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, February 27, 2015

Andrea Downing author of 'Dances of the Heart' invites you to a barbeque celebration for her book

  "These Texas style barbecue roasts never get old," Mary says
as she adjusts "the girls" so they'll stop trying to pop out of the top of the plaid western shirt she's wearing tucked into curve-hugging jeans. "They're always a hit with our guests."

Lyn raises a brow. "You might as well hang it up, Mary. In that fitted shirt, you're going to show cleavage. Just don't let "the girls" pop out. This is a family-style barbecue and pig roast."

Lilly scrunches her face. "In eastern North Caroline, barbecue means pig -- as in a pig-picking with a vinegar based sauce. So, saying pig roast and barbecue is a bit redundant, isn't it?"

"I heard the BBQ sauce they're using today is a tangy, savory tomato paste kind of thing," LaVerne says as she brushes her hands over her western style denim skirt. "It sounded delicious
when Mac was describing it earlier."

  Mac looks up from admiring a new pair of snakeskin cowgirl boots. "Lilly, you're not in Kansas anymore...or North Carolina. This is Texas, and BBQ or bar-b-que is any kind of party where the food is cooked outside. The pig is on the cooker, roasting over hot coals and waiting to be brushed with a thick, red sauce that's hot, sweet, and oh so tasty. There's also a huge side of beef being slow cooked over an open pit."
   Lilly pushes her newly acquired lady stetson back off her forehead and smiles. "Ah, now you're talking. That sounds like an earthen roast to me. And from the music coming from the barn, it sounds like the country western band knows some good ole' Southern rock, which is fine by me. I've only recently acquired a taste for country music."

LaVerne smirks. "Lilly, Southern rock is country music."
"Not back in my day, it wasn't! My grandparents listened to country music."

"I listened to country music," Mary says with a huff. "And I am NOT old enough to be your grandmother. Now move that big booty out of the way so we can catch up with Andi and her guests."

"Oh, look!" Lyn brushes past the other hostesses and heads for the barn. "Carrie and Ray are already here, but Paige looks like she's still waiting for someone to show up."

   "She's probably waiting for Jake," Mac says. "I think she has a thing for him."
LaVerne claps her hands together and smiles. "This is going to be so much fun.
 Andi's book has two couples falling in love. It's like twice the fun and twice the romance."

"That's why there's twice the food." Mac nods toward the long tables set up on either side of the barn door. Plywood propped on cinder-blocks and covered with red and white checkered table cloths are over-flowing with food. The aromas waft toward the hostesses, and Mac's stomach rumbles. "Oliver really out-did himself this time. There are potatoes made every way imaginable, pinto beans, chili, corn on the cob! I'm getting hungry just smelling it."

Lilly nudges Mary. "That's what her stomach said, quite loudly I might add."

"My stomach's growling too." Lyn rubs her belly. "I hope I don't eat too much."

"Well, if we do," Mary adds, "we can dance it off with some of those hot guys standing by the barn."
"I don't think they're waiting for us." Mac casts an appreciative gaze toward the cowboys hanging around the open barn doors drinking from red Solo cups. "But I'm sure hoping they'll dance with us."

Mary giggles. "They better be ready for some all night dancing because I got my boogie shoes on."

"Those are boots," LaVern says on a laugh.

Mary lifts her chin. "Boogie boots."

"Then what are we waiting for, ladies? Let's get this party started!" Lyn herds the hostesses forward like a shepherd tending a straying flock. And the hostess do like to stray.

Mac and Lilly spy a handsome cowboy by the keg and start to wander over. Mac stops before they reach it and grabs Lilly's arm. "Um, maybe we better stay with the group and welcome our guests first. I'm sure Oliver won't let the keg run dry before we get there."
"If he does, we can always have a margarita." Lilly looks and Mac and winks. "And I hear Oliver bought the expensive tequila."

  I am so having a margarita!"

Lilly and Mac rush to catch up with the other hostess. LaVerne gives them a knowing look. "Don't worry. Oliver is on his way with an assortment of drinks now."

"And Andi is right behind him," Mac adds. "Let's go welcome our guests."

LaVerne smiles. "And then we'll have a margarita."

(This weeks introductory skit was written by: Lilly Gayle  )

  Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves
inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.

Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger s
on, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.

On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.


 “You know how to Texas Two-Step?” he asked.

 “No,” she said, laughter just below the surface.

 “Well, sweetheart, you have come to the right place. Or at least got yourself the right man. By the time I finish with you, you’ll be the best dang stepper on the floor.”

Carrie looked around. “There isn’t anyone else on the floor at the moment, Ray.”

 “Well, heck, I know that. That’s perfect for learning.”

 As soon as his hand closed around hers, the leather of his palm a strange glove over her own fingers, a sudden frisson of connection ran through her she hadn’t known in a very long while. He moved her to face him squarely on, a small smile tipping the edges of his mouth, the dark, impenetrable eyes shining with his captured prize.

 “Just follow me,” he said as his right hand went to her back. A cover of a Vince Gill ballad started, the mournful tune setting a moderate tempo. “Perfect.” He held her right hand high and applied slight pressure to move her backwards. “Fast fast slow slow, fast fast slow slow.”

Carrie felt a light bulb go on. She got it. It was good. It was fun. And she relaxed in his embrace. He was an excellent teacher, a fabulous leader on the dance floor. Would wonders never cease?

 “You’re doing well. You’re doing fine,” he assured her. “We’re gonna try a little promenade now, and then a twirl, so get ready.”

Carrie couldn’t stop herself from smiling, anticipation bubbling for just a second. And then out of the corner of her eye she caught Ty watching them, beer half-raised in salute and a smirk plastered on his face. A moment’s hesitation and she missed the step.

 “What happened there?” asked Ray, oblivious to the effect the on-looker had on her.
Other couples were finally joining them on the dance floor, but despite the company, Carrie’s discomfort increased. “That boy, that Ty,” she told him. “He was watching us. It made me feel…uneasy.”

Ray scanned the sidelines, but Ty had gone, nowhere to be seen. “Oh, don’t pay him any mind. He’s harmless enough.”


Born in New York, Andrea Downing returned in 2008 from the UK where she lived for most of her life. Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and Latin America, she now divides her time between NYC and the east end of Long Is., punctuated by frequent journeys out west---the area of the USA she loves best. Her first book, Loveland, was a finalist for the 2012 RONE Award for Best American Historical. Her 2013 short story, Lawless Love, was also a finalist for the RONE Award as well as the International Digital Awards. A novella, Dearest Darling, part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, came out Oct., 2014. ​ 
 Dances of the Heart, a women's fiction novel came out Feb. 2015. All are published by The Wild Rose Press..
Buy n  ow at Amazon        
     Amazon     and The Wild Rose Press    


 To win a copy of Andrea '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, February 20, 2015

Lilly Gayle celebrates the upcoming release of 'Slightly Noble' with a Victorian ball

“Oh, how lovely.” LaVerne presses a gloved hand to her chest as the open carriage rumbles over the cobblestone drive leading to the sprawling Victorian country manor.

“Wow,” Mac leans over her shoulder for a better view. “It’s beautiful, but can you imagine having to clean all those windows?” An exaggerated shudder rolls over her.

 Lyn laughs. “In Victorian days, the lady of the house would have had a housekeeper and staff to do that sort of thing, Mac.”

“And a good thing, too. I don’t know how anyone could work wearing all this stuff.” An unhappy frown turns Mac’s lips down as she shoves at the yards of material tangling around her legs. “With my luck, I wouldn’t have been gentry. I would’ve been one of those scullery maids, schlepping buckets of sudsy water up countless flights of stairs.”

Mary wears a smug smile as she runs her hand over the silk of her gown’s long skirt. “Well, I definitely would have been part of the gentry. I was born to wear clothes like this.”

“Not me.” Mac shifts on the seat and tugs at the tight bodice. “How the hell did women stand it? Give me jeans and a tank top and I’m happy.”

The carriage comes to a stop and a handsome footman stepsd down from the back to round the carriage and open the door. He holds out his gloved hand to Lyn. She places her hand in his and alights to the ground then turns to the other hostesses with a grin. “Today we’re all gentry. Lilly said so and it’s her party.”

Mary rises gracefully to her feet and flutters her lashes at the footman as she takes his hand to follow Lyn. LaVerne steps from the carriage next while Mac gathers the yards of material she is smothered in to follow.

Excitement stirs as they approach the manor’s large front door. A wrinkle mars Mary’s forehead as she eyes Mac’s dress. “Are you wearing a bustle, Mac?”

“No. Just those four petticoat things that came with the dress.” Mac arches her neck and turns in a half circle as she attempts to check out the back of her gown. “Why, does my butt look big?”

LaVerne snickers “Not big, you just look a little puffier than usual.”

Lyn arches a brow. “My dress didn’t come with a petticoat thing.”

“Mine neither.” Mary bites her lip as if holding back a laugh.

Mac looks at LaVerne, who shakes her head.

“Oh, my God. Am I wearing everyone’s underwear?”

Mary and Lyn exchanged wide-eyed glances and LaVerne covers her mouth with gloved fingers before all three burst out laughing.

“Well, that’s just perfect.” Mac turns and stomps toward the manor. “I’m going to kill Lilly. She’s the expert at all things Victorian. She should have left instructions for getting into these getups.”

Still laughing, the hostesses hurry to follow her. Lyn wraps an arm around her shoulder to give her a comforting squeeze as they pass through the large open doors. “I’m sure there is somewhere you can change.” Mac scowls further when she continues to snicker.

Delicious scents and soft music wrap around them as they turn  into the grand ball room full of colorfully attired women and smartly dressed men. 

The tables are laden with a traditional British feast. Beef Wellington, roast pork, lamb, Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, hams, smoked salmon and whole chickens. and seafood dishes. 

For desert there are scones with raspberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream, strawberries and fresh cream and assorted cakes, and tea served from a delicate bone china teapot.

“Oh, you’re here! I’m so excited. Isn’t everything lovely?” Lilly wears a huge smile as she floats to a stop, looking gorgeous in her pale pink gown. Dapper in his tuxedo, Oliver stands at her side with a tray of fluted glasses full of sparkling wine.

LaVerne hugs  Lilly and grins “It’s beautiful and the perfect venue to celebrate your new release.”

“Yes, congratulations, Lilly. Everything is fabulous,” Mac growls and holds out her hand. “Oliver, if you wouldn’t mind. I really need one of those.”

Mary laughs and winks at Lilly. “Mac’s having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.”

Lilly cocks her head and frowns as she eyes Mac’s puffy dress. Lyn grins. “We’ll explain later, but for now,” she accepts the glass Oliver hands her and holds  it up in a toast. “To Lilly and Slightly Noble. Congratulations, my friend.”

This week's introductory 'skit' was written by Mac

American privateer, Captain Jack isn't really an American, but heir to a viscountcy. When his father dies, he leaves everything not entailed with the estate to his worthless cousin. Jack's only hope of inheriting his mother's ancestral home and honoring her dying wish is to marry and produce an heir before his thirty-fifth birthday—in five months. And he doesn't have a single prospect. 
Pregnant and unwed, Abigail Halsey is sent by her father to an Anglican convent until he can find a family to adopt his grandchild or a husband for his daughter. Abby has other plans, but they go awry when she goes into labor early and her rescuer, a pirate captain turned lord, insists on marrying her.

Is Jack too much like his jealous, unforgiving father? Can Abby overcome her fear of men and have a real marriage? Or will she never be anything more than the unwanted wife of a Slightly Noble Viscount? 


She raised her chin. “I am a commoner, but as you have guessed, my father was accepted in certain social circles. Accepted, but not always welcomed.”

“Well, you will be accepted now, Abby. You are a viscountess.” His voice softened, but his eyes shone with disappointment. Was it because he had hoped she would confide in him? Or because she had confessed her humble origins?

Pride stiffened her spine. “I am more than just a viscountess. I am a wife and mother, and if I am to be a good wife, at some point, I must act like a wife.” This meant running a household, not living on a ship. She did not want to argue or have him ask more questions about her past, but she could not bear living aboard ship indefinitely.

He started, his expression surprised. Then a slow smile spread over his face, and his eyes burned as if he had a fever. He leaned over the table, his face mere inches from hers. “A real wife sleeps in her husband’s bed.”

Abby’s breath hitched. Her pulse jumped. Oh Dear! He had taken her meaning all wrong. Heat rushed to her cheeks and her flesh tingled. “What I meant...That is, I should be running your household.”

“We live on a ship.” He leaned back in his chair. He still smiled, but it was now more humorous than...amorous?

She shivered, unable to suppress a brief surge of longing. What would it be like to kiss that hard mouth? To feel his lips pressed against hers?

Dear Lord! What is wrong with me?

After the abuse she had suffered at Lord Drury’s hands, she need no longer wonder about such things. Yet, her skin flushed and her lips tingled.

It must be childbirth fever. Something was putting mad thoughts in her head, and she refused to admit, even to herself, that Jack was responsible for the low-spreading warmth.

About the Author:
Lilly Gayle is a wife, mother of two grown daughters, a new grandmother, and a breast cancer survivor. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and when not working as an x-ray technologist and mammographer, Lilly writes paranormal and historical romances.

Over the years, she's convinced her family to take side trips to museums and historic sites while on vacation. Her daughters never complained—to her face—and thankfully, her husband enjoys those same activities. However, he doesn't seem to enjoy science fiction and the paranormal as much as Lilly would like.

Lilly grew up watching western, science fiction, and paranormal movies and television with her father. Her mother and both grandmothers taught her a love and respect for history, and she credits her love for reading and passion for writing to three wonderful teachers.

To win a copy of Lilly'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)