Thursday, May 28, 2009


And so we came to the end… sort of. What's an ending without a celebration?! There's no sneaking away into the darkness for the Book Roast. The lights are on, the music's high and the party's right over here. Yes, it's a surprise party for Head Chef, Chris Eldin!

Someone grab that luscious Roast Master Chris and let’s PARTY!!!!!

Thank You! And a teary goodbye...

Hi Everyone,

It's been a bit crazy around the grill lately. People walking off with the ketchup packets. Soda spills and mustard stains on just about every patron. Even weiners under the table! (Who does that?) It hasn't been easy raising everyone's cholesterol levels and weight.

So it is with heavy and clogged-artery hearts that we must bid goodbye.

We want to thank each and every person who has dropped by the Book Roast. I can't emphasize enough how enjoyable it has been getting to know authors and writers from around the world. Look at our sidebar! We've been able to meet and hob-nob with truly wonderful people! And everyone who has participated in the roasts and has kept the energy level positive and upbeat--many special thanks to all of you! Without you, an interactive blog such as this would have fizzled out quickly.

The reasons for our having to say goodbye are primarily economic ones. We're all working longer and harder hours at real-life jobs than we did when we opened the blog. Plus, did I mention the table manners? :-)

But there are a couple of marketing reasons as well. The traffic on this blog fluctuates month by month. It has been a valuable learning experience seeing which months are better for marketing via blogs (February and March), and which months are the worst (July, August, November, December). Of course this is highly unscientific, but interesting to take note nonetheless.

We'd like to leave the comments open for discussion about online marketing for books. If you have an experience or information you'd like to share, please leave a comment! I think with all of our combined knowledge, we could help each other in this facet of the publishing industry.

Before we leave you, we'd like to give you two parting gifts!

The first one is a behind-the-scenes video (we've posted before) about the Grill. Enjoy.

The second is an invitation to go visit Ms. Spitfire at Nathan's blog! We were so lucky and happy to pull her into our venture, and we'd like to give her a very special thank you for all of her letters. It wasn't easy for her to do this on a weekly basis given everything that has been happening in the publishing industry, so we'd really like to acknowledge her and her efforts (Though she's still anonymous. Only we know who she is... Let's say she got out just in time. I saw her drinking ketchup from the bottle last week.)

Go visit Nathan and Ms. Spitfire today!!!! Her post will be up sometime mid-morning, New York time. (Or early morning, California time.)

And be sure to leave your thoughts about online marketing in the comments section.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...Adamant Stone!

ADAMANT STONE by Stephen Parrish
(Published by Midnight Ink, available 2010)

When the well-preserved body of 17th century mapmaker Johannes Cellarius suddenly floats to the surface of a bog in northern Germany, and a 57 carat ruby rolls out of his fist, treasure hunters from around the globe race to find the Lost Tavernier Stones of popular European folklore.

According to legend, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was robbed of a priceless hoard while returning from his final voyage to the Orient in 1689. The hoard reputedly includes some of the world's most notorious missing jewels. Among them the 280 carat Great Mogul Diamond and the 242 carat Great Table Diamond, the largest diamonds ever unearthed whose whereabouts are unknown.

John Graf is an Amish-born cartographer who has never ventured out of Pennsylvania, let alone embarked on an international treasure hunt. David Freeman is a gemologist who has done his share of prospecting, but little of it within the boundaries of the law. Between them they have all the expertise necessary to solve the mystery. They also have enough differences to derail even the best of partnerships. And ahead are more obstacles: fortune seekers equally qualified and every bit as determined.

The race spans two continents. The finish line is in Idar-Oberstein, the gemstone capital of Germany. There, in chambers beneath an old church, where unspeakable events took place in centuries past, winners and losers alike find answers to age-old questions about the Lost Tavernier Stones.

Visit Stephen here

Chapter One from ADAMANT STONE

"There's a dead guy out there."

Kommissar Gerd Pfeffer first heard it from the dispatcher, who was quoting the boys who found the body. He repeated the phrase in his mind as he drove to the scene: There's a dead guy out there. It would make an appropriate epitaph, he thought. There had been lots of dead guys out there. There would be lots more.

A narrow, overgrown road led Pfeffer into the Holmmoor, a bog north of Hamburg. Thickets on either side of the road strummed his car in irritating chords. Not far ahead, a gallery of rubberneckers, some with binoculars, peered into the woods. The focus of their attention was half a dozen police officers huddled like marooned buccaneers under a tarpaulin they had erected on an island of stable ground.

Pfeffer parked his car on the road because the rains had turned the berm into a Purgatory of mud-choked grass. The rest of the trip would be on foot, and cautiously: he was crossing from the real world into The Bog.

It was one of the oddest calls he had received during his career as a homicide detective. Two boys had spent the weekend camping in the bog, on a patch of ground that had not yet thawed. Their campfire thawed it, and combined with the heavy downpours of late, as well as the strange temperature fluctuations of a typical Hamburg spring, up the body came.

First, the boys said, the peat began to crack. A fissure radiated slowly outward from the center of the fire, rending the mossy soil along a zigzag path as though etched by a lightning bolt.

Fingers emerged from the crack. The boys saw only their black tips, and thought they were knobby roots, or maybe pieces of glacial till.

The tips grew into appendages. The appendages joined in a palm. When a thumb finally appeared, the boys extrapolated what lay beneath.

They laughed; it couldn't be happening. They rolled on the ground laughing. Their sides ached and their eyes filled with tears, it was so funny. Then the realization sank in that here indeed was a human hand, and following it now was an arm. And soon to come, no doubt, was the rest, some of which—the head in particular—might be too gruesome to behold.

They ran, stumbling on rubbery legs, their young minds filled with images of a root-hairy dead man loping after them. By the time the police arrived the arm had finished sprouting. It jutted straight into the air, flecked with peat, its fingers splayed widely like the comic image of a drowning man counting to five. The police immediately concluded the body was one of the so-called Bog People, dozens of whom—some more than two thousand years old—had sprung out of the ground throughout that part of Germany.

Pfeffer stepped from one clump of grass to another, advancing toward the tarpaulin. Walking on the peat gave him the sensation of unsure-footedness, as though he might sink up to his neck on any step. He did sink—four inches here, eight inches there, nothing there—you never knew. The water, stained by the peat, was the color of strongly brewed tea.

The bogs around Hamburg had been disgorging Iron-Age corpses for as long as Pfeffer could remember. Humic acids in the peat acted as embalming fluids that stained hair and beards red and tanned skin black. Bones decalcified, turning the corpses into leathery bags filled loosely with internal organs and a menu of last suppers, typically barley and linseed gruel. Most strikingly, features were so well preserved that except for the tanning a modern-day public could see exactly what the victims looked like. Could stare them in the face.

They died with quiet dignity. Or cringing in horror, some of them. And the resignation or anguish or shock their expressions communicated at the moment of death, when a relative or friend weighted them down in watery graves, was preserved for the millennia.

As Pfeffer reached the tarpaulin the rain started up again. A young Polizist emerged from under the tarp covering his head with a clipboard. He greeted Pfeffer with a firm handshake, then led him safely around shaking pools of stained water. The other officers remained under cover. They stared in fascination at a lump of soggy human remains.

The victim—for so they were calling the thing—lay on his right side with his right arm stretched out straight above his head. He resembled other Bog People in that his skin had darkened to the value of burnt umber and his woolly hair and prickly beard were the color of rust. And it was clear he had been murdered or sacrificed: deep, angular stab wounds perforated his chest and abdomen.

But his garb was more modern than that of other Bog People, who typically wore only sleeveless capes, probably because the linen used for the rest of their outfits couldn't survive the peat acids. Pfeffer estimated the victim's clothing was from the Middle Ages, or some other time long ago, but clearly not the twenty-first century: he wore breeches that stopped just below the knee, stockings over his calves, and broad metal buckles on his shoes.

So it wasn't an ancient pagan sacrifice after all. Nor was it a recent murder.

An oval signet ring encircled the victim's right middle finger, on the hand that had sprung up on the boys. Bezel-set in the oval mount was a dark stone slab. Pfeffer used his thumbnail to scrape the ring clean of peat. Carved in the slab were the initials "JC" and an image of one woman helping another to place a basket of grapes on her head.

The young Polizist had been watching him closely while he examined the body, and as Pfeffer inspected the ring the young man suggested, "Jesus Christ?"

Pfeffer shook his head. "He would put his own initials on a signet ring, don't you think?"

Squatting in the spongy grass, he surveyed the scene for a moment, then asked, "Have you turned him over?"

"We dug him up and laid him there, otherwise he hasn't been touched. I was waiting for you to arrive before I moved him. You know how bent out of shape the anthropologists get when they find anything disturbed."

Pfeffer thought the way the dead man clenched his left fist was odd, as though he had been holding something dear to him when he died. Furthermore—and this had been fermenting in the detective's subconscious the entire time—there was just the hint of an amused smile on the man's face. But surely that was only Pfeffer's imagination. Or one of those ironic effects of the retarded rate of decay in the peat. People did not, in fact, smile as they were being stabbed. They didn't. Really.

He looked into the man's eye sockets. They had obviously sunken since his death, but it was nevertheless obvious they had been deep-set to begin with and had done their share of glaring at lesser intellects. Pfeffer shivered as he experienced the sensation the cavities were looking back.

"Open it," he ordered.

"Excuse me?"

"The fist. Pry it open."

The Polizist motioned for another officer to step over and help him. As they gently lifted the arm the young man said, "Sir, if I may, are we doing this out of curiosity?"

"Call it professional intuition. I want to see what he held onto for dear life."

"But the anthropologists . . ."

"Open it."

Getting the fingers to uncurl required the use of pocketknives. The glinting red object that rolled onto the ground, before the fist clamped tightly closed again, caused the remaining officers to collide with one another as they evacuated their tarp shelter and pressed in for a closer look. It also sent a buzz into the road-kill gallery, whose frustration over a dearth of news had only festered under the drizzling rain.

If Pfeffer hadn't known better, he'd have guessed the thing was genuine.

The drizzle increased to a steady downpour, and the young Polizist, studying the corpse, blurted out something spontaneously: "As if he had been poured in tar, he lies on a pillow of turf and seems to weep the black river of himself."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Nothing. Just an English poem I read once. Come to think of it, it was Irish."

Pfeffer took another look at the Bog Man's leathery face. His skull had long since decalcified, leaving the outer skin pinched and distorted. His features were already caving in from rough handling and sudden exposure to ruthless compounds in the air.

It was a smile, Pfeffer was sure of it. The man had known something profoundly amusing the moment he died, so amusing he was still grinning even after being stabbed in the chest. Even after centuries of submersion under the quaking peat.


Answer the following question for a chance to win a piece of the Berlin Wall (yes, you heard that right!!):

How would Steve describe the family jewels?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday's Special Is...Mercury Falls!

MERCURY FALLS by Robert Kroese

Rob, aka Diesel, is one of the newer members of the Book Roast team, but his style and brand of humor have made him fit right in! We've appreciated his help and support, and think he has a darn good book! Plus, he uses his wicked computer skills to keep Google, Inc. up and running. Without further ado, let's sit back and peek inside the briefcase...

It's the end of the world – again – and this time Christine Temetri is paying attention.

Signs of the Apocalypse? Yawn. The End of Days? Please. In case of rapture, please leave a message. Years of covering the antics of End Times cults for The Banner, a religious news magazine, have left Christine not only jaded but seriously questioning her career choice.

That is, until she meets Mercury, an anti-establishment angel who’s frittering his time away whipping up batches of Rice Krispy Treats and perfecting his ping-pong backhand instead of doing his job: helping to orchestrate Armageddon. With the end near and angels and demons debating the finer political points of the Apocalypse, Christine and Mercury accidentally foil an attempt to assassinate one Karl Grissom, a thirty-seven-year-old film school dropout about to make his big break as the Antichrist.

Meanwhile, fundamentalist firebrand Harold Giddings has heard The Call: denounce Karl to the world and unleash the Apocalypse. But was it God or the devil who dialed his number?

Christine’s betting her soul that Harold got his wires crossed. Now, to save the world, she's got to outsmart Harold, negotiate the byzantine bureaucracies of Heaven and Hell, and convince the apathetic Mercury to take a stand, all the while putting up with the obnoxious mouth-breathing Antichrist.

Visit Rob here.

Read more about Rob's book here.

Excerpt from MERCURY FALLS

The Antichrist was clearly out of his element.

All that was really expected of him was to cut the ceremonial ribbon in front of the newest Charlie’s Grill, but he was having difficulty with the giant ceremonial scissors. Finally, he bit into an edge with his teeth and tore the ribbon the rest of the way. Red-faced and drenched with sweat in the 100 degree heat, he muttered an obscenity and stomped off.

The crowd cheered this display of mildly Satanic behavior.

“The Antichrist, Karl Grissom!” shouted a diminutive man who had presumably been standing next to Karl the entire time.

The crowd clapped politely for the Antichrist and the man they assumed was the Antichrist’s dwarf henchman, but was, in fact, the director of marketing for Charlie’s Grill, Inc. The dwarf henchman marketing director proceeded to hand out free cheeseburgers while the Antichrist made his way to the parking lot. A local high school marching band began to play a jazzed up version of the Charlie Nix movie theme.

Behind a line of police tape, in the parking lot of the Burger Giant next door, a group of several dozen protesters held signs with slogans like “Pray for Karl Grissom” and “Karl Grissom GO TO HELL.” Despite their lack of both logical consistency and complimentary cheeseburgers, they were a spirited group.

Having fulfilled his contractual obligations as Antichrist, Karl plodded through the crowd toward his mother’s Saturn. This whole business was getting a little old. He had half a mind just to call it quits. And at this point he didn’t even know about the man with a high-powered rifle who was lying in wait on the roof of the Burger Giant.

The man’s name was Danny Pilvers. Danny was wearing army camouflage and had his cross-hairs trained on Karl Grissom, the Antichrist. As Danny was on the opposite side of the roof from the crowd and was making a point of being very still, no one seemed to have noticed him.
Danny’s hands shook, not because he was afraid, but because he was angry. He was angry with Karl the Antichrist. He was angry with Katie Midford and her dwarf henchmen. He was angry with Charlie Nix, despite the fact that Charlie Nix was only a twelve year old boy, and a fictional one at that. Danny was angry at all of these people because he believed that they made a tapestry of religion. Hadn’t the angels told him so?

The angels had not, in fact, told him so. What they had said was “travesty.” In fact, they had repeated it several times. “A travesty,” they said. “A travesty of religion.” Finally they had given up, satisfied that Danny understood the gist of what they were saying.

Danny took a deep breath, trying to steady his hands. “A tapestry of religion,” he muttered, and flicked off the gun’s safety.

Please answer the following question to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon:

What is the best religion?
Okay, that's not the real question.

The real question is:

What kind of car should Satan be driving?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday's Special Is...Children of the Mist!


Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love: Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own. Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities. Thrown together by a common threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late? Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?

Hywela Lyn (usually known by her second name ‘Lyn’, which is easier to pronounce, is intensely proud of being Welsh, although she currently lives in England with her husband Dave and rescued Jack Russell, Bouncer. She has made up stories in her head for as long as she can remember, inspired by the beautiful Welsh scenery and its legends, and acting out her characters' roles in her mind. She is passionately fond of all animals and the outdoors. She has two horses, Harry and T’pau and usually manages to have a horse somewhere in her stories.

CHILDREN OF THE MIST will be released on June 19, and can be purchased here.

Visit Hywela here.


With a resolute set to his shoulders, Vidarh retrieved his torch and made his way into the cave. Just inside the mouth, he found a hollow behind a rock in which to hide the saddle and bridle. At least it would be safe and dry there, so long as no hungry rodent decided to nibble at it. He strapped on his pack, containing a change of clothing and a few personal items, and set off along a narrow passageway at the back of the cavern.

Tamarith directed him along the various twists and turns of the labyrinth. At first, the going was easy. The walls of rock gave off a soft, diffuse luminescence, augmenting the light from his torch. After walking for so long he began to think the tunnel he followed led nowhere, the luminosity grew stronger, and the passage opened out into a large amphitheatre. The light reflected back from the walls revealed seats, formed out of pale green stone, arranged in tiers forming a semi-circle. At one end was a pool, shimmering in the soft light. Multi- colored stalactites glistened like jewelled candelabra from the roof of the cave. At the far end was a high dais flanked on each side by another passage.

Vidarh paused for only a moment to take in the beauty around him. He was familiar with the Conference Chamber of the community of Gladsheim. His mind had been there many times but this was the first time he had physically entered the place.

Instructed to take the left fork, he progressed along the labyrinths, noting the downward slope of the passage. Occasionally, when he came to a branch in the tunnel, he would stop and listen to Tamarith's voice in his mind as it guided him along the right path.

You don't have far to go. I will keep sending you the directions. You should be near the river now.

Yes. I hear it up ahead.

Be careful. We had heavier than usual snowstorms last winter. With the coming of spring, the melting snow and ice has swelled the volume of water.

Vidarh made his way along the tunnel, partly guided by his telepathic link with Tamarith, and partly by his own senses. Eventually widened out into a large cave, through which the underground river roared as it cut its way through the mountain.

On the shingle of the boulder-strewn shore, several small boats bobbed against their moorings. After ensuring his pack was securely fastened around his waist, he climbed into one, and lashed the torch to the prow. He cast off, and took up the paddle. The river bore the craft along at a tremendous rate and it needed all his skill and attention to save the craft from dashing against the rocks. He'd heard about the fabled river of Mimir, but this was not the tranquil stream of his imagination.

The walls still reflected a phosphorescent glow. Vidarh noticed several gigantic, human-like statues on the banks as he passed, but had no time to contemplate or admire them. Rounding a bend, he came upon a wall of water ahead, cascading from the roof in a fury of white froth. The torrent boiled and raced. He gritted his teeth as he headed into the maelstrom.

There was no way he could control the boat's frantic motions as it heaved and bucked like an unbroken colt. He threw down the paddle, gripped the sides of the vessel, and sent a desperate message through the ether.

Tamarith, I'm in trouble. Please—send me images of your location, quickly I need to know what it looks like where you are.


Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of CHILDREN OF THE MIST:

Do you like boats? (Any boating stories you'd like to share?)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fridays special is...Bobby's Diner!

The title of today's book sounds like competition for our beloved Book Roast. Pull up a chair and tuck in your napkin to find out more about writer Susan Wingate and her novel, BOBBY'S DINER.

BOBBY’S DINER is a story of a woman trying to find herself in a town where nobody wants her. Georgette Carlisle, twenty-five when she saunters into the rustic town of Sunnydale, Arizona, snags husband, Bobby, away from another woman, Vanessa Carlisle. After he dies - fifteen years later when the story begins - he leaves his restaurant called Bobby's Diner to both women. But, that's not the only problem. Bobby's Diner, situated on an attractive highway corridor property, is slated as the next boutique tourist site and sits smack in way of Zach Pinzer's dreams and future with Chariot International Incorporated, a large developer headquartered in Phoenix. Even after Zach arranges to destroy their property and fatally wounds their beloved busboy and gardener, he nearly kills Roberta, Vanessa's daughter. Georgette and Vanessa hold fast to the only thing they have, each other, and they fight. Georgette's story tells a tale of life, love, death, grief, pain, loneliness, and redemption. And, she finds her true family with the most unexpected people.


For the reading of Bobby’s will, the attorneys sat Vanessa—the ex, Roberta (Bobby and Vanessa’s daughter), and me in a conference room together. I was instructed to bring a lawyer, as were the other two ladies. I didn’t. That sort of thing isn’t in me. Vanessa did. The lawyer read Bobby’s will. It was pretty much as I expected. I got the house we shared, most of the money accounts, Roberta received $200 thousand dollars in a fund her father had set aside for her upon his death. Then, the lawyer read further. Bobby did something none of us expected. He gave me half the interest in the diner and Vanessa, the other half!

Just like Bobby to be equitable.

Finally, the lawyer read a statement Bobby had handwritten before he died. The note said something about his guilt for leaving Vanessa, but his great love for me, about Vanessa’s interest of nearly half her life spent building the diner, and my creativity to keep it going. Have you ever heard the term ‘livid’ before? Well, Vanessa’s face turned every shade of livid I’ve ever seen. I remember sitting there and imagining her head filling up like one of those water balloons at the fair and exploding right off her shoulders. Her lawyer patted her hand and told her “not to worry.” I giggled to myself at the mess of it all, said my “thank yous” and “goodbyes” to his former family and the lawyers, and I left feeling pretty good too considering what had just happened. Financially, I was solid and didn’t need to worry about money for a while, anyway.

I closed the diner for three weeks. When I went back to reopen, Vanessa was there waiting outside the door. She offered to buy my interest. I told her I had no intention of selling and offered to buy hers. She fumed at my boldness and told me she’d never sell. Bobby knew I was stubborn as a mule in a blizzard and he knew his former wife had some of my same shortcomings.

“Well, isn’t this a fine mess.” Vanessa threw her hands up and when they came down, they landed on her lap as she sat hard against the window’s ledge.

“Guess Bobby had the last laugh, huh?” I looked out onto the day with one hand protecting my face from the bright sun. It was early spring then and the cacti were putting on a show that would embarrass the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, gorgeous.

“Since this place is now legally half mine, I want a key.” Vanessa was indignant.

“Fine. After José gets here, I’ll have him run up to Charlie’s to get his copied.”

Vanessa let out a small huff and stood back up. “What are we supposed to do now?”

“Well, the diner needs managing. I guess we manage it.”

“Together?” She put her hands on her hips.

“What else can we do?”

“It just won’t work.”

“Why is that, Vanessa? After all these years, do you still hate me so much?”

“Oh, hell, I could care less about you.” She turned away and looked out over the burgeoning desert. “How’s this gonna look to the folks around here? Did you ever think about that?”

“I just put my husband in the ground. I guess I haven’t had too much time to worry about what people are thinking.”

“He was my husband too.” She scowled when she looked at me. I couldn’t very well argue her point and decided by the look of her, saying nothing was best.

Visit Susan's website and find purchasing information here

Check out Susan's blog here

Win a copy of Bobby's Diner with a fun and creative answer to the following question....

What would you like to find on the menu at Bobby's Diner?

Thursday's Special Is...Repeat After Me!

REPEAT AFTER ME by Rachel DeWoskin

Rachel DeWoskin has been lauded for her “razor-sharp descriptions” (The Wall Street Journal), her “considerable cultural and linguistic resources (The New Yorker), and her rare ability to offer “a real insider’s look at life in modern China” (The Economist). Now DeWoskin, author of the hilarious and poignant memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing, returns with a new novel about a young ESL teacher, a troubled Chinese intellectual, and a very unexpected New York romance.

Aysha is a 22-year old New Yorker struggling to put pieces back in place after her parents' divorce and her own shattering nervous breakdown. With her college career on hold, she teaches English to foreigners just to keep her own days straight until a young Chinese student named Da Ge walks into Aysha's classroom fresh from Beijing and challenges her shaky stance until upside-down and right-side up become impossible for either to identify. From rollicking performances in ESL class to dinner dates in Chinatown, Da Ge takes Aysha on a tour of her own world, and at first seems to offer an escape from grief in the form of a bewildering, exhilarating romance. But reeling from the recent Tiananmen Square massacre and electrified by American culture shock, Da Ge also turns to Aysha for a kind of comfort she can't identify and he ultimately can't accept. When he asks her to marry him, his secrets turn out tragically familiar. As Aysha tries to collect, understand, and honor Da Ge's words, her exploration gives all of us a view into how we recover from trauma, both personal and political -- only to find ourselves in the most astonishing places.

An intercultural love story that spans decades and continents, from Tiananmen Square’s June 4th to the World Trade Center’s September 11th, New York City's upper west side to the terraced mountains of South China, Repeat After Me is a manic story of love and misunderstanding, of fantasies and frenzied cities. Funny, irreverent, touching and provocative, Rachel DeWoskin’s novel is above all an exploration of how to write your own story, how to decide where the record begins.

Excerpt from REPEAT AFTER ME

I met Da Ge on a Tuesday afternoon in the fall of 1989. New York was orange and confident then, leaves breezing the curbs and towers poking above the skyline. I was teaching English as a second language at a school called Embassy when he arrived two weeks and fifteen minutes late. He stood in the doorway watching the class with an expression it was hard to identify—some combination of grin, smirk, and sneer. I thought he might be shy.

“Hi,” I said, “come on in.”

He didn’t move. “I’m Da Ge,” he said, hacking the G out of his throat. Dah Guh. I thought maybe people mispronounced his name all the time. Or that he was a chain smoker and couldn’t speak without choking. When he looked up, it was from the tops of his eyes, with the sullen affect of a teenager.

“The G is hard,” he added. “Dah. Guh.” I smiled, delighted that he knew the difference between a hard and a soft consonant. Maybe he’d be my teacher’s pet.

Although I must say he didn’t look the part. My students and I stared at him, curious. He was wiry, wearing ill-fitting jeans held up by a metal belt. He had a double-breasted navy blue wool coat, which although clearly expensive, gave him a bird-scaring affect. A scar extended from his left cheekbone to his jaw, raw and raised enough to seem recent. His hair flopped over his eyes, and he pushed it out of the way several times. He had the cumulative undereye shadows that mark a real insomniac, and surprisingly shiny shoes. He carried a blue backpack.

When he turned to take a seat, I noticed that the backpack had a cartoon duck and rabbit on it, both wearing spacesuits. Planets floated by. Under the duck were the letters “Ur,” followed by a hyphen. Under the rabbit it said, “anus.” It took me a minute. Uranus! It was a teachable moment; I should have explained why it’s safest not to hyphenate certain words. But I was too chicken.

“Hi, Da Ge,” I said. “I’m Aysha Silvermintz. You can call me Aysha.”

He didn’t respond. I turned to the class.

"Run,” I said.

“Ran,” they said back to me.


Someone said, “Will ran,” someone else, “Running!”

“Ingyum,” I coaxed. “Tomorrow I . . .” She looked away.

“Someone help her,” I said. No one responded.

“Da Ge?”


“Do you know the future tense of run?”

He stared at me lazily, moving his eyes from my shoulders down to my waist and then back up. I felt something like irritation rise hot to the roots of my hair in a blush.

“Run,” he said. I tried to mask my annoyance.

“What does it require in front of it?”

“Something to chase.”

So his English was too good for my class. I decided to let him carry the backpack for the rest of his life.

What is the best language slip you’ve ever said or heard?
A copy of Repeat After Me and a special surprise gift.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wednesday's special is...Bad to the Bone!

Fresh off the presses, today we bring you, in a bizarre coincidence, more supernatural DJ activity (see Erica Orloff roast from Tuesday!):

BAD TO THE BONE by Jeri Smith-Ready
(Pocket Books, May 19, 2009)
Book 2 in the WVMP RADIO urban fantasy series and sequel to WICKED GAME

In the sequel to 2008's WICKED GAME, former con artist Ciara Griffin and her vampire DJs face a new threat to their struggling station (WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll): their broadcast signal is pirated by a religious firebrand, and their lives threatened by the shadowy organization behind it all.

Now Ciara must protect the station while coping with her new boyfriend (vampire DJ Shane), her new best friend (vampire dog Dexter), and the nature of her mysterious anti-holy powers. To make it to New Year’s in one piece, she’ll need to learn a few new tricks...

“Smith-Ready pours plenty of fun into her charming, fang-in-cheek
urban fantasy” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


We stumble through a thick copse of trees—or more precisely, David and
I stumble. Shane and Jim have the coordination and night vision of
natural predators—not that their blood donors ever provide much of a

We come to a small clearing at the base of the cross, about fifteen
feet in diameter. It’s almost completely dark, since the patriotic
spotlight sits on the ground on the other side of the trees.

I sweep the flashlight beam across the clearing. “So where would a

Two glowing red eyes stare out of the darkness.

“What the—”

In front of me, Jim halts and holds out an arm. “Whoa.”

A hunched black shape slouches in front of the white structure. The
clank of a chain rises over the sound of the wind in the trees. A low
growl stops my breath.

Suddenly the creature roars and leaps forward. I jump back, squealing
like a little girl. The chain rattles, then jerks tight.

Shane grabs my arm. “It’s just a dog.”

Can’t be. The noise it makes sounds like a cross between a rabid
cougar and a locomotive.

“I’ve never seen a dog like that.” David looks just as scared as I am.

“Don’t worry.” Shane moves a little closer, stepping sideways. “It’s
tied up.”

I gesture for David to stay back, then follow Shane. The barking
grows louder but higher-pitched. Finally the flashlight fully
illuminates the dog, and I let myself relax.

It probably weighs twice as much as I do, and my head might fit inside
its mouth, but its tail is wagging, and it’s play-bowing and clawing
the ground at the end of the chain.

“It’s okay, buddy,” I murmur. “We’re here to help.”

The dog’s bark turns to a whimper as I approach. My light reveals
ribs and hip bones showing through patchy black fur. Its head is
square, but its legs are long, lending a mismatched, rangy look. Huge
eyes reflect the light with a green glow.

When I’m a few feet away, the dog drops to its belly, then rolls over,
pawing the air and rubbing its—wait, his—back on the gravelly dirt.

“Looks friendly enough,” Shane says.

“It could be a trick.” David’s voice gets fainter as he backs up
behind me. “It could be luring you in, looking all innocent.”

“Dogs are a lot of things, but they’re not con artists.” I kneel near
the animal, out of range of the chain. He stops groveling and gets to
his feet, then shakes off the dust with a horse-like shudder of his hide.

“You’re all right now.” I keep my voice low and even, my gaze on his
shoulder instead of his eyes as I extend my hand, palm down and
curled, for him to sniff. He licks my fingertips, his tail whipping
back and forth like a puppy’s. “What a good boy. You’re someone’s
pet, aren’t you?” I examine his huge black face, crisscrossed with
faded gray scars. “Or maybe bait for a pit bull trainer. You’re too
nice to be a fighter yourself.”

“You know what’s freaky?” Jim says. “He’s not barking at me.”

As if to prove the point, the dog wags his tail at the hippie vampire.
Jim laughs and sings the first line to Led Zeppelin’s “Black
Dog”—off-key, as usual. The pup wags harder.

“Whoever put him here doesn’t deserve him.” I stand and dust the dirt
off my knees. “So we should take custody.”

Shane comes up next to me. “You mean steal him?”

“Not steal, liberate.”


To win a copy of Bad to the Bone - tell us - what's the most exciting thing you've ever 'liberated'?

Click here for Jeri's web site and purchasing details!

And click here to read the first chapter!

And follow Jeri on Twitter here.

Today's special is...Freudian Slip!

Freudian Slip by Erica Orloff

Almost a year ago, Erica Orloff was one of the first authors to throw themselves on to the red hot coals of the Book Roast, with The Roofer. We're delighted to toast her once again, with her imminent new release: Freudian Slip. Death, demons and DJs - an unearthly combination...

When raunchy shock jock Julian Shaw is shot, he expects a white light, or perhaps his dearly departed grandmother. What he gets instead is a Guide, Gus, and an assignment: a lovesick Kate Darby, whose life is a mess. He also gets orders from The Boss to fix her life. But doing something good kind of grows on Julian. And now he wants a chance at redemption--and he just may have to sell his soul to the devil to get it.

Excerpt . . . Julian's conversation with the devil:

Balam continued, his voice lugubriously smooth, “This signing bonus comes—if you should end up back in your mortal body—with wealth. Unimaginable wealth. And just for you,” he snapped his fingers and a thick contract on many pages of legal-sized paper appeared out of nowhere. “Clause 17H.”

Julian examined the contract, running his finger down all the fine print until he got to 17H. “You’re kidding.”

“Nope. Clause 17H. I’ll toss in a ménage a trois with twins.”

“Identical twins?”


“Playboy-quality twins?”

“You insult me, my friend. Would I deliver anything less. Impeccably perfect Playboy-quality twins. Blondes.” Balam snapped his fingers. “One better. Natural blondes. Brazilian wax of course.”

“Look,” Julian said. “Tempting as all this is, how come you’re not burning in a sea of fire? You’re not what I expected.”

“Of a demon?”

“Yeah. No pitchfork. No horns. No red skin.” Julian reached out and patted Balam’s suit. “Expensive Italian suit. Expertly tailored.”

“I use a guy from Hong Kong over near the Waldorf Astoria.”

Freudian Slip
comes in June, but you can pre-order at Amazon here or at Barnes and Noble here.

Erica keeps herself busy in a variety of genres, including sassy chick lit, comedic romances, YA and paranormal. Find out more about Erica and her books at:

Or check out her blogs: Erica Orloff and Demon Baby and Me


LinkIt could only be...tell us about your tailoring. Dahlings, my little fashion sweeties, from top to toe, and down to the skin if you dare - what are you wearing today and where did you get it from?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Special Is...Bunco Babes Tell All!


Visit Maria's website.

Buy from Amazon.

Meet the Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay. Every Thursday night they roll dice, drink frozen margaritas, and catch up on all the gossip in their small north Florida town. Kitty Burke is the only Bunco Babe who is still single—which is okay—but she’s thirty-five and may need to face that her image of Mr. Right is all wrong.

Take Steve. Very sexy—but on paper, with three failed marriages and a shady career, maybe not great husband material. And yes, his ring tone is “Freebird.” Certainly fellow Babes Shea and Pilar vote thumbs down. But maybe there’s more to Steve than meets the eye? Is it time for Kitty to take a chance and hope that she can be as lucky in love as she is in Bunco?


It was all Kevin Costner’s fault. If he hadn’t been so sexy in Bull Durham, Kitty Burke wouldn’t still be single on the eve of her thirty-fifth birthday.

For her grandmother, it had been Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind. For her mother, it had been both Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At some point, almost every woman fell in love, or at least in lust, with a character from the big screen. But most other women got over it and went on to marry normal men.

Not Kitty.

Eighteen years ago, she fell in love with Crash Davis, the character Kevin had played so brilliantly in the film. Which wouldn’t have been that big a deal. Except that no flesh and blood, real, live man had ever come close to giving her the spine-tingling, mind-melting, heart-stopping sensation she got from watching Crash.

It’s not that she hadn’t tried to find a guy who made her feel all that. But after half a lifetime of dating the Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLaooshes of the world, it was time to face facts. As her best friend Pilar had said, time and time again, “Crash Davis is a fahottie. He doesn’t exist.” Despite Pilar’s irritating habit of making up words you couldn’t find in Webster’s Dictionary, Kitty had come to the depressing conclusion that, as usual, Pilar was right. Crash Davis was nothing more than a fantasy hottie.

But that was okay. Because as of today, Kitty was officially over it.

So what if she was the only one of her friends not married? The rest of her life was perfect. She had a great job selling real estate, a fantastic income (well, maybe not so fantastic in the last couple of years, but things had to start picking up soon) and she had recently moved into her grandmother’s old place just two blocks from the beach. In north Florida, life didn’t get much better than that.

But what made Kitty’s life really special was her Bunco group. The Bunco Babes of Whispering Bay had been established ten years ago by what Pilar referred to as the “the nucleus”. The nucleus consisted of the three founding members; Kitty Burke, Pilar Diaz-Rothman, and their other best friend, Shea Masterson. Exactly who the protons or the neutrons were, Kitty wasn’t sure, although she was fairly certain Pilar did. But whoever was what, one thing was indisputable. Admission into the Bunco Babes was exclusive. No one got in without the unanimous consent of the nucleus. There were nine other members (the electrons, so to speak), for a total of twelve Babes. For the past ten years they had been there for each other through boyfriends, marriages, babies, spreading hips and sagging boobs.

With friends like the Babes, who needed a man?

If Susan Sarandon could worship at the Church of Baseball, then Kitty could worship at the Church of Bunco. It was every Thursday night while rolling the dice and chugging frozen margaritas that Kitty found her true salvation. It was the friendship of those eleven other women that provided the balance in her life. The yin to her yang. The cherry on top of her hot fudge sundae.

Tonight however, a perfectly nasty imbalance was taking shape in the form of an overflowing toilet.

Please answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of BUNCO BABES TELL ALL! Or, drop by and say hi to Maria!!

Who is your big-screen crush? You may have more than one...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday's Special Is...Garlic!

GARLIC by Sarah Laurenson

There’s more to being a vampire than a change of diet. Thirteen-year-old, half-breed Tommy loves his dad’s Italian cooking. It’s too bad his vampire half is allergic to it. One too many rounds of garlic zits and his batty mother packs him off to vampire boarding school; where he’s stuck in remedial transformation and bloodsucking classes with kids half his age, his assigned mentor is the school bully, and there’s a gang hungry for a taste of the forbidden – human blood.

Once at school, he gets saddled with the name Garlic – a derogatory vampire term for a half-breed. In the blood feast room, Tommy has to transform to bat form in front of all the staring boy bats clinging to the ripped red velvet wallpaper in order to suck down his bloody meal. Or worse – join the girls in their pristine cream and gold dining room where they sit as humans at tables with tablecloths and drink glasses of Bloody Maria – animal blood with Italian seasonings (sans garlic). Then the new blood drink in the girl’s dining room is named after Emeline, Tommy's secret human crush. Is it really Emeline’s blood? Will Tommy use that blood to stave off the human hunter gang and keep his own blood to himself? And, more importantly, is Emeline still alive?

Sarah's done a little bit of everything – from working a register to tramping around a campus to being a desk jockey. Her first degree was in Law Enforcement. She went through the Police Academy (Honor Graduate), then served eight years as a University Cop. Another degree, this time in Physics, led to her time as a Software Engineer. She's jokingly referred to as a rocket scientist by her writing friends, though it’s not far from the truth.

Her alter ego writes and volunteers. She's currently serving on the Board for the Los Angeles region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators where she is the webmistress ( and the gate keeper of the listserv. Mostly, she writes Middle Grade and Young Adult Fantasy.

Sarah is a more recent member of the Book Roast team, though she has been a valued supporter from day 1. She brought her terrific blend of creativity and organization to the Book Roast, and we appreciate all of her hard work and enthusiasm!! It is my pleasure to roast her manuscript "Garlic." Let's give Sarah a hardy welcome!!

Excerpt from GARLIC:

Tommy winced at the mirror. Everything above his shirt collar was pocked with ugly red zits with yellowish-white centers. He touched the one on the tip of his nose and flinched. That hurt! Placing a finger on each side of it, he steeled himself and squished. His eyes squeezed shut, forcing out a few tears. Chunky white liquid splashed against the mirror. Tommy sighed with the release of the pressure. The aroma of garlic tickled his nose. He took a huge sniff.


Tommy jumped. His hands dropped to his side. “Coming, Mother,” he shouted through the door.

He quickly grabbed a wad of toilet paper and dabbed at his tears. Using the same wad, he wiped the mirror, leaving behind white streaks. He almost didn’t see the chunks of white on the sink. After mopping up those, too, he threw the soggy paper in the toilet.

“Tommy! I’m waiting!”

Tommy gulped and put a hand on the door knob. His gaze glossed over the toilet handle and jerked back. He flushed the toilet, hoping his mother would hear and think he had a good reason to keep her waiting. Fingers tapping on the sink, he turned on the cold water and slowly counted to ten – long enough for him to have washed his hands. Taking a steadying breath, he left the safety of the bathroom. She was going to kill him. And there was nothing he could do about it.

He opened her bedroom door a minuscule crack. “Yes, Mother?”

Stark white mosquito netting billowed from the bed’s canopy bar and framed her small, oval face. Her long black hair streamed down to the white tile floor like some static electricity machine was under her head. He glanced at his watch. It was early for her to be hanging upside down.

“About time.” She reached out to beckon him in, but her cape slid down and covered her arm. “Oh blast!” She shoved the cape back up and held it close to her side. The movement started her body swaying. “Come in here, my boy.”

He backed into the room, shutting the door with great care. Being at the end of his delaying tactics, he slowly turned to face her.

“Oh my!” Her hands flew to her mouth. Her cape slid down again and covered her head. She flailed her arms and whipped it off, almost swinging off the canopy bar in the process. She reached up, gripped the bar and swung to the ground. “You’ve been eating your father’s cooking!”

Tommy nodded. There was no use denying it.

She threw her arms into the air. “How many times do we have to go through this?”

“I like Dad’s cooking.”

“You can’t like it, Tommy, you’re allergic to it.”

That made no sense. “Dad’s a good cook.”

“He’s Italian. That means garlic, son, tons of it.”

Tommy smiled, then wiped the smile from his face. He loved garlic, but it didn’t love him. One of his hands crept up towards his face and the chunks of garlic embedded in his zits.


Please answer the following for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Borders.
Do you have a favorite garlic-laden recipe? Major bonus points if it's vegan/vegetarian.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...The Woman in the Wall!

THE WOMAN IN THE WALL by Shona Snowden

Shona Snowden lives with her husband and children in Sydney, Australia. She works as a freelance copywriter, squeezing writing essays and fiction into the gaps between her client work. Her short stories have been published in several national magazines in Australia and 'The People's Friend' in the UK, and her humour has appeared in 'The Sydney Morning Herald'.

The Book Roast tapped into her most awesome marketing and publicity talents to put together a vibrant community of authors! She has truly been a driving force behind the energy of the Book Roast blog, and we are happy to share her novel, THE WOMAN IN THE WALL –
a mystery with elements of horror.

Jac Thompson is the perfect tax accountant: diligent, meticulous and devoid of personal dramas. Nobody knows she is concealing a harrowing Glasgow childhood as the child of an alcoholic and a drug addict behind her columns of obedient numbers and endless 'To Do' lists.

That's until Jac loses her job and is forced to retreat to her isolated cottage on Scotland's east coast. Her estranged father reappears, claiming to be sober, repentant and ready to help her pick up the pieces. However, when he reveals a skeleton in the wall of the cottage while renovating, his 'perfect dad' persona collapses. The discovery of a baby's corpse back on their home estate in Glasgow unnerves him even further and he hides himself in the wall cavity alongside the skeleton.

With her new life in ruins, Jac delves reluctantly into the shabby secrets of her old one to track down the identity of the baby and release her father from his self-imposed prison.

At first she's not sure why she's trying so hard to release somebody she's spent her whole life trying to escape. But soon she understands. Neglect is only the start of it. Like her cottage, Jac's life is built on bones.

Visit Shona here

Excerpt from WOMAN IN THE WALL

I perch the ring on the windowsill in front of me while I'm doing the washing up. It's a hollow moon of curved yellow-gold, with tiny scratches all around the outside. From this angle I can glimpse the indentation of the inscription inside, but the words are too tiny to read. It doesn't matter. The words are as engraved on my memory as they are on the ring. 'DB & RB' and the date: '12/7/21.' The date they got married, the date they started a life together. DB and RB and this little ring. Now the little ring is all that's left. Why am I keeping it? It's not mine. This is no family of mine.

Mum had a wedding ring. A plain gold band, like this one. Towards the end it got loose. It would slide up and down her bony fingers. 'You'll lose that,' Dad would say and she'd just shrug. I think he might have been afraid she would sell it; he'd rather it were in a wee velvet box in his bedside table than spinning around her finger.

She never did sell it, although she sold everything else – the silver teapot Dad inherited from his Gran, the video recorder, even the china, so we had to eat off plastic picnic plates from Woolworths – but not her wedding ring. When it came back from the crematorium with the rest of her stuff, it had a speck of dried blood on it. I don't know what Dad did with the ring. Maybe he threw it away.

Like I should throw this one away. I pick it up with my dripping hands and drop it smartly into the pedal bin. The lid closes with a snap and I turn back to the sink.

Suddenly I'm breathing in cold air. I look down at the washing up. The bubbles on the surface of the water are popping, melting away into grey scum. I touch the surface of the water. It's greasy and cold, even though when I lifted my hands out to pick up the ring my skin glowed red from the heat of the water.

The door slams as Dad comes in, blowing away the silence with clapping hands and heaving breaths. 'It's dead cold out there the night. No' much better in here, either.' He strides across the room and snaps on the electric bar heater, standing in front of it, rubbing his hands together as if it were an open fire. 'Wish we had a telly, eh, lass? That's the thing for a cold night.'

I'm not sure how a telly can drive away the cold. Or the misery. Because it's not just cold in here. It's misery. The air in the cottage is full of misery. Not a hard thing for me to recognise.

Before I sit down I take the ring out of the bin and put it back in my pocket.

Answer the following question for a chance to win a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.

Describe a typical family dinner at the Snowden residence.