Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Kubota Collection - Japanese Kimono Art


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,

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Interview withHistorical Author Lizzie Lane

City of Bath
United Kingdom

Good morning, Lizzie, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. What have you written?
I’ve had over fifty novels published in a number of genres. My latest ones are usually based in World War Two by Ebury Publishing, a division of Penguin/RandomHouse.

What is your favorite genre to write?
Whatever I happen to be writing though I have a passion for history – and getting the facts right!

Favorite food.
Marzipan – but I choose to avoid it. One bite so easily leads to another.

Tea or coffee? 
Chardonnay – suitably chilled plus a few Kalamata olives.

Pizza or ice cream? 

Wine or beer?  
Definitely wine.

Where would you like to visit?
My dear Icelandic friends live in Norway and sometimes in Iceland, so either of those places just to see them again.

Favorite musical artist. 
I tend to like songs rather than preference for artists, say, Leonard Cohen, Adele, Ronan Keating.

Do you listen to music when you write? 
Sometimes though not for long because it does interfere with my concentration.

That depends on what I’m writing. It could be pop, blues or classic.

What makes you laugh? 
Politicians. They’re not quite up to speed with modern technology and don’t seem to realize we can easily find their weaknesses.

Favorite work of art or sculpture. 
Michaelangelo’s David.

We saw the David in Florence the last time we were in Italy. He is an unforgettable piece of art. How old were you when you started writing? 

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
 I try to but my imagination takes over and presents me with something better than I’ve written down.

Describe your perfect evening. 
Family meal accompanied with a bottle of wine and followed by watching TV with my eyes half shut and my feet up. Who needs to go out?

Where do you get your inspiration? 
From inside my mind and usually based on some past experience of my mother who lived through the Second World War. They kept the Home Front going, turning scraps into delicious meals, blankets into coats, and adult clothes into ones to suit ever growing children.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
What is writer’s block? I choose to think it’s just that you’re waiting for the story to develop more strongly than the initial idea I was entertaining for a particular scene, character or plot. It’s all about getting it right.

Who is your favorite author?
Charles Dickens.

Best book you ever read. 
The Far Pavillions.

Last book you read. 
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
Property developer and interior design – though I am planning to do that anyway. I can’t sit still for long. Like being busy.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My late husband. He believed in me and had the best sense of humor of anyone I have ever known. I miss him.

New Paperback Cover coming out Jan. 24, 2018

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I think my previous answer will give you the clue to that. There’s so much I wish I’d said and so many things have happened since he died. Sometimes I find myself saying ‘Oh, I must tell him that.’ Forgetting I cannot tell him anything any more – not to his face. I’d also quite like to meet Henry the VIII and tell him that he did produce the heir he wanted – a strong ruler; except that she was a woman not a man. Queen Elizabeth the First.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Read, read, read. To be a writer you must also be a reader. I’ve met people at workshops blatantly telling me they wanted to earn tons of money a writer but didn’t like reading! I’ve been told I am a natural born storyteller – I can’t stop doing it. As a child I ignored dolls and toys and collected books. I was the kid curled up in an armchair with a book and a packet of custard creams

Do you have links for us to follow you?
Amazon: Jean G Goodhind: 
Amazon: Lizzie Lane:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BOOK TOUR You Came Like Hope by Jyoti Arora

About the Book:
“I heard them mourn my death. I lay in the next room. Motionless, silent, and staring at the ceiling.”

“When it comes to a broken person, some of them are expert at blinding you. Spend an entire evening with such a person, but you may still not know how he is crushing inside.”

“Who would say no to him? He is smart, intelligent, super handsome, rich, suave and sophisticated. He’s perfect!”

“Pooja gave no explanation. She asked no forgiveness. She just arrived in his home, resenting him for being her husband.”

“He had smiled as if nothing was wrong.
He had behaved as if he still had his dreams and hopes.
He had pretended as if it didn’t hurt.
But it did.”

Does Destiny hold the key to our happiness?
Is it always the feeble that is the victim?
Love can be the embrace of heaven. But what happens when it unleashes hellfire?

Lose yourself in the intense narrative of You Came Like Hope as it unleashes a rollercoaster of emotions, uncovers some bitter truths, challenges widespread prejudices, and forces you to reconsider your beliefs.

Check out the Free Sample of the novel

Book Trailer:

Book Links:

Read an Excerpt:


The trouble with me is that I forget all caution, when I need it the most.

I knew I was not supposed to set foot inside his house. I had already done one blunder. The result of that was wrapping its web around me. Suffocating me. It was foolishness to be stepping into yet another mistake.

But there I was.

‘It doesn’t matter. I’ll leave soon. He’s not here anyway,’ I excused myself, taking a deep breath of the pleasant lemon-scented air of the place.

The room was simply furnished. There was an oval centre table topped with a black glass. Pencil scrapes fluttered on half of it and school books and notebooks covered the other half. An almost empty school bag lay huddled on the grey couch next to it. There were matching single-seaters on the other side of the table. A square dining table stood on one side of the room. It had only two chairs.
Besides this sombre furniture, there were three Disney cushions on the grey couch, artificial sunflowers with smiley faces in a vase, a flower-shaped wall clock, and a cute flower and bee shaped perfume dispenser in a corner. These childish whims and fancies served well to add cheer to otherwise too plain a room.

My eyes brushed past all these things, only to be arrested by a photo hanging on a wall. It showed a girl child holding the hand of a tall man. He was dressed in blue jeans and grey t-shirt. The attire suited his height and strong built well. The child was grinning at the camera. Her companion was looking down and smiling at her. It was a smile that could have forced any woman to become rude and stare with desire. I was glad it was just a picture that I was staring at.

The owner of that smile had moved to Delhi four months ago, renting a house very close to my cousin sister Rajni’s house. This was the first time I had come to stay at my cousin’s home since then. My mother had let me come. But she worried that he was too near, the son of a defamed family.

‘You know what his family history is. Stay away from him, no matter what Rajni tells you,’ she had ordered.

‘Too late,’ I murmured, staring at his picture and wondering what mother would say if she found out. But then, there were far worse things that I had hidden. Things that, I knew, would hurt my parents more. Far more.

About the Author:

Jyoti Arora is a novelist and blogger from Ghaziabad. You Came Like Hope is her third novel, coming after Dream’s Sake and Lemon Girl. She is Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology.
Jyoti has over five years of experience working as a freelance writer. This experience includes abridging over 24 famous English classics like Jane Eyre, Moby Dick etc.
Jyoti Arora is a patient of Thalassemia Major. But she does not let this stop or discourage her. For her determination and achievements, Jyoti has received appreciation from Ms Sheila Dixit, Ms Maneka Gandhi and the Ghaziabad wing of BJP. Her life story has been covered in various local and national TV shows, radio programs, newspapers, magazines and websites like YourStory and Inspire India. She was also one of the ‘100 Women Achievers of India’ that were invited to witness the Republic Day parade of India (2016) as special guests.
Besides reading and writing novels, Jyoti also enjoys blogging and has won several blogging competitions. She loves checking out latest technological innovations, watching movies, and listening to old Bollywood songs. Reach her at

Contact the Author:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Madison's Christmas by Carol Ann Kauffman

Encore Post from 2014

Dear Gentle Readers,

Well, I am finally finished shopping, wrapping, and mailing and now would like to snuggle up on the couch with my wonderful husband and enjoy the holiday season. Christmas music, tree lit, a glass or two of Sweet Baby Red. Ahh...

And yet, in the midst of all this holiday cheer, it's hard not to look back with some sadness when we think of loved ones who are no longer with us. My father was the head and the heart of our family. Memories of Dad are entwined in every single Christmas activity.  "I'll Be Home For Christmas" always brings a tear or two. As these years roll by more and more dear, sweet people are gone.  And it's only natural to remember them and think of all the good times and love we shared with them.

It's okay to visit, but don't live there! Focus on the right now. Find something to enjoy right now. Loss is part of life. Don't let it consume your holiday.  As we age it is harder and harder and takes more conscious effort not to be sad, missing those who made us feel loved, unconditionally loved.

My Christmas short story Madison's Christmas deals with grief during the Christmas holiday. It is free today for the last time this year! It can be found at and I hope you get a chance to pick it up.

I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2015. We have today only once. Make the best of it.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Schedule for Nov. 27 - Dec. 1, 2017

This Week’s Schedule

Mon., Nov. 27 -  Madison's Christmas
by Carol Ann Kauffman
Tues., Nov. 28 - BOOK TOUR
You Came Like Hope by Jyoti Arora
Wed., Nov. 29 - Interview with
Author Lizzie Lane
Thurs., Nov. 30 - The Kubota Collection
Japanese Kimono Art
Fri., Dec. 1 - The 2017 YMRA
Model Train Open House 

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Baslicato by Carol Ann Kauffman

When Dr. Brook Wilson agreed to take on celebrity Italian race car driver Jason Maxwell, known as"The Baslicato," as her patient, little did she realize their relationship would turn her calm, pleasant, well-ordered life upside down, sending her off on dangerous adventures in southern Italy and northern Ohio. As she prepares him for his big race, she must deal with his demented wife while driving her boyfriend, Dr, Garrett MacEgan into acts of criminal desperation in a attempt to hold on to her.
When tall, handsome British actor Richard MacKenzie wakes up in the hospital after an accident, he discovers he's a short Italian race car driver named Jason Maxwell, known as THE BASLICATO.

Amazon Buy Link:

Dear Gentle Readers,
The Basilicato is special to me because my wonderful father was born in Basilicata Province in Italy, so to me he was the original Baslicato. 
This is a fun story, but you need to suspend your current belief system and temporarily believe that a man can wake up in another man's body.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Gentle Readers,

We are Vision and Verse wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day.
May you eat too much, laugh too much, enjoy the company of those you love. For those who find themselves alone, may you enjoy the day and be filled with peace and gratitude. There is something to be said for a nice, quiet day.m

In my life, I've spent the day cooking from early in the morning, surrounded by my big, loud, Italian family. I've spent the day alone, curled up with a hot cup of tea, a Hungryman turkey TV 
dinner, and a good book. I've spent the day with my kind and gentle husband, cooking vegan stuff. But whatever the circumstance, it is a day to focus on being grateful for what we have, not obsessing over what we don't.

Some wise person said happiness is not having what you want. It's wanting what you have. May you want exactly what you have.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interview with Author Shari Sakurai

Shari Sakurai
Barnham, West Sussex
United Kingdom

Good morning, Shari, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. What have you written?
I published my first novel, Demon's Blood, in 2014. Demon's Blood is a vampire novel set in the fictional city of Norfield in England. The protagonists are Japanse vampire Kokawa Yaku and his English lover Thane Bremen. After they were discovered by vampire hunters, they were forced to flee their Tokyo home and relocated to Norfield. However, both are battling their own inner demons. Thane is tormented by nightmares of what happened in Tokyo, but he is unaware that there are more to those events than Taku has let on to him. As a consequence of that night, Taku is battling against something much darker that could ultimately not only him, but all of the kind.

Perfect World is the first novel in a series of the same name. It is a science fiction novel set in twenty-second century England. The series'protaganist is a genetically engineered twenty-five year old superhero Eric Rawlins. Eric works for the London Security Agency (L.S.A.) which is also the organization that created him. The L.S.A. has given Eric the perfect life with his superhero abilities, longevity, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend, but in reality they control him and use his popularity with the public to their advantage.

Adam is a companion novel to my Perfect World series focusing on Adam Larimore's past and the events that led to Perfect World. It also ties in some of the unanswered questions from Perfect World #1 as well as setting in motion events for later in the series.

What is your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genres are paranormal, science 
fiction, and fantasy. I have yet to complete a fantasy novel, 
but I do not have one in the works at the moment.

Favorite food.
Pizza and chips, my ultimate comfort food. :D

Tea or coffee?
Neither. i do not drink hot drinks apart from hot chocolate.

Pizza or ice cream?

Wine or beer?
Neither. I prefer cocktails. 

Where would you like to visit?
I went to Japan a couple of years ago but I stayed mostly in the Tokyo area so I'd love to return and see more of the country. I would also love to visit New York one day.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
My favorite band is a Japanese group called L'Arc~en~Ciel. I always listen to music when I write, usually rock or metal.

What makes you laugh?
Anything, really. LOL I have a great sense of humor and always prefer to find a lighter side to life wherever I can.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I love Japanese wood-block prints, especially works by Hokusai.

How old were you when you started writing?
I was six years old when I started. Our class at school wrote about the teacher's pet rat and I enjoyed writing my chapter so much that I've been writing ever since.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
I just write. I very rarely plan out a novel. Sometimes I keep notes or sentences I want to incorporate on my phone, but that's about it really.

Describe your perfect evening.
I love the cinema so for me it's going to my local cinema and watching a film.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My love for Japan has greatly influenced much of my work. Also just have inspiration come to me out of the blue when I least expect it. Lately I have been walking around my local park and planning out ideas for future works in my head.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I always write at least two books at a time so when I get writer's block with one, I can switch to the other until it passes.

Who is your favorite author?
James Clemens. His Banned and the Banished series is amazing!

Best book you ever read.
That's a difficult one. I'd say Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It's an incredible story, and the sentiments and message running throughout the novel is just so powerful/ It's a book that stays with you for a long time after you've finished it.

I loved Cloud Atlas! I never met anyone else who read it. Last book you read.
The Jakkattu Vector by P.K. Tyler.      

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I really don't know. I can't imagine doing anything else. I do enjoy graphic design though, so perhaps I would have gone into that.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
When you start writing your first novel take your time and enjoy the process. Don't put yourself under stress to et it finished in a certain timeframe. Writing should always be fun and something that you enjoy doing.