Friday, April 29, 2016

Schedule for the First Week of May

Schedule for May 2 -May 6, 2016 for
Carol Ann Kauffman's
             Vision and Verse

Mon. - New by Parker Kaufman
            "Journey of the Non People"
Tues. - Interview with Poet/Author
            John Harrison
Wed. - Sharon Kleve's 
            "The Wedding Day"            
Thurs. - FREE May 4 - May 7
            "Echo of Heartbreak, A  
              Recipe for Life"
Fri. - African Violets 101.01

Dear Gentle Readers,

This month I'm attempting to combine my two blogs into one. I'll be watching the numbers closely to see if it's working out.  I know you are not big commentors, but if you like what you see, speak up. Tell me what you would like to see more of and what you don't. After one month, I'll decide whether to separate the two blogs again or delete one.


Monday, April 25, 2016

What Did My Violet Just Say?

Great article from the African Violet Society of America on what your violet is trying to tell you! Here is the link:

New Banner

Dear Gentle Readers,

Did you notice the new banner? I took this photo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, in September. We were celebrating our anniversary at the same resort, the Sheraton Sand Key, where we stayed on our honeymoon thirty-some years ago. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of beach I have ever seen here in the US.

I needed to take a little break. Things happen. Life, and it's counterpart, happens. I began to question...everything. It has been a very unsettling time for me. But I expect to be back May 2nd, with some very interesting new interviews and art posts, as well as incorporating the African Violet and orchid columns and nature photos from my weebly site. 

See you next week. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Under Construction

Dear Gentle Readers,

Vision and Verse is having "a little work done". I am combining the blog page from my author's website on weebly with Vision and Verse. The African violet and orchid columns from the weekly site will be available here, along with the artist and author interviews and book promos, and everything else you've come to enjoy about Vision and Verse.

Dividing my thoughts and time between the two sites was doing a disservice to both. After a little rest, things will return to normal the first week of May.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Vision and Verse Third Anniversary Refection

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Mission Statement
The mission of "Vision and Verse" is to familiarize our readers with our work, to share with them the inspiration we have found in interesting artists and authors along the way, to inspire our readers to explore their own avenues of creativity, and to help them unlock their ability to see the beauty that surrounds them every day.

Dear Gentle Readers,
As I look back on these three years since Parker Kaufman and I started this little blog, I don't know how much I have inspired you or helped you unlock your ability to see the beauty that surrounds you every day. 
I know I've done over one hundred interviews of today's authors and artists and Parker and I have posted over one thousand daily offerings on art and literary fiction. 
Sometimes I've worked on Vision and Verse things and let my own writing commitments fall by the wayside. Sometimes I have felt I spend the majority of my time advertising other authors and their work and ignore my own.
The writing business has changed drastically in the last three years and trying to keep up with everything is becoming a job, and losing some of it's immense joy.
Life is short and I am old, my darlings, and I am winding down. I hope you've enjoyed this blog and have found some new and interesting... and old and interesting authors and artists to follow.
From now on, I am taking it day by day. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Vote for Daisy!

  • Picture

  • Dear Gentle Readers,

    A Dilemma for Daisy, my contribute to the Monday Mystery Society collection published by Books To Go Now Publishers, is presently sitting on number twenty with about twenty other stories on Goodreads Clean Romance list.

    There is a bookstore in the town of Oakville, Ohio, where residents come to find a good mystery, discuss it over snacks with other like-minded members of the community. Sometimes, the members of this book club find more than their next favorite author!

    Here is the link if you want to vote for A Dilemma for Daisy.
    Thank you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Editor's Pick, Artist Reina Cottier

The Fabulous Artwork 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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Editor's Pick: Interview with Author Terry R. Hill

Sci-Fi Author Terry R. Hill

Terry R. Hill
Houston, Texas

Good morning, Terry and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. Thank you for being with us today, Terry. Your books sound exciting. And the fact that they are written by an NASA engineer gives them so much more credibility than those written by, oh, say a first grade teacher from Ohio. Promise me you will not read my books. Come back and see us when Book Three comes out. Now, can you tell us what you have written? 
Third Exodus, and New Dawn (both of the sci-fi series “In the Days of Humans”)

What is your favorite genre to write? 
Science fiction

Favorite food.
Too hard to say. But I would have to say real Italian or Greek would have to be my favorites.

Tea or coffee?      

Pizza or ice cream? 

Wine or beer? 

Where would you like to visit? 
New Zealand

Favorite musical artist. 
Impossible to say. 

Do you listen to music when you write?  What? 
Yes, but it is entirely dependent on the scenes that I’m writing. It could be anything from classical to thrasher. 

What makes Terry Hill laugh? 
While I enjoy intellectual humor, being half British and raised around that culture, I enjoy a good go at dry humor. Of course since I’m male, I still enjoy the joke repertoire from Junior High. 

Favorite work of art or sculpture. 
I would have to say the great pyramids of Egypt. Largely they were for show and thus I consider them works of art. And they are my favorite, not because they are beautiful, but because they have inspired countless amounts of wonder, amazement and are the embodiment of early mathematics and herculean human feats (to mix cultural metaphors).

How old were you when you started writing? 
Odds and ends when I was 19. First novel, 42.

Describe your perfect evening.
Sorry, that involves rather intimate details involving my wife. 

Such a romantic you are! Where do you get your inspiration? 
Largely from science news articles and random thoughts that manifest themselves during my commute to and from work.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
I scan my list of scene writing prompts of my WIP and move to the next one that I’m inspired to tackle. There’s always at least one that I can work on.

Who is your favorite author? 
I don’t know it is possible to pick just one. It is like asking which is my favorite flower, or which bird song do I like the most. Some of my favorites are Clark, Heinlein, Joel Rosenberg, Anne Rand, Octavia Butler, to name a few.

Best book you ever read.
See previous dilemma. My own? Can I say that? 

Last book you read.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
That’s easy, a NASA Engineer. That’s how I spend my work days. 

One of my original goals was to provide science fiction to the masses that was firmly grounded in real physics, real space flight operations, real experiences of being in space and using the hardware, etc. Having worked in the industry for almost two decades, it seemed like a natural union of both aspects of my life.

It sounds odd to say that one would want to maintain realism in their fiction, but that is exactly what I desire. We have learned a lot about living and working in space since the greats – even Asimov – started writing. Some things they got right, some they didn’t. So now I want to offer up stories and themes that are re-anchored and extrapolated from today’s reality of space travel and science.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
This I would say is a truly impossible question for me to answer as there have been so many amazing people in my life. To say my mother was the most influential person would do a gross disservice to my father, and visa versa. To saw it were the people in my community growing up, would be unfair to the people whom I’ve grown to know and love along the way after leaving home.

If the aeronautical engineering business ever flatlines, buddy, I think you have a career in diplomacy. If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why? 
Joseph of Nazareth (father to Jesus). Not because I am a religious man, but because you don’t hear much from Joseph. Being a step father is a tough job, a real unsung task that many do poorly. And given all the stir Jesus has made through out history, I would love to have the chance to sit and talk to Joseph and get the real skinny about those events so long ago.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 
Do it because it adds awesomeness to your life, not because feeding your family depends upon you making money from your writing.

"In the Days of Humans: Third Exodus" and second volume of the series “New Dawn” seem to be pure hard sci-fi. Do you think it is, and if so in what ways is it like or unlike other works in the genre?
Yes, in all classical senses Third Exodus and New Dawn are pure science fiction. However—yes, there’s always a ‘however’—I would also venture to saw that it crosses over multiple genre lines just by the nature of the story and multiple plot-lines. Living through the drama and political posturing, the terrorism and the violence that facilitated the end of the world in chapter one and then living through the world that was left after the apocalypse, some might consider it an action-thriller / horror. And this is to say nothing about the psychology associated with experiencing life-changing events and the decisions we have to make during those very trying moments, and just being human.

A sizable piece of Third Exodus takes place on Earth and includes covert ops, political corruption, murder, action, and personal emotional, gut-wrenching decisions to be made—not everyone gets to escape the end of the world the second time. This portion of the book would really fall within the political / action-packed fiction arena where you would expect similar plots as what you might find in a Clancy novel.

In addition to the realistic world of space flight, I wanted—and to some degree had to—introduce more fantastical technology to keep the plot moving along and to facilitate the epic nature of the novel story line. Certain sections of the book might be familiar in approach to what we saw in the first Star Trek movie where they spent a significant portion of the movie trying to figure out what V-ger was.  But I also want to give readers something more to chew on other than just a nice action-packed sci-fi novel. I didn’t want to have the philosophical threads be so weighty that the average reader couldn’t slog through and enjoy just the story, but I did want to throw some ideas out there that would sit in the back of the reader’s mind and percolate questions. I’ve saved the intense philosophical questions for New DawnJ New Dawn is dark, intense, uncomfortable, messy, horrifying, and in your face about a lot of things that are “normal” to being human that we tend to not want to address or confront.

And lastly, there is the human element, the human condition, that I feel is critical to examine and place into the text. Life is about our experiences and our relationships, and thus I spend a lot of effort in the book to develop those aspects and the eventual outcomes. People grow, learn, make friends, make enemies, fall in love, have sex, and die – not necessarily always in this order unless you’re a black widow spider. 

Do you consider your book to be a post-apocalyptic future story? Is it dark, or mostly hopeful?
Yes. To all of it. I like to describe the In the Days of Humans series as a post-apocalyptic future with hope. Plagued with apocalyptic dreams my entire life as a product of growing up during the cold war, participating in ‘duck and cover’ drills in school and living next to an Army ammunition depot during my childhood, I have lived through the end of the world a thousand times. And let me tell you, every single way you do it is horrifying. 

But those are futures that come about in worlds where people lose all hope. Normal life is hard enough and can be very, very overwhelming and depressing if you let it, so I always give the promise to the reader that if they will stick with me on the journey through the novel that I will deliver them to a better day. That hope of a better tomorrow is what keeps us as a species driving through the hard times so that we or at least our children will have a better tomorrow. So I carry forward that promise into my novels such that people can have a path through the woods and back into the sunshine if ever they were to find themselves in the worlds within my novels.

A Note from Terry:
For those who might be interested in my writing or style thereof, I offer up the following two snippets from “In the Days of Humans: Third Exodus”

One tick of the clock passed. The President exhaled. How had their well-meaning efforts led them here? The hope and fate of the world likely was held on the point of his decision. It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. “Unless there are any better ideas...?” He paused but was not met by any reply, “Alright, go make it happen!”

The crowd quickly began to disperse. The phone rang. Everyone stopped in place as if rehearsed and slowly turned to face the President as he answered.
“Hello?” The muffled sounds of an excited voice came from the other end of the line. Sinking into his chair, the President’s face paled and turned graven as he ended the call. Oh God…


The President spoke quietly and with great effort. “We no longer have control of our nuclear arsenal. There are reports of at least fifteen domestic launch signatures. The preliminary trajectories will take them to D.C. and fourteen of the largest cities in the US. The same is being reported by all of the other countries with nuclear strike capability.”

The lights flickered and went out. The room erupted with action as all bodies mobilized in an effort to come up with evacuation plans for all the major cities, including their own.

A rather frantic staffer approached the President. “Sir, we need to get you onto Air Force One, now! We have sent for the First Lady to meet you at the plane.”
He sat motionless, stunned. What had they done? “Sir, we have to leave NOW!!”


The last person was on board and the doors to Air Force One were still closing as the aircraft picked up speed down the runway. The atmosphere in the plane was organized chaos, but with movements of purpose. Silence dominated the cabin when the President turned to the General of Special Ops and asked, “What is the latest?”

“Sir, we have taken down about forty five percent of the Internet hardware and have units en route to directly take down as much of the rest as they can. Sir, I have to remind you that the original Internet was designed by the military to survive and negotiate hardware taken out by a nuclear attack. It has evolved over the last sixty or so years. I honestly don’t think we can take it completely down. We have reports of a thirty percent success rate at taking out the satellites. Our anti-missile system was not designed to fire away from the Earth and take out communication satellites in geostationary orbit. We lost control of that system five minutes ago. We just can’t keep ahead of Blue’s decryption capabilities.”

The President leaned forward in his seat and cradled his head in his trembling hands and then slowly looked back up at the general. “That leaves us with only one option. Contact any country still in control of their conventional or nuclear weapons and ask them to strike all places on Earth where Blue has assets. This is our only hope to have a future, any future. Send the list of worldwide targets, and may God forgive me.” 

From the quiet of space where sound has no reign, the blue planet slowly rotated. Silently the continents crept into view, the resplendent cerulean oceans and forested landmasses were replaced by the glow of inflamed crimson and oranges and the shadows of darkness. The cloud cover was occasionally punctuated with flashes that parted the sky like the hands of God himself making room for the growing, glowing, rolling columns that served as ferryman to transport the souls of billions from the Earth to their respective, assumed destinations. As the Earth’s surface rotated into the blackness of perpetual night, the places where cities once illuminated the darkness now only briefly glowed with the transient life of fire that quickly extinguished itself, leaving a world as it had been before humankind walked upright across its face.

Or …

Evah was early and stood alone in the desert on this unusually cloudy morning for this wasteland, at the agreed upon coordinates. A clear path was worn in the hard earth as she paced while waiting. She hoped that they would arrive soon. Evah checked her watch for the thousandth time, and then heard what sounded like three mighty drum beats off in the distance. That must be the sonic booms of the Yamakarā, she thought to herself. They would be here any minute!

Scanning the sky in the direction of the last signal of its approach she finally saw what she was searching for. As large as a mountain and with the magnificent wings of a mighty, ancient black dragon, the Yamakarā punched through the cloudbank and glided silently to a stop on top of a choking blanket of rushing air, dust, and sand. She caught herself jumping with joy and clapping her hands like a schoolgirl as the vehicle rolled to a stop. Heat radiating from the ship made it seem alive, overheated, and weary from its long journey. This was not the spacecraft that left Earth four years ago; it was something completely different. Something beautiful, but not of her world.

She quickly moved to place the portable stairs where the external hatch should be and secured everything in preparation for the egress of the crew. Almost convinced it was taking too long and there must be something wrong, she sighed with relief as the hatch opened inwardly and one of the young engineers stuck his head out, waved, and shouted a greeting. To her surprise, as the crew departed the ship her eyes welled with tears of joy. Her long departed crew had finally returned home, if only for a short while.

Links to follow the amazing Mr. Hill:
Network links:

·      Website:
·      Facebook:
·      Twitter: @terry_r_hill
·      Goodreads:

Sale links:
Third Exodus:
            New Dawn:
•    Amazon (Kindle):  
Third Exodus:  
            New Dawn:

•    Barnes & Nobles (Nook): Third Exodus:

•    Kobo Books: Third Exodus:

•    Also available on Apple iBooks – just search for “In the Days of Humans”

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Art of Evgeny Lushpin

The Art of 
Evgeny Lushpin

The paintings of Evgeny Lushpin have an ethereal, dreamlike quality that draws the eye of the viewer into the beauty of his photo-like art work.  At first, you think it’s a photo; a really, really great photo, with perfect lighting and balance of hues and tone resonance, a perfect picture of a familiar famous city or landmark scene.  

But upon further examination, one sees it is a painting, a beautiful painting with a golden light emanating from a 
perfectly composed piece.  He not only transport you to that perfect place, but to that perfect time.  One cannot view a Lushpin and not be touched, in my opinion.  I wonder if this is how this amazing Russian painter actually sees the world!

Evgeny Lushpin, a celebrated contemporary artist, was born in a small town outside of Moscow in November of 1966 and was educated in the finest schools in Russia, following the traditional techniques of the Russian Realism School of Art.  

Nothing here is mine. Here are my sources.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Interview with Author Julia Mills

Julia Mills
Orlando, FL

Good morning, Julia!  Welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.  Can you tell us what have you written?    
Dragon Guard Series – Her Dragon to Slay, Her Dragon’s Fire, Haunted by Her Dragon, For the Love of Her Dragon

What is your favorite genre to write?  
Paranormal Romance                        

Favorite food.  
Tex-Mex of any kind!

Tea or coffee? 

Pizza or ice cream? 
No Way! Cannot choose!

No one said you can't have both!  Where would you like to visit?
Greek Isles

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What? 
I do listen to music when I write. What I listen to varies. Some days it is Popular Country, or Boy Bands. I also need hard rock some days like Disturbed or Saliva and then there are days that I listen to the Jason Mraz channel on Pandora all day.

What makes you laugh?   
I love slap stick comedy, anything silly or goofy. I still watch Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movies on TMC or the old I Love Lucy or Dick Van Dyke shows.

Favorite work of art.  
One of my favorite works of art is a photo…Jeffry Pine by Ansel Adams. I also love landscapes in any medium. My grandmother was an artist and she and her painting group did so many beautiful pictures in acrylic, oil and watercolor

How old were you when you started writing?
For as long as I can remember I have been writing, whether just journaling or a short story. I have always gravitated towards paranormal or fantasy. I think it is freeing to create a totally different place and all the characters in it.

Describe your perfect evening.
I am a super laid back person and my perfect night is hanging out with family or friends, good food, and great conversation.

Where do you get your inspiration?    
From the world around me. I love just people watching or hanging out in the park just soaking in whatever is happening. It is so cool when a butterfly flitting from flower to flower can become a mighty Dragon Guard warrior barrel-rolling through the sky after victory in battle.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Get up and leave it alone for a bit. Go do something totally unrelated to writing. Hangout with my kids, go see an action flick, anything that lets the write art of my brain take a break.

Who is your favorite author?
OH WOW!! I have so many! I am really in love with indie authors…Emma Edwards, JD Nelson, Darlene Kuncytes, OL Ramos, Linda Boulanger, Sandra Love, Kym Grosso, Kelley Grealis and so many, many more.

Best book you ever read.
Oh The Places You Will Go by Dr. Suess.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
My dad. He was intelligent, witty, funny, and a straight-shooter with an incredible sense of family and integrity. He was always there for us and willing to do whatever it took for those he cared about. He never lost sight of what was important and was a true role model to everyone he met. He will always be 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?
  God. I want to know what inspired Him to create the world. What were and are His hopes and dreams for the human race. Is there anything He would do differently? And what would those things be? To actually get to speak to the Being responsible for everything around us, even the air we breathe would be incredible.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 
Follow your dream. Write as often as you can. Have fun with it. Remember your first draft is just that…a draft and some of it will end up in the recycle bin on your desktop. Write what you know or what you love. Do not go into thinking, “I’m gonna be rich and famous” or I’m gonna be on the New York Time Bestseller list”. Do it because it is something you love and something you are willing to do just for YOU. There will be SUPER GREAT reviews and there will be REALLY AWFUL ones but if you believe in what you wrote and are happy with it, then you have to let it all roll off your back.

My dad’s favorite saying used to be ‘Opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one.’ And it is so true, although very direct and very southern LOL but still true. Do not let others opinions color your view of YOU. Just do it. It will be one of the best, most rewarding things you ever do.