Friday, June 29, 2018

Book Review: Hacker's Raid by Jared McVay

High Adventure Page-Turner
Format: Paperback

Hacker's Raid

I highly recommend Hacker's Raid by master storyteller Jared McVay to anyone who loves a good story, whether you love westerns or not. In this high adventure page-turner, Justin Hacker is a hero for all ages. He and his family go through hell to do what is right. Dimensional, lovable characters and realistic western dialogue set in the beautiful, rugged southwest help make this suspenseful action story a candidate for the BIG SCREEN.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

British Painter William Henry Margetson

William Henry Margetson was born in December of 1861 in London, England. He is most widely known as a painter and illustrator, primarily for his beautiful portraits of women.

William studied art at Dulwich College, and later at  both the Royal College of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts.

He painted in oils and watercolors in the Victorian style at first. Later he used the looser brushstrokes most associated with the post-impressionist style. He was famous for his paintings of beautiful women with "modern" hairstyles and hats. He also did religious paintings.

A portrait of Lord Alfred Tennyson painted by William Henry Margetson hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. This naked lady is not Alfred.

William started his career as an illustrator. That is where he met his wife, Helen Hatton, when they were working on a project together.

They lived in London, Blewbury, and Wallingford. He died in. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, in 1940 at the age of 78.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Interview with the Termite Writer, Lorinda J. Taylor

Lorinda J. Taylor 
(often known around the web as TermiteWriter)
 Colorado Springs, CO

Good morning, Lorinda, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. We just returned from a lovely trip to Colorado Springs, CO. It's a beautiful place. How can one be in a bad mood with those gorgeous mountains and all that sunshine? Huh? So. What have you written?
I’ve published 15 books:
The Termite Queen (a novel in two volumes)
The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head: A Series
Volume One: The War of the Stolen Mother
Volume Two: The Storm-Wing
Volume Three: The Valley of Thorns
Volume Four: Beneath the Mountain of Heavy Fear
Volume Five: The Wood Where the Two Moons Shine
Volume Six: The Revenge of the Dead Enemy
Volume Seven (Sequel):  The Buried Ship at the End of the World
The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars; a Biographical Fiction
Part One: Eagle Ascendant
Part Two: Wounded Eagle
Part Three: Bird of Prey
Part Four: Survivor
Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder (novella)
Fathers and Demons: Glimpses of the Future
Children of the Music

What is your favorite genre to write?
I write for the adult mind – science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction.  Most of my books are also future history, set in the 28th or 30th century. Children of the Music is a lyrical take on constructed world fantasy.  Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder is definitely science fiction coupled with a strong shock effect.

Favorite food.
At this point I’m kind of on a salad kick.

Tea or coffee?
I have one cup of regular coffee in the morning (instant coffee) and one cup of decaf with my dessert in the evening, except in the summer when I have ice cream in the evening and no coffee.  I like tea with certain foods, but I’m not a regular tea drinker.

Pizza or ice cream?
While I was on chemo a few years back, pizza tasted atrocious to me and I’ve never gotten back to liking it.  But I do like ice cream, usually vanilla with Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

Where would you like to visit?
There are a lot of places I would like to see in the world, especially in the British Islands, but since I’m getting old and I hate to travel anyway, my journeys will remain vicarious.

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
I really don’t have a favorite musical artist, but I prefer classical music. I don’t listen to music when I write.  I like to focus.  Not a multitasker. 

What makes you laugh?
Puns, unfortunately – the more atrocious the better.  I’m a fan of Pearls before Swine.  Also, some of my own writing makes me laugh.  My books include a lot of humor.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I suppose I would have to say, the art of ancient Greece.

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote some as a teenager, but I didn’t start to write seriously until I was 29 years old and discovered Tolkien.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
I always make notes in a Word document separate from the text, but usually I have an idea and I just begin to write.  No real outline.  When I was in the thick of composing all these books, between the years 2000 and 2010, I kept a little hand-held tape recorder by the bed so I wouldn’t forget my “brilliant” ideas.

Describe your perfect evening.
These days I don’t feel like doing anything in the evening, so I usually watch TV and go to bed early. 

Where do you get your inspiration?
It started with Lord of the Rings and snowballed from there.  The termite books were the result of watching the documentary “Mysterious Castles of Clay” in the 1970s. I was struck by how an extraterrestrial intelligent lifeform might be able to evolve from termites while preserving many of the cultural characteristics of social insects. I kept the germ of that idea in my mind all the way to the early 2000s.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I don’t normally get writer’s block.  I never try to force it and I work on a schedule, usually writing in the mornings and revising in the afternoons.

Who is your favorite author?
Ursula K. LeGuin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Evangeline Walton.

Best book you ever read.
One of my favorites is The Island of the Mighty, by Evangeline Walton.  I love the way she takes a myth and makes it feel real.  I think that influenced my writing quite a bit, particularly in the Ki’shto’ba series.

Last book you read.
Ghosts of the Sea Moon, by A.K. Stewart.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I don’t make a living as a writer.  Very few people do.  I’m a retired professional librarian.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My mother, for obvious reasons.  Also, she was a Romance language major and taught Spanish and English in high school.  I learned grammar from her, as well as a love of languages.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
First, you ought to get a solid, liberal education with a lot of emphasis on literature and languages.  That sort of background doesn’t hurt anybody in any field.  You need to learn your grammar and take an interest in it.  Then when you try to write you aren’t having to think all the time about structure and techniques, and you may not have to rely so much on editors who may not know any more than you do.  Then you need to try your hand at writing something.  It’s important that you really enjoy writing – that you write for yourself first and foremost.  If it’s more a chore than a pleasure, I don’t recommend continuing.

A former catalogue librarian with two graduate degrees, Lorinda J. Taylor was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and worked in several different academic libraries before returning to the place of her birth, where she now lives. She has written fantasy and science fiction for years but began to self-publish only in 2011. Her writings combine many aspects of science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, future history, off-world adventure, psychological fiction, and even a love story. She always strives to engage readers emotionally and give them something to think about at the end of each book.

Where to get more information on Lorinda J. Taylor?
I have two (largely inactive) blogs which do have lots of good information in them: (Ruminations of a Remembrancer) Deals with general topics and reviews, focusing on The Termite Queen and The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars. (The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head) Deals with the Ki’shto’ba series and with mythology.

Twitter @TermiteWriter
My books are also available at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.

Monday, June 25, 2018

NEW COVER for Blue Lake by Carol Ann Kauffman

Dear Gentle Readers,

Blue Lake is the book that started it all for me, my first novel. I cannot begin to tell you how it has changed my life. I firmly believe there is a great story in each of us, just waiting to get out. I think everybody can tell their story. Whether or not, there will be an audience to read it or not is another story.

Blue Lake is a story about an unlikely couple with a major age difference who live on different continents and have widely diverse interests and polar opposite occupations. This pair is doomed.

Or are they?

Part mystery. Part paranormal. All love story.  If you're looking for a clean, easy read, then pick up Blue Lake, the first book in the Time After Time series. After Blue Lake, the others do not need to be read in order. 

There are seven books in the series, with number eight awaiting a final edit check. They are:  Blue Lake, Belterra, The Baslicato, Bentley Square, Waiting for Richard, Lord of Blakeley, MacKalvey House, and Wait for Me - coming soon.

The beautiful new cover is by the fabulous Suzi Albracht of Wickedly Awesome Designs.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Schedule for June 25 - 29, 2018

Mon., June 25 -New Cover for Blue Lake
by Carol Ann Kauffman
Tues., June 26 -The Fine Art 
Of Benjamin Wu
Wed., June 27 -Interview with the Termite Writer
Lorinda J. Taylor
Thurs., June 28 -British Painter 
William Henry Margetson
Fri., June 29 - Book Review: Hacker's Raid
by Jared McVay

Friday, June 22, 2018

March Blues by Carol Ann Kauffman

Small-town red-head Cat Collier runs an private investigation service called Red Cat Investigation out of her office in the beautiful Palazzo Castellano with the help of her secretary, Nola White, an ex-client Cat took in because she had nowhere else to go, her boyfriend, Erick “Carter” Larsen, and Carter’s father, the wealthy, influential, and shady lawyer, Detrick Bittmor.

In this third installment of the Cat Collier Short Story Mystery Series, Cat brings home a old friend of Detrick's, who have been living as a hobo.

Stories in the series;
     January Black Ice
     February White Lies
     March Blues
     April Yellow Moon
     Lavender Mist of May
     June Green Leaves of Deceit - Coming soon!

NOTE: These are serial stories. Each new episode is built on the previous ones. They should be read in order to fully understand the story.

Excerpt from March Blues:

March Blues
A Cat Collier Mystery
By Carol Ann Kauffman

My name is Cat Collier. I run a research service called Red Cat Investigation. I have an office in Palazzo Castellano, the gorgeous Gothic architectural masterpiece in the center of Heaton Valley, Ohio. My office adjoins the office of Attorney Erick Carter Larsen, my incredibly sweet, handsome boyfriend. His newly found millionaire father is bankrolling us. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
Mostly I do online research for private citizens of Heaton Valley. Now, you might not believe this, but privacy is a thing of the past. Death certificates, birth certificates, and real estate appraisals are all public record.  Credit scores, bank account balances, and employment records are a little harder, but not much. Social media is a treasure trove of free and easily accessible information about relationships, new babies, new jobs, and current location.  Friends of mutual friends can yield a ton of sought-after data. With an Internet connection, a little luck, and minimal hacking skills, I can find out almost anything without leaving the comfort and safety of my lovely new office.  
Mostly. But sometimes I have to do a more physical kind of investigating.

“Hey, Nola,” I phoned my secretary, “I’m tailing the same white unmarked full-size Chevy van that picked up Lark Fairpoint, Case #7, three hours ago at the corner of Sinclair Street and Fifth Avenue.  2013 Express model, Ohio license plate number M 1538 C,” I said as I whizzed down Route 169. It felt good having someone I could check in with, someone who would know what I’ve been up to and my last known location. I found the private investigation business attracted some pretty shady characters.
“Okay, got it,” said Nola. “Do you need back-up?”
“No. I don’t see anything suspicious. They stopped at McDonald’s drive through, then went to Dunkin’ Donuts. Lark may simply be on a mindless eating binge or skipping school to hang out with her friends at the mall. That seems to be where they’re heading now. Did you ever do that as a kid?”
“Me? No. My mother would have killed me, revived me, and killed me again. Did you?”
“No. I liked school. What are you doing?
“I’m supervising Detrick while he does his leg strengthening exercises,” answered Nola.
“Hello, Cat,” yelled Detrick in the background.
“And he’s doing very well,” added Nola. “And Carter’s making ham and scalloped potatoes. The aroma coming from the kitchen is making us crazy, so don’t be late for lunch.”
“I won’t. See you soon.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Interview with British Historical 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, June 19, 2018

The Art of Peder Monk Monsted

Peder Monk Monsted was a famous Danish realist painter who was widely well-known for his landscapes. 

He was born in Balle Molie, south of GreƱain the easternmost part of the Jylland peninsula in Denmark in 1859.

Peter studied in Copenhagen under Andreas Fritz and Julius Exner. And although he was well established in Denmark, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Throughout his career, Monsted painted the Danish countryside and coastline. He was famous for creating romantic and poetic views of natural.

He became famous for his ability to see the grandeur and monumental aspects of natural landscape. He had an eye for color and detail. Peder used his extensive education in many artistic mediums to be able to combine natural aspects with the newer photo-realistic approach to his works. Peder died in 1941 in Fredensborg, Denmark.

Monday, June 18, 2018

February White Lies Excerpt

Join Cat Collier from January Black Ice as she starts her own detective agency, Red Cat Investigations, inside the gorgeous old Palazzo Castellano Hotel and solves her first real paid case, the case of Shotzie, the missing French poodle. Just when she feels she is destined to find lost pets and missing luggage for the rest of her life in her beautiful new office, complete with business cards, magazines in the waiting room, and her Red Cat logo painted on the frosted glass door, a lovely, mysterious woman named Ms. White hires her to find out who is stalking her. A dead rat on her car. Being run off the road. A car bombing. Someone wants her frightened or maybe…dead.

The trail of graft and corruption leads Cat into danger as she hides the mystery woman with the old, reclusive lawyer Detrick Bittmor for safe keeping.

Cat’s relationship with the handsome Erick “Carter” Larsen is put in jeopardy when she teams up with Officer Kiernan Scott from the Heaton Valley Police Department to unravel the mystery in February White Lies. 


“The roads are horrendous! It’s freezing out there. I don’t think you should go. His flight arrives in the middle of the night. He told you not to go get him. It’s extremely dangerous and inconvenient. He’ll find a way home,” my mother snipped.
“I’m sure he could find a way home, but I want to go get him. I’ve missed him.” I spoke calmly but glared at the phone, wondering if my mother called me just to make me crazy.
“That’s not a smart decision,” she said. I could hear her wrinkling up her nose.
Well, I’m going anyway, Mother.”
“If you’re not concerned with your own safety, then what about all the poor, hapless people who happen to be on the road at the same time as the daredevil Cat Collier?”
“I’ll steer clear of all other vehicles. Don’t worry about me, or any unfortunate soul on the highway with me. We’ll all be fine.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Good night, Mom.”
“Good night, wild child. Be careful.”
After the conversation with my mother, I needed aspirin and a nap before heading to the airport to pick up my boyfriend because alcohol, my first choice, would have seriously impaired my driving ability.
Hours later, I pulled out of the parking lot of my apartment building, refreshed, excited, and in happy anticipation as I slowly crawled through the icy, snow-covered, country roads to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

“Flight 211 from New York has landed. Passengers will be arriving at Gate Three,” the United Airlines flight representative announced. I scrambled to the gate and waited as the weary, red-eye travelers quietly trickled passed me from the gate. The sleep-deprived commuters shuffled to baggage pick-up in a zombie-like state.
But my eyes were glued on the doorway. Finally, I saw his gorgeous head of dark, wavy hair towering above the others.
Now, you need to know something about me. I never get the handsome guy. I’m never even in the running. I’m short, more round than the publicly sought after elongated image of beauty, and I have this wild mop of uncontrollable red curly hair. I have freckles. I’m stubborn. I have an odd sense of humor. I don’t like to be told what to do.
My mother says I lack social refinement. I don’t care. She also says I have bad taste in men and has never liked one of my boyfriends…until Carter, that is. Why this sweet, kind, smart, handsome creature left his underwear model girlfriend for me, I don’t know. But I’m deliriously happy.
Carter!” I shouted and waved. I startled some of the near-by sleepwalkers. “Sorry,” I whispered.
He searched the waiting crowd, broke into a giant grin when he spotted me, and rushed towards me as fast as he could without knocking over the stragglers.
“You’re here!” he picked me up, hugged me, and kissed me. “I told you that you didn’t need to come and get me. I would’ve rented a car. It’s the middle of the night. And it’s freezing.” His smile lit up the airport terminal. His hug was warm and strong. Everyone else was dragging, but the tall, dark, and handsome Erick Carter Larsen was full of energy. “Thank you for coming, sweetie.”
“Oh, my pleasure,” I said. I saw he had his carry-on bag. “Do we need to go to baggage pick-up?”
“No, I had the rest of my stuff shipped. It’ll all be here Wednesday.”
“Then let’s go home,” I said. I reached for his hand.
“Home. Sounds wonderful,” he said, clasping my hand as we walked out the door.
We slipped and slid our way to my old, red Chevy Cruze, clutching onto each other for support.
“Oh, safe!” he said as he closed the car door. “The sidewalks and parking lot are treacherous. Have these people never heard of rock salt?”
“It’s too cold for rock salt to work right now and… we’re not safe yet. The roads are slick. Luckily, everybody else is home asleep, so we’ll have the road back to Heaton Valley all to ourselves. Buckle up, honey, and hold on tight.”
I pulled out of the parking lot and slid sideways, just missing the unmanned ticket booth.
Carter shrieked and covered his face while I howled with laughter. I’m used to driving in this kind of weather.
“You almost took out that ticket booth,” he panted.
“The operative word being ‘almost.’ Quit fussing,” I laughed. “I had a good four-inch clearance.”
Carter groaned. “I think there are more dents on your car since I left you last week.”
“No. Some cowardly paint may have run off in fear, but no new dents.”
Carter raised an eyebrow at me.
“Excuse me, Mr. Larsen, would you prefer to drive?”
“No, absolutely not, Miss Collier. You’re doing a great job. Fantastic. No complaints.” He searched the floor and in the back seat.
“What are you looking for?”
“Helmet. Mouth guard. Knee pads. Shin guards. Rosary beads to wear around my neck. Holy water. Race car shoulder harness. Tibetan prayer shawl.”
“Rough flight, honey?” I laughed.

“Not until now,” he teased with a wink and a smile.