Sunday, June 30, 2019

Schedule for July 1 - 5, 2019

Mon., July 1 - BOOK: New Book Release
July Fireworks Sky, A Cat Collier Mystery
by Carol Ann Kauffman
Tues., July 2 - NOTE FROM CAROL:
Top 50 Indie Book List
Wed., July 3 - ART: Italian Artist
Gianni Strino
Thurs., July 4 - NOTE FROM CAROL:
The Fourth of July in American 2019
Fri., July 5 - BOOK: Sherrie Hansen's 
Wildflowers of Scotland Series

Friday, June 28, 2019

BOOK: Charming Deception by Carol Ann Kauffman

Dear Gentle Readers,
Sometimes a single moment can suggest a storyline.  While on our second honeymoon in Clearwater Beach Sand Key, I woke up in the middle of the night disoriented. Jet lag. Introduction to mint mojitos. Who knows?  But that single moment led to the book, Charming Deception. I wrote the first three chapters on my iPhone, because I promised my husband this wouldn't be a working vacation and left my laptop at home.

Book Description:
Samantha wakes up to a perfect life, with a handsome, attentive husband she doesn't remember. She has it all: a luxury vehicle, designer clothes, beautiful jewelry, and a condo on the beach. But this isn't the life she remembers. As time go by, Samantha discovers she is the object of an elaborate deception, one large enough to include, other worlds, body doubles, time travel, world-hopping, and a galaxy guardian as cold as ice. Is her charming husband in on this deception?


"This story is completely different from all the other books I have read by Carol Ann Kauffman. You get to see another side of her creative mind and I love it. She had me guessing all throught the book. She filled it with mystery, suspence, romance and paranormal. Her style is the same as her other work, maybe even better.
Open door ways can be wonderful and yet confussing to some. But to go throught a door way and wake up not knowing who you are or where you are can be unusal. Sam doesent remember parts of her life. Her husband is telling her that she hit her head and has memory loss. But she doesn't know who he is either. Jaxs is madly in love with his wife and would do anything for her, even switch places with Jackson Blake.
As the two of them resume their life together in Florida, Sam finds herself falling in love with her husband all over again. But is he really her husband? Then one day trouble happens and she is pulled into a cloud with hands all over her. She has no idea what is going on. But she ends up at a castle and remembers her father and everybody there, but how? Jackson ends up there too and wants to taker her home. The king is mean and loves to torture people. He goes after a tracker who found Samantha thinking that he killed his real daughter. So how many Samantha's are there? And is there more then one Jackson Blake?
As the story goes on, you find yourself trying to figure out why there are clones and who made them. Why would someone want more than one person that looks the same? Well the guardian has his reasons. Can this all be worked out? Or is someone going to die? Will all be disappointed in the end? You will have to read it to find out."
                                                                                                                          -Val R.

"This is a wonderfully twisted soap opera for the brain.  Samantha has me worried and Jakson, sweet as he appears to be, creeps me out.  Love the imagery.  I feel like I'm right there with these characters.  Them OMG... out of the blue, kidnapped, encoding, decoding.  Uh, just who is this Samantha Blake?  This was like driving carefree down a one-way street and suddenly making an abrupt left turn - where there is no road!  AWESOME!!!"        
                                                                                                                                         - Preston K.

Amazon Buy Link:

Thursday, June 27, 2019

ART: The Southwest Art of Stephen Morath

 I had never heard of Stephen Morath before coming across his work online, but I was taken by his vivid use of color and his beautiful southwestern themes. Here is his biographical material in his own words:

"For over thirty years I have painted scenes from all over the Southwest. My pictures rarely represent an actual place, but rather a place as I think it should be. They are often nostalgic, sometimes “cartoony”, sometimes quite naturalistic. Mainly I paint northern New Mexico and southern Arizona; but the extremes of my interest range from the frosty peaks of Colorado to the shores of the desert sea in Baja California, and all the wide open spaces in between. I am drawn not only to the beauties but also the oddities of the Southwest – the outrageous topography, the tourist traps, the honky-tonk strips, the old motel signs, the clash of cultures, the places where Indian America meets the science fiction of the ‘Fifties; as well as the pueblos, the sparkling deserts, the blue ranges, the birds in the morning…I prefer the rural countryside to the unpopulated wilderness, and rarely paint a landscape without some kind of human activity or artifact in it. Indeed, some of my paintings are crowded with non-landscape elements. Often, my paintings exhibit a touch of humor; others I paint to evoke cosmic feelings; still others are complex displays of fruit and vegetables. I like to paint figures, which so far have not featured prominently in my paintings; but I see my work moving in the direction of more figures and more realism. I am especially fond of small towns, back roads, and blue highways, where old trucks, lowriders, and airstream trailers can be found; and life goes on in a timeless way.

I am a third-generation native of Colorado, married, and the father of four. I studied and spent some time back East in my early days; otherwise, I have been a lifelong resident of Colorado, although a frequent visitor to, and lover of, New Mexico and Arizona. I and my wife, and formerly our now grown-up children, live in a ramshackle Victorian at the foot of Pikes Peak, surrounded by gardens and fruit trees. Besides painting, my main interests are high-country hiking, contra dancing, the performance of choral music, and trips to Europe and Mexico.

Exhibition history: I have exhibited paintings continuously in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1984.  During that time I have also shown at various galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in Colorado; but Scottsdale has remained my major retail focus. The Colorado Springs Fine Art center owns one of my paintings.So does the Albuquerque Museum of Art." -Stephen Morath

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

INTERVIEW: Meet Fantasy Author C.L. Schneider

Cynthia L Schneider
Hudson Valley Region
Upstate New York

Good morning, Cynthia, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the site for art and books, and the people who love them. Can you tell us a little about what you've written?
I currently have one complete trilogy published, as well as three books in my new series, and a short story in the 3rd issue of Kyanite Press.
The Crown of Stones Trilogy is an adult, dark, epic fantasy saga that tells the story of Ian Troy: a man born with an addiction to magic. The Nite Fire Series, an action-packed, urban fantasy mystery, features shapeshifters, dragons, and parallel worlds. The first three books are out now. My short story, Heists & Headstones, is a fun, co-written fantasy about a thief and an assassin, in the vein of “Spy vs Spy.”

What is your favorite genre to write?
Fantasy. The possibilities are endless!
Tea or coffee?

Pizza or ice cream?

Wine or beer?

Where would you like to visit?
There are so many beautiful places in the world. Ireland has always been high on my list, and we just booked a trip there for later this summer. I can’t wait! Scotland, Prague, and New Zealand are all on my radar, too. We went to Iceland last summer, and it was the most amazing trip ever. The landscape was unique and gorgeous. I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Favorite musical artist.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
I love music, but I don’t really have a favorite. I have lots of favorites. Lol. I gravitate toward alternative or hard rock. 12 Stones is a band that’s recently caught my attention. Sometimes I listen to music before I write, but not during. I get too distracted. I start singing along, and there goes my word count!

What makes you laugh?
My kids 😊 As far as TV, movies, or books go, I love narky characters and witty banter.

This is an Art & Author website, so I am obliged to ask: Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I would have to say Vincent van Goh’s The Starry Night and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Her expression intrigues me. It looks like she’s about to speak, and every time I see it, I can’t help wondering what she has to say.

How old were you when you started writing?
I started writing poetry and short stories in elementary and middle school. I was 16 when I wrote my first full-length novel on an old typewriter my dad bought me. That was when my dream was born of one day being a published author. Life got in the way after that, so it took a while to make it come true. But I never stopped writing – or dreaming.

Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
I do a little of both. I always start out on paper, in a notebook, with a rough outline. It’s mostly snippets of scenes and dialogue. Then I head to the computer and expand on my thoughts. I don’t write linear when I’m drafting. I write the scenes that are most vivid in my head, regardless of order. Once I have enough of those down, I start marrying them together, and the story begins to take shape. At that point, I construct a deeper outline, chapter by chapter. Of course, sometimes my characters don’t listen, and the outline goes out the window!

Describe your perfect evening.
Hmmm. That’s a tossup between strolling on the beach with my husband and a glass of wine, and curling up alone in front of the fire with Netflix—and a glass of wine 😊

Where do you get your inspiration?
Where the original spark comes from, I can’t really say. Inspiration can come from so many places; nature, music, a question, a casual phrase spoken by a stranger. But 99% of the time, my inspiration for a story comes from the creation of the main character. So, I guess you could say I don’t get story ideas so much as I do character ideas. Once the notion of one takes root in my brain, I get to know them. I imagine what type of world they live in. What are their abilities, their strengths and weaknesses, hopes, friends, family, dreams, fears? I create a past, present, and future for them. I decide how they would react to adversity, betrayal, victory, and catastrophe, and the plot evolves from there. I don’t see it as “a story” I’m writing. I see it as “their” story.    

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I’m lucky that writers block rarely bothers me. More often, I suffer from the opposite: I have too many ideas. That can make it difficult sometimes to choose which path is best for the story. I work through either situation the same way, though. If I’m stuck on writing a particular scene, I’ll skip to something that happens later on in the story. If I can get out the scenes rolling around in my head, whatever was bothering me usually works itself out.
Sometimes, I’ll take a walk, or a drive, or a shower. Any place where I don’t have access to a pen and paper is usually where my head clears! Other times, I’ll put on a movie as background, and just play around with different scenes until the lightbulb goes off.

Who is your favorite author?
I would have to go with C.J. Cherryh. She is certainly my favorite fantasy author. I’ve read nearly every title she’s written. I learned so much about character development from her books.

Best book you ever read.
That’s hard to answer. I don’t have nearly as much time to read since I published. But I’ve been a voracious reader my whole life and have had many favorites. I can tell give you one book that had a great impact on my life: The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. My brother gave me the book in high school. It was my first traditional epic fantasy, and I fell in love. I devoured it. Then I read it again. That book narrowed my focus, and from that moment on, I knew fantasy was the genre I wanted to write.

Last book you read.
Shifting Identities. It’s the 3rd book in the Criminal Elements series, a fun urban fantasy by indie authors Cris and Clare Meyers.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I honestly have no idea. I love what I do so much. For a time, when I was young, I wanted to work in special effects movie makeup. I still find it interesting. But this was always what I wanted to do. Since I was sixteen, my dream was to hold my own book in my hands. Everything else was just filler.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My children. Technically, that’s two people, not one – sorry! But having children changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

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 dad. He passed away before I published my first book. I would give anything to be able to sit down and read it to him.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Be fearless in your writing and with your writing. Don’t be afraid to share your work and get feedback. Believe me, I know it isn’t easy putting yourself out there. For years, I kept my writing to myself. I was terrified to show anyone the worlds and characters I’d created. They were such a part of me. But once I took that leap, everything changed. My confidence grew. I had a sounding board, someone in my corner who enjoyed listening to me brainstorm, who would offer praise and criticism that was both thoughtful and honest. It lessened the fear and inspired me to not just write more, but to write better. 

Do you have some links for us to follow you?
Amazon Author Page
Subscribe to newsletter
Join My Street Team
Nite Fire Book #! Trailer
Crown off Stones Trilogy Book Trailer

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

ART: A Look at Italian Artist Guido Borelli

Guido Borelli was born into an artistic family. He was born in 1952 in Northern Italy. His family encouraged his interest in the arts and recognized his ability at an early age.

 The paintings of Guido Borelli show the heart and soul of Italy. He uses color and shadow to evoke feelings, maybe the feeling you had the first time you walked down the cobblestone streets of Venice.

Guido's interpretations of these gorgeous Italian sites shows more then the scenery. They show his love for Italy and it's perennial beauty. It shows his big heart and deep soul.

These gorgeous paintings of Venice, the Lake regions of Lago Maggiore and Lake Como areas remind me of my stays in the area and bring back so many warm and magical memories of beautiful Italy.

 Venice at night is very different from Venice by day. Guido's paintings of the city at different times of day capture the personality of the city. If you have never been to Venice, take my advice: GO! 

Monday, June 24, 2019

A NOTE FROM CAROL: Artist & Author Interviews

 Dear Gentle Readers,

I am contemplating some changes here at Vision and Verse. I know how much you all love the Artist & Author Interview Sessions, usually on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I am having some difficulty finding artists and authors willing to take the time out of their busy and demanding schedules to interview with us. And I completely understand. Writing a novel is a wonderful experience. You learn a lot about your surroundings and yourself. You develop a set of skills you never even knew you needed!

However, the marketing part of the job can be long, hard, and fruitless. It's exhausting. And it can leave the author with no time, energy, or desire to continue writing. I suppose it's the same way with artists.

If you know an author or an artist who needs a little bit of free publicity and is willing to take the time to interview with us, please email me their name and email address. If I cannot find willing participants, the Wednesday Interview segment of our schedule will have to be eliminated.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

SCHEDULE: June 24 - 28, 2019

Mon., June 24 - A NOTE FROM CAROL:
Author/Artist Interviews
Tues., June 25 - ART: A Look at Italian Artist
Guido Borelli
Wed., June 26 - INTERVIEW: Meet Fantasy Author
C.L. Schneider
Thurs., June 27 - ART: The Southwest Art of
Stephen Morath
Fri., June 28 - BOOK: Charming Deception 
by Carol Ann Kauffman

Friday, June 21, 2019

BOOK: June Green Leaves of Deceit, A Cat Collier Mystery by Carol Ann Kauffman

Join Cat Collier is this serial mystery short story series, described as a cross between Nancy Drew and Mike Hammer.

Carter disappoints Cat in the worst possible way. She begins to doubt her worth. Can a new location bolster Cat’s self-confidence? Is she strong enough to let a new love in?

June Green Leaves of Deceit continues and adventures and misadventures of Mary Catherine Collier, known as Cat, as she opens a second online investigation office, away from Heaton Valley and the love and support she’s known there. Can she make it on her own? 

Amazon Buy Link:

But, wait! Read an excerpt before you buy:

Chapter One
Gauze and Breeze

It was a perfect June morning in northeastern Ohio. The sun illuminated the periwinkle sky as a gentle breeze fluttered through the open window of my gorgeous office on the eighth floor of the beautiful Palazzo Castellano, a hotel situated in the center of downtown Heaton Valley. Perfect morning. Perfect office. Perfect little town.
So why was I so damn miserable? 
I have everything a girl could want. I’m living my dream. I have my own private online investigation business in a big, beautiful office that adjoins the office of a sweet, handsome lawyer who just happens to love me to pieces. I have a new car, gorgeous clothes, and a huge rock of an engagement ring so big I could use to put out an eye in a street fight. I have a wonderful circle of friends and family who love and support me in whatever I do. I am my own boss. Nobody tells me what to do. 
So then… why the misery?
I don’t know. Because I’m not the person I used to be, maybe. My motto has always been honesty is the best policy. But one lie led to two, then four, and they continued to grow at an alarming rate. I almost needed to carry around a notebook to write down my lies in order to keep them straight. But I was afraid I’d lose it, someone would find it, and discover my deceit.
I’m no longer the honest human being I thought I was. Lately, I lie to people on a daily basis. I lie to my mother. I told her I met Kayko in Los Angeles last year at the newspaper convention. I told her there was nothing serious going on between Kayko and my brother Dane. I told her Kayko would probably be going back to California soon. 
My wonderful fiancé whom I adore? Yes, I lie to him, too. Of course, you can come with me, Carter. And no, I’m not up to anything. And I nurture those lies and cuddle up to them and keep them warm. 
I am keeping the truth from my brother Dane about his new girlfriend, Kayko. He thinks she’s a little wounded bird. And he is dead-set on saving this orphaned waif. Little does he know, she not an orphan. She has family and a betrothed in China. She was part in a human trafficking ring. She lived as a homeless person on the streets of Detroit. And her name is made up, like every other part of her life.
I lied to my client Jack Harlan. I know who the father of his girlfriend’s daughter is, and it’s not some dead Italian Art professor. Lystra’s father is very much alive and is an extremely dangerous criminal. And as far as keeping his fiancée Simone out of the loop? Well, guess what, she knows everything.
And I lied to Kayko. Sure, I can get you papers so you can stay in the country legally. Sure, I can keep you safe. Sure, I can hide you from international sex trade criminals.
I took a deep breathe. Stop it, Cat. Everybody tells a few untruths every now and then, don’t they? Maybe I was blowing this whole honesty crisis out of proportion. Maybe a walk in the park across the street would clear my head and help me feel better. I pulled on my jacket and put my wallet and keys in my pocket. 

Just then I heard the sound of stiletto heels clicking on the tile floor, slowly, deliberately, almost seductively, into Carter’s adjoining office. He likes to keep the door between our two offices open in case I get into trouble. He believes private investigation tends to draw out the most unsavory of characters and he worries about my safety. I peeked around the corner.
The most gorgeous girl I ever saw in my life was standing in Carter’s office. A beautiful face framed with long, flowing, shiny brown curls gazed at Carter. Her hands on her hips, feet apart, her tiny gauzy dress blowing slightly in the breeze. Skin, hair, figure, nails, outfit - all perfect.
“Hello, Lover,” the beautiful creature purred.
“Yvette!” called Carter.
Yvette. Of course, my finance’s ex-girlfriend had to be the most beautiful girl in the world.
“What are you doing here?” Carter said in shock.
“I miss you, Rick,” she cooed as she walked runway-style around his desk. 
I hid around the corner, plastering myself to the wall, trying to calm myself. I peeked around slowly.
She pulled open his bottom desk drawer.
“What are you want?” Carter asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? I want… you. I want you back.”
Yvette put her foot up on the bottom drawer. The sun streaming through the window left nothing to the imagination. Little Miss Yvette, the beautiful underwear model, wasn’t wearing any.
“Yvette, I’m engaged to a …
She reached over and grasped his hand. She placed his hand gently on her uppermost inner thigh, then slid it up.
Carter moaned. 
I knew that particular moan. I knew it very well. I held my stomach. I thought I was going to puke. I needed to get out of the office. I couldn’t bear to stand here and listen to her… to them… I slipped off my shoes and quietly made for my office door.
Once in the hallway, I ran to the elevator at break-neck speed. I went up to our penthouse apartment. I just made it into the bathroom. Crying and puking. Heaving and sobbing.
I knew it! I just knew the someday he’d want his old life back. Big Manhattan lawyer with his underwear model Barbie Doll of a girlfriend. Why would he be satisfied with this boring, little hick-town existence? With me? Why was I surprised? I knew it was coming. More sobs, more heaves. 
I threw some clothes in a suitcase and found some shoes. I placed my big, beautiful, heart-shaped diamond engagement ring in the center of the dining room table. I ran. 
Where could I go? I let my friend Marcy Winegard stay at my old shoebox of an apartment while she looks for a place. She and boyfriend Carl Hayden called it quits and she needed a place. I could stay with my sister. I know she would take me, but she was at work and I need to get out of here right now. Where could I go?

“Mom?” I cried.
“What is it, Cat? What’s wrong?”
“Carter…” I blubbered. “And Yvette.”
My normally nasty, caustic, supercritical mother wrapped her arms around me and pulled me close to her. She stroked my hair.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, honey. He was really something special. You two were so happy. So, he packed up and went back to New York and the underwear model girlfriend, huh?”
“No. She came to his office. In this flimsy, little see-through dress. I was just leaving. I saw…” I cried some more. “I saw her seduce him. He didn’t try to stop her. He didn’t push her away. He didn’t say stop. He… he moaned.” More tears and sobs.
“Men! They’re horrible, disgusting creatures. Sex maniacs, all of them. They have no self-respect or self-control.”
“Not Daddy.”
“No, not your father. And not your brother. But all the rest of them."