Computer coolness

Greetings all!

I am so stoked!

Hubby helped me set up a second monitor, an external one, for my laptop. Now I can have research pages open on the external monitor and my manuscript open on my laptop. Pretty snazzy let me tell ya.

Sometimes when working on descriptions of vehicles, weapons, or garments for an historical setting it is helpful to have open a visual of said item for reference as I use them in the story. This is going to be so fun.

At this moment I have my manuscript open on the laptop and I’m writing this blog post on the second display!! I’m feeling pretty tech savvy.

I had an idea of how to do it, but hubby and I working together found the place in the settings to set up multiple displays. I readily admit it would have taken me quite a bit longer, and lots of google searching, had I been on my own.

So here I sit, with both monitors up and working splendidly, and no need for an IT department. Hehe.

Cheers!

-N

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Fall, please fall on me.

I sit, sipping my third cup of coffee. Thinking about the order to my day and how I need to be productive. However what I really want to do is walk outside my door, sit in the shade of the massive oak, and dip my feet into the coolness of the creek. Please cool waters wash away my stress.

Yeah right.

There is no massive oak or cool creek outside my house or any house within miles of here to wash away the stress that has accumulated over the last year. My inappropriately green yard for the Sonoran Desert here in Catalina, Arizona struggles, as I do, to endure and survive the stress brought on by the intense hot temperature delivered by the searing rays of the sun.

People talk about the dry heat. Well that is in the month of June. July and August have humidity ranges of 47% up to 80% thanks to the monsoon flow. Yes, last month we had a day where the air temperature was 105 degrees with a humidity of 75%. Let’s talk about that dry heat.

So now it is September. The forecast is a high 90 and low 69 with a humidity 48% and dew point at 63 degrees. So far the forecast shows no more 100’s thank God.

I can still dream of the shade of that big oak and the cooling freshness of that creek. As a writer that’s what I do. right?

Cheers!

-N

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

 

Potty training as a writing distraction

Yes you read that correctly. Hubby and I spent the last weekend helping our daughter with potty training our three year old grandson. He needs to be trained for day care and preschool and it made me realize how similar housebreaking a puppy and potty training a toddler can be.

  • Puppy: regularly taking them outside to do their business, lots of praise, cleaning up accidents, watching for them taking the position prior to the deed.
  • Toddler: regularly taking them to the toilet, lot’s of praise, cleaning up accidents, watching for the pee/poop position signs.

Yeah it’s pretty similar.

Toddler couldn’t care less about the whole process and get bored, however the puppy wants to please the adored pet parents. So the biggest difference comes into play – convincing toddlers, by negotiation, this is a good thing for them. Easier said than done my friends.

It took us a few tries before the perfect negotiating tool revealed itself. He can only ride the school bus from day care to preschool if he goes potty in the toilet! This kid is crazy for buses. So…the task was on. He was spending the weekend with us while his mom, who is a teacher at a new school, was setting up her new classroom, running a bunch of errands, and having some peaceful nights sleep before the hectic school season starts.

Hubby and I have this-right? Charlie calls his grandfather Poppa and I am Nannie. He was having a good time with us and we started doing the potty breaks.

 “Charlie, let’s try to go pee in the potty.”

     “No.”

     “Let’s just try, remember you have to potty on the toilet to ride the bus.”

     Insert big sigh here and he goes with the person who initiated the topic.

Poppa and I tag teamed this, and the first day (Friday afternoon) there were some accidents, not unexpected. Then it became a watching game. We kept our eyes on him since he was wearing big boy underwear, not pull ups, so no leak barrier.

We didn’t let him carry a cup full of juice around all the time because we were watching the I/O on the little human. He had a busy day, and actually did the deed in the toilet. When he discovered Poppa stands up to pee, he refused to do it in the potty chair. He wanted to stand up-it’s what guys do.

He woke the next morning with a dry pull up, got up, got some breakfast, said he had to pee and proceeded to pee like a race horse. Damn we were proud. This kid might be a genius. He was having fun, playing with Hot Wheels, and I was talking to his mom. I looked into the kitchen when I spotted him crouched down, sort of hiding, and very still. This is not good. It took only a few steps toward him to smell it. Yeah one of those. At this age they poop like adults and it’s a gag fest.

As the day went on he was telling us the pee thing, and didn’t do another #2 (thank God,) and we felt he was getting it. He went to bed that night, awoke again with a dry pull up, same routine as Saturday morning. We went to church, he wore big boy undies, and got lots of reminders about telling Sunday School teacher if he needed to pee/poop. Got out of service and went to pick him up-no accidents, not issues-woohoo! Met his mom for the hand-off and she had a good afternoon with him.

Today same morning as the last two. Except he didn’t pee before going to day care (insert here he is in a class for fully potty trained three year olds) where he proceeded to have three accidents. Okay so we jumped the gun on this one. But this kid has the idea, it will happen. At this age the focus when having fun and playing is not there. Plus it was a new place and maybe he thought the only place he had to do the potty stuff was with Poppa and Nannie and mom.

So it was interesting, my hubby was a rock star, Charlie is going to figure it out, and his mom will be able to ditch the diaper bag.

The moral of this story-I didn’t do any writing, none.

Cheers!

-N

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

1 X 4 X 9

1 by 4 by 9, the dimensions of the monolith.

The first time I watched the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” it confused me. It didn’t help that it was a drive-in and I was stoned. After a clearheaded second viewing I still wasn’t sure on the point of the story behind the monolith.

By a stroke of luck I came across a copy of the book. My mind was blown. The beautifully artful piece of cinema was compelling, but it didn’t go through the details of the book enough to deliver the powerful punch the book landed.

Years later I was listening to the broadcast of our local public radio which, for a time, had narration of select books. The book I listened to was “2010: Odyssey Two” and it captivated me. After listening to it, I went out and found the book for my library. I read it several more times, before I heard it was being made into a movie. Interesting.

As with 2001, the film version of 2010 was a bit different from the book, some parts left out, but for the most part the storyline it delivered was enough information to uncover everything. I was curious how two aspects would be presented on film-the discoveries on Europa and the supernova of Jupiter. The first had the suspense of the book, but for the second the book description dealt the shock and intensity more fully than the film.

Still…these two books and movies are repeat go to’s for me.

I also completed my hardback “Odyssey” collection of four books in my library.

It always improves the experience, I feel, to absorb the book before, during, or after enjoying the film version.

Cheers!

-N

I’m still here

Hello all,

The past two weeks have been busy. Almost too busy, but I’m still here.

Busy, and unfortunately no writing. I’ve been squeezing in a bit of research reading and writing a few notes but not actual creative stretches of time. It’s distressing and disturbing to the writer in me. Instead I’ve been in the middle of cleaning, cooking, going to hospital and appointments with doctors for mom who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Adjustments are being made to the lifestyle of hubby and I since she lives with us.

However, welcoming my daughter and grandson for a visit this weekend has been a joy. He is a three year old who can keep all of the adults on their toes. But he is so fun.

So tonight I plan to sit down alone in my room, after I am “off duty” taking care of mom, and will try to plot the last several chapters of my current book. No stopping until I make some progress. I expect more doctor/hospital visits this coming week.

So that’s it for now.

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