GLADSTONE - When looking at Nancy Keeton, a loving wife, mother and grandmother might be a first impression, and a female Stephen King, author of the macabre, would be the last thing that would come to mind.
But beneath the surface of the soft-spoken wife of former Gladstone city manager, Howard Keeton, lies an imagination that would not make for usual conversation at a women's card party or church dinner.
The author of two previous books, Keeton's newest publication - "Summer of the Dragon" - will take the reader on a bizarre journey into the world of the paranormal.
"Actually I don't start out writing about the paranormal," she said with a smile. "I try to write them straight and they just take off and seem to turn out that way."
A native at Ohio, Keeton and her husband moved to the local area in the fall of 1969 when Howard accepted the job as city manager. She obtained a degree in history with a minor in political science from Northern Michigan University 11 years later. But writing has been a longtime passion for Keeton.
"I've been writing since I was a kid," she said. "Now I'm able to complete a book in nine months."
But as the survivor of a series of debilitating strokes, Keeton said her writing was put on the back burner for a time.
"I had my first stroke in 2005 and two more in 2008, just eight days apart," Keeton said. "The first was on my left side and the second on my right. The third one kind of wiped me out."
In the process, Keeton lost a lot of her memory and some of her speech.
What followed was extensive rehabilitation that is continuing to this day.
But the process of writing did not come easily for the stroke victim.
"Writing cursive was especially difficult for me," she said. The keyboard wasn't much easier. "When I was recovering from the stroke, I didn't even know how to use the tab key. I still have difficulty hitting an "a" on the keyboard."
"Summer of the Dragon" took Keeton three years to complete.
Keeton decided to use CreateSpace, a self-publishing company, to actually produce her book. Even the cover design was a creation of the company.
"When they first showed me the design and I saw what they came up with, I was blown away." Keeton said.
The book is distributed on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble and is also available on Kindle.