Thursday, March 31, 2016

Vogue: 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".

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light


    America's most commercially successful artist, Thomas Kinkade was born on January 19, 1958 in Sacramento, California, and grew up in the small town of Placerville. He married Nanette Wiley in 1982 and had four daughters. He died on April 6, 2012 at the age of 54 in Monte Sereno, California.

    Called the Painter of Light, Thomas Kinkade's paintings glowed with brilliant highlights and saturated pastels, and were a huge  commercial success but his work was dismissed by critics and the fine-art world as "mall art" or "chocolate box art", saying they were kitschy and without substance. 

However, he was embraced by the general public, who loved his American scene paintings with beautiful idyllic gardens, cottages, lighthouses, and rambling streams.  One out of every twenty American homes has at least one Kinkade print, primarily because of the success of his personal appearances on the QVC home shopping network.  Seeing him with his artwork, explaining scenes, and pointing out interesting details in his beautifully composed renderings was very impressive. He also had a complete line of journals, calendars, puzzles, and greeting cards, thanks to Hallmark!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Interview with Author Amber Daulton

Amber Daulton
The Beautiful Foothills of North Carolina

Good morning, Amber, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.
Please tell us about your most recent release, when it was published, and what it’s about? 
My Valentine Adventure is a story about love, forgiveness and learning to live again. It came out on February 10th, 2016 from Resplendence Publishing and is my first book with the publisher.
Claire Lauer divorced her husband a few years ago and spends most of her free time fighting for animal rights. As a single mother, she’s determined to set a good example for her ten-year-old daughter and teach her compassion for all living creatures. Parker Townsend still mourns the death of his beloved wife and he buried himself in work and raising their two children to combat the pain. To their children’s prodding, Claire and Parker meet for a blind date on Valentine’s Day. Sparks fly, and they seek shelter in each other’s arms after a protest takes a turn for the worse.
Will they finally realize what they need to heal and move on with their lives, or continue to live in a world of gray?

What else have you written? 
I have seven stories currently published in these romantic sub-genres: historical, time travel, romantic-suspense, contemporary western, contemporary romance, and New Adult. My books range between sweet (no sex, sex behind closed doors or mild petting) to spicy (explicit scenes with dirty language). They can be found on Amazon, B&N, ARe, Smashwords and Kobo.
If you’re interested in the sweet variety, check out: Forever Winter (historical), Lightning over Bennett Ranch (western) and Cinderella’s Enchanted Night (cont. romance with a magical twist).
Or the spicy: A Hero’s Heart (romantic-suspense), Mistletoe in the City (NA), Timeless Honor (time travel) and My Valentine Adventure (cont. romance).
Also, check out the Cinderella Treasure Trove. It’s FREE on Amazon and at other retailers. Last year, 15 romance authors, including myself, formed the Glass Slipper Sisters and we produced an excerpt book to showcase snippets of our Cinderella-themed stories. Recipes and party ideas are also part of the freebie.

What are you working on next? 
I have so many projects on the table. I’m thinking about turning My Valentine Adventure into a trilogy, focusing on other characters, but I haven’t decided yet.
My next publication, Timeless Beginnings, will come out this summer with Books to Go Now, my other publisher. It’s a time travel romance set in the 1960s and a prequel to Timeless Honor, another time travel story but set in eighteenth century England. In each story, the heroines, Leonora and Jaye, jump through time to find her soul mate. The catch: they’re grandmother and granddaughter.

I've read your Timeless Honor book and I loved it! I love Lenora and Jay. What is your favorite genre to write? 
My favorite genre to write is romance, any sub-genre.

Favorite food

Tea or coffee? 

Pizza or ice cream? 
Do I have to choose? Hmmm… ice cream.

Oh, my kind of person! Wine or beer? 

Where would you like to visit? 
I’d love to go to Greece!

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What? 
I like a lot of music but I don’t really have a favorite artist. My musical preference is ‘80 metal and hair metal and ‘90s alternative and grunge. I need silence or the hum of car engines or the washing machine when I write. Talking and music distracts me. 

What makes you laugh?
My kitties. They’re playful and too arrogant for their own good.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.  
My mother-in-law creates these whimsy window hangings with pieces of glass and plastic glued on with some kind of epoxy. I’m not sure what she calls them but my hubby and I have a few in our living room. When the sunlight catches on the glass, colors spiral through the room.

How old were you when you started writing? 
I was twelve when I first snuck a Harlequin romance book out of my mom’s room. After I read it, a light bulb flipped on in my head and I wanted to write my own story. And that’s what I’ve done ever since. 

Describe your perfect evening.
A perfect writing evening would be no distractions, a comfortable environment and my creative juices flowing. A romantic evening with my husband would be a quiet dinner, an empty movie theater so we can be all cuddly and walking around downtown at night.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
The world around me. Anything can bring an idea to life, and I’m always open to the unusual.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I read in the genre that I’m trying to write. If I’m writing a romantic suspense, for example, I have to read RS books and nothing else.

Who is your favorite author?
There’s way too many to count. 

Best book you ever read. 
I don’t think I have one. I’ve read a lot of books and most of them are memorable, but I can’t say I have a favorite.

Last book you read.  
The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
I’d like to be a librarian or work in a museum, anything to do with books and history. 

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
 Make friends with other authors and readers via social media. Don’t be shy. Start a blog even if you aren’t published and join blog tours. A tour is a great way to get a free ebook as long as you write a review and post it on your blog. The author’s readers will then come to your blog to read the review. They’ll know YOUR name. And that’s what you want. To get your name out there.

Just keep trying. I know it sounds cliché but there’s nothing else to do. If you don’t try, you won’t succeed. Period. Keep your hopes high, take rejection letters in stride and if a publisher or editor gives you feedback on why he/she rejected your work, listen to their feedback. They know what they’re talking about.

About the Author

Writing is the fruit to happiness.
Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.
Author of several novellas, she published her first book in 2012 and hopes to publish countless more in the future. As a fan of contemporary, paranormal and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when there are people jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Social Media Links

Facebook Author Page -
Facebook Friend Page -

Sunday, March 27, 2016

FREE Today! MacKalvey House

FREE Today! MacKalvey House
Number 3 on the Bestseller's List 

Full-length novel about a young American in England.
Time After Time series

Young American Michelle Rosemont visits England after graduation and decides to stay. She takes a job as photographer for a Historical Magazine and falls in love with Kenneth MacKalvey, an older British author with a shady past. Old families scars resurface and play havoc with Michelle and Kenneth's relationship, as she struggles to come to terms with her father's abandonment.


5.0 out of 5 stars
Well written and gripping! Another page turner from Kauffman!
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Another great book in the time after time series. Kauffman has created yet another pair of lovers, and they need to deal with all drama in their path to love. Michelle Rosemont has moved to England and fallen in love. Kenneth MacKalvey has a secret past, and is full of mystery and that's what leads Michelle down the wormhole. Just like the other books in Kauffman's time after time series, this has a outstanding plot, very well written characters, and intrigue and drama. It interests the reader, and pulls them into the world, as you root for the characters to end up happily ever after. Each book keeps getting better and better. This was a great read with romance, humor, drama, and some action. It's a great book to add to your reading list, and I promise you won't be disappointed! I thoroughly loved it, and look forward to more books by Kauffman!

Friday, March 25, 2016

FREE Today! January Black Ice

Dear Gentle Readers,

Today January Black Ice, the first in the Cat Collier Mystery series is free at

January Black Ice

Mary Catherine Collier is called to the penthouse apartment of the city’s very rich, most influential lawyer, Detrick Bittmor. He has a very personal assignment for her. It involves a mysterious young man who sits on a park bench every day at noon and stares up at Bittmor’s top floor apartment.

Mary Catherine, or Cat, as she’s better known, has a soft spot for this lawyer with a nasty reputation. There’s something about this old man she likes, and even found charming.

Detrick Bittmor thinks the young man on the park bench resembles a younger version of himself. He thinks this young man could be his son from an affair he had many years ago with a beautiful New Year lawyer. This man could be his only heir.

And old man Bittmor isn’t getting any younger.

And if you like this one,  February White Lies and March Blues are out now. I'm working on the fourth story, tentatively titled April Yellow Moon. But for it to find it's way to you, the first three have to have good numbers and a decent number of reviews on

So...if you download January Black Ice free today and if you like it, please consider leaving a short review on It would be much appreciated.