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 26, 2016

Step On Me More - a novel with a message

The hostesses: Mary, Lyn, Lilly, Laverne, and Debby,  seated on the small stage in the grade school assembly hall, smile and welcome the students as Oliver leads them to their seats.

“I’d like to introduce Mary Rickson,” the principle says, as Mary stands and takes a bow. “Mary is here today to talk about her book, Step On Me More, co-written with Joan,  and  to discuss a topic that I expect all of us have experienced at least once in our lives - bullying. Mary would like to hear from anyone who has a story to share.”
Lyn is the first to raise her hand. “I have rather large feet. I was always laughed at and told I looked like a clown. My girlfriends were always showing off their new shoes, but I was too ashamed to let them see mine.” 

A girl wearing glasses shyly raises her hand. “The boys call me Four-eyes all  the time. I wish I didn’t have to wear glasses, but if I take them off, I  can’t see.”

“I get called fatty,” a boy says.

"And I get called names because I have a big behind," Lilly confesses.

"And I get taunted because I'm pale" says La Verne.

“I get made fun of because my clothes are old,” another boy says.

“I- I- I stutter,” a girl adds. "They laugh and imitate me.”

“I get called pumpkin mouth, because my teeth are crooked. But my parents can’t afford to have them fixed,” a boy says.

“I get called brainy because I’m smart. I didn’t know that was a bad thing,” a girl states.

“I get called stupid because I can’t read well,” another girl says.

“I get called beanpole,” a tall thin girl says.

“I get called pimple face,” a boy adds.

“I get called mouse because I’m so short,” a girl says.

Mary  stands. “I commend all of you for telling us your stories. What would you like to tell those who have been saying these cruel things to you?”

“I’d like to ask them how they would feel if someone made fun of them,” a girl replies.

“My Mom says nobody is perfect, and people should think before they speak,” a boy adds.

“I was always taught to do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Debby  says. 

“I want all of you to remember everyone is special in their own way.” Mary smiles. “And if you have said something cruel to someone, perhaps you might think about apologizing to them.”
Let's all thank Mary for being here today and sharing her wonderful book with us," the principle says as  they all give a huge round of applause. 

Mary smiles and waves. “There’s pizza, Chinese, Vegetarian, Mimosas, Martinis and soft drinks for everyone, so dig in. And remember, say something nice to the person standing next to you.” 

Today's introduction was written by Debby Grahl

Shelburne High School teachers Kailyn Hartigan and Lisa Stone have had enough. Bullying among students is reaching an all-time high, and the rest of the staff is either in denial or too afraid of repercussions to help address the problem. When Stephanie Moore—aka: Step On Me More—is welcomed by Shelburne High as the new principal, taking an anti-bullying stance becomes a dangerous game. One that could cost Kailyn and Lisa not only their careers, but the lives of the students they seek to protect.

The front courtyard of the school thronged with students, cat-calling to each other, talking and laughing in small groups. Happy students, waving and calling, “Hi, Ms. Stone,” to me as I made my way among them and headed toward the wide steps leading to the front doors. A flicker of doubt crossed my mind. Maybe Kailyn and I had jumped the gun on this bullying thing. As far as either of us could tell, nothing more had happened between Leigh and Callie, although it was obvious they were certainly avoiding each other in class. Jennifer had no more crying spells, that we saw, anyway, and had thrown herself into making art with an enthusiasm that warmed my heart.

I started up the steps, then froze as I heard a cry of pain from the patio to the right of the stairs, behind the flowering shrubs. I acted on instinct. Dropped my purse and books where I was and ran back down the steps and toward the sound. My heart sank as I reached the patio. Jennifer lay on the concrete surface, curled up in a fetal position, hugging her knees, as two other girls kicked and slapped her. Blood oozed from one of her elbows, and her beautiful, pale blonde hair was streaked with dirt and twigs from the ground. A smashed cell phone lay in pieces on the ground.

The epithets flew through the air, mixed with Jennifer’s wails.

I marched in and grabbed both girls by the arms. “Stop that! Right now.”

One of the girls was Callie, and the other had never been in any of my classes, but I knew her by sight. She was a cheerleader, popular and pretty, but rather loud and foul-mouthed. I had sent her to Craig with a note once, when I heard her sounding off in the hall.

“Tanya Marshall, what in the world are you doing? Get off her right now.”

Callie smirked at me and backed away, but Tanya aimed another kick at Jennifer that caught her in the knee. Jennifer screamed. I pulled Tanya back by force. She turned to face me. “You better let go of me. I’ll file a complaint against you, and you’ll lose your job. You can’t touch me, you know.”

“I have the right to intervene in something like this,” I told her, trying to control the fury in my voice.
I heard Michael behind me. “What’s going on here?”

I turned. “As you can see,” I snapped. “There’s been a vicious attack on a student by these young ladies. Will you take these two to the office, please, right now, and ask Mr. Dixon to call their parents? I need to get Jennifer to the nurse.”

“Yeah, take the baby to the nurse…” Callie sneered. Michael took them in tow, and led them away.
I knelt beside the sobbing girl. “Jen, Jennifer, come on, honey. Let’s go inside and get you cleaned up. I’ll call your mom to come get you and take you home for the day.”

She didn’t move. “I want to die,” she sobbed.

Born in Vermont, Mary Ricksen, being the daughter of a government official, spent her youth in several places. From New York, Texas, and Virginia, to the beautiful city of Ottawa, her family moved every three years to a new place. A great love of horses found her cleaning stalls and grooming for the privilege of just being near them.

Mary ia married and now lives with her two German Shepherds, a calico cat and her computer engineer husband.The people she met were diversified. And the scenery ranged from the aqua brilliance of the crystal waters of Florida, to the mountains of Vermont and North Carolina. She was always drawn to the beauty of Vermont. Now living in Florida, she still feels the call of those peaks and the tranquil waters of Lake Champlain.

It was the love of books that inspired her to write. Reading, being one of her favorite things, took her to places that she wanted to go. Somewhere between the pharaohs of Egypt and the whimsical world of Zanth, she found a voice. Writing led her to meet some of the most interesting people she has ever known. The mind of a writer is a wonderful thing.

To win a copy of Mary'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 12, 2016

Peggy Jaeger's Valentine's Party for - 3 Wishes - A Candy Hearts Romance

Oliver, dressed in a custom tailored dark chocolate tuxedo helps the hostesses out of the limousine. Lyn, Mary, Debby, and LaVerne are all wearing elegant evening gowns in various shades of brown. LaVerne's deep chocolate silk dress swirls around her ankles as a crisp February breeze raises goosebumps over her pale skin. Mary adjusts her caramel colored  bodice in an attempt to keep "the girls" in place. 

Lyn, wearing a gorgeous chocolate evening gown with a shawl and sweetheart ruched chiffon gives her the stink eye. "Honestly Mary, if you wouldn't choose such low-cut gowns, you wouldn't have to spend the entire evening adjusting the neckline."

Lilly snorts. "Mary would have to adjust her neckline to keep that bosom from popping out if she were wearing a turtle neck."

Debby snickers and pats her mile high bouffant hair. "Yes, Mary. Perhaps you should have tried a dress similar to this gorgeous Grecian number I'm wearing." Debby twirls around on the side walk outside
Caramelle de Chloe, an elegant candy shop in Manhattan in her flowing golden brown dress. "It's cut high in the front and low in the back."

"At least I followed Peggy Jaeger's request on dress color," Mary smirks. "Lilly's gown isn't a single shade of chocolate."

Lilly swishes her ample bottom and turns her back on Mary, displaying the lovely lines of a cream colored satin chiffon gown. "It's a shade of white chocolate." 

Oliver shakes his handsome head and ushers the ladies inside the elegant candy shop. Once again, he has worked his magic, turning the lovely store into a chocolate themed Valentine's event. The shop is decorated in valentine day streamers with hearts and flowers everywhere. The waiters are all just as hunky as Oliver but, they are decked out in cupid attire complete with wings. Oliver of course, would not be caught dead in wings, but he can appreciate the idea of women enjoying half-naked, winged men. He eyes the female servers dressed in white fairy garb with wings.

The hostesses ooh and awe as Peggy steps forward with the guest of honor, her heroine from her Candy Hearts Romance, 3 Wishes, Chloe San Valentino. 

"Everything is perfect," Peggy says. "Even the chocolate tiered birthday cake for Chloe."

Chloe smiles. "This is my favorite time of year because my birthday falls on Valentine's Day. And this is a perfect place to celebrate. I hope you love my shop."

"Everything smells heavenly," Lilly grumbles and then pouts.

"So why the long face?" Debby asks.

"It smells like chocolate, and I love chocolate."

LaVerne and Mary exchange quizzical frowns.

 "And?" they ask in unison.

"I developed an allergy to chocolate twenty years ago. If I eat it, I'll break out in a rash," Lilly groans, sounding pitiful.

Lyn pats her back and smiles. "And don't you think Oliver knows that?"

Lilly perks up, and Lyn adds. "He requested several white chocolate treats just for you. He said you could eat white chocolate."

"I can!" Lilly says with a smile.

"Oh crap," LaVerne moans. "I heard the drinks were mostly chocolate confections and liquors. You know how cranky Lilly gets when there's no alcohol or coffee at a party.

Debby sighs, "Well I see several guests sipping coffees and expressos, so we should be safe from Lilly's crankiness."

Mary smiles. "Really, girls. Oliver knows that too. I'm sure there's something alcoholic here that doesn't have chocolate in it."

"But of course!" Lyn smiles. "And I hear the Peppermint Patties are to die for, and unlike the store bought candy, the drink doesn't contain chocolate."

With a wide smile on her happy face, Peggy shares her favorite Peppermint Patty recipe.

Peppermint Patty


Brewed, fresh, strong coffee - cooled
½ cup white chocolate pieces
½ cup WHOLE milk
1 shot ( 1 oz) Peppermint Schnapps
whipped cream
crushed peppermint candy pieces

1.Brew coffee and cool for 30 minutes.

2.Melt white chocolate over a double boiler, stir until smooth ( do not burn!)  Once smooth and glossy, stir in liquor and milk.

3.Pour a mug half way with the coffee and then the white chocolate mixture over that.   

4.Top with the whipped cream and pieces of the crushed peppermint candies

And for chocolate lovers, there's the Martini di Cioccolato

1.  Melt ½ the chocolate pieces and put the melted coco into a piping bag with a # 1 or 2 tip ( very small hole). Drizzle and swirl the inside of a martini glass with the melted coco and let it chill for 15 minutes.

2.  Mix all the liquid ingredients. Put to the side.

3.  Once the melted chocolate pieces are cooled, turn the glass upside down and swirl it into the remaining coco pieces to form a chocolate ledge on the rim of the glass

4.  Pour the mixed liquid almost to the top. Serve.

"Hand me a Peppermint Patty!" Lilly says to Oliver.

LaVerne smiles. "I want a chocolate martini."

Just give me chocolate," Debby adds as she looks around at all the lovely chocolate covered confections. Almost everything is chocolate or covered in chocolate from candies and cookies, to a phenomenal chocolate cheesecake birthday cake with 30 candles!

And scattered about every table are Chloe’s favorite candy: Valentine Sweethearts with romantic little sayings.

Oliver passes out drinks to Peggy and the hostesses, as in celebration of Chloe’s birthday, Peggy is giving away an e-copy of 3 Wishes to one lucky party goer.

(This week's introductory skit written and illustrated by Lilly Gayle)

Title: 3 Wishes
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Publisher: The Wild Rose press
Line: Champagne

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year.

Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.


            At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

            If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

            About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

            “We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

            It was at that moment he looked over at me.

            His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

            “Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

            So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Author Bio:

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can't live without them. 

Her current titles, available now, include SKATER'S WALTZ and THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and FIRST IMPRESSIONS books 1 through 3 in her 6-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press.

Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s. 

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

Buy links:

The Wild Rose Press:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6627

To win an e-copy of Peggy'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 5, 2016

Next week...

No Roast this week, but next week hostess Hywela Lyn will be celebrating the release of 'Beloved Enemy, her latest SF Romance, here!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Our next Roast is ...next week...

Join us on Friday 12th February when we will be roasting and toasting