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

Something tasty

I have fun with cooking all kinds of things. One thing I like to do is to find an interesting recipe in a cookbook or magazine, and make it just as the recipe instructs. After it is made I start tasting the completed dish which leads to tweaking and adjusting until I have made a whole new recipe.

A recipe that is my own.

This process works because I have learned how to use various ingredients, and how different things affect the taste or texture of a particular food. What is wonderful, after I have made the dish my own, are the favorable responses by others to the foods I make. I think all cooks, chefs, and bakers enjoy seeing people relish a tasty treat they’ve made.

The most recent fun items I’ve come up with is a creamy homemade ice cream base recipe which is easy to flavor, and chewy cream cheese cocoa cookies.

I have also begun to write out these recipe and collect them in a computer file. You will find entrees, yummy drinks, desserts and breads. I hope one day to put them in a book to share. I don’t expect to be the next Ina Garten or Pioneer Woman, but these recipes have been enjoyed by family and friends.

A helpful part of my cooking is the wonderful shelf hubby built in the kitchen to hold pans, pots, and other things. It is made from a chrome shelf unit he had and he made the top of it from an old door. It is easy to see what I need, and there are outlets on the wall which is great for things that sit on top.

There are a few changes I want to make to my kitchen, especially the cabinets, but for right now everything is pretty much easy to grab and use.

Perfect, right?

Cheers!

-N

Distractions

This past week has been full of situations, humans, responsibilities, any thing that can distract me from putting words to work and has kept me sidelined. There were things I enjoyed doing like making the costume for my daughter-in-law, but there were also circumstances that were stress filled emotional things and they were unavoidable.

I was fighting to find my joy.

When I look at the pictures on my phone, tablet, and laptop of Charlie then my joy surfaces. Working with my hubby on a cool home improvement project is rewarding, and I look forward to seeing it soon completed. Then one of those distractions worms its way into my smile.

Rather than sitting down uninterrupted and writing 2000+ words, I stop quickly, bang out 200, then have to pull away. Argh!

I’m fighting the urge to run away and hide. This is my usual response to unpleasant distractions. Anyone want to pay for a week in Tuscany for me? Passport is ready.

On top of all of this it is really starting to heat up here in Southern Arizona. It’s been threatening for a month, now it is unavoidable. This does not help my state of mind because I don’t do hot. If it’s going to be this damn hot there should be an ocean nearby.

Ya know what I’m sayin’?

I wonder how Tinkerbell deals with times like this? Pixie dust! I need me some pixie dust! Personally I like the blue stuff.

 

Historical tidbit: Did you know there is not one photo or likeness ever made of Cochise?

Good for him.

 

Cheers!

-N

 

 

A new cast member

I am so proud to announce that I am officially a grandmother! My daughter has been in the foster to adopt process for this last year, and last week the process was finalized and Melissa became the legal mother to my adorable grandson Charlie Vaughn.

The experience was amazing, I shed a few tears. Judge Soto was wonderful and shared the joy of the occasion with us. He has stuffed animals in his court room to give to the children. Once everything was completed he welcomed us up to take photos. Charlie did very well through out the whole thing.

In fact, when the judge asked Melissa to raise her right hand to swear in Charlie was on board with that as you can see in the pic below.

It was so wonderful because several people who are part of the village that participate in his life in California were there to support my daughter. This made me so proud of her, that she is the kind of person who elicits this response of loyalty in her friends.

Living in a different state I am glad to know she has a network of good humans nearby. As a teacher, she also works with a good group of people who understand when she has to be gone to do the “mom” thing with a sick child.

Here’s another cute pic showing the love between them.

From the first she felt an attachment to Charlie as newborn foster child. Her landlord fosters infants so Melissa was used to babies being around. But this little man was different and her heart got involved.

I met him when he was two months old and fell in love. God meant him for us.

Our joy is shared by our extended family as well. They were all so excited for Melissa and Charlie, ready to graft him permanently into the family tree. My son Aaron and daughter-in-law Chelsea are ready to spoil their new nephew. Of course no spoiling from me, haha!

I am Nannie and Chuck is Poppa.

We are family!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

Books, life, and high school

I’m sitting here with three chapters written, ten chapters plotted, and at least half of the story laid out on paper. This feels good.

Also on my plate, is the design and construction of a cosplay costume for my daughter-in-law. So the creative muse is very busy.

My own personal deadlines for each project are good for me. I need these and work well in this situation. I always have. I am good at spreading a project out, making timelines, seeing what needs to happen next, and looking forward to the thrill of completion.

Time works when I have plenty to do. That saying “if you want something done, give it to a busy person,” well that is me. When I am busy, I am very productive.

Recently I have connected with some people from my high school years. I went to two different high schools, changing between sophomore and junior years. Sunnyside was a big school where I, as a new kid, could fade into the background and find my niche. The second school, Flowing Wells, was a smaller school where it seemed everyone had grown up together and had long histories, and the new kid was on probation. These classmates from Flowing Wells are the ones I am meeting. I express it this way because I never knew these folks when I was in school. I really didn’t know many of the students at all.  Getting to know them and hearing their stories has helped with some bitterness I had about the school. They are very nice people and I hope to have more chances to get together.

At both schools I was involved in drama and music. I was fortunate enough to have some wonderful instructors and my enthusiasm for these subjects helped ease me through the troublesome high school times. I’ve used my high school experiences as fodder for my writing. In fact my short story “The Green Bag” has a few scenes colored from personal experiences at Flowing Wells, and drawn into the fiction of the story.

I think this is why I love to tell stories. My grandmother, my beautiful Nannie, was a story teller. In a scene from The Walton’s the grandmother tells John Boy that her people would gather in the evenings and tell all kinds of stories and she intended to pass these stories on to him. Nannie did this with her children and grandchildren, with the result that we all have our “Nannie” stories.

My cousin Niki and I have written down one of our most favorite about a family of bears, and I hope one day that it will be published. It would be a wonderful tribute to Nannie, and a wonderful opportunity for other children to hear the story that captivated us.

Books. I have over a thousand in my personal library. It is something I hope to hand over to my children as a heritage. Writing, story telling, books-they are part of me. But the best part is sharing them with an eager reader. Don’t you agree?

Cheers!

-N

The new book

Story construction, especially the part where the characters are created, fleshed out, and developed into someone who draws emotion from you, is where I am in my current work.

My historical romance stories are equal parts romance and history. I need to make sure my people and places are fit together in a way that is consistent for the time period. The culture and the morals of the time are critical to the realism of the story. The history research plays into that part of the story. The romance part, the sexy part I build into the relationships in a way that is as compelling to me as I hope it is to the reader.

One part of the history I write has action in it. I love writing the action, with the help of my hubby. He is great help in developing these parts, especially from the mans perspective. The current story is set in 1869, has post civil war US Army and Chiricahua Apaches in it. The research has been so exciting, and fun. The discoveries I’ve made and the knowledge I’ve garnered is compelling.

I have to tell this story!

This romance is one I hinted at in the previous book. It’s funny how as a writer you find out what the character wants to say, feel, and do. They exist in my mind, but once they are on paper they become more than the words. I know what they sound like, how they walk, the way they caress the person they desire, and the emotions in their relationships.
I did discover a new character who stepped onto the story stage and will really mix things up. I’m excited to see how this all teases out.

So now it’s time to put it together.

Cheers!
-N

Click on the link below to buy the first book in the trilogy.

Bonus Child!

So perfectly said.
-N

grammyjoy

Bonus Child 2I am a stepmom and a stepgrandma.  I’ve been a stepmom for almost 28 years.  I’ve been through the good and the bad.  I know a little about this subject.

The new phrase is “Bonus Child.”  I like it.  It fits, but only if you want it to.  You see, the dynamic of a blended family can be either miserable or rewarding.  It takes work.  I made mistakes with my stepdaughters over the years and trust me, you don’t want to live with that guilt.

What I have found are some of the keys to step-parenting:  know your place – I’m not their mother, I am their father’s wife; and also, encourage your significant other’s relationship with their children.  I give to him, what I expect back.  My children and grandkids come first.  After all, they actually came first.  Doesn’t it make sense that I would have greater respect for…

View original post 110 more words

DVR this

For the most part my hubby and I really don’t watch the same programming.

I  am not a fan of the NCIS, CIS programs. My attitude pretty much is watch the beginning and then come back in the last 10 minutes and find out who did it. He also likes hunting and fishing programs-no thanks.

I dig paranormal shows, ghost hunting programs, science documentaries, extreme weather programs, the Big Foot dudes.

However, we have found some programs we like to watch together. The DVR is busy with them.

The Magicians, Rosewood, and The Expanse.

The commonality in all of these is an intricate, convoluted, and character driven stories. We watch them, we talk about what happened, what is next, what make the plot move. I am always tuned up and tuned into my creative brain after watching these programs.

The stimulus of the story gives me a push in my own creativity. I’m good with that.

Cheers!

-N

 

The past showed up

Today was a day of story telling. It was fun, interesting, enlightening, and gave me lots of things to think about.

I had lunch today with a new and old friend. It was cool to make an acquaintance with someone I went to high school with. We moved in very different circles, so we were not really friends, but there were some commonalities. Now in the fullness of life we connected on many levels.

Her name is Loree and I look forward to knowing her better. She has had a very interesting life, and her passions have part of that history thing I love, and a love for books. We shared the things that consume us, for me writing and for her Titanic.

One thing we share is we both have widowed mothers. We had lots of similarities in our maternal relationships and we are both from families of all girls. We were talking about the lifestyles of elderly folks and while we were talking our very fun waitress, Amanda, shared that she had observed many loving couples of that certain age who, to her surprise, were not married and had no intention of marrying. Many of them would lose benefits should they remarry. Loree and I both shared that our mothers felt the same.

Here is a pic of Amanda who works at Chili’s on Oracle in Oro Valley. Shout out to Amanda! She does a great job.

So my walk down memory lane was also one that made me realize I have forgotten a lot of people. Kind of strange experience. Loree has kept track of so many of our classmates and it was so interesting to hear what had gone on while I moved on.

So, to catching up and carrying on. Let’s see what happens.

Cheers!

-N

 

Research is fun

I’ve mentioned previously I have started plotting my next book. As a historical romance, the emphasis for me initially is on the historical part of the story I am telling. So this means I get to do historical research.

Yum!

As a history geek, I love this part of writing these books. It is important to me the scenes are accurate in speech, dress, actions, and setting. The way these people in 1869 interact within the parameters of the time period are very different from now. My goal as a writer is to walk the reader into the comfort of existing in this place with these characters.

Currently I am in a logistical difficulty. 100_6614Most of my library of approximately 2000 books is boxed up and in storage while the shelves are relocated, set-up, and painted. This means much of my historical resources are not accessible. Bummer. I’m ready to get them out, sorted, and organized.

 

When I say I have resources, I mean I have enough material my son could write a 10 page paper for his history class requiring one source for each page, and only one online source, and I had all of it!100_6612

I love my books.
100_6613

I do read a lot of eBooks,
but I also collect hardback copies of my favorite writers. Hubby does too (can you say Clive Cussler.) I prefer hardback if possible in the books I add to my collection.
I also am a book sale fan. And I love the smell of old books.

My library is a legacy I will leave to my kids. My daughter is a teacher after all.

The research I’m doing is about Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory and this is a location I have100_7059 actually visited.

It is truly amazing to walk the area my character will walk. To look at the surrounding hills and mountains, and see the colors of the vegetation will give the words authenticity.100_7062 I want it to be real for the reader and this is part of it.

So, let’s see what my hero experiences so far from home. Will he be the same person when he returns from the southwest?

Cheers!

-N