A Season of Learning

I am in a season of learning.

My desire right now is to discover learning opportunities. Webinars, podcasts, you tube videos, ebooks, wherever I spot something I want to know more about I am jumping on it. As I was starting this blog I had at least six tabs open on my laptop with various searches, emails, and a PowerPoint presentation on script reading ready for my perusal. I had my cell phone next to me and a notepad with a mechanical pencil at the ready.

In my home growing up there wasn’t any emphasis on learning. School wasn’t made any kind of priority. I can’t even remember my parents asking if I had homework or making me sit down and do my homework. It seemed if I liked what I was doing that was good enough for them. There were no parent/teacher meetings about my progress, no issue made of my grades, and if my folks wanted to take off for a trip to Texas they thought nothing of taking us out of school to go, and no worry about textbooks or concern about missed assignments while we was gone.

My middle sister had what we know now as a learning disability-ADHD and probably dyslexia. School was a nightmare for her, she was held back in first grade as much for her behavior as her lack of understanding. She had no idea how to be a student. My youngest sister and I were pretty good in school from nothing more than being natural learners. I do wish my parents had put greater emphasis on our school work. It might have been because we were military brats who moved every three years including overseas until my father retired, but I knew of other kids like me who achieved success in school.

Why didn’t they notice I loved writing stories and plays and encourage my talent? Why didn’t they find someone to help me with math when they saw I struggled?

My husband’s experiences were the opposite of mine and fortunately this motivated us to promote the importance of learning and school to our kids. They both went on to college and university.

So now, after years of wishing I had attended college, I am drawn to all sorts of learning. My love for history has directed much of my writing-it’s a joy to do historical research for my stories. I adore books. Geology and meteorology fascinate me and I can have meaningful discussions on these topics. My curiosity is strong and my desire to know more has given me the drive to seek out opportunities. I love challenging my brain, and hope this season is a long one.

Cheers!

-N

 

Advertisements

Is it a romance novel?

Well…I guess it has romance.

It’s a question I get when I’m asked about two of my books. How do I explain it is a genre mix? My books have good, well researched history of dress, speech, locale, conveyance, and real historical figures merged appropriately into the setting of my books. That is of huge importance to me as a HistNerd.

Yep, made that one up!

That being said, I do incorporate the human side. Family, love, struggle, conflict, all the parts of who humans become as we live. Yeah, there is sex. However it is not erotica by any stretch. I don’t do gratuitous in any media I access. But my stories are sexy. I love sexy people; what they think, how they move, how they speak, the way they touch. Sexy is fun. However these two stories are set in a time when there was no deodorant, shampoo, washing machines, toothpaste, and tampons. Women had body hair, men had even more. You get me right?

I don’t avoid these things in my historical writing. It’s how it was.

The settings are fleshed out to give the reader easy access to the time period. With language it is important to be precise in order to drive the reader into the feel of a relationship. I do describe dress both male and female, as well as room decor to pull out who the people in the story are and what their lives are like. Are they rich? Do they have servants and how many servants would this person have in their lifestyle of the time period? Do they struggle to feed their children? Do they have to work and what would that work look like. It is a disservice to readers to give 2018 attitudes to women and men of the 1880’s.

Likewise forcing the language of the 21st century on 19th century characters diminishes the powerful effect of the communication of people of that time. They wrote letters, they kept journals, and they read newspapers, all part of human interaction and understanding. I love it!

So when you read about two proud individuals who are forced into a farce of a marriage, they still adhere to the standards of the day. When you read of a woman who is used by a man to gain favors and blackmail, she is a victim, but in the time there would be no rescue for her.

I am a mixed genre author and reader.

Cheers!

-N

Boosting that post!

Book lovers are so cool!

On my Facebook author page I posted a piece, with photo, about my huge bookshelf hubby built for me, and mentioned I am soon needing another one for a different wall. Then I boosted it to my standard audience.

Well…the response has been amazing to say the least.

As of now over 4500 people have seen it, over 400 reacted, with dozens of comments and shares. I feel like I got a big ole hug from an international audience. Fantastic feeling!

There are plenty of book lovers out there who appreciate my collection and the room my hubby has set up for me. It has comfy seating, plants in front of the window, a shelf of memorabilia of my beloved late father, and displayed photos of my precious children, my grandson, and other family members. Its a cool space.

It was a thrill to hear from others about collections of books and how they love their books. One fun thing were the readers who noticed Cleo sitting on the love seat in the photo. I even had a women in the UK who offered me some books from 3000 her parents left her! How cool is that?!

With the increase in digital book purchases (I admit I am one of those, too) I feel the real thing is getting left behind unless true book lovers and collectors like myself make sure to keep a library. The joy I feel when I look at my books, re-read a favorite author, share a special part from one of them with someone, or open my glass cabinet with my very old tomes and sniff the air inside, is immeasurable and gives me comfort. Those books have inspired me, they’ve provided character names and locales for a story. They have provided necessary historical data so my stories are accurate no matter who would peruse them.

I love to share the special finds I’ve made at used book sales or used book stores (I love how those places smell!) because you never know what might have been left inside a favored copy of essays or poems. I once found a clipping of review of the book I bought written in the 1930’s, and I found a photo from the end of war in the Pacific in a used World War II historical atlas.

Take a moment and look at the post. I would love to know your impressions my fine followers!

Cheers!

-N

https://www.facebook.com/NancyTurnerVaughn

Stalemate

Ok, this is driving me nuts! I am stalled on research for my historical fiction. I have looked everywhere online and in my vast collection of reference material in my personal library, but I cannot find any data that gives updated stage stop locations for the Butterfield Overland Mail for 1869. Everything I have or can locate is 1858 to 1861.

I discovered this issue when I started writing a travel scene I had beautifully sculpted, and fleshed out in perfect detail. However, after doing a last minute fact check on location details for one of the stops, Ft. Belknap, TX, I found the fort was abandoned by 1862. It could not have been part of my character’s destination.

Or could it?

Even if the fort was abandoned did they still use the area for stage stop, or did they transfer the stop the the nearest town, Graham, TX? I can’t find out.

So, now the research will become wider, and will probably require phone calls or emails to people who might know. But this is the fun stuff. I need an expert on the Overland Stage in 1869 in Texas.

My husband defines expert as “X is an unknown and a spurt is a drip under pressure” anyone know one of those?

Cheers!

-N

Time for a website-I think

Been doing lots of research into the best way to present myself online and it seems clear I am ready for a website. Cool huh? It’s about time to stop relying on Facebook so much (I’m pretty much over FB anyway.)  My Twitter page is building nicely, and I know if I continue with Facebook it will be my author page only, which I have linked to my other social media.

Here’s my dilemma: I know nothing about setting up a website to give book updates, give readers a place to shop, and getting a mailing list going. How do I get my domain name, what is a reasonable price, and should I hire someone to do this or is it a matter of reading “Setting Up A Website For Dummies” book?

Oh jeez!

I would love to hear how others made it happen successfully. There are so many options that come up in a Google search, but personal experience seems to be easiest for me to find the best workable tips that I can adapt.

So all you writers/authors out there with successful websites I covet your input.

Cheers!

-N

 

Working with words

The Netflix is on, the red wine is poured, I’ve sorted through stacks of research and plotting, and the words in my mind feel powerful as I have these discussions with myself about the next scene. I prevaricate, interrogate, contradict, profane and sermonize to draw out the dialogue coming up. With my eyes closed I wander through rooms, ride on horses and in carriages, feel the wind blow and the rain fall. It is part of immersing myself in the past.

There will be fictional and non-fictional humans represented in the story. I love the idea of putting the “real to me” characters I have created into contact with real people in historically accurate settings and see what happens.

In my first book “Blame It On Whiskey” Amanda Peterson had a face to face with Geronimo. It required quite a bit of research into who he was and how he might react in an encounter with a white female. What would she do to gain his respect? In my second book “The Holder of My Flame” Jacob Severn meets with President Andrew Johnson and General Ulysses Grant when he is assigned a dangerous job for the government. Their interactions required knowledge of what are the priorities, desires, and motivations that drive powerful men.

For a time in this current book Jude Tremaine is in a place so alien, and contrasts so profoundly to his home he must find in himself the will to continue because this is his place in life, an officer in the US 1st Cavalry. He has left his Philadelphia home and is heading to Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory. He will face bigotry, violence, and his whole purpose wrenched from him. In all of this is a delicate, good woman who loves him and is patient.

Time to get back to work.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Here is an update on my historical story.

I wrote this on my Facebook Author page www.facebook.com/NancyTurnerVaughn/

One aspect of this page that I prefer over my personal page is the lack of political messages and posts. My current historical work touches on the political climate post civil war, when the west was opened up for migration from the east by people who were looking to settle the lands in the west. This presented the situation of conflict with the indigenous population and the people looking for a new life. It could have been done so much differently.

I was watching a program about the Norman conquest of the Saxons in the 11th century. The French speaking Normans found the people to be backward, and some parts savage. They forced language on the population, expected them to conform to the accepted religion, and essentially to become Normans. Within a few decades a transition began in the people and their rulers whereby the Saxon culture began to emerge from it’s oppression. The language, government, etc. melded with the established Norman regime and over centuries we have what is now the United Kingdom.

How could the USA have done this conquering better? My main characters finds he is at odds with the military attitude toward the indigenous people, and yet is brutally attacked by these same people because of what his uniform says about who he is. In my research, I found times where both sides retaliated first, rather than condescending to conversation. There were some like Cochise who were guardedly open to conversation with the invading forces, and Lt. Charles Gatewood who made earnest promises his government didn’t keep.

So here I go, delving into the past, to find the passion, courage, and healing for my character, Jude Tremaine in my story currently named “A Favor From A Lady.”

Cheers!

-N

Writing and Dogs vs Kitten

Good news on the writing front. I sat here in the living room, casting You Tube videos, with my tablet nearby, and the words just came rolling out. The scene I just finished set up an important relationship that will affect several of my characters and will drive the big drama between the main characters.

I looked back at some of the stuff I wrote a few days ago, being a bit more critical and immediately noticed necessary edits. But I’m not going to touch those until this first draft puppy is done. I know better than to mess with it like that when so much is yet to be written. I’m at 16k+ words right now.

I’ve been working on a design for our Galifrey One t-shirts. We are going to wear matching T’s on Friday. I think what I’ve come up with is pretty nice. Simple but gets the point across. I’m so ready to to be there. My kids live on opposite coasts which makes it hard to get together. I need to sell a bunch of books so I have the money to fly to Orlando more often. My daughter in LA is easier, just a eight hour drive from Tucson. Flights are also cheaper from Phoenix to LAX. Next month will be wonderful with all six of us together. I was telling my sister this a few days ago and almost started to cry.

We have some cold nights in the forecast this week so the dogs are spending the nights indoors. It’s 7:30 pm and 38 degrees. It’s been hilarious watching the dogs as they figure out the little furry boss in our family. Cleo runs the show, this teeny calico kitten running the two big German Shepherds around. She isn’t shy of them, and she will play, especially with Millie. We weren’t sure how they would all get on once they were introduced, but with patience they are coexisting.

Hope all of you are enjoying what ever is happening at your place.

Cheers!

-N

Yay Nick Foles and the Eagles!! 

A fun series

I have had so much fun reading a series by Angie Fox “The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries” I just finished number six and I have to say it is a very fun book. All of the books are funny, the characters are engaging, and the paranormal aspect won’t keep you up at night.

I just posted the following review on this latest book “Murder on the Sugarland Express” on Amazon and Good Reads.

This fun book brings together Verity and Ellis on a romantic escape on a faithfully restored vintage train. The usual suspects find themselves sharing the trip except for Lucy who is being pampered and spoiled at the skunk sitters. Frankie and Molly have their own ghostly adventure, Ellis’ brother and mother are also there, along with a myriad of interesting passengers. A ghost conductor and ghost detective help the living and the dead solve old and new murders. I have to admit this was one of my favorites so far. Ready for the next one!

You can find the whole series on Amazon or Barnes and Noble e-books.

Cheers!

-N

 

So freaking hot!

I’m sitting here inside my air conditioned home, drinking an iced coffee with Bailey’s thinking of why did anyone in their right mind stop and settle in Tucson or Phoenix? Okay, so Tucson does have beautiful mountains that get snow every winter and offers a cool respite from the damnable heat. A hundred years ago there were rivers that ran year round. But Phoenix?? The Salt River ran, but the hills are black volcanic rock.

Had to have been in winter.

June is hell in Southern Arizona. No rain, hardly a cloud, humans and animals hide inside, underground, in shade, wherever it is cooler. Folks who live where it gets very cold do the same thing during the winter – find warmth and shelter and hunker down.

There is a point in the day where nothing can cool me but to get wet. If I had a pool it would be ideal, but I don’t – so – I turn on the cold water in the shower and get drenched. It works, and I can make it through the day. In one of my books* I described the way evaporative cooling was done in this part of the state.  Fabric was soaked in water and draped over windows, the breeze would be cool as the fabric dried. June is perfect evaporative cooler month. They work great unless the temperature is too hot and the humidity is too low. In that case you will spend the day hosing off the cooler pads.

Years ago my son and I house-sat in Phoenix for my sister during the summer. It was my first experience at how ineffective a “swamp” cooler could be in the hot and dry Phoenix summer. My brother-in-law showed Aaron how to climb up the ladder holding the hose and wash down the cooler pads. Wet the pads worked great. Fortunately they had a pool so we spent hours in the water. It’s 120 degrees of dry heat!! That’s bull shite.

I hope one day to live in a home either at the ocean or on a lake, in a place that gets four seasons.

It is my dream, it is my fantasy.

Cheers!

-N

*https://www.amazon.com/Blame-Whiskey-Tombstone-Nancy-Vaughn-ebook/dp/B01CQ4S8R4