Dear Gentle Readers, Today we another beautiful piece from our favorite Texas paper and collage artist, Parker Kaufman. Entitled Journey's End, this stunning blue and brown piece is 18" x 24" and has 39 hand-cut cardstock pieces affixed in layers on foam board. About this piece, Parker says it's about a reflection on one aspect of his life. I hope you enjoy today's post as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. Hugs, Carol
Hello. My name is Susanne Leist. My book, The Dead Game, is a paranormal thriller
with vampires, humans and human vampires. The action takes place in a small town
called Oasis, on the coast of Florida. Linda and her friends are caught in a deadly
game with the evil one controlling their town. They are led down dark pathways,
where they must save their town from the evil forces at play.
Look through the palm trees, Past the sanded beaches, Beyond the swimming pools And you will see the truth. You can hear the raging winds, Feel the spray of the tall waves, Taste the salt in the air And you will know Oasis, Florida For what it really is. A town living on the edge, In fear of the nights, Of the dark shadows.
Welcome to Vision and Verse, Susanne. It's a pleasure to have you with us this
morning. What made you decide to write The Dead Game? I've always been an avid reader. I grew up on Agatha Christie and Sherlock
Holmes. In recent years, I've begun to read paranormal books. They bring fantasy
and the surreal to life, but few combine paranormal with the classic murder mystery.
I decided to write a paranormal mystery of my own. It's the type of book that I search
for and love to read. Seven long years later, The Dead Game was born. The Dead Game has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional murder mystery.
However, it also has humans, vampires and vampire derivatives. And don't forget the
haunted house-we must have one of these.
What are you working on now? The Dead Game is the first book of three books. The first book resolves the
murder mystery, but at the same time, opens a Pandora box of new mysteries.
Its surprise ending leads to more surprises. I'm presently writing the second book. My writing often leads me in unknown
directions, so I won't know how the book will end until it does. So far, the second
book is slated to resolve the mysteries of The Dead in the United States. The last
book will follow The Dead and their deadly activities abroad.
What are your hobbies? I love to swim and read books.
Who is/are your favorite Author(s)? The murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie was the first murder mystery I
read. I was ten years old. Soon after, I read most of her collection-and she had one
big collection. My love for murder mysteries continued with Arthur Conan Doyle and
Alistair Maclean. These books taught me how to analyze clues and crime scenes. Today, my favorite authors are Brad Meltzer and Linda Fairstein. Brad Meltzer's
Zero Game prompted me to write my own book. He doesn't write in a pompous way.
He follows through with the plot and clues. I feel satisfied when all the plot points
are wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end. His writing inspired me to take on an
author's long and hard journey.
Tell us a little about yourself. My first career was in Finance. I have an M.B.A. in Finance. I worked in the fields
of commodities, financial analysis and budgeting. The creative side of me felt trapped
inside. I followed my heart and wrote my first book, The Dead Game. I am married with two beautiful daughters. My oldest is married and is an inventory
analyst. My second recently got engaged and is working in digital marketing. My life is complete.
What do you suggest for anyone thinking of or wanting to write a book? The best advice for a new writer is to have your author platform and marketing
strategies ready before you launch your book. After Outskirts Press informed me
I was published, I quickly checked my book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It sat
on the two sites-alone-with no description. I panicked. In a few short weeks, I set up
Twitter, Facebook and Google accounts. I created blogs on Tumblr, Blogger and
WordPress. I researched articles and books about book marketing. It was a year
later before I was able to sit back and take a breath. My advice to a new author is to have everything in place before your book is
published. Blogs and online accounts should be open and ready. It shouldn't be a
surprise to anyone but an anticipated event.
Are you familiar with Oasis, Florida? There could be a town in Florida where the longtime residents hide during the day
and come out at night. A place where dark shadows roam the streets after the sun
sets for the evening. Dead bodies roll in with the tides and settle in the white sand.
Beach communities have sunshine during the day and trade winds at night. The rest
of the story could easily be the result of someone's imagination: my over-active
What scares you? Death scares me but not the type of death in my book. Death by vampire is a
good way for me to deal with my fears. Here's to the bloodsuckers!
Dear Gentle Readers, The Cat Collier Mystery Short Story Series has grown! The newest Cat adventure, June Green Leaves of Deceit, is out!
In June Green Leaves of Deceit, Carter disappoints Cat in the worst possible way. She begins to doubt her worth. Can a new location bolster Cat’s self-confidence? Is she strong enough to move on with her life and let a new love in?
Will anyone ever replace Carter? Does she really want to replace him?
June Green Leaves of Deceit continues the adventures and misadventures of Mary Catherine Collier, known as Cat, as she opens a second online investigation office, far away from small town Heaton Valley, Ohio? And from the love and support she’s known there as well?
Cat knows she's not a very good detective. She's smart and gutsy. She can figure out her way around most online sites. And she's lucky. But is this enough? Can she make it on her own?
Dear Gentle Readers, The Captain and the Ambassadorwas a departure from my normal contemporary romantic adventure novels. And although the locale for most of the story is interplanetary space, the story revolves around two people: an ambassador retiring from a twenty-year career as a peace negotiator, and a starship captain who is considered the bad boy of the quadrant because he doesn't follow the rules. Here's a little excerpt:
A New Passenger
“Captain Jacobs? Sir, big news. Ambassador Tull Redmond is meeting us at Bridgeport Seven tomorrow and will join us as ourpassenger all the way to Earth,” said second-in-command Commander Zack Mankewitz of the Earth Starship Giuseppe Verdi. “Ambassador Redmond,” repeated the captain. “Oh, I’ve heard ofhim, Commander. He’s the peace, love, and hope guy. He’s the mostsuccessful intergalactic mediator in this quadrant. Wow, my very first five-star passenger. Yes, that is big news. I’m glad I didn’t miss him. High Council’s never trusted me with a big wig before.” “Yes, sir. I know.” “So, the ambassador and I will be going home to Earth at the same time. Well, I’m not sure the Ambassador is Earthite, I justassumed. Is he retiring, too, I wonder? “Well, sort of. From what I hear the ambassador refused to sign another ten-year contract, so resigning from intergalactic mediation isthe only other option. You two are lucky ducks.” “Luck had nothing to do with it, Commander. It’s plain, old- fashioned endurance. Any special dietary requests? I heard the ambassador was a vegan.” “No. No special food requests, but a full bathroom in quarters, and the ambassador is a woman. She’s also requested a room with a space view.” “You’re kidding me? I’ve seen him, eh, her, from a distance. Short, pale, roundish, light-colored hair slicked back or something. Hair was hardly noticeable. Wears a big, long, hooded, monk-like robe. Kind of like a roundish beige ball. A non-sexual being.” “Does that matter?” “No, I guess not. The ambassador gets the job done. A full bathand a view, huh? Well, there is only one accommodation like thataboard this ship, and that’s mine. Damn. My first five-star passenger and she kicks me out of my quarters. Oh, well. Go ahead and assignher to Captain’s Quarters, Commander. She’ll enjoy the view in thesitting area as well as the full bath. I’ll take the quarters next to mine. I don’t mind sonic showers. I’ll move my things over this evening.” “Do you need help, sir?”
“No, thanks, Zack. I don’t have much to move. But send someonein to give the place a good cleaning and shine it up a bit. Change all the linens. Put a little welcome note or something inside. I want my first and only five-star passenger to be impressed with her deluxe accommodations, if nothing else, on this tugboat for her four-month stay with us on her way back home.” “Yes, sir,” chuckled Mankewitz. “Ambassador Redmond, welcome to the Giuseppe Verdi, a classone intergalactic Earth Starship. It is my pleasure to have you aboard,ma’am.” “Thank you, Captain Jacobs.” “You’re my first five-star passenger in a twenty-year career.” “Yes, I’ve heard. I’ve been duly warned.” “You have?” Captain Jacobs laughed. “Yes. High Council strongly urged me to wait for the next Earthbound starship, which is scheduled for early next year. They say you are the juvenile delinquent of the quadrant. They say you think therules don’t apply to you and you love to defy authority.” “And yet, you came aboard my ship anyway. You are a brave soul as well as a successful negotiator, Ambassador.” “Thank you, Captain. I’m not afraid of bad boys. Your safety record is exemplary. You’ve never lost a passenger or crew member.Upper management may not admire your quirky leadership skills, or your less than organized reports, but your crew holds you in the highest esteem. So, you like to bend the rules a bit, big deal. You like tocut through the nonsense, that’s fine with me. You allow your crew to become far too familiar with you...” “And my passenger, too,” he winked, “if you’re interested.” She ignored it. “You hate quarterly reports, so what? All I ask isthat you get me to Earth in one piece.” “Thank you for your confidence in me. I promise I’ll get youthere, safe and sound. And I promise to be on my best behavior whileyou’re aboard my ship. May I escort you to your quarters?” “Yes, thank you, Captain.” “Were you born on Earth, Ambassador?” “Yes. Eagle’s Landing, Ohio. Midwest United States.” “And your parents, they were both from Earth?” “Yes.” “Are you a member of a religious order then, Ambassador?”
“No, Captain. What made you think that?” “The ‘peace love, joy’ stuff. The non-violence lifestyle. The robe.” “So, you have something against peace, love, joy, and non- violence, Captain Jacobs?” “No, ma’am, I do not,” he giggled. “Maybe the robe, though.” “I’ve been a member of the Society of Peace and Light for the last six years. It’s not a religious order, Captain. It’s a chosen lifestyle.” “And what exactly does that particular chosen lifestyle entail? Yoga? Essential oils? Meditation? Veganism? Celibacy? Power crystals?Tea leaf readings? Tinfoil head cones?” “I’ll forward you some information on the society if you’re interested. It was very helpful to me while I was mediating.” “And now that you’re leaving intergalactic mediation, what will you do?” “Now I’ll be making some changes.” “If one of those changes happens to be a big, juicy burger on a toasted homemade bun with melted cheese and all the fixings, I’m your man.” He winked again. “I grill them up for my crew on Thursdays inthe dining room and you are invited.” “You get ground beef out here?” “Domesticated livestock from whatever’s in the area. We haven’t had Earth meat for so long, we’ve all forgotten what it tastes like. Right now, Resa, our cook, has a supply of Plumarian yak. Yummy.” “Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind, Captain.” “And your Earth parents from Ohio? They named you...Tull?” “Getting rather personal already, aren’t we? What is your first name, Captain?” “Ben. Benjamin Joseph Jacobs. My childhood friends called me BJ. Or Beej. And your first name is ...?” The Ambassador remained quiet. They came to the Ambassador’s new quarters. “Here we are, Ambassador. It is the finest accommodation aboard the Verdi. Full bath, quiet, away from the noise of engineering and the recreation hall. Observation window in the sitting area overlooking the beautiful blackness of space. Just as you requested. The rooms arespacious. And that’s a great bed,” he pointed. “Thank you. It’s just perfect. And now if you don’t mind, Captain, I’m thoroughly exhausted. I’d like to rest now.”
“Of course. Digital control panel here. It’s also voice-activated. I’ll help you set it up later this evening, after you’ve rested. And when you’re ready for a little walk outside on the pressurized deck, I’ll be happy to take you. But we’ll need to be tethered to the platform. Any atmospheric disturbance, no matter how small, could weaken the edgesand send you catapulting into space.” “Yes. Thank you. Goodbye now.” She motioned toward the door. “Yes, I’m going. Now. I’ll see you later. Please feel free to call upon me for anything you may need during your stay with us. Have apleasant rest, Ambassador.” “Well, Captain, what do you think of the Ambassador?” whispered Zack when he met Ben walking down the corridor back toward the Bridge. “You know, I like her.” “Oh, that’s a surprise,” teased Zack. “No. This is different. She’s different. She’s...more. A strange combination of Mother Earth and a 1960’s Flower Child Peace-nik and something else I can’t quite put my finger on.” “Yet.” Zack laughed. “But I’m sure you will.” “She has a serenity about her. Interesting person. But that robe? Ugh.” “I think maybe you want to get a peek at what’s under that huge yardage of beige material,” giggled Zack. “No, Commander. That’s completely ridiculous. Well, maybe alittle bit.” An hour later, the Captain returned to the Ambassador’s quartersand rang the Enter button. “Ambassador? It’s me, Captain Jacobs. May I come in?” “No, thank you, Captain.” “Did you have a nice rest?” “Not yet.” “I’d like to talk to you for a moment. May I enter?” “Not now, Captain.” “It’ll only take a moment.” “Captain, what do you want?” “I...I would like to help you set up the digital system with your own voice command. It’s a little tricky.” “It’s done.”
“You did it yourself?” “Yes, Captain. It wasn’t difficult.” “Well, okay then. How about some dinner? Are you hungry? I can show you the way to the dining room.” “There’s a map on the ship’s digital home screen.” “So there is. I just thought...” “Captain, please forgiven my bluntness, but I am tired and I’m not in the mood for company.” “But I think you may be hungry. I’ve noticed women tend to get angry, aggravated, and maybe a little curt when they get hungry.” “And dealing with a persistent sexist middle manager doesn’t lead to anger, aggravation, and curtness aboard your ship, Captain?” “Sexist? Middle manager? I assure you I am not a... I was only trying to...”
“Captain, listen to me very carefully. Go. Away.” Amazon Link: