Saturday, November 30, 2013

And the winner is...


And the winner of a digital copy of Madison's Christmas is 
Tammy Poole Romine.  Congratulations, Tammy!  If you message me your email address, I will have send it out to you this evening.  Thank you for participating in our 10,000 page view celebration on Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.


Madison's Christmas Giveaway

My handsome assistance is getting ready to draw the name of the lucky winner of a digital copy of my Christmas short story, Madison's Christmas, which was briefly #1 on the Kindle Top Ten and remained in the top 100 for most of the month of November.  Drawing will be at 6:00 this evening.  To be eligible, just leave a comment below.  Say hi.  Say yes.  It doesn't have to be fancy or make sense.  As of right now, your chances to win are excellent.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Interview with Author Loretta Laird

Loretta Laird

Welcome to Vision and Verse this morning, Loretta.  We are so happy to have you here with us.  Tell us, what have you written?

I have written a trilogy called The Passers which is a romance/fantasy following the lives of Jadara and Adamen as they fall in love whilst saving their land and fulfilling their own destiny.
I read the first one and absolutely loved it.  I'm so glad to hear it is a series, because I was so disappointed to be finished with the book.
I have also written a short Christmas story due out in early December and a modern tale called M.I.L.F. about a woman who ends up selling sex for money in her suburban home. It is a quirky story with appealing characters.

What is your favorite genre to write?
Fantasy/Romance, I think.

Favorite food.

Where would you like to visit?
The cave dwellings of Cappadocia.

Favorite musical artist.  
Like all sorts, easy rock, 80s (who doesn’t).

Do you listen to music when you write?
No. I like quiet when I write.

What makes you laugh?

How old were you when you started writing?

Where do you get your inspiration?
Years of romance novels, fantasy and great love story movies.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Focus on the one million other things my life demands until the muse returns. I work full time and have 4 daughters, three of whom are teenagers. Plenty more to occupy my time if I lose the urge to write and there are always edits to do – that usually works to get me back to writing!

Who is your favorite author?
J.R. Toilken

Best book you ever read.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Not sure about that one. I used to want to be just like my Auntie when I was little. She drove a Spitfire and was my hero.

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 friend Mia who reads my books. I love talking to her as we talk as if the world of Fellnesia is real and we discuss the characters like we know them. It is so rewarding.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Keep trying. Don’t give up. You only need one person to love it and that inspires you. Give your work to someone who will be honest about it.

Book cover URL:
Author’s links:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Spike Collection

Free today through Saturday, November 30, Martin Skate's short story anthology, The Spike Collection, is thought provoking and charming. Show this talented Londoner some love and pick it up today. I did!

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Happy Readers,
    I would like to take a moment to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you are safe and warm, at home with your loved ones, and finding a reflective moment to count our blessings.
    As an author, I am thankful for each and every one of you. You who like my old-fashioned, cross genre, non-erotic romantic action adventures with a sometimes sci-fi, sometimes fantasy twist are truly a special breed of people and those I have connected with here and on Facebook and my website will forever be special to me.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review of PASSERS by Loretta Laird

A Beautiful Story of Duty and Love 
5 Stars

"PASSERS is the story of Jadara, a girl born of a Air Princess and a Passer, a member of an elite league of warriors charged with the duty of helping souls pass to their final resting place.  Jadara must find the courage to face evil and deal with personal betrayal on her way to fulfilling her destiny for the good of her people.  Will true love be the price she must pay?
    The fast-paced epic tale of Jadara is told with strongly developed characters and beautiful imagery.  The author draws you into the beautiful story of duty and love.  I do hope this is the start of a series because I, for one, want more!"
                                                                                 -Book Review by Carol Ann Kauffman

Product Image
~Steam eReads
4.3 out of 5 stars (7)
 Now available at

Hopefully, I will be bringing you an interview with the talented Loretta Laird very soon.

A New Look for BELTERRA

My Bestseller from 2012, BELTERRA, has undergone a little facelift with a new cover and reformatted to fix the spacing problems. The story has not been changed. Make sure the UPDATE button is turned on in Manage Your Kindle.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Greetings everyone.  This is an awesome occasion for Vision & Verse.  Reaching 10,000 + page views in the relatively short time we've been online is truly amazing.  I want to thank you all for your support and loyalty; without you, we would not be here.  It's nice to know we are doing something that keeps you coming back.

As you no doubt have read, I have taken leave from V&V in order to concentrate on my art and to explore new ideas.  In the short time that I've been away, I've experimented with different medium, trying my hand at painting.  I recently finished a canvas working with "gouache" (pronounced  gwash), painting with opaque colors ground with water and mixed with a gum preparation.  It allows for a range of effects from saturated, vibrant, color to thin, pale, and watery.

I originally began the painting as an abstract sunrise, but nearly finishing it, I turned the canvas upside down to more comfortably complete the  lower portion and saw a totally different view of the work.

The image to the left is the original view of
the painting...the untitled sunrise. 

The image below is the one I finally decided on and titled it, "Moon Floating on a Rainbow Sea"  by Parker Kagan-Kaufman

I'm looking forward to exploring this medium further.  I've found it a very easy palette to work with,

The painting is 24 x 30 inches completed 11/2013.

There has been mixed reaction to which way the painting looks best.  What do you think?  I invite you to comment with your take on it.

I will have more new work and links to my website and artist page on Facebook in the post following this one.


In addition to the work featured in the post above,  I've completed some new pieces working with my favorite medium, cardstock and paper.  I've tried to incorporate newer, more sophisticated stock/papers in the current works.

In the past I've layered plain cardstock and papers to achieve some depth and dimension.  With textured stock and print/pattern papers I've been able to bring even more interest to the pieces I've created.  They are more tactile, fun to touch...hence, when framing them I've chosen to leave out the glass, allowing viewers to feel the art as well.

In some instances, the stock has two finishes, a smooth one and a sandy or gritty texture, which makes for an interesting combination when lighted from different directions.  Using the print/pattern papers also allows me to add a degree of detail that I couldn't before.

Below are two of  the latest works that were inspired by a caricature that was illustrated in a magazine.

The top image titled, "Hidden", by Parker Kagan-Kaufman, is textured cardstock and water color pencil composition, 8.5 x 11 inches.  The stock comprising the chin, nose, and forehead is randomly laden with texture that gives the feeling of imperfections of the complexion.

The bottom image titled, "Patched" by Parker Kagan-Kaufman, is made entirely of printed stock with an embossed linen texture.  The composition is 8.5 x 11 inches, the background is a distressed stock.  The muted patterns of the textured stock lend a unique quality to the stitched patchwork.

Once again, thanks to all of our loyal fans for helping us reach 10,000+ page views.  We really appreciate your support and we hope that you continue to follow us and enjoy what we bring to you.  I'll be visiting again soon with new works to share.   In the meantime, I'll share the links to my Facebook Artist Page and my website.  Cheers to you all.

Parker Kagan-Kaufman

website address:
Facebook :

Interview with Author Oliver F. Chase

Oliver Frank Chase

Good morning, Frank.  Welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors.  We are happy to have you with us this morning.  Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm Oliver F. Chase – Friend and Foe call me Frank; to everyone else, I’m Oliver.  My home is on a little acreage near the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. Our family home is nearby in Florida with more family in Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, Washington, Brisbane, and Oregon. We may be a little scattered but we’re close always trading stories and slights, and anticipating our next “dreaded reunion.” In fact, we’ll hold one in Fort Walton Beach in a few weeks over Thanksgiving 2013. We recently lost my mother, so there’ll be a some mourning, a little healing, and much more story telling. My family is quite an accomplishment. We have senior and junior military officers, television producers, pilots, and contractors that support our military. We have entrepreneurs, doctors, and an accomplished artist routinely spotlighted in shows throughout the country. We are conservatives, liberals, and libertarians; humanists, humanitarians and religious. I suppose one could say we’re a microcosm of America. A little bit of everything and having great time being it.

What have you written?
I’ve written six novels, a box full of short stories and a novella. Few will see the light of day again although I do enjoy becoming reacquainted with a few of the characters. They’re like old friends.

What is your favorite genre to write?
Mystery, thriller with strong male and female actors. Wimps are not allowed – good or bad. I find a plot that’s interesting, germane, or controversial. I play around with an ending so I know where I’d like to go and develop a character or two to get me there. That’s the easy part. I draw a half dozen mental circles representing the events that must occur for the outcome and develop my opening gambit. That’s when all heck breaks loose. Once those characters get to moving, I’m pressed to keep them herded toward the finish. Each circle stays connected or is trashed. New characters find life along the way and compete for billing. Once in a while, I let them win especially if I’ve met and know them. Start to finish, the ride is really quite thrilling.

Favorite food.
I like salads with bits of everything that a garden can offer. If a lean pork chop shows up, too, who am I to complain?

Where would you like to visit?
A significant part of my family’s heritage is Swiss. We’ve lost contact with those in the old country but not the three or four hundred extended mostly centered around Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. After a little research, I’d like to visit to see if there are any cousins on the other side of the pond that might speak English.

Favorite musical artist/Do you listen to music when you write?
I’m C&W and old rock and roll fan. I like the older stuff from George Strait and Vince Gill. If nostalgia is the mood for the evening or the car ride, I listen to Bob Segar, some memories from the very old like the Kingston Trio and anti-war Joan Baez. Puts me in the mood to step on a few toes with people in the northeast that refuse to learn from history and only want to repeat our  mistakes. When I write, I like quiet rooms with the door closed, an interesting canvas on the wall, and a distant scene of the pasture and woods outside my window. That’s not to say that I haven’t written in noisy airports, in the back of C130’s charging through thunderstorms, inside canvas tents with a Norwegian rain pouring outside, sitting on the open ammo bay panel of a Cobra helicopter, and the front seat of pickup trucks at some crossroads literal and antithetical.

What makes you laugh? 
Can I change the question a little? What makes me smile?
The young learning about a new world and the unquestioning trust placed in our careless words. The old staring into eternity intent with passing on one last lesson just in case we hadn’t heard yet. The innocence of prayers learned decades ago as they rise unbidden in moments of crisis.

How about what catches my heart? The opening bars to our National Anthem or the Marine Corps Hymm, the promise still there, and our unvarnished declaration to the rest of the world. The hug from a brother. The trust of a niece. A two line email from a daughter. The plans Jane and I make on a Saturday morning.  Too much information? Sorry.

No, not at all. How old were you when you started writing?
The first story I remember rendering to the critics was a 3rd grade assignment about the American Revolution. My dog and Paul Revere were the ones who actually rode the countryside. The dog was in the saddlebags shouting encouragement and alarm. History books had that part wrong. Mrs. Baumgartner assigned the work and although I do not remember my grade, she had my best interests in mind. I suspect she was a tough reviewer and thank goodness for that.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I plan my plot and put the chessmen out. Each are assigned a personality and driving characteristics. Each may or may not have a private agenda, hidden political ambitions, or a seminal incident somewhere in their background. I blow the whistle and we begin working our way through plot events. Pretty exciting watching as everyone assumes their place and fortifies their positions. Along the way, new characters and circumstances are encountered and the story reacts. I’m the guidance counselor who must separate the combatants and assure our progress. I also function as puppet master – god is far too strong a concept – and give the reader what they want. My inspiration? I’m usually just along for the ride.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
This is something I’ve yet to experience. I suspect the block is the result of someone’s expectation, deadline, outside pressures, etc. My life has plenty of distractions so the act of carving out time in the day to write overcomes mental blips.

Who is your favorite author?
Stephen King, John Sanford, James Lee Burke, Ernest Hemmingway in no particular order.

Best book you ever read.
Exodus by Leon Uris. Powerful, dramatic, influential, life molding even if slanted by passion.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Easy, my Dad. He was pragmatic, no-nonsense, never lifted a paint brush to a canvas, and never read fiction from the time he dropped out of high school. He rose from orphan to Marine Corps officer, war hero, and died far too early. He was absolutely my biggest life and literary critic. He was self taught, self directed, and held great sway over many of my early decisions. And, I was always a little afraid of him. Larger than life, especially in my memory, he guided me through the shoals of fidelity, confidence, and integrity. He was also flawed. Thank, God. He let me keep my humanity.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
What an absorbing question. I’ve run the gambit of known historical and literary figures, imagined characters, and present day authors that would be fun. I’d like to think that James Lee Burke, John Sanford, and I would enjoy sharing company and a backyard beer. I have to confess however, pound for pound, I’d like to meet a fictional Stephen King character. Let’s talk complex, heroic, tragic, confused, passionate, and human. Jake Epping in Stephen King’s 11-23-1963 is just that guy. Think about going back and altering the seminal event of the 20th Century; an event that changed the most powerful country in world history from innocent and optimistic to something completely different. Forget about your politics. Think about altering the lives of 300 million people in a single moment. Jake is goaded into accepting that challenge, looses everything and gains himself in the effort. Mr. King weaves his story and his character into each of us.  Jake Epping never listened to me even though I warned him quite thoroughly through both my reads of Mr. King’s book. And they danced.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Write. Don’t listen to me. Listen to the greats: find time and write. Forget the excuses and put it to paper…or screen. Don’t crumple it up. Print and lay it in a box. You should see mine. Old stuff and even some new is boxed and not for posterity. My work good and bad is an affirmation that I take the writing craft seriously and that I’m willing to learn. You are your best teacher if you’ll listen to others, commit yourself to become a learning creature, and trust your own judgment. When it comes time to close the door, be alone with your characters and your story, and write. Sometimes, you need to be alone with your box, too. That works.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

10,000 Pageviews Celebration

10,000 Pageviews Celebration

Dear Gentle Readers,
     Vision and Verse is celebrating a milestone today, amassing over 10,000 page views from our worldwide audience.
     Our favorite artist Parker Kauffman will be coming back to do a celebrity post with some of his new work and his links.  I am thrilled to have him back, even if it's for only one day.  You are missed, buddy!
     I will also be giving away a copy of my Christmas action adventure short story, Madison's Christmas, which has been in the top 100 since Nov. 1st.  Comment on any of our posts this week to be eligible for a digital copy of Madison's Christmas.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A COLD DAY IN HELL Blog Tour and Giveaway

The City may be calm, but is the Hunter about to become the hunted? 

For the first time in months the City is peaceful, so peaceful that Gabi’s suspension from the Societas Malus Venatori doesn’t feel like a punishment. Her relationship with Julius is stronger than ever and Kyle has finally found his soul mate, even if he seems to need some convincing. Gabi thinks boredom is her most serious problem. She couldn’t be more wrong. 

The visitor Julius has been both expecting and dreading arrives, bringing with him dire news. An old enemy, out to destroy them, has revealed to the Masters of the Vampire race that Gabi is a Dhampir. The visitor’s presence also answers the question that’s been simmering in Gabi’s head for years; the truth of her origins. This truth brings with it a deeper understanding of the implications of her very existence, and she doesn’t like what she discovers. But it’s too late to change what’s been done and Julius must now answer to the Princeps’ Court. 

As Gabi makes plans to leave the City, drawing danger away from friends and family, a dark prophesy by the Magi Oracles forces her to change course. She will not be leaving the City alone, and she will not be running from the threat. She, Julius and a handful of others will be heading straight into the mouth of the beast. They must present themselves at Court before the Princeps travel to the City and inadvertently uncover one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Magi world. 

While the Princeps wear a face of impartiality and civility, what boils beneath the surface is a storm of selfishness, greed, lust and perversion. Danger lurks in every corner and it soon becomes clear that someone is determined to ensure that Gabi will never get the chance of a fair hearing. 

Old friends and old enemies do what they have always done best, while new friends and new enemies emerge at every turn. Only one thing is sure; it’ll be a cold day in Hell before Hellcat goes down without a fight. 

Put the coffee on and warm up your page-turning finger, it’s going to be a long night. 

This is a full length novel. 

There is also a giveaway attached to this blog tour the link is

Friday, November 22, 2013


Hidden in the Pages
Mindy Haig

Here our the beautiful bookmarks that Mindy ordered to celebrate the release of Hidden in the Pages.  Look for them coming very soon!

My name is Mindy Haig  I am originally from Saddle Brook, New Jersey.  After college I moved to Delray Beach, Florida, and married my husband of nearly 22 years, then a job change sent us to Austin Texas where we have lived since 1994.  The photo above is me with my lovely daughter, Delaney at the Roman Baths in Bath, England.  Delaney is a Graphic Arts student and has done the cover art for The Messenger and Glory, also the composite art for Cybilla, my short story in Fusion: a collection of short stories by the Breakwater Harbor Books Authors.

Mindy Haig's Author Links


Hidden in the Pages

When his mother unexpectedly died just before Christmas, Jantzen Burke's world fell apart. He lost his father to his grief and the cold grandfather he never knew came to stay. Lonely and afraid Jantzen looked to his grandfather for some comfort, but instead of sympathy he was given a journal with a magical power, the pose to find his perfect mate.


Twitter:  @mindyh101

Interview with Poet-Author Brandy Cross

by Brandy Cross

There’s nothing soft about the leaves that fall
And winters chill it takes them all                                             Brandy Cross
Another night all alone
I guess that’s why it’s broken

And I could almost feel
The softness of your skin
And wonder what it would be like
To hold you close and then.

The frost that sets in
As the day turns into night
Wake up in the morning
And nothing makes it right
Because it’s become a part of you
Nothing left that you can do

And I could almost feel
The softness of your skin
And wonder what it would be like
To hold you close and then

This house is not my home
It merely holds me in
And love it’s not that close to me
Too far away to ever be

Sit and watch  the leaves that fell a long time ago
Autumn  rain has turned  into the cold of winter snow
A little shiver at the sight of ice on the tree
I’ll cover up, and  try to hide,  the winter in me

Welcome to Vision and Verse, Brandy.  What have you written?
I actually write for a living as a copywriter, it's the best job ever but I've written for way too many websites to count. So far I'm about three quarters of the way through a sci-fi novel that I'm putting on hold for NaNoWriMo and about to start a little Fantasy/Horror book that I promised my sister I would write for her.

What is your favorite genre to write?
 Definitely Sci-Fi.

Favorite food?
Tough… I'm going to go with strawberries.

Where would you like to visit?
 Egypt, I've always been fascinated with it.

Favorite musical artist?  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
My favorite artist is Guns n Roses (a bit old school I know) but yes I listen to music when I write, and the what depends on the mood. I've got everything from Wagner to Cradle of Filth, but  mostly I do tend to stick right around the classic rock area. Music is a great way to relax no matter what you're doing really.

What makes you laugh?
 Humor… what was I supposed to say?  I'm pretty easy, I laugh at almost everything, even when it's not funny.

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote a crappy one page story about a unicorn when I was 7 (in color pencil), my parents flipped out like it was the best thing ever and I've been hooked ever since.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Actually it really depends. The alien book that i wrote and am editing now I sort of got bits and pieces of that from a nightmare about being attacked by a giant flying squid and the one I'm writing for November, my sister asked me what was the most horrible awful psychological thing I could come up with, and that was that. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, I once wrote a poem/song based on sitting in a swing watching leaves fall.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I drink tea (of course I do that anyway), write something else, stare at the screen in abject despair, or do kickboxing. (my handwriting is too awful to make long term writing in notebooks feasible, although my first two novels were written that way and remain that way).

Who is your favorite author?
I'm a book junkie, there is no one best author. But I'll give it a shot. Tanya Huff-Orson Scott Card-Jim Butcher-Mercedes Lackey-Stephen King-Dean Koontz-Terry Goodkind….okay I should stop now.

Best book you ever read.
 While I could not honestly say there has been 'one best book' but I guess I could say that one of the first 'adult' books I read (I was 9) was Madeleine L'engal's 'A Wrinkle in Time' and it was what made me want to write.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I would have to say myself. That may sound stuck up or egotistical or something but I know there have been a lot of people who had a huge impact on my life but I think that at the end of the day I made some really major decisions and ended up going my own way. Sometimes it's the only way to go to be happy.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
That would probably be Tanya Huff, although there are I'm sure there are more worthy persons out there, she just strikes me as someone who's really decent, down to earth, and probably a blast to talk to.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Press pages. Create a press page with your plot before you even think about writing a book because it will help you in the middle of the book when you've sailed past your inspiration and into the muddling realm of not knowing what to write next. I guess I would have to say that there is no one right way to write a book (say that out loud five times really fast) but that you shouldn't be afraid to edit your book like your former 12th grade English teacher is about to go over it in front of your entire High School class. There can actually be a big gap between how good something is when you first write it, and how it reads to you a month or two down the road. Also, remember to have fun, it's just a book.

Thank you for being with us this morning, Brandy.  Good luck in all your writing endeavors.