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

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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

 

 

Media for creativity

I have music on my old fashioned stereo which will play the radio, CD’s and believe it or not cassettes tapes, and there are iTunes on my laptop. I don’t have iTunes on my phone because it is an android-yuck. You see I have to have music, especially to be creative. Another thing I do when I am sewing is to chromecast from my laptop to a TV in my work room. I can watch a netflix movie and know how much time I’ve spent on a project, or turn it to YouTube and autoplay one of the channels I follow.

I’ve always had a soundtrack for my life. Inspiration, motivation, interpretation, recall, prompting, all of those words I get from the sound of music I love, or stories I like to watch. It colors the thought process, and the feeling of my creative surroundings.

Today the wind is blowing, the air is cool, the sky changes from clear blue with wispy clouds to a spreading overcast that changes the color of the mountains. It is a classical music day. Hayden I think, maybe Debussy later. I am glad for the solitary time I have at this moment to do some important research for my historical work. I’m looking for books or text written during 1868-1870 to get a feel for language and customs that dominated interpersonal relationships. How would a single young woman write to a young man she has know for her life, but now the relationship is starting to evolve?

I welcome suggestions as I sip my wine.

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

Fighting back

Hubby and I have been working hard at staying healthy. I’ve not always been than way. Up until I turned 35 I had the metabolism of a hummingbird. Big mac, fries, milk shake, and regular coke at midnight – no problem, no weight gain. I didn’t break 100lbs until I was three months pregnant with my first child. Gaining weight was actually a goal for me.

Not any more.

Hubby has been studying natural ways to become healthy, get off prescriptions, lower blood pressure, and boost metabolism.  I’ve been careful of what I eat, exercise every night, and generally being a good girl and feeling pretty good. Lost a few lbs too.

I did see a bit of good news that red wine will supply anti-oxidants, support vascular health, and fight off the flu. I’m totally on that health kick!

Today was a typical warm winter day in southern Arizona, so hubby and I got outside to do some “spring” clean up. Yeah I know it’s February. I had some plants to clear out of some crowded pots and re-pot, weekly watering of some landscaping plants, and so on. I was about half way through and was hauling a tall plastic tub we keep garden soil in from the back yard to the front porch. It is pretty heavy but has wheels so I got on it. I had been sweating (good thing) and my heart rate was up a bit (good thing) when I began to feel a little dizzy.

Ok, I told myself, slow down, get some water and push through this.

I came inside for a water bottle, had a stressful “discussion” with my mother relating to her dementia world, then went back outside. After three shovel fulls of soil I became nauseous. So I pulled off my hat, sat on the front steps-they are brick and cool in the shade, when I got slammed with all of it, the whole shebang. Dizzy, nausea, pounding heart, you name it I felt it. I went inside and sat in a recliner and it took at least thirty minutes for things to settle down, and then…I got the migraine shimmer! Are you kidding me?!?!?

I slammed two advil, a bottle of water, lay down on the bed, and waited it out. About a half an hour later, hubby came in, closed the blinds, gave me another two advil, and ran interference with my mother, God bless him.

The shimmer left, the pain never got full blown, I got a shower, and now it’s just the pressure that lingers afterwards.

Cheers!

-N

NFL goes out with a bang-for me

Yesterday was the “Big Game” for the NFL. I have to admit, as a football fan, the NFL has been a troubled platform for lots of fans and players. As a military kid, dad was Air Force, I have a strong patriotic heart. It’s true I was disheartened at the continued disrespect I saw, but this was not just in the NFL-it was everywhere.

It made me harken back to that time when we were on our way back to the US from the Philippines after my dad spent most of that tour in Phan Rhang, VietNam. We were told not to mention our dad serving in VN, and it was best not to mention our father was military. He was told not to wear his uniform on once he reached the shores US because of the strong and sometimes violent anti-military sentiment at that time.

1969 it was.

When I saw the protests of the players kneeling, the flag burning, and the things said about our military forces, it was Déjà vu. I felt my late father was being disrespected-again. His career in the Navy during World War II, and in the Air Force for Korea and Vietnam seemed to have no value or meaning to many of these humans who weren’t even around at that time.

So, yesterday I got a a bit of mine back.

I live outside of Tucson AZ, home of the University of Arizona Wildcats. My in-laws, my husband, and my daughter are all UA alum. I’ve worked there, and hubby currently works there.

If anyone was watching, the Wildcats had four ex-players in the game. Two for each team. It was splendid for me and for my dad’s memory. You see, for at least eight years my father volunteered his time to the UA football team for Coaches Larry Smith and Dick Tomey, as a time keeper for football practice, on the sidelines holding headset cables (before wireless,) and helping out with anything coaches, players, and trainers needed.

My dad loved Arizona Football. 

To see Nick Foles, Coach Dave Fipp, Rob Gronkowski, and Marquis Flowers playing in the Super Bowl would have brought my dad incredible joy. He would have been happy no matter who won, but I’m kinda thinking he would have liked Nick getting a Super Bowl ring, since Rob already had two. But just knowing some of his boys were playing, well lets just say there was cheering in heaven!

Everyone has their own opinion about the topic of what the flag means and why they protest. That is their right. But this is mine. I love my flag just like I love my country. I know history shows there was very bad and wonderfully good events. This is the point of keeping history, to be aware and make sure those mistakes are never made again.

Cheers!

-N

 

Hubby and computer

Watching Chuck try to use the computer is something no one should miss. The man is smart – engineer brain – but using the computer seems to shut off logical thought. He will get crazy trying to find things, “I am in there, it is not showing up!” Then I go over, point and say “login, click there.” He will grumble “how do you do that?” or “how do you know that?” I don’t respond. Not a good idea.

I think I have finally broken him of the habit of making passwords that relate to the site he is in, (that he can never remember) rather that the very secure ones we use. There are about four or five of them that we change configurations on them regularly.

This is a man who can take something apart and put it back together without leaving any pieces. He can figure out how to repair a furnace, listen to a boiler and know what’s wrong, he can fix electronics, an all purpose guy. But he goes nuts trying to find the Galifrey One schedule of events, or log into the ticket portal.

He also gets irritated when I point at the screen when he is on his computer. He must think I try to screw it up on purpose since it is a touchscreen. I’ll admit I’ve accidentally touched it and it moved, but it’s what I do – point.

So here we sit, on our separate laptops, doing our own thing. I guess it’s how you stay married for 38 years!

Cheers!

-N

 

Picking a name

While I’ve been working stories, especially fiction, the one thing I discovered is the complexity of character names. How do other people come up with names? Sometimes I’ve had a name from the start. In the case of my current story the main characters’ names have been in my head from the beginning. I also had several of the other background and ancillary characters with names I knew I wanted to use.

But this one guy. My main female’s ex-husband. What the crap is his name? Todd, Alec. Oh he’s dead, a jerk, and only referred to in past tense.

I’ve come up with those two names so far, but they just don’t strike me as the right one. All you writers out there. Where do you look for names? Do you have a proven method to find the one that works?

I am currently trying to blog, listening to classical music and eating a sandwich while trying to keep the cat from my food.

So let me know the way you find the best name for a fictional human.

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!!