Audio Books

May 17 2018, 4:04 pm in

     Do you have to get debris and aquatic critters out of the pool because you have hoards of guests coming to visit for the summer?

Need to get the knee high grass cut and clear the poison ivy away from the yard?

Convince the mosquitoes not carry off your guests?

Have to give the old home a good cleaning?

And….. all you want do is to read a good book?

 —Imagine me talking in a cheesy infomercial voice.—  

Well, have I got the solution for you.

Audio books.

Yes that’s right. You heard me-

Audio Books.

For busy people who love to read.

You can listen on your phone, E-reader, or laptop.

—End cheesy voice over—

 I’m here to tell ya listening to books will make the drudgery of cleaning closets, using the shop vac to suck the crumbs from the oven, and scrubbing those toilets a thing of the past. You’ll be so pleased to listen you’ll wish there was more work to do. Ehh. That last statement might be pushing it.

I started listening because of vision problems. Even with glasses over contacts, it was difficult to read. After five eye surgeries reading is much easier now but I’m totally hooked on listening. Many times I’ve foregone seeing a movie because the audio book production was so good.

The big thing is, I can listen to books and not feel guilty because I should be doing something else. ‘Cause I can do something else.  Except drive. I get too engrossed in the story. Shakes head here –Not a good thing. Now that I’m thinking about it, listening to the, shall I say, steamy parts, of a romance novel in the doctor’s office or in the dentist chair, eh, not good either. Well, it’s not bad that you’re listening to it there, it’s odd to explain why you’re fanning yourself and you’re hyperventilating. Whatever you do, just say no to the hygienist if she wants you to take out the earphones so she can also hear.

So, tell me, do you listen to your books? Do you have a favorite narrator?

I would know Dick Hill anywhere. He narrates many of my favorite books. Many actors lend their voices to books. If any of you are longtime watchers of Law and Order you remember there was a female psychologist on the show. Carolyn McCormick portrayed Dr Elizabeth Olivet, and narrates The Hunger Games Trilogy. I also have one narrator I will not listen too. Nope. He ruins the story for me.

I loved:


Water For Elephants

The Martian

Outlander Series and novellas

Michael Connelly Books—all of them

Barry Eisler

Jack Reacher Series

Stephen Kings Me. Mercedes Trilogy

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Neil Gaiman

I guess you get the picture.  

Tell me an audio book you enjoyed.

My first book Under Fire is available in audio format. Click here Audible to listen to a sample.


Listening to Audio Books is habit forming.


National Library Week

Apr 9 2018, 4:51 pm in

I grew up in St Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the nation. History all round. Many buildings in use date to the early 1700’s. My grandparent’s home was built around civil war times.  

One was constructed around 1783, by Bernardo Segui.  It also was the home of Edmond Smith, the last Confederate general to surrender his command. He was born in the home in 1824. In 1863 Union officials exiled the general’s mother from the city for spying.   

The house came to be called the Segui-Smith House. In 1895 it was given to the city to be used as a library.  My library.

It’s a good possibility many of the books I perused on the shelves had been there since 1895. Really. It’s still in use as a research library, home to historical records. That building holds powerful memories for me.

Rainy afternoons sitting in a corner listening to rain tap a beat on the banana leaves and palm fronds in the courtyard. The rooms were dark and the library cards yellowed.  The wood floors upstairs creaked when no one stepped on them. The powerful musty scent of dust, old paper and history was comforting. I honestly can’t remember any books I checked out and if I remember correctly there were a set of encyclopedias from the 18th century. Yes, I am that old that I didn’t have a device to look everything up on not the 18th century part.     

I miss my library.   

Do you have fond Library memories?

April is National Poetry Month.

Apr 2 2018, 2:26 pm in , , ,

I know nothing about poetry. Except what speaks to me. When I open a book of poems I can honestly get lost in them. I marvel at the author’s ability to tell me a story in a few lines. To draw me in and make me feel. I’m sharing a few.


Impromptu – To Kate Carol – Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

When from your gems of thought I turn 
To those pure orbs, your heart to learn, 
I scarce know which to prize most high — 
The bright i-dea, or the bright dear-eye.


Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.


The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Suess

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.


An Irish Poem ~Unknown

Death leaves a heartache
No one can heal
Love leaves a memory
No one can steal.


The Toucan by Shel Silverstein
Tell me who can
Catch a toucan?
Lou can.

Just how few can
Ride the toucan?
Two can.

What kind of goo can
Stick you to the toucan?
Glue can.

Who can write some
More about the toucan?
You can!


My Spoon ~Unknown Author
Greasy grimy gopher guts.
Mutilated monkey meat
Little dirty birdies feet
And I forgot my spoon.

~Unknown because who would admit to writing this?

Do you have favorite poems? Please share.

To learn more about Poetry Month click here 


Feb 28 2018, 9:01 am in , ,


Other special days in March are:

March 4th—the day all the animals marched forth from the ark.

March 17th—St Patrick’s Day

March 19th—St Joseph’s Day

And… there is March Madness. The month long NCAA basketball tournaments to determine the college national champions.

I write about Extraordinary Women so I asked my heroines what women they find inspiring and what their plans for the month of March are.


Olivia, from Under Fire, said she is in awe of the women who, hundreds of years ago, had the courage to leave their homes in Europe, get on tiny boats, cross the Atlantic and settle an unknown land.

She and Declan will be in Kansas City, MO for a business meeting on March 15th. They decided to stay a few extra days to see the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Then they’ll visit the notable, or notorious, depending on your point of view, Irish establishments in town. When I spoke with them, Declan was laughing about drinking green beer and then pe…. eh. Well, you know, green liquid in, green liquid out.

They’re staying at the Intercontinental Hotel on the Plaza. If you’re in Kansas City stop and visit. Just ask Ed, the doorman, where they are.


Gemma, from Under Fire: The Admiral, said she admires Nancy Augusta Wake, a British agent during WWII. Nancy was a courier for the French Resistance and in1943 was the Gestapo’s most wanted person.

Gemma and Ben will be in Boston for St Patrick’s Day enjoying the festivities with friends. They did share an experience they had a few months ago while visiting Ireland.  

They were in the Irish countryside on a very dark, stormy night–really it was–in the middle of nowhere. They’d stopped at a local pub for dinner and were enjoying the food, pints, and conversation when the pub door slammed open. A soaking wet, obviously upset young man stood in the doorway. He rushed in babbling about a horrible experience.

He was settled into a chair and given a pint. The beer was half-gone before he could string words into sentences and answer the many questions. The young man explained he was backpacking through Ireland and on a deserted road when it began raining so hard he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Finally, a car came slowly towards him and stopped. Desperate for shelter and thinking he was being offered a ride, he got in and closed the door only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel. Even though the engine wasn’t on, the car once again started moving. Ireland’s many ghost stories rumbled through his brain and fear paralyzed him. That is until he looked at the road ahead and saw a curve looming. Gathering courage, he prepared to jump. Then, through the driver’s window, a ghostly hand appeared out of gloom. In terror, he watched as the hand turned the wheel, guiding the car around the curve.

The lights of the pub appeared and gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran for it.

A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying.  

Once again the door slammed open, startling everyone, and two men walked in from the dark and stormy night. They too were soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing the young man sobbing at the bar, one said to the other…

“Look ….there’s that fookin idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!”


Honey, From Point of No Return, answered after a long pause. “More than anyone I respect and admire the women who are married to military men, agents, police officers and firemen. They have an uncommon strength and bravery.”

She and Jack, are both rabid basketball fans and they’re hosting March Madness parties to watch the games and a huge St Pat’s Day party. Gloria, Kara, and Gunny will be there. Buck and Coop haven’t decided if they’ll come. Seems they’ve been invited to Florida by a couple of young ladies for spring break fun. What do you think they’ll do?


Celia, from Hunter’s Heart, shared she’d been reading about Eleanor Roosevelt and very much admired her.  

She and Hunter will be in Greystones, Ireland for St Patrick’s Day. She’d told Hunter she would love to visit the place where the landscape he gave her was painted. On Valentine’s Day, in a very romantic way she didn’t want to share, he surprised her with plane tickets to Ireland. Gotta love Hunter.


All my book characters say hello to you and hope to wave at you from the pages of future books.

I think that’s a hint for me to get busy writing.


Oh! In honor of the day all the animals marched forth from the ark– March 4th–everyone is invited to stop by for cake, animal cookies, and tea.

Christmas from Germany to Arizona

Dec 18 2017, 5:10 pm in , , , ,

Happy Holidays!

     The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a tide of memories and traditions. I spent many of my early childhood years on an Air Force base in Stuttgart, Germany, and my parents adopted some of the customs of the region. We’d put our shoes outside the door on December 5th for St. Nicholas (his feast day is Dec. 6th) and if we were good, they were filled with goodies the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                                        We also had an Advent Calendar filled with chocolate, and nutcracker soldiers on our mantel. And something I didn’t recall until I was shopping at Cost Plus years ago…soft gingerbread cookies, frosted.







     When the military moved us to Texas (this time living off-base), we were introduced to new cultural traditions. Lining the sidewalks with luminarias, visiting the River Walk for beautiful lights and mariachi music, and eating tamales on Christmas day are all part of the local traditions in San Antonio. And, Las Posadas was a recreation of the Mary and Joseph’s journey from door to door, seeking refuge. The church would often recreate this in a nearby neighborhood.


     For the past several years, we’ve celebrated Christmas in northern Arizona, where snow is not unheard of. With three kids, I’ve maintained the tradition of the tree, stockings, and advent calendars. We deck the house out with lights. When my daughter was in ballet, part of our annual celebration was watching her dance in The Nutcracker while the local symphony played. 


     This year, we’ll have our Annual Gingerbread Houses (preassembled because, for me, nothing drives away Christmas cheer like having to assemble one of those things). We’ll bake snowball cookies because they’re my husband’s favorite, and decorate sugar cookies because my youngest loves those. And since my daughter loves the soft German-style gingerbread cookies, we’ll be making a visit to Cost Plus, too. At our house, Santa will more often find beer than milk, but no worries—he always makes it to the next house.



     A bittersweet note this year is the Polar Express. If you haven’t heard of it, it was an animated movie (starring Tom Hanks in multiple roles) based on a popular book. As we are a railroad town, a local train company (which usually travels to the Grand Canyon) puts together a Polar Express experience annually, and the movie is recreated for thousands of lucky children on an hour-long train ride in an old-fashioned train car. Santa even hands out a souvenir bell at the end, as he does in the movie. We’ve done this a couple times in the past, but this may be our last time. My youngest is still a believer, but, sadly, this will probably be the final year. He’s already questioning things, but seems eager to keep believing, so I’ve been vague in my answers unless he presses me. He hasn’t yet.

     Wherever and however you celebrate the season, Happy Holidays and good tidings to you and yours!


                                                Anne Marie



Anne Marie has always been fascinated by people—inside and out—which led to degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Counseling.  Her passion for understanding the human race is now satisfied by her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and award-winning author of romantic suspense.  

She writes to reclaim her sanity.

Find ways to connect with Anne Marie at There, sign up for her newsletter to receive the latest information regarding books, appearances, and giveaways

The Christmas Tree

Dec 17 2017, 10:57 pm in ,

The Christmas Tree


     Queue the reel-to-reel… tat, tat, tat, goes the old reel-to-reel movie projector, blinking into focus…


     A red flatbed truck pulled into the drive and backed up to the porch of the old farm house. Five small children watched with wide-eyed wonder as two large Scott Irishmen hopped out of the cab. Squeals of excited laughter echoed off the porch ceiling. Dad and our uncle had brought home the biggest and best tree. Ever! In all the history of Christmas trees.

     Our mom was not happy with the huge tree. “Jack what have you done?” He grinned like a kid and winked at me. His response was a little slurred, “The kids ask for a big Christmas tree this year. So we found one. Come on, Cat. It’s not much bigger than any of the others we have had in the past.”

     After trimming the bottom and making a special tree stand, they stood the tree upright. The bottom branches took up over half the small living room. The top was bent at a forty-five degree angle with two feet of tree bent at the ceiling. My dad and uncle were laughing like school boys and my mom was fuming, especially when they laid it down and the top went out the front door.  

     They trimmed off the back of the tree and cut two feet off the bottom, stood it back up, and it fit flush against the wall. After the mess was cleaned up we decorated this most beautiful tree with what few glass ornaments and large Christmas lights we had and added a lot of tinsel to fill in the gaps.

     Dad put the gold glass star on the top and we all stood back to admire the tree.

     It seems that the star was the last thing the tree could handle as it came crashing down sending glass ornaments shattering in fifty directions.

     My uncle burst out laughing. My mom was furious because she had just cleaned up that mess and we were all devastated.

     My dad said, “Cat, I have this. You and the kids go out on the back porch and we will fix it.” Famous last words. Two slightly intoxicated Irishmen fixing something should be your first warning.

     Hammering and swearing should be your next one.

     When we came back inside, they had wired the top of the tree to the ceiling and…yes, being ingenious souls they hammered four three inch nails into mom’s hard wood floors.

     We almost lost my dad that day, because my little four-foot-nine, Cherokee French mom almost killed him. 

    I think of this story every Christmas.   

                 I did not bring any traditions from my past. I made my own.  

 Myself, I love Christmas and sometimes put up as many as seven trees. Hope you enjoyed this slice of my life and my Christmas decorations. 






Merry Christmas                                          Christine Galloway Evans      





Christine Galloway Evans was born in a small Texas town and in her youth worked with her uncle rebuilding cars. She earned a small business and Cosmetology degree from San Jacinto College.

Ms. Evans has worked in and owned a Hair Salon and Bridal Salon. She’s had several small businesses including one creating gift baskets for hospitals, and another making and selling stuffed animals.

Somewhere along the way, she realized that her true love was weaving stories and creating new worlds. To date, Ms. Evans has completed several short stories but is unpublished. 


Every day Christine posts Christmas photos guaranteed to make you smile on her facebook page . You can follow her here 

Holiday Adult Beverages

Dec 17 2017, 12:01 am

Here are a few recipes for fun holiday drinks. Enjoy.

Guava pineapple juice and vodka. Yes, I did say guava pineapple. It’s delish. You’ll need Dole’s guava pineapple juice, the vodka of your choice, a pitcher, cute glasses to serve in and a garnish. I like citrus curls, pomegranate seeds and raspberries.  

Measure vodka into pitcher then pour in juice. Be careful here. The juice completely covers the taste of vodka. I recommend starting with a vodka 1 to juice 5 formula to begin with. Go to a 1 to 4 if you think you and your guests can handle it.  

Love eggnog especially with dark spiced rum.

You’ll need rum, eggnog, whip cream and cinnamon, and of course glasses to serve in. Again, know your guests as to how much rum to use. Here I use the finger formula. 1 finger of rum to 3 or 4 fingers of eggnog, according to your taste. Top off with whip cream and a dusting of cinnamon.                                                                                                               Purrrfect.

My other favorites are mimosas and poinsettias.


Mimosas are half orange juice and half sparkling wine. Easy. I like to garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Poinsettias are half cranberry juice and half sparkling wine and a dash of Cointreau. Use any champagne glass or flute. More pomegranate or an orange slice will garnish very nicely.    


So, this is a new to me treat.  It involves cookie crumbs,  salted caramel Baileys and a splash of  heavy cream. Moisten the edge of the glass and roll in the cookie crumbs flavor of your choice. pour a couple fingers of Baileys and splash in the cream.   O_My_Goodness. So good!         




Enjoy the Holidays and drink responsibly.  

Nochebuena, Christmas Eve in Hispanic Cultures

Dec 15 2017, 11:01 pm in

Nochebuena, Christmas Eve, in most Hispanic cultures is a loud joyful celebration filled with festive music and lots of traditional food.  In pre-Castro Cuba Nochebuena had been a religious celebration, and after the evening’s festivities most people attended mid-night mass. Many in South Florida and other Hispanic communities around the world still continue this tradition.

     Family and friends gather, dancing to the music that blares all night long.  The ‘lechon’, or roast pig, is the mainstay of the meal, or for smaller celebrations, a ‘pernil’, roast pork leg.   






Some men who prefer to play dominos, sit someplace away from the crowd, trying to avoid being toppled by hordes of children running in every direction.

The aromas of black beans and rice, yucacon mojo, tostones, and sometimes stewed guinea hens, along with the roasted pork, intoxicate the celebrants.



A tray of turrones, a sweet nougat confection somehow gets devoured for dessert.




Olga’s Black Beans

This is how she gave it to me, I’ve shown my adjustments.

1 pound of black beans

10 cups of water (With good Goya beans, I use about 6 cups and add water as needed. 10 cups can be too much)

1 large green bell pepper (cut in half)


2/3 cup of olive oil (I use about ¼ cup, but you can adjust to your liking)

1 large green bell pepper (chopped but I leave this one out)

1 large onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons salt (adjust at the end) 1 bay leaf

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons sugar (I use one)

½ cup dry sherry (I use ¼ or you can leave this out)

(I add ½ teaspoon of cumin))

Wash the beans and place in the water in a pot with one bell pepper cut in half. Soak over night.

Cook beans 1 – 2 hours until they are soft.

Sauté onions (and second bell pepper if you use it), garlic until soft. Mash this all together, add 1 cup of the black beans and mash together until soft (I use a food processor or blender, adding some of the broth to this – it is to naturally thicken the beans). Add this mixture to the rest of the beans. (At this point, I remove the first green pepper that soaked with the beans and has cooked with them.) Add salt, pepper, bay leaf, and sugar. Cook for about 1 hour. Add the dry sherry, cook for about 1 more hour or until the beans are thick.



Linda Ramirez has always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until the age of 58 she self-published her first book, “Big Sky Siren”. Her second book, “Big Sky Allure” is with an editor waiting on it’s fate.  You can find her book, Big Sky Siren, here


A Braemal Christmas

Dec 14 2017, 10:55 pm in , ,


     I love the Christmas season. I love Christmas carols (even when I was in a choir and we’d start practicing them in July). I love the glow of coloured lights glowing from windows or hanging from the eaves in the dark of night (no white or blue lights for me please, they’re too cold in an area that is monochromatic for six months of the year.) The very first year i met my husband, we started a tradition of going out and cutting down our own Christmas tree. Finding a tree farm wasn’t as much work as you’d think since I lived in an area where every other farm in the area was a Christmas tree farm that charged locals $2 if you cut your own. (A lot of us also made money in the summer working on those farms, trimming the trees to the perfect shape.)  So naturally, going out to those farms and choosing the perfect tree became a tradition when our boys were little too. (No, it wasn’t quite the journey that the Griswolds had.)


     We no longer buy a real tree, thanks to Storm, our beloved black lab. Storm loved to sleep under the tree, then she’d wake up, forget where she was and stand up, tipping over the tree, sending ornaments skittering across the floor, along with a massive flood of water pouring out of the tree’s water bowl. So yes, it only took a couple of days of that to decide to switch to an artificial tree the following year.  Which is good too because it means we can put the tree up earlier.


     One of the tougher challenges however was how to keep the Christmas morning laughter going once our boys reached the age where *lowers her voice to a whisper* they didn’t believe in Santa anymore. (Yes, I gasp when I say that even now they’re in their late twenties and early thirties.)


So we started several traditions and we vary them each year. Hubby and I (or occasionally my sons and I) select one person in the family and pull one of two pranks. If you get a slightly larger present than you expected, it’s probable that the gifted has wrapped one of their smaller presents in increasingly larger boxes.(Yes each box was given its own coat of wrapping paper so they knew exactly which one would reveal the actual present. Some of them were as small as a Tinkertoy sized present that ended up in a huge three foot high box. Naturally we didn’t use the expensive wrapping paper for them.)


Or, especially if someone is expecting a specific special present, we hide the present and leave a trail of rhyming clues that the recipient has to decipher to discover the location of the next clue. Every one of us have been subjected to that fun. (Yes, it’s lots of fun. And a challenge too that the recipient doesn’t accidentally stumble on a clue before they go to bed on Christmas Eve.) My eldest still reminds me how one year he knew he was getting an amplifier for his electric guitar. He had seen the large box it came in, and knew from the size what it was wrapped and beneath the tree. Then on Christmas morning he dragged it over, opened it and discovered we’d filled it with forty pounds of weights  from his weightlifting set and the first of six clues to find the amp. (The weights were so if he did happen to move it before Christmas morning, he’d continue to be fooled. Yes, we get tricksy in this household when it comes to present wrapping.)


     Now my eldest has moved to his own home, he and his wife have continued that tradition, so often two of our family can be pranked the same morning. Which adds to the laughter.


    There is nothing I love more on Christmas morning than listening to the sound of my family laughing.


Leah is the only woman in a houseful of males that includes her college-sweetheart husband, two sons, a Shih Tzu named Seamus and Turtle the cat. She loves escaping the ever-multiplying dust bunnies by opening up her laptop to write about sexy heroes and the women who challenge them. You can reach her at


A Florida Christmas

Dec 14 2017, 12:01 am in ,


     I grew up in Florida a long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far, far away.  My mother’s Spanish immigrant family celebrated Christmas with a party on Christmas Eve at my aunt’s home, because she had the biggest house.  

                                         The menu was Paella, a wonderful combination of seafood, pork, chicken, and peas, with yellow rice. 





    Pan con Aioli. Wonderful bread with garlic spread.







     There were always plenty of desserts to keep the kids wound up. Flan, Torrone, cakes, and cookies. 



After dinner, and a lot of nagging from the children, we would open gifts. We drew names and had to wait patiently like good children—which I wasn’t— while each person opened their gift. Oh_my_God it was a painfully slow process.

Every year, an older cousin had a gag gift for my Abuelita, my grandmother. He always had imaginative ways to present it. One year it was a ridiculously large box with what I thought had to be a hundred more boxes inside—it was probably ten—we could barely contain ourselves while Abuelita slooowly opened each box looking for her gift.  

Then came the next tradition. A dear auntie would smoke a stogie and knock back three fingers of bourbon. 

 Christmas Eve wasn’t complete until she did and she did it until she was 85. I cannot smell cigar smoke without thinking of her. I cannot have a drink of bourbon without thinking of her. When I do think of her I see her quite clearly. She is smiling and the laughter and sounds of the party fill my head and the warm feeling of Christmas’ past blankets me.


We would walk the block to our house, generally through a thick fog, put out milk and cookies for Santa and leave the door unlocked because we didn’t have a fireplace. Us kids weren’t too sure how Santa arrived to the island where we lived. Was his sled pulled by dolphins or magical gators?






          After seeing gators in the swamp my money was on them.      




I’m Rita and this is my web home. Feel free to look around. Thank you for visiting 

Merry Christmas

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