Book Progress

I have got a lot of work happening on my new book and I’m having a great time writing. Here is the synopsis of the story:

                Anchor Bay – Stormy Love

               Lily Brighton was widowed the same day her husband delivered the divorce papers. T

om Chambers ex-wife is an alcoholic who doesn’t understand that the concept of divorce means she is on her own.

Plus something suspicious is happening out in the bay that may be related to the theft and graffiti happening up and down the Maine coast.

I’m at the point where I am trying to come up with a cover idea so I can do some early marketing of the book. When I get a bit closer to finishing the first draft I am going to start Instagram and Facebook author pages. These will connect me with readers and followers so I get the word out about new books, promotions and special contests. I am curious if any of you lovely blog followers are authors who have done things like this and what was the best tool you found?

One thing I am blessed with is an incredibly supportive husband who understands when I say “wait, I’ve got to work” while I’m sitting at my computer. He is cool when I have music or YouTube playing in the background, or when I am talking out loud to myself.

So this little blog is an update, a request for information and sharing a little more about me.

Cheers!

-N

 

My Challenge Discovery

As I told you lovely readers in a previous blog, I accepted the Great Big Indie Author Launchpad Challenge to write 1000 words a day from September 1st to the 21st.

My work space

This challenge has made me discover something amazing about my writing. When I start each day, I write a few sentences to start, maybe 100 words come pretty quickly. Then I get up, get more coffee, look at e-mails all while the page is open on the screen (I have two screens) and I jump back and forth. When I reach about 300 words the narrative begins to flow, it just comes out, and my mind is in the writing space.

The muse has shown up and I am rocking.

That’s the trigger word count for me to go off – 300 words. It seems my brain engages the muse, the engine starts and the story is up and running. Man that is a blast!

Since September 1st I’ve managed to write over 8000 words and if I keep this progress up I will finish this book by the end of the challenge.

Cheers!

-N

Writer Query

All you writer types out there, I have a question:

Do you use a program for editing, like Scrivener, SmartEdit Writer, or Ulysses? If so what is your preference and why?

My writing is interesting and fun, but there are things I’ve heard of with these types of programs that I am curious about and wonder if they do give your documents-novels-short stories-blog posts the finished professional editing touch?

So gentle readers any comments?

Cheers!

-N

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nuancevoiceing-nancy-vaughn/

Using Tools to Push Myself

I will be joining other writers unpublished and published in the Great Big Indie Author Launchpad Challenge with the idea of being part of a group of people who, like me, have the goal of writing 1000 words a day for 21 days. I think doing this will put me over the top of completion.

I’m excited for the challenge and look forward to the progress I will make. I have to use the next 10 days to finish the edits on another story so I can hand it off to a beta reader and be unencumbered with any other projects.

Gotta cut these nails

I have included below the link to the challenge below if you want to get onboard.

These nails are a bit too long to type quickly and without errors so they will need to be taken down. They are natural not created by a nail tech. An added bonus for you is the adorable pic of my handsome grandson at Disneyland with McQueen in Radiator Springs. He is my screensaver.

Cheers!

-N

 

https://www.chapterbuzz.com/challenge

Being a recluse

I’m troubled, relishing the aloneness of this evening.

I have times when the presence of other humans is stressful. I would rather write which I have been doing for the last two hours, watch YouTube music videos, and enjoy some good wine while wishing it was 68 degrees outside. We are in the throes of the monsoon season in southern Arizona which, believe it or not is a reprieve from the oppressive 110 degree heat of June.

Dry heat is still hot.

My yard which is nothing like the desert where I live is green and lush now thanks to the rain. I love it, however except for early morning or after dark it is still very warm with humidity like Florida. So I hide rather than enjoying it. At least the wee arid land mosquitoes aren’t too troublesome.

I’m planning to be part of Great Big Indie Author Launchpad Challenge. Starting in September I will begin. I’ve set up my chapter page where I check in and post my progress.

I’m planning to write 1000 words a day for 21 days. It should put me at near completion for my first contemporary fiction. I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers!

-N

Writing Is Fun

I was talking with a young man who is an English major in college about my writing process. His questions had me examining the way I write, where my voice comes from and how I work story out. I told him it wasn’t just getting a good story idea and plotting the chapters, but looking at who the people are, how they got to the place they were when the story begins and what is the real truth of character.

Just like real humans, story human’s reactions and perspectives are based on their life experiences – even if those are made up by the author.

It’s sort of like a PR guy who comes up with an identity that is appealing and interesting, and will make the celebrity into a money making character. The celebrity grabs onto this identity and runs with it.

That’s what happens when I come up with a fictional character. I reach a point where there is reality attached to them. I know what they sound like when they speak, I see their mannerisms and habits. I’ve learned their hopes, faults, mistakes and desires.

Creating my world filled with these people I’ve discovered in my mind thrills me. It’s what I like best about writing. The research is fun, the discovery of plot and story stokes my creative side. The beauty of it gives my imagination what it needs to grow.

Writing is fun.

Cheers!

-N

What Am I Doing? Glad You Asked!

Hi gang! This is what I’m doing…

I have been writing and sewing like crazy – and I love it.

With writing one thing I try to do when working on my fiction is to give an authentic perspective to male characters. Not always easy for me, so I discovered if I give my first draft pages to my hubby he brings his Clive Cussler/Tom Clancy/Louie L’Amour reader viewpoint to the action and dialogue I’ve written. This really fleshes out my fictional males, and works wonderfully in bringing depth and realistic dimension to them. He has helped me plot out some actions scenes which is fun, and I will bounce ideas off of him. I occasionally have to remind him not to try to re-write my story. He also shows me where I haven’t completed my thought or dropped into a scene without the needed information or details. I know my story, my locale, my characters voices, so I might start a scene of dialogue with a clear direction in my mind, but for my reader it’s like walking in during the middle of a movie!

I’m really have fun making my own clothes. I love fabric and patterns, the sound of a sewing machine, and the finish of a serger (overlock) so it seems I always have multiple projects. I have designed new face masks for me and hubby, based on what my husband would like to wear. He likes a longer front, so I started with a modified pattern and together designed what he wanted. After working it up I liked it so much I’m making one for myself. We found the fabric in the color we wanted, and got the appropriate notions. Now it’s just cutting out the pieces, and sitting at the machine to put them together. I was one of those folks that made a bunch of face masks at the beginning of the pandemic when the hospitals and first responders ran out. Myself along with dozens of others in Southern Arizona made thousands of masks. I gave me great joy to know I helped protect those important people. I also made masks for several family members.

So as we jump full speed into February I hope and pray for health, happiness, kindness, and hugs for all.

Cheers!

-N

What I Get from Story Research

Because I try to infuse authenticity into my writing I end up spending plenty of time on research. I am creating a fictional town in Coastal Maine so I needed to know a few things other than what I personally experienced and observed when I spent time in Ogunquit and Perkins Cove.

  • Does my town have a police department or is it manned by a sheriff substation?
  • What does it take to transfer out of state junior college credits to University of Southern Maine?
  • What does the job look like for my local part-time harbor master?

The research can tease out local vernacular, slang, and regional expressions. Something else I discover in this research process is friendliness, open and forthcoming are the residents of my fictional town.

The story has a wide age and gender demographic that takes some social media and You Tube research to get the feel for preteen, high school or college student conversations.

My story also features transplanted people, a mother, daughter, and son. They are from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. That one I’ve got lots of experience with since I have dozens of relatives and friends in east Texas “ya’ll”.

Maine, well that one I am developing, “ya see”.

Making a sharp right – anyone else have family or friends who are putting up Christmas decorations? I just can’t do it yet. A decorated house starts to feel extremely cluttered after about three weeks. I’ve contemplated not putting up as many decorations as I usually do, for this reason. My decoration theme is Santa and Nativity: I cover the Christian and the secular. I have a big pre-lit tree (don’t judge me real tree purists) and haven’t added to my collection of decorations other than a new tree ornament.

One of my most treasured Christmas items are my Byer’s Choice Carolers. If you haven’t seen the I suggest you check them out. https://www.byerschoice.com They are beautiful, collectable, and hand made top market items. My collection is “A Christmas Carol” because this is my absolute favorite Christmas story. They are so precious to me I have identified who gets them in my will. So I don’t want to tire of them.

Another right turn – this Saturday, 14 November, NASA is launching the first manned Space-X crew on a mission. The crew of four, Crew-1, will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon ‘Resilience’ spacecraft. The crew arrived to the Astronaut Crew Quarters at Kennedy Space Center Monday. As a space geek I dig this stuff.

So back to work. I hope the rest of your week is spectacular.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

Expanding My Village

Greetings all! I am happy today because this is the day that leads into a weekend of colder temps and a chance of rain. ⛈ Yahoo! It is overcast which means temps rise slower. Those of you who have followed me for a while know my disdain for hot temps.

Another reason I am happy is because of two wonderful women who have become part of my life as close, good friends. One of them I can say is my new BFF. We have so much fun together, have so much in common, and are moving into each other’s world. Her name is Kathy. She is so beautiful and has a laugh that rings. I’ve been missing a bff, and I spent time looking at myself wondering what it is about me that kept me from connecting like that again. But just like my first bestie, Kristen, Kathy just found me. We met at our little church where I sing and her husband plays electric guitar. Her energy is bright and welcoming, and blissful friendship has grown. She calls or texts to see how I am, tell me what’s up with her or figure out ways to get together. I am so enjoying it, and my heart if full. The best part is we can be candid in our conversation knowing confidences are sacred.

My other friend, Kim (both K names, how funny) also share a wonderful connection. Our husbands are buddies: hunting, cigars, and whiskey, and Kim and I share music interest. She also plays the flute and acoustic guitar with the church praise band. Kim is a wonderful person who will go out of her way to help out others. I admire her so for her kind heart. Kathy, Kim and I have been spending time together and look forward to a post-covid new year of growing together as church sisters and besties. Fortunately our hubbies get on well.

Both of them are excited to hear my latest project whether its blogging, writing, VO, or sewing and they are encouraging me as I do all of these things. With some stressful stuff coming up in my life they have both aligned to support and encourage me. I’m blessed.

MALEFICENT

Speaking of sewing I made a semi-custom costume for my daughter-in-law. It’s the third one I’ve done for her. It took three different patterns, and yards of fabric but her Maleficent costume turned out pretty well. She got a great response to it when she did the downtown Halloween walk where they live.

I gotta say I was pretty please with myself.

So today is laundry/writing/blogging/sewing day. This time I’m making something for myself with deep green velvet.

I hope your day is fantastic, amazing, exciting, and full of love.

Cheers!

-N

A Haunting

Michael
By Nancy Vaughn

This story began when I found the grave of Michael, a little boy I used to babysit who died in a tragic car accident. I was a freshman in high school and I was stunned at the loss. Michael was the sweetest and kindest little guy there ever was. He always seemed to need something, but I never understood what it was. There was always a sweet sadness about him. His parents were divorced and had moved on with their lives. Michael and his sisters lived with their mother. His mother was a beautiful woman who worked hard and tried to take really good care of them. She also enjoyed going out to meet men, and there were plenty of them in at the Air Force base in Tucson and the Army fort in Sierra Vista. On her way back from taking her boyfriend back to Ft. Huachuca she lost control and the car flipped and crashed. His sisters and his mother survived but he was thrown from the car and killed instantly. It was 1970.

In 1983 my husband, my two children and I moved into a trailer space in a park that was next to a cemetery. I have to admit to a fascination with cemeteries inherited from my mother’s side of the family. We always were visiting old graveyards on road trips. So after we moved there I used to wander through the one near my house looking at the names and dates. It was an older cemetery with green grass and huge trees and dozens of beautiful statues. I remember when I discovered the part of the cemetery designated for the children. It had a peaceful, comforting feeling and a beautiful statue of a child angel was centered in the middle of the resting places of the lost children. Most of the graves had flowers and tokens laid on them. I used to take flowers from some of them and put them on the graves that had none. That was when I found Michael. His grave rarely had flowers. I began to go see him as often as I could. I also started taking my own flowers to him.

We had gotten this cat, a beautiful silver/grey cat with brilliant green eyes that we named Betsy. She and I never liked each other. I couldn’t figure it out. Betsy and I tormented each other regularly. I don’t know why but we just didn’t get along. One night after going to bed my husband and I heard a low growling sound like a cat squaring off with another cat. Betsy was in the living room at her usual post on the back of a chair. Her cries got louder and then I heard the footsteps. The steps were walking toward our bedroom door. It was a mobile home so footsteps were easily heard. The steps came to our door and stopped, then they walked back down the hall toward the other end of the house. Then I heard the cat again. This began a pattern that went on for weeks. Betsy was even weirder to everyone than before. She tended to sit, looking suspiciously at everything. She never wanted to be around people as it was, but now she was even more reserved.

I talked to my husband about it and he had no explanation for the sounds and the way the cat was behaving. He always did a better job of handling her than I ever did and he is a die-hard sceptic.

Then things got more interesting. Everyone was in bed when the footsteps started. We lay there listening to them and they came to a stop outside our door. Chuck got up and opened the bedroom door expecting to see one of our kids, maybe sleepwalking, but no one was there. I could tell he was bothered. We lay back down trying to fall asleep when there was a loud bang in the bathroom. It sounded like someone big had fallen in the tub. We sat bolt upright and he got up again and rushed to the bathroom. Nothing. It was dark and empty with no sign of anything that could have fallen into the tub. He came back, got into bed and we lay there thinking.
“What do you think a ghost is?” He asked quietly.
“Don’t know.”

The banging in the bathroom continued along with the cat growl and the footsteps. We quit reacting to it and I didn’t find out until much later that my daughter, who was ten at the time had heard the sounds as well. She would cover her head and talk and pray herself to sleep. She never said a word to us at the time. I had told some members of my family and a few friends about the sounds but they laughed it off. We had trouble laughing off the experiences we were having so we quit talking about it.

That is until my middle sister suggested it might be Michael. She also remembered him and his story and had been his babysitter occasionally and had gone with me to see his grave. We were sitting on my back porch talking, listening to music and drinking. We both heard a loud thump and a bang on the washer which was just inside the back door.
“There your go, now you’ve heard it for yourself.” I said.
Her eyes were wide, her mouth open and she just sat there. I got up and went inside to check, as usual there was no sign of anything out of place. It was at this point she told me that on one of her visits to Michael’s grave she thought she saw something around the top of the child angel statue in the cemetery. She said she saw an angel fly up the statue and away into the sky. As we talked about it my heart warmed to the idea that perhaps sweet little Michael was reaching out to me. Maybe he needed my comfort.

I told my husband about what she said and how I felt about it and he warned me to leave that stuff alone. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, thinking about Michael. I made my first mistake by calling out to Michael to tell him he was loved and remembered. One night after that I had fallen asleep and I’m not really sure how late it was but I felt my covers being pulled. I am not a heavy sleeper and it woke me. Sometimes when my husband rolls over it will pull the covers so I yanked them back and tried to go back to sleep. My eyes flew open as I heard the sound of laughter. It was a child’s giggling laugh, then the covers started to be tugged down. I wanted to explore this so I didn’t wake my husband. This began the fun play each night. The problem was I needed my sleep. I had two kids to get to school and myself to work. One night when I was awakened from a deep sleep by the play I said “Michael stop, I need to sleep. Please.” I heard one more giggle and then it stopped.

Chuck and I had a timeshare vacation planned for Puerto Vallarta for a week, and my kids would be staying with my parents who lived in the same trailer park. Because we had Betsy I asked my dad to stop by the house to check on her and the house. We had been broken into a few months before so I felt safer if someone was around regularly as a deterrent. Little did I know my dad’s world would be rocked by his experiences. When we returned home and everything looked fine a first glance. Then I noticed there was tape over the knob on the stereo and the cable box connector was disconnected and on the floor and every door was closed. I looked through the house to see if there was anything else out of order. We called dad to thank him for his help and he said he never wanted to do it again. I asked him to come over and tell us what happened. He insisted we come to their house, so we did.

Dad said that the first night he came by he walked around the outside of the house and it was fine. He came inside and walked through the house. When he opened the bathroom door he found that the toilet paper roll had been completely emptied on the floor. However Betsy wasn’t inside there. The door had been closed firmly. He cleaned it up, replaced the roll and then left. The next night he did the same thing. Betsy was sitting on the chair, so he went to the bathroom to find the door closed again. He opened it and flipped on the light to find the toilet paper roll was again emptied. Then the bathroom light went off. He turned it on, picked up the paper and didn’t put on another roll. He left feeling very strange. He didn’t go back the next night. The next night was one that gave him his first real scare. As he approached the house he could see that there were lights on in the house. He came close to the door and stopped. Before he opened the door he said a prayer. When he opened the door every light in the house was on. He hurried through the house turning off lights and opening closed doors and after putting food in Betsy’s bowl he left never looking back. The last night he came over the lights were on again and the doors were closed. To his horror the TV was on and so was the stereo. He once again went through the house quickly opening doors and turning out lights and turning the TV and stereo off. Just as he closed the door the stereo and TV came back on. He was scared and a bit pissed so he got electrical tape to cover the power knob on the stereo and disconnected the cablebox to the TV. He never ever came over if we were gone.

One Christmas I invited a dear friend to spend the night of Christmas Eve and spend Christmas day with us. After we were all in bed the nightly activity started. My friend was staying on the foldout couch snuggled down for the evening. I heard Betsy start her growl and then I hear my friend hush her. Then the footsteps started. I asked Chuck if he thought I should check on her but he said to wait a little while. I was asleep by the time it all stopped. The next morning I got up to start coffee and get breakfast ready. I found her sitting up, her knees pulled to her chin and looking as if she hadn’t slept. I asked her if she was ok and she said she wasn’t going to stay again that night as planned. When I asked her what happened she said that when Betsy started to growl the room became ice cold. She snuggled down trying to get warm and when she heard the footsteps she covered her head, drew up into a ball and tried to sleep. She felt someone sit on the end of the bed but she was so frightened she couldn’t look. “What is wrong with your house?” It was then that my children started telling us their experiences with child’s giggling, cold air, footsteps and Betsy’s cries. Chuck told me if it was Michael (remember he was skeptical) I should tell Michael he needs to go be with God. That God wants all children with him. I did what Chuck suggested. I would tell him we would never forget him but that his place was with God and the angels.

We heard no more laughing and other activities seemed to slow down. I hoped Michael had found peace and comfort. We went without anything happening for several weeks until a very unsettling thing happen one night. I was sleeping when I woke to the feeling of my covers being lifted off my feet. They weren’t being pulled like before but lifted. I kicked out and it stopped. This began a nightly occurrence and then one night I felt a hand grab my ankle! I kicked and cried out. This woke Chuck and stopped the contact. I began to pray every night about it. I didn’t think it was Michael anymore but my openness to contact with Michael had made me a point of contact a spirit conduit. Whenever it would happen I would say no and kick out and it would stop. I thought I could get it under control.

My first aggressive attack happened when Chuck was working an evening shift for a guy. Everyone was in bed and I had fallen asleep. It was probably around 11pm. You know that feeling when someone gets in bed but you are asleep and yet you can still sense it? This is what happened. I was dreaming he was home and getting into bed. After a few minutes I rolled onto my back and it was then I felt pressure on me. It was as if someone was pressing me into the mattress. Pressure on my shoulders and neck. I started to fight it. My eyes were open but I saw nothing. I just felt the heaviness. It was as if a 300lb offensive lineman was astride me and trying to stuff me into the mattress. As I fought it I started to call out to God and Jesus-I needed help or I would die. A sound like a low breathy moan filled the room, then the pressure lifted. I caught the glimpse of a dark shape fly out of the room through the ceiling.

One of the last attacks happened when Chuck was there. It began as the others had and my cries and fighting against the pressure woke him. He could see me pushing against something invisible that was so strong I could only lift my head an inch off the bed. He saw tears in my eyes and he sat up and yelled “Stop it! Go away!” It was gone. He held me as I finally calmed and fell asleep.

I decided we needed to bless the house. I went to a Christian bookstore and found a pamphlet with a prayer used to do battle with evil and bless the home. I also found a bottle of holy oil to use over all the doors and windows. After coming home and telling Chuck and the kids what we were going to do we spent an hour going to every inner and outer doorway and all the windows praying the blessing for the house and all living in it and calling the warrior angels from heaven to cover the house with protection. After this was done I stood outside and said goodbye to Michael and anyone else cast out and asking them to leave this place of the living and go to the place waiting for them.

I did have a couple of experiences where I would wake on occasion to see a dark shape over me but I was never touched or heard anything. After continuing to pray to cast out whatever was lingering and to prevent anything from coming inside these spirits left and have never returned.

The End
01 Dec 2014