business cards

July 30, 2018

I ordered new business cards and decided to just go full-on bragging on them. I almost didn’t. Then I thought, why the heck not?

business card brag

You can also see the spots on my keyboard that I’ve just plain worn out.



that’s a draft

July 27, 2018

And the revision of the current work-in-progress is done. Wordcount 117,000. Up from the first draft’s 110,000, but I also deleted probably 5-10k words, so I wrote probably 12-15k new words. This is the longest piece of fiction I have ever written. My earliest notes on this project date from about 2009 so this one’s been cooking a long time. And I probably have at least another round of revisions on it. Long slog, here.

Not going to say any more about this project right at the moment. Except that my brain’s a bit cooked.

Now is the time when I look around and realize that everything is a mess and I have no idea what’s going on and my life is in shambles and I should probably eat something.

So I’ll be at the Renaissance Festival tomorrow like a boss.


Monday update

July 23, 2018

You know, I’ll feel much better once I get this massive revision of the new novel off my plate. By the end of the month, for sure. I’m going a little bit crazy right now.

In the meantime, THE WILD DEAD has been out a week. Here’s a great, thoughtful review of the series as crime fiction, not just science fiction. I’m hopeful that the books will find their way to mystery readers.

I watched Cold Mountain last night, because I’ve been craving historicals lately, and wanted something that was kind of a love story and kind of gut wrenching. (I’d never seen it before, but I will never forget the Oscar-watching party where Renee Zellweger was up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in it — very richly deserved, she was great — and they played a clip of her character’s biggest emotional outburst done in a thick, Appalachian accent. Nobody in the room knew what she said — except for me. I told them exactly what she said, which was when I realized I’m like the children of immigrants who can’t necessarily speak the language from the Home Country but can understand it. I can’t speak Southern, but I can usually understand it.)

ANYHOO, it’s a decent movie, but a bit trope-ish and predictable for my tastes. A really great cast. Jena Malone, Donald Sutherland, Charlie Hunnam, and a ton of other really top-flight actors in small parts. It’s kind of a gritty Americana version of The Odyssey. It’s also a western — that is, I’m thinking a lot today about the ways in which the movie felt like a western — the local roughs harassing a couple of women struggling to maintain the homestead when all the men are gone, the ways in which westerns often intersect with the Civil War — the story of the soldier trying to get home, or escaping by going west, etc. I mean, western North Carolina is still west, I guess?

Anyway, it’s got me thinking about genre — westerns, Civil War movies, where they overlap, is it the tropes that make a western or the location, and so on.  What I would want to do with a western, or a Civil War movie, or that spot where the two genres overlap.


First off, here’s my long and breathless Lightspeed review of Infinity Wars with bonus material on what it means to be a movie fan these days. I’ve done a lot more thinking since writing this, that is only increasing my admiration of how well it’s all put together. All that business about close magic and misdirection in Ant-Man and The Wasp wasn’t just throw-away cleverness. Captain Marvel doesn’t just have the burden of being its own movie — it’s going to be the prologue to the next Avengers. It’s just…so, so much.

In other news, I’m seriously considering pitching the Coast Road books, including the brand-new The Wild Dead, as “Midsomer Murders meets The Road.” Which sounds ridiculous right up until it doesn’t. A personable investigator in a really dodgy small community with lots of hidden secrets, against a backdrop of desolated civilization?

I already got one sale on FB using this description. I’ll try it out a few more times and see what happens.



July 18, 2018

It’s a book. Though when I went to the local B&N to spot it in the wild they said they hadn’t gotten it in yet. Grrr.

Vaughn_WILD-DEAD - Copy - small

Here’s the IndieBound link.

THE WILD DEAD is also available on audiobook.

My twenty-second published novel. Still stressful. But I’m VERY gratified that the reviews are coming in and people seem to like it just as well if not better than Bannerless. I knew all my binging of British mystery shows was good for something!

And now, it may be time to gorge myself on red wine and cool ranch Doritos.


The Incredibles 2

July 16, 2018

So, it was nice, I guess? The animation was beautiful — you can see the technological development of the software/techniques/style over the last 14 years.

Trouble is, I think it was a mistake picking up the story immediately where the previous one left off. Because the superhero film genre itself has undergone a pretty radical evolution over the last decade and a half. The Incredibles was subversive. It showed us a story we hadn’t really seen before — wholly character driven, a bit of meta commentary, the superhero in middle age, in a suburban setting, with the tropes of both those genres crashing together in exactly the right way.

Incredibles 2 doesn’t cover any new ground thematically. The plot is almost the same — the hero who misses the action-packed life leaves the family and gets duped by a shadowy, technologically advanced entity who has a pathological issue with superheroes. The kids come to the rescue even after they were supposed to stay home, and everybody grows and changes, yadda yadda. The action, the quips, the baby, are all fun to watch. (And it’s clear this film takes place immediately after the first so we could have lots more Jack Jack. That may be the only reason.) But as I’ve been saying for awhile, the quality bar is really really high on superhero movies right now. That wasn’t true when the first one came out. So the story that was amazing then. . . well, it’s been done already. A lot more has been done since. I wanted more.

I consider myself something of an expert on writing stories about superhero families that combine action with domestic angst. (I’m always pleased when After the Golden Age lands on lists of “best superhero novels.”) And there’s a reason I set Dreams of the Golden Age twenty years after the first Golden Age novel. Because I didn’t want to cover the same ground. Because the questions raised at the end of the first book could only be answered years later. Because there’s more than one story that fits into this trope and setting.  What happens after the adventure where the characters have all learned who and what they really are? What do they do with that information?

If the Parr family had really learned anything in the first film, the second should have been different.


Friday update

June 29, 2018

Trying to get back to work, but it’s been a distracting week. We’re also in the middle of a heat wave, which is making everything move just a little slower.

Meantime, I’ve got my eye on a couple Families Belong Together events for tomorrow. Time to hit the streets again.