin from the tray. “Thanks very much,” she said with a strained smile.

            He nodded. “My pleasure.”

            Carolina returned the water glass, slipped through the doorway and headed for the staircase at the end of the Grand Hall. She felt like hell and all she wanted was to go back to her apartment in Georgetown and collapse into bed. But first, Roger Chapman needed to be set straight. She was more than sick of him vanishing like the Invisible Man every time she needed him. Gritting her teeth, she grabbed the handrail and placed a too-tight satin shoe on the first step.

            A polite cough behind her made her freeze in place. And then give in to the eye roll she’d been craving most of the evening. She sighed and turned to glance back at her newest Secret Service agent.

            “We’re in the White House. So I think I’ll be safe walking down the stairs. Could you just let me alone for ten minutes, please?”

            “No, ma’am.”

            “Why not?”

            “It’s my job.”

            Carolina folded her arms and surveyed the man in black. Jason Baxter…or was it Jake? Either way, he looked like most of the other agents—tall and chiseled. This one, though, had amazing green eyes. And a chest harder than Mount Rushmore. She knew, since she’d bumped into it by accident the other day. He was perfectly still under her scrutiny—his eyes betrayed nothing. He was a machine in a pretty package. But that fact hadn’t stopped her from entertaining fantasies about the man. Ones in which he actually smiled. And others in which he did a lot more than just smile.

            If you hadn’t been taking photos of him on the sly, you wouldn’t be so painfully aware of him right now.

            Carolina’s face felt hot with embarrassment, but almost immediately, she shook it off. Agent Baxter didn’t know she’d taken those photos. He also didn’t know that she’d pulled them up on her laptop a couple of times—well, too many times to count—and indulged in the pure pleasure of just looking at him. As far as he was aware, she just enjoyed photography. It was her hobby—everyone knew that. She’d even talked about it for an interview with Vogue.

Her dad had only been President for two months and here she was, an engaged woman, lusting after a Secret Service agent. God.

            “Nice bow tie,” she commented and turned to grab the handrail again.

            Jake trotted down the steps, passing her. Near the bottom, he glanced back. “I need to be in front,” he muttered, holding out an arm to halt her progress. Even through his suit sleeve, she could tell that arm was muscular. This guy had been her shadow for two solid weeks, and before that, she was pretty sure he’d been glued to a diplomat. When did he have time to work out?

            He’s hot, her conscience whispered.

“Thought I told you to shut up,” she answered. Except this time it was out loud.

            Jake raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

            Carolina closed her eyes briefly. “Sorry. I’m just really tired. I mean, really. Exhausted.”

            “You want to go home?” he asked, even as he stepped across the hall and to the doorway of the China Room, his eagle-eyed gaze darting around.

            “Yes. But first I need to speak with my fiancé,” she answered, smoothing her sleek dark hair behind her ears. And it was then that she heard the giggles, followed by familiar annoying chuckles. Roger only chuckled like that when he was trying to wheedle his way into…oh. Oh hell, no!

            With narrowed eyes, Carolina crossed the dimly lit hall, intent on murder.

Find out more about Laura's books and Purchase HERE

About Laura: 

After spending twenty years in professional theater as a costume designer, with a few of those years also spent as a college instructor, Laura abandoned the nomadic lifestyle to sit in a comfy office chair at a second hand oak desk and write. The result? Romance novels! Her favorite thing ever since she was, oh, about twelve. She writes contemporary, light novels and enjoys creating quirky characters and funny, sexy dialogue. Still, the love story is the focus and Laura has a huge soft spot for a sappy, happy ending.

Laura lives in North Carolina with her husband (true love is real!) and her adorable, high energy five year old son who is currently obsessed with How to Train Your Dragon. And that's cool, because she trains her own little dragon every single day. For escape, she flits around on social media, so come say hi!

Some recipes from today's Roast:
Yankee Doodle Macaroni Casserole
What You'll Need:
    1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni
    2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 (2-ounce) jar chopped pimientos, drained
    4 slices white bread, cut into small pieces
    1 cup milk
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper

What To Do:
    1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
    2.   Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain, rinse, and drain again.
    3.   In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Add macaroni and mix until well combined then spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.
    4.   Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is set.
Read more at http://www.mrfood.com/Casseroles/Yankee-Doodle-Macaroni-Casserole-719#Y2E9Mm2LRhqx3QwZ.99

Red Velvet Cake:
What You'll Need:

 1 (18.25-ounce) package butter-flavored yellow cake mix
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened, divided
1 cup water
3 eggs
1 (1-ounce) bottle red food color
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk   

What To Do:
    Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.
         In a large bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed, beat cake mix, cocoa, 1/2 cup butter, the water, and eggs until well combined. Add food color and beat until well combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
         Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes then invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice each cake in half horizontally, making a total of 4 cake layers.
         In a medium bowl, with an electric beater on medium speed, beat confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, milk, and remaining 1/4 cup butter until well combined and smooth.
        Place 1 cake layer cut-side down on a serving platter and top with 1/4 of the frosting, spreading just to the edge. Repeat 3 more times with remaining cake layers and frosting, ending with frosting on top and leaving sides unfrosted. Serve, or cover loosely and chill until ready to serve. 

To win a copy of Laura'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)