Friday, January 31, 2014

Loretta Laird's THE CHANGE

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The Change (The Passers Trilogy) [Kindle Edition]

Loretta Laird 

Kindle Price:$3.99

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Book Description

 January 29, 2014
It is a time of peace in the land of Fellnesia. Greenflack has been defeated and the freegans returned to their fiery dwelling. The Conference of Barveyn readies themselves to welcome their new prince. Yet there is still threat to the land; a presence that seeks to halt The Change that has been foretold. Jadara and her Passer mate must sacrifice the love that they have found to unite Fellnesia once and for all. What will happen when duty and love collide?

Product Details

  • File Size: 357 KB
  • Print Length: 139 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Steam eReads (January 29, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I50F0U2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled 
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled

THE CHANGE is the second in the Passers Trilogy.  The first one, PASSERS, is one of my all time favorite books.  Ms. Laird weaves a beautiful tale of love and duty in the story of Jadara, the daughter of the Air Princess and a Passer, a member of an elite league of warriors charged  with the duty of helping souls to their final resting rest. I highly recommend PASSERS and THE CHANGE is on my To Read List.   

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review of Khalid Muhammad's AGENCY RULES

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Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office[Kindle Edition]

Khalid Muhammad 

Kindle Price:$3.99

Agency Rules, Never An Easy Day at the Office by Khalid Muhammad is a taut, political thriller set in modern-day Pakistan.  Our protagonist, Kamal, possesses a strong sharp mind, terrific sniper skills, and a deep desire to improve his country, all while trying to stay alive among the treacherous subversive groups fighting for control of the country, where dishonesty, torture, and mistrust are rampant.  Who can he trust?
    This is not the kind of book I usually like to read.  I like to escape into a book and pretend this kind of stuff never happens.  This is not an unbelievable James Bond-type spy thriller.  This is life in a harsh and cruel world with extremely manipulative and brutal political groups.  But the strong, believable characters that drive the suspenseful and gripping plot hooked me.  The story flows well and unfolds into a heated action thriller. Hats off to Khalid Muhammad for this quick-moving, realistic, eye-opening heart-pounder. 
                                                                                              Review by Carol Ann Kauffman

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


                     J  Ryan Jobson

In the fall of 2013, Vision & Verse had the pleasure of featuring local Houston artist, J Ryan Jobson in an interview along with his art work.  It is our pleasure to bring you the latest endeavors of Mr. Jobson here today.

I had the opportunity to photograph a work that Ryan did for the interior of his studio.  The graffiti mural shown below, encompasses a 30 foot section of the studio's west wall.  The photos don't do the work is awesome.

I had the opportunity to talk with Ryan about this graffiti art and his new work recently.

Parker:     Ryan, thanks so much for inviting me back to your studio.  I have to ask,
                  what inspired you to make this incredible statement in your work space?

Ryan:        It's ironic, but I had read a piece you did on graffiti as art sometime last
                  year and I did some research and talked to some artists and found it to
                  be a very inspiring art form.  I did this on a whim, as you remember that
                  wall was nothing but cold boring brick and I thought it could use some
                  beautification.  (laughing)

Parker:      It's just spectacular.

Ryan:         Thanks, but it's an on-going project...I can't decide whether to continue
                   it length-wise or go up with it.

Parker:        Either way I think it will be amazing.

Parker:        I'd like to talk about your latest endeavor, painting on "sheets" of
                     concrete.  First off, tell me about these concrete sheets.

Ryan:           Well, I had this bright idea (laughing) to make a thin sheet by building
                      a wood frame and pouring a 1 to 1 1/2 inch layer of concrete.  The first
                      one I made, I made with a smooth surface, then used a sculpting tool to
                      divide the surface into squares, just lightly going into the wet cement.
                      As much as I liked working on that surface, I found I wanted to leave it
                       in a more natural state to get even more texture...hence in the works
                       since then, you can see the holes where there were bubbles.

Parker:           Are there any drawbacks to painting on concrete?

Ryan:              Well in this case yes.  Because the material is so thin, I have to take
                        care when removing it from the has a tendency to crack.  I
                        had thought of reinforcing it with wire, but that would add to the weight
                        of each piece and I've tried to keep them as light as possible.

Parker:           I noticed that two of the slabs you have here that are partially done are
                        different in that they're "colored".  How did you achieve that?

Ryan:              I used a concrete pigment to create that.  When I mix the concrete I add
                        a powdered pigment.  I'm hoping to achieve a mottled look at some

Parker:           I have to say this is amazing.  Is there anything else on the horizon?

Ryan:              I'm still experimenting with this cement thing....I'm looking at maybe
                        adding gravel or possibly some wood fragments....just ideas right now.

Parker:            Well, thanks very much for sharing your latest work with our readers.
                         It's always great to see what you've created.  We look forward to your
                         future work.

Image above, "THE STARE", 30" x 40", painted concrete, by J Ryan Jobson.

Image above, "THE EAR", 24" x 30", painted concrete, by J Ryan Jobson.

Image above, "UNTITLED", 24"X 36", painted concrete, by J Ryan Jobson.

Many thanks to Ryan for allowing V&V to showcase his latest efforts.  We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and hope to once again host more of his incredible talent.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Viv Drewa's "The Angler and the Owl"

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The Angler and the Owl [Kindle Edition]

Viv Drewa 

Kindle Price:$5.99
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Here's the synopsis: For 25 years France Hunter has been studying owls, and has discovered five new species around the world. Her work has kept her busy and she never had time for a relationship. She travels with Jason “Doc” Bradley, a former paramedic, and his cousins Tony and Andy Bradley. Now, on her last outing she is joined by a magazine writer, Cathy Birch, and a world famous angler, John Sinclair, who has also dedicated his life to his field. As the small caravan travels to the Amazon river France falls and severely injures her left arm. Against Doc's recommendation to turn back, she pushes on. This is her last trip and she wants to go to the place where she found her first new owl. While fishing a blue-ringed owl lands on John's canoe and looks down the river to where France's group is, and then looks back at him. This alerts John. He gets the satellite phone and tries to reach her to no avail. He decides the fishing can wait and, with Mark in another canoe, begin the journey back to France. At France's camp two jaguars attack one of the boatmen severing his left leg. The other two boatmen, they all have rifles, shoot at the jaguars killing one. The other escapes with the boatman's leg. Doc and the others wake to the noise and he and Tony go to where the boatmen are camping. In the ruckus the canoes become untied and go eastward down the shore and the sat phone is destroyed. Now they have no way to get help and will have to wait for John's team to come back, which could take three or four more days. Will help get there in enough time?

Monday, January 27, 2014


Hello Readers!  Welcome to the first posting of WHAT'S IN A PHOTO?    I thought I'd start out with a series of four photos for you to peruse and see what you can find in them.  I've thrown in some things to look at in each photo to get you started.

Investigate the geometry in the crystal bowl in the photo above.

Check out the circular motion and the illusion of upward movement in this electric range burner.

Focus on the exquisite detail of this glass Christmas ornament and the "emotion" of it's artistic quality.

There is a "ballet" in this glass container of cotton swabs...see it?

I hope this first little glimpse of "WHAT'S IN A PHOTO" has sparked your way of looking at the world around you.  There is so much to see if we just leave the bounds of traditional viewing and let our minds see for us.  Please feel free to comment, tell me what you see or experienced in these photos.  I'm looking forward to posting more and hope you enjoy this new feature of V&V.  Thanks for reading.

Images above  photographed by Parker Kagan-Kaufman 2014.

Cover Reveal "My Father's Prostitute" by Steven Whitacre

Welcome back to Vision and Verse this morning, Steven.  What's new,? 
I have the cover ready for my book, My Father's Prostitute – A Journey to Borderline Personality Disorder and Back, which is the true story of growing up with a secret and how it affected my life and relationships, but also how I managed to overcome it all and find love again.                                                                                                     

Great cover, love it.  Refresh our memory a little. about what you like to write.
I did some adventure writing as a teen, but have pretty much just stuck to this one narrative non-fiction book.  I do have a creative streak in me, but I tend to focus more on my music than writing (although I haven’t done anything professionally with that in over 20 years).

Where would you like to visit? 
 When I was in the US Navy, I visited Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Turkey, along with the islands of Mallorca, Crete and Sicily.  Of all the places I’ve been, I would love to return to the island of Crete.  As for places I have never been, I would love to visit Belgium and Germany. 

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
This is a difficult one because music has had such a huge influence on my life.  If I had to pick just one band that had the most influence, it would have to be Black Sabbath.  If I had to pick one artist, it would be Ozzy Osbourne.  I didn’t listen to music while I wrote though – I needed complete silence so that I could get my true thoughts and feelings down on paper without being influenced by outside sources.

What makes you laugh?
 My wife ☺  Seriously though, this question somewhat saddens me.  I don’t laugh enough.  I think laughter is important for our mental wellbeing.  If we can’t have fun and laugh, we aren’t living.

How old were you when you started writing?
I started mulling the idea of telling my story when I was about 42.  But I didn’t actually put pen to paper until I was 45.  It took 3 years of deep introspection before I was comfortable with telling my story, and 3 years of planning and imagining how it would go – none of which looked anything like the final product.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the people around me, from nature, and mostly from my wife and daughters. 

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I wait it out.  I wrote my book in about 8 weekend mornings – there wasn’t much time for writers block, although I did have a little.  Most of my writing was done first thing in the morning before the family got out of bed.

Who is your favorite author?
Stephen King and Clive Barker were a couple of my favorites growing up. 

Best book you ever read. 
Different books have impacted me in different ways - I don’t think I could ever pick a “best”.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big reader.  When I do read, it’s typically non-fiction how-to’s or something along those lines.  My wife is a big reader and has tried to foster that same love in me but it hasn’t stuck (yet).

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Ozzy Osbourne hands down.  It was his influence that got me into the heavy drug use that defined a good chunk of my life.  But it was also Ozzy that influenced my visit to rehab and the sobriety that followed.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why? 
Bob Marley.  He seemed like a happy soul who believed in love and unity.  Two things which aren’t always easy to find in life, but which make a huge difference in its quality.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
 Just do it!

Do you have a Facebook link for us, Steven?
The Facebook page for my book can be found at

The book itself will have a publication date of April, 2014 to coincide with National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Also, a portion of the proceeds (haven’t decided how much yet.. 10%? 20%?) will be donated to organizations dedicated to helping children with trauma histories.

We look forward to updates on your book next April.  It has been a pleasure having you here this morning and we at Vision and Verse wish you continued success in all your endeavors.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

WHEN STARS DIE by Amber Skye Forbes

The Stars Trilogy #1
Amber Skye Forbes
Published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc.
on October 22, 2013

Print List Price:$12.79
Kindle Price:$3.89
You Save:$8.90 (70%)

Amber Skye Forbes

Book Description

Amelia Gareth's brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They're searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch's signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Interview with Author Shari Ryan

Shari J. Ryan
Central Massachusetts

Good morning, Shari and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Artists.  We are happy to have you here this morning.  Can you tell us what you've written? 
My debut novel, Schasm  is being relaunched today January 25th! I’ve also written the second and third book of the Schasm Series, which will be coming out later in the Spring and Summer respectively.

What is your favorite genre to write? 
Young Adult and New Adult are my genres of choice.

Favorite food? 
Sushi, Chinese, and crepes - just not all together.

Tea or coffee?
Iced coffee, even in the winter.

Pizza or ice cream?
Ice cream.

Where would you like to visit? 
Every country in Europe.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
Chemical Romance has been a long time favorite of mine. When I’m writing I listen to a variety of music depending on the scene I’m working on. The genre of music sways from classical (Beethoven) to hard rock (female vocalists).

What makes you laugh? 
My two little boys. They are both little comedians.

How old were you when you started writing? 
I started writing on my seventh birthday when I received my first diary/journal. I haven’t stopped since.

Describe your perfect evening: 
Anywhere sans kids (Sorry, boys. Mommy needs a break sometimes). I’m a big fan of dinner and a movie (in the winter) and cocktails with friends at a firepit (in the Summer).

Where do you get your inspiration?
Art, reading, small details in large things.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I listen to lots of music, read lots of books, go for walks and long drives.

Who is your favorite author? 
Colleen Hoover and Jamie McGuire are my two all time faves, but recently I’ve become a huge fan of Amy Harmon and K.A. Tucker as well.

Best book you ever read. 
Slammed by Colleen Hoover wins that award for me.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My husband, Josh. He’s taught me to take a closer look at life, to appreciate the small things and to take everything in slowly. Being a combat vet, he learned how to appreciate life at a young age. I met him shortly after he returned from Iraq, and he changed my life for the better. He taught me and reminds me on a regular basis that no dream is ever too big or too dumb. You never know when you might not have the chance to try and accomplish it, so it’s better to live in the present and lay all of your cards out on the table. You might fail, but you might succeed. It has been the greatest advice I’ve ever been given.

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 great-grandmother—a Holocaust survivor and author. I would do anything to hear her stories and to find out about her inspirations. I read her book regularly as a reminder of where I got my passion for writing.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 
Write. Keep writing. If you think you don’t have what it takes to write, you’ll learn to write better as you write. And you might just surprise yourself when you type the words, “The End”.

Amazon Link:

Schasm (Schasm Series) [Kindle Edition]

Shari J. Ryan 

Print List Price:$15.95
Kindle Price:$3.99
You Save:$11.96 (75%)

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for FREE. Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.