Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Shift by Genevieve Scholl

Nothing about me is normal… 

…but what exactly is ‘normal’? Just because I have two dads and no mom, my name is Elliot Marcus Smith even though I’m a girl, and I was born from a test tube… 
Does that mean I’m ‘abnormal’? 

I say no. 

But the sudden abilities that have been appearing since I turned eighteen sure do. Wounds are healing quickly, my vision has changed, as has my strength, and my sensitivities to other people’s emotions have become severely heightened. Add all that to the fact that I have been forgetting moments of my day as if they never happened, and it’s obvious that something strange is happening to me. 

But what? What am I becoming?

And there is a LARGE PRINT edition.

My bio: I'm just a small town girl with a heart for the country life. I'm very shy and pretty much a loner, but my writing helps me be more outgoing and talk to various people that I would otherwise have a hard time approaching. I don't write for the money or the fame, but rather to tell a story that needs to be told; whether that is my story or a character's story. As a lot of people know, from my various interviews, I started writing to express my anger and hurt over the bullying that I experienced in High School, but eventually I just realized that I loved to tell stories. I was born in Texas, grew up and still live in Upstate New York, and want to retire in Ireland.

If you care to contact me for any reason, my email address is

Photo Credit: Jill Cadena David (author photo is attached)

 I'm just a small town girl with a heart for the country life. I'm very shy and pretty much a loner, but my writing helps me be more outgoing and talk to various people that I would otherwise have a hard time approaching. I don't write for the money or the fame, but rather to tell a story that needs to be told; whether that is my story or a character's story. As a lot of people know, from my various interviews, I started writing to express my anger and hurt over the bullying that I experienced in High School, but eventually I just realized that I loved to tell stories. I was born in Texas, grew up and still live in Upstate New York, and want to retire in Ireland.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life by Carol Ann Kauffman

Dear Gentle Readers,

This short story/recipe book written in the form of a letter, or more accurately journal entries, from a very ill mother to her unborn daughter began as a character profile for my full length novel, MacKalvey House. 

The main character is MacKalvey House is a young American woman, Michelle Rosemont, who graduated college with a degree in early childhood education, goes on a trip to England with her best friend, likes it, and decides to stay. 

Michelle, though young, smart, and pretty, has issues from her past that plague her relationships. Her mother died during childbirth. Her father, ill-equipped to handle a newborn baby or adulthood, handed over custody to her maternal grandparents and never saw her again.

Her relationship with an older British author and art critic is plagued with problems. The appearance of a handsome blond Italian who seems to mirror her in so many ways further complicated the story.

Echo is the story of Melina Valentina Rossetti Rosemont, a thirty-three year old geneticist at Harbortown University Hospital, who married an English Literature professor from England.

Melina wants a baby.

Her husband wants a Corgi.  

Amazon Buy Link: 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Interview with Author Crit Kincaid

Crit Kincaid
Chandler, Arizona  USA

Good morning and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. Tell us a little about yourself and what you've written.
Crit Kincaid, actually I was born Christopher Evan Kincaid. Believe it or not I was actually named after Christopher Marlow. But family wisdom (my older brother couldn’t pronounce Christopher) shortened my name to Crit. So I’m Crit Kincaid. And, as there are so many other Christophers and Chris’ in the world, I stuck with Crit.

My novel is called A Wounded World (Available at Amazon for Kindle and Softbound). It’s a story about an emotionally wounded boy who is hiding from the world that hurt him, and the girl who must learn about love in order to help him realize that there is life after death.

What is your favorite genre to write?
I have gone through many phases over the years; children’s (when my niece and nephews were born), mystery, scifi and fantasy. But I could never really gain traction. Then the main character in A Wounded World took root in my consciousness, and his story became basically a Young-Adult Literary Paranormal Romance. So the shorter answer is I really don’t have a favorite. I trust that the story and characters will tell me what genre they belong to.

Favorite food.
Guacamole (mana from Mexico) and anything Carne Asada.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee! No milk, no sugar!

Pizza or ice cream?
I do like pizza. But if you have caramel sauce, then it’s ice cream.

Wine or beer?
What? No Jack and Soda?

How old were you when you started writing?

I’ve a memory of a small boy sitting in front of an old Royal typewriter, literally pounding on the keys, trying to write a story about a teddy bear and the family dog. The machine had to weigh more than I did!

Where would you like to visit?
Scotland, maybe Rome someday.

Ahh, both are fabulous. Go now. Don't put it off. Rome in September is magical. It's less crowded and the weather is still warm, but the mornings are slightly crisp, great for a walking tour of the city.  Scotland, anytime. Bring a raincoat. Okay, back to business. Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?
I prefer songs to artists, and mostly early rock like Aerosmith or Foreigner. Anything with good guitar riffs. I wrote A Wounded World to Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love is. I also listen to movie soundtracks and symphonic classical music. If I had to pick one particular piece as a favorite, it would be The Doors version of Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor.

What makes you laugh?
Almost anything. The way the world is these days either you laugh or cry. The only humor I dislike is any that requires a victim, especially a specific victim. And that seems to be all the rage these days.


Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I love art and wish I could draw a straight line. In galleries I seems to be drawn more to sculpture and if there was one piece in particular I would love to see in person it would be Michelangelo’s Pieta.

Describe your perfect evening.
Probably one where I’m playing and laughing with my family.  We rarely all get together these days.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I try to keep my eyes and ears open to all the possibilities.  But it’s also important to keep your inner eye open. Your subconscious eye sometimes sees possibilities that your conscience eye fails to register. Imagination and dreams are the links to those possibilities. At least that’s what I told all those teachers who caught me daydreaming in class. I don’t think they believed me.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Suffer…whine…complain!  Then just work through it.  Sometimes it helps to kill someone off.

Who is your favorite author?
Hard one! There are so many; Tolkien, Eddings, Herbert, Rowling, Heinlein, Asimov, Clark, Dick…It depends on my mood and emotional need.

Best book you ever read.
Again, so hard, so many. Easier to tell about the one and only book I actually threw across the room. This was a novel called Venus on the Half Shell by Kilgore Trout. Good and bad is so subjective. I may have been so pissed off at the ending this story that I threw the book across the room, but I still remember that book to this day.

Last book you read.
“The Cat Who Walked through Walls” I’ve been re-reading Heinlein lately. By the way, I love re-reading books, especially books that take place in strange and wonderful worlds and/or have vivid characters that dare to take life off the page.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
If I could go back in time and change my major…again…I might study Anthropology, Archeology or maybe Paleontology. I’d always write, but study writing as duel major or minor.   

Yes! I can see you as Indiana Kincaid. Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My family is the making of me and each one of them, in their own way, has influenced who I am right now and who I will continue to become. But I walk a path of my own choosing. And I’ve encountered angels and demons along the way that have mentored or distracted me, but it’s always the voices of my family I turn to when I feel lost and alone.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Lazarus Long, Heinlein’s favorite character. Because, more than any other character he has written about, talking to him would be like talking to Heinlein’s inner mind.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
I had a writing teacher who, during his fiction workshops, would very patiently wait until all the other students had shared their opinions about your story and then ask; “Now tell me why I should care about your main character, why should I care about what happens to him or her?” Then he would sit back and watch you sputter, rationalize and justify. Very few could answer the question. It took me almost 25 years to find my answer. The reader will only care when you care, truly care, what happens to your main characters!

For a reader to care about a fictional character an empathic connection needs to be made. When the character hurts, the reader needs to feel the pain. And yet how can I, the writer, expect the reader to cry if I don’t cry, laugh if I don’t laugh, or be afraid if I don’t feel the fear first? For the last twenty-five years, with all my various attempts at writing, all the start and stops, I finally came to a conclusion that whenever I came up to an emotion I froze, or worse turned away from it. With A Wounded World my goal, from word one, was to “turn into the emotion,” take the emotion to its limit. A Wounded World is that emotional journey. This made those characters real to me, so real that I still call them my children.

My advice is to find that empathic connection, don’t be afraid to feel what your character’s feel. If you aren’t seeing what your characters sees, feels what they feel, fear what they fear, then did deeper. Dig deeper within yourself and find that vision, that feeling, that fear. Once you do that, then your reader will see, feel and fear it all.

Thanks for being with us this morning. We at Vision and Verse wish you continued success in all your writing endeavors. Come back and see us anytime.  Before you leave, do you have some links for us to follow you?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Kubota Collection, Japanese Kubota Art

The Kubota Collection 

Dear Gentle Readers,
    Six years ago, William and I had the distinct
pleasure of viewing this fabulous textile art exhibition in
Canton, Ohio at the Canton Museum of Art.  The
exhibition ran from February 8, 2009 to April 26, 2009.
and was only the second showing in the United States,
first appearing at the Timken Museum in San Diego in 2008 and ending in January, 2009.

    Itchiku Kubota was born in Japan in 1917 and became a textile art apprentice as a very young man.   His formal education and textile training were disrupted by the Second World War, when Itchiku was sent to war and  was captured by the Russians.   He was imprisoned in a concentration camp in Siberia, forgotten about by everyone except his family, and he drew and painted the Siberian sunsets in order to keep his sanity amid the deplorable conditions.

Itchiku Kubota is best known for reviving and modernizing a lost art of fabric dyeing and decorating called "tsujigahana," which means
"flowers at the crossroads."  It was a technique used in the fifteenth century with natural dyes, but was lost because of it's difficulty in controlling the resulting shading of the textile.

Kubota's masterpiece, "Symphony of Light," was
a series of painted and elaborately decorated silk
kimonos that he said depicted "the grandeur of the universe."  The kimonos were displayed on large black frames and arranged in a giant oval
depicting a panoramic view of the seasons of the year.  The textiles were shaded so that they seamlessly blended into each other ever so slightly, allowing the viewer to almost see the movement of the earth as each breathtaking view is passed.  Once around the oval is not enough to take in the intricate design and the delicate beauty of the shading on the huge silk kimonos, creating
a mural of the natural loveliness of the Japanese countryside throughout the seasons.

 The sheer size of these large kimonos, set side by side, filling up the huge exhibit hall, was a scene to behold in itself.  But upon a closer examination of the subtly dyed silks and the elaborately decorated designs was truly inspirational and awe-inspiring.  It was a once in a lifetime, spectacular display that I will fondly remember.

I sent information on this exhibit to several friends, noting "don't miss this event!" Some thought I had lost my mind, thinking that walking around in a room full of kimonas sounded more like punishment than jaw-dropping beauty and inspiration. The few who took me up on the offer were amazed at the sheer beauty of Itchiku Kubota's work depicting the grandeur of the universe.

Information for this article is from memory of my visit to the exhibition.  Photos are from the and also Canada's Homage to Nature page,

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Schedule for June 27 - July 1, 2016

Mon., June 27     The Kubota Collection, Japanese Kimono Art

Tues., June 28     Interview with Author Crit Kincaid

Wed., June 29     Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life

Thurs., June 30   Shift by Genevieve Scholl, 
                            An Owl Branch Book Blitz

Fri.,  July 1         MacKalvey House by Carol Ann Kauffman

Friday, June 24, 2016

Belterra by Carol Ann Kauffman


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?

Dear Gentle Readers,

The sequel to this book is called Dark Return, where the indigenous race resurfaces from being pushed into the ocean and wants their planet back.

Of course, Braedon and the Soldier clan think all out war is the only viable solution to the problem by eliminating the bat-like creatures, the Batrachs, once and for all.

And, of course, Neeka and her people think a peaceful settlement is the answer. However, there is more at work in the deep underworld of the Batrach caves.

Look for Dark Return in the fall.


Thursday, June 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".

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Interview with Author Ritter Ames

Good morning, Ritter and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for art and authors. Can you tell us a little about what you've written?
I have two books in my Bodies of Art Mysteries series (Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters) and a third (Abstract Aliases) will be released in October. I also have two books in the Organized Mysteries and a third in that series will be out later this year. I also have short stories with characters and the settings for both series that have been published in several anthologies.

What's your favorite genre to write?
I pretty much stick to mystery. Even when I try writing anything else there’s always some kind of mystery or crime that evolves in the story.

Favorite food?
My favorite kind of food is Japanese, but my personal weakness is that I love cookies—practically all kinds.

Coffee or tea?
I like to buy coffee when I’m out for breakfast or with friends, but when I’m in my home office writing I chiefly stick with tea—flavored green and black teas.

Pizza or ice cream?
I love pizza (especially mushroom), but my heart belongs to ice cream.

Oh, me, too, Ritter. Pizza and ice cream is the ultimate party food for me. Beer or wine?
I’ll drink a glass of wine—in particular, I like champagne and prosecco—but I’m not a beer drinker at all because of the aftertaste. Sorry.

Prosecco? Peach Bellinis? I love them. I'm not much of a beer drinker, either. Where would you like to visit?
I’d love to spend a year in Italy and take my time touring the country.

Oh, you must! Do it now. Italy is fabulous. Venice, Lake Maggiore, Lucca, Rome. Oh, the Isle of Capri is gorgeous. Back to work. Do you listen to music when you write? What?
I’m one of those people who can write anywhere, and I don’t need silence to write—though quiet is good too. I’m flexible. For example, I wrote 3000 words tonight on my latest WIP (work-in-progress) while the James Bond movie Skyfall was on television. I write while listening to music all the time, and if I had to just choose one musical artist it would have to be James Taylor. But I love so many wonderful entertainers and their songs. I keep the volume low and while it’s still something I can hear clearly the music doesn’t interfere with my writing. I usually have a playlist set up for each series, and I listen to a lot of different types of music. I have a number of classical works by Mozart, but I also listen to contemporary songs by people like Colbie Caillat to Michael Buble, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Buffett, Enya, Gloria Estefan, and l love listening to soundtracks while I work. I especially like listening to soundtracks of the Oceans movies and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. while I’m writing Bodies of Art Mysteries books.

What makes Ritter Ames laugh?
I’m a pretty easy laugher. I love everything from complex satire to puns. And I adore inside jokes, where you have to pay attention to get the laugh—and then it’s a personal decision whether to share it with the person beside you who asks, “why is everyone laughing?”

What's your favorite piece of art?
Oh, wow, that’s tough. I love something by everyone, especially the Renaissance artists like Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Oh, and reading the stories behind the paintings of Caravaggio always makes me chuckle—the man had a way of getting one over on the Church so often. And I absolutely adore the Impressionists. But if I could ever have my own museum and fill it with one artist’s work, I’d probably choose Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. I love all of Corot’s work, want to step into every landscape, but my personal favorites would have to be any of the ones he did of Ville d’Avray.

At what age did you start writing?
I began writing my first “real” story at around age 10—something with a beginning, middle, and end—after I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and realized I could grow up to be a writer. I made my own books, drew all the pictures, everything. Then I sewed the pages together because I’d found that was how many quality hardbacks are put together, and I felt my books deserved this method—plus, my mother wouldn’t let me have any glue stronger than a glue stick.

Describe your perfect evening.
A perfect evening is spent on my front porch with my husband and my dog, with springtime or early fall temperatures, listening to an Audible book on my Kindle Fire. I have a plug in speaker, though the device’s built in speaker works in a pinch. We watch the deer graze at the end of the front yard as the sun goes down, and have to keep our dog—a Labrador—from running out to them and bark. She’s big, but I’m not sure she realizes they’re bigger than her and have hooves.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired to write the kind of books I love to read. I want to escape to fun as the crime is solved, and I love smart characters. I especially like witty dialogue—maybe even a little snarky—and that’s probably the most fun I have writing. My characters in the Bodies of Art Mysteries are modeled along the lines of old Cary Grant movies, or the early years of the television show Castle, so I have a lot of opportunities to write cheeky dialogue. And in my Organized Mysteries, the sidekick of my viewpoint character is the one who gets the snarky lines and says the things the main character can’t say because my main character hasn’t lived in town long enough to know everyone and feel comfortable saying some of the things the sidekick can.

What do you to when you get writer's block?
I don’t have the luxury of writer’s block—I have contracts with deadlines. I also always repeat to myself “Anything can be improved upon after it’s written—but it must be written first.” I keep pushing through, and I’m always amazed to find that some of the best writing comes out when I have the opportunity to revise the writing from those difficult days. Anything written is better than nothing written.

Wow, Ritter! I love that. That sentence needs to be written in calligraphy over my desk. Give me your thoughts on your favorite book.
Like choosing my favorite artist—picking only one favorite author is incredibly difficult. But again, if I had to choose one I’d say Elizabeth Peters. I have everything she wrote under that name, as well as a couple of nonfiction books she wrote under her real name. I’ve read many of her Barbara Michaels books, too, but I wasn’t as crazy about those as I was the ones she wrote as Elizabeth Peters. A very close runner-up would be Kate Atkinson for her Jackson Brodie series. And favorite book? Oh, oh, oh. I cannot just pick one. I still love rereading The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff, both of the Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams, Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts, and practically anything by John Irving.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Cold by John Sweeney. It was an Amazon First book I picked with my Prime membership, a thriller that went from London to Utah to Russia. I like globetrotting as I read, which is probably why I like to globetrot on the page as I write too.

And what would you be doing if you weren't a writer?
If I wasn’t a writer, I would love to either run a nonprofit or a winery. Having raised money writing grants for several years I probably have a better shot at the former, but the latter is something that really sounds appealing.

My dad and husband ran a non-profit winery. What they didn't give away, they drank. It was a short-lived but happy experience. Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My high school speech teacher was the one who really taught me to think through all arguments. I went to state for speech and debate, and my teacher wisely pushed me out of my comfort zone a lot. But she never challenged me to do anything she didn’t think I could accomplish, and even today I still use the logic lessons she taught me to meet my goals—whether it’s writing a better piece of prose or having the confidence to state my opinions to others, and sway them to my side of an argument.

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 dream conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, would be an evening with Mark Twain. Absolutely would love to listen to the man tell me anything he wanted to say—and for as long as he wanted to talk.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
My advice to an aspiring writer would be to start understanding marketing as early as possible. Honestly, I could produce three times my output if I didn’t have to market the books after they’re released.

Thanks so much for inviting me here to Vision and Verse. I love connecting with readers, and invite anyone to like my FB Author page at http:// and I usually post daily on Twitter with my username @RitterAmes. I blog regularly at, and beyond using it to let fans know a little more about me, I use my blog and FB Author page when I want to run quick contests. I also run exclusive contests for fans on my newsletter. If anyone would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter you can go to and fill out the quick form. I also post “first” news about my books on my newsletter, and give away short stories periodically that tie to my series.

My next book in the Bodies of Art Mysteries, Abstract Aliases, will be released in mid-October, but preorders begin on July 18th. This book is the sequel to Marked Masters. Follow my Amazon Author Page at and receive an announcement when each of my new books becomes available.

Please come back in October, or maybe July, with more on Abstract Aliases, like cover, book description, maybe a short excerpt, and buy link. It's been a pleasure having you with us this morning, Ritter. We at Vision and Verse wish you continued success in all your writing endeavors.