Remembrance

A couple of weeks ago the oldest daughter of long time friends passed away from an aggressive form of adrenal cancer. The speed this disease took her down stunned all of us who knew her. From the day she told us of this diagnosis to the day she passed was months. This sweet woman is gone from here. Her two daughters will never know her touch except in memories and dreams. Her partner will face days of loss and pain as she goes day by day in the normal living of everyday life without the love of her life. How do we remember Shelley?

My young friend touched the lives of many people who needed housing they could afford. Shelley was the person who made the magic happen for these humans in San Antonio. Her fruitful and memorable life was honored by a video of memories from all the lives she touched, and was shown at a celebration of her life. Her loved ones shared photos and videos, stories were shared along with tears, laughter, and love.

I can only hope others will have memory treasures of me to comfort them.

This Saturday my little great nephew will be celebrating one full year of life. This is a big deal for every human. I’m sure all of us have been to those “birthday” parties for a one year old. They are usually parties for the adults since a one year old has no clue what is up. The birthday kid gets a ton of gifts they can’t even open, and have no idea who they are from. The pictures will tell the story to this kid when they are in high school and the parents want to embarrass them. Is this the best way to honor this milestone in age?

Rather than the typical adult get together disguised as a birthday party, there will be a chance for all of the family and friends to bring letters and other things to put in a time capsule, to be given to him on his 18th birthday. An ideal way to celebrate his first year of life by looking forward.

It’s been a thoughtful time for me as I composed my letter for Bodie. Hubby and I decided to write our own letters to him. Writing a letter to an eighteen year old in the future is an interesting project. What do we want him to know? What advice do we give? Who will he be at that age? My letter was two full pages, and Chuck’s was half a page. Both letters were written from the heart and in our own voices. I am curious what he will think when he reads them. Will we be around?

Remembering is hard when it is because of the loss of a loved one. It is hard when it is from a place of pain in the past. Remembering a future that hasn’t happened yet is one of hope and curiosity.

Memories are the video of the mind.

Cheers!

-N

 

Being on track

There are so many things requiring my focus this summer, and I have to prioritize now more than ever. At the end of this month my mother will be moving into our house and a whole new set of issues will come with that. We have some changes to the house in order to accommodate her walker. She can’t do stairs without assistance so a ramp is required for access. Also an exterior door for her is being installed. Chuck is taking care of these changes, and he is doing a good job.

I have two stories in the works, and researching developing an author web site. My daughter and grandson will be here in a few weeks, there is a big birthday party in Phoenix for my great nephew at the same time, providing a chance to visit with family.

Monsoon storms are about ready to bust out which will be great for the fires in the mountains. We can smell the smoke in the air. The wildfire crews have been staging their helicopter water drops from Catalina, so we have been watchng them flying in and out.

I have a quilt to start and shirt to finish, some mending to do, and five bags of clothing donations to catalogue.

I hope to start going back to the gym in the fall, maybe make one more trip to California before school starts, and try to be as productive as possible in my writing.

I’ll be good as long as the wine holds out!

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

 

 

Mom’s Super Bowl experience

My mother has been a football fan for as long as I can remember, and she has been a Dallas Cowboys fan from the beginning of the franchise.  Because she was employed by the University of Arizona in the athletics department, she was given the opportunity to work a Super Bowl being held in Phoenix. I found this narrative she wrote of her experience and wanted to share it with you fine followers. I’ve left it just as she wrote it.

My Super Bowl Experience

By Norma Turner

January 26, 1998 Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe AZ

Dallas Cowboys vs Pittsburgh Steelers

 

At 6am we lined up to get our jackets. By 8:30 am we were at the NFL Experience and given our assignments. I was at the flag football field where the former NFL stars played a flag football game. Since it wasn’t being used after that I was soon moved and told to relieve different workers. I did that until 3:30pm. During that time I saw Peter Maxx and helped with security in his gallery. I was given a Peter Maxx Super Bowl pin. While performing the relief duty I observed Robert Shapiro and his family in attendance.

 

The Experience closed at 4pm and after clearing the perimeter of people we went to the Sony tent. They had set up a large wall size television where the game was broadcast. Just as the second quarter started we went across the street to the stadium to help with the half time. My team erected barricades to keep half time participants from intruding into the area where the Dallas Cowboys were to exit the field for their locker room. The entire team exited through our area and were within 1 to 1 ½ feet of us. Deion Sanders was the first Cowboy to exit. The team was very intense. The look from their eyes was like a woman in the last stage of delivery-ferocious. The exception was Emmett Smith who was very loose and excited. When my co-worker and I saw Barry Switzer we said “hi coach” and he smiled and nodded. When the team was secure we opened the area for the halftime participants to enter.

 

Diana Ross was the half time performer.

 

The reverse was done two minutes before the half time was over. After we let the entertainers and firetrucks out after the halftime activities the special teams coach was the first out and led the team who were just as intense as before. Spoke to Jay Novacek, Bill Bates, and Emmitt Smith. Barry Switzer acknowledged us again. I was very impressed with the condition of the jerseys of the linemen. Torn, greasy, grass stained, bloody, and obviously resewn before they returned to the field. While we were doing this we observed Joe Montana and Ahmad Rashad at the NBC trailer. They were friendly and spoke to some of our people. We went into the media tent to watch the game until just before the 4th quarter. At that time we went through the entrance tunnel where a crew put up barricades around a platform on which the trophy presentation was to occur. I was put on a crew to close and secure the end zone to only players. We were on the 15 yard line.

 

Dallas won 27-17.

 

After the trophy was awarded to Jerry Jones and Barry Switzer the team came through our lines on either side of me. A TV interviewer asked Bill Bates for an interview. He stood between me and the woman to my left and we watched his interview up close. Bill Bates was a real gentleman.

 

We went to the media tent again where players from both teams were being interviewed, and were assigned to stand beside them to make sure they weren’t bothered. I drew Cowboys Nate Newton, Scott Case, and Steeler Darren Perry.

 

When I left Scott Case I went to watch Cowboys Troy Aikman, Charles Haley, and Steelers Coach Cowhers be interviewed. Nice men all. The Cowboys players were praising Coach Switzer’s courage and patience. I left the tent to find my co-workers. It was at this time I saw Emmitt Smith, Mark Tunei, Larry Brown, and Leon Lett again. We also saw Jerry Jones and family ride off in a van escorted by four motorcycle police. After the Jones entourage left we went back on the busses for the CSC tent and our vehicles at 10:30pm.

 

During the day I wondered where my son-in-law, Chuck Vaughn, was because I never saw him all day. I thought he might have been stuck at the NFL Experience while we were in the stadium. Was I wrong! Early in the day he was taken to a party of big wigs. He was assigned to security for Cool and the Gang. Then he was assigned to the loge area with Dan Marino, Warren Moon, and James Belushi and families. He watched the game from the boxes there!

 

 

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.

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

 

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

Tumbling Dice

Mick Jagger and Linda Ronstadt both did great versions of this rocking song.

…This low down bitchin’ got my poor feet a itchin’,
Don’t you know you know the duece is still wild.
Baby, I can’t stay, you got to roll me
And call me the tumblin’ dice.
Always in a hurry, I never stop to worry,
Don’t you see the time flashin’ by.
Honey, got no money,
I’m all sixes and sevens and nines.
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider,
You can be my partner in crime.
But baby, I can’t stay,
You got to roll me and call me the tumblin’ dice

These lyrics have been running through my mind the last couple of days. That feeling of running, hiding my head in the sand, looking for a jolly holiday yet I can’t afford one. Most humans need and want stability. You know-this is me, this is who I am and where I am.

No, I don’t go there.

Climbing out of a barrel, digging out of a hole, pulling oneself up off the floor.

Hubby and I have to regroup and retrench. The man is my security. We made a big change this weekend. It was a hard one for me personally, but the necessity was absolute. It also hearkened back to a place and situation in my life where I lost control of my circumstances and was in an unavoidable emotional spiral. As these feelings surged through me I found myself sharing with Chuck a time in my life no one on this blue planet knew of except my father. I had buried the pain and shame of it deeply.

Now here I was, doing what was best, even though I felt totally responsible for the negative situation we found ourselves in and the old baggage floated to the surface. I controlled myself for the most part, giving in to the tears that fought painfully in my throat for release, and adulting my way through it.

I am better now, but this taught me a further lesson. The past is never truly buried. It can reach up and grab me, like the hand in the grave from the movie “Carrie” and scare the shit out of me, again.

Yep, the rank outsider; running and ducking, weaving and bobbing, headed for the Emerald City y’all.

Cheers!

-N

Using social media

Aside from spreading the word about my writing, I am using forms of social media more as an outreach and to market myself and my work. This blog is a favorite form of connection. I also have a Facebook author page, Amazon author page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Discus, and Instagram accounts.

I am curious about other bloggers and writers use of social media, and what success people have had with a personal web page. How have others been effective in marketing? What options and venues have been most productive?

I can’t really afford to pay a professional web designer. Has anyone found a good tutorial I can get about doing the process myself? I get tweets about promoting my book or getting followers for a fee and I wondered if anyone has experience with this?

There have been good results for me using Facebook boost for posts about new work or special deals I’ve run with Amazon KDP, and the cost is manageable for me. I’ve linked the author page to this blog and my Twitter so the word gets out.

So I just keep plugging away writing and blogging, having fun with all the new followers, and hearing what’s happening in the world of words.

Cheers!

-N