Tuesday, April 7, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: Deadly Ransom by Joe Perone Jr.

I must admit this was not my usual read. It’s a western with ranches and cowboys and Indians. But once I started reading it, I was hooked. The author draws you into the story with likeable characters who have heart, intelligence, and dimension and a crisp, clean storyline. I am familiar with upstate New York, and Perrone’s descriptions brought me right back to those beautiful locales. I highly recommend the Matt Davis series.

Amazon Buy Link: 

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Monday, April 6, 2020

ART: Mill Creek Park's Weller Gallery Nature Photography Show

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

SCHEDULE: April 6 - 10, 2020

Mon., April 6 - ART: Mill Creek Park's
Weller Gallery Nature Photography Show
Tues., April 7 - BOOK REVIEW:
Deadly Ransom, A Matt Davis Mystery
by Joe Perrone, Jr.
Wed., April 8 - INTERVIEW:
Non-Fiction Author Robert Barry
Thurs., April 9 - ENTERTAINMENT:
a Brazilian Netflix Thriller
Fri., April 10 - BOOK:
Sea Witch
by Carol Ann Kauffman


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Friday, April 3, 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,
The recipes in this book are mostly my mother's recipes. My mother was an old Italian lady who was a terrific cook and baker. (I did not get those genes.) Carmel prided herself on her fantastic meals.

However, she did not share her recipes. And if you persisted in asking her, she gave it to you wrong.

If I asked her for something specific, she'd say "I'll just make it for you. Pick it up tomorrow after work." So I got what I wanted, but never learned how to make it myself.

Fast forward to late in Carmel's life, very close to the end. While she was in the hospital, she agreed to give me her recipes, correctly this time, but I had to promise not to give them to anyone until she died.

Carmel passed March 23, 2006. Her recipes are interspersed throughout the story. I hope you enjoy them and try at least one recipe.


Amazon Buy Link:


Good News and Bad News

“Well, Melina, the sonogram looks good. Are you feeling okay?”
“Yes. Mornings are still a little rough, but I’m fine after ten o’clock. So, the baby’s okay?”
“Yes, she is. You, on the other hand…”
“Dr. Townsend, please, I appreciate your concern for me, I do, but I’m going to do this my way. As long as my sweet little baby girl is okay, that’s all that matters.”
“And who’s going to take care of your sweet little baby girl when you’re gone, Melina? Let’s abort this pregnancy now, before it’s too late. If you insist on carrying this child to full term, it will kill you.”
“You’re over-reacting to my cardiologist’s report. Dr. Lambert is an alarmist.” 
“No, I’m not over-reacting. Pregnancy is very stressful on the heart.”
“Not as stressful as parenting, I’ve been told.”
“Let him fix this heart problem, get yourself healthy again, and you and Ethan can start all over again.”
“No. I want this baby.”
This baby will kill you. You know, Melina, your husband, ‘the Professor’ can hardly take care of himself, let alone himself and a baby.”
“Oh, Doctor, he’s just a little pre-occupied and sometimes absent-minded. But Ethan’s not incapable. And he’s very loving.”
“Think about it, just think about it. You don’t have to make a decision today. We have time yet. I’m extremely worried about your condition, that’s all. There is every indication in this cardiology report that the stress from this pregnancy could be fatal.”
Could be, not will be. And if the cardiology business ever dries up, Dr. Lambert could write bestsellers. He likes to scare people with heart problems.
“No. This is serious. Think about it, talk it over with Ethan, and call me in a day or two and we’ll schedule the procedure, okay?”
Melina nodded, but not in agreement, just simply to get out of there. 
She got in the car and drove toward home. Think? That’s all she’d been doing is thinking. Talk to Ethan? Yuck, no! Ethan wouldn’t understand. Ethan could care less if they ever had a child. And, although he would never admit it to her, he’d much prefer a son to a daughter anytime to carry on the Rosemont all male tradition. She sometimes wondered how dear sweet Mother Maeve Rosemont lived with all that male testosterone. Ethan would side with Dr. Townsend. The last discussion with Ethan over the baby ended with “Do whatever you want.”
She pulled over and tapped a number on her cell phone.
“Hey, Glo, I need to talk. Can you give me a call when you have a sec? Just came out of Dr. Townsend’s office. And I’m feeling all bummed out. Love you. Bye.”
She pulled back onto the highway and drove to the local office supply store. She walked up and down the aisles. She stopped to look at journals. She picked up a big, beautiful, brown embossed leather-bound journal with gold-leaf edging. She ran her fingers over the embossed scrolls and flowers. It was a beautiful book. 
Melina was a smart woman. She had much to share with her daughter, what to do, what not to do, pitfalls, plans for success, and recipes for disaster. Things she wished someone had told her when she was young. Personal things. Romantic things. Cultural things. The culture of a country is handed down from mother to daughter when it comes to the traditions and customs of a family. She wanted her daughter to have all the advantages of her vast experiences.
“Ethan? Ethan? I’m home. Are you home? Honey, where are you?” she called as she walked in the door. 

She looked all over for him. “Ethan?” No Ethan. She pulled out the journal, sat down at her desk, and began to write.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

ENTERTAINMENT: Jupiter Ascending

Okay, I’ll admit it. I watched this one because my dog fell asleep on the remote and I didn’t want to wake her up.

Those of you who follow Vision and Verse know I don’t like to leave negative reviews on books or movies, or anything else for that matter. If I can't find something I like about the book, movie, etc., I simply won't review it. 

BUT... Sci-fi adventure, Channing Tatum. Mika Kunis. Eddie
Redmayne. It was worth a shot.

The special effects were good. There were parts that were beautiful. Great costumes, great cinematography, beautiful sets.  I think this one might have been a money-loser at the box office. 

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

INTERVIEW: Middle Grade Novelist Barbara Cairns

Barbara Cairns
Homosassa, FL, 

Good morning, Barbara, and welcome to Vision and Verse. What have you written? 
Teacher Manuals, Guidelines for setting up Special Ed. Classrooms, Story in Ginn & Co. Fourth Grade Reader, Stories and articles in newspapers and magazines, Monthly column in California-based magazine, Ten books, including a History of Florida, two Romance Novels, five Picture Books, and two Middle Grade Novels.

What is your favorite genre to write? 
At the moment, Middle Grade Novels.

Favorite food. 
Anything spicy, plus lots of chocolate almond ice cream.

Tea or coffee? 
Hazelnut Decaf Coffee

Pizza or ice cream? 

Wine or beer?

Where would you like to visit? 
After lots of traveling when younger, I’m quite happy to be a homebody.

 Favorite musical artist.  
No one in particular. 

Do you listen to music when you write?
Not often.

Sometimes instrumentals from T.V. channel if working on my laptop. When in my writing room on my desktop, usually no music.

What makes you laugh? 
A bit of whimsy that comes out of nowhere. My husband’s jokes, animals doing cute things.

Favorite work of art or sculpture. 
My exquisite wood carvings from Germany and Panama.

How old were you when you started writing? 
College, but before that, I loved writing in diary.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write? I’m definitely a pantser, hate outlining.

Describe your perfect evening.
A quiet evening of T.V. with Hubby.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
Everything around me.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
Try out a new recipe.

Who is your favorite author? 
No favorites. I like variety in reading, from historical novels to romance, but especially non-fiction so I can learn something new.

Best book you ever read. 
Victoria The Queen by Julia Baird.

Last book you read. 
We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
Work with animals in some way.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
Reverend Gilbert who encouraged me to go into a teaching career after I taught Sunday School.

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 grandfather who was a lighthouse keeper.

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

Do you have some links for us to follow you?

Barbara Cairns #AuthorCairns for Twitter

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. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Algorithm Man by J. Salvatore Domino

The Algorithm Man: America’s Cyber Sleuth is a modern day crime story by J. Salvatore Domino.  A cyber detective duo is called in to find answers to a security breaks.  Lead on the case is A- Man, a techno-genius who immediately grabbed my attention. This is a well written short story with a plausible modern crime plot that moves fluidly and seamlessly with solid, likable characters. I look forward to more of the Algorithm Man.

Amazon Buy Link:

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ART: Adolph von Menzell

I was first drawn to the work of Adolph von Menzell because I like paintings of open windows with visible vistas or hints of a breeze. My imagination goes wild as to what wonderful and amazing things might be viewed from that particular window.


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Sunday, March 29, 2020

SCHEDULE: March 30 - April 3, 2020

Mon., March 30 - ART:
Adolph von Menzell
Tues., March 31 - BOOK REVIEW:
The Algorithm Man 
by Salvatore Domino
Wed., April 1 - INTERVIEW:
Middle Grade Novelist
Barbara Cairns
Thurs., April 2 - ENTERTAINMENT:
Film: Jupiter Ascending
Fri., April 3 - BOOK:
Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life,
A Short Story Recipe Book
by Carol Ann Kauffman

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

Friday, March 27, 2020

FREE BOOK TODAY! Waiting for Richard by Carol Ann Kauffman

Waiting for Richard

As retired insurance office manager Skye McKenna launches a new career as a children's book author, she embarks on a book tour in Australia, where she meets a reclusive elephant-loving veterinarian. Why does he seem so familiar? 
And so attractive? 
And how old is TOO old to find love?

The TIME AFTER TIME series follows a pair of quintessential lovers, Richard and Nicole, through their lives together, at different times, in different places, with different names and faces. This follows the alternate theory that the relationships we forge in this lifetime, both good and bad, are continued in the future and rooted in the past. Those people who have had a profound effect on us in this life will find us in the future.
Amazon Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/m6njc9b

But wait! Here's an excerpt to read before you buy. :)

Chapter One
Location: Sterling, Ohio

“Run!” said Rita, fear catching in her voice.
“Are you kidding me?” replied Skye. “I’m too damn old to run! Do you want me to have a heart attack? Or fall and break a hip? If some slimy son of a bitch wants a piece of me that bad, then let him come! He’ll be damn sorry.”
“We gotta get out of here. I’m scared,” Rita whispered. 
“Calm down, Rita. We’ll be okay.” Skye pulled out her cell phone and tapped 9-1-1. “Yes, we’re in the underground parking garage of the Sterling City Center and we’re being chased by a madman with a knife, and my friend here is scared and I’m too damn old to run. Yes. Skye McKenna. Sixty-six. Well, I’m glad you agree that’s too old to run.” 
“Help is on the way.”
“Skye, you don’t know he has a knife!”
“You’re absolutely right! He could have a gun. Shall I call her back and correct myself?” 
Sirens were blaring in the distance.
“Isn’t this illegal? This is at least a misdemeanor, if not a felony. Skye, we could end up in jail.”
“Would you rather be murdered in the underground parking garage?”
“Then, cry and sniffle, look weak and helpless, and let me handle Sterling’s Finest. Damn! If I knew there was a chance we were going to die on the way to the car, I would’ve had dessert. They make this wonderful strawberry mascarpone cream cheese torte in there that is pure heaven on a plate.” 
A police car pulled up the aisle. Skye and Rita were shouting and waving.
“We’re here! We’re here. Did you see him? He ran that way,” Skye pointed. One officer, the shorter, younger one, took off on foot in the direction of Skye’s pointing finger. The taller, older one stayed with them and tried to calm them down. He walked them to their car and let them sit to rest.
“It’s okay, ladies, you’re safe now. Can you give me a description of this madman with the knife? Height, weight, clothing?” Rita cried and sniffled, shaking her head no.
“About six feet tall, brown hair, brown eyes, stubbly face, jeans, light green tee-shirt with some band name on it, navy pea coat, old black tennis shoes. No piercings or jewelry. No visible tattoos. Not a bad looking guy.”
“I’m no judge of weight. Far be it from me to attach a number to the human frame. I know I certainly don’t like it when they do it to me. Not fat, not too skinny, but a slim build. Just right.”

“Thirties, I’m guessing here.
“The knife?”
“Chef’s knife. Silver handle, scalloped grip. You can’t buy those individually, you have to buy the whole set. They come with a wooden butcher’s block.”
“Did he brandish the knife at you?”
“Of course, he did! Do you think we would’ve called for help if he were just a prep chef taking his knife out for a midnight stroll in the underground parking garage? He threatened us.”
“What did he say?”
“He said, ‘Die, you bitches!’” 
The other officer came back, shaking his head. 
“Couldn’t find him. I heard running and panting, though. There was definitely someone out there who didn’t want to stop and talk to the police. He got away.”
“Were you in the restaurant?” asked Tall Officer. Skye and Rita nodded. “Did he follow you out?” They looked at each other.
“We don’t know. We ate too much. We were just about rolling out of there. We weren’t paying any attention,” said Skye. “Officer, we’re really tired. This has been a harrowing experience. We want to go home. If we remember anything else, we’ll call you, okay?” He took their names and contact numbers and said he’d be in touch. 
“Lock your doors. Go straight home, Ladies.” 
He patted the hood of Skye’s car and let them go. Skye drove away.                                                  

“Good God, Skye, I was scared to death. How can you be so calm?”
“This isn’t calmness. It’s boredom.”
“How can you be bored when we’re being stalked by a menacing slasher in a dark underground parking garage at night with a big knife?”
“Did you ever think he might’ve just been some poor shlub walking to his car? Maybe he had a business dinner, or some other meeting. Or maybe he works at Sterling City Center. And, Rita, we didn’t see a weapon, remember?  Just because he was in the parking garage at the same time as we were doesn’t mean he was after us or dangerous or a public menace.  
“No, no, Skye. I know he was. He looked at me funny. And where did you ever come up with that description? That was nothing like him.”
“That cutie pie? Oh, he’s the man in my head! He’s always in there, smiling at me. That one walking in the garage? I’m not sure that he was after us, or after anybody.” 
“Well, let’s hope the police don’t find the man in your head. They’ll arrest him.”
“Oh, Rita. I’ve looked for him all my life. If they can find him and detain him, I’ll gladly go bail him out. And take him home and make him some soup and give him a back rub and…” love him forever, she finished the sentence to herself. My Richard. 
Rita laughed.
“Skye, you’re crazy!”
“I know,” she sighed. She was resigned to the fact she would never find him, this incredible man in her head with the big, warm, liquid-velvet brown eyes and the sweetest unguarded smile. The cutest dimple. A splash of freckles across the bridge of his nose. He’d been there, in her dreams, smiling at her, for as long as she could remember. If she hadn’t found him by now, she never would. And if she found him now at her age, her hormonal drive was gone, her skin didn’t quite fit her body anymore, and she had succumbed to gravity, what the hell would she do with him besides make him soup and give him a back rub? Still, he was there, in her head. Smiling. Those eyes.
Skye pulled up in front of Rita’s rental house.
“Will you be okay?”
“Sure. See you tomorrow after work. I’ll bring you that letter from my kid brother. It’s causing me sleepless nights. You’ll see what I mean. He always exaggerates I know, but this time he’s in trouble, and it’s worse than the usual. I just know it, but I don’t know what to do about it.”
“Okay, bring it over. We’ll figure out what’s up with him. Good night, Rita. I’ll wait until you get in and check the house for slashers hiding under your bed or in the closet, with my finger on speed dial to the police department.”
“Thanks, Skye. You’re a peach. Good night,” she chuckled. 
“Good night, Ri.” Rita went in, checked her apartment and waved Skye off.  Skye went home and went to bed.

Skye was awakened very early by the sound of the doorbell. She pulled on her robe and slippers and shuffled to peak out the window. Sterling Police Department.
“Ms. McKenna?”
“Ms. McKenna, it’s Detective Samson. This is Officer Metz. May we come in?”
“Yes, of course. What’s wrong?” she said as she moved aside to let them in.
“Ahh, Ms. McKenna, we need to talk to you about what happened in the parking garage at Sterling City Center last night.”
“Well okay, but we told the officers everything we knew last night.”
“There has been a… recent development, Ms. McKenna. Rita Collier is in the hospital. Someone broke into her home sometime last night and shot her. She’s alive, but in serious condition. Head wound. She’s unresponsive, in a coma.” 
Skye sank into the couch, hardly able to comprehend what he said. Someone shot Rita? Last night?
“Oh, my God!”
“Ms. McKenna, could you come down to the station with us and look at some mug shots? Maybe you could identify the man you saw in the parking garage.”
“Oh, my God!” Identify the man I saw in the parking garage? Rita was right. The poor schlub in the garage was a dangerous criminal. And he went to Rita’s house and shot her. Now, how was she going to describe the real man in the garage, the real assailant? What a mess!
“Okay. I’ll get dressed.”       
“We’ll wait for you and take you down to the station, and then Officer Metz here will bring you back home when we’re done.”

Skye splashed her face with cold water, threw on some clothes, ran a comb through her short strawberry blonde hair and was ready to go.
“If you want, we can stop at the hospital. We can see how your friend is doing. We’d like to know if she regained consciousness.”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
They drove to the hospital. While the police talked to nurses at the desk, Skye was allowed to see Rita.
“Rita? Rita, it’s Skye. Honey, can you hear me?” Skye held her hand. No response.
“What can I do, Rita? I am just sick about this. I feel horrible. What can I do to help you?” No response. A nurse came in.
“We haven’t been able to get a response from her. Are you a relative?”
“No, I’m a close friend. We had dinner together last night. I can’t believe this. She has a brother, Ron. I have his number at home. I’ll call him when I get home.” 
The nurse left.

“Skye,” whispered Rita haltingly, eyes still closed, “in the freezer. Cream puffs.” Rita squeezed her hand and released it. Skye gasped
“Rita! Rita! Nurse!” screamed Skye. “Nurse! She said … cream puffs!” 
The nurse came rushing back in with the police. She checked Rita.        

“No change. She’s still unresponsive. Sometimes there is some involuntary movement.” Skye blinked. She knew she heard her. Cream puffs.
“Oh, this is all my fault. Last night, she was so scared. She said he looked at her funny. And I just blew it off.”

“No, you didn’t,” said Officer Metz. “You called 9-1-1. Officers responded. The officers on the scene looked for the assailant and reported hearing someone running away from the scene. A report was filed. And you got her home safely.”
“Yes, and now she’s laying here in a hospital bed, shot in the head, in a coma.”
“Come on. Let’s go down to the station. Maybe we can get an ID on this guy.”
“I’ll be back later, Rita. I’ll call Ron. Hang in there. It’ll be okay. I’ll bring you some of cream puffs, okay honey? Love you.” She turned to the nurse. “I’d like to bring her robe and a few things from home to make her feel more comfortable.” 
“That’s fine,” the nurse nodded.

Down at the station, Skye settled in with books of mug shots, looking for the man in her dreams, whom she knew was no criminal. She was really looking for the man from the parking garage, the short, scruffy, longish-haired, messy, blonde guy with the large nose and the bad complexion. And what was she going to do if she found him? She looked at page after page, book after book of mug shots.

“No, not in here.”
“Would you like to talk with the precinct artist?” asked Detective Samson.
“No, not really. I’m all criminaled out right now. I’d like to go home and call Rita’s brother and then go get her things together to take back to the hospital. We have each other’s spare key.”
“Okay. Maybe later. Officer Metz will take you home.”
“Thank you.”


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