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, November 28, 2014

Diane O'Key's early Christmas party to celebrate her latest release 'Beyond Words'

Snow steadily falls outside the cabin windows, covering the rich autumn colours of the trees and earth with a dusting of white.

“Oh, this is magic.” LaVerne peels off her puffer jacket and stands in front of the blazing fire. “I’ve always wanted to experience a white Christmas! Usually I’m smothering myself in sunblock.”

“Move over.” Lilly bumps the excited hostess with her bottom, sending her flying. “Share the heat. I’m freezing!”

“Whoa!” With an expert manoeuvre, Mac raises a tray of delicious-looking drinks over her head as the human missile barrels past, landing safely in Mary’s cushiony bosom. Mac rolls her eyes and lowers the tray, a smug smile spreading over her face as she inspects for damage. “Not a drop spilled. Here ladies, help yourselves. Oliver has been busy creating. We’ve got sweet tea, hot chocolate with whipped cream, or for those wanting to be warmed from the inside out, hot mulled cider and Bailey’s coffee. Just leave me a cider would you?”

They all take a drink and Mac places the tray on coffee table before grabbing herself the lone cider left over.

“I hope Lyn gets here soon.” Mary smoothes her shirt back over the girls, tucking her chin and glancing down checking everything was in order. “I’m dying to meet Diane O’Key.”

Lilly snorts and raises her own glass to her lips. “Don’t you mean Trey Dalton? You know he’s taken right?”

“Of course and Abby is a sweetie, but there’s no harm in looking, is there?”

“None at all,” Mac agrees and then squeals with delight. “They’re here! Oliver!” The handsome butler appears in the kitchen doorway. “Could you start putting the food out now?”

He flashes her a smile and a wink and all the hostesses pause to watch his departing back and sigh in unison.

Lyn opens the door and stamps off snow from her shoes before entering.

“Oh!” LaVerne grips the back of an overstuffed couch and sways theatrically. “Anyone feel that? I thought it was an earthquake.”

“Ha, ha, very funny,” Lyn scowls and enters the cabin. “My feet are not that big. I don’t know where you ladies get that idea from.” Three gorgeous looking people come in behind her and her scowl transforms into a delighted smile. “Ladies, please welcome Diane, Abby and Trey. They’re very excited to be celebrating the release of their story Beyond Words with you this weekend. I got a sneak peek of it just now and I know you’re all going to love it as much as I did.”

The room fills with a chorus of welcome and excitement.

Oliver steps up to take everyone’s coats and ushers them towards the table where a feast for the eyes sits waiting for them. A golden turkey takes centre-stage adorned by bowls of creamy mashed potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots, creamed onions and macaroni and cheese casserole. Antipasto platters of meats, cheese and olives sit at either end of the table for easy pickings and mouth-watering relishes stand by to complement the meat at the diner’s discretion. Oliver hasn't forgotten cheese grits for Abby and Danish pastries, either!

As they all gather around the table, Oliver filled everyone’s glasses of the finest champagne and Lyn raises her glass to lead the toast.

“Here is to great food, fantastic company and wonderful reading. Congratulations on bringing your fabulous story to life, Diane!

(This week's introductory 'skit' was written by LaVerne)




is a take-care-of-the-business-end partner. Emotional and financial demons spur her dream of self-reliance and her vow to continue her aunt’s legacy, Beyond Words, a Blue Ridge Mountains book-and-gift shop.

Trey Dalton, sexy CPA with a heart of gold and a backbone of steel, wants nothing more than to return to his home in warm, sunny Florida. But he made a deathbed promise to ensure Abby succeeds…whatever it takes.

Conflict and sexual tension ramp up as they wrangle over the shop and deal with Abby’s quirky best friend and the incorrigible resident parrot. Abby’s sworn to trust no man, but Trey has her tangled up worse than knotted fishing line. If she can’t overcome her insecurities before he unravels her finances and leaves town forever, her precious independence will cost her a love Beyond Words.

“Ready to call it a day?” Trey asked.

            “And then some.” Abby yawned hugely behind her hand.

            “I’ll walk you to your car.”

             “I don’t have a car.”

            Trey frowned. “Don’t— How do you get here?”
            “Ever heard of feet?”

            He looked as if she’d used a foul word. 
“But…I mean, everybody…”

            She took pity on him. “Before you dig yourself a bigger hole, pardner, I own a car. But home’s only half a mile. I enjoy the walk.”
            His expression hardened. “You’re walking. At this hour.”

            “Why not?” Geez, what was the big deal?

            “It’s not safe. Dark. You’ll be alone.”

            “I do it all the time. Wear a luminous-striped vest.” She sniffed. “And I’m used to being alone.”

            His eyes flashed, part anger, part something softer, quickly gone. “Well, tonight you’re not walking anywhere except to my truck.”

            “You don’t have —”

            “Yeah, I do. Don’t argue. I’m too tired to go another round with you.”

            How had she missed that? His handsome face looked drawn under its golden tan, his winter-gray eyes weary. 

            “I’ll get my jacket.”

            Trey swiped up his keys. “Meet you out front.”

            Once she’d hooked her seatbelt, Abby flipped down the vent. 

            “Too much?” He notched the fan to low. “Sorry, I’m not used to cold.”

            Cold? He hadn’t seen anything yet. But then, he wouldn’t hang around long enough….

            All light vanished beneath overhanging trees when he turned off the main street. High
beams on, hands white-knuckled, he slowed on the serpentine, uphill climb. Yup, Abby thought,
a Flatlander, for sure.

            “I’ll walk you up.”

            “No need.” What she needed, now, was to escape. Before she did something stupid. Like sink her hands into that silky, sun-bleached hair and find out if he tasted as good as he looked.

Buy at

Diane O’Key can’t ever remember not reading—or writing, for that matter. By the end of eighth grade, she’d written numerous poems and short stories and won an award for having read over 500 books grades 1 through 8. Her lifelong love of storytelling, classical literature, and history—inspired by incredible and demanding teachers—propelled her into a 22-year secondary language arts teaching career, in which her students and colleagues immeasurably enriched her life...though one of her great points of pride—and greatest fears—is that they remember her as OCD about grammar, spelling, and syntax....

Raised on the Jersey Shore, she discovered a deep love of theater (for which she won several awards) and gymnastics in high school. Aided by scholarships and loans, she worked her way through Georgian Court University, and upon graduation with honors and 42 English literature credits, taught high school in Pt. Pleasant and Pt. Pleasant Beach.

Then, she and her high-school sweetheart, now husband, moved to Southwest Florida, where she continued to teach. Married for 40 years, she and her better-half, a retired firefighter, have one grown son, a talented airbrush artist, and divide their time between we-love-winters-in Florida (though they’re there—at least for now—most of the year) and their beloved South Carolina Upstate lake home as often as they can get away.

Her interests include making custom jewelry and bookmarks, snow skiing, baking, and anything to do with the water. A member of SW Florida Romance Writers and RWA for eighteen years, she has two wonderful, multi-published authors as critique partners: the self-dubbed Three Musketeers. Diane writes medieval historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense.

Writing as she does “in the mist,” without absolute direction or outlines, is both a challenge and a joy. She delights in those moments when the characters pop full-blown into her head, carrying on a conversation. As that pop is rarely the first chapter, however, the struggle begins to write from that point-first backward, then forward. Keeps her awake at night...and life interesting.


Prizes: Abby wants to send you something from her Blue Ridge Mts. book-and-gift/local craft shop, Beyond Words. Really--a custom-made necklace!
             Trey wants to send you something he and Abby purchased while on their Sanibel Island/SW Florida Gulf Coast honeymoon. Really--purchased on Sanibel Island, FL!

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, November 21, 2014

Melissa Snark's Viking Celebration

“Stop laughing at me, or I’ll gore you with one of my horns!” Mary stamps her feet and points to the Viking helmet on her head, as she snarls at Lyn. “I thought you said it was a Viking celebration. You said to dress for the occasion.”

Lyn is laughing so hard she can’t even comment. Mac tries to hide her grin. Lilly snorts, while LaVerne covers her face with her hands.

“You look just as bad Mac.” Mary points to Mac’s oversized fur coat and galoshes. “It’s an indoor party, so why are you dressed like an Eskimo?”

Mac flutters her eyebrows at Mary. “It’s on a boat silly; I hear it gets awfully cold on these trips. And you look pretty normal to me; those horns are right where they belong, right girls?” Mac elbows Mary.

“Are you talking to them or to my body parts?” Mary asks defensively, as she points to the other hostesses and then her own girls.

“Now calm down sweetie.” Lyn tries to pacify Mary. “You know we always bring clothing just for this reason. You just look so funny all dressed in leather and ya know, horns.” The other hostesses renew their laughter. Then in the spirit of the Roast they help Mary and Mac change to warm appropriate modern clothes, and they head toward the large Norse ship where Melissa Snark’s
celebration is taking place.

Large crowds fill the huge deck where Melissa sits on a huge throne signing books. “Hi girls, how do you like my dress?” Melissa smiles and shows them her beautiful beaded tunic. “The people of Greenland make these and I just love their work.”

Melissa promises those on the long line, that she will be back shortly. “Can you believe they made it to Britannia on one of these ships? Musta been really scary in a storm.”

“The food looks fabulous as usual. Oliver really knocks himself out with some of this stuff.” Lilly eyes a huge roasted boar with
a bright red apple in its mouth. Dishes of tuber veggies, whole stuffed fish, chicken, stewed goat and ale. All kinds of ale. And Lyn, there is mead.”

Lilly squeals as a guest tries to balance his plate on her Kim K butt. “That calls for a Battle Cry Ale.” She grabs the nearest beer stein and gulps to taste the brew Melissa recommended. Her satisfied smile as she swallows convinces the others to try it too.

“LaVerne you never should have got that spray tan. You look like a pumpkin.” Lyn grins. “I like your pale look much better.”

LaVerne raises one eyebrow and sends a warning glance to Lyn. “I don’t know how you fit that foot into your mouth. But, it’s always in there Lyn.”

“Somebody’s grouchy. My feet are tiny,” Lyn smiles.

“Did you get oars with those shoes?” LaVerne chuckles at her own quick comeback, and they all smile at Melissa. “We like to tease each other.” She explains.

“Well, I see nothing has changed and note that you have a lot to work with.” The hostesses can all agree on that and crack up laughing together. Melissa grins knowingly.

“This party is gonna be the best ever. And it’s gonna be so hot, Greenland will melt faster!” Lilly adds.

LaVerne shakes her head. There is no filter on any of their mouths. “That statement is just wrong in so many ways. It’s the ice sheet that’s melting, not…oh Lord, why do I bother.”

“It’s time to start this shindig. Hold onto the railings the ship is about to get underway. We are going to sail to England and to ravage and pillage.” Mary announces as she spies the mic and speaks to the

Lyn with terror in her eyes grabs the microphone from Mary. “Ignore that everyone!!!” Chuckles fill the air and Lyn gives Mary the evil eye. “We are about to set sail, and yes we are heading to England. But, just to bring the first of Melissa’s new release to everyone there; pillage indeed,”she mumbles!“Let’s all raise a toast to Melissa Snark, talented author of Battle Cry. Congratulations Melissa, and sell a million!”

The Author Roast and Toast welcomes our own ex-hostess and dear friend, Melissa Snark to the blog today. Go Melissa!
(And please read Melissa's message at the end of the post and vote for BATTLE CRY!)

Battle Cry Remake 3
Book #2 in the Loki's Wolves series
Melissa Snark
Genre: Norse folklore fantasy
Number of pages: 375 approx.
Word Count: 95,000

Cover Artist: Farah Evers

Logline: One man dares defy Fate.

Survival demands sacrifices; healing requires forgiveness.

Men revere him; monsters fear him. Jake Barrett, the notorious Hunter King, values loyalty to family and followers above all else. When the daughter of his closest ally murders Daniel, his oldest son, it sets off a chain reaction of violence and destruction that claims the lives of both wolves and hunters. Determined to avenge his son, Jake seeks the truth at any cost.

After losing her lover and then her mate, Victoria Storm simply wants to get on with building a new life in Sierra Pines, California. A vengeful Jake Barrett and his organization aren't going to make that easy, especially with the unwelcome attraction between her and the Hunter King's second son. Perils beyond the mortal coil plague Victoria.M

When the Norse Fates predict Victoria will destroy the world, her duties as a priestess of Freya come into conflict with her responsibilities as a Valkyrie of Odin. When they tell her she will do it to save her unborn child, she's not so sure they are wrong.

Sawyer Barrett has been trying to kill Victoria for so long, he doesn't know whether he loves her or hates her. Desperate to end the war, he's willing to take chances with everything–except his heart. The hunter harbors a deadly secret he can't reveal without risking the ceasefire and his life.

At Sawyer's urging, Victoria agrees to peace talks with Jake. All the while, an ancient vampire plots the destruction of wolves and hunters alike. If the embittered rivalry between hunters and wolves doesn't end—and fast—there is no hope for Victoria's pack... or for their world.

Attribution: Norns weaving destiny, by Arthur Rackham (1912).  Public domain.

Excerpt :

There stands an ash called Yggdrasil,
A mighty tree showered in hail.
Thence come the dews that fall in the vales.
It stands evergreen 'bove Urd's Well.
From there come women, very wise,
Three from the lake that stands 'neath the pole.
One is called Urðr, another Verðandi,
Skuld the third; they carve into the tree,
Each child's life and destiny.
~Völuspá or "The Insight of the Seeress", Poetic Edda

Urd's Well at the roots of the World Tree
The white wolf ran along the trunk of the great ash tree. Her claws dug into the silvery bark while she descended the trunk toward the bottom of the Nine Worlds. Thick gnarled roots radiated from the tree's immense base and then grew thinner. Just beyond, the dark waters of the Well of Urd formed a vast lake spread outward into eternity.

There, destiny awaited: her future and her unborn child's.

Upon reaching the sandy soil, Victoria shifted from her wolf to her human form and walked naked to join the Norns gathered about the shallow shore. The Norns, the Sisters Wyrd, personified Fate.
One a maiden, one mature, the last a crone: Verðandi, Skuld, and Urðr.

 At the lakeshore of the Well, the three sisters filled crude wooden bowls with water that nurtured the tree. The youngest sister, the beautiful maiden Verðandi who personified the Present, smiled in greeting. "You visit us again, Victoria Storm."

"As you predicted I would." Victoria spoke with deference. She sought guidance from the Norns and needed to curry their favor.

Skuld, an imposing woman in her middle years and the Future incarnation, labored in ominous silence beside her older sister, Urðr, a gnarled old woman and the Past aspect of Fate.

Without a word, wizened Urðr thrust the bowl she gripped in her bony fingers into Victoria's hands. The vessel, hewn from weathered gray wood, had shallow sides and a broad, flat bottom. Securing a firm hold, Victoria stepped into the lake and grimaced when the frigid cold bit into her flesh. She placed the lip of the bowl to the water and then filled the container to the brim.

Old Urðr said, "The man you loved has died."

Victoria winced. "Yes."

Verðandi's tone softened. "His soul is tormented."

Victoria's foot snagged on a stone, and she stumbled. Water sloshed over the brim and doused her hands. She lost half the contents of the container before she recovered her balance. Her throat worked in a convulsive swallow. "No, you're mistaken. I was there when he died. I saw Daniel's soul cross over."

"I am not mistaken," Verðandi said with genuine sorrow. The youngest Norn stepped away.

Mouth open, Victoria rushed after her, determined to demand the Present Fate provide her with a satisfactory explanation, but the old woman got in her way.

Urðr's lips pulled thin over cracked and yellowed teeth, an expression more grimace than grin. "Your mate has also died, as have so many others. You leave a trail of death in your wake."

"Also true." Grinding her teeth, Victoria followed the Norns to the base of the tree. She walked slowly, placing each step with precision, taking care not to spill another drop.

The three sisters each took a turn watering the roots of the tree. Verðandi acted first, followed by the silent Skuld, and finally Urðr. The eldest persisted in taunting Victoria. "Your love and your mate were not the same man."

Scowling, Victoria bent and poured water on a root until her bowl was empty.

"The past is the past. There is nothing I can do to alter it," she said with determined pragmatism. "I've come to see you because I am pregnant."

Youthful Verðandi clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "You doubt yourself. You drown in sorrow and anger."

Ancient Urðr cackled.

"True enough." Victoria bobbed her head once. Her temper roiled beneath ironclad self-control. She had no patience for delays, no use for games. She wanted answers.

Shade enshrouded Skuld, and her voice manifested upon the air, thick and oppressive, closing in from all sides. "Your daughter will not grow to adulthood in Midgard."

Victoria's heart slammed against her breastbone. Her breath expelled in a horrified gust. The bowl dropped from her hands and flew to protect her abdomen. "What do you mean?"

"Your daughter will be taken from you on the eve of her third birthday," Skuld said. "The one you trust most, a member of your own pack, will give the child over to your greatest enemy."

A growl trembled in Victoria's throat, and her entire body shook under the dual assault of fear and rage. The suggestion of betrayal from within her own pack filled her with disbelief to the core of her being. It was unthinkable. Gritting her teeth, she sought a solution, refusing to dwell on it. "How am I to prevent this?"

"We speak of what will come to pass," Verðandi said in a sympathetic tone.

"Your predictions are not carved in stone," Victoria said. Arguing with Fate was a foolish endeavor, but she refused to accept their prophecy.

The old woman, Urðr, smiled with a frightening gleam in her eyes. "Predictions, carved into the trunk of the World Tree, carved into the spiritual fabric of the world."

Stubborn determination settled over Victoria like armor. Her mother had taught her there was no absolute fate, just as there was no absolute free will. Life consisted of a wide range of possibilities between the two extremes. She refused to allow her daughter to die at three years of age. She would move worlds, alter fate, slay gods.

Whatever it took.

"Do you wish to save your child?" Skuld asked.

Victoria answered without thought. "Yes. I'll do anything. Tell me. Please."

"The final days are upon us," Verðandi said.

Skuld took over speaking. "To save your daughter, you will side with Loki against the Aesir. You will use your enchanted dagger to cut the binding of the great wolf Fenrir. You will be responsible for freeing the beast that kills Odin."

Victoria's stomach turned. Her head shook in automatic denial. "When the gods imprisoned Fenrir, my people pledged fealty to the Aesir. We have served them loyally ever since. Even when we were driven from the homeland, almost a millennium ago, we remained faithful. I will never cut Fenrir's bonds. To do so would end the world we live in and doom us all."

Skuld's gaze held steady. "You will."

Victoria snarled her denial. "No. I will never become the servant of the Trickster or willingly take part in bringing about Odin's death."

Skuld turned her head and pinned Victoria with one black eye that rolled in its socket like a liquid marble. "To save your daughter, you will."

Fast Facts About Melissa Snark:

  • Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press & as an Indie author with five unique titles: A CAT'S TALE, THE MATING GAME, LEARNING TO FLY, THE CHILD THIEF, and HUNGER MOON.
  • Her Loki's Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON and BATTLE CRY.
  • She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.
  • She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology.
Message from Melissa

Hello! My name is Melissa Snark, and I'm a fantasy and romance author. If I could have a moment of your time, I'd like to ask for your help as a reader. Please consider nominating my Norse folklore fantasy novel Battle Cry on Kindle Scout.

Amazon's new publishing program is called Kindle Scout, an innovative platform that provides readers with a sneak peek at unreleased books as well as the opportunity to have a say in what gets chosen. The timing of Scout was amazing. The announcement came just as I neared completion of my novel. The terms being offered are attractive. As a publisher, Amazon has as much clout as one of the traditional publishers. This simply seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass on, so I submitted Battle Cry for consideration.

Per the FAQ: How does Kindle Scout benefit readers?
Kindle Scout readers get to preview new, never-before-published books and influence which ones are made available to millions of readers on Amazon. In addition, any time a reader's nomination gets published, they will receive a free copy.

I appreciate your support!  To nominate Battle Cry, you only need to be logged into your Amazon account. You can head over to the Kindle Scout website and view Battle Cry's profile page. If you like what you see, please consider voting for Battle Cry.  Thank you so much!

Nominate BATTLE CRY to Kindle Scout

Promo Tweet: One man dares defy Fate. Please nominate BATTLE CRY on #KindleScout#Fantasy #Norse #amreading @MelissaSnark

Connect with Melissa Snark:]
Email: melissasnark at gmail.com
Twitter: @MelissaSnark


Battle Cry Kindle Scout Giveaway


1.      Nordic Lights Jewels of the Moon Pendant Amulet Talisman for Psychic Ability by Maelstrom Odssonn 

2.      (3) Signed Paperbacks of HUNGER MOON

3.      (2) $10 Gift Cards to Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway