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 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)


  1. Hi Laura, welcome to your Roast! As a mere Brit I am fascinated by the wonderful history and the sights here, not to mention the delicious recipes! And the excerpt has me really intrigued - and rather fancying hunky Jake!

  2. I am having serious internet issues today as in...internet is out. I can view the fun on my iPhone, but can't seem to comment. So, now I'm using my phone as a hot spot and am commenting from hubby's pc. Man, I really need one of those fruity patriotic drinks right about now! Where's Oliver?

    Ah. That's better. Here's to your 3 book success, Laura, and welcome to the Roast!

  3. *Hugs* I hope you sort out your internet problems soon Lilly, what a pain! At least you managed to get here - and I certainly think you need a drink, I think Oliver's oggling Laura and hasn't noticed you're in need! I'll go chase him up! :)

  4. Ladies!! Just wanted to let you know that Jake is here with me, and he's grinning from ear to ear because of the fabulous roasting and toasting. He wants to know: "Hey girls. You think I'd look good in that tux with the patriotic bow tie?" I told him "Uh, YEAH, but I think he needs some encouragement. :)

    I'm so thrilled to be here today, and LOVING the picnic and fab photos. Thanks!


  5. Hi Laura, so pleased you brought Jake along. I think he'd look good in anything but in the tux and bow tie he'd just have all the ladies swooning!

  6. HA! I'll let Jake know that, Lyn. :)

    Forgot to mention GIVEAWAY information earlier! I'm offering a signed, paperback copy of either VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: CAROLINA -or- VARIOUS STATES OF UNDRESS: VIRGINIA. Winner's choice! (The print version of Virginia will be available Nov. 11.) I'll ship wherever--worldwide.

    Now back to that red velvet cake!

  7. And she cooks too! Hi, Laura - this is a great bunch and I know you'll have a wonderful time today. Hope to see you tomorrow and hear even more about it!!

  8. You'll see me tomorrow, Donna! I'll be there with bells on. Ok, not bells, but a smile, at least. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    I'm running away for a couple of hours to go for an annual physical. Guess I'll have to tell my doc I've just been pigging out on a picnic. *shrug* Be back later.

  9. Wow! I feel like I'm with a bunch of celebrities. Jake you look hot in anything. Have no fear, just watch out for the other hostess's some of them, especially Lyn, are hot to trot and might just grab him. And don't worry about the Doc, it's virtual, you can eat all you want. LOL

  10. Hi Mary *swaves to sister hostess* Yes, Laura, as Mary says all food here is perfectly healthy and won't cause any problems! /and I wouldn't dream of grabbing Jake - I might just engage him in some interesting conversation though!

  11. Mmmm. Virtual food!! Mary and Lyn--Jake doesn't mind being grabbed. As long as he's not on duty.

  12. Grab away Lyn. Just remember we're in public here. And for goodness sakes give poor LaVerne some suntan lotion!
    Nibbie you better stop sneaking toward that food. Someone said you were behaving, but I think they might be mistaken. And no sniffing bums either!

  13. LOL, see Mary, Jake doesn't mind! How did you come up with such a hunk, Laura>

    1. No, Jake doesn't mind. He loves the ladies! He was an easy character to write, Lyn...I lean toward writing sensitive (dare I say Beta) heroes, and I was able to do that because with the Secret Service agent angle, he had the Alpha already built in!

  14. Then why is he screaming for help? HeHe Try to be gentle with him...

    1. LOL. He looked in the mirror, saw how handsome he was, and was overcome with gratitude?

  15. He's not screaming for help dear Mary, he's laughing at my jokes - I think he likes me! :)

  16. *Gasps and fans self* Boy, is it HOT out here, and not just the weather! Jake looks divine in that tux and bow tie.
    Thanks to Oliver for delivering some sunblock along with a drink. Now, I wonder if I could get one of these hunky young men to help apply it....?
    Welcome to your Roast, Laura. I hope you're having as much fun as we are :)
    Mary - I think Nibbie is being corrupted by Jazzy. She might look all sweetness, but she is a sneaky thing when it comes to food! That long neck can reach all sorts of places.

    1. Thank you, LaVerne! This is the most fun, unique blog I have ever visited. And the food? I'm stuffed...yet still nibbling. :)

  17. Hi LaVerne *waves* It is a bit warm isn't it - nice though after the cool UK temperatures - or is it my temperature that's rising? Oh yes, there are a few hunks around, but I'm sticking with Jake - at least until Carolina comes back to drag him away - and I do mean drag! ;) Oh dear I think Jazzy and Nibbie are a bad influence on Cuddles too. Cuddles - come back with that hot dog at once! (and you can bring the sausages in buns back too! :) )

    1. I rescued the hot dog!! Unfortunately Jake and Carolina weren't paying a bit of attention to the hijinks, because they were up to hijinks of their own... :D

  18. Well, I hope the internet gods don't eat this comment as the did the last one. I feel as if I've missed half the party. But I see y'all got Jake in that tux and patriotic bow tie. Mmm. Mmm. He looks as good in that as Oliver, maybe better, but Oliver has the drinks, so....How about another one of those fruity things, Oliver? And how about another excerpt, Laura? Maybe a sneak peak at Georgia's story?

    1. Sure!! Better late than never right?? It's 10 pm now and I apologize for missing a few hours, but I getting ready for the HCRW all day event and driving to Raleigh. (State Fair traffic was horrid.) ANYWAY...I would love to share a little excerpt from Virginia.

      To set the scene: Virginia is working for Dex Cameron as a fashion consultant, attempting to bring an extremely outdated department store back to life. Dex loves her work, but he's beginning to love all kinds of other things about her, too....

      Dex sat on the coffee table, facing her. “I want you to be the face of Lilah’s.”

      Virginia chewed her lower lip and thought. Appearing in the ads to promote her own work? Kind of genius. Plus, it would be a kick to see her smiling face plastered on the side of a bus instead of her plastered face in the pages of the Post. “I am flattered.”

      “Is that a yes?”

      “As long as you don’t expect me to wear something from our Lilah’s sales floor as is.”

      He grinned. “No support hose for you?”

      “What do you think?”

      “Hmm.” He touched her bare knee lightly, and her skin started tingling. “No. We can skip the hose.” He ran a hand down her calf and traced a pattern on her ankle with a fingertip. “Oh, goose bumps. Maybe you need a house coat? We’ve got some lovely floral samples downstairs. They have snaps.” He tried to keep a straight face, but the corners of his lips began to twitch, emphasizing the dimples in his lean cheeks.

      Oh, God, she loved those dimples. She wanted to give them little licks. “Maybe you need to stop with the fashion suggestions and . . . uh . . .”

      “And?” he prompted, his fingers tracing over her toes.

      “Dex, you’re distracting me.”

      “I hope so.” He chuckled. “What were you going to say? Was it about clothes?”

      She had no clue. But she did have an idea—it came to her suddenly.

      “Spend a day shopping with me.” She peered at him, waiting for his reaction, and she wasn’t disappointed. His eyes widened for a second; then a deep groan came out of his mouth.

      “I’m a CEO in training, not a personal shopper. You’ll load me down like a pack mule.”

      “Yes I will, but that’s not the point. First thing tomorrow, you need to learn how and why women shop.”

      “And we’ll go until . . . ?” A fearful look crossed his face.

      She giggled again and reached out to pat his knee. “Until I’m satisfied.” Dex raised an eyebrow, and she snatched her hand back. “I mean . . . oh, get out of here. Go back to your office.”

      “Can’t I at least attempt a bad joke first?” He grinned but stood up.


      “Ah, well, I’ll go then.” He stretched. “But I do want you to know that I’m only interested in your complete and total satisfaction,” he said in a low voice.

      “Ha, ha. Complete and total mean the same thing, by the way.” She looked up at him, trying to keep the breathlessness out of her voice.

      “Exactly, sweetheart. And I wasn’t really joking because we both want the same thing.” With another grin, he straightened his tie and walked out.

  19. Well said Lilly! Yes *sigh* Jake does look good, doesn't he! And I'm so intrigued by this series, I'd love a sneak preview of Georgia's story too - how about it, Laura?

    1. Absolutely! I don't have an approved excerpt yet (still in copy edits) but I have a blurb:

      Georgia Fulton, 4.0 student and daughter of the president of the United States, is certain that she’s on her way to journalistic stardom and she’s doing it without cashing in on her celebrity status-which is exactly what she wants. Nothing’s going to keep her from getting the story of her young career...until she meets Brett Knox, and quickly realizes that he’s a force to be reckoned with. He may be the focus of her assignment, but he could also seriously mess with her internship success, and more alarmingly, her heart.

      Brett Knox, star catcher of the Memphis Redbirds, a Triple-A farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals, just got bumped back down to the minors. Brett’s main goal in life is to get back into the big leagues-on his own terms, which means no distractions. Certainly not in the form of a sexy brunette who won’t take no for an answer. As far as Brett’s concerned, his life story isn’t for sale, charity, or pity.

      There's a contest going on right now for GEORGIA. I need a Secret Service code name for her. If you're interested in coming up with one, check this out at your convenience: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fKes6O2pCTLqaZvbQh8tOxmrKLp3TmOCSjvUWsY8o8M/viewform

  20. Oliver will give you another drink....

  21. I think it's time for some more cocktails, and how about some fireworks while we're at it. (I mean the kind that go 'boom' in the sky) but if you have other ideas, that's cool too!

  22. Wow! love the excerpty and the blurb Laura, thanks so much. And weren't the fireworks great! Oh, and Jake is still my favourite - perhaps because I love sensitive Alpha types - they have the strength we love but the sensitivity we crave. (All right, I'm using the 'Royal We' here but I bet I speak for an awful lot of females out there!

    We'll keep this party going all weekend, there's heaps of food left, Oliver always makes a mountain - and I'm loving the company!

  23. Great blurb, Laura. This sounds like a fun series and I'm definitely adding it to my TBR pile. Sounds like our fictional president has his hands full with those three daughters. lol!

  24. What a great party, looking forward to reading your stories. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  25. Hi Sheri, glad you enjoyed the party!

  26. Thank you all! It was great fun! :D

  27. Thank YOU Laura . We've enjoyed having you and wish you enormous success and many sales.


This is an interractive blog - please feel free to pop in and comment throughout the Roast as much as you like - and remember to leave your email address if you wish to be put in the draw to win this week's prize.