Friday, August 16, 2019

BOOK: March Blues by Carol Ann Kauffman

BOOK: March Blues, A Cat Collier Mystery Short by Carol Ann Kauffman

Small-town red-head Cat Collier runs an private investigation service called Red Cat Investigation out of her office in the beautiful Palazzo Castellano with the help of her secretary, Nola White, an ex-client Cat took in because she had nowhere else to go, her boyfriend, Erick “Carter” Larsen, and Carter’s father, the wealthy, influential, and shady lawyer, Detrick Bittmor.

In this third installment of the Cat Collier Mystery series, after escaping from captivity in an abandoned train car, Cat stumbles upon a homeless man at the long deserted train station, who helps her get home to Carter. 

Detrick discovers he knows this homeless man as the one-time legendary saxophone player who played in the downstairs bar when they were both young and the family embarks on rehabilitating the sax player and reopening the bar, “The Blues.” 

March Blues
A Cat Collier Mystery
By Carol Ann Kauffman

My name is Cat Collier. I run a research service called Red Cat Investigation. I have an office in Palazzo Castellano, the gorgeous Gothic architectural masterpiece in the center of Heaton Valley, Ohio. My office adjoins the office of Attorney Erick Carter Larsen, my incredibly sweet, handsome boyfriend. His newly found millionaire father is bankrolling us. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
Mostly I do online research for private citizens of Heaton Valley. Now, you might not believe this, but privacy is a thing of the past. Death certificates, birth certificates, and real estate appraisals are all public record.  Credit scores, bank account balances, and employment records are a little harder, but not much. Social media is a treasure trove of free and easily accessible information about relationships, new babies, new jobs, and current location.  Friends of mutual friends can yield a ton of sought-after data. With an internet connection, a little luck, and minimal hacking skills, I can find out almost anything without leaving the comfort and safety of my lovely new office.  
Mostly. But sometimes I have to do a more physical kind of investigating.

“Hey, Nola,” I phoned my secretary, “I’m tailing the same white unmarked full-size Chevy van that picked up Lark Fairpoint, Case #7, three hours ago at the corner of Sinclair Street and Fifth Avenue.  2013 Express model, Ohio license plate number M 1538 C,” I said as I whizzed down Route 169. It felt good having someone I could check in with, someone who would know what I’ve been up to and my last known location. I found the private investigation business attracted some pretty shady characters.
“Okay, got it,” said Nola. “Do you need back-up?”
“No. I don’t see anything suspicious. They stopped at McDonald’s drive through, then went to Dunkin’ Donuts. Lark may simply be on a mindless eating binge or skipping school to hang out with her friends at the mall. That seems to be where they’re heading now. Did you ever do that as a kid?”
“Me? No. My mother would have killed me, revived me, and killed me again. Did you?”
“No. I liked school. What are you doing?
“I’m supervising Detrick while he does his leg strengthening exercises,” answered Nola.
“Hello, Cat,” yelled Detrick in the background.
“And he’s doing very well,” added Nola. “And Carter’s making ham and scalloped potatoes. The aroma coming from the kitchen is making us crazy, so don’t be late for lunch.”
“I won’t. See you soon.”

The van stopped abruptly and four people dressed in black wearing ski masks jumped out of the van and ran into The Big Cheese Pizza Shop on Route 169. 
Crap! My sweet little schoolgirl is robbing a pizza shop. I tapped some numbers into my cell phone.
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Don’t you have someone else to bother? You won’t be happy until you get my ass fired. I’m already in enough trouble over you, Cat. What the hell do you want from me this time?” shouted Officer Kiernan Scott of the Heaton Valley Police Department.
I hung up. Scotty’s verbal barrage snapped me back to reality. Marina Fairpoint hired me to find out why her normally happy, pleasant, smart teenage daughter had suddenly become distant and moody with plummeting grades, not get her arrested and ruin her chances of ever becoming the president of the United States.
I snapped some photos as the foursome ran back to the van. I noticed all four were tall, husky body types, not petite like Lark. The van roared down the street, turned down a side street, and pulled into a driveway. I passed the driveway just as the garage door came down. I snapped more photos.
I hung around at the Burger King on the corner, where I had a clean sight of the driveway while I read about the latest innovations in water treatment facilities in Denmark. Two hours and four cups of coffee later, the white van slowly backed out of the driveway and made its way to the mall while I followed a few car lengths behind.
The driver parked the van near the main concourse door and seven people got out, four big, husky boys and three girls. I spotted Lark holding hands with one of the boys as they entered the mall.
I checked my watch. One thirty. Wow, this little girl had an exciting day. Start off at McDonald’s, then have a doughnut, be implicated in a pizza shop heist, and go to the mall.
I drove my falling apart 2009 red Chevy Cruze back to the Palazzo Castellano Hotel, parked in the private underground parking facility, and rode the elevator up to my office on the eighth floor. My secretary was nowhere to be found. I typed up a few notes on the events of the day. I cropped and balanced the light and color in the photos I took at the crime scene on my phone, while still keeping the originals in case I needed to check them for detail. 
Now what?
Time for ham and scalloped potatoes, I guess.


on March 31, 2016
Another adventure with Cat Collier is in store for readers in March. Cat has quite a sense of adventure and obviously
 is head- strong. She'll take any case and go anywhere it leads her. Her romance is rocky, a new case, a kidnapping, 
and a new business in Heaton Valley keeps her busy. I personally enjoy the strong interaction among previously
 introduced characters, continuing from one month to the next. But this month's installment is done. Hurry up April!!!!

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on April 23, 2018
This is the third book in the Cat Collier series. The first January Black Ice sets the stage. Both are short, clean 
romances with heartbreak and healing. Dietrick, Carter's father is as manipulative as ever--but in a good way!! 
There are some mysteries to be solved by Cat--and some truths to be revealed by Carter.

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on May 6, 2018
I love this series! The stories are perfect little bonbons full of everything I want when I'm reading for pleasure and 
relaxation - sassy heroine, suspense, humor, romance, and a snappy finish.
on May 28, 2017
March Blues: A Cat Collier Mystery by Carol Ann Kauffman is a great continuation of a great story! It's full of 
mystery & intrigue & humor. I love it!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ART: The Illuminated Paper Sculptures of Sophie and Fred

The Illuminated Paper Sculptures of Sophie and Fred

I wish I could find more on these two fabulous artists, Sophie Mouton-Perrat 
and Frederic Guibrunet. This work is fantastic.

Once again, I claim nothing here as my own. I just thought this unusual work 
needed to be shared.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

INTERVIEW: Mystery Writer Larissa Reinhart

Larissa Reinhart
Peachtree City, Georgia, USA 
(But I’ve also been living in Nagoya, Japan, since my first publication.)

Good morning, Larissa, and welcome to Vision and Verse, a site devoted to art and authors. Can you tell us a little about what you've written?
I have three mystery series. A Cherry Tucker Mystery has 6 books and 3 novellas. The first in the series is PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY. Cherry Tucker’s very Southern and a cozy mystery series.
Maizie Albright Star Detective has 3 books and a novella with a fourth book coming out later this year. The first in the series is 15 MINUTES. Maizie’s light and more of a chick lit/romantic comedy-styled mystery.
And Finley Goodhart Crime Capers is my newest series with only one book published, THE CUPID CAPER, and a prequel story that’s exclusive to my VIP Readers email subscribers. Finley’s a little darker and more of a romantic suspense crime thriller.

What is your favorite genre to write?
I only have mysteries published but I’m working on a romantic comedy and have written a few other manuscripts in other genres. I don’t necessarily have a favorite genre—it’s the characters and their story that really appeal to me.

Favorite food.

You are my soul sister. Tea or coffee?
I start with coffee and then switch to tea.

Pizza or ice cream?
Why can’t I have both? Ok, pizza.

You can have both! Wine or beer?
I’m not choosy. I’ll take whatever you’ve got open.

Where would you like to visit?
I’d like to visit my friends in Japan and see Italy and Vietnam again. For new places, I’ve always wanted to go to Taiwan and Austria. I also like Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Italy is fantastic. Go Go now! You can't savor Italy in a week or two. Each region has it's own magic. Favorite musical artist.  
That’s really hard! Right now I’ve been listening to The Revivalists and the Pistol Annies. My all time favorite is Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
I’ll listen to Bluegrass or classical while writing because they allow me to focus. However, I will listen to specific genres or artists before writing because I find music inspiring, especially storytellers.

What makes you laugh?
My kids, animals, and dumb criminals. Also “Parks and Rec” compilations on YouTube.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
Kandinsky’s “Several Circles.”

How old were you when you started writing?
First grade or so. As soon as I could write enough to put together a story, I illustrated little booklets and sold them to my neighbors. I kind of went pulp from the start.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
I take notes on the characters and their backstories, then start writing. But after I write a couple chapters, I stop and create a synopsis to guide me.

Describe your perfect evening.
I’m at home or on vacation with my family. We hang out outside, eat dinner together, then cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Nowhere specifically. Sometimes I’ll hear stories about people or a crime and that will provide me a jumping off place. Sometimes I’ll see something—a building, a sign, or a place. Or sometimes it’s a song I’ll hear and I’ll create a story about the characters in the song.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Read over what I’ve already written and try to figure out what went wrong. Usually writer’s block happens when I’ve written the story into a corner and I need to back up and start again.

Who is your favorite author?
Elmore Leonard.

Best book you ever read.
Crime and Punishment.

Last book you read.
I’m reading The Black Prism right now.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I was a teacher and am a mom. I would love to be in charge of naming nail polish colors. Whoever came up with OPI’s “Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok, Fine!”—just know that might make it on my tombstone. I’m such a fan I had to have a character who regularly changed their polish to match their mood (Maizie Albright) just so I could name the color. 

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Aside from being a Christian and stating Jesus, probably my husband. We’ve had a great partnership for more than thirty years (including dating)(I married at 13)(No, I didn’t but please don’t do the math).

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
It’d be interesting to see how my characters operate outside my head. But I might need a padded room for that.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Join some writing organizations in your genre and go to conferences and meetings. They’re daunting but inspiring. I learned so much from attending Georgia’s RWA meetings and conferences—GRW’s conference is Moonlight and Magnolias—and attending those definitely jumpstarted my career.

Thanks so much for the interview! It’s always wonderful to meet new readers. And congratulations on your 6th anniversary!

Thank you so much, Larissa! Vision and Verse has, at times, been a wild ride, but getting to meet today's terrific writers like you and Ritter Ames are the best part of it. Do you have some links for us to follow you?
Social media links:
My VIP Readers email group:
Official Facebook page:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ART: A New Look at American Artist Winslow Homer

When you think of the one of the most important artists of the
nineteenth century and foremost artists of the American art, you think of Winslow Homer. 

But these images are not what you think of. Crack the Whip and other visual representations of rural American life in the 1800's. These images are very different.

Think of these as Winslow's vacation photos.

Winslow Homer was born on
February 24, 1836 in Boston,

Massachusetts. His mother,
Henrietta Benson Homer, was a
gifted watercolorist and his first
art teacher.

Of her three sons, 
Winslow was most like his mother: quiet, artistic, and a bit terse. They had a strong relationship that lasted for the rest of her life.

Winslow began his career as a commercial illustrator with little formal training. He began working with oils as a medium as a hobby and became very successful. He is most famous for his rural American and Civil War 

Winslow Homer died on
September 29, 1910.

This is one of the more
recognizable Winslow Homer paintings, as well as Crack the Whip, which is part of the permanent collection at the Butler Museum of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.