Friday, November 28, 2014

Interview with Cover Artist Beth Maddox of Cover It Up Designs

Beth Maddox
 A small town in Southern Mississippi, and when I say small we do not have any stop lights.

Good morning, Beth!  And welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.  I am thrilled to have you here today.  For those of you who don't know, Beth is my cover artist and I LOVE her work.  How would you describe your artwork, Beth?
Well since I’m a book cover designer I try to help authors bring their visions to life or in this case print.  

...which you do very well, might I add.  Favorite food.
Does chocolate cake count? If does not then, spaghetti.

Yes, chocolate of any type counts.  Tea or coffee.
Coffee, although with me being a southern girl I do love my tea as long as it’s sweet.

Pizza or ice cream.
Definitely have to say pizza.

Where would you like to visit?
Italy or Australia would be the two places I would choose from to visit if given the opportunity.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you work?  What?
I honestly do not have a favorite music artist. I love everything from some forms of classical to rock. My music selection is very eclectic.

What makes you laugh?
My friends. I never know what they will say or do next.

Woohoo!  This is one knock-out cover!!!

We all like to draw, paint, glue rocks together, snap photos, etc., but we are well aware we couldn’t make a living doing it.  When did you know this is what you wanted to do with your life?  I can’t draw or paint to save my life unless it’s in a coloring book or something that I can stay inside the lines with. However, I love taking pictures and making them into scrapbooks or just making them into something like book covers.

When did you know you made the right decision?
After I made my first book cover and a sense of rightness came over me. It was then that I realized it didn’t matter how many clients I had or how busy I stay, it is the fact that I get to do something I love doing.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My mind works a little differently or at least to me it does. I look at a picture or place and immediately try to make a story for it. When an author hires me to create their book cover I try to get as many details no matter how small some may seem to help create the perfect cover.

What do you do when you get artist's block?
Read, listen to music, sometimes I talk to the author I’m working with to create a type of storyboard to work from. Most of the time I have enough details from what the authors information they have sent to me that it’s very rare I get a block.

Who is your favorite artist?
I can honestly say I don’t have a favorite. I love visiting art museums and looking at all the diverse paints they have.

Best book you ever read.
There are definitely way too many to choose from. I have been reading since I was a kid. I read just about anything and everything I can get my hands on. My favorite genre is romance, but as long as there is a good story and plot in a book I will read it.

Last book you read.
Poppy-Behind the Words Book # 3 by Savannah Stewart

Describe your perfect evening.
Spending time with my husband and our two daughters, it doesn’t matter what we do as long as I’m with them.

What would you be doing for a living if it weren’t what you’re doing now?
I honestly would go back to college for psychology, sociology, or some kind of degree for being a counselor. I love helping others. I’m not good with blood, so most jobs in the medical field would be ruled out. I absolutely hate seeing people suffer or struggle. If there was any way I could help I would try my best.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My mother, she always taught me to reach for the stars. It didn’t matter how out of reach it may be, but just keep trying your best no matter what happens.

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, he passed away almost five years ago and he was my best friend. I miss him more and more everyday that goes by. I wish he could have met my daughters, and seen the woman he helped me become today.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be an artist?

If it’s something you love doing, don’t let anyone stop you from following your dreams. In life there will always be critics, but take the good with the bad and just continue to be true to yourself.

Do you have some links for us to follow you?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


 Photo by Carol Ann Kauffman
Mill Creek Park, Youngstown, OH

From all of us at Vision and Verse to our wonderful, gentle readers, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  We  wish you a day filled with good friends and family.  We wish you a holiday dinner filled with great food.  And, most important, we hope you take a few minutes to reflect on the joy of life and the beauty of nature.  A moment to reflect on all we have, and to be grateful for it, will color the day like the rich and vibrant hues of the autumn foliage.  Remember, today is all we really have.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.  

Hugs to the best readers in the world,

Carol and Staff

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Interview with HALLMARK Author Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts!  I am so excited to have you here with us this morning.  I LOVED The Nine Lives of Christmas.  And the Hallmark Channel Original Movie was excellent.  What else have you written?
I’ve written about thirty novels and seven devotional books, all under different names.

What is your favorite genre to write?
I love writing women’s fiction.

Favorite food.
Chocolate (also known as “Vitamin C”)

Tea or coffee?
Both! I love a nice cup of tea, but I’m also a latte girl (coconut or caramel, please). How could I not be, having grown up in Seattle, home of Starbucks?

Pizza or ice cream?
I’ll have both. Chicken Alfredo pizza and ice cream for dessert. Make it a pumpkin Blizzard.

Where would you like to visit?
Someday I want to cruise the Greek Isles. And I’d love to ride the Orient Express!

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
I’m very fond of The Band Perry and Jamie O’Neal. Also love Linda Ronstadt and Sting. When I’m writing I usually listen to orchestral music or movie scores with no vocals. Otherwise I get distracted by the songs and want to sing along instead of working on my story.

What makes you laugh?
Goofy things my husband says, funny movies, books by Kristan Higgins or Donald E. Westlake.
I love Donald Westlake.  Remember BANKSHOT?  Favorite work of art or sculpture.                    
I love all those charming cottage and village paintings of Thomas Kinkade. They’re so cozy and comforting. We own a knock-off and I love it.

How old were you when you started writing?
I think it the third grade (or maybe fourth) when I began my “career” – my poor grade school class, they were always being subjected to hearing my read my latest creation. I had a very encouraging teacher who looked for talent in her kids and made it her mission to help them develop it. How cool is that?

Describe your perfect evening.
A party with lots of friends and parlor games.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere. When I wrote my novel, ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS it was inspired by my husband’s naughty lack of enthusiasm over having to spend yet another Christmas with my large, loud, fabulous, chaotic family.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I rarely get that. I did once, when I went to my new publisher. They took me on without a project in hand and I had to come up with an entire book series. I went into panic mode and that turned off the creative faucet. Once I got past the panic and had the germ of an idea I was fine.

Who is your favorite author?
I have two. Oh, wait, no, make that three. No, four. Hmmm. How do you pick a favorite author? Here are some I love: Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, Donald E. Westlake, Kristan Higgins, and Susan Wiggs. Oh, shoot, and I also adore John Grisham.

Best book you ever read.
Georgette Heyer’s THE MASQUERADERS and Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Last book you read.
THE KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL. Got it out of our condo library. Fascinating reading – made me so thankful that I live in the U.S.!

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
Be a songwriter. That was what I was trying to do when I first stumbled into my writing career. I still dabble in it. A friend and I wrote a song as a bonus for my novel MERRY EX-MAS and made a music video. It’s called MERRY CHRISTMAS MAMA and you can find it on Youtube. We had so much fun doing that!

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My mother. She was an amazing woman – creative, clever, godly – and a fabulous mother. And she sure knew how to throw a party.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Jesus Christ. I’d love to have been one of the women in his close circle of friends!

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

Learn all you can about the craft of writing. Read books on writing and study the authors you admire. It’s so easy to self-publish these days but resist the urge to throw up the first thing you urp up. Take some time to grow as a writer. Your early work may not be your best work. That probably lies ahead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My review of CHRISTMAS in the COMSTOCK by Jennifer B. Chambers

***** (Yes, those are stars) Coming of Age in the Wild West with a Basketful of Kittens
Review of Christmas in the Comstock  by Jennifer B. Chambers
By Carol Ann Kauffman  November 11, 2014

Christmas in the Comstock is a western historical romance with Christmas as the backdrop.  It's the coming of age story of Miss Cait Adcock, who shows up in wild west Nevada mining town with a basketful of kittens.  Looking for answers in her father's death and the loss of her family's fortune, she finds adventure, many surprises, and... love.  This is a well-written, historically correct story of an exciting time in our nation's history when everything was changing.

Amazon Buy Link:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Madison's Christmas Gets a New Life with BTGN Publishers!

Dear Gentle Readers,

Don't you just love the new cover of Madison's Christmas by the terrific cover artists from BTGN Publishing Company?  I do!

Book Description:
Christmas is Madison’s favorite holiday, but this year is different. She has to face it alone, without her father and her best friend/boyfriend Bob, amid the problems of running her own high-stakes business and dealing with family issues. 
Can the spirit of Christmas lift a heavy heart?


“What’s she like?  In Cleveland, Ohio, they call her the Dragon Lady who breathes fire, Dragon Breath.”

“Well, here in Silver Maple, New York, we call her Ms. Rand.” Mason laughed.  “I have no complaints.  She’s a good boss, and a good person.  She’s just all business.  We’re here to do a job, and she wants the job done.  Make sure everything you hand in is without error.  Don’t waste time—hers or yours.  Never ever be late.  Make sure your work is perfect.  Tie up all your own loose ends, but don’t overestimate your abilities.  If you need help, ask.  Stay in top physical condition.  And you’ll get along fine.  She runs a tight ship.  She won’t think twice about sending you back to Cleveland if you don’t work out.”

Amazon Buy Link:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

40,000 Pageview Milestone

Dear Gentle Readers,
I am pleased to announce Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors, the humble little blog with the plain white pages, begun on April 15, 2012 by Texas artist Parker Kaufman and Ohio author Carol Ann Kauffman (no relation) as a place to showcase creativity and inspiration in artists and authors old and new, has surpassed the 40,000 Pageview Milestone. We've had technical issues, staff changes, meltdowns, etc., but through it all, we have had the best readers in the world. I thank you.


Friday, November 21, 2014


This is the new cover for my third full length novel in the Time After Time series, THE BASLICATO.  It is the creation of the talented Beth Maddox  of Cover It Up Designs.
She did a fabulous job of conveying the essence of the book:  Tall, handsome British actor wakes up in the hospital and discovers he's a short, Italian race car driver.
THE BASLICATO will be available on December 1st on Amazon as an eBook and in January as a paperback.


Carol Ann Kauffman is an author from Ohio, in the Midwest. She is a retired teacher from a local school district, where she taught first grade for most of her thirty-five year career, but also second and third grade and was a reading specialist for her last three years. She has worked at a print shop as a printer, managed a department store office, and worked for an insurance agency. She loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy, and Aruba, which show up in her novels quite a bit. She loves to play Bridge and to garden. She grows African violets and orchids. She is the author of the Time After Time series, which follows a pair of lovers through their many lifetimes together. Her novels, classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, are about life, love, loss, and lunacy. Connect with Carol on Twitter at @Cay47. Visit her website at or visit her blog, Vision and Verse at