Friday, February 26, 2016

FREE Today January Black Ice

FREE Today, Friday, February 26, 2016, the kindle version of the first short story in the Cat Collier Mystery series at

Here is an excerpt:

January Black Ice
A Cat Collier Mystery
Carol Ann Kauffman

“Name, please,” asked the unknown polite man in the wrinkled suit at the front desk of the Palazzo Castellano Hotel in the heart of beautiful downtown Heaton Valley, Ohio. I looked for a nametag. These guys always seem more agreeable when you called them by name. No nametag.
“Mary Catherine Collier.”
“Oh, the obituary writer for the Herald?”
“I thought you’d be…older.” He squinted at me as if I were out of focus.
“I’m here to see Mr. Bittmor,” I answered as quietly as I could, not for his sake but because of my pounding headache.
“Do you have an appointment?” He scanned an appointment calendar in front of him. “Collier…Collier.”
“Would I be here so damn early in the morning on this cold, gray, snow-clogged, icy, miserable day if I didn’t?” I seriously considered leaping over the counter and choking him. Not a death-grip, mind you. I’m not a violent person. Just a little squeeze.
“Shall I take that as a yes?” he asked.
“Yes,” I smiled instead of choking him, a much better option I thought, mainly because I still might need his help in the event the cantankerous, old Mr. Detrick Bittmor became less than cooperative.
“Ahh, yes, here you are. ‘Cat’. Mr. Bittmor will see you in the lounge, madam.” He pointed toward the bar. Now what decent, self-respecting bar is open at seven-thirty in the morning? And who the hell is madam?
“Madam?” I squealed. “Just what do you think I’m delivery this morning, buddy?” I tried to pull in my bristles, but it wasn’t working. I needed sleep. I needed warmth.
“I have no idea, madam. I’ll bring you some coffee as soon as I ring Mr. Bittmor’s suite.”
“Coffee. Good. What happened to Fred? I liked Fred.”
“Fred retired.”
“Thank you, ur…”
“Rodney,” he answered with a nod and the teeniest smile, making old, sour, wrinkly Rodney appear slightly less creepy, for the moment.
“Thank you, Rodney.” I strolled into the lounge, found the only table with sufficient light, pulled out my notebook and pen, and patiently waited…for the coffee, not so much for Bittmor.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Art of Reina Cottier

"My art has reached a whole new level for me lately, there seem to be more layers, more energetically to each piece. While I have less time to paint, (my colouring book and childrens book being published has been keeping me super busy), what I am painting is feeling a lot more satisfying than previously. 

I have revisited my cosmic connections and integrated them with my love for cultural themes and nature/creatures."  
                                                                - Reina Cottier

The artist describes her work and the level of energy and inspiration in her pieces in her own words. You can't look at her work and not be moved by it's beauty and energy, by it's soothing, ethereal elegance.That she loves the New Zealand culture and nature is apparent in her work.

I was hooked the first time I saw her work. It was a dolphin in shades of blues and greens. It was graceful and elegant. It had movement and joy. I have a copy of it on my desk from her 2015 calendar. It makes me happy. It keeps me grounded. 


Above are links to follow the 
fabulous Reina Cottier. 

“Inspiration is all around me, I literally breathe it in on a daily basis. I live in Tairua, a beautiful seaside town, on the Coromandel Peninsula. I am constantly inspired by the majestic mountains to the west and the wild surf beach to the east. I am heavily influenced by our magical mystical universe, and all its wonderment and secrets. I find enormous inspiration in different cultures and tribal life, Pacifica, Indonesian, Indian, Oriental, American Indian and so on, My art has a real ‘cross fusion’ of tribal/cultural feel to it. Bits of this, and a hint of that, blended with a mysticism and ‘other worldly’ feel at times. “My art has developed and evolved immensely, at first it was totally experimental both in expression and technically, now it is certainly still very experimental, (I love being in the moment, no planning and just seeing what evolves on the canvas), but I have developed a certain style that seems to appear, whether consciously or not.”       
                                                           - Reina Cottier

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Artist John White Alexander

John White Alexander was born on October 7, 1856 in Allegheny. Pennsylvania. He was orphaned in his infancy and was raised by his grandparents.

John's first job was that of telegraph boy for the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company in the city of Pittsburgh, PA, at the age of twelve. Here he met Edward J. Allen, who became his patron. John spent time at the Allen home at Edgehill, where he painted various members of the Allen family.     

He moved to New York City at the age of eighteen to work at Harper's Weekly as an illustrator and a political cartoonist. After three years with Harper, he travelled to Munich to begin his formal training.

But he soon ran out of money and went to the village of Poling in Bavaria and worked with Frank Duveneck. Together they travelled to Venice, where they worked with Whistler. John continues his studies in Florence, the Netherlands, and Paris

In 1881, he returned to New York and gained success as a portrait painter. Among his famous clients were Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Burroughs Henry G. Marquand, and R. L. Stevenson.

His first  international exhibit in Paris in 1893 was brilliant success. 

John White Alexander died on May 31, 1915 at the age of 58. He is recognized as one of American's finest portrait, figure, and decorative painters.

All information and images are from Wikipedia.  I claim nothing here as my own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Art of Helen Dryden

The Art of Helen Dryden                              

All Information and photos from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Helen Dryden
Born November 5, 1887
Baltimore, Maryland
Died July 1981 (aged 93)
Nationality United States
Helen Dryden (1887 – 1981) was an American artist and successful industrial designer in the 1920s and 1930s. She was reportedly described by the New York Times as being the highest-paid woman artist in the United States, though she lived in comparative poverty in later years.[1]

Dryden was born in Baltimore and moved to Philadelphia when she was seven years old to attend Eden Hall. During her early childhood years Dryden showed unusual artistic ability, designing and selling clothes for paper dolls. Eventually she sold a set of her paper dolls and dresses to a newspaper for use in its fashion section. This in turn led to a position as illustrator for Anne Rittenhouse's fashion articles in the Philadelphia Public Ledger and The Philadelphia Press.

Dryden was largely self-trained, describing her works as "a combination of things I like, in the way I want to do them." Her artistic education consisted of four years of training in landscape painting under Hugh Breckinridge and one summer school session at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Deciding that she had no real interest in landscape painting, Dryden focused her complete attention on fashion design and illustration.

Fashion illustration
After moving to New York in 1909, Dryden spent a year trying to interest fashion magazines in her drawings. None, however, showed any interest in her work and many were harsh with criticism. Dryden was particularly disappointed in her rejection by Vogue. Less than a year later, however, Condé Nast Publications assumed management 
of Vogue and set out to make changes. Upon seeing Dryden's drawings, they directed the fashion editor to contact her immediately. The result was a Vogue contract that led to a 13-year collaboration (1909–1922) during which she produced many fashion illustrations and magazine covers.[2] Her "essentially romantic style produced some of the most appealing, yet fantastical images on Vogue covers, frequently depicting imagined rather than realistic representations of dress."[3] She also illustrated other Condé Nast titles, including Vanity Fair and House and Garden.[3]

Costume design
In addition to her prolific career as an illustrator, in 1914 Dryden launched a successful career as a costume designer. She designed the scenery and some of the costumes for the musical comedy Watch Your Step, followed by designs for several other stage plays including Clair de Lune, the fanciful drama based loosely on a Victor Hugo romance. Although the play starred Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, Helen Dryden's costume designs were generally given equal credit for the play's success.[4]                                       

Industrial design
Following the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Dryden turned her attention to industrial design, producing a number of designs for tableware, lamps, and other housewares, for the Revere Corporation.[5] She had a highly paid job with the Dura Company until the stock market crash of 1929, at which point she was replaced by George W. Walker.[6] It seems Dryden never fully recovered from this blow. According to Christopher Gray, "The 1925 census recorded her living at 9 East 10th Street with her 25-year-old Philippine-born cook and butler, Ricardo Lampitok.

Dryden worked for Studebaker from 1934 to 1937, reportedly earning $100,000 per year.[7] Automotive designer Raymond Loewy contracted with her to help him design Studebaker interiors.[8] Her work on the interior of the 1936 Studebaker Dictator and President that established Helen Dryden as an important twentieth-century industrial designer.[9] The advertisements by the automaker proclaimed, "It's styled by Helen Dryden."[10] Dryden designed the Studebaker President throughout, and the press marveled that a woman had attained this eminence in mechanical engineering.[11] She was considered "one of the top industrial designers and one of the few women in the automotive field."[12] Dryden worked with Loewy through 1940.[8]

By 1956 Dryden was again living in a $10-a-week hotel room paid for by the city's Welfare Department. At the time, she referred nostalgically to "her '$200-a-month' 10th Street apartment".

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Harvest Club by Iona Morrison

The Harvest Club
by Iona Morrison

    Book Description

Jessie Reynolds has no idea when she moves to Blue Cove, that      she will be sharing her life with a ghost. A young pastor has been murdered, and Jessie finds herself following the trail of that death into the dark and deadly world of organ trafficking.

Jessie is soon introduced to the detective in charge of the case. Matt Parker is a tall, scruffy, ruggedly handsome man who takes an instant dislike to her and the feeling is mutual. He wants her out of his case and she finds herself entangled in it. The tension between them mounts and so does the attraction.

Book Review from Amazon:
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!!! You won't be disappointed!!!! September 19, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished a new (and first) novel written by Iona Morrison; title “The Harvest Club". Wow, what a great read!! I enjoyed every page of this mystery. My criteria for a good read are style, character and plot development. Ms. Morrison’s clean, crisp writing style kept me turning pages and I was intrigued by the characters from the start. Plot development is tight and keeps you guessing all the way to the end.
The main character Jessie is a delight. It is great to see a strong woman character not painted as isolated and needy due to her strength. Always disappointing are the seemingly strong women characters that fall apart and in the end some guy comes in to rescue them. Wonderful to read a book where the female character is genuinely strong and the world doesn’t melt backwards into the 50’s!!
Throughout the book Jessie's character never wavers, she is self-confident because of her personal convictions and ethics. Her curiosity and internal intelligence serve her well and guide her to the truth.
The setting, the plot and all the other characters are there for the reader to discover. Through her writing skill, Ms. Morrison transports you to Blue Cove and tells a story that will linger in your mind for a long time.
I say Iona Morrison nailed it!!! I cannot wait until her next book.

Amazon Buy Link:

Dear Gentle Readers,

I have read The Harvest Club, partially in the waiting room waiting for my husband to come out of surgery and I must tell you it is one terrific read.  It was a real page-turner.  I cannot wait for more by this author.

Write faster, Iona Morrison!


Friday, February 19, 2016

Belterra is FREE Today!

Dear Gentle Readers,

BELTERRA is free today at

The Time After Time Series follows a pair of unlikely lovers on their adventures through life and love, this time on an alien planet divided into four tribes. When Neeka, daughter of the Lord of the Warrior Clan, was out picking lavender in their vast fields of the West, she felt him coming for her, and she was ready. When Braedon, Lord of the Soldier Clan of the East, rode into those lavender fields, searching for the woman of his dreams, he had no idea if she were even real. But there she was, standing there looking up at him, smiling. He reached his hand down to her and waited. She accepted his hand, beginning their adventures together, changing not only their lives, but the course of life and unity on their planet forever. An alien planet. Or is it?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Interview with Author Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar
Finger Lakes, New York

Oh, I have a real treat for you this morning, V&Vers, Aaron Paul Lazar, who writes to soothe his soul. I have long admired this work and his book covers. He's an award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides. Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming release, Voodoo Summer: a Gus LeGarde Mystery.

Good morning, Aaron, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. Can you tell us what you're written?

LEGARDE MYSTERIES                                             

11. VOODOO SUMMER (coming 2016)

1. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF BILLY MOORE (formerly Healey’s Cave)

3. DEVIL’S SPRING (coming in 2016)

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3

My, goodness! Very impressive list. You have been a busy boy. What is your favorite genre to write?
Mysteries and Romantic Suspense

Favorite food
Thai cuisine, Honeycrisp Apples, Kale (seriously!), and anything from my garden.

Tea or coffee? 
Like ‘em both but gotta have my coffee!

Pizza or ice cream? 
Ice cream, especially love vanilla with hot raspberry sauce drizzled over it!

Wine or beer? 
I love Finger Lakes semi-dry Riesling

Where would you like to visit? 
I’ve never been to a tropical island, would love to be to a turquoise ocean and sand.

May I suggest Aruba? It's gorgeous. The water is the most magnificent shade of aqua, almost fluorescent turquoise. Favorite musical artist. 

Love Puccini. Do you listen to music when you write? 
Yes, lots of artists from The Beatles to Loon Songs to opera. 

What makes you laugh?
My grandchildren. ;o) And watching Everybody Loves Raymond on TV! That show cracks me up.

Favorite work of art or sculpture. 
Any of Monet’s paintings. I can’t choose from his 1708 works, it’s just too hard.

How old were you when you started writing? 
I wrote lots when I was a teenager, but didn’t start writing novels until age 44 when my dad died.

Describe your perfect evening. 
Having a gourmet meal with my wife that we cooked together from my gardens, a nice glass of wine, and settling in to watch a movie together with our dogs at our side.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
From life: from my friend’s traumas, from the news, from my own life challenges. Plenty of material there!

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I stop writing for a little while and just “live life.” Pretty soon the well refills and I can’t stop writing for a long time.

Who is your favorite author? 
John D. MacDonald, Dick Francis

Best book you ever read. 
To Kill a Mockingbird.

Last book you read. 
Causing Chaos by Deborah Ledford.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
I’m an engineer in my day job.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
My father. He was a true Renaissance man, a pianist, lover of art, family, nature, and animals.

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 mother. She just died in June and I miss her dreadfully.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?  Write every day, even if you think it’s not “good” writing. Let your mind go. Let the words flow. It’s the best way to become a “real” writer. The process will help train you to produce on a regular basis.



Devil’s Lake
·       2015 Finalist Readers’ Favorites Awards
·       2015 Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards
The Seacrest
·       2015 Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards
·       2014 Best Beach Book Festival WINNER, Romance category
·       2013 ForeWord Book Awards, Romance, FINALIST
Double Forté 
·       2012 ForeWord BOTYA, Mystery, FINALIST
Tremolo: cry of the loon
·       2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Grand Prize Short List
·       2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction
·       2011 Global eBook Award Finalist in Historical Fiction Contemporary
·       2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place Mystery
·       2008 Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books
·       2008 MYSHELF Top Ten Reads
For the Birds
·       2011 ForeWord Book Awards, FINALIST in Mystery
·       2012 Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads
Essentially Yours
·       2013 EPIC Book Awards, FINALIST in Suspense
·       2013 Eric Hoffer Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist
The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly titled Healey’s Cave)
·       2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
·       2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
·       2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
·       2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Nobel!) Prize for Literature
·       2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards
 Terror Comes Knocking
·       2013 Global Ebook Awards, Paranormal – Bronze
For Keeps
·       2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category
Spirit Me Away
·       2014 AuthorsdB book cover contest, Silver medal.
Under the Ice
·       2015 AuthorsdB “Bronze” Cover Award


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