Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thank You!

All of us here at the Book Roast would like to thank everybody who stopped by, lurked, chatted, played with the ketchup, and otherwise participated in our first grill!

Thank you, Bernita. The first roastee. The brave one. Even though you have an extensive knowledge base of multi-syllabic words and fine art, you are still able to talk about rears. That's versatility.

Thank you, Therese. A familiar face in the blogosphere, you're always willing to support other writers. Plus you're pretty fast at tucking in children, which makes you an idol.

Thank you, Dennis. Someone addicted to multi-media, you took time away from filming to play with us at the roast. Even though you didn't show us a picture of your brain, we all know that you have one. And now you have a whole-face avatar. Very nice. A complete package.

Thank you, Erica. You're graceful and funny and brought Rod the Roofer back to us. I hope we see a sequel to Roofer. The list is endless (plumber, electrician, mechanic....) And make them all hot.

Thank you, Doreen. I think next time you should drive the bus, and make your husband drive the U-Haul with your shoe supply. You sacrificed much for the writing of your book, and it is duly noted.


Please join us every month for a week of roasting the best books and the best authors. Check the sidebar for July's menu selection. We've provided a variety delectable enough to please every palate.


If you'd like to see what it's like behind-the-scenes at the Book Roast, click here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Friday's special is...Queen of the Road!

Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion

Click here to order from Amazon.

Doreen's Blog

Hi all, this is Shona here and it is my pleasure to present to the grill, ahem, to you, the mellifluously named Doreen Orion.

Doreen was just an ordinary housewife...well, no she wasn't. She was a psychiatrist with a thing about shoes. What does that mean? Ask a psychiatrist...hey Doreen, what's that thing about shoes mean?

Anyway, Doreen was also clearly a good wife, because when her husband came up with the idea of abandoning their lives for a year to drive themselves, their pets and her shoes across the US in an RV, she didn't offer him divorce papers. She did it.

The story of how, why and what happened is told in 'Queen of the Road'. And well told, too - check out the reviews:

"A Charles Kuralt-Albert Brooks-style romp where they meet up with nudists, robbers and more." - "Required Reading." The New York Post

"Orion has every good travel writer's ability to make readers feel they are there, to capture the telling details of places, and to present the account in a witty, accessible way. Reading the book makes you want to hit the road and have some of your own grand adventures. This is a fun read that will make just about anyone start itching for a road trip. Grade A." - Rocky Mountain News

What's more, Borders has chosen it as their Featured Book Club Selection for June and Target has chosen it as a Breakout Book.

Given that there is nudity, I think we can expect Miss Savannah to turn up for this one.

Read the excerpt, then answer the three questions that follow and I'll see you in the comments trail!


When my long-dreaded thirtieth birthday arrived, I really wasn’t as upset as I imagined I’d be, for I had achieved a much more important milestone: my sartorial centennial. I owned one hundred pairs of shoes. Then, at age forty-four, I found myself trying to cram a mere half that number into a living space of 340 square feet.

The whole thing was Tim’s fault.

When he announced he wanted to travel around the country in a converted bus for a year, I gave this profound and potentially life-altering notion all the thoughtful consideration it deserved.

“Why can’t you be like a normal husband with a midlife crisis and have an affair or buy a Corvette?” I demanded, adding, “I will never, ever, EVER, not in a million years, live on a bus.”
Something less than a million years later, as we prepared to roll down the road in our fully outfitted, luxury bus, it occurred to me that Tim had already owned a Corvette, long ago when he was far too young for a midlife crisis. While I pondered who he might be seeing on the side (and whether his having an affair might prove less taxing than living in a metallic phallus on wheels), I wedged and stuffed – and, oh my GOD! bent – the cutest little Prada mules you’ve ever seen into my “closet,” which was really not a closet at all, but much more resembled the cubbyhole I’d been assigned many pre-shoe-obsession years ago at Camp Cejwin. How had I let myself go from “never ever” to . . . this? Both Tim and I are shrinks, but he’s obviously the better one. It took him five years, yet he whittled down my resolve, no doubt with some fancy, newfangled brainwashing technique ripped out of one of our medical journals before I could get to it.

That wouldn’t have been the first time my sneaky husband tricked me into doing something I didn’t want to do. Well, OK. It was only the second time (that I know of), but the first was a doozy: Almost twenty years before, Tim lied to get me to go on our first date.

1) At this moment in time, how many pairs of shoes does Doreen own?
2) Besides 'metallic phallus on wheels,' what are two other nicknames Doreen has for their bus?
3) What was the lie, and how long did Doreen fall for it?

Today's Special Is...The Roofer!

The Roofer by Erica Orloff

Hello. Hello? Is this thing on?

*skkrree* Can you hear me in the back? Yes? Good. Then let's go!

When Chris asked me (I'm Phoenix Sullivan, btw) to host the roast for The Roofer, I wasn't sure what I was in for. All she told me was that it had something to do with Westies. Score! A dog story!

Erm, no, these are Irish Westies, a notorious mob who are the bane of Hell's Kitchen.

*perks up* Oh! Hell's Kitchen :: Book Roast. C'mon, how perfect is that!

There's also a cold case murder, some dark family secrets, and, somehow, a romance. From New York to Las Vegas to Hollywood, this urban noir mystery delivers a tormented, damaged heroine - the child of a murderer - who's on a seemingly hopeless path to destruction, yet who struggles to rise above a pain-filled childhood and the cloying brother who ... ah, no fair giving that deliciously horrifying secret away! It is, one reviewer put it, "... a dark, brutal story that feels as if it emerged straight from the author’s soul."

And from another review:
The Roofer is an intimate glimpse of a family bound by murder and
the mob, taking readers from Irish wakes and funerals to family dinners
marred by violence. It is an unflinching and unsparing look at life within
the criminal underbelly of New York, and it is the story of one woman's
journey as she struggles to break free from the only life she has ever
Whew! Skip the Valium if you're reading this one. Erica's other books? Sassy chick lit, comedic romances, and light YA. With a couple of dark paranormals to round out the basket. Of course. She makes versatile look so easy! But no dogs. And there really, really should be dogs.

Ready for the contest? Read the excerpt, then answer the three questions that follow.


My first instinct was to look at the corpse. It's what all the Irish do.

We treat our wakes like weddings. There's much drinking and storytelling, a lot of back-clapping and hugs and shouts of hello to long-lost relatives and cousins we only see when we bring out our dead. We dress in black, for mourning, but we go out after the wake and get blind, stumbling drunk. We spend the next day nursing our hangovers, puking our brains out if we were especially close to the deceased and therefore drank exceedingly stupid amounts of alcohol, and trying desperately to sober up and straighten out for night two. We often go for three nights, particularly for popular dead people, as we did with my father. The fourth day is the funeral, and we often mix our drinking with lunch. By then a hangover pallor has been cast over the lot of us. We intertwine all this drinking and carrying on with equal parts wrenching sobs—usually an ingredient missing from the aforementioned weddings.

But first we look at the corpse.

We lay our dead out in the front of the room in a coffin designed to make it look as if the deceased is merely sleeping. The funeral home even sells you a pillow for the dead person's head precisely for this purpose. It is satin and soft. My father's was ivory-colored, a sign of purity. And it cost a lot of money. More money than you would pay, for example, for a pillow you buy in Wal-mart that you actually sleep on. Real sleeping, not pretend dead sleeping. Funeral homes sell you lots of things, none of which the deceased is actually going to need on his or her journey to wherever it is the dead go. In my father's case, people weighed in with their opinions, the general direction of which was down.

1) If Erica could invent the perfect corpse-viewing drink, what would it be? Name it and list the ingredients.
2) Does Erica make her Irish characters drink more at weddings or funerals?
3) How many pillows does Erica own?

Thinking ... thinking ... thinking ... OK, let's get cooking!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today's Special Is...Head Case!

Head Case by Dennis Cass

Click here to order from Amazon.

Dennis Cass' blog

Hi All! Jason Evans here hosting your delicious Book Roast on this fine Wednesday.

Today, we're welcoming Dennis Cass to the hot seat!!

While he's getting situated.... (What's that Dennis? Oh, don't mind those cooking implements. They look scary, but they don't hurt. By the way, would you mind slathering on some of that olive oil?). As I was saying, while Dennis is getting situated, let me tell you about his book, Head Case. I went out and grabbed a blurb. Here's a taste:

Dennis Cass immersed himself in the world of neuroscience, subjecting himself to brain scans, psychological tests, and scientific conferences, as he attempted to gain a better understanding of ADHD, anxiety, stress, motivation and reward, and consciousness. Then things got a little weird. What began as a more clinical effort to understand himself soon became a personal and emotional journey into the fragile, mysterious workings of the mind and the self.

So, Dennis likes brains. I like brains too.

(Never eaten them though. Have you?)

We all know about the philosophical path to self-awareness. Head Case is the same journey, but through hard science and the measurable workings of the brain. Dennis explores the really uncomfortable questions, like what can we know about ourselves? How much do we even want to know? I like Coney Island hot dogs, for example, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to know what's in them.

Here's an excerpt:


I am not a scientist. When I was a boy, I went on field trips to the Seattle Science Center and watched the occasional nature show. I might have even enjoyed a book about dinosaurs. But by the age of twelve, whatever affinity I had for the scientific arts had turned into disinterest mixed with fear. Even though I went to a math-and-science high school, I hid in the English department, while in college I barely survived gut-level astronomy. Then science disappeared from my life for over a decade. Today the "latest findings" means an e-mail from a friend about the discovery of a 900-pound prehistoric guinea pig. Otherwise the sciences bring news that I would rather not hear -- stories about deadly rays and faltering ecosystems and genetic betrayal. If science can't provide an easy laugh, then I do my best to avoid it.

If I weren't such a stranger to science, I doubt my idea to learn about my brain would have affected me so profoundly. It was the summer of 2002 and I was at my desk in my home office in Minneapolis, suffering from the worst case of writer's block I had ever experienced. All the office toys and charms that were intended to inspire -- the picture my wife, Liz, took of my naked feet; my Greek good-luck eye; my Playmobil dragon -- instead mocked me with their empty whimsy. My mental frustration was so powerful it manifested itself physically. My vision was blurry. My jaw hurt. Instead of writing, I passed the morning torturing myself with an internal monologue of self-rebuke. I am truly astounded at how much you suck.

Then my brain offered a simple, clear thought, a question that I heard in my head as clearly as if I had said it out loud:How can you expect to live by your wits if you have no idea how your wits work?


Now for the contest! Answer the three following questions:

1) Describe Dennis' feet in an inspirational haiku.
2) Continue the internal monologue, beginning with the line, "I'm astounded by how much you suck." Limit, 100 words.
3) Are Dennis' wits automatic or manual?

It's time to feast! Let's get started!

(We'll be closing the contest in the neighborhood of 9:00 p.m., eastern time, US.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today's Special Is...Souvenir!

Souvenir by Therese Fowler

Click here to order from Amazon.

Therese Fowler's blog

Read the excerpt from Souvenir, then answer the three questions that follow.


At their Nettle Bay villa, Carson watched Val and Marie-Louise, the ambitious young French realtor Val had picked, pore over photos and property fact sheets on the patio’s cafĂ© table. He knew he should be as immersed in the activity as Val, knew by the way she kept looking over at him, sitting on the rattan chair to her right, that she thought the same thing. And he wanted to be. He wanted to be fully focused on ideal elevation, proximity to the best surf, amenities such as built-in pools and spas and breeze-catching screened rooms. But his seditious mind kept moseying back in time, to the evenings when he and his father had sat at their square kitchen table and sketched out plans for a very different new residence, one he’d share with a very different girl.

He could see it, as clear as if it happened last week instead of twenty years ago: his dad looking young and capable in the heavy twill pants and cotton button-up shirt he always wore to work in the groves; the kitchen light, a cone-shaped pendant, hanging above the table’s center, its circle of golden light on their outspread papers; his mother singing some ‘60s tune while she updated the books at the desk nearby—The Carpenters, he thought, hearing her contra-alto in his memory. And Meg, sitting close at his left, pushing her long hair off her shoulders and smiling at him, at the future they were drawing with a wooden ruler and pencils sharpened with a knife.

1) What kind of view does Therese like?
2) What’s Therese’s favorite Carpenters song?
3) What does Therese use her ruler for?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Today's Special Is...Weirdly!

Stone Child by Bernita Harris in Weirdly Anthology

To order from Amazon, click here.

Bernita Harris' blog

You know what to do. Read the excerpt. Answer the questions.

Soon, we waded through a mist that slithered and stretched like arms to catch at our feet.

Will trampted ahead of me, stiffly alert, carrying the shotgun at port. Once, where the trail twisted into another defile, he took a combat stance and swung the gun up.

"No, Will! " I said sharply.

"Something big moved over there by that rock face," he said.

"Maybe it did," I said in a milder tone. "I wouldn't be surprised if we have company, maybe had it all along. And maybe, if I can trust you not to buckshot my ass, I should take point."

"It's still daylight."

"I wouldn't call this heavy overcast daylight and not for much longer. They are mist-walkers and shadow-benders, Will. And now that she's dead, there's nothing to hold them back. So don't excite them. Let me by."

1) If Bernita is wading through a mist, what would be her weapon of choice?
2) What does Bernita do when she has unexpected company?
3) How would Bernita's husband describe her ass, using one word?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

And the Winners Are....

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and helping us to promote our new blog!!! We hope that you'll drop by next week and upcoming weeks to chat with authors and possibly win a book or two!

Now, without further ado, the winners of the Promotional Contest are:

Sam: You've won a nice gift from Dubai.

Karen Harringon: You've won a twenty dollar gift certificate from Amazon.

Anne Carrole: You've won a copy of Lottery. If you already have this, you can have a gift certificate from Amazon.

Melsey626: You've won a nice gift from Dubai.

Disaster Girl: You've won a twenty dollar gift certificate from Amazon.

Please send me an email so we can make arrangements. And congratulations!!!

(If you've read through the comments, you may have noticed that Stephen should be a winner too. I wanted to do something special, so I went to look for anti-aging facial cream for men. The cheapest I could find was $43. I can't afford this. I need this money for my own beauty products. Something else, something else...)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Grand Opening!!

The Book Roast team is open for business!

Grab a brew.
Cruise around.
Have some fun!

Anyone who announces the opening of Book Roast on his/her blog will be eligible for fun prizes --gifts from Dubai, gift certificates from Amazon, a nicely salted copy of "Lottery," miscellaneous items from the back of our kitchen cabinets (we spare no expense!).

Leave a comment to this post to let us know you'll be posting an announcement. Now until midnight Saturday, Eastern U.S. time. Five random winners will be chosen on Sunday.