Exclusive! Extracts from my forthcoming debut novel “Welcome to Wonderland” published on this blog!

fic ext W2W CVW typewriter red roses

Did you know that I have a forthcoming novel coming out?

There’s still a long way to go with it. It is called “Welcome to Wonderland” and will be Book 1 of a trilogy of novels revolving around a Bohemian Love Story. I usually post the latest news about my fiction on my official site CatherineVaughan.com and the publication date of this novel will be first announced on THIS Mailing List from my official site: http://eepurl.com/cxzD1D Kindly share this 💌Mailing List💌 link to any friends and family you think will LOVE the sound of this book series.

Like all my other writing this book series is something I have put my heart and soul into. There are moments I’ve cried as I’ve typed the paragraphs.  It’s a very personal story, certainly not autobiographical but an intimate imprint of all the things I wished and longed for in life that could only manifest in printed words…

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You will meet Olivia Mariam. (She looks just like me.) Her best friend Serena Johnson, complete opposite in looks and temperament. Then there’s Tom and Jack Bodenham. I definitely have the song “something like Olivia” to blame for our main character’s name choice. Serena’s name is a slight homage to Whit Stillman’s debut film and of course Gossip Girl.

Serena sit hat

Naturally the story is set in England, Serena is off at University (studying English Lit) and Olivia works for a publishing press. Having previously turned down a job post at Cheltenham because that was where her life was b.c. (before crisis as in the 2008 financial collapse.) Her father Bill Mariam was a hedge fund manager who lost everything in ’08 and the family haven’t been back since. Olivia lost everything and has dedicated herself to reclaiming back her former life at any cost. Her plan? Creating an app.

Then she meets Jack. 

Jack is athletic and a writer. He’s dreamy but there are ups and downs in store…

Christmas comes along and she’s finally in a place of true happiness… January arrives with a new year and a new job offer elsewhere.

In the meantime Serena has ditched her risque reputation and meets Tom.  The girl’s lives change. New friendships and entanglements ensue.

people cafe

As Olivia aggressively pursues her career she encounters everything she has ever dreamed of with irresistible suitors distracting her along the way. She faces a crossroad yet again and is all too aware of the fragility of life and is uncertain how to proceed in affairs of the heart.

Evelyn wants Nathaniel. Nathaniel and Jacob are enemies yet know Bill Mariam all too well. As luck would have it Jacob and Olivia’s paths cross and attraction arises. Enter temptation and disillusionment…

As she prepares to return home she has thorns in her heart one for Jack, another for Jacob and others thorns pierce her heart from other sources.

Lastly she has doubts whether it’s best to walk alone after all, but can’t but help wonder who her true soulmate is…

NYC skyline tower viewer

Book 1 is all about choices and the uncertainty of our paths in life and love. I can’t wait to announce the publication date to you all on 💌  My Mailing List 💌 !

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First (or maybe 2nd) attempt at a Novel February 24th 2013

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I wanted to share with you guys my fiction writing journey and chronicle how I made the switch to write fiction despite my more non-fiction focused and blog/article based reading preference.

Back in 2013 I had a vague notion of perhaps writing a book for teens. I wanted to draw on certain aspects of my own life and tell a story. It surprises me to see that back then I used the names Jack and Serena, it’s like these characters have been sat dormant inside of me waiting to be released.

This is not a reflection of my writing style, it’s more my attempt at writing for teens in a colloquial, casual manner. This does not come close to my writing style for my next book Welcome to Wonderland. I am after all a self-confessed Literary Babe.

I just wanted to share this with you so you can join me on my Author’s Journey and someday when my debut novel gets released we can sit back and chuckle at this extract and see how my writing has come a long way. I hope it delivers a feeling of nostalgia akin to looking back at old high school photos.

I only wrote exactly 2,360 words and that was it. The story remained untouched and completely forgotten about. At the time I wasn’t even thinking of it as a book or becoming a Novelist I just wanted to sit down and write and set myself the challenge of writing the amount required for a manuscript. It was more a question of how does one face the mammoth task of writing 50,000+ words? Then wandering if I could do it. In some ways it was more of a way to cultivate a new hobby.

Below is just a sample of those 2,000 (ish) words.

“As with many things in life it stops and starts but the journey however imperfect continues…”

Sunday 24th February 2013

(From my old Mac computer it says this fiction file was created 24/2/13 11:33 and last modified 24/2/13 15:11)


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I woke up at the crack of dawn today feeling restless. My eyes were heavy with the deep need to sleep but my mind was racing with silly thoughts of yesterday and things I needed to do later in the week.  Then came the unanswerable question. Why didn’t I have a boyfriend yet? My mind raced back to my last non-boyfriend boyfriend. He was so handsome. I loved him and I loved him but he never loved me. The pain and thwarted passion lingers every single day.

I’m still in bed. It’s 5am on a Sunday morning. I know I don’t have to get up for work today so I snuggle into the duvet cover and feel the plush duvet envelope me. I think back to how Jack would put his arm around me as we sat on the park bench on our dates. He was so physically perfect you know the kind. That 6ft 3 well built Taylor Lautner-esque physique like the hot guy you see in movies who has the manly arms to hold you closely and make you truly feel safe.

I breathed in deeply and smelt the soft scent of my bed and pot porri on my bed stand nearby.

Why did he let me go? Why can’t a day go by when I don’t think of him. I think back to when we met up in the summer after a semester of college.

I recall one June afternoon when we stood under an oak tree in the shade. We finally kissed after a couple of months of not seeing each other because we studied in different cities. I look up at him and he looked back at me with such want and passion and he slowly leaned in and our lips gently met and he kissed me.

Our lips parted and we felt a cool gentle breeze. I looked back into his baby blue eyes and he spoke of how he was so glad we had the summer together and how he enjoys the feel of my lips against his. He murmured that my small mouth had full lips that felt like a cushion on his.

Jack and I still live in the same city. We broke up a year ago. Well actually he ended it and I was left devastated. We’re both 22 years old and I work in a bookshop and he works for an IT company. I should’ve known it wouldn’t last as we were so different. I was from a wealthy family and he wasn’t. I had dark hair and eyes and he was a blue-eyed blonde. Opposites attract and it can be awfully hard for them to part.

We met when we were nineteen. I was at work in the bookshop and he was over by the sports books. I was simply walking past on my way to the staff room as I’d finished my shift. I just happened to turn my head for no reason. I noticed that he was looking at me. I saw him for the first time then. He had a tight white Henley shirt and was holding a hardback copy of TK. So I instantly saw his huge muscles and the outline of his well-built physique. He had blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. He was so handsome. I quickly looked away. I could feel my cheeks gently blush a soft pink shade. I slowly opened the door to the staff room and was taken aback by his virility and how handsome he was. He was the type of man you just have to look at. I didn’t want to take my eyes off him. The first sight of him was etched in my mind. I quickly got my handbag and belongings from my locker. Popped into the ladies to smear on some lip-gloss and another lashing of mascara just in case I’d see him again.

I went back onto the shopfloor and there he was still in the same spot. I really wanted him to approach me. I knew he wanted me. I knew there was an instant attraction. I  walked over to a colleague at the till. The till was near where he was.

bookseller

“I’ll see you tomorrow Serena” I quickly blurted.

“Yeah see you then.”

I took just two steps away from the till counter and could feel a presence behind me suddenly I heard a deep voice say “Excuse me.” I stopped dead in my tracks. The voice was still behind me and I still had not yet turned round. Could it be.? Was man following me. Making his first attempt to pursue me?

I turned around and an attractive tall, dark young man had a pleased expression on his face. I sighed and noticed the blonde guy in the corner of my eye.

I automatically asked “Can I help you?” As I would normally ask a customer whilst working.

“You were the girl who recommended TK for me. You were right it’s truly wonderful.” “Oh yeah, I’m glad you liked it,” I utter in a strained tone. He continued whittling away. I was about to make a polite excuse to leave when suddenly a man said “Is he troubling you? A beautiful lady like yourself shouldn’t be harassed by such an imbecile.” I was a little shocked that he’d describe a complete stranger an imbecile but pleased he was speaking to me. I was wondering what to say back. I opened my mouth slightly ready to reply only I didn’t know what to say. “Oh not at all.” I lied.

The two guys looked at each other and chuckled. “Mate, leave her alone she’s mine,” the tall blonde one said. Gosh he has such a forthright sense of humor. The tall guy told me that the two of them were old buddies then the blonde guy took his hand out towards me to shake hands. I feebly reached my hand forward too. “I’m Jack, this is my mate Scott.” “Oh hi.” Wtf am I suddenly saying hi for mid conversation? “I’m Catherine nice to meet you. You know we’re both about to grab a coffee would you care to join us?” I was standing there stunned. He’s a total stranger OMG what do I do?

“Oh gosh I really must be off I’ve got a bus to catch. Nice to meet you both ,”I quickly mutter and am just about to turn and dash off when Jack says: “When can I see you again?”

“Oh I don’t know. I mean well…you know I work here. So you know where to find me.” I smile knowingly.

“Can I have your number?”

“Um sorry but I’m not too sure about that. Was nice to see you both but I must go now my bus leaves in 3 minutes.

I walk and head towards the staircase and rush out the store doors.

I must confess the following day at 4pm when I finish my shift I did secretly hope that I’d run into him  again. That he wants to hunt me down. But no sign of him.

However the next day practically bang on 4 o’clock as I walk out of the doors of B & N I look up and he’s there’s in front of me walking back into the store. I looked stunned to see him.

“Well fancy seeing you here?”

I blush. “Hi.”

“How about you take me up on that offer for coffee?”

I feel totally compelled to say yes to this beautiful stranger. He’s so tall and manly and I feel dainty in his presence.

“Okay sure.”

We then both head towards the nearby Starbucks. He pulls open the door for me then let’s me walk ahead of him to the barista. I feel very aware of how I look. Thank God I put some perfume on earlier. Chance by Chanel-my absolute fave!

“What would you like?” I’ll have my grande white choclate mocha with cream and… I’d like that carrot cake.”

“Ok I’ll get you it. How was work today?”

“It was fine thanks.” I feel so shy around him I feel stuck on what to say.

“So do you study part-time or anything?”

“Ummm I’m on a gap year. Well actually it’s not really a gap year because a gap year would involve travel and having fun and getting wasted on a beach in Thailand… And well I’ve just been working non-stop.”

“Haha. I just dove right into uni. Doing a degree in Psychology right now.”

“Oh cool.”

Our drinks are ready, he carries them to a cosy table with the sofa seats. I sit on the sofa side and pop my bag down next to me. I’m surprised to see Jack choosing to sit next to me. I lean back into the sofa to get a little space. He leans in too.

Starbucks mug

I reach forward to my mocha drink and take a quick sip almost as a subconscious effort to edge away from him. I burn my tongue instantly. Ow,” I quietly mutter.

“Easy now, there’s no need to rush. Are you ok?”

“Yeah.” I lie.

He rubs my back as he says this.

“So where do you study?”

“In London. I have family that live their so I’m back and forth a lot.”

“Oh, that’s kinda far.”

“Yeah but the London night life is great and there’s lot’s of places to see and museums to visit.”

“Museums?” I ask interestedly.

“Yeah I’m really into… and …” [TK insert noteworthy places he’d be into.]

I think I fall in love just a little. He’s handsome, athlectic and into the arts.

And for the next 45 mins or so it just all flows. The conversation is easy and interesting. I just feel like I’ve known him my whole life. It’s not that we have a whole lot in common we’re just in sync and there’s no awkwardness at all given that we’re strangers.

I took a quick look at his IWC watch* and noticed I’d have to dash.

“I’ve really had a nice time with you today.”

“You’re heading off?”

“Yeah.”

I pick up my handbag and am ready to get up when he asks for my number. I pause and take in the exciting fact that this gorgeous guy wants to see me again. It feels good. I tell him my number trying to play it a little cool and then I make way out of the coffee shop.

I’m back home and by the time I’ve showered and eaten dinner I notice a text on my phone.

It’s Jack! Wow he likes me. Can’t believe I’m finally getting close to a guy who actually likes me. I’ve spent 19 years practically single. And now I’m certain this is a sure thing. I know that sounds crazy. I don’t even know him.

 


Even back then I knew I’d use the names Jack and Serena in my book someday… Notably those characters are not in anyway similar to the Jack & Serena of Welcome to Wonderland. It’s funny how things brew in your mind and how it takes a while for them to manifest fittingly.

The love interest Jack was definitely based on the guy in my poem called 2am.

If you’d like to read this poem then sign-up to Pop-up Mailing List.

However the real 2am guy does not make an appearance in my novels because he has no bohemian credibility. We were opposites and as I declared in the above passage: “Opposites attract and it can be awfully hard for them to part.”

 

*Slight inconsistency with him wearing an IWC watch-LOL!


Facebook: /CatherineVaughanWriter
Twitter: @CattVaughan
www.CatherineVaughan.com
My other blog: Boho.blog

 

 

 

Reading Howl for the first time…

Howl 1

It was a Tuesday (13.6.17) evening and my 22nd print edition (1969) of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl and other poems” had arrived via Priority Mail. I had been meaning to own this for a while.

I opened the book at random, enter Howl. I Youtubed Allen and searched for his reading of this poem on my phone. I hit play and sat on my bed reading his words and hearing his words. Beat Consciousness streamed through my being…

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked…

 

Source

 

…Who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to 

Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,
a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the
stoops off fire escapes off windowsills of Empire State out
of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming…

#GinsbergGlasses

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…Who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to
Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver &
brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find
out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each
other’s salvation and light and breasts, until the soul
illuminated its hair for a second…
I’m with you in Rockland
where you laugh at this invisible humor
I’m with you in Rockland
where we are great writers on the same dreadful typewriter
I’m with you in Rockland

It was lengthy punch lines, knocking me out. I continued listening as he read Footnote to Howl.

Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

 

It was almost 30 minutes of voyeuristic poetry, vulgarity, profanity and some moments had me wincing at the blasphemous lines: “The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and [insert hidden body parts].” It’s controversial but it drastically shifted the art form of poetry forever.

In his dedication Ginsberg states his and his friends books were published in Heaven. This irks me severely because he’s practically summoning Moloch in his poem…

I like The Beat Beneration because they were pure poetry and they had that enviable university-to-death friendship that I never got to have. I arrived at University and I don’t think anybody knew Burroughs/Kerouac/Ginsberg.  It seems romantic looking back and very literary though I’m sure if I was alive when they were I’d have ran off after the poetry reading as they drank their way into despair and havoc… It’s always hard to champion these Bohemians because they’re so flawed and there’s always a dark side to artists either they are drunkards/insert addiction of choice, had horrific upbringings/lives due to others cruelty or are just plain rotten because we are all sinners. But it’s the art, talent and image I’m shining a light to… Not them as individuals.

A New Style for 2017

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So last night I just randomly decided to change the entire design and style of my lifestyle blog CatherineVaughansWorld.com.

This choice has been determined by my recent foraying back into the blogs I enjoyed back in the day. On my gap Year in 2009 and in my first year of University I was dipping into to blogs by Leo Babauta, Tim Ferriss and Cal Newport. I became frustrated as well as deeply affected by the horrid things that had been going on in my life since my teens and needed a new outlook on life, a vision of how life could be. I was insatiably materialistic with a huge propensity to excess (in attitude and habit) in those days and knew it was not the way to be. The bloggers and writers mentioned above are somewhat collectively LifeHackers, a term fellow British readers may not be too familiar with as life-hacking techniques are not particularly present in our culture. It’s a very American concept and one that I didn’t realize I had been doing since my teen years before I discovered these online writers.

I felt the need for transformation on my blogs. Things had been brewing for a while. I had successfully updated, revitalized and changed the entire layout of my arts blog NouveauBohemian.com and now it was time for my namesake Lifestyle blog to get the same treatment.

This former website design and aesthetic is simply too much. Too colourful, too bold. It’s crowded and distracted. It’s time for change. Time for simplicity. Time to pare things down to the bare essentials.

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It reflects the old me that had to be bold and striking but now I’m fed up of that approach and crave simplicity and spareness, even boringness.

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I want to go back to the roots of my reading and writing style. Previously I thought my obsession with efficiency and discipline would reduce my artsy credibility so to speak, but then I realized that firstly those qualities shape me and enable me to find pieces of success in the arts field and secondly fellow admirers of productivity tips are actually quite Bohemian. The likes of Ferriss, Babauta and Newport are often contrarian in their views. They’re non-conformist types. If anything efficiency and productivity are non-conformist traits because there’s so little presence of it in daily conventional life despite it being necessary for a functional life.

I was watching an interview with ZenHabits.net blogger Leo and FourHourWorkWeek.com blogger Tim and realizing these guys are the Zen Bohemians that Laren Stover writes about in her book The Bohemian Manifesto.

Something else I’ve also had to accept in life is that these kinds of people are basically the top in their field and that such discussions in the video just do not happen in real life, sadly. It’s not a typical topic of discussion at all… Though it seems quite natural to me….

I no longer have to choose either side as both sides of myself the artistic, romantic and sensitive dreamer can work in unison with my detail-orientated, productivity-seeking and perfectionist tendencies.

I’m glad I’m embracing this side of myself again and also discussing such writers because they’ve been so influential on my life and are cumulatively a supreme bank of knowledge. I hope maybe some readers of this blog will check out these incredible writers mentioned on this post:

Tim Ferriss
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2ikY071
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2hkiSvm
Blog:
FourHourWorkWeek.com

Cal Newport
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2i0nLGT
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2il9RC1
Blog:
CalNewport.com/blog

Leo Babauta
His books, USA Link: http://amzn.to/2hQGTZE
UK Link: http://amzn.to/2hgA4QI
Blogs:
ZenHabits.net
Mnmlist.com/archive/


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Twitter: @CattVaughan
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www.CatherineVaughan.com
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Poetry Reading Event @ De Koffie Pot, Hereford 03/03/16

Invitation Poetry Reading

Thursday 3rd March 2016

19:00 pm

FREE EVENT:  @ De Koffie Pot cafe

FOR LITERATURE LOVERS!

(in the Courtyard behind the main Left Bank building)

EVENT DETAILS ON FACEBOOK CLICK HERE.

 

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Performance by Hereford born and raised Author + Poet Catherine Vaughan. Readings of classic poems by Walt Whitman to Pablo Neruda followed by poems written by Vaughan taken from her poetry book: “The Quarter Life Crisis Poet” and NEW material!

Location: On Bridge Street, before the Old Bridge -> where that white tent is!

Tell your friends and come along!

Book review: It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be: The world’s best selling book

This Tuesday I spent the day in Cardiff and mooched about in various shops. I popped into Urban Outfitters and discovered this book; a beautiful, compact and monochromatic guide on success by Phaidon publishers.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: The world’s best selling book

I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the book but here are the Top 5 golden lines:

  • Don’t look for the next opportunity. The one you have in hand is the opportunity
  • Have you noticed how the cleverest people at school are not those who make it in life?
  • If you get stuck, draw with a different pen
  • When it can’t be done, do it. If you don’t do it, it doesn’t exist.

  • Present on Tuesday