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.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rachel Brimble celebrates 'One True Love' at the baths

By Elisa.rolle - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28118060
 A dark carriage pulls up to a stone building in Bath. The modern signs hanging outside the centuries old building mean nothing to the hostesses. They know that once they pass through those doors, they will be transported back to a simpler time--a time when everyone who was anyone flocked to The Grand Pump Rooms in Bath to see and be seen--a time when people believed the warm mineral waters from the springs could restore the spirits and heal the soul.

Oliver assists the hostess down from the carriage and the ladies, dressed in the finest Victorian fashions enter the front room. Mary adjusts the bodice of her dress to keep the "girls" in place and whistles. 

"Wow! This room is huge. And look at all that lovely marble."

Lyn smiles. "The room is  eighty-five feet long and forty-six feet wide with a thirty-four feet high ceiling."

Lilly blinks. "It's not a micro brewery."

Lyn raises a brow and taps her large kid-slippered foot. "And what made you think we were holding Rachel's Roast in a brewery?"

"You said it was going to be a in Pump Room. Duh. I thought you meant like a micro brewery...with kegs and stuff." Lilly turns quickly to glare at Lyn. The full back end of her dress bumps into Debby.

"Hey watch it!" Debby pats the huge pile of hair atop her head. "You almost knocked me over with that huge bustle on your dress."

"That's not a bustle," LaVerne says with a snicker, her pale cheeks finally showing a hint of color with her flush. "That's Lilly's butt."

"Yes, well, that's one less contraption I have to endure. The corset is bad enough."

"Hey, they do have pumps," Mary says, pointing to the marble fountain spewing mineral rich water into the bowl. "It just doesn't pump beer."

LaVerne wrinkles her nose. "It smells like sulfur."

"It's supposed to be therapeutic and medicinal. Not tasty and delicious," Lyn adds.

"Well, I want delicious," Debby adds. "So, I'll take one of those champagnes Oliver is passing around."
 heatheronhertravels/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

"And I'll have a glass of wine," LaVern says. "A nice Chardonnay will go nicely with those yummy looking cucumber sandwiches."

"If they don't have any rich dark beer, I'd love a Bordeaux," Lilly says with a swish of her bustle-less bottom.

Mary eyes the room. "Oliver really outdid himself this time. Just look at the crowd."

Lyn smiles, her eyes filling with pride. "For centuries, people promenaded up and down the great room from eight or nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, drinking from the waters and socializing.  And in the pump room itself, an orchestra would play. We have an orchestra too, and there will be lots of dancing."

"Is that big pool of water for bathing?" LaVern asked.

"Is it like a hot tub?" Lilly adds.

"There'll be no bathing today," the hostess' guest, Rachel Brimble, says as she steps forward to thank them for her lovely party. "Today, we are here to celebrate my latest release, Her One True Love. My hero Matthew and heroine, Jane are thrilled with the turn out, and they're dying to meet you ladies."

"Then by all means," Debby says, "Let's go meet that handsome devil...and uh, Jane too. Let's go meet Jane and Matthew."

The hostesses follow Rachel to the Pump Room where tables of food laden with salmon & dill sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches, fruit, cakes coconut macaroons, lemon pound cake and raspberry sponge cake. And there on the dance floor, their foreheads pressed close together as they slowly sway to the music, are Matthew and Jane.

Mary sighs. "What a beautiful couple."


She Can't Forget Him…

Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…

He Can't Let Her Go…

Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits--including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?.. 


 Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”

She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”

“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”

“No, I do not need your––”

“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”

“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”

“My offer still stands.”

She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”

“You are being stubborn.”

She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”

The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”

The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.

She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”

He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”

Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”

Empathy and passion swirled in her eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.

He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all


Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

To win a copy of Rachel'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, May 6, 2016

That Darkness - Lisa Black celebrates with the hostesses

Storm clouds fill the skies over Cleveland as the hostesses step from the taxi onto the sidewalk in front of the ramshackle bar. Rain drops begin to fall, and a chilling wind blows in off Lake Erie. The ladies huddle together beneath a single umbrella.

“Are you sure this is the right place?” Mary asks, taking in the grimy buildings and deserted street.

Lyn glances at a piece of paper in her hand. “This is the address Lisa gave me.”

“We should be safe enough,” Lilly says. “I understand this is a cop hangout.”

Debby pats her big hair. “Policemen, really? I love a man in uniform.”

Laverne squeezes under the umbrella. “I’m getting wet, Mary move your bosoms out of the way.”

“It isn’t my bosoms, it’s Lilly’s backside taking up all the room.”

“It’s not my backside,” Lilly replies. “It’s Lyn’s large feet.”

Lyn rolls her eyes. “I suggest we all go in and get out of the rain.”

Low murmurs and the smell of fried food greets the hostesses as they enter the dimly lit room. Decades of
stale cigarette smoke permeate the air, and country music plays from an old jukebox.

“I’m still not sure this is the right place,” Mary whispers.

“Yes, see there’s Jack Renner, behind the bar,” Lilly replies.

“Lisa told us that even though the place doesn’t look like much, they only serve top notch liquor here,” Lyn adds.

Debby smiles. “Great, let’s find a seat and order a drink.” She lowers her voice. “There’s an empty table next to a group of cops, and one of them is awfully cute.”

They make their way through the crowded room, past hard-looking women and harder-looking men, until they sit down at a scarred oak table.

“Hey, look, there’s Oliver, and he’s bringing in the cake,” Laverne says.

“It looks like it’s shaped like a police badge,” Lyn says.

Mary stutters. “This place gives me the creeps.”

“An attractive female cop rises and comes over to their table. “Hi, I’m Maggie Gardiner, are you the hostesses for Lisa’s party?”

“Yes,” the hostesses reply in unison.

“Fantastic,” Maggie says with a smile. 

“The wings, cheese sticks, onion rings, burgers and nacho platter are all delicious. And here comes Lisa."

The hostesses all stand. 

“We’d like to welcome everyone to Lisa Black’s party. Congratulations, Lisa, on your new release, That Darkness.”

This week's skit written by Debby Grahl


It seemed like a typical week for crime scene specialist Maggie Gardiner--a gang boss shot in an alley, a lost girl draped over an ancient grave, a human trafficker dumped in the river--nothing all that out of the ordinary for the
Cleveland police department as spring turns toward summer along the Erie banks. The methods are usual, the victims unsurprising--but when she notices a pattern, a tenuous similarity among the cases, she begins to realize that her days will never be typical again. How much of her life, her career, her friends, will she be willing to risk to do what’s right?

            Jack Renner is a killer who does not kill for any of the conventional reasons…no mania, no personal demons. He simply wants to make the world a safer place. He doesn’t think of himself as a dangerous person--but he can’t let anyone stop him. Not even someone as well-meaning as Maggie Gardiner.

            Maggie has the self-sufficiency of a born bit-of-a-loner. She works with a bevy of clever experts surrounded by armed police officers. She is both street smart and book smart, having seen the worst the city has to offer.

            But Maggie Gardiner is not safe. And, until she can draw Jack Renner into the light, neither is anyone else.


He asked a question here or there about Brian’s early years, his troubles with the authorities, but paid minimum attention to the answers he already knew. He offered Brian Johnson a drink, a real drink, asking him to name his poison, then gently leading him around to the Crown Royal, Johnson’s favorite. Jack knew that , too. He had a number of bottles installed on the sidebar, its new granite countertop the only sign of renovation in the room, all top-shelf. His clients deserved a little top shelf in their lives. He set down the tumbler with its amber liquid, pushing aside the wariness in Johnson’s eyes with another explanation of the pilot program. It amazed him how easily they always accepted this story, but then guys like Johnson had seen countless doctors, counselors , and social workers of every type, the true believers, the burnt-out cynics, the slackers, the rich kids trying to feel good about themselves and the ones who just didn’t give a shit. Guys like Johnson had been through so many programs, schools, incarcerations, examinations , and therapies to know there was always a new bleeding heart with a new idea to save them from themselves. Why not try good food and quiet conversation? It might work. Nothing else had.

“So you never had much of a chance,” Jack stated. He didn’t have to explain what he meant.

“Never. Everybody, everybody, been fightin’ me since I took me my first breath. So I fight back. What else is there?”


“Don’t min’ if I do.”

Jack carried the glass to the sideboard between the windows, behind where Brian Johnson sat. He picked up the whiskey, tapping it against a liter of Grey Goose.

“I believe that when you meet your maker, He will take that into consideration.”

“I met who made me, and that whore is the reason I ain’t Donald Trump. Or the president.” Brian Johnson didn’t turn to watch what Jack was doing. Brian Johnson wasn’t concerned about what Jack was doing. The clink had nicely covered the extra movement required for Jack to open the low box behind the bottles and extract his grandfather’s Beretta .22, with an added suppressor. He’d already taken the safety off, but he checked anyway. Details. If you didn’t master the details, they would master you. Then he turned and placed the glass on the table near Johnson’s left hand. “There you go.”

The guy’s fingers closed around the crystal tumbler, just as Jack lifted the gun and pulled the trigger.

Lisa Black has spent over 20 years in forensic science, first at the coroner’s office in Cleveland Ohio and now as a certified latent print examiner and CSI at a Florida police dept. Her books have been translated into 6 languages, one reached the NYT Bestseller’s List and one has been optioned for film and a possible TV series.  

To win a copy of Lisa'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)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Lilly's winners are...


Congratulations to you both - and wishing our Lilly much success and many sales.

The hostesses appear on-stage, holding hands, to take a bow

They hug each other and wave before leaving the stage.

"Just another Author Roast and Toast!"

The next Roast will be on the 6th May when our special guest will be LISA BLACK