Category Archives: David Vaughn

Overwatch Update

For like the two of you who have been waiting with bated breath about the status of Overwatch, you’re gonna have to wait a little while longer. Book 1: Proving Ground is essentially done. Yay, but Book 2: Exfil Point, ooofah… It’s in a major rewrite.



Exfil Point, after the mandatory fermenting period, SUCKS FESTERING MONEKY ASS. It needs a complete overhaul. I guess that’s what happens when you try to splice two attempts to start a book into one mash-up and fingers crossed, hope it works out. The only, and I mean ONLY, people who are good at mash-ups are the song stylists at Glee. They are the masters of it. Me? Not so much. While it seemed like it was a good plan and that things flowed while in the midst of a summer induced haze of long days of just writing and drinking and more writing, it didn’t fit together as much as I had thought. So it’s back to the drawing board for me.

I axed almost 10k words from the end. Shaved it off like a Russian woman’s armpits. The emotional content was limp, trite and I had already addressed the issues in it with a whole chapter insert about 6k words before. So chop went the blade. Then I reread it again from the beginning. And started hacking away at the stuff that sounded good but again wound up being forced and trite. Chop, chop. Pretty soon this thing started to look like an anorexic supermodel with a bad hair day. Good thing though? It had a great bone structure. The elements were there. Girl’s living in Boy’s house, pretending they don’t want to just sleep with each other and abstaining for the greater good of the world. They have a deep understanding and friendship that gets tested when they open Pandora’s box. (That Bitch Pandora should just keep her damn legs closed and save everyone from the trouble of her minefield of a box! and if you’re not getting the box reference, please go check it out at Things gets dicey in relation to their relations and decisions are made that effect the incidents in Book 3: Cold War. The romance stuff I had all down. I knew where I wanted to go, knew how I wanted it to end, shocked myself a little bit with how far I went with it, but it’s good. Now that it’s bald and a skeleton.

What it needs is some meat. The meat of the Mission that is – they are Spec Ops soldiers and spies after all. Enter the action plot. Oh the goddamn mission… Bane of my existence. And I kick myself all the time for wanting to write love stories about awesome action figure super spies and soldiers because seriously, who gives a shit about them if we never see them at work? Otherwise they should be dog groomers and let call it a day. So I struggle…

I’m not sure if it’s because I live a ‘do unto others’ kind of existence. I try to live fair and equitable and don’t treat people cruelly  but I have a really hard time coming up with motives for bad guys to do bad things with. If I have a beef with someone who wronged me, I cut you off my Christmas card list and de-friend you on Facebook while you’re not looking. I don’t plot world domination and human traffic your sister and her best-friend’s cousin to get back at you. Therefore, I struggle with believable plots that would bring my sexy heroes and heroines out into the big bad world. Because again, who wants to read about kick ass spies if we neve see them at work?

How have a I fixed this problem? Ugh. I’m reading news articles and blogs from around the troubled hotspots of the world. Very depressing, man’s inhumanity to man. We are a disgusting species. The Earth has every right to rebel and get us fuckers off the planet. I’ve found some pretty disturbing things with regards to the undercurrent of terrorism and the battle to establish a foothold in Africa.

But you know what else this whole devastation of the horrid mash-up has done to me? I’ve become a plotster. Gasp! Swoon and sigh. I never used to have to plan. WTF? I used to pull rainbows and sunshine out of my ass and it was fabulous. Yeah, well that was fanfiction. And fanfiction while a great proving ground for confidence that maybe your ability to write doesn’t suck that bad after all, it’s not all that intolerant of dangling plot threads and meandering experiments with slice of life prose. It’s shit we wish we saw on our favorite television shows, but just didn’t make the cannon cut. In publishable fiction, it’s unacceptable to not have a plan. To not have a mid-point that doesn’t sag, and a dark moment that doesn’t actually give you the feeling that all will never be right again. Who am I using these terms? It’s like the moment you realize you have to actually send 95% of your paycheck to pay bills and that you’ve become a grown up. For the most part I’ve done this instinctually. But now, with these freaking missions… instinct isn’t going to cut it anymore.

This stretches my timeline out exponentially. I’ve got other series in the works that are begging to be written, one of which is a sequel series to Overwatch, another is a Sci-Fi Romance series. Not that I want to say goodbye to David and Jillie, but I want to publish this bitch and move on. Patience is not always my strong suit.

Alas, I will endeavor to try.



WIP: Proving Ground Update

Proving Ground is close, oh so very close, to being ready to e-format and publish on Amazon. It has been scoured and polished by my fantastic critique partners, Karen and Amy and beta read by Jes and Stella. (They totally get my vision!!) I’ve had nothing but good constructive criticism and positive responses. Dearest Stella said she even had some tears in her eyes, in a good way of course, and that just makes me want to get drunk on mojitos and dance on tables. No, not really, I want to be badass, but I’m so not! But it does mean a lot that both Jes and Stella have had such an emotional response to Jillie and David. My book is way better because of these ladies and I owe them tremendous thanks for their efforts.

It’s been a long road for this book in it’s various incarnations but I have a clear plan in sight now. It’s an epic love story now that will span five books. I’m currently in Book 2: Exfil Point and working diligently to beef up and clean up the plot. Yeah it seems long. Five books you say? Well… Look at it this way––How many times have you watched a movie or been involved in a book and want to know what happens after the book ends? How many of you want to see how after all their stuggles to get together they actually ARE together? What happens when the lights go out and everyone goes home? Well, that’s what will happen in the Overwatch Series. Each book is another episode into Jillie and David’s relationship and their evolution from colleagues to friends to deep and ever-lasting love.
So I need a blurb. One that lets you know it’s the never-ending story, but also gets you intrigued by Jillie and David enough to follow them into the great unknown.
Here’s what I have come up with so far:
The last thing Colonel David Vaughn needed on his anti-terrorist task force was another beautiful badass woman. They were his weakness. He had a job to do.
Burned CIA agent, Jillian Craig didn’t want back into the game. But there was only so much sun, designer shoes and hunky Mediterranean men a girl could take.
When a mutual interest brings them together to fight the war on terror, it’s no surprise––sparks fly. Can the two ignore their attraction or is the personal sacrifice too much?
The Overwatch Series follows the epic love story of David and Jillian as they try to balance duty, desire and self-sacrifice to protect the world from terror.
Book One: Proving Ground. See how it all begins.

Feel free to chime in and let me know what you think. Too much? Too little? Too cheesy? Never want to be cheesy… Discuss.

I’m going to post an excerpt of Proving Ground, Chapter 1 soon. I’m also putting my actual professional skills to use and working on a cover(s). I’m torn between paying for the royalty-free image rights for some images, which is a couple hundred dollars vs. working in Poser (a 3D art program where I can make Jillie and David actually look like I see them in my head) Too cool, but WAY more time consuming, considering I’m still learning how to use the program. But, that could also be a couple hundred dollars if I want to use pre-existing morphs to build my characters because that wold make them look badass. And you know me and badass. Since my wallet is decidedly NOT badass, I’m waiting on that issue until the cover is the very last thing that needs to be done.

See you soon,

Pocket Guide Cnt’d, Inside the Colonel’s Trousers

Last time we looked at what was inside Jillian’s pockets/purse/tactical gear. It was an strange amalgamation of girlie things, useful trade craft and incendiary devices. It spoke to her dual personality and double life. The two women inside that make up her whole. Warrior and woman.

This time, we’ll stick our hand into Colonel David Vaughn’s pants… ahem, I mean pockets. Go ahead, give his ass a quick squeeze and move on….

He’s an Air Force Colonel who’s spent the majority of his life in uniform, in the field. He has very little need for extras. So when David empties his pockets on the nightstand at the end of the day, he takes out a slim black leather wallet. Not too old, not too new, softly worn in. Inside he has his Air Force ID, his driver’s license, his debit card, and American Express. He carries $100 in cash, in twenties and he will empty his coins into a large glass mug every day. He keeps his keys on a simple ring, silver metal with a plain tab. One for his house, one for his truck, one for Ops – it also has a punch-in code – and later on in the series, one for Jillian’s house. He does not carry one for the other team members, Marcus or Bobby D. Hmm… Just sayin’.

His tact-vest is another story. He lives in that vest, survives by it. The site I gave last time:

It lists what soldiers of different unit designations would need. David’s would be the Rifle Squad Leader. He would have the standard fare of grenades, extra ammo, tools, goggles, strobe lights, GPS and SAT phone to connect back to Ops. He packs a Leatherman tool, which is like a Swiss Army knife on steroids and a Maglite flashlight, crazy bright. Get one. The small one still casts a ton of light. (They’re the ones the Scully and Mulder used to hold in their hands when entering all of those dark rooms.) He maintains a small amount a non-tactical items in his crowded yet, available pouches. A deck of cards, wooden matches, and American gum – he was the one that gave Jillian the idea because the local children would always ask. He carries extra tablets of Vicodin that he keeps secret from Bobby D, the team medic, for his creaky aching knees. He used to carry a chocolate bar for Jillian, but it gets too hot and melts so he now carries a few packets of dry hot cocoa. It’s a survival tactic – when the woman needs chocolate, no one is safe.

He also keeps a bandana tied to his strap and a roll of duct tape in his pack. He wears a dingy old khaki baseball cap when on missions and not in regulation Air Force uniform (Spec Ops soldiers often wear non-standard cammo and foreign guns to perpetuate their “non-allegiance” with the US Forces – sometimes called False-Flag operations.) He wears a pair of dark square, aviator shades, with a strap around back to keep from losing them when it gets physical. Jillian loves them because they’re sexy but hates them because she can’t see his eyes.

BTW, Vaughn doesn’t look like Joshua Dumel

Special Operators don’t carry identification or any type of personal trinkets and memorabilia. One, they are ‘invisible’ and work in non-sanctioned missions. Two, those items can be traced back to their families. And three, it creates ‘bad juju’.  While some may think of it as a good luck token, for them it creates bad luck. (I got this off of an episode of the Unit. It may be fictionalized, but it made sense to me). The premise being that the item reminds them of their family back home, makes them careful and therefore unfocused. None of Vaughn’s stuff can help identify him, but it’s personal nonetheless.

So, what does his stuff say about him? Well, he’s a pretty simple guy. Doesn’t need a lot of things to add style or flare – plain wallet, plain keychain. He likes to be nondescript, professionally and personally. He’s practical. The items in his pack are for use. They all have a purpose. When carrying a 50lb rucksack through the rough terrain of Afghanistan or the jungles of South America, you need only the bare essentials to keep you alive. There is no room for amenities. It’s all about what the job needs, survival and life or death.

There a two things there that have to do with Jillian. One is her key on his key chain. They are not lovers at the point in which she gives him a key but, it means that he has free access to her home. She trusts him and he has an open invitation. The other is the hot cocoa. Why would the Colonel, the team leader, carry sustenance for a team member? My point exactly. She’s more than just a team member to him. He sees her differently, despite his denials to the contrary. He cares for her and comforts her. There’s always a small percentage of his brainpower focused on her and her needs. Why? Because he’s in love with her of course!

Each and every person has quirks about what they carry with them. Some more telling than others. It’s our job as authors and observers of human behavior to recognize those small details. They are clues to personality, to our character development. They add nuances and depth. Of course, use these snippets wisely. Never be contrived when frosting your character cake. Be subtle. Like a good perfume, a little goes a LONG way!

Happy observing!
~Indigo Grace

The Pocket Guide to Characters

No, this isn’t a small, tidy little how-to for character development booklet. It’s literally: “What’s in side your character’s pockets?”


My “Soul Mate Critique Partner” asked me a few weeks ago what was in David and Jillian’s pockets? She wanted to get to know them more. I thought about it for a minute and things started to pop into my head. It was freakin’ brilliant! What a fun way to delve deeper into your characters and come up with  more than just lint!

How can the items in your character’s pockets, or let’s say purse or satchel or even tactical gear, in the case of my characters, tell you about who you’re character is? Well, those items give you insight in to the small details, the everyday needs to organizational skills. Are the items handy, decorative, personal tokens? Do the items serve a generic purpose, or are they there for sentimental value?

Women take a look in your purse. Guys, look in your pants pocket, or even the console of your car. How much of that stuff do you REALLY need? How much of it is stuff you keep because you think you might need it? Aside from my orange leather wallet, my Oakley X-metal Juliet glasses, a little notebook for jotting down ideas and my real glasses for driving, I have tons of receipts in my bag, some with used gum in them. Eww. And a ziplock bag of coupons. Yeah, I’m exciting, I know. I have a small bottle of antibacterial gel I never use, un-chewed gum, Chapstick and a Vera Bradley case to hold tampons and some ibuprofen for a headache.  My big secret? I have some borrowed Xanax wrapped in a reindeer Christmas napkin stashed in a small ziplock bag that I got from a friend, just in case I’m at my in-laws for a holiday and I’m about to have a meltdown because my sister-in-law’s demon spawn are crawling the walls. It’s a dicey prospect.

What does all of this stuff say about me? I like bold colors – the orange wallet, but never on my body. I spend good money on things that I know are going to last – the -metals. I try to be good about using coupons, but don’t always get to it . The rest is all practical needs for when out of the house. There’s nothing worse than needing a tampon when your out and you don’t have one. The receipts, I try not to think about, but if I’m honest they’re from too much fast food. I could lie and say it’s just to wrap up my gum but…

So let’s play the game: What’s inside ex-CIA agent, Jillian Craig’s purse? Well first of all, it’s an expensive leather and aligator skin black hobo bag. Just like she doesn’t scrimp on shoes, neither does she scrimp on bags. However, the bag will change to accent her outfit. But this is her favorite one. Inside, she has her make-up bag (hi-end cosmetics, a lot from Europe – bought when traveling), a large wallet with credit cards under an alias. Of course, tampons and condoms for that impromptu liaison because you just never know when a hot Italian man will take you to Milan. In case she needs to skip town on a second’s notice, inside the lining she has an alternate id and passport under a different alias. She has a lock picking set and smaller blade stiletto knife.

What does this say about Jillian? In her personal life, or rather when she’s not on the job, she’s still always on the job. She needs to have items that keep her identity a secret and allow her protection and a means of escape if the situation arises. She loves the finer things in life. She will spend a lot of money for good fabrics, well made accessories and accouterments. She likes sexy men and is no stranger to the occasional fling. While she’ll commit to a life of self-sacrifice for the greater good and a $1000 pair of shoes, she’s less likely to commit to a man for more than a few hours and sexual romp.

How about her tactical vest when she’s on a mission with the Colonel? Well, it’s got lots of little pockets and a backpack for supplies. A kit will normally contain MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), a canteen, 25 grenades and frag grenades. Packs of C4 explosive, detonators, wire, wire cutters, needle nose pliers plus a variety of other tactical gear. Personal hygiene stuff: OB tampons (small and no waste), yeast infection pills and extra elastic hair ties. She carries gum and an iPod, which she’ll often give away to children in foreign countries. The local kids love American gum.
Check out this extensive site for the combat load carried by soliders in Afghanistan. Jillian would be the Grenadier.

The coolest part about Jillian is that she’s a glamor puss AND a warrior. I like the juxtaposition of those two personalities because they’re so incongruous.

Next time we’ll take a look at David’s pockets and see what that says about him. In the meantime, check out your character’s pockets. Or, have fun and take a guess at what your favorite character has in hers. It’s work that feel like play and there isn’t anything that’s better than that!

Dig up some lint!
~Indigo Grace

David’s Proust Questionnaire

Colonel David Vaughn, USAF Spec Ops,  Counter-terrorism Joint Task Force, Classified.
Last time, we looked at Jillian’s Proust Questionnaire to give a little back history on who she was and how she came to be. While I had difficultly with Jillian, I had a much better handle on our hero, Vaughn. Maybe it’s because I based him off of two amazing male characters: Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS and Colonel Jack O’Neill of Stargate. He’s sort of an amalgamation of both of them however, without the angst of losing a child. Their honor, loyalty, determination and vigilance for what’s right. Of course, Vaughn’s morphed into his own man, but as a die to cast from, those two are incredible heroes. 
So Vaughn was easy. I got him. His motivations are pure: do the job and do it well, no matter the cost. He has a quiet sensitive side,  a sarcastic side and a creative side. He has a weakness for younger, beautiful badass women (psht, would I love him if he didn’t?) and it has gotten him into trouble in the past. His body is starting betray him and he has a tendency to mix his painkillers with alcohol, but that’s in his blood. Apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, if you know what I mean. Dad was an alcoholic and abusive. And in that vein there is a darkness inside of him, one that he suppresses, but comes out sometimes when he makes the decisions that no one else wants to make. He’s a trained killer and he lives by a code of violence, even if it is for the greater good. His personal life is about sacrifice and he’s no stranger to living alone.

Here is Vaughn’s questionnaire:

·  Your most marked characteristic? Work and duty always come first, self-sacrifice.

·  The quality you most like in a man? Can take it on the chin and then ask for more.

·  The quality you most like in a woman? The real answer or the politically correct answer? (Real one: Young, beautiful, can kick your ass with a pair of high heels on and shoot you between the eyes from a hundred yards away) (Politically correct: A woman who can do her job effectively).

·  What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty.

·  What is your principle defect? Work-a-holic.

·  What is your favorite occupation? Like to remodel my house.

·  What is your dream of happiness? I don’t know, I don’t really look toward the future.

·  What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? To lose a member of my team on my watch.

·  What would you like to be? A small-town handyman, no pressure.

·  In what country would you like to live? I’ve been all over the world. Every place has some good and something bad about it, even the shitholes of the world, but none of it really compares to here.

·  What is your favorite color? Hmm, that shade of mahogany that’s almost brown, but has red inside of it… it’s great on wood and even better on Jillie when she’s standing in the sunlight. Ahem… yeah, don’t tell her I said that. Strictly need-to-know…

·  What is your favorite flower? Syrian Jasmine, smells incredible when it’s mixed with spice. Shit, that woman is way too imbedded in my head. Also, need-to-know….

·  What is your favorite bird? Birds are a pain in the ass… they always get in the way and give away our position.

·  Who are your favorite prose writers? I used to read Tom Clancy when we were holed up in a room waiting to do a drop but I lost interest. Clive Cussler can be fun.

·  Who are your favorite poets? Dr. Seuss

·  Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Silver Surfer, Batman

·  Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Man, if a woman actually ran around a jungle in tight little shorts like that, I’d have had my head blown off a long time ago.

·  Who are your favorite composers? I usually tend to go for classic 70s rock… but on the rare, and I mean rare occasion… I put on some Opera – Puccini. That’s also need-to-know.

·  Who are your favorite painters? Painters no, but I loved the Silver Surfer comics when I was a kid.

·  Who are your heroes in real life? General Burt Cole, best damn soldier, mentor I’ve ever worked with. He’s a great man.

·  Who are your favorite heroines of history? The one I’m working with right now… I’d want her watching my six any day of the week.

·  What are your favorite names? That’s an odd question. I have a favorite alias, but that too is need-to-know.

·  What is it you most dislike? Men who are cowards.  (My son of bitch old man).

·  What historical figures do you most despise? Too many to recall, nameless men I’ve killed for crimes against humanity.

·  What event in military history do you most admire? Classified.

·  What reform do you most admire? The Homeland Security terrorist mandates.

·  What natural gift would you most like to possess? Toss-up: the ability to read women’s minds… or special vision that identified who was a terrorist and who was an ordinary civilian.

·  How would you like to die? With my boots on.

·  What is your present state of mind? My shelves are calling me… they need to be sanded.

·  To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Heh, my taste for younger women, I guess I’m a dirty old bastard.

·  What is your motto? Air Force Spec Ops motto: First There

·   What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? SERE training… simulates being captured by terrorists, they use your darkest weakness against you to break you and everyone breaks… it’s only a matter of time.

So, what did this tell me about Vaughn that I didn’t already know? It gave me things to put into his history, stuff that may never come out in the books, but help me to identify the major themes in his life. It was easy to answer his questions. It was easy to hear his tone and the cadence of his voice when he spoke. Little exercises like this can only help to breathe more life into your characters. If it’s not easy then maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and really look at who your character is. Maybe the questions you can’t answer are the aspects of that character that need to be examined and filled in. Look closely at them, peer into their darkest secrets; they will tell you what they need.

Happy crafting!
~Indigo Grace

My WIP: The Overwatch Series

My WIP: The Overwatch Series.
In my first post for this blog, I said that it would serve two purposes. One, would be to explore the amazing badass female characters of television, movies and video games. Two, would be to promote my own works of fiction. My current WIP, (work in progress for those non-writers), is a five book series about Special Operations soldiers trying to balance a personal life with their dangerous job.
One of my favorite themes is to watch extraordinary people do mundane things. My favorite parts of shows like House, Hawaii 50, In Plain Sight and Bones are the times when they’re at home or interacting on a personal, private level. Sure they run around chasing bad guys, shooting guns, or saving lives, but they can barely maintain a normal existence. How do they food shop, have clean clothes, sustain friendships? What do they do on the weekends or when they need to go see their parents? Heroes are people too. They eat, breathe, sleep, need clothes and get colds. Of course all of that stuff in general life is boring as shit, but when a hero does it or tries to get stuff accomplished like real people, it seems so much more interesting. To me anyway. Is that all the five books are about? No, absolutely not. It’s a love story between two badass people whose lives are dedicated to saving the world. It’s a romance novel with a little kicking some terrorist butt thrown in for flavor.
Our hero, Colonel David Vaughn: US Air Force Special Operations, commands a top-secret black ops counter terrorism taskforce under direct orders from the President. The team is overseen by General Burt Cole, David’s mentor and friend. David’s second in command is Navy SEAL, Commander Marcus Anderson. Air Force Captain Robert “Bobby D” De Santis is the team medic. The team lost their fourth member Ilsa Schindler, a seductive German operative, and Vaughn’s lover, during a botched mission eight months ago. Things went pear-shaped when she betrayed them and subsequently died. No one has been able to fit the bill since.
Enter our badass heroine. Jillian Craig doesn’t want to go back to work. The Agency burned her. The ‘Life’ burned her out. Only problem is, she’s bored. Shoes, parties and hunky rich men keep her occupied – until her father, the General, and his colonel show up looking to drag her back into the game. She misses blowing things up. What could she say – she’s a munitions expert and always had a wild streak. But a funny thing happens when the fireball and the loud booms rock the earth – she shakes like a little lap dog. It could only mean one thing – PTSD.
The last thing Jillian expected was to find an ally in her new boss. He might have been the most unlikely therapist she’s ever met, but his idea to teach her how to build custom cabinetry to focus her thoughts is an offer she can’t refuse. He was damn good at it and sexy to boot. How bad could it be spending all that time with him? It’s a mutual contract – he needs her sane and she needs someone to rely on.
When Jillian gets pulled back into Ireland at the behest of her father to stop a gunrunner dealing illegal weapons in Afghanistan, will she be able to overcome her issues and get the job done? Will Vaughn be able to trust her with their lives? Or will it end up like Ilsa?

Stay tuned to this Bat-channel for info and excerpts from Proving Ground, Book 1 in the Overwatch Series.