Tag Archives: Writing

JMED: We Alive, Dammit: The Unbreakable Survivors of Kimmy Schmidt

The Show: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Principal Actors: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski

Creators: Tina Fey & Robert Carlock

Synopsis: Rescued after 15 years in a cult, Kimmy Schmidt decides to reclaim her life by venturing to New York, where she experiences everyday life with wide-eyed enthusiasm. On a whim, she rents a room from Titus, a gay wannabe Broadway actor, who makes ends meet as a street performer in Times Square. The unlikely pair find they’re well-suited to help each other out, with Titus reintroducing Kimmy to modern life, and her providing him with the inspiration that you should never give up. Together they’ll make it through whatever life throws at them.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Commentary, Writing

State of the Vaughn: 2014

Yep, it’s one of those “year in review” posts, but unfortunately I don’t have any funny or cute pictures, but this is where I get a little personal, so comments will be off for this, unfortunately, so here we go.


The Writing

Breaking Ties was finished up this year, edited, and prepped for publication in April of 2015, and it had so many stops and starts that I can’t believe that I finished it. Still, 2014 is the year where the Damned Coyotes were finally named, I got reviewed by Romantic Times, and got invited to Coastal Magic as a featured author, so while the output for my pro writing was slower than I’d have liked, I took steps this year largely thanks to my readers and fans, thank you.

2014 is also the year I got back into writing commissions, and including commission writing, my total output for 2014 is 312, 992 words, and I haven’t written that much since grad school when my MFA was depending on writing as much as I could, and turning out a version of Lightning Rod that could best be described as a Frankensteinian mess. I’ve written some stuff this year that’s made me outright cringe at my keyboard, but it was for a good cause, namely getting me to the con on the barest shoestring I could afford, but I’ll be there, and I’m really looking forward to it.


The Diet

Over the summer I stepped on the scale, looked at the number and how close it was to another number, and decided, “I need to lose weight.” I tried doing some crunches and it didn’t go well, then I found a workout DVD and found that was a lot easier to get through. I started a regimen, cut my calories, and I’ve lost 40 pounds in total since I started, largely running on the minor victories, like how I needed to get a belt because my pants wouldn’t stay up if I moved faster than a brisk walk, then my pants from grad school fit, and now THEY need the belt. I feel better, have more energy, and I’m not spending as much on food, which is good considering my resolution for 2015.


The Day Job

2014 is where I finished my 2nd and 3rd semesters as an adjunct professor of English, primarily doing composition courses, and I had some great students and some total nightmares, but it’s really the year where I came aware of just how shitty being an adjunct can be. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching, I wouldn’t put 150 miles on my car every day commuting if I didn’t, but the pay, let’s face it, sucks. Imagine working a full time job that requires a master’s degree, has zero benefits, and pays less than a server at McDonald’s. That’s the reality not only for me, but for adjuncts all over the country, and the only reason I’m speaking out about it here is because this is the only place I can talk about it.

My pen name isn’t known to my colleagues, only the head of the department who has a copy of my C.V., mostly because it’s a rural area and I don’t want it getting out that I write fiction with gay protagonists. It’s bad enough that I have to wait until halfway through the semester to refer to my boyfriend as someone other than my “friend” because it could result, and has resulted, in someone dropping my class. Yep, this happens even in New York, but you learn to deal with it, keep your head down and your mouth shut, because adjuncts are, by basis, on thin ice. You don’t rock the boat, otherwise you might lose the minimum number of classes you need to make rent, and that’s without worrying about the breaks between semester where the income dries up to purely royalties and commissions.

2014 is where I lost some self-respect too, in regards to my job, because when you’re an adjunct, the only thing on your mind career-wise is making the jump out of Adjunct Hell, and you can only do that when someone higher up leaves, transfers, or retires. So when a colleague disclosed to me that they had just received some troubling news, I did, to my credit, feel bad for them first, but on the way back to the adjunct office, the possible opportunity pulsed in the back of my brain, that a position might open in the next year. I didn’t act on the information, but I felt like a fuck because I considered it, and for considering it, I’m deeply sorry. Here’s hoping I can hold onto that in 2015.


The Car

I finally paid off my car this year, it’s officially mine, insured, in my name, all that, so that’s of course when it decided to need a new wheel bearing, new brakes on all 4 tires, and all of its plugs changed. The latter I learned how to do myself, but I swear it’s like the car knew I was trying to save for something, because every time I made headway, something broke down.  I’m saving up again, so one of the wheels is making a knocking sound, because of course it is.


The Relationship

Happier notes here. The BF and I hit 2 years in October, and this year I met his family over the summer, and spent Thanksgiving with them. It’s different than the sort of family time that I’m used to, in that it’s more open, the jokes a little more risque, pastimes more geeky, but it’s also more welcoming. It’s not my family wasn’t welcoming, but we put on more of a show of it, whereas my BF’s family just welcomes you in, and you’re, well, there. There aren’t really any roles to play, though at Thanksgiving I had to play the “friend” role, which I’ve got practice with from previous relationships. I’ve covered the plans for February in a previous post, but it’s still on, and 2014 is the year we really pushed our communication forward, talked about serious subjects rationally, made plans and set outlines. It’s the year where talking about the future became more than just a fun fantasy exercise, and actually got into the nitty-gritty of it all, and while the romance of the situation wasn’t pulsating in the background, the reality of the planning wasn’t scary or intimidating.

It’s been an issue for me in past relationships, primarily concerning money, and what I wanted to be sure of was when we took the big steps, I could afford to stand alone should everything go to hell, and that’s the thing we’re working on: me remembering that we’re in this together, and we’re going to do this together, so I don’t have to try to handle it all myself.  Still though, we’re planning contingencies for the worst together, because we’re both past the point of whimsy and naivete. We’re a team, we compliment each other well, because let’s face it, I need his optimism every now and then just like he occasionally needs a reminder to consider the long-term. I can imagine going forward without him, but I don’t want to. That’s one of the many reasons I’m going to ask him to marry me, along with the love thing, because you have to have that in there somewhere.


The Resolution

And that brings me to the last bit of it, what I resolve to do in 2015: Spend New Year’s Eve 2015 with my fiancee in our own place. The BF and I are moving in together formally, hopefully in March, April at the latest, and we’ve worked out a budget for an apartment, utilities, food, fuel, all that, the bitch is the moving expenses. First month we’ll have covered, last month and security deposits are pushing the average initial cost to move in well over… Well, like I said, been writing a lot of commissions to stem the tide, and still have enough left over to get through the summer should the worst case scenario happen and the BF is unable to find work. Him and I have been pushing to move in, and the original move-in date was September 2014. It’s been pushed and pushed and pushed, and we decided, “No more.” The monthly budget is figured out for my current income, it’s just that first step, you know?

Luckily, the delays have increased his stockpile, while mine has taken too many hits from the car, insurance, fees, and getting the con paid for.

So I’m going to update my progress as I go, and hell, if you want to kick a couple bucks I’m not going to say no.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Vaughn’s Move Out of the Slum Fund

Progress: $970/$1250 (Updated 1/1/2015)

Donations will lead to a .pdf copy of The Last Paladin


So, that was 2014 for me, here’s hoping I can keep the momentum going in 2015, and have a draft of Wayward Son finished by the end of November.

Happy New Year!


P.S./Update:  A nice bit of end of year news, apparently I had one more paycheck coming for the end of the semester, for finals and commencement week, even though I wasn’t on campus (as my classes had final papers, not final exams), which, in addition to a couple finished commissions, gave a nice boost to the fund. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

To My Hopefully Future Daughter


Right now there’s only the idea of you, but I first decided that I wanted you in my life before I even met your Papa. It was in grad school, I was at the library on a cold night, chilly and miserable and listening to MP3s when Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas” came on and it hit me that I wanted to be a father. I really wish I could describe something beautiful and poetic about the moment, imply that time just seemed to stop, and I did know it was an important moment otherwise I wouldn’t remember how rough and scratchy the damned couches were and that the wooden armrest was hard and unpadded and felt like it was cutting all circulation to my kidney. But know I’ve been chasing the idea of you since then, and you’ve always been tumbling around here and there, always a consideration, because if you ever feel like going through your Dad’s old blog entries for whatever reason you’ll read this and know you were wanted.  Hell, I even had your name picked out that night, a strong name that would grow with you as you grew up, because I want you to be strong. Life’s going to throw a fair bit of shit at you, and a person should be able to stand up afterward and still do the right thing. Anything else I tell you is going to sound obvious, but it’s hard-won advice that took a while to really sink in with me. Continue reading


Filed under Writing

Seriously? Still Want To Be a Writer?

So there are some of you out there that are still dead-set on becoming writers. You’ve been on Facebook, seen the adorable memes your friends have posted about how professional writers are amateurs that didn’t quit and everything else, bought books like “Bird By Bird” and “On Writing” (and you’re totally going to get to reading them someday 😉 ), you’ve got ideas, even read blog posts on the subject, as well as posts on what the industry is like, and you’re ready to stand up and say “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any-”

Wait, sorry, that reference doesn’t really apply here.

So instead, let me tell you about the 30,000 word novella that I’ve been working on for the last three weeks that none of you will ever get to read, and part of the professional writer experience that we all know about, but probably don’t think about that much.

Today, I’m going to talk about commission writing and a few things you should probably know before you get into it.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Writing

Justifying My English Degree: Heroes on the Periphery: The Dynamic Villains of Once Upon a Time

God, has it been two months? Apologies for neglecting the blog, been busy with end of the year grading of papers and the like, as well as dragging myself back to work on Breaking Ties, which is 3-4 chapters out from the finish line. In the meantime, my boyfriend and I have been rewatching this on Netflix, and having the sorts of conversations about the characters that are normal to fans, which inspired me to do a JMED on it. Some spoilers follow.

The Show: Once Upon a Time

Creators: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz

Principal Actors: Robert Carlyle, Lana Parilla, Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas

Synopsis: A woman with a troubled past is drawn to a New England town where fairy tales are to be believed.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentary

A Few More Tips on Being a Writer

So you still want to be a writer. Normally I’d wonder why the person who’s supposed to shake you out of making bad life decisions is apparently asleep at the wheel, but I suppose there are a few of us who have to write or we’ll surely go insane. I’ve gone into this before, but there are a few additional things I’ve learned over the years that I feel like putting out there. This is all based on experience, so please have a complimentary pound of salt to take it with. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Commentary, Writing

Storytellers: Community Service

So, with Community Service coming out on Tuesday, I figured I’d give you guys a few tidbits of info on the writing of it to whet your appetite. By the way, it’s still on sale at Samhain Publishing at a cheaper price than Amazon, plus I get more money when you buy direct from the publisher! (Since I’ve been asked that a few times.)

So, without further ado…

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing