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

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Do Not Disturb

Some people don’t seem to understand what it takes to focus on writing. Just because the music is playing and I am walking around talking to myself doesn’t mean I am not in a writing zone and it’s okay to barge in and start chatting. I am seriously thinking I need a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door.

Some people need silence, solitude – space to make the words flow and the jumble of thoughts to become a cohesive body of narrative. Me, not so much. That works at times I’ve found, especially when I am editing. In most cases I have music – all kinds of music – filling my work room. I dance, pace, wander, talk to no one, and fiddle with my muse.

Right now the playlist is soul/pop from the last forty years. Prince, Jimmy Luxury, Michael Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, The Temptations. Whoa baby, digging it.

Then the interruptions….

Thus the blog refuge to focus my mind on creating and my fingers a needed a warm up – you get me?

 

Had a fun thing happen yesterday while hubby and I were gardening. Lots of soil was moved, reseeding the back yard and planting flower seeds by the pond. I asked if the spa was hot and he said yes, and I replied after this day we need a soak and alcohol, and who knew what next. He agreed and by 8:30 pm we were in the hot water, staring at the stars, planning our next adventures. It was splendid. In my mind I thought “I’m going to use this in a story!”

Isn’t that great when that happens?

We have introduced Cleo to the outdoors and she is digging it. She has gotten big enough and savvy enough to know to stay near the house while she explores. One interesting aspect is Millie, as the big sister German Shepherd, pays attention to her and when she gets out of Millie’s sight the search is on. Millie kind of whines as she tries to find the wee cat, only calming when she is back. So adorable.

They are so cute and are pretty good buddies. Cleo loves Millie’s big swishey GSD tail, and Millie will nudge and lick Cleo when she is laying on the floor. Their food bowls are in the same place separated by a water bowl they share. 

We had Jake for a while but he went back to his family once they were again able to house him, much to Jake’s happiness.

I have always liked having a dog and a cat. I love the difference in the two animals, and they both nourish the variety of pet lover needs I have. Chuck and I are both this way.

So now the words are flowing. Time to ease back into the past as Jude Tremaine arrives at Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory. It could very well be a bloody night in the mountains around him. Ready for a rowdy ride, a betrayal, and a heartbreaking loss? Volume II of The Tremaines is in progress. Pray for no more interruptions unless the house is burning down or the wine is running out.

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

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!! 

Sample first draft scene

I’m having such a good writing day working on the first draft of my new story. These people are so real to me. So I wanted to share a scene from the new book Anchor Bay –

Tom sat in his recliner watching basketball, holding his second beer. His mind was not on the game but on a beautiful red head with lips he hoped were as soft as they looked. He was happily surprised when she accepted his invitation. She gave him her number when he dropped her at her house, and he smiled watching her shapely form walk toward the front door. She opened the door, turned to him, offering a quick wave and went inside. He had just sat in the cruiser for a few minutes enjoying the newness of attraction before heading home.

                “Oh damn!” he swore when the realization hit he had just broken his own rule of not dating a local. He would have to take her somewhere close but not in Anchor Bay. Maybe she wouldn’t mind a drive down the coast to Ogunquit. Some good eating down there. Barnacle Billy’s had good food and drinks, yeah that’s where they would go. Still, there might be Bay folks there. What were the odds? He jumped when his landline rang.

                “Sheriff Chambers,” he said, his voice sharp.

                “Tommy.”

                “What did I tell you about calling this line, Barb? It’s for work.”

                “Oh, Tommy don’t be that way,” she whined. “I need to stay with you tonight. My car broke down at Willies and Tony won’t come get me.”

                “Call a cab.”

                “Tommy!”

                “You can’t stay here. Impossible!” He insisted.

                “Wait…okay here,” she was obviously talking to someone.

                “Sheriff, get this woman out of here!” Willy Plum owner of Wet Willies shouted into the phone.

                “Willy, what the hell is going on?”

                “Damn woman is driving the paying customers away. She’s begging drinks, and well ya know how she is Tom.”

                “Yeah I know. I’ll lock her up for the night. She can sleep it off and I will get her car fixed so she can leave.”

                “Thanks man,” Willy said and then Barb was back on the phone.

                “Tommy, don’t listen to him. He thinks just because he owns the place he can boss people, and…” Tom hung up on her, got his coat and weapon, grabbed the keys to the cruiser and took off for Wet Willies.

 

Cheers!

-N

Writing, Quilting and Doctor Who

I’m writing here. Writing and sewing. Mozart is cranked, wine is poured. I’m basking in the solitude of creativity. It is awesome!!

Almost 1000 words today. Anchor Bay is coming into focus.

My story has been at a standstill until the other night, after my stress meltdown. I picked up my story folder, read through some notes, and started to plot some scenes. Before long the cobwebs cleared and I remembered who these people were and where they were going. As I sat here today with those notes spread out, and the map I drew of my imaginary town in front of me, the good feeling of accomplishment filled my literary soul.

Behind me is my cutting table with the pieces of a baby quilt cut and laid out in order. It is going to be so cute. It is for my brand new great nephew Andrew. I also owe one to great nephew Bodie, and that one is next. I enjoy the process of quilting. To make quilts, cutting and measuring need to be precise. Quilters are the first to say that making a quilt is a lot of sewing and pulling it apart and resewing.

It gives us quilters a good excuse to buy extra fabric!! You know – just in case.

This weekend hubby and I start prepping for our Galifrey One costumes. Chuck is going to be the “The War Doctor” (John Hurt played him) and I am going to be “Sarah Jane Smith” played by the late Elizabeth Sladen. We have been thinking of Charlie being K-9 but his mom and I don’t believe he would put up with wearing the costume all day! Oh well. Aaron, Chelsea, and Melissa are playing various Doctors and Companions also. I am going to make matching T-shirts for us to wear one of the days of the convention.

We are the WhoviVaughns.

Cheers!

-N

The words are back

I’m very glad to share I have been writing again!

I sat down, opened the file, read what I had already written – I’ve done this before with no results – and when I reached the end of the text another line came to my mind, then another, and before I knew it 1000 words were knocked out and my mind was flying. It was bliss. I’ve since added more words, plotted the next couple of chapters, and fleshed out an important character I didn’t yet know very well.

This fed the creativity in my brain for the cosplay costume I am making. I was becoming so stale it was disconcerting and depressing. I can’t express how great it feels to get things moving once more. One thing I did discover is I need to ignore the distractions, specifically a person whose negativity is counterproductive. I shut the door, blast the Netflix or music and get busy writing and sewing. Woo hoo, it’s fun.

I spent four days in the LA area with my sister, Mary, and I think that started the brain cleansing. The laughing we did felt great. A good, long, loud belly laugh does wonders for the perspective. We spent hours at the ocean, we cruised down one canyon and up another listening to great music, singing, and remembering. Went to a wine tasting, had breakfast at Weiler’s-twice-and spent plenty of time with Melissa and Charlie (love kissing that boy.) Got a little too much sun. I felt young, bright, free, and adventurous. It was a perfect respite from the tension that flows from the negative person in my house.

I would have liked to have Chuck along but this was a girls trip. Next time!

The nights are cooling off, finally! The days are still too close to hell fire for me, but thank goodness for refrigeration and lots of fans to keep the air moving. My nephew is holding his own in Army basic, hubby is busy with his leather working, my kids are busy productive humans, and life is going on.

“There’s no such thing as too much magic, pixie dust, or fun.”

Cheers!

-N