Tag Archives: Suzette Vaughn

A Day at Barnhill’s

I recently spent a magical day at Barnhill’s Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a book-signing. I didn’t sign many books, but I nevertheless had a fabulous time, finally getting to meet Second Wind writers Lazarus Barnhill, Claire Collins (Tracy Beltran), and Suzette Vaughn. In the process of hanging out, I got to know Barnhill’s pretty well.

First of all, it’s in a prime location. The president of SIBA, Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, summed it up well when she said, “Winston-Salem needed an Indie Bookstore.”

Inside Barnhills, polished hardwood floors match a centrally-located, hand-crafted check-out island. The cashier’s stand also matches the bookshelves, since it’s made from a blend of two types of wood.

The two huge storefront windows let in excellent light, and the throughway (you can enter through the back or the front) creates a friendly, open mood. The walls are covered with art and murals from local artists, and Tracy’s warm greeting is a given.

Unique gifts delight at every turn: In one cubby you’ll find an eclectic collection of letter openers. In another, homemade pickles. There is something for everyone, from jewelry, to ornaments, to children’s toys, to hand-sewn wine bottle gift bags, to gourmet tea, to fudge, to … well, I won’t give it all away. You need to visit Barnhill’s yourself … or, if you live too far away, you might have to settle for visiting online.

More about the wine bottle gift bags: They have an excellent purpose for being there. Barnhill’s also offers a wide variety of wines from the North Carolinian vineyards. The day that I was there, Ken, from Round Peak Winery, led a wine tasting, and I bought a red zinfandel and a sangiovese. I’d have bought more if I hadn’t been driving down to Atlanta the next day, before heading home to Richmond. I wasn’t sure that the wine would appreciate being jostled so much … but I’ll be back for more in June.

And, of course, Barnhill’s is a bookstore and has books of all kinds. If you don’t see one that you want it can be ordered. When I was there, Carri Davis, the massage therapist who was giving chair massages (proceeds to benefit the Shephard’s Center), found an amazing book by artist Mark Ryden.

And that’s really one of the coolest things about Barnhill’s. Being there is like being on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find.

May you be around for many years to come, Barnhill’s!

Lucy Balch

Author of Love Trumps Logic, available at Barnhills’s

And at http://secondwindpublishing.com


Filed under writing

How a story grows

People ask me about the “odd” way a story grows for me because there is no right or wrong way to it. Most people think you have to start on page one… In the beginning…and all that.


I start wherever the scene in my head starts.


That is to say, if the idea that buzzes about is actually the ending, then that is where I start writing. I add on either side as I can and sometimes jump to a completely different part, again because that is what wants my attention. During the entire time that I’m jumping around in the story, I also edit as I write. Still, it feels like the editing process never ends. I can attest to that. Even books that are already published refuse to leave that process.


The main thing I’m finding important is, I must enjoy the process or no one enjoys the book. And what is the point in that? I write for me and for others to enjoy the voices that won’t leave me alone.


Suzette Vaughn is the author of “Mortals, Gods, and a Muse” and “Badeaux Knights”


Filed under books, life, musings, writing

A completely new life!

As a writer, there are many things you will find difficult.

Reading a book without editing as you go.

I now hate finding a typo or font change in a book, of course, I also now sympathize with them, I’d cringe if I found one in my own at this point. I even edit newspapers and magazines as I go.

Pass by a new author’s book.

Nope I can’t do this anymore either. I can’t go straight for my favorite author without at least giving the new guy/girl on the shelf a look. Simply because I do believe in karma.

Free time.

So, you like to sleep. I remember what that was like. Oh and how I miss enjoying a night of peace. A clean house. A clean car. A long hot bubble bath verses a quick shower. I also remember breathing.

Instead, I use my time for advertising, blogging, and occasionally writing.

Anything you want to add to the list as I run off again?

Suzette Vaughn is the author of “Mortals, Gods, and a Muse” and “Badeaux Knights”


Filed under books, fun, Humor, life, musings, writing

My advice for anyone who says… “I want to write a book.”


Do it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t over-think the process. Sit down with a pen and paper or at your computer and see what happens.

Everyone must start somewhere and every book you’ve ever read started with one word. Which is probably not the first word you read when you buy it. That first spark in the back recesses of the author’s mind might not have ever made it as far as the first draft, but it still started there.

Then let that word grow into a sentence. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Many times, I don’t even bother using commas, which is bad to admit, but normally the thought wants to flow out so badly that it takes too much time. That is what editing is for, after all.

Stick with it. Don’t just do thirty minutes once. Sit down every day and write or you might get stuck again for a week.

Join the Second Wind Authors this month on our NaNo page if you need a little push along the way.




Suzette Vaughn is the author of “Mortals, Gods, and a Muse” and “Badeaux Knights”




Filed under books, writing

Interview: Mortals, Gods, and a Muse, Aphrodite

Interviewer: What’s your name?

Aphrodite: Depends on whom you ask.

Interviewer: I’m asking you

Aphrodite: I am Aphrodite, Goddess of love

Interviewer: What would others call you?

Aphrodite: Sherry called me Star, thinking she could just make up a name for me.

Interviewer: Why didn’t you tell her your name was Aphrodite?

Aphrodite: When I tried to talk, she couldn’t hear me. It was very frustrating.

Interviewer: She couldn’t hear you? You were quiet?

Aphrodite: Idiot, no! She physically couldn’t hear me. The words were coming out of my mouth and she looked at me as if it was my problem?

Interviewer: Okay you rude goddess, what is your role in Sherry’s story?

Aphrodite: If I still had my powers, you’d be a frog right now. I, of course, had to fix her little love life. How was I supposed to know she was his true love?

Interviewer: Sherry was whose true love?

Aphrodite: Lysander’s, of course. The Eros family line. Don’t you understand anything?

Interviewer: I understand that talking to you is like talking to a stubborn mule. Let’s take this one step at a time. Who is Lysander?

Aphrodite: Lysander was the last male born to the Eros family line.

Interviewer: Good, now we are getting somewhere. So, you made a love match of Sherry and Lysander since you are the goddess of Love?

Aphrodite: Not me! They did that all on their own. Well, he did that from Hades. I took away the love of Eros, God of Love, and kind of cursed the family and well…I don’t want to talk about that.

Interviewer: Well, please sit down and stop pacing around the room. We can talk about something else.

Aphrodite: Fine! I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for Sherry, the insufferable twit.

Interviewer: So what did you do to the Eros family?

Aphrodite: You said we wouldn’t talk about that.

Interviewer: I didn’t know the Goddess of Love could shoot flames from her eyes. So, what would you like to talk about?

Aphrodite: I thought I was here to talk about me, not them!

Interviewer: If you don’t want to talk about their love life, how about yours?

Aphrodite: I have no love life since Eros put me in that stupid box. He really is a hot head you know.

Aphrodite: You’re calling him a hothead? Um, I mean, so… why did he put you in a box?

Aphrodite: I said I don’t want to discuss that. I’m done.

Interviewer: Where did she go? She just disappeared. Well, I guess this interview is over. Note to self: remove Sherry Duncan and Suzette Vaughn off my Christmas list for this.


Eros: Thank Zeus she’s gone, Miss…Miss, please snap out of it.

Interviewer: Oh my, it’s warm in here. I’m feeling a little dizzy

Eros: I get that all of the time. You’ll be fine in a moment.

Interviewer: You promise? I’d like to know how you’re going to make it fine?

Eros: Stay on task now Miss…you were asking about Sherry and Xander?

Interviewer: Ohh yes, those people. Okay, Sherry and Lysander, but first, please tell me your name? You look like a god.

Eros: I am a god. You want an interview do you not?

Interviewer: Interview? I can think of better things to do with our time together. Sorry. You’re a little distracting. Was that your girlfriend that just poofed out of here?

Eros: My ex by about three millennia.

Interviewer: So you’re single?

Eros: Yes my dear, I am, but we are not here for me, are we?

Interviewer: We can be.

Eros: I am getting nowhere here.

Interviewer: You could be.

Eros: Now listen here. I came to talk to you, not for you to be looking at me like that.

Interviewer: How could you love that vicious Goddess? Sorry, I mean, how did she get out of the box? And is there a way we can put her back in… forever?

Eros: I could put her back but she is serving a new purpose. Xander let her out, he figured out the riddle to the box, so he was the one to break the curse.

Interviewer: So that’s where Sherry comes in? She had to put her back?

Eros: Well the way it was supposed to go, Aphrodite was to find Sherry and lead her to Xander. But there were… complications, and well…Xander ended up in Hades.

Interviewer: Aphrodite sent him there didn’t she, that bit.. er.. bites. That bites.

Eros: Well in a way, yes, and then it was up to Sherry to bring him back

Interviewer: How did Sherry get him out?

Eros: She had to figure out how to open the box herself.

Interviewer: Did she shove Aphrodite in it when she got it open?

Eros: No, she got her second chance with Xander, which we all should know, second chances at love don’t always happen, and still the story didn’t end there. For once Aphrodite was smart and stayed far away.

Interviewer: Anything else you want to tell me, perhaps over dinner?

Eros: And drinks. Have you ever seen Mount Olympus in the fall?


Mortals, Gods, and a Muse written by Suzette Vaughn


Filed under fun, musings, writing

My extended family

I am surround by family. I have a husband, son, sister, mother, and brother. I have more cousins, aunts, and uncles than I could count, even using my and your toes. Oh did I mention in-laws.

I have friends that count as family. Those that call me after months of not hearing from them…

“Hey, Suz. I need your couch.”

I hope I’m not unique in that.


I have a very special extension of my family too. While we all have some things in common, we are as different as… well snowflakes come to mind. Mostly because of the flake part. 

We are creative, smart (at least we think so), loving, and friendly. We are also testy at times, each have moments of “duh”, and get hurt feelings, even when it was not intended.

We are unique in the fact that, while we work together, hardly any of us have met. We know more about each other than some of our blood. We talk, we share, we agree, and sometimes must agree to disagree. 

I am of course talking about the authors around me that have found their home in Second Wind. I’m talking about writers that range from Mainstream Fiction to Paranormal Romance. We also range from thirty years-old to past retirement.

We live from coast to coast and everywhere in between. We also love to read, love to write, and create in ways that amaze me from day to day.


And though we all write, our books are as different as we are. We have different voices, different genres, and different ways of looking at each. And through it all we will stand as family, like any family; with love in mind, and stories to tell.


Suzette Vaughn

The Second Wind Publishing Family

Author of Badeaux Knights and Mortals, Gods, and a Muse


Filed under books, fiction, life, writing