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

Let’s go!

These  efforts toward a VO website and blog website presence are, for the most part, enjoyable. It’s a huge learning curve for me and not having the funds to hire it all done, I must teach myself the skills of the trade. This is not an intuitive process in my mind.

Create

Rather than thinking – dang I gotta blog! What the heck am I gonna write about? When a light bulb moment occurs I can start writing and flesh it out over a few days. This way I am writing whenever I am inspired and then, when scheduling the finished post, I am relieved. New blog DONE!

Sometimes I will open a new blog post page, write a silly question or comment in the title line, and save a draft, just what I did with the above title. Then when next I sit down at the laptop I listen to what my mind thinks this means. Is this the best action? Hmm, perhaps not. So how do I to become a productive blogger? One thing I’ve set up is a weekly appointment on my calendar to remind me to check my blog.

As a blogger what is your preferred method for development of your blog text?

 

Holder of My Flame cover character.

With fiction story writing it is entirely a departure from the process described above. I know the gist of the story and the main characters. Plotting is done with the goal of telling their story authentically and using all the rest of the information to create that narrative. Lots more research into location, problem solving, character building, understanding angst, age appropriate dialogue and responses, and a host of other aspects which are part of the whole as the story develops, and I get to know the people I’m writing about.

With voice-over no writing is involved, rather I am provided with a script or narration, and my job is to interpret it – who, what when, where, why and how of the audience and speaker. My delivery is then based on the voice the client wants; mature, mysterious, friendly, salesman or conversational. I spend hours recording, doing edits, and then submit my audition for consideration. Creative but in a vastly different mode.

Voice over

Create: to produce through imaginative skill.

Cheers!

-N

Revelations

Small revelations about myself have been bombarding me for a week or so. They run the gamut of emotional, physical, spiritual and everything in between. It’s pushed me to find a quiet mind place – place to dissect, delve, scrutinize, explore, eliminate, examine – you understand.

I’m not a huge self-discovery person so when a few things pushed at me I pulled them in and had to take a look.

First – alone time. Due to the extensive travel during my childhood with my Air Force father a type of wanderlust was created in me. Never one to want to be in one place for more than a few years (typical of duty stays in the military) I looked forward to the next place. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs this kept me from developing friend making skills because, heck, you would move on soon enough. What it did create was contentment to be alone. There are good times for this, but when you are married, have children, working full time, and nearby family it might have instilled resentment that I would retreat, hide, mind wander and make myself comfortable with myself and not be available. Both of my kids are like this as well, especially my daughter.

I love the sound of chimes, bells, rain, ocean, flute, fairy songs, and soft breezes. I love the feeling in my house when there is no sound-no TV, stereo, electronics. Just the random outside noise of birds, dogs barking, the kids next door playing in their pool. I also enjoy my rock & roll, jazz, pop music playlists on my apple music – loud.

But like everything else, the when and where of these live inside me.

I have a friend who is retiring and said she wanted to come hang out at my house with me once she is free from the work day drudgery. I like it, and I know she will respect that sometimes I just have to be alone. My dear friend who moved to St. Louis (actually Edwardsville IL) understood this wonderfully. It’s a true blessing to be in tune with another human this way.

Hubby gets me, most of the time, and gives me space when required. It’s how we’ve stayed together for forty years – yep that’s right. The only human who doesn’t get this is my precious grandson. He is five, busy, silly, active and fun. He can’t understand why Nannie (me) won’t come play sometimes. I explain it, he says okay and is back in ten minutes with something new.

Writing for me is gradually coming together after fits and starts, and my current work is progressing. The first third is written, the next third is plotted and I know the end goal for it. It’s fun and plays in my head like a movie. I’m really digging my blog and have thought of reading it on a  You Tube channel as a companion  vlog, sort of twin telling. We’ll see. I keep pluggin away at the voice over auditions and know that once I get that first job things will fall into place. There is a lot of competition, but I’ve a great space for it, my own little sound proof studio, for learning the software and equipment to record, edit and produce really good work. Anyone have a VO job for me?

So I am slowly coming out of a gloomy funk thanks to weird physical stuff that I had no idea of the source of and it scared me, a lot. Kind of got a bit depressed with that, missing my BFF, needing to hide, and letting God fill me up.

I’m getting there.

Cheers!

-N

Anybody Out There?

When I created this blog it was intended to communicate, interact, and exchange ideas. I tend toward being a loner, not an introvert because I can schmooze with the best of them when it is required. Getting a smile back from the grocery check-out clerk gives me a great feeling. The idea I might have helped cheer someone’s day is wonderful. I try this on a lot of folks.

Conversation. I often enjoy it and I’m pretty good at keeping it going after learning a bit of the art of it, when and how to ask questions, and avoiding trite replies like “you’re kidding! really? no way!” and instead reply with “tell me more or that’s wonderful (or shocking) or I understand” which encourages engagement.

For several years I had a very best friend, one that would call me to check up, invite me over, get together for meals, she loved coming to my place to hang out. She taught me how to be a long term friend, since my youth was spent traveling to different stations my father was transferred to with the USAF. So friend making, true friend making, wasn’t part of my wheel house. My parents had their adult friends – most of whom worked with dad and moved where he did, but I really only had my sisters. Meeting her as an adult was enlightening to say the least. We took trips together, enjoyed music and wine together, loved the beach. But…she and her husband divorced and she moved to St. Louis to be with her elderly parents. We lost a lot of contact, and I lost that friend.

Her parents have both passed now, details of the estate have been sorted and she is staying in St. Louis until her daughter graduates high school. The light in this is she plans to move back to Tucson and I am thrilled.

Maybe I won’t give in so readily to my aloneness or that wee bit of melancholy you saw in last weeks post. BTW the test result from the 19th was good news. The room where I write, blog, do voice over, and sew in has become more and more about being in my own space. I covet my time in it.

However…back to the blog.

I don’t get many comments and I wondered why? Is there something I’m missing in what I share? If you have any constructive advice and comments I would love to hear them. More pictures, videos, book reviews, music reviews?

So I sit, praying for rain and cooler temps in Southern Arizona with a three hour YouTube video of fall rain playing on my laptop. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers!

-N

For Your All Hallows Eve – 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

I’m looking for cash

So much of my thoughts right now is on how to work from home. If you google that phrase you will get pages of suggestions-much of it the same kind of thing. I want to work from home for two reasons. First I want to be available if my daughter needs me to care for my grandson, second I want to bring in extra income, but not full time, to help with fun expenses like travel and hobbies.

Writing is fun and when I get to publish a new book its out there for folks to buy and enjoy. I like both of those. The thought that someone would honor me by purchasing one of my titles is humbling. I also love that the reader is going to get caught up in the characters and historical trip the story takes them on – especially when I read a review saying they were digging it! However I am no Stephen King or Janet Evanovich – not yet – so I keep writing.

My blog is such a release for me, relaxing and an immediate gratification as I watch the blog stats after it is published. It is a creative outlet for me, and I like that my followers are coming to know me through this venue. But, I’m not as widely read as I would like, so the $$ support from possible sponsors isn’t where it needs to be, but I keep blogging.

Nancy history: Just out of high school I got a job as a media buyer for a small advertising firm. It was a great job, I met amazing and interesting people, and my creative side was jumping with joy every time I saw a television spot or heard a radio commercial I placed for a client. I was able to be part of some of the production for these as well. It was so cool. With one of these spots I was asked if I was interested in being the voice talent! This led to a couple of years doing radio commercials for a variety of local businesses. A local DJ at KWFM Jim Ray and I had a series of spots for Summit Hut, a local outdoor sports outfitter. It was so popular that we had listeners calling the stations to ask about the “couple” on the spot. Jim and I had a good time with that one.

This leads to my next adventure in cash:

I am delving into the voice over business. I have recorded some audition pieces, but the equipment I have is fairly basic so I am purchasing enough sound equipment and devices to produce professional auditions. So we will see if my studio time and theater work from a few years ago will serve me well in this venture. Keep your fingers crossed!

Cheers!

-N

Looking for Cochise

I love historical research. I love history – that’s probably why I enjoy writing historical fiction. This past weekend hubby and I spent two days scouring the southern Chiricahua mountains for the site of a firefight between the US Army and Cochise’s Chiricahua Apaches in 1869.

My fictional Army officer will be engaged in this event. I had questions about the location, and after searching through books and historical papers I managed to pinpoint the place I needed to see. To put myself in my character’s mind, explore his emotions, and find out who he would be after this was over, seeing the location was important for the story.

Much to her great pleasure Millie came along on the road trip, riding comfortably on her bed in the back seat. 

There was so much for her to see and smell, so much to experience. She was so good, and when we stopped for pictures or to explore she was happy to do her own research of the area. 🙂 

Rucker Canyon was where we were heading. It runs between the Chiricahua Mountains to the north and the Pedregosa Mountains to the south west. The creeks were running thanks to snow melt, and the dirt roads were well maintained, with a few places I wouldn’t want to drive on if they were wet.

  My driver did a good job getting me where I wanted to go, and he loved exploring those crude trails disguised as roads. I’m not so fond of the bouncing around on these, but he was having a great time.

Considering we were very close to the international border we saw this sign going either direction. Gave me pause. 

Using our topo map and the references, we were able to pin point the bluff where the Apache warriors held off the US Army. This series of fights lasted for a month beginning in October, and resulted in both sides suffering injuries and loss of life. It also prompted Cochise to examine the cost to his people of the continued fight against the whites.  He was dead five years later.

Walking the area where these two groups struggled to control the land was profound for me. The area is a pristine, rugged, and beautiful wilderness area of oaks and junipers. The bluff was found by us, and we spent time examining it and imagining the humans surrounding it, climbing, it, hiding behind its peaks, and moving in a strategic dance of combat. I was thrilled.

Left – from the south, right – from the north.

The south view was a steeper approach the Army attempted but were pushed back by the well entrenched Apaches.

The Army circled around to the north side which was a gentler slope, but still unapproachable. It was this activity that leads to my character’s encounter with a warrior and a crisis moment for him and his life going forward. After a bit more driving and a bit of hiking hubby suddenly stopped and said, “Here, it happens here.” He found a perfect place for the confrontation. In this area there were signs of human presence at least 100 years old. Nancy was in her happy place!!

Down this slope my character will struggle and his life will change. At the bottom is a creek, and beyond that a meadow lined with trees that are good cover for the warrior.

Boy did Millie like this place. She could wander and discover, glancing back at us to make sure we were near.

It was getting late, so we headed out for Douglas, Arizona and to the ranch home of old family friends of hubby. When I say old friends, I’m talking before marriages and kids, my father-in-law and Mr. Christiansen were BFF’s.

This ranch house was built in early 1960, and is one of the most comfortable, and welcoming homes I’ve visited. We chatted, laughed, looked at books and photos, walked around the land, and hubby’s memories were tickled. Millie loved this as well. She had plenty of room to run, sniff, and do her business. Our beautiful hostess, Mrs. Ursula Christiansen, made us comfy, fed us, and loved Millie. Ursula, born in Germany, married an American military man, and moved to this country. I asked her what she thought of southern Arizona when she arrived and she said she wanted to see Indians, she didn’t realize they were on reservations.

The two German girls got on pretty well. They’d had German Shepherds on the ranch, and she missed them. I think Millie sensed that. After a good nights sleep, Ursula wanted to take us to her favorite Mexican restaurant – El Pato (The Duck.) Chuck and I loved it, fresh and delicious Sonoran food.

Ursula was greeted warmly by the lovely owner Alba, she introduced us, and we ordered. If you ever get to Douglas, AZ go see Alba at El Pato.

 After our wonderful meal, and full bellies we headed back to the mountain for a few hours, then home.

My mind was racing with ideas, scenes, and plots. I can give the writing an authentic feel, and take the reader into the action with authority.

The best part was the chance to be there, on the spot, in the location, walking the same paths, seeing the same landscape, being in history, and becoming my character.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

 

Computer coolness

Greetings all!

I am so stoked!

Hubby helped me set up a second monitor, an external one, for my laptop. Now I can have research pages open on the external monitor and my manuscript open on my laptop. Pretty snazzy let me tell ya.

Sometimes when working on descriptions of vehicles, weapons, or garments for an historical setting it is helpful to have open a visual of said item for reference as I use them in the story. This is going to be so fun.

At this moment I have my manuscript open on the laptop and I’m writing this blog post on the second display!! I’m feeling pretty tech savvy.

I had an idea of how to do it, but hubby and I working together found the place in the settings to set up multiple displays. I readily admit it would have taken me quite a bit longer, and lots of google searching, had I been on my own.

So here I sit, with both monitors up and working splendidly, and no need for an IT department. Hehe.

Cheers!

-N