Sunday, September 27, 2020

SCHEDULE: Sept. 28 - Oct.2, 2020

Mon., Sept. 28 - ART: 
French Painter Laurent Parclier
Tues., Sept. 29 - BOOK REVIEW: 
Salazar: A Dystopian Fantasy, Book 1 - 2121
Wed., Sept. 30 - BLOG TOUR: by Land Bookish
Love Ever After
Thurs., Oct. 1 - ENTERTAINMENT:
A Place to Call Home
Series -ACORN
Fri., Oct. 2 - BOOK:
April Yellow Moon,
A Cat Collier Short Story Mystery
Carol Ann Kauffman

Friday, September 25, 2020

BOOK; Sea Witch by Carol Ann Kauffman

Sea Witch 
by Carol Ann Kauffman

Dr. Laura Martin, Chief Extraterrestrial Life Scientist at The Touchstone Institute of Oceanographic Research, noticed troubling but subtle changes in the Atlantic Ocean. Before she could make sense of it all, her longtime assistant abruptly walked out. Laura hired young, handsome Scott Conner to be her personal assistant. Mayhem ensued, mainly because of Zara, the alien-mermaid-siren-monster in the basement of the Touchstone Institute, who eyed on Scott as her possible mate in a plot for total domination of planet Earth.

“The Touchstone Institute of Oceanographic Research is the most fantastic, exhilarating place on the planet to work. It is high energy, exciting, sometimes maddening, often frightening, heart pounding work. It’s not a job. It’s a lifetime commitment. It gets in your blood. It grabs you by the throat and possesses you, body and soul. And it is work. If you’re not prepared to work your ass off day in and day out, weekends, holidays, your birthday, and your mamma’s birthday, leave now.”

Amazon Buy Link:

But wait! Read an except before you buy:

Chapter Four
Boy Meets Fish

“Scott? Tell Vanna to bring down a starfish, please,” Laura called over the intercom.
“Yes, Dr. Martin.” Scott looked around for Dr. Vanna Johanssen.
“Dr. Johanssen! Vanna? Has anyone seen Vanna?” They all said no. Not wanting to disappoint Dr. Martin, Scott scooped out a starfish and placed it in a plastic bag with some water and tied off the top. “Dr. Johanssen?” he called as he headed for the down staircase. “Vanna?” No Vanna. He ran down the steps.

As soon as Scott walked down the steps, Zara became extremely agitated. She beat the glass sides of her tank wildly.
“Zara, what’s the matter? What’s wrong? Calm down and talk to me,” Dr. Martin spoke softly and calmly to Zara, the giant tetrapescahumanoid. Zara attempted to calm down, but she beat her chest and thrashed around in the tank.
“My mate!” she screeched, “My mate is here, Laura. I sense him. And you are keeping him from me. I want my mate. And I want him now!”
“Zara, your mate is not here. I have no other TPH here, you know that. There’s only you. You are the last.”
“He is here, Laura. I sense him. I smell him,” she inhaled deeply. “And I want him. I must have him now. Now!” She pounded her chest and threw herself up against the glass walls of the tank.

“Here, Dr. Martin,” said Scott, handing her the starfish. “I couldn’t find Dr. Johanssen, so I brought it down myself.”
Zara stopped and stared at Scott. Zara pushed herself up against the glass wall. She began to coo and reach toward him.
Scott looked at the giant six and half foot tall tetrapescahumanoid in the tank in amazement.
“Well, hello beautiful!” he said. “Isn’t she amazing? What is this gorgeous creature? A mermaid?”
“A tetrapescahumanoid, a TPH for short. The only one left on the planet, out of the nine who splashed down about twenty years ago in the Atlantic Ocean,” said Laura.
“She’s… she’s… incredible.” Scott stared in amazement.
“Oh, crap! I’ve seen this movie and it gets really messy,” said Sylvia. “Earth guy falls in love with giant alien female. Lots of people die. The planet gets bombed. Except in the movie, she was much larger and …blue. Are you smitten with the big green fish-woman?”
“Well, she is beautiful, I must admit, and her ancestors were undoubtedly the reason for irresistible siren and mermaid legends of long ago, but I’m madly in love with a one hundred percent human woman,” he said eyeing Laura.
Laura glanced over at him.
“Yeah? That’s good, Scott. Is she a geek like you?”
“Well, I’ve never thought of her that way, but yes, I guess you could say that,” laughed Scott, shaking his head, “except she’s a cross between a geek and… Wonder Woman.” He smiled.
“Well, then she sounds like the perfect match for you. Hold on to her and don’t let her slip through your fingers.”
“I’m determined not to let that happen, Dr. Martin,” he smiled, blushing.

Zara pressed herself up against the glass wall of her tank, eyeing Scott intently.
“Come. Come to me, my mate. Oh, how I have missed you. It has been a long, long time, and I am ready for you,” Zara cooed. She reached for her genitals, pulling her labia back to show him her opening. “I want to hold you up against me and enfold you into my skin and feel you throb. Come to me.”
“Did the big green fish-woman just… proposition me?” asked Scott.
“Yes, and not too subtly,” said Sylvia Washington.
“Her first two layers of skin are gelatinous ectoplasmic vasodilators, capable of keeping her body at the perfect temperature despite her surrounding temperatures in water or air,” said Laura. “Even a splash from that tank water can be EXTREMELY harmful to you as a human male, Scott, so please remember to stay behind the yellow line at all times. And watch out for what appears to be her long, flowing hair. They’re actually masses of tentacles that can pack quite a sting.
“Come to me. Come now,” Zara beckoned to Scott, but not so sweetly this time.
“She certainly can communicate. Dr. Martin, did you teach her to talk?”
“I’ve worked with her. But she has good communication skills and she picks up very quickly. Zara is extremely intelligent. The TPH must be a brilliant species.”
“What are these characters on the side of the tank?” said Scott.
“I believe that is her native language. Sometimes she doodles.”
“They look, uh, oddly familiar.” Scott leaned forward. “I’ve seen these somewhere before.”
“You! Come to me NOW! I command you! How dare you disobey me!” Zara scowled, hitting the glass wall with her body again and again and whipping her hair against the glass. Everyone backed up in fear.
“Zara, calm down. Scott, back up slowly,” Laura said calmly. “Security team, lower level. Emergency,” Dr. Martin called out. A team of six armed guards showed up in moments. “Dr. Conner is in danger. Please escort him upstairs. And tank him. She can’t see him or smell him. Or sense his presence.” They led Scott upstairs.
“Did she say ‘tank me’ or ‘thank me? Must be thank me,” a bewildered Scott asked. “You’re welcome, Dr. Martin,” he called back.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

ENTERTAINMENT: Radioactive, the Movie

I really like Rosamund Pike. I think she's an excellent actor. 
'Radioactive' did not disappoint in this gripping, sometimes dark,  retelling of the life story of scientist and medical pioneer Marie Curie.  

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

INTERVIEW: Children's Author Maxine Sylvester

Maxine Sylvester
Bali, Indonesia

Good morning, Maxine! And welcome to Vision and Verse, 
the site for art and authors. What have you written?
I have written three books in the ‘Ronaldo the Flying Reindeer’ 
series; they are available as ebooks from The second 
book, Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher, is coming out soon 

What is your favorite genre to write?
Children aged 6-10 years. I am very much in touch with my inner 
child so writing and illustrating for this age group comes naturally.

taught that age group for 35 
years. They are my favorite people.  
Favorite food
Pizza! I also have a passion for 
Indian curry.

Tea or coffee?
Herbal tea. Jasmine is my favourite.

Pizza or ice cream? 
Without a shadow of a doubt, pizza! 
I would only eat ice cream if there 
was a fudge brownie buried beneath it.

Wine or beer or soda? 
I don’t tend to drink alcohol or soda but I will
 have the odd glass of wine at Christmas or on 
my birthday.

Where would you like to visit? 
Disneyland, Shanghai. I have been to the other Disney Resorts; 
this is the last one on my bucket list.

Favorite musical artist.
Anything from Guns ‘n’ Roses and 
ACDC to Bruce Springsteen, 
Pink Floyd and James Taylor. I also 
have a wonderful Disney 
soundtrack with all the songs from 
the films and theatre productions.

Do you listen to music when you write?  

I listen to music when I am illustrating 
but I find it too distracting when I write.

What makes you laugh? 
Old comedies like ‘Fawlty Towers’. 
I also like ‘Johnny English’ films.

Favorite work of art or sculpture. 
I have a folk art painting which I 
bought in Park Cultury (Gorky Park) 
in Moscow. Not only do I love it 
because it’s a winter scene but it 
reminds me of the time I spent in Russia. I also 
like the Hachiko statue in Tokyo. I saw the film 
and made a point of having my photo 
taken with it while I was in Japan.

How old were you when you started writing? 
Mary Poppins says you should never discuss a woman’s age, 
but I will make an exception this once (ha!) I was 47 years old.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write? 
I usually have a rough idea in my head how I am going to start the story,
 but then it veers off in a different direction, and then I am thrilled because 
I never saw it happening that way. I always keep a notebook handy 
because once my brain is in writing mode, ideas keep coming at the 
strangest times and I might be in the bath or out shopping.

Describe your perfect evening
I like Saturday evenings at home with my partner, Mark. We usually order 
an Indian curry and watch the Premier League football. (Unfortunately we 
support different teams which have led to minor conflict over the years!)

Where do you get your inspiration? 
From childrenI love to encourage them and each book has a message. 
Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher is about friendship and bravery. 
My first book, Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, deals with self 
belief. Ronaldo is a good role model and very relatable; I want children to 
feel they have a friend every time they pick up a Ronaldo book.

What do you do when you get a 
writer's block? 
I have a few sessions of acupuncture. 
I believe that a writer’s block comes 
from the body not functioning to the best 
of its ability. Outside factors like stress 
can have a major influence on how the 
body performs.
Who is your favorite author? 
I’d have to say J.K. Rowling. I devoured 
the Harry Potterbooks. 

Best book you ever read. 
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle; it was 
life changing for me. Whenever I feel anxious, 
I read the shortened version and it reminds me 
to get out of my head.

I have that book sitting on my shelf, 
in my giant "to be read" pile. 
Maybe I'll move it up toward the top.  Last book you read. 
Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull. The author is one of the founding fathers of 
Pixar animation, a tiny little company who created Toy Story and eventually 
merged with the epic Disney. I am obsessed with Disney and Pixar so the 
book is a fantastic read for me and so inspirational!

I've read that one! Excellent! I wished I had read that when I was younger. 
I doubt I would have stayed in the classroom for 35 years. What would 
you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I would probably illustrate for other people. At the moment I only illustrate 
my books. I am a trained Pilates Instructor, so I could teach a few classes 
as well.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most 
and why? 
My partner, Mark. Over the last twenty-three years, he has supported 
every hairbrained idea I have ever had. He helps with my social media 
to give me more time to write/illustrate.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE 
person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be 
and why?
Walt Disney, although I tend to get tongue tied when I am 
in awe of brilliant people. (I once sat at the next table to Roger 
Waters of Pink Floyd – I couldn’t even ask him for an autograph!) 
As to why, Walt Disney has brought so much joy and inspiration 
to my life, I would like the opportunity to say thank you!

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Do it! Believe in yourself but don’t be too proud to ask for help. You want 
your book to be the best it can possibly be, so surround yourself with people 
that have experience in the industry. I would also suggest investing in an 
editor; a good one is worth their weight in carrots!

Do you have some links for us to follow you?

Twitter:      @flyingronaldo

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Sinister Goings-on in Room Seven by Alice Simpson and Celia Kinsey

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Monday, September 21, 2020

ART: Condors at Sunrise by Parker Kaufman

Condors at Sunset
Parker Kaufman

This 16" x 20" art piece by Parker Kaufman, Texas paper collage artist was completed in August 5, 2020.

I am always amazed at Parker Kaufman's work. The shapes with their layers of gradient color evoke a
special feeling of peace and serenity. 

These photos do not do his work justice.

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

SCHEDULE: Sept. 21-25, 2020

Mon., Sept. 21 - ART: 
Condors at Sunset
by Parker Kaufman
Tues., Sept. 22 - BOOK REVIEW: 
Sinister Goings-on in Room Seven
by Alice Simpson & Celia Kinsey
Wed., Sept. 23 - INTERVIEW:
Children's Author
Maxine Sylvester
Thurs., Sept. 24 - ENTERTAINMENT:
Radioactive (Madame Curie)
Fri., Sept. 25 - BOOK:
Sea Witch
by Carol Ann Kauffman

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Friday, September 18, 2020

BOOK: Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life by Carol Ann Kauffman

"Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life" 
is a short story written in the form of a letter 
from a very ill mother to her unborn daughter, 
telling her the incidents surrounding her birth,
 giving her advice on life, 
and leaving her the best
 of her family recipes.

Dear Gentle Readers,

Sometimes a book comes to life in unusual ways. This book, Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe fo Life, was an in-depth character profile for a background character who never appeared in the book, MacKalvey House.

MacKalvey House is the story of a young girl abandoned by her father. She had wonderful grandparents that made sure she had every possible advantage they could give her. But, as grandparents age and become ill, Michelle found herself alone. 

After college graduation, young American Michelle Rosemont visits a quaint, little village in England and decides to stay. She takes a job as a photographer for a historical magazine and meets Kenneth MacKalvey, an older British author.

Their mutual attraction is instantaneous, but can she deal with his dark and shady past or will old family scars and secrets stop her from trusting him and keep them apart forever?

They are opposites in every way. Can they find happiness together despite their major differences?

Twists and turns at every corner heighten the suspense in this cozy village mystery.

In this new and exciting chapter in the many lifetimes of our eternal lovers and soulmates, they find each other again. In every new lifetime, fate tends to keep them apart until they’re ready to face the obstacles and handle the burning yet beautiful emotions of love.

Amazon Buy Link:

When I finished MacKalvey House, I discovered the character profile of Michelle's mother, Melina Valentina Rossetti Rosemont, was enough to tell a story on its own. All I needed were the recipes.

Now, I am descended from a long line of fabulous Italian cooks, but I am not one of them. My mother was an outstanding cook and baker who never wrote down a recipe. She never gave a recipe to anyone either. Well, let me rephrase that. She never gave anyone the recipe correctly.

About ten years before, my mother fell and broke her hip. She was in a rehab facility close to me. But because she was blind and very, very hard of hearing, complete rehabilitation was not expected.

One of our many loud conversations revolved around recipes and the fact I knew she gave me her recipes incorrectly. She just laughed. She explained while she was able, she was always happy to make whatever we wanted and wanted hers to be the best. But now that her kitchen days were over, she was willing to rattle off a list of ingredients and directions for X. 

So I went home and made X and the next day returned with a little bowl of X, to which my mother would say "too much flour, too much salt, you rushed it, didn't you?"

After many attempts and a few laughs along the way, many (not all) of her recipes were saved. Mother came home from the facility in a wheelchair, but she came home to live another four years. She passed away in 2006. 

These are those hard-fought-for recipes. I gave them to my family members in a scrapbook with photos of my parents early days, everybody's wedding day, and the kids when they were little. And now, you can have them, too.

Go hug your mama,

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

ENTERTAINMENT: Midnight in Paris on Amazon Prime

Okay, I'm not fond of Woody Allen. I'm not sure I ever watched anything with Owen Wilson in it. And I vaguely remember a 
perfume called Evening in Paris that was a little strong for my taste.

There was no reason for me to like this movie. And yet, I did!
It's the story of this guy Gil, a struggling novelist and screenwriter who has a rich and incredibly beautiful fiancé, Inez, who has different ideas on where they are going as a couple. They go to Paris.

Then, one night Gil gets a little tipsy and decides to walk the streets of Paris in the rain back to the hotel. Getting close to midnight, he gets in an old Parisian taxi and time travels back to Parisian art scene of 1920's. At midnight, and on subsequent midnights, he meets Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, and my absolute favorite of the night, Salvador Dalí, played brilliantly by Adrien Brody. 

Gil takes all this 1920 celebrity-meeting in stride as he deals with an ever widening gap with his beautiful fiancé who wants to live in Malibu, while he would rather finish his novel in Paris.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

INTERVIEW: Dark Fiction Author David W. Thompson

David W. Thomson
Loveville, Md. USA

Good morning, David, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the site for new artists and Indies authors, as well as the old masters. What have you written? 
My first novel was also the beginning of a trilogy —” Sister Witch, The Life of Moll Dyer.” It is the story of the infamous accused witch Moll Dyer (AKA the Winter Witch). I grew up listening to tales about her around childhood campfires and it always touched my heart. Moll met a tragic end after a severe draught and disease ravaged the land in the late 1600s. Moll was “different” and as is too often the case for folks not conforming to a mold, she was blamed for the colony’s despair. A mob burned her shack to the ground as Moll fled to the surrounding woods, only to freeze to death in that bitter winter’s night. The book is based on her life and garnered from local oral tradition. It’s set in a historically accurate timeline. 

Two books followed in the series, each approximately a hundred years apart, involving her descendants and the demonic enemy they all shared. Book 2 is “His Father’s Blood” and the final installment is “Sons and Brothers” which brought Moll’s bloodline into modern times After the trilogy, I wrote an end-of-times novella titled “Call of the Falconer. It provides a different scenario for both the world altering cataclysm as well as what might happen after... 

I also wrote “Haunted Southern Maryland” for the History Press. It is a compilation of haunted buildings and places throughout the area, (called the most haunted region in the US). It is interwoven with the historical events that likely began the spectral activity. Finally (and most recently), “’Possum Stew” was published this past Spring. It’s a collection of dark fiction short stories that involve the year’s major holidays. 

What is your favorite genre to write?
Hmm, I always say “dark fiction” when asked this question, even while realizing that covers a lot of real estate. Most of my fiction has paranormal or dark fantasy leanings, but I can never resist twisting in some historical flare.

Favorite food.
I can’t pick just one, even for you Carol. 
Top five works. I love seafood, meatloaf, home-made salsa, fresh out of the garden sweet corn and cheesecake...yeah, cheesecake! 

Tea or coffee?

Pizza or ice cream?
Ice cream

Wine or beer?
Well, I make home-made wine from native fruits, but on a hot day a cold beer is not out of the question (or while eating hard crabs).

Where would you like to visit?
Ireland, Scotland and Germany again.

Favorite musical artist.  
Probably Zeppelin, or Fleetwood Mac or Heart... maybe Foreigner? Decisions, decisions.

Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
Not very often as I get carried away whenever one of my favorites 
come on.  The old air guitar comes into play and my desk becomes a 
set of drums.

What makes you laugh?
My grandkids. With regularity.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
Everything by Thomas Kincaid

How old were you when you started writing?
As soon as I could hold a #2 pencil. I believe it was a “Dick and Jane” fan fiction. LOL. I had a few short stories published over the years while pursuing an alternate career. That helped to keep the creative monkey off my back for a time. I really got serious with it and with writing novels in 2015. 

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? 
Or just write?
I do a little of both. I start out with a really basic (read vague) outline. It may be no more than the major plot points I want to hit. From there, as the story evolves (and the characters invade my sleep to tell me where I went wrong with “their” story), I add to my outline what needs to happen to pull it all together. As you know, the story can take on a mind of its own and a well thought out outline become outhouse fodder.

Describe your perfect evening.
Home with my wife—whether taking a walk, sipping a glass of wine together or just enjoying the view across the farm. I also love evenings in the woods, that’s my quiet alone time. I’d add in time with the family, but as you said evening...

Where do you get your inspiration?
I adhere to the truism about writing what you know, except for me, it’s writing about what I love. The oddest things can spark a story idea: a human-interest story on the news, a child’s smile or the heartache you see in someone’s eyes at losing a loved one for example. They all make me wonder what inspired that smile, or to wonder at another’s emotional pain. Many beg the question “What if...” and as Vonnegut said “so it begins.”

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I’ve been blessed with avoiding that so far. For the small bumps in the creative flow, writing followed by some more writing does the trick for me. A lot of what’s written at such a time may be delegated to the trashcan, but it gets me going again.

Who is your favorite author?
If you don't have one, you could say me, Carol Ann Kauffman. That would be okay. 
Carol Ann Kauffman 

Best book you ever read.
Here I go again. How about my top 3?
Walden (Thoreau)
The Stranger (Camus)
Flowers for Algernon (Keyes)

Last book you read.
“Dark Bliss” by Shay Mills, a very promising Indie author.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I’m also a woodcarver, but if I was not literarily inspired, I’d certainly devote more time to that pursuit.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I have to say my parents (I know- you said one person, singular). 
My father loved literature and stocked a library that would be the envy of many small towns. 
My mother inspired a belief that I could accomplish whatever I set out to do.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
OK, I’ll stick with one this time. I’d have to say Henry David Thoreau. His desire to lead a well-rounded life that cut to the bone of what life is and should be, greatly influenced me in my formative years. Some might say to my detriment, but he was a kindred soul who also fit no mold. Many of his thoughts and quotes are emblazoned on both my mind and on plaques on my walls, reminding me of what’s important.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 
I mentioned this before, but I feel a writer must write what they love. Embrace the things they are passionate about and weave your tales around that stout foundation.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?

David W. Thompson
Author of:
Legends of the Family Dyer:                               
I) Sister Witch: The Life of Moll Dyer                 
II) His Father's Blood                                             
III) Sons and Brothers   
Call of the Falconer (dystopian novella)
Haunted Southern Maryland 
'Possum Stew (Short Story Collection)

Vision and Verse does not use cookies. We do not store any personal information like email addresses, home addresses, etc. We do not give any information to third parties.