Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Artwork of Helen Ansell

Dear Gentle Readers,

May I introduce you to the work of Helen Ansell? Her work is immediately recognizable by her vivid use of color and strong Australian influence. Her work is both primitive and complex, dramatic and simple, all at the same time. 

I was drawn to her work because it reminded me so much of the art pieces by our own very talented Texas collage artist, Parker Kaufman. Do you see the resemblance?

Bold and geometric shapes are combined with detailed and delicate lines. A fearless mix of color and shape and stroke brings the canvas to life.

Australian-born Helen Ansell loves to paint wildflowers. She has had a affinity for wildflowers since she was a little girl helping her father collect wildflower seeds and growing them in a remote Aboriginal community outside of Wiluna, Australia.

Some of her wildflower paintings have been translated in textile designs. On her Facebook Page at Helen shows us her process of turning photos of the natural fauna of her country into works of art. 

If the art of this amazing young woman has sparked your curiosity at all, please follow the links to learn more about her and how she creates her beautiful work.

None of these photos are mine. I claim nothing here. They came from the links above.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Interview with Urban Fantasy Author Rachel Rawlings

Rachel Rawlings
Ellicott City, MD

Good morning, Rachel, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. Can you tell us a little about what you're written? The Maurin Kincaide Series, 
Jax Rhoades Duology and
Sherri 2.0, a horror short

What is your favorite genre to write? 
I love Urban Fantasy. It’s my favorite genre to read as well.

Favorite food. 
Seafood, especially my husband’s Drunken Clams!

Tea or coffee? 
Coffee, definitely coffee.

Pizza or ice cream? 
Probably ice cream. I love pizza but it has to be thin, NY style and there’s a shortage of that around my house.

Wine or beer? 
Wine, unless cider counts as beer, lol.

Where would you like to visit? 
Ireland! It’s my number one bucket list destination.

Favorite musical artist.  
Do you listen to music when you write?  
This is tough! I love so many different types of music, but going for all-time favorite it would have to be Nine Inch Nails. I’m not writing with music right now, but I usually do. Nico Vega was on repeat when I wrote Paid In Full.

What makes you laugh? 
My husband. We have very similar sarcastic senses of humor. He makes me laugh every day.

That's the sign of a good husband. Favorite work of art or sculpture. Gargoyles by Michael Parks

How old were you when you started writing?
I started writing in middle school, mostly poems and incomplete stories. I didn’t sit down and complete my first novel until I was thirty-three.

Describe your perfect evening. 
I love sitting outside with a fire in the fire pit and a cold cider.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Just about anywhere. The idea for Payable On Death came when I heard a song by the Pretty Reckless on the radio driving to work.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
Read! I think reading is the best inspiration. It reminds you that writing and completing a book are possible – this author did it, so can I.

Who is your favorite author? 
Anne Rice

Best book you ever read. 
Little Women

Last book you read. 
A Perri Jean Mace mystery by Catie Rhodes

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I manage two hair salons for my mother by day, but when I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My husband. He’s spent years teaching me how to cook- an effort in futility, lol. Taught me to change my oil, tires… the list is endless. We married young and so many of the things I can do are because he taught me how. It’s a good feeling to know that you can do something yourself when you have to.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Stephen King or Anne Rice because they’ve mastered their craft and hold a wealth of knowledge on writing. I’d love to just pick their brains for an hour.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? Keep writing. One sentence, one paragraph, one chapter. Before you know it, you have a book. First drafts are for errors and working out the kinks. Don’t let them trip you up.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Charming Deception by Carol Ann Kauffman: An Excerpt and a Review

Chapter One

Okay, where the hell am I? What happened to me? The last thing I remember is… nothing comes to mind. Nothing looks familiar here. I turn toward the window. It’s dark outside, cloudy, not a star in the big, black sky. The room is dark. I’m naked in this big, comfortable bed. Judging from the smell of the lavender scent on the perfectly ironed, high thread-count sheets and pillowcases, I’m either in a very high-end luxury hotel or in one of Martha Stewart's guest rooms.
 A snore interrupts my thoughts. Apparently, I am not alone. I glance over at the noisy lump beside me. Nope. Don’t recognize him. There's a very strong possibility that I've been teleported back to the free-loving sixties. I get up quietly to go to the bathroom. A glint of gold catches my eye from the ring finger of my left hand. I'm married? Oh, shit! When did this happen? This isn't the sixties. This must be Vegas, baby. I creep quietly into the bathroom, close the door, and snap on the light. Definitely a hotel. Plain, antiseptic bathroom. Martha Stewart's guest bathroom would have scented candles and a sense of style, hospitality, and luxury. And not so much white. White walls, white floor, white towels, white shower curtain. A rather bizarre-looking attachment on the faucet, and another one on the showerhead. I look at the mirror. I carefully touch the mirror to make sure it was a real mirror, not a…what? What else would it be? Oh, God, I’ve gone mad. I peer into the mirror. 
Yikes… well, I give that bony lump sleeping beside me credit for marrying me when I look like hell. Good grief, he must be a total loser. I examine my dull, spotty complexion, wild Einstein hair, and the bags under my blurry, bloodshot eyes. My head hurts. I check myself for bruises, scratches, and sore spots. No, nothing. Well, at least I wasn’t attacked. So, what do I tell that Bony Lump?
‘Hey, Bozo, whatever happened between us, it was just some bizarre mistake. Gather your things and get the hell out of here. I'll contact my lawyer to annul this fiasco as soon as I get home. Now go!’ Then I’ll point to the door for dramatic effect. Oh, yeah, that sounds good.
As soon as I get home. Home? Where is home? I can’t remember. I look back at the reflection in the mirror. I can't remember where I live, or how I got here. I can't remember where I work, or what kind of car I drive. I can’t remember my name. A…Amy, Ann…B…Barb…Bebe…C…Cianna… Carrie…Carol, no. 
Hmmm. did Bony Lump drug me? Did he drug me, take advantage of me, and then, marry me? No, why would he do that? That makes absolutely no sense. I wiggle the beautiful gold wedding ring with a large brilliant cut diamond in the center. Weighty. Expensive. Good fit. And… slightly familiar. Oh, look, a little tan line. Now, how can that be? This has to be a dream. 
I snap off the light and creep silently back into bed. 
Oh, crap! That might have been my last chance at escape if this lump beside me is a kidnapper. The sooner I go back to sleep, the sooner I’ll wake up, and this bizarre dream will be over. D…Diane…E… Emma …F…Franka, no G…Gigi… H…Helen… I… J…Janie…K… Katie…L…Louisa… M…M…Marie…Mena…Mmmm. 
Bony Lump rolls over and pulls me to him gently, hugging me, patting my shoulder. 
“It was just a nightmare, my love. I'm right here. You're safe,” he whispers sweetly in a sexy, sleepy voice. “Go back to sleep. You’re safe. I’ll protect you. Always.” He kisses my head gently. He has a wonderful voice. British accent. Kind. Reassuring. Gentle. Loving. Very touching. 

So, what else could I do but fall asleep in his arms, with my hand on his just-hairy-enough chest, breathing in his familiar scent.

Amazon Link:

A Review for Charming Deception:
on February 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

This story is completely different from all the other books I have read by Carol Ann Kauffman. You get to see another side of her creative mind and I love it. She had me guessing all throught the book. She filled it with mystery, suspence, romance and paranormal. Her style is the same as her other work, maybe even better.
Open door ways can be wonderful and yet confussing to some. But to go throught a door way and wake up not knowing who you are or where you are can be unusal. Sam doesent remember parts of her life. Her husband is telling her that she hit her head and has memory loss. But she doesn't know who he is either. Jaxs is madly in love with his wife and would do anything for her, even switch places with Jackson Blake.
As the two of them resume their life together in Florida, Sam finds herself falling in love with her husband all over again. But is he really her husband? Then one day trouble happens and she is pulled into a cloud with hands all over her. She has no idea what is going on. But she ends up at a castle and remembers her father and everybody there, but how? Jackson ends up there too and wants to taker her home. The king is mean and loves to torture people. He goes after a tracker who found Samantha thinking that he killed his real daughter. So how many Samantha's are there? And is there more then one Jackson Blake?
As the story goes on, you find yourself trying to figure out why there are clones and who made them. Why would someone want more than one person that looks the same? Well the guardian has his reasons. Can this all be worked out? Or is someone going to die? Will all be disappointed in the end? You will have to read it to find out.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Schedule for August 14 - 18, 2017

Schedule for 
August 14 -18, 2017
Mon., Aug. 14 - Charming Deception by Carol Ann Kauffman
An Excerpt and a Review 
Tues., Aug. 15 - RELEASE DAY: When We Swing
by Kyla Ross
Wed., Aug. 16 - Interview with Urban Fantasy
Author Rachel Rawlings
Thurs., Aug. 17 - The Artwork of
Helen Ansell
Fri., Aug. 18 - The Art of
Federico Andreotti

Friday, August 11, 2017

Home Sweet Home by Elizabeth Cash

Home Sweet Home
Elizabeth Cash

Release Date: October 2017

Monsters don't hide under your bed or in your closet.
They don't jump out of the darkness and scare you.
They don't masks and tattered clothing.
They don't wait for you to fall asleep to give you nightmares.
They stand in front of you. 
Smiling. Holding your hand.
My monster has dictated my entire life. 
He lurks in the scariest part of my mind 
because I refuse to acknowledge who he is.
I haven't seen him in seven years, 
but just the mere thought of him
 brings me to my knees in fear.
I used to think he loved me at one point, 
but that thought is never enough
 to salvage what he has left of me.
An ounce of love from him
is worth a pound of hate from the Devil himself.

Wanna know what I used to call this monster?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amaryllis in August

Dear Gentle Readers,

The Amaryllis is  Christmas flower, but our Amaryllis is having it's own Christmas  in August. The plant doesn't stay there on the edge of the lower deck, because a good wind would send it right into the water. This was for photo op purposes only.

I don't remember this plant blooming last December, but now in August  it is just beautiful. All in all it had four giant red flowers.

Amaryllis grows from a bulb. It's a native of South Africa It is sometimes called Jersey Lily or March Lily, but it's not really a lily. They are great as indoor bloomers from December to March. They're fun to grow. They send out a huge leafless stalk sometimes over two feet tall. Funnel-shaped flowers appear at the top and can range from one to twelve, but we usually get three. This year it was four huge, gorgeous blooms, spreading out in all directions. I didn't think to take a photo until the first two flowers dropped off. 

At the end go the growing season, it goes dormant. We allow the stalk to wither naturally and then put the pot on the bottom shelf in the sunroom, where it gets heat, humidity, and some water, until it pokes it's head out again, ready for another blooming season.

Gardening is an art form, so this is an art post this week. Sometimes it's hard to get those artist types to answer your emails asking for an interview or to promote their work. They are busy. Some are not wordy. I understand and offer you an Amaryllis. 



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Interview with Author Kyla Ross

Kyla Ross
Utica, MI 

Good morning, Kyla, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. Can you tell us a little about what you've written?
A Trinity of Wicked Tales- Jilted is a splatterpunk horror anthology. Dark Designs from Kyrobooks is a free collection of dark fiction flash and short stories. When We Swing is a dark erotica novel.

What is your favorite genre to write? 
Dark fiction. Anything that has heart pumping suspense that leads to a thrilling jaw dropping twist.

Favorite food. 
Homemade ravioli, pizza, mushrooms, peppers, onions and spinach. The last few can be sautéed in olive oil and I’d eat them out of a bowl.

Tea or coffee? 
Caffeinated tea (very high caffeine concentration) and a Frappuccino with a triple shot of expresso.

Pizza or ice cream? 
Pizza (Supreme please!)

Wine or beer? 
This is hard. Merlot is my favorite but I really enjoy craft IPAs and pale ale. Wheat ale with berries is good too.

Where would you like to visit? 
Italy, England, Amsterdam, Japan, and South Africa. And, oddly, Antarctica. I was considering studying marine biology for a while because of my obsession with the large bodies of water. It would give me a reason to go to the south pole.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write? 
I love all types of music. And I listen to music religiously as I write. Right now, my list includes Drake, Jeezy, Nivana, A Tribe called Quest, A Perfect Circle, Sound Garden, Jill Scott, and Deftones. Deftones is probably my favorite right now. I also listen to Lily Allen, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Ludiovico Einaudi and Tall Black Guy.

What makes you laugh? 
Family Guy, American Dad, Archer, Venture Brothers, and anything considered adult animation. Oh and then there is The Eric Andre Show (hilarious). I’m in love with the Adult Swim line up.  

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I like the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote as a kid and wrote technical documents over the last nine years. I started writing fiction a year ago and haven’t stopped since.

Describe your perfect evening. 
A margarita in one hand and a Richard Laymon novel in the other as I chill on the beach.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My goals. I can’t sleep unless I reach them.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I throw a pitching session in the mirror. I write. No matter how bad it sounds, I write. I also read best sellers.

Who is your favorite author? Richard Laymon and Sam Sisavath (right now. This tends to change often.)

Best book you ever read. 
Endless Night by Richard Laymon; the entire Purge of Babylon Series by Sam Sisavath; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; Needful Things by Stephen King.

Last book you read. 
Completed? A thriller I beta read for a fellow author. What I’m reading now? Funland by Richard Laymon, Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz, The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett, Stage 3: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller by Ken Stark and Heart- Shaped Box by Joe Hill.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
Be a scientist (chemist or biologist) or make scary movies.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
There’s more than one. My siblings, mom, and aunt. They’re crazy positive and remind me of what I set out for when I become doubtful or annoyed. They are a joy to be around. I love my family.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why? 
My grandmother. I’d like to know how she feels about how her family turned out. Is she proud? Is she OK?  (I hope the answers would be yes.) 

I am sure she is, sweetie. You are an inspiration!

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? Don’t give up or get discouraged and take criticism. It’ll make you better in an industry that is overflowing at the seams. 

Thanks for being with us this morning, Kyla. We at Vision and Verse wish you continued success in all your writing endeavors. Come back and see us again...soon. And tell us a little about WHEN WE SWING.
Okay, I will.

Do you have links for us to follow you?