Creative spaces

HUBBYS DESK

Because my home is the place I create my fiction, write my blog, record voice-over, and enjoy my sewing projects, I have tried to find the best use of space. The room that used to serve as my sons bedroom was converted into the all-purpose office/craft room. Suffice it to say it is not very spacious. When hubby and I are both working it is crowded and congested to say the least. Millie, our German Shepherd dog, always seems to want to take up floor space in the middle of the room and is often nearly run over by one of our chairs.

BUSY DESK AREA

In Catalina, Arizona where we make our home, is a wonderful thrift store called The Golden Goose that benefits from its proximity to a well-heeled community called Saddlebrook, and benefits us middle class types with nice stuff we can afford. A couple of weeks ago, while making a quick stop to look for a bike rack for my car hubby spotted a desk.  It was oak, with a hutch and a plethora of storage.

NOT ROOM ENOUGH TO SEW

I will add here the desk I am currently using in the office was not comfortable for him to use. He is 6’3” and he doesn’t fit. With this new desk he was sure he would fit easily.

So after discussing it: replacing two pieces with this one, where it would go, how would it be best used by us, and how the room could be adapted, we agreed that if the desk was still there – on payday – we would get it if we could afford it. The follow-up trip to the Goose showed the desk was still there, was affordable, and the purchase was completed!

Once it came to our home the process of sanding and staining the desk and hutch by hubby began.  For myself, it was a purge of the room, cleaning out drawers, shelves and cabinets.

MESSY SEWING AREA

I like a purge! It is interesting, occasionally disturbing, what you find when you empty out a drawer or file cabinet.

BOOKCASE IS MOVING TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE DESK

I’ve learned after four decades with this man I can never set up his space the way he would. So the old desk and printer cabinet was moved out, and his work station was moved into place, and everything that was on it is stacked on top for his perusal. He can organize it however he wishes.

THE BEAUTIFUL DESK

One thing I will add…pretty sure I burned some calories doing this. Lots of sweatiness. At one point we were working together, lots of sweat, and I got a whiff of BO! I did the stealth sniff and I knew it wasn’t me. I was helping hubby put up the camera we use when the grandson is here and was in hubby armpit range. The man wasn’t just ripe, he was spoiled! I bailed on him.

CUTTING TABLE

So here enjoy the before and after shots.

LOOK AT THAT FABRIC!
HUBBYS NEW SPACE
THE BOOKSHELF MOVED HERE (LEFT SIDE)

It’s wonderful to have useful work space for both of us. Ever in Tucson come on out to Catalina.

Cheers!

-N

My annual summer in southern Arizona rant

It’s July in Southern Arizona and I have reached my breaking point.

108 degrees today. It may be a dry heat but it is still hot! I laugh when I hear, “Albany is roasting in dangerous 96 degree heat!” Okay, so I’m told, “yeah, but they have humidity.”

Heat index equation temp/humidity = how it feels.

96 with 50% humidity = 108 (Albany)

108 with 20% humidity = 109 (Tucson)

BOOM! we win.

During monsoon season here in SoAZ we can have the following equation: 108/40% =137

Cry me a river, Albany. Granted that humidity level lasts for a few hours at a time then will drop back down to 20 or 30% but we were still feeling it here, and it does it almost daily. Do you know how hot every surface in a car gets when it is 108 degrees? People keep oven mitts in their cars so they can touch the steering wheel.🔥 Forget trying to sit on leather seats while wearing shorts! 🤬 The vehicle paint manufacturers had to come up with different paint so new cars don’t have the painted surfaces faded and peeling after a year. OK, so you stay inside during the snow – well we stay inside during the hot.

We had fires in the mountains next to us nearly all of June, with hot shot crews climbing all over in that heat fighting fires. I’m sure they figured they were in hell.

But it’s a dry heat.

But it’s still damn hot!

When hubby retires I hope we will downsize a bit – sell this place, and move to cooler climes. I’m thinking Ogunquit, Maine. My work: blogging, writing, voice-over can all be done from home so I can go anywhere as long as I have internet.

Fiction/children’s/biographies
Non fiction

I just need a space big enough for my books.

I love my books. This is not all of them.

Nothing in here is newer than 1950.

Hubby said a small house with books on all the walls. That works for me.

So – it’s time for a rain dance. I look forward to October. I keep doing my thing and enjoy hearing from you lovely followers.

Cheers!

-N

Space is clean

I’m feeling crowded. The urge to wipe spaces clean is swamping me. I have no problem getting rid of clutter. However I am married to a future “Hoarder” episode. I have few items which have true sentimental value. Photos are the most valuable, along with things from my kids like baby books, school drawings and cards. The collections made during travels, some things I have picked up with historical connections, and things like my grandmother’s costume jewelry. My vinyl collection and turntable.

Also my library. I am attached to those tomes and relish adding to my library where ever I go. Used book stores are my drug.

To my mind space is clean, and just because there is an open area on a shelf or a clear spot in a corner or a space of open wall does not mean it’s okay to put something there. I have a thing about not having anything in front of my windows. I like being able to walk up to a window and look out. Just because the piles are neat doesn’t mean they belong on that counter or corner of the room.

I go through my drawers and closets regularly. It is liberating. I don’t like crap in my car either.

Hubby, well…neat piles of who knows what on every surface, a used Burger King bag collecting garbage in his truck that never gets washed or vacuumed, a t-shirt drawer stuffed so full he can barely get the five he wears all the time inside, and a back yard filled with stuff he plans to reuse. This is why I am married to him. To keep him from being an episode of “Hoarders”. I’ve already told my kids they have to watch out for him if I die first and leave him alone. I can picture it now – a recluse watching TV, dirty dishes everywhere, his recliner surrounded by TV trays filled with projects he will never finish. Him loading the washer and dryer so full they explode, and never rinsing off a dish or pan before putting it into the dishwasher. It’s my nightmare.

But we argue, sneak, tease, laugh, question, ignore, and get sexy. It’s how we’ve stayed married for 39 years.

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

 

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

A fun series

I have had so much fun reading a series by Angie Fox “The Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries” I just finished number six and I have to say it is a very fun book. All of the books are funny, the characters are engaging, and the paranormal aspect won’t keep you up at night.

I just posted the following review on this latest book “Murder on the Sugarland Express” on Amazon and Good Reads.

This fun book brings together Verity and Ellis on a romantic escape on a faithfully restored vintage train. The usual suspects find themselves sharing the trip except for Lucy who is being pampered and spoiled at the skunk sitters. Frankie and Molly have their own ghostly adventure, Ellis’ brother and mother are also there, along with a myriad of interesting passengers. A ghost conductor and ghost detective help the living and the dead solve old and new murders. I have to admit this was one of my favorites so far. Ready for the next one!

You can find the whole series on Amazon or Barnes and Noble e-books.

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

A new release!

Hey Y’all,

I am so excited to share a new release of mine on Amazon Kindle. This is a short story I’ve had mulling around in my brain, then writing and re-writing on the computer, then getting input from several people, and finally deciding it was going to stay a short story. I hope I portray these fictional humans in a realistic, feminine, sibling way. It might even help some men out there understand their wives and/or sisters.

It was one of those ideas that just popped into my head and before knew it was taking shape.

It is about the lives of two sisters, and is told from the perspective of the surviving sister. Sisters and their relationships are unique because of the difference in the way they see the world, although they have lived the same life experiences. There might be a few similarities from my own life.

Please check out this lovely story, and be sure to leave a review (you know how Amazon likes that) after you’ve read it.

P.S My hubby took the cover photo!

Cheers!

-N

Marketing multi-tasking

Life really does go on even though my brain is wrapped up in writing. I now have an author Facebook page, this blog, twitter, Linkden, Tumbler-all the places I go to get the word out and all this is happening while the rest of the world is doing its own thing.

I woke this morning, my brain running to all the places I need to check and what needed to be done next. This is really good for me. It is also really challenging.

Yesterday Chuck and I spent a glorious three hours attending the Tucson Book Fair at the campus of the University of Arizona. 20160312_125044I met authors, editors and publishers. I found some interesting books, new and used and saw some very cool science stuff courtesy the UA science departments (I got to make my own lightning.) I bought a cute parasol to ward off the intense southern Arizona sunshine, 20160312_125135and caressed a beautiful king snake named Elvis.

The book fair is eight years old and has grown tremendously in attendees and vendors. They included about 400 author tents along with many other types of vendors using the opportunity of exposure to around 150,000 visitors. It was packed but everyone was having fun. I found a very cool board game for my daughter’s class room and OMG there were books for sale everywhere! There was one vendor selling antique books which I was totally into, but all the books were wrapped in plastic. I mean that was annoying because-hello-how can you smell the books if they are wrapped up. The guy running the booth did unwrap one for me so I could smell it. I love the smell of old books.

Anyway, we had a fun day. I got a little sunburn thus the parasol but we came home with memories of a good day.

All I kept thinking was “I’m gonna do this one day.”

Cheers!

-N