First, Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms. I hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones.
Now, I’m going to discuss the joy of writing—and one of my favorite fictional characters.
I began writing short stories about fourteen-year-old Vree Erickson in the early 1970s when I was her age. In those days, I typed my tales on thin letter paper (8.5 x 11 inches) using a portable Remington typewriter. I used carbon paper to make copies—usually two, sometimes three—which I shared with my friends. All my stories were mixtures of fantasy, mystery, and a touch of horror.
Verawenda is Vree’s proper first name. “Vree” is a nickname of VRE, which are the initials of her full name: Verawenda Renee Erickson. She was named after her paternal great-great-grandmother, Verawenda (Kaufman) Russell. Verawenda is a combination of the names Vera and Wenda, which were common English names in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Vree became a female friend of a teen character named David Evans. I named him after the child character David Collins in the TV series Dark Shadows. Evans is a surname from the show, particularly the character Maggie Evans who began the series as a waitress at the Collinsport Inn coffee shop. She always played with her hair when she was nervous—a trait I gave to Vree.
Vree began as an only child and lived with her parents in the countryside of Ravenwood, Pennsylvania, atop Myers Ridge. Dave was her neighbor; his twin sister Amy was her best friend. Dave’s best friend was Lenny Stevens who lived in town and had to ride his bicycle several miles uphill to visit Dave. Friendship was a common theme in those stories. So were dealing with ghosts and the supernatural—good and bad.
I stopped writing about Vree and her friends after high school and pursued a career in art, teaching, and photography, to name a few. Twenty years later, I found my high school notebooks and the stories inside them, and was pleased with what I had written. So, I donned my editor’s cap, renamed Ravenwood to Ridgewood (among other changes), and reworked several stories into e-books and paperbacks. I had a small run of success with them and ventured into republishing my favorite ones via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords as Steven L. Campbell from 2013 to 2016. It was during this time that I created Vree’s only novel, originally titled Night of the Hellhounds, the Novel. I soon changed it to Margga’s Curse and offered it exclusively to my Smashwords customers for free. It is still there (for now) and still free to download.
I made big changes to Vree in that novel, creating a brand-new life and family for her, which confused many readers of my earlier books. In the story, Dave and Amy are her triplet siblings, and they live in a Pittsburgh suburb. During a thunderstorm, lightning strikes Vree, their father, and their home, killing him and burning down the house. The family moves in temporarily with the kids’ maternal grandparents who live upstate. There, Vree discovers she has developed psychic abilities triggered from the lightning strike and can see and talk to her dad’s spirit who followed his family during their move. She can also see and communicate with beings from another solar system who are marooned on our planet. Unfortunately, her psychic ability to see them compromises their life-support equipment and causes two of them to die. She becomes their public enemy number one, topping the spot held previously by the spirit of a local witch named Margga who subjugates them with witchcraft to do her bidding. What’s more, Margga has cursed a neighbor’s family for crimes committed against her when she was alive, and she manages to kill a member every so often. She also recognizes Vree’s psychic energy as a means to escape death, but to get it means killing Vree.
I had a lot of fun writing that e-novel, though some scenes were crowded when Vree was with her siblings, mother, and grandparents. If you would like to read Margga’s Curse before I remove it from publication, click on its book cover photo below, which will take you to its Smashwords page. The book is free and comes in various reading formats. You may also get my e-book “Night of Hell Hounds” at Amazon. It’s 99 cents, but members of Kindle Unlimited can get it for free.
If you end up reading “Night of the Hell Hounds,” forget about everything and everyone in Margga’s Curse. The short story is a return to single-child Vree. Her parents—Mike and Kerri Erickson—are professors at New Cambridge University in nearby New Cambridge, which is a city around 20 miles north of Ridgewood. Mike teaches earth science and archeology, and Kerri teaches geology. They, along with Vree, live in New Cambridge, but their professions have taken them to an important archeology dig for the university. Because school is in session and Vree is fifteen, she ends up living with Mike’s parents, Dave and Amy Erickson, on Myers Ridge in Ridgewood. In the book, lightning strikes Vree and—déjà vu—she develops psychic powers. (Sometimes the baby doesn’t get thrown out with the bathwater.)
Thank you for joining me for this introduction of my new website. I plan to add more info about Vree, her past, her future, and things that make her a “real” fictional character, as well as my plans for upcoming books and dates of publication, and so much more. So, I hope you’ll join me … or should I say us?
Until then, good reading and good life to you.
I discovered today (5/9/2022) that the links in the two book photos above do not open to their respective locations when you click on them using a tablet. Instead, they open into photo view. So, here are the links for both books:
Margga’s Curse: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/627639, and
“A Night of Hellhounds”: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AY2K1H6
This post “Introducing Vree” copyright © 2022 Steven Leo Campbell at stevecampbellcreations.com – All rights reserved.
3 thoughts on “Introducing Vree”
I missed this when it came out
I’m sure you were very busy at the time. My summer has been the busiest it’s ever been in quite a while. Now I’m looking to go on a sabbatical for some decent R and R!
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I had things to do but I also took a break also for the past month.
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