Friday, August 30, 2019

BOOK: Lavender Mist of May by Carol Ann Kauffman

Join the further adventures and misadventures of Cat Collier, a young woman who opens her own private investigation business in her small hometown as she makes 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 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. Nola is put in danger. The child of a prominent country club women has her parentage questioned. Someone from Gus Black’s past shows up at the hotel.

Amazon buy link:

But WAIT! Read an excerpt before you buy:

Chapter One
Jack Harlan

“You don’t get it all in life, Cat,” shrieked my mother. “Nobody does. You don’t get to have the dream job and the dream guy and all the love and brains and looks and personality. You have to pick. You have to choose. You have to sacrifice. You have to give up one in order to get the other. That’s life as an adult woman.”
“Mom, calm down. What are you yelling about?”
“I am simply attempting to shake you back to reality, daughter. Carter and Detrick have spoiled you rotten. You live in a damn fairy tale dream world. Penthouse apartment, luxury office, brand new car. Fancy designer clothes, cocktail dresses, and a diamond engagement ring so big it looks fake. Handbags that cost as much as a month’s rent. Somebody cooks for you. Somebody cleans for you. Somebody does your laundry. While you play detective on your own tiny, delusional planet. Wake the hell up!
“How long do you think it will take Carter Larsen to figure out he could have had any girl in the world? He’s tall, dark, and so handsome. He’s a brilliant lawyer with a wonderful personality,” she continued. “He’s charming, sweet, and very smart. He’s the only child of a millionaire. He’s a great cook. He’s organized and has a great eye for design and color. He knows how to do just about everything. He does everything in the apartment. He adored his mother. And he’s mannerly and respectful. Why on earth would he want to marry—”
“Me? Why would he want to marry a plain, boring, average, small town girl like…me? Not particularly beautiful? Or well educated? Or wealthy? Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to that one. I’ve asked myself that same question over and over. I didn’t propose to him, you know. He asked me. Numerous times. So, if you want the answer to that burning question, Mother, you’ll have to ask Carter himself.”
I pulled on my raincoat and stomped out to my car, not even attempting to dodge the giant raindrops. I tore down the street at breakneck speed, sliding all over the empty side streets. I turned into the grocery store parking lot, screeched to a stop, and sobbed.
My mother was caustic, but she was absolutely right. Erick Carter Larsen was way out of my league. I always harbored the fear he would go back to his beautiful, slim, underwear model ex-girlfriend. Yvette. All those things my mother said were true. The only thing I had going for me was I looked like his beloved, now deceased, mother. I don’t know how long I sat in the car and balled like a hormonal teenager on her period before my phone rang.
“Cat, Mr. Harlan is here for his two o’clock appointment,” said Nola White, my secretary, my friend, and my partner in crime and legal matters. I met Nola when she hired me to find out who was stalking her. We hit it off. She had no one and no place to go, so I brought her home. Home, to the Palazzo Castellano, the hotel where I live and work. 
I cleared my throat and said, “I’ll be right there. I’m on my way.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Just a little…wet. I’ll be right there.”
I pulled back out into traffic and proceeded at normal speed to the underground parking lot of the Palazzo Castellano. I parked in my reserved space and took the elevator up to my office on the eighth floor.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Harlan.” I eyed the nice-looking gentleman in khakis and a leather jacket, somewhere in his late thirties I’m guessing. Light brown hair with just a touch of grey at the temples. Soft, kind eyes, brown and slightly worried. I dug deep inside to find my most cheerful voice and a smile as I hung up my soaking wet raincoat.  I sat down at my beautiful chrome and glass desk and pulled the gorgeous white leather swivel chair up to the desk.
Nola closed the door.
“How can we at Red Cat Investigation help you today?”
“Hello, Miss Collier. It’s nice to meet you. I have a delicate situation on my hands and I wondered if you could look into a matter of great importance to me… privately.”
“That’s what we do, Mr. Harlan.”
 “Call me Jack…please.”
I reached my hand across the desk.
“Jack. Call me Cat.”
“Cat.” He stood for a moment and shook my hand. “I’m lucky enough to be engaged to a wonderful woman. Beautiful and fantastic. Simone Phillipson.”
“Well, congratulations, Jack.”
“Thank you,” he blushed. “Simone has a child. From a former relationship. A daughter, a lovely girl named Lystra.”
“That’s not uncommon these days, Jack.”
“I realize that. And Lystra is a terrific kid. Cute, sweet, smart, funny. I love her as if she were my own daughter.”
“That’s great.”
“And that’s where the problem lies. Simone won’t tell me who the child’s father is. She won’t tell anybody. She’s never told anyone. Her parents don’t even know. The father is listed on the birth certificate as unknown. I would like to adopt Lystra when we get married. But I want to know what I’m getting myself into. If the guy is alive, I don’t want him showing up at our door to challenge me as Lystra’s father and causing me custody battles down the line. I know if we lost custody of Lystra, I would lose Simone. She is devoted to her child.”
“I understand. You want to get all your ducks in a row. Does your fiancée object to DNA testing?”
“Yes. Strongly. She told me to leave it alone. In fact, she demanded it.”
“So, she doesn’t want you to adopt Lystra?”
“She has no problem with my pursuit of the adoption, but she refuses to have any discussion about Lystra’s father. But I travel for business, sometimes out of the country. Simone works for an online marketing company, so she can work anywhere with an internet connection. We could travel all over the world. That’s been my lifelong dream. We could see all the wonderful sights out there together. As a family unit.
“Presently Lystra is in private school with a very flexible schedule. But as she gets older, that’ll change. I want to legally adopt Lystra so we can be a real family. And when we take her out of the country, I won’t have to worry about challenges to Simone’s custody. I think Lystra wants that, too. It’ll make us feel like a family unit. That’s where the ‘privately’ part comes in, Cat. Simone can’t know what we’re doing. She can’t find out I’ve gone behind her back to find out about Lystra’s father.”
“No problem. I’ll need some information on Lystra and Simone. Let’s see what I can dig up without a DNA test first. Maybe, we’ll get lucky. You know, it’s easier to prove who the father isn’t with a DNA test rather than who is.”
“I have some dates and locations for you,” said Jack.
I took notes as Jack recited a litany of names, dates, and cities.
“I’ll get right on this, Jack.”
He laid a hundred-dollar bill on my desk. “Here’s a deposit. Call me on my cell phone.” He scribbled the number on the corner of my notepad. “Thank you, Cat.”
Mr. Jack Harlan left the office just as my cell phone rang.

“Cat,” said Jean Houston, “I just walked into Carter’s apartment in Manhattan and…”
I froze. Was she going to tell me she walked in on Carter and his beautiful underwear model ex-girlfriend in the throes of passion and love-making. I held my breath.
“And I’m in the living room,” continued Jean, “and it’s the creepiest thing..."

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

ART: Vogue, The Art of Helen Dryden

Vogue: 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)

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.

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 

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. 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." She also 
illustrated other Condé Nast titles, including Vanity Fair and House and Garden.

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.                                       

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. 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. 
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. The 
advertisements by the automaker proclaimed, "It's styled by Helen Dryden." Dryden designed
the Studebaker President throughout, and the press marveled that a woman had attained this 
eminence in mechanical engineering. She was considered "one of the top industrial designers 
and one of the few women in the automotive field." 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 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

SCHEDULE: August 26 - 30, 2019

Mon., August 26 - BOOK REVIEW:
Baked! by Lacey Dearie
Tues., August 27 -
Wed., August 28 - ART: Vogue!
The Art of Helen Dryden
Thurs., August 29 -
Fri., August 30 - BOOK: 
Lavender Mist of May
A Cat Collier Short Story Mystery
by Carol Ann Kauffman

Friday, August 23, 2019

BOOK: April Yellow Moon 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.

April Yellow Moon
In this fourth Cat Collier Short Story Mystery Series, an old friend goes missing and Cat Collier scrambles to find her before it's too late. A powerful enemy claims responsibility for an attack on Cat's family. Nola relives Trent's murder.$.99 or Free on KU. #mystery #family #missingwomen

But wait! Read an excerpt before you buy:

April Yellow Moon
A Cat Collier Mystery
Carol Ann Kauffman

Hi. My name is Cat Collier. Cat, it’s short for Mary Catherine. I run my own investigative research service called Red Cat Investigation. I do some work for our local city and county government agencies, but mostly I do online research for the private citizens of Heaton Valley, Ohio. As I’ve said before, privacy is a thing of the past. With an Internet connection, a healthy dose of patience, and a little bit of luck, I can find out almost anything without leaving the comfort and safety of my beautiful new office located on the eighth floor of the Palazzo Castellano. 
This gorgeous Gothic architectural masterpiece sits majestically in the center of Heaton Valley, much like a beloved old queen toward the end of her reign. My office adjoins the office of high-powered New York Attorney Erick Carter Larsen, my amazing boyfriend. I was totally mesmerized by the sweet, handsome, vulnerable Carter the day I met him in January and nothing in my life has been the same since.
Detrick Bittmor hired me to find out if Carter could be his son from a long-ago love affair with the beautiful, now-deceased New York lawyer, Donna Larsen. Bittmor, the city’s oldest, shadiest, richest lawyer, lived in the penthouse apartment of Palazzo Castellano at that time. Carter showed up in town a few months after his mother’s death.  He sat on a bench in Central Park across the street at lunchtime and stared up at Bittmor’s penthouse apartment every day.

So much has changed since January. Carter now knows Detrick is his father. Detrick, now in a wheelchair recovering from a stroke, turned the newly remodeled fabulous penthouse apartment over to Carter and moved into a smaller suite on the eighth floor. He also gave us both offices in the building and bought us cars, Chevys of course, we’re in northeast Ohio. Carter has asked me to move in with him. I said yes. Well, kind of. I haven’t given up my shoebox of an apartment yet. I was staying at Carter’s apartment in his absence at the request of his father, who believes my life is in danger from a certain mobster-criminal type named Robert Woolstein, who he and Carter tried unsuccessfully to entrap and bring to justice and the security at Palazzo Castellano is airtight, compared to the ‘shoebox’.
 I agreed to stay on and try this living arrangement on a temporary basis, but I confess I have my reservations. Things are moving way too fast for me.  But I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize my relationship with Carter. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. 

Carter’s flying home today from New York City, where he maintains his law office and his mother’s gorgeous Manhattan apartment. Our plan for the future is to split our time between Heaton Valley, Ohio, and New York City, where Carter has a junior partnership with the law offices of Piper, Richendell & Sloan. 

“Fred will drive you to the airport, Cat,” insisted Detrick, propelling his wheelchair toward me as I prepared to leave. “He’ll give you two all the privacy you need. I’m not comfortable with you going to get Carter by yourself.”
“The airport is only seven minutes away. I can drive to the airport in my sleep. In fact, I have. If you’re antsy about my going alone, I’ll ask Nola to come with me,” I asserted.
“Yes, I’ll go with her,” said Nola White, my secretary. Nola started out as a client, ended up my friend, and part of our crazy little family at the Palazzo Castellano. Her loyalty has no limits.
“Great…two targets for the price of one. No.” Detrick rubbed his forehead. “Do I have to remind you that Woolstein, the master criminal, and his henchmen who knocked you out and tied you up in an abandoned train car last month have not yet been apprehended and brought to justice yet? And Nola? Woolstein still wants her dead! Please don’t argue with me on this, Mary Catherine. It’s a matter of safety: your safety, Nola’s safety and Carter’s, the three most important people in my life. I’m getting older and more worn out by the minute while we engage in this war of wills. Indulge this old man, will you please?” he asked.
“All right,” I sighed in resignation. “Fred can drive me to the airport.”
“Good. He’s downstairs waiting for you in the parking garage. And don’t tell my son I’m doing a bit of standing and walking. I want to surprise him.”
“Got it. I won’t ruin your surprise.”
“And Luciano’s is delivering lunch. You know how my boy likes to eat his big meal early in the day. I’m ordering all his favorites.”
“Big lunch. Yes, I remember.”
“And Cat? Thank you. Thank you for bringing my son back home to me. Again.”
“Now let’s make sure that he stays here this time, Detrick. No more elaborate lies, no more calculated schemes, no more borderline illegal activities with dangerous criminals,” I said. “Promise me?”
“I promise you, from the bottom of my heart,” said Detrick Bittmor, Heaton Valley’s very rich, influential lawyer with a legion of bad guy connections and a champion truth-bending manipulator when it suits him. 
I knew all that. But you know what? I still believed him. I firmly believed Detrick wanted his son Carter here with him more than he wanted to continue to play puppet master with the puny little lives of the Heaton Valley residents.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

ART: Italian Artist Pino Daeni

Pino Daeni
Manhattan, New York

Pino Daeni was born Giuseppe Dangelico Daeni in Bari, Italy on November 8, 1939.

His artistic talent was recognized by his first grade teacher. As a retired first grade teacher, that was the main reason I did further research on the amazing Pino. Plus, I have some good friends from Bari.

Even though his teacher told 
Pino's parents of his obvious artistic 
talent, his father was unimpressed and doubted his son's ability to make a living
as an artist.

Pino persisted. He was self taught until he enrolled at the Art Institute of Bari in 1960, and then on to Milan's Academy of Brera, where he specialized in painting the human form.

His work garnered much attention in Italy from 1960 to 1979 as a painter and book illustrator.

In 1971 Pino visited Manhattan, New York. It turned out to be a life changing experience. 

Upon returning to Milan, he began to feel restricted and in 1978 he moved his family to New York, where he felt a greater freedom of expression and a chance for greater opportunities.

Pino Daeni has also worked as a cover artist for Danielle Steele's romance novels.
Here are some links to follow Pino:‎

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

BOOK: Feeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson

Feeling Lucky
Fayetteville Fairies Book 1
by Kathy Bryson

What It Takes To Go Wide Without Getting Overwhelmed

Going wide is usually something I try to avoid. Tempting as it may be, the spreading consequences are usually enough to keep me from eating as much pizza and ice cream as I’d like! But the idea of my books having broader reach is pretty appealing so as the contract for my first book, Feeling Lucky, came to an end, I took a good look at just what going wide would entail. 

Going wide means publishing through many channels instead of just through Amazon. While Amazon is still a big player, iBook, Nook, Kobo and many other e-book distributors including Overdrive and Scribd for libraries, also have audiences. There are also many overseas distributors and easy ways to access them through services like Smashwords and Draft2Digital. With new channels, you might reach new readers, bloggers, and reviewers!

It was also an opportunity to revisit and revised my work. Even though my editor and I both proofed the original several times, I still found typos and other errors! And after six years, you can see awkward spots and undeveloped places that you missed the first time around. You don’t want to fall into the trap of completely rewriting, but time is wonderful for editing, and it was just too tempting to do a little polishing now that I had more writing experience. 

Then, there’s the chance to freshen your look. Even in e-books, the cover is the 1stdraw for the reader, the first impression on any sales channel. Some covers become classics, others just become commonplace. After six years of pitching Feeling Lucky, I’d gotten a really clear picture of where the premise needed clarifying to readers. So, I had the great good fortune of finding and working with Dina Arakcheeva through to draw that exact picture. And it came out gorgeous! 

There was also the question of key words and categories. As it turns out, those need refreshing periodically too. For example, over time ‘paranormal’ became a hot trend, then settled into a genre with specific requirements, so is that a word that still fits your work and are readers still searching for it? To find out what words are being used, type some you think fit your work into Google and Amazon and see what auto-complete suggests. To find out the number of times those words are used, you can use an app like Publisher Rocket. You’ll have to test a number of synonyms to find what works for your book, but both Smashwords and Draft2Digital make it easy to change them. 

Going wide is a challenge, but one I think gives new life to my leprechauns. After all, their legend has been around for 5,000 years. They’re not about to let me slack off now!

About Feeling Lucky:

Megan O'Malley was mortified when she got drunk and pinched the bandleader's ass at a cousin's wedding. But she was astonished when he turned out to be a leprechaun! Seems they're not the little, green men of fairytales after all. They just say that because they like a good joke and what better way to hide the gold? Oh, that bit's true - as is the part about not sharing. 

Fergus O’Reilly cannot figure out what he did to upset the Queen of the Fairies. He was playing a wedding when a drunken lady pinched his ass and the Queen declared him caught. Now he’s broke, homeless, and hustling to stop the lovely lady with the wandering fingers from spending his money! 
A madcap fantasy of money and magic and making the most of your dreams in a perfectly ordinary, Midwestern town where the legends of fairytales and folklore live right next door!

Available at your favorite online retailer -

About the Author:

Kathy Bryson is the award-winning author of tongue-in-cheek fantasy that ranges from leprechauns who play the stock market to zombies who hang out with and harangue med students. She’d like to say she’s climbed tall mountains, rappelled off cliffs, and saved small children, but actually she tends to curl up and read, is a life-long advocate of Ben & Jerry’s, and caters to 2 spoiled cats. She works regularly with student writing, so she can claim to have saved a few term papers. Follow her at:

Facebook - kathy.bryson.77
Twitter - kathybryson2