Sunday, March 31, 2019

SCHEDULE: April 1 -5, 2019

Schedule


Mon., April 1 - BOOK: June Green Leaves of Deceit,
A Cat Collier Mystery Short Story by Carol Ann Kauffman
Tues., April 2 - ART: Welsh Painter
Harold Harvey
Wed., April 3 - INTERVIEW: Children's Travel Book Author
Anna Othitis 
Thurs., April 4 - ART: The Brazilian Artist
Tarsila
Fri. April 5 - BOOK: A Nest of Vipers,
The Montalbano Books 
by Andrea Camilleri

Friday, March 29, 2019

BOOK: Lavender Mist of May, A Cat Collier Mystery by Carol Ann Kauffman



Join the further adventures and misadventures of Cat Collier, a woman who opens her own private investigation business in her hometown on her journey from being a small town obituary writer to big city detective. 

In this fifth installment of the short story mystery series, Cat works tirelessly to find a missing Chinese girl who came to the United States on a work/study program and disappeared into thin air. 

An informant takes a big risk to supply Cat with pertinent information. Nola finds herself in danger. A child's parentage comes into question. A member of the Palazzo Castellano family is put in danger.

What they're saying about Lavender Mist of May:

"These Cat Collier mystery shorts keep getting better and better. This one is the best yet!"

"...another outstanding story in the Cat Collier series.  In this one, Cat hunts for a missing woman, and the twists and turns keep coming."

"Once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down!"

Amazon Link:  https://tinyurl.com/yd44w4km

Have you read the other Cat Collier Short Story Mysteries?




Thursday, March 28, 2019

ART: Florentine Painter Federico Andreotti







Federico Andreotti  was born in 
Florence, Italy on March 8, 1847. 
His early studies in the arts were 
with Angiolo Tricca and Stefano 
Ussi at the Florentine Academy 
of the Fine Arts.

He i
s known as a prolific painter in 
the realistic genre, but he is 
famous for his aristocratic scenes.

He gained an appointment as a professor at the Academy at 

a young age. He painted many canvases in Florence, Rome, 
and other big Italian cities. 

He combined his artistic talent with his knowledge of the 

human anatomy. 



His paintings depicted the 
gentries aristocracy in their 
finest dress. The elaborate period dress and the sophisticated airs of his 
subjects gave his paintings a 
special air, sometimes described 
as Rococo Revival.

He is praised for his dramatic 

use of color in his paintings.





Federico died in 1930 in Florence. His work is widely sought after in auction houses in Europe.

Again, I claim nothing here. All information and photos are from
on line sources.

Links:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federico_Andreotti





https://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/list.php?m=a&s=tu&aid=1966






https://www.invaluable.com/artist/andreotti-federico.../sold-at-auction-prices

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Federico_Andreotti

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

INTERVIEW: Family Saga Author Bridgitte Lesley


Bridgitte Lesley
Durban, South Africa


Good morning, Bridgitte, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for art and books and the people who write them. What have you written? 
The most recent novel written is ‘Along Came Claire.'

What is your favorite genre to write? 
I write family sagas which include romance, mystery, and a whole lot of fun.

Favorite food.  
I love food. To single something out is rather difficult.  If it has cheese in it, we’ll go for that. So, anything with cheese.

Tea or coffee?  
Coffee please. As strong as can be.

Pizza or ice cream?
Can I opt out?

No
If I have to choose, it would be plain vanilla.

Wine or beer or soda?
Wine for sure.

Where would you like to visit?
Germany

Do you listen to music when you write?  
I don’t listen to anything when I write.  The world seems to be shut out even if the radio is blaring forth competing with the television.  But when I do come up for air I would say my favourite is E.L.O. Electric Light Orchestra.
What makes you laugh? 
People.  People make me laugh.

Favorite work of art or sculpture.  
Manneken pis

How old were you when you started writing? 
Forty five

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write? 
I am a true panzer.

Describe your perfect evening.
A quiet night at the keyboard.

Where do you get your inspiration? 
I get my inspiration from people and my surroundings.

What do you do when you get a writer's block? 
Luckily enough I don’t suffer from writer’s block.

Who is your favorite author? 
Stephanie Meyer

Best book you ever read. 
Twilight

Last book you read. 
The Art of War – Sun Tsu


What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer? 
Back to sales.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why? 
My dad because he is such a strong figure.

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 would like to go back in time and interview a cowboy.  I can’t think of a name, but it would be very interesting.





What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?  
Do it. Just do it! There isn’t anything in the world that compares to the satisfaction of taking a blank page and creating a novel.



Do you have some links for us to follow you?
Thank you Carol! You can find me here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bridgittelesley http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Bridgitte https://www.amazon.com/Bridgitte-Lesley/e/B00H6UOK12/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1 or on Twitter https://twitter.com/BridgitteLesley/

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

BOOK SERIES: The Inn at Holiday Bay, Boxes in the Basement, Book One, by Kathi Daley




Chapter 1

  
Maybe it had been insanity that caused me to sell my condo, pack my belongings, and buy a huge old house I had never even seen. Maybe it had been my unwillingness to face the grief I would not deal with and could not escape, that caused me to move to a town I knew nothing about and had never even visited. Or maybe, just maybe, when I’d seen the ad for the rundown old house perched on a bluff overlooking the sea, I hadn’t been running at all. Maybe, I tried desperately to convince myself, I’d simply seen the opportunity to do something fun. Creative. Different. 
No, I admitted as I gingerly placed a foot on the first of three rotted steps leading to the decayed front porch. It hadn’t been insanity, an unwillingness to deal, or a longing for fun that caused me to give up my life in California to move to a tiny town in coastal Maine where no one knew who I was or what I had been through. What it had been, I decided, was preservation. 
I sighed in relief when I made it to the front door without falling through the rotted wood. I took out the brand-new key I’d been given by the Realtor after he’d had the locks changed prior to my arrival, opened the door, and then stepped into the entry. The floor was damaged and would need to be replaced, and the wallpaper was peeling and would need to be stripped, but the rooms were totally empty, and empty rooms, I knew, even those in disrepair, were preferable to rooms filled with well-meaning friends who were unable to deal with your grief and wanted to help but felt helpless to do so. 
The entrance to the home was large and airy and opened up to twin staircases spiraling toward the second story. I’d been told the house had three stories of living space, ten bedrooms, eight baths, and a large living area consisting of several rooms including a parlor and a library, on the first floor. I was also promised the property included a separate guesthouse that could be used as a mother-in-law unit. Apparently, the English gentleman who built the house back in 1895 had grand plans to marry his one true love and fill those ten bedrooms with chubby-cheeked children, but his dream, like mine, had never come to fruition, and so like me, he’d moved away. I knew there had been several owners between Chamberlain Westminster and Bodine Devine, the man from whom I’d bought the house. I wasn’t certain of the entire history, but I supposed it didn’t really matter. 
While my move to the small town of Holiday Bay might not have been well-thought-out, the challenge to gently nudge the old girl back to her former glory had come at the perfect time. The house, I decided, would occupy my energy and my mind. Rehabilitating it would give me focus and provide a safe harbor from which I could fight my demons and finally begin to heal. 
My long brown hair blew across my face as the front door blew open behind me. I whirled around, prepared to defend my territory, but all I found was empty space. I put a hand to my chest as my heart pounded. There was no one there; it was just the wind. I had to admit this huge, empty house had me on edge. It was almost as if I was half-expecting someone or something to jump out at me from around every corner. I took a deep breath, crossed the room, and reached for the door, preparing to remedy the situation, when a huge orange cat that had to be half mountain lion given its enormous size, darted between my legs and into the entry. “Shoo,” I said as I waved my arms toward it. The cat looked at me with eyes as green as my own, took a few steps, turned, then trotted up the stairs. “Hey,” I called after the feline. “You don’t live here. You really can’t stay.” The cat reached the landing at the top of the first flight of stairs, turned to glare at me once again, and then continued down the hallway. 
“Damn cat,” I muttered under my breath. Life, I decided, was a cruel jokester. As if I didn’t have enough to deal with, I now seemed to have a stowaway. Suffice it to say, Abby Sullivan was not now, nor had she ever been, a cat person, or any kind of animal person for that matter. I considered going after the cat but decided that perhaps it would find its way out on its own.
Returning my attention to the house, I walked into what, I assumed, was the main living area. The room was empty, but the hand-carved mantel, which framed the old stone fireplace, truly was a work of art. I ran my hand over the intricately carved surface and imagined the craftsman who had taken the time to get every detail just right. Hand carvings like this were rare these days, and I knew in my heart that the mantel, at least, would need to be preserved. 
I turned back toward the room and considered the intricately carved crown molding along the ceiling. There were sections that would need to be replaced, but I supposed the damaged sections could be replicated. It would be a shame to tear down the original material if there was any way it could be saved. 
I knew I’d taken on a project when I bought the place, but until I’d arrived and had a chance to look around, I’d had no idea how truly large a project it would be. There were a lot of rooms in need of attention, and so far it looked as if each room was the size of my entire condo back in San Francisco.
No need to panic, I assured myself, as I walked into the room I assumed had been previously used as a formal dining area. The house was going to be a lot of work, but I was up for the task. I’d just need to get organized, consider the entire project, and come up with a plan. From my experience, almost any project was possible as long as I broke it down into small steps I could handle so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work in its entirety. 
I walked through the dining area to the back of the house, where I imagined I’d find the kitchen. The room was charming in an old-fashioned way. It was a large room with a lot of potential, although the appliances were ancient, the wallpaper peeling, and the cabinets dated. I supposed a total gut job would be required for this particular room, which meant that a hotplate and microwave might be good items to purchase, along with cleaning supplies, mousetraps, and maybe something that would provide the mountain lion, who I was certain was still prowling around upstairs, motivation to leave. What I needed, I realized, was a list. I took out my phone and opened an app. Taking action, any action, seemed like a move in a positive direction, which provided my slightly overwhelmed psyche with the illusion of control. 
“Number one,” I said aloud, “go to the store and buy food to last several days, and maybe an ice chest to store the food until the status of the refrigerator can be determined.” 
I walked over to the refrigerator and opened the door. I grimaced at the mess I found and then took a step back. Determining status didn’t seem to be the issue so much as replacing the old unit with something less disgusting.
“Number two,” I continued, as I walked around the room, opening and closing cupboards, “find a place to set up a home base while renovations are underway.” I had brought an air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow, and jug of water with me, so once I’d figured out where to set up, I’d bring it all in and build a little nest. I had a stack of books, several bottles of wine, music on my phone, and even a propane light that would come in handy until I could deal with the electricity.
“Number three,” I said into my phone, “have gas, water, and electricity turned on.” I paused and looked around at the shabby interior. It really had been a while since the house had been lived in. “Number four,” I added, “find a plumber and an electrician to check everything out before using the gas, water, and electricity.” 
There was a door leading off the kitchen that I assumed led to the basement that had been part of the listing. I turned the handle and opened the door to find wooden stairs descending into a dark space. Closing the door, I decided to leave a tour of the basement for another time and continued toward the rear of the house. The laundry area was large, but the windows had been boarded up, and the place was nothing more than a tangle of cobwebs. Taking a deep breath, I continued to the back door, which led out onto a huge deck that actually appeared to be in good repair. Climbing down from the deck, I headed in the direction of an adorable little cottage the Realtor had referred to as the guesthouse. From its location on the edge of the sea, I bet the view from this little place would probably be even more spectacular than the one from the house. Climbing the steps to the wraparound porch, I took out the second set of keys I’d been given and opened the door. I wasn’t expecting much, given the state of disrepair of the main house, so when I opened the door and stepped inside, I was more than pleasantly surprised. The cozy space was dusty, but it looked as if it had been recently renovated and appeared move-in ready. I smiled as I noticed the large stone fireplace on one wall of the main living area. I could imagine how cozy it would be to curl up in front of the fire during a winter storm. The fireplace had a gas insert that looked as if it had been recently installed, but I supposed I should have it checked before I used it. I picked up my phone and added fireplace guy to my list. 
The living room, which featured hardwood floors and pale gray walls, opened up to a small but newly updated kitchen, which, thankfully, appeared to have working appliances. The space was charming and modern, with granite countertops and updated cabinets. I knew the cottage had two bedrooms, one in the front that looked out over the now-overgrown garden, and one at the back, overlooking the sea. 
I poked my head into one of the two bathrooms. The dark gray granite countertops, like those in the kitchen, looked new, which thrilled me, but the cabinets, while updated, had been painted a dark green. Not really my color, but I could always repaint, and the room looked as if it would be adequate once I had the water turned on. Things were definitely looking up, I decided as I headed to the larger of the two bedrooms. The room had a door at the rear that I assumed opened out to a private deck. 
“Wow,” I said as I took in the view. It was simply amazing.
The dark gray of the winter bay in the distance was bordered by a lush green forest covered with a layer of snow producing an absolutely stunning contrast. The entire shoreline looked to be uninhabited, with the exception of a single dwelling in the distance, perched on the edge of the sea. A feeling of peace rose as the serenity of the landscape wrapped itself around me like a warm hug. I’d always found the sea to have a calming effect on my nerves, even during the worst of times. 
Here, I decided, as I took in a deep breath of fresh sea air, was where I’d build my nest. Here in this little guesthouse, where I could both wake up and fall asleep to this spectacular view. I’d need a bed, and possibly a dresser, but for now I’d blow up my air mattress and set it next to the huge glass doors, which I planned to wash as soon as I got my supplies. It would be from this perfect spot, in this little house, that I’d read, dream, refurbish, and heal. I knew the journey to making the main house habitable would be a long one. I knew the road to healing would be even longer. But for the first time since I’d packed my SUV and merged onto Hwy 80 east, I actually believed both might be possible. 
Heading back to my SUV, I grabbed my laptop and travel bag. I went back to the cottage, making the first of many trips. Once I had the vehicle unloaded, I sat down at the kitchen counter on one of the stools left behind. I took out my laptop and opened my mail app. I used my phone to take a photo of the fantastic view, then attached it to an email.
I stared at the blank page for several minutes as I worked up the courage to continue. I had done a lot of difficult things in the past year, but for some reason, writing this email seemed harder than most. 

Dear Annie, 
Greetings from Maine. I’ve attached a photo of the view from the little cottage where I plan to begin rebuilding my life. Isn’t it fabulous? I know you’re concerned that I’ve descended into madness and am no longer in control of my mental faculties, and I understand your trepidation at the choices I’ve made since the accident, but I needed to do this despite your fears. It would mean so much if you could find it in your heart to understand and support my choice. 
 Love,
Abby

I read the email through, then let my finger linger over the Send button. Part of me wondered why I bothered, but another part realized that making things right with the only family I had left was a necessary step if I really wanted to rebuild my life. 
***


Here is the Amazon Buy Link:

Sunday, March 24, 2019

SCHEDULE: March 25 - 29, 2019



Schedule
Tues., March 26 - BOOK: Series: The Inn at Holiday Bay
Book One, Boxes in the Basement 
by Kathi Daley
Wed., March 27 - INTERVIEW: Family Saga Author
Bridgitte Lesley
Thurs., March 28 - ART: Florentine Painter
Federico Andreotti
Fri., March 29 - BOOK:
Lavender Mist of May,
A Cat Collier Mystery Short Story
by Carol Ann Kauffman

Friday, March 22, 2019

BOOK: April Yellow Moon, A Cat Collier Mystery by Carol Ann Kauffman


In this fourth installment in the Cat Collier Short Story Mystery Series, a dear, old friend comes up missing and Cat Collier must scramble to find her before it's too late. 

A powerful enemy resurfaces and claims responsibility for a personal attack on Cat's family. 

Nola relives Trent's murder. Carter proposes...again.

Amazon Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N34XEZC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i10

Reviews:
February 8, 2017
Well in this next book to the series, we find Cat making a peace offering deal, saying yes and coming across girl's in the back of a box truck. You wouldn't think this combination would work together, but it does and very well.
Cat gets a call saying that one of her best friends from high school is missing. Someone at the Yellow Moon restaurant slipped a note from her into another friend's pocket. Worried, yes. Terribly worried, no. This friend is known to leave on vacation without saying a word. But maybe we should check out the place and see if anyone has any information about her. Cat finds more than just her friend and it makes you wonder who else is involved. Got any ideas? I do!
Cat's dad is hospitalized after becoming very sick at work. It takes a while to figure out what is wrong. But when they do, it wasn't her dad who was suppose to get sick, but her mom. Why? And by who?
This one left more questions then answers. The mystery deepens and makes you think of who, why, where and when. Will Cat run away? Can the peace deal stay in place? Will Carter bolt again, even though he said he wouldn't ever again? And how is all this tied in together? Carol Ann Kauffman will keep us in suspense until the next book to the series is ready for us. Can't wait!
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February 2, 2017
April yellow moon Carol Ann Kauffman
Cat Collier is back! And so is the love of solving a crime. Out of concern for a missing friend, Cat once again dives head first into a dangerous situation. Written with the same humor and wonderful characters like Cat, Clark, Detrick and Nola, April yellow moon is a great read for all cozy mystery fans!
I will happily give this 5 yellow moons!
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May 19, 2018
Having made up with her boyfriend and gotten engaged, things are great. However when you have to cope with an international sex ring and poisoning things can go downhill fast. Can she keep all her nearest and dearest safe? Will she be able to shut down the sex ring when she stumbles into it? Really wish the parts were all in one rather than in bits.

January 30, 2017
Cat Collier Detective Agency is on a new case in April Yellow Moon. This month's mystery introduces new characters as well as the returning cast of characters we learn more about. Like a clever puzzle; we are given pieces to put in place...but aren't quite sure how they will all fit together. There are many pieces to put together. Cat of course is always solving puzzles and will quickly work towards the solution. A poisoning, more threats, and a friends kidnapping quickly evolves. But I suspect that there will be more to be solved in next month's mystery because there are more missing people to be found and more puzzles to be solved......
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September 30, 2017
I'm totally hooked on the Cat Collier Mysteries!
Each book puts Cat in an interesting predicament that she solves only as Cat can!

I love the characters and how they interact with each other; the negative and positive.

I highly recommend this series if you want to read a fabulous story.
May 6, 2018
The Cat Collier series keeps getting better and better! Everything I've learned to expect from these stories, and Cat's character growing more complex every time.