Monday, May 16, 2022

ART: British Artist William Banks Fortescue

I asked an aspiring artist I met at a Starbuck's in Aruba who her favorite artist was and she said William Banks Fortescue.

I had never heard of him. She said she liked how he made everyday people doing everyday things look beautiful without purposefully making them beautiful.

This intrigued me. 
I think you can see what she meant in these few examples I pulled up from Artnet.  

WilliamBanks Fortescue



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Sunday, May 15, 2022

SCHEDULE: May 16- 20, 2022

 Mon., May 16 - ART:
British Artist William Banks Fortescue
Tues., May 17 - BOOK REVIEW:
Firefly Junction, Murder at the Inn
by London. Lovett
Wed., May 18 - INTERVIEW:
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author
Craig Deegan
Thurs., May 19 - ENTERTAINMENT:
The King's Man
(HBO Max)
Fri., May 20 - BOOK:
Lavender Mist of May
by Carol Ann Kauffman



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Friday, May 13, 2022

BOOK: FREE TODAY! Bentley Square by Carol Ann Kauffman

 New Cover
AND it’s FREE Today! 

Bentley Square is a great story.
Strangers see each other on the train every day, but never speak. She is a beautiful, wealthy businesswoman. He's a down on his luck office manager. They have nothing in common. And yet, they are drawn to each other with an undeniable hypnotic magnetism. 

This is the story of Rebecca Robbins, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the country and Mark Ramsay, a man shrouded in dark mystery and hiding in the shadows from death squads amid international intrigue.

This one was so much fun. to write! I hope you enjoy reading it.
Most of the action takes place in Northeast Ohio in the fictitious city of Skylar. 

The red cover photo on the old edition is the bank building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. We scouted locations early in the cover design planning stage. I really wanted to use the Niles Bank Building in downtown Niles, Ohio. But none of the shots came out well. Some of the Cleveland ones were great shots, but somehow missed the mark of what I wanted Skylar, Ohio to look like.

The new blue cover, by Cover Up & Hide, is exactly what I had in mind. And I love it. But a tiny piece of my heart still belongs to the red-bordered cover with the photo of the bank building in downtown Youngstown.

There's a ton of action is this one. What begins as a little love story between two people who see each other on the train soon becomes a story of international intrigue, with kidnap, assassin squads, and murder.  

There's a part in the book about fixing old telephones. When I was little, much to the dismay of my parents, I used to love to take things apart.  Including the telephone.

The insides of an old land line telephone are fascinating. Little colored wires. Tiny metal coils. All snuggly nestled inside the screw off receiver. Now, bear in mind, we had one phone. It was a landline. And when it was in pieces, it didn't work. Mother was not happy.

Bentley Square is available in ebook and paperback format on, and other large book retailers. It is also available at your local public library. 



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Thursday, May 12, 2022

ENTERTAINMENT: Margin Call (Netflix)

Based loosely on a true story, this Netflix film had a ton of star power working for it. I don’t know much about the stock market, but those who do claimed the story had credibility. 

It was well-acted. They was a dog. They were some seriously good lines in this. I love Stanley Tucci and Zack Quinto.

I don’t like that corporations can do things like this. I don’t like the fact it was based o an true story no matter loosely. I do not like the way corporate greed shows such distaste for normal people.

So? Maybe watch it yourself and make your own decision.




Wednesday, May 11, 2022

INTERVIEW: Multi-Genre Author Jeff Chapman

Jeff Chapman



Good morning, Jeff, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the site for artists and authors and those who love them. What have you written?

I’ve completed four novels and two collections of short stories. The novels are The Black Blade, a weird western; and the fantasy tales: The Great Contagion, Cat Sidhe, and The Sniggard’s Revenge.

What is your favorite genre to write?

Whatever genre the story I’m writing falls into.

Favorite food.

A reuben or a turkey sandwich topped with guacamole. When a restaurant offers both, I have a very difficult time deciding.

Tea or coffee?

Hot Chocolate, preferably mocha. And it must be the real thing made with milk.

Pizza or ice cream?

Pizza. And the more toppings the better.

Wine or beer or soda or what?

Grape juice (wine before it’s time).

Where would you like to visit?

The Tate Gallery in London.

Favorite musical artist.  

I enjoy the music of Bob Dylan, Natalie Merchant, Tom Petty, and U2. I’m also partial to Beethoven.

Do you listen to music when you write?  What?

Not when I’m writing first drafts or revising in creative mode. When I’m adding corrections or some of the other mundane work associated with prepping manuscripts I will listen to music, usually Bob Dylan, Natalie Merchant, or classical piano.

What makes you laugh?

The antics of my cats.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.

I like the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly Millais and Waterhouse. I appreciate the dense physical detail in the paintings and the vivid sense of story. If I must pick a favorite, I’ll go with Millais’s Ophelia.

How old were you when you started writing?

I remember some story writing assignments from grade school but those were derivative. I was probably sixteen when I started creating my own stories. These were Edgar Allan Poe-inspired stories of the weird and macabre. Fortunately, none of those early attempts have survived, but my initial interest in the macabre lingers in the darker elements of my fantasy tales.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?

I start with a situation and a vague idea of who the protagonists are and where the story is going. I find my best ideas come to me during the creative process of crafting the story. Outlining does not work for me because I come up with better ideas while I’m writing.

Each day when I write, I review what I’ve written the previous day. Some writers take things out when they revise. I tend to add, usually more physical details and improved dialogue. When I’m done with the first draft, I do a read-through to fix inconsistencies and weak sentences. I then send it to beta-readers or an editor. I avoid multiple rounds of revision. It doesn’t take long to revise a story to death.

Describe your perfect evening.

A comfy chair, hot chocolate, a good book, and a cat purring on my lap.

Where do you get your inspiration?

The inspiration for the Merliss Tales series came from a cat that my family rescued.

I came home one fall day to find a small gray cat sitting in front of the garage. I had seen this cat before but never had a good look at it. I had usually glimpsed it at night or twilight and a gray cat in the dark appears to be little more than a shadow. I had assumed the cat belonged to someone in the neighborhood. I was so wrong. It was starving. I could see every bone in its ribs. Pus was visible beneath one eye. The cat meowed at me. My wife came out the breezeway door at that moment. The cat trotted toward her and tried to enter our house.

We gave the cat some food and water. It ate like it had never seen food before. I believe at this point the cat had decided it was going to live with us. We coaxed it into a carrier and took it to an emergency vet. The cat, which we named Smokey, was not sick with any life-threatening disease. She was dehydrated, malnourished (only 5.5 pounds), suffering from an upper respiratory infection and an eye infection, and had a million fleas.

Several hours and several hundred dollars later, we returned home with two antibiotics and a sick cat. We quarantined her in the breezeway. Our other cats spent a lot of time sniffing at the back door.

Smokey responded well to the medicines and our TLC. She gained weight and proved to be incredibly well-tempered. She wasn’t the cutest kitty on the block but certainly the sweetest. We soon discovered that she was deaf and missing an upper and lower canine. We had no idea of her age, but Smokey appeared to have been up and down the alley a few times. When her quarantine period ended, Smokey moved into the house.

We speculated a lot about Smokey’s past. What stories would she tell if she could talk? The speculation got me thinking about characters based on an old cat. Somehow, I made the leap of pairing a human spirit with a cat’s body. In the fantasy world I was developing, this pairing would grant the animal’s body unusually long life, but injuries would accumulate. Merliss was born.

Unfortunately, Smokey passed away after two and a half very good years with us. Her health had been declining and then x-rays revealed painful bone tumours in her sternum. Taking her to the final vet appointment and staying with her until the end is one of the roughest tasks I’ve experienced.

Smokey’s memory lives on the character of Merliss. The cat silhouettes in the map and at the beginning of each chapter were made from pictures of Smokey.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?

It doesn’t happen very often, but if I don’t have any ideas on what is going to happen next, I’ll work on another story project. I have plenty of unfinished projects to choose from.

Who is your favorite author?

I don’t have just one. Some of my favorites include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, Franz Kafka, Robert E. Howard, Charles Todd, Ann Cleeves, and Michael Connelly. I could list many more.

Best book you ever read.

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny. This is a dark fantasy told from the perspective of animals serving as familiars. I read or listen to an audio version every October.

Last book you read.

Later by Stephen King.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?

I don’t make my living as a writer, at least not yet. I pay the bills by working as a software engineer.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?

My grandfather started a small business in a dustbowl state during the Great Depression. Somehow, he made a success of it. That dogged determination to succeed despite the odds being against you has always inspired me.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

I would love to talk to Stephen King or Neil Gaiman about their writing. Fortunately, they’ve written extensively or given lengthy interviews about it. Franz Kafka would be an interesting interview subject. Why did he give up on finishing The Castle?

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?

Don’t get discouraged, don't give up, and read more books. The only failed writer is one who stops writing.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?








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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: A Cipher in the Sand by Sandra Bolton


A Review of A CIPHER IN THE SAND by Sandra Bolton

Book Description:
Even before the plane touches down in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Sarah Nelson questions her motives 
for being there. Murder and romance were not on her list. The year is 1985 and Ronald Reagan is 
president. Following a recent divorce, Sarah joins the Peace Corps. She is assigned to the northern 
coast of Honduras, a poverty-stricken tropical paradise. The Garifunas, a unique Afro-Amerindian 
culture, are her nearest neighbors. Her closest ally in times of trouble is the ancient female tribal 
leader and spiritualist, Xiomara, who draws her into the mysterious world of the supernatural. Sarah's 
life is forever altered as the naive and idealistic woman encounters more danger and intrigue than 
she ever bargained for.

5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just Another Day in ParadiseJuly 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Cipher in the Sand (Kindle Edition)
A Cipher in the Sand by Sandra Bolton tells the tale of an American woman in the Peace Corp sent to Honduras as a teacher. She quickly becomes embroiled in the lives of the village people and faces the corrupt local police, men with violent and often deadly methods. The characters are so believably drawn that one forgets this is not a true life story. The beauty of the country and it's people play an important part in the story, as we watch our teacher's growth through pain and heartache. A quick, interesting read with great characters and a beautiful setting, but not just another day in paradise. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

SCHEDULE: May 9 - 13, 2022


Mon., May 9 - ART:
Hopewell's Public Library of Life
Tues., May 10 - BOOK REVIEW:
A Cipher in the Sand
by Sandra Bolton
Wed., May 11 - INTERVIEW:
Multi-Genre Author Jeff Chapman
Thurs., May 12 - ENTERTAINMENT:
Margin Call
Fri., May 13 - BOOK:
Bentley Square
A Time After Time Novel
by Carol Ann Kauffman



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Friday, May 6, 2022

BOOK: Space Dragon, A Love Story by Carol Ann Kauffman VELLA

Vella is a new platform on Amazon Kindle that allows you, the reader, to read great stories an episode at a time. It's an easy way to fit your reading into the little chunks of free time you have throughout the day.

Waiting at the Doctor's office? Read some episodes. Waiting to pick up your little Mozart after piano lessons? Read some episodes.

There is a plethora of stories already on the Vella platform. There is something for every reading taste.

Mystery. Scifi. Romantic Adventure. Fantasy. Detective series. There's an absolutely wonderful Regency Mer-people romance I love, Sea Rose. 

You pay for episodes with tokens. First you buy tokens. Then you use them to unlock episodes of the stories you pick. 

 One of my stories is Space Dragon, A Love Story. It's the story of a young, ambitious captain named Emma Fortunato and her desire to spend her life in space. Her new assignment? Retrieve the twelve spaceships floating in space and bring them home. 

She assembles her crew. She adds one handsome doctor to her list, one  Tyler Lomond. That's where the love story part comes in.




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