Friday, December 19, 2008

Legal Tender, a new review!

Hi, it's me, Lindy Walker from Legal Tender. I just popped in to share a new review for Legal Tender from The Long and the Short of It. I'm always thrilled to hear that someone enjoyed my story!

Part of what reviewer Camillia had to say:

"The “Who Done It” part of Legal Tender intrigues and nudges the reader to turn the pages almost as much as the need to know who Lindy will finally realize is the love of her life.

“Lindy-Loo” is a love and Granny is great. They make Legal Tender good reading that lifts the spirit."

The whole review is here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Coming Soon - Author Chats!

Hi, it's me, Anna Romeo. I aplogize for being out of touch for a while but here in Milton Falls the days go by so quickly it's hard to know just where they go. Between Merlot, Tony and Nonno, and of course the vineyard and the library, I'm swamped. But I've got a little breather so I thought I'd visit with you. I'm actually at work right now, but the library is kind of quiet (a librarian's joke!) so this is the ideal time to chat.

There's some big news here at From the Pages! Starting in January, we're going to host author interviews! Isn't that great?

Of course, being a librarian and all, I am tickled by the idea. I'll actually be able to ask some of my favorite authors all sorts of, you know, personal questions. The stuff everyone really wants to know, like what they're currently working on, where they write and what hobbies they enjoy. I'll ask other questions, too, but I don't want to give away all my secrets.

A schedule of chats will go up on the sidebar in the very near future. We're planning to host interviews on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so mark your calendars.

I hope you'll come back and chat with everyone. I just know this is going to be so much fun!

Uh oh. I've see a patron who looks like she can't find a book. I have to dash but I'll be back. Have a nice day! And remember--author interviews begin in January!

One Love For Liv

Ooh, a free book! What's not to like about that?

Back in my day, I'd go down to Main Street and pick up one of those dime-store novels every week. It was a treat, I'll tell you that. Father would ask why I couldn't satisfy myself with the books in his library but he didn't understand that every now and again a woman just needs a new book...or two. Especially if that book has a romantic twist to it.

Now, just look at the cover on One Love for sure does look like it's got a bit of romance in it, doesn't it?

Thanks for visiting with me today. Go on now; follow the link thingies and see how you can get yourself a free copy of this new book. It seems like the perfect story to curl up with on a snowy day...

-Elinor, from Snowdance

Win an autographed copy of One Love For Liv by Marianne Arkins!

"One Love for Liv" is the kind of book that you never tire of reading and re-reading. This fast-paced and witty read actually made me laugh ‘til I cried in several parts. I can guarantee that I can’t even think about pizzas without my eyes misting over after I read the story. Ms. Arkins’ fresh and interesting writing style will attract fans of offbeat romantic romps. "One Love for Liv" can easily become your much needed break from life's harried pace. Ms. Arkins is definitely an author to look out for!" - Bramble Nymph, Literary Nymphs reviews - Rated: 5 Nymphs

Olivia "Liv" Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her, so she takes drastic steps to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy but sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness Book of World Records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what's a nice guy to do? Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who's never been less his type.

One Love For Liv is available at or Samhain Publishing.

For more information including an excerpt, click here for your chance to win an autographed copy of One Love For Liv.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Anna's in the kitchen

Hi everyone!

It's me again, Anna Romeo. I figured I'd stop by today since it's Saturday and I don't have to go to the library. Consequently, I'm not running late, like I usually am. Of course I can't stay forever because there's always something to do around this place but a few minutes? That'll work.

I just mean, a vineyard just doesn't run itself. And the house? It seems like I'm constantly picking up a pair -- or two or six -- of Tony's dirty socks. But I guess if a man's got to have a flaw, a penchant for dropping his dirty clothes as he strips isn't so bad...not as long as I get to watch, that is!

But I digress.

I saw that Elinor shared cornbread recipes (which I plan to try! Thanks, Elinor!) so I thought I'd share one of my recipes for grilled vegetables. We have a huge garden so grilled veggies are a staple at our house.

So here it is. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Buon appetito!

Grilled Vegetables

Bell Peppers
Garlic cloves, chopped
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil

You'll notice I haven't given any measurements for the ingredients. For a recipe like this one, just use whatever you've got at hand. Wash, dry and slice all the vegetables. Chop the herbs. Put it all in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and then get grilling. It's that simple! Tony and Nonno both like it when I make extra. They eat the leftovers in sandwiches using a crusty Italian loaf that I sometimes make. If I haven't made bread recently they'll use whatever's in the bread drawer.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Hi everyone! I'm here to share the first excerpt from the first Anna Romeo mystery, Vineyard Mambo. God, but I love the way that sounds! The first Anna Romeo mystery... Now that's something I could get used to.

But I'm, as usual, in a rush. Have got to whip together a school break reading program for next week. Kids are off school, you know. No day care, either, so the library's going to be packed starting Monday. A good thing, I think, but I've got to figure out some snappy ideas for stimulating young minds. Any ideas?

Oh, that's right! I'm here to share the excerpt, not solicit ideas for my library program. Oops! Mi dispiace.

Without further ado, an excerpt from Vineyard Mambo:

Anna heard a deep breath from the other end of the phone line, first pulled in slowly, and then let out in a whoosh. “Where have you been all day? How could you not already know?”

“I’ve been where I usually am, in the library. You know, my job? Remember?”

“It’s hard to believe you haven’t heard by now. Hasn’t anyone told you?”

Anna sighed, shaking her head. She walked over to the back door, unlocked it and pulled it open. A soft breeze fluttered a curl against her cheek as she stood before the old-fashioned screen door. “I haven’t seen anyone all day long. The place was silent as a tomb. Now—what are you talking about?”

“The Pilchards,” Diane answered. Her voice caught on the name, and Anna felt her gut twist. Whatever this was, it couldn’t be good.

“Marge and Sam?”

“That’s right. They were found this morning at their house. The newscaster on the radio said they suspect foul play. I don’t know; some sort of intruder or something. Sam is in Good Samaritan Hospital. No one knows yet if he’ll pull through.”

“And Marge?”

“Marge is dead.”

A sheen of perspiration broke out on Anna’s brow at the same instant she felt her body temperature drop. Funny how shock does that, makes a person feel an immediate chill just as sweat first appears.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hi from Anna Romeo

Hi everyone!

I wanted to stop in and introduce myself. I figured early Monday morning, before I leave for the library and hopefully before all of you begin your day would be the best time to do it so here I am!

My name is Anna Romeo and I'm pleased to "meet" you. God, that sounds like I'm standing up at a Chocoholic's Anonymous meeting, doesn't it? Well, if you expect me to admit I've been on the chocolate wagon for two weeks, three days and four hours, forget it! I could sooner live without air than chocolate!

Okay, now you know two things about me and I haven't even begun this introduction--at least not officially. I've already let on that I'm a librarian and I love, love, love chocolate. Ugh...not the best way to make a good impression is it? You probably picture me with a big butt and tight bun, maybe glasses perched on the end of my nose. That's it, isn't it? That's what you think, don't you?

Rats. Maybe I'd better begin again--

Double rats. No time to begin again.

Like I always say, "When in doubt, jump right in!" so I'm going to jump. Tony, my perfectly fabulous, if slightly overprotective, husband reminds me constantly that the in-doubt-jumping motto is what usually lands me in hot water but hey, a woman can't have everything, can she? Sometimes a gal's just gotta jump, don't you think? I mean, if I looked both ways before I crossed every street---ahhh!

I'm going to be late if I don't wrap this up and dash.

To sum it up...I'm Anna, a librarian in Milton Falls, one of the smallest towns anywhere. My husband Tony is Italian, handsome and a hunk, a contractor by day and a love god by night! We live in a seen-better-days farmhouse on a small vineyard. My grandfather-in-law, Antonio, lives in the cottage at the edge of our property and together the three of us lead good, happy lives. Very all-American with a Tuscan twist! I garden, read (duh! of course I read, I spend my mornings surrounded by books!), and do all the usual housewifey stuff.

Oh! I almost forgot--I've got Merlot. Who's Merlot? She's just the best friend a woman could have. Most people would say she's a cat but I know better. Merlot is much, much more than a cat. She's a--ARRGGHH!!

I've got to run. Sorry! I'm late for my day job but that's not new. What is new is the fact that Vineyard Mambo, the first Anna Romeo mystery, is coming soon to a bookshelf near you. Now that's something to get excited over!

And as California's governor has been known to say..."I'll be back!"

Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Elinor's special cornbread

Now this here's a recipe for Sunday dinner. Or Wednesday, if you're interested in celebrating something special. A little more trouble than the everyday recipe but it's worth it.

Company's Coming Cornbread

1 cup sifted flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cooking oil
strawberry preserves
2 more tablespoons sugar

Sift together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cornmeal.

In a separate bowl whisk together egg, milk and oil. Add to dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Pour batter into a greased pie tin. Spread preserves over top of batter, then sprinkle with extra tablespoons sugar.

Place in a preheated, medium heat oven and bake for a half hour or so. You'll know when the bread is done if you're any kind of baker. And if you're new to the kitchen consider this one of your first trials. We all have 'em. If I remember correctly, one of my first cooking trials included a bushel of cukes, a bowl of apple cider vinegar and two crocks of salt. Oh, what a mess that was! Yes, a real mess.

But that's a story for another day...

Elinor's Fast Cornbread

Elinor's Fast Cornbread

4 T. butter
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425°.

Use butter to grease cast iron skillet. Place in warmed oven, wait until butter melts, then swirl around in skillet until all sides are evenly coated. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. I use an old Fiestaware bowl, a yellow one, but you can use any kind of bowl you've got on hand. Then, add the egg and milk and stir until the batter is well, you know. Like batter.

If there's a little butter left in the skillet, pour that into the batter and mix it in. Then, pour the batter into the skillet. Pop the skillet into the hot oven and bake the whole shebang for, I don't know...maybe a half hour or so. You'll know when the cornbread is done. It'll be golden brown on the top and a little bit crusty on the bottom.

Serve it with dinner, or for a snack. It's good hot from the oven and cooled the next morning for breakfast. But if you really want to have leftovers for breakfast the next day, you'd best double the recipe. Yes, I'd say make two if you really want to eat your fill.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Corn bread and little boys

Goodness, but my Jamie could put away food when he was a little boy! Lordy, sometimes I thought he had a trap door to him, he ate so much. We never minded, not one bit. Used to love to watch him eat, truth be told. Always good to see a youngster eating his fill at the dinner table. Especially if he uses good manners, and knows what his napkin is for. Of course, my Jamie always knew how to behave at dinnertime. Always.

He liked nearly everything I put on his plate. Except--why, except peas and carrots. Oh, he liked peas and carrots well enough. Still does. Just didn't like them mixed together. Touching each other, you know? And he still doesn't. Why, I guess we've all got a quirk or two, don't we?

One of Jamie's favorite foods was--and still is--my corn bread. Oh, but could the boy put away some corn bread! As much as I'd bake, he'd eat.

I told him when he was young--very young mind you...maybe two or three years old--still in short pants, that's how young he was--that cornbread wasn't my own invention. Nosiree, it was made long before I started baking it. Told the little guy it was made by the Indians--Native American Indians--way back before any of us even got to this land. First bakers used nothing more than a little cornmeal, some salt and enough water to make a batter. Cooked it over an open fire, too.

Land sakes, at least I never had to cook over an open fire. I may be old, but I've got my new gas range and that makes what little cooking I do now a snap. Not that I do much cooking anymore, mind. No, I mostly brown toast and boil water. But there was a time...

Oh, I'm rambling again. I have a habit of doing that, I think. Comes from living alone for so long. Having no one to talk to but myself. Oh, and sometimes I talk to those who've come and gone, like Amos and Al and my dear cousin. Father, too. I talk to Father a lot. But let's just keep that between us all right-y? I'd hate for anyone to think I was some kind of doddering old woman a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Maybe the next time you visit I'll share one of my cornbread recipes with you. All my recipes are old family secrets but I think I can share one or two. Leastways, I think I can.

You come on back soon. I'm sure we'll have more to chat about. Maybe swap a recipe or two. Maybe.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Remembering Special Days


Oh my, birthdays sure have been big in my little country house! Yes, I remember many a birthday cake sitting in the center of our worn pine table. Lots of singing around that table, too, let me tell you. Lots of singing. Not all of it would take any blue ribbons at the country fair talent show but it came from the heart. Yessirree, right from the heart.

Of course my dear mother left this earth giving me life, so I never had the priviledge of having my mother sing Happy Birthday to me. To have her bake me a cake. It's hard to miss what you've never had but Lord, I missed it. Yes, I missed it. Never told Father though I suspect he knew. He must have known.

Still, Father made my growing-up birthdays happy and gay. Always found time to bake my birthday cake himself. Lop-sided. They were some of the lop-sided-est cakes I've ever seen, but boy, they sure were tasty. What I'd give for one of those lop-sided cakes right about now. Lemon, I think. I'd surely enjoy a slice of lemon cake...

Ooh, I do ramble! Here I am going on and on about lemon cakes and Father and it's not even my birthday! No, it's not. My birthday isn't until--well, that's hardly the topic either, is it? No, I'm supposed to be talking about someone else's special day. Someone very special is having a birthday today, I hear.

Sarita's mother. Yes, it's true! Sarita's mother is having a birthday today. Woo-ee, a reason to celebrate! Every day the Lord gives us is a good one to my way of thinking. But those extra-special ones, like birthdays of those we love? Well, they're...well, they're extra-extra-special days, aren't they?

I hope you'll help me wish Sarita's mother a happy birthday! Let's all send wishes her way for many happy, healthy returns.

Now you all have a nice day, you hear? Remember, it's a special one.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Welcome From Elinor

SNOWDANCE by Sarita Leone

Welcome to From the Pages! It's me, Elinor Montoya, from Snowdance. I wasn't sure you recognized me, seeing as you've got to visit with me through this computer screen and all. Ah, it's so good to have you here! And so good to have a place to chat with all of you!

Sarita assures me that this is the spot where we, the characters from her novels and short stories, will have a chance to sit a spell with all you nice folks. Sort of get to know you all a little better, and to give you the chance to get to know us as well.

I must admit, I was nervous about chatting on this new-fangled Internet thingy but once again Sarita assured me it would be fine. Between you and me, I worried I might get sucked right into the whole Internet and be lost in Cyberspace or something. But hush on that, won't you? Let's just keep that between us. I don't want to go showing my age on this first visit with you.

I figure as long as I pretend this keypad (or keyboard or whatever it's called) is my trusty old black 1935 Royal, I'll be just right as rain. This key-thingy doesn't have that nice, deep, satisfying clacking noise that my old Royal has when my fingers hit the keys but that's fine, too. With this new contraption I don't have to hit the keys nearly as hard as I used to do with the Royal so typing's easier on my fingers. Rheumatism, you know. Oh, right. That's the "old fashioned" term for it, isn't it? Nowadays the doctor calls it arthritis ... but it doesn't matter what word he uses, my fingers smart something terrible sometimes.

Then again, I don't want to let on I'm as old as I am. I figure a woman's got to keep some secrets, doesn't she? After all, the color of my bloomers and the number of years I've lived on this earth may be the only two things this Internet visiting business might not be able to decipher. So for now I'll keep my--

What's that? My age? Snowdance? Readers who already know...

Hmmph. I guess you already know some of my secrets, don't you? You've read the book, and know I'm 97 years old--and darn proud of it, too.


Well, then, I guess I'll just say "Welcome to From the Pages" and leave it at that. You'll come back and visit with me again, won't you? Even if you do know I'm an old woman living in a new world? Good, I'd hoped you'd say you'd be back. Maybe next time we'll talk about ... oh, I don't know. I'll think of something. Until then, you take good care. And don't forget about me.

You don't know the color of my bloomers, do you?