As many of you may know, our beloved sister hostess SHARON DONOVAN, tragically passed away on 11th April 2012. We who knew her, loved her, and were inspired by her courage and determination to face head on whatever life threw at her. When she could no longer see to paint she turned to writing and showed her amazing talent in the Inspirational Romance and Romantic Suspense genres, and her story 'Charade Of Hearts' was awarded the coveted Predators and Editors Award in January 2011.

This Blog was a source of great delight to her, she was one of the founder hostesses and she contributed to the fun and silliness in her own original way, and was kind enough to let her unique creation, the hunky butler 'Oliver' join us for our Friday romp and prepare 'virtual breakfast' for the guests on the following morning. It's beyond hard to have to go on without her, but we know that she would have been the first to insist that 'the show must go on.' She is, and will always be with us in spirit.
Sharon, dear friend, we will never forget you.
The Author Roast and Toast is part of the legacy you left us. Let's raise a Toast to you as well as all our guests.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Evelyn Cullet on the track of a stolen painting at the Roast

“I love art festivals,” Patsy gushes. “I love all the food and the music and the performers.”  Her brows draw together in a frown. “But tell me again why we came so far for this one.”

“Because,” Lyn taps Patsy’s forehead, “Evelyn’s on the track of some stolen art and the trail leads here.”

“What’s this place again?” Mac slaps a wide-brimmed hat on her head. “All these people crammed together in one place is making me really hot – and not in a good way.”

Bariloche - from www.evelyncullet.com
Mary takes a long swig of lemonade. “The town is called Bariloche - pronounced bah reeh LOH cheh.

"Like I’ll remember that. Mac’s lips twist in a wry grin. “But at least I know we’re in Argentina. We are in Argentina? Right?”

Painting by E Cullet
Painting by E Cullet

“Right!” Lyn’s interest is caught by a young art student in a covered booth diligently working on a canvas.

“I’m just amazed by all the artists here. Oil painting, watercolor, gesso. And over there are sculptors. Every kind of artisan I could ever imagine.”

“What kind of art is that?” Patsy points across the way where a handsome dark-haired male attacks the canvass with a flourish.

“He’s using the Chiaroscuro style of painting.”  Evelyn
leans in for a closer look.

They round the corner and stop. A huge booth spanning the entire width of the walkway catches their attention.

“These paintings are supposed to be copies,” Evelyn says. “But some of these look like real masterpieces. Maybe we’ve come to the right place.”

A seedy looking lowlife sidles up to the women. He is dressed in what could only be described as pseudo gaucho. A straggly mustache and goatee cover oily, pock-marked skin. Pig-like black
 eyes roam the women with undisguised avarice.

“Ah, Senoras,” he waves a blunt fingered hand with broken, dirty nails. “I am Reynaldo.” His overly full lips part revealing decayed and yellowing teeth.  “I am the proprietor here. Tell me what I must do to make you happy!”

“How about you taking a bath,” Mac mutters, face skewed with disgust.

“We have anything and everything,” the seedy individual rambles on. He rubs his index and thumb together. “But only for a price.”

“I’m sure this is "The Concert" by Johannes Vermeer,” Evelyn whispers as she studies one of the paintings. “It's an actual masterpiece that was a part of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Art Museum art heist in Boston in 1990 and has not been recovered to date.”

“How much is it worth,” Lyn murmurs, casting a nervous glance at Reynaldo who watches their every move.

Evelyn’s face lights with awe. “It’s valued at 200 million dollars. And in case anyone is interested, there is still a $5 million dollar reward out for it's recovery.”

The Concert - Vaneer
“Hey,” Mary exclaims. “That looks like the Mona Lisa. I haven’t heard it’s missing.”

“And that looks like Blue Boy.” Patsy points to another art work.

Reynaldo furtively reaches behind a nearby counter.

“I think we should get out of here.” Mac edges out of the booth. “Guy looks like he’s up to something.”

Reynaldo glowers at the women. His hand raises threateningly. He looks ready to attack.

“Well, this really isn’t fun,” Patsy grumbles. “I came all this way for this crap. I can get this at home for nothing.”

“You Senoras made a wrong choice by coming here.” Reynaldo snarls, brandishing a long, wicked looking panga. “And you,” he points at Evelyn, “have made the worst mistake of all.”

“Is there a problem?” A tall handsome man enters the booth. He smiles, dimples dancing in his sculpted cheeks.

“Oliver!” Lyn practically falls on him. “We’re so thankful you’re here.”

Seedy Reynaldo backs up and then scurries out of sight.

“I could see you ladies were in trouble.” Oliver crooks his arms in invitation. “Let’s do some sightseeing and hit the food booths along the way."

“Now you’re talking,” Mary groans with delight. "There’s a food booth over there and their specialty is Milanesa Napolitana -- breaded meat strips in tomato sauce and melted port cheese

. Comes with an Asado Salad, grilled white onions, carrots, olive oil, lemon, and grated cheese. And for dessert Alfajores, two large almond cookies sandwiched with thick melted chocolate. If we’re really hungry, there’s Dulce de Leche cake.”

“All I need now is some beer and I’m in hog heaven.” Patsy seats herself at a table and picks up a fork. “This is the life.”

“I agree,” Mac licks her lips. “This is why I love arts fairs. The food.”

Lyn munches on a meat strip. “Oh Yum! My stomach thought my throat had been cut.”

“I thought someone was going to get their throat cut,” Mary shudders. “Do you believe that guy?”

“I think I’ve found my criminal,” Evelyn says. “Now to prove it.”

Oliver seats himself between Lyn and Evelyn. He’s already informed the authorities, so now they can relax and have some fun.

A beautiful Spanish woman hurries to their table. “Greetings Senoras, Senor.  Can I interest you in a little something while you make your dinner selections. I suggest some wine made from the Melbec grape.  It's Argentina's signature grape - medium to full-bodied, dry red wine. Delicioso!”

“Bring it on,” the ladies cry out.

A band of roving musicians stops by the booth and begins playing.

“That’s a Samba,” Lyn gasps with joy.  “We are in the right place!”

Now Evelyn, let's find out all about your great book, 'Masterpiece of Murder.'

Heartbroken American art student Charlotte Ross is so intent on locating her errant fiancé that she submits someone else’s painting as her own in order to gain access to a Master art class being held in the resort city of Bariloche, Argentina—the place her lost love was last seen. But her fiancé has his own reasons for being in Bariloche, he's after a stolen art masterpiece, they complicate Charlotte's life and threaten her very existence as she stumbles onto deceit, art forgery and murder. When circumstantial evidence begins to mount against her, the local police think she is the killer. Now she mustprove herself innocent of a crime she didn't commit. Not an easy task
with a military police officer dogging her every step.

Charlotte was barely aware of her body as it drifted down toward the bottom of the lake, until a strong hand grabbed her wrist and pulledher upward. In another moment, her head broke free of the water and the hot, sweet air filled her lungs. The sudden change in temperaturefelt as if she’d gone from a freezer to an oven. The hand dragged her onto the muddy bank and left her there. She rolled to her hands andknees, coughing and spitting out water. After several minutes, she finally managed to catch her breath. Brett sat down beside her.

Rivulets of water ran down the muscles on his bare chest and arms as he pushed back his wet hair. “You okay?” he asked, breathing hard.

She nodded. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Raoul, handcuffed and on his way to the police Jeep along with the Chief and anotherofficer. “I didn’t know you could swim like that.” she said.

“There’s a lot about me you still don’t know."

Brett tried his best to button her short, wet blouse that now clung flaccidly on her shoulders. “We can’t have anyone see you like this.”

Her jeans were gone, but there was so much mud on her legs, she was sure nobody would notice. She coughed again and a shudder ran up her body. “Thanks for rescuing me. I’m glad you didn’t leave me here all alone to face a murder charge.”

“I could hardly do that,” he said. “There’s something so vulnerable about you, sweetheart. It brings out the protective instinct in me.

When I think that I, we almost lost you.” She could hear the emotion in his voice. He cleared his throat. “Your parents would never forgive me if anything happened to you. And, I don’t think I could ever forgive myself.”

“Oh, Brett,” she sighed, but she barely got the words out before his strong arms were around her. His muscles felt solid against her body as she melted into his embrace. He smelled of river water and sun block, and when his mouth covered hers, his wet mustache tickled her upper lip. But his warm, passionate kiss was filled with raw emotion.She ached to tell him how deeply and hopelessly she loved him.

Evelyn Cullet has been an aspiring author since high school when she enjoyed writing short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. After taking early retirement, she finally has the chance to write full time. She enjoys playing the piano, is an amateur Lapidary, and an organic gardener .A former member of the Agatha Christie Society, she is currently a member of Sisters in Crime.


To win a signed paperback copy of   Evelyn's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.


  1. Hiya chickies! Nothing like a little intrigue early in the morning. You run with an interesting crowd, Evelyn.

    Ick. I can't get that guy's yellow teeth and pig-like eyes out of my mind. Someone get me a drink, fast!

  2. "Don't cry for me Argentina lah lah lah" Good morning ladies. Fun post, chasing after art criminals. Great idea. Congratulations on the release Evelyn and wishing you many sales.

  3. Thanks ladies. I'm so glad you could come to my art festival. It's early yet, but everything looks great, and the festival should be a lot of fun.
    I'm looking forward to meeting more art lovers.

  4. Hi Evelyn - welcome to your Roast, what an interesting setting you've given us, and the paintings are beautiful.

    *Hugs* sister hostesses. Now, where's the mead?

  5. Thanks Hywela, I'm having a great time. You ladies all look mahvelous. And Oliver is so dashing,I could just eat him up. Oooh, I must be hungry. Talk to you later, I"m after some cake and a dance with Oliver.

  6. Enjoy your tea and cake -and the dance, Evelyn. You're certyainly turning some heads today!

  7. LOL, Absolutely LOVED the post today. I have missed you guys so much. Evelyn, this book looks intriguing and I can't wait to read more about it. This looks like a book where I could learn a little bit about the culture in Argentina. I always get excited when I can pick up a book and learn a little something. Charlotte's character is one that seems I could develop a fast bond with. You just have to love a woman who is .... determined. :) Evelyn, congratulations on Masterpiece of Murder. I wish you nothing but strong sales and good reviews. Ladies, as always, you make me laugh. I love you guys.

    lastnerve2000 at gmail dot com

  8. Nice to see everyone! Mary initiates a group hug, Val, long time no see!
    Mary pulls out a small painting. "I swiped this on the way out. Could be a forgery. Thought I should give it to Oliver." Oliver laughs heartily, and Mary wonders why they are all chuckling.
    Then she looks at the small painting. It's cheerfully colored letters, spell a word she can't read.
    Then Lyn tells her. "Rest Room."
    "Well, I tried." What a terrific place to party ladies!

  9. \Mary, sweetie, you are such a characrter! :)

    Hi Val, lovely to see you again, we've missed you!

  10. Hiya Val. *waves* We haven't met yet. I'm the new chick. *winks* So nice to meet you.

    Mary, I'm so glad you took that painting instead of me. I had my eye on it too, but I'm too much of a weenie to swipe it. :-)

    So, Evelyn. Have you been to Argentina personally to do your research?

  11. Me? I have no idea what you are talking about?
    I am in awe of writers who can do suspense and mystery! I have got a devious enough imagination. Wish I did...
    Evelyn, you rock!

  12. So I won't need the cocoanut bra this week thank goodness. They chafe...

  13. By the way, Patsy. Thanks a lot. Now that song is stuck in my head. Although, the image of Antonio Banderas that's stuck there with it ain't bad. *wink wink*

  14. LOL @ the chafing. Hi Mac, nice to meet you and I agree with you, how can you EVER go wrong with Antonio Banderas? ;)

  15. I've been away for awhile. Had to take a nap. I should never drink wine on an empty stomach.

    Thanks for stopping by Val, and for the good wishes. I think you'll like both Charlotte and Argentina.

  16. No Mackenzie, I haven't been to Argentina, but when I was taking art classes, I did meet an artist who took a master art class in Bariloche, and that's where I got the idea for the novel, and most of my information.

  17. And speaking of Antonio Banderas, if this novel should ever be made into a movie,(crossing my fingers and wishing really hard), he would be perfect as the world-famous artist and womanizer who gives these master art classes. I could just picture him on the screen right now holding a paint brush in his hand, ready to capture the hearts of all the young women in his class.

  18. They don't call them Latin lovers for nothing!

  19. I love your presentation! I've been to Argentina. Did some serious buying in Buenos Aires.

  20. Someday *she sighs* Did someone say something about Antonio Banderas? Did you see him? Pretty hot but short!

    Mac- Don't cry for me Argentina La la laaaaaaaa

  21. Pfffttt Patsy. :-)

    Okay, I'm back. The tax man has cometh, and gone, and I'm still breathing! Yay!

    What'd I miss?

  22. I don't know but I think Antonio is getting to old for me. Hmmm. Josh Halloway,after Jessie James, My standards are getting higher. Who is the newest hot one out there???

  23. What an amazing trip this has been! Love the site and love the mystery. I especially love the book! I'll have to visit here more often. What fun! Did I just hear a couple of people singing Don't Cry for Me Argentina?
    Marja McGraw

  24. Thanks for stopping by Marilyn and Marja. This day has been a lot of fun.
    That Argentina song! The entire time I was writing this novel, it was running through my mind.

  25. Hi Marja and Maralyn - so glad you could join the party. Spread the word, it's open house here every weekend.

    Oh Evelyn, I forgot to say, what a lovley excerpt, I really got drawn into the whole scene, wonderful. And your pictures are gorgeous too, you hhave so much talent!

    Glad you overcame the tax man Mac - now where did Patsy and Mary say those hot latin guys were?

  26. Hey, isn't that the pig eyed guy from the shop who we think is a creepy crook?
    Mac is about to dance with him!! Grab her Patsy, grab him, somebody. I'll call the police. Hey, how do you dial 911 here anyhow??
    Ugh, he's trying to kiss her!!!Save Mac!!!

  27. oh that is just wrong, Mary! Have your eyes checked dear. That's Patsy.

  28. I forgot my glasses, Patsy, yeah, she'll dance with anyone won't she.
    Ever since she took those hula lessons, she hasn't been the same. Oh, wow, no worries, did you she how she flipped him onto the floor over her back? Where did she get the handcuffs? Does she carry those things around with her?
    Anyhow, good job Patsy...YAY!
    Oh, sorry sir, she didn't know you were the caterer. No need to sue, we'll take care of her...

  29. By the way Evelyn, you are quite an artist!!! Nice work!!

  30. Thanks for your kind comments about my paintings Mary, and you too, Hywela. I'm glad you like them. I painted those when I was a lot younger, and eventually gave up trying to be an artist. I went through a lot of phases before becoming a writer.

  31. Will be leaving with Jessie James, he finally showed up. Haven't seen him for a long time. Sorry Lyn, the Duke never showed this time. But the rest of Jame's gang is available if anyone is interested. See you!!!
    Do party on this whole weekend. We are open till Sunday!!!
    Jessie you devil you...

  32. Sorry to see you leave so soon, Mary. The party's just getting started. I'm having another glass of wine, and a another tango with Oliver.

  33. *she wiggles around the dance floor* Of course I'll dance with anyone. If I don't like my partner, I just pretend I'm with someone else. Works every time.

  34. It's been a while since I went to an art festival. This was a lot of fun thank you.


  35. Hiya Mary, welcome to the party.

    Your paintings are gorgeous, Evelyn. Funny how creativity can't be contained, but finds an outlet somehow, huh?

  36. Hi Mary. I'm glad you liked the festival. It really is a lot of fun. Especially when it's hosted by these talented authors.

  37. Thanks Mac. These painting are the only two that were good. Most of the others were so dreadful I had to get rid of them.

  38. Hi Mary - so glad you could come to the Festival and celebrate Evelyn's wonderful novel. *blush*, thanks Evelyn, you're so talented yourself, it's not everyone who can paint AND write!

  39. Great contest. Looks like my kind of read.

  40. Hi there cmgren, thanks for stopping by, welcome to the party!

  41. Sorry I am late to the party. Busy weekend. Evelyn enjoyed the excerpt very much. Sounds really good.
    Sue B

  42. Hi Sue - don't worry about being late -you know our parties go on all weekend - or until the last guest passes out! :)

  43. The party seems to be winding down, but I'm still having fun. I just need one more glass of wine and one last tango with Oliver.

    I'd like to thank all the art festival attendees, and my wonderful hostesses before the party ends.

  44. You've been a fantastic guest, Evelyn, and I think Oliver would love to tango the night away with you!

  45. Good morning. Happy St Patrick's Day. I saw my first robin yesterday and today I saw a bluejay. To me that means spring is coming. Yay!
    Sue B

  46. Happy St. Paddy's day, Sue. Can't wait for spring.