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Addicted to Writing

by Velda Brothertonnew Velda

One rainy Sunday, many years ago, with football blasting on the TV, I took up a notebook and pen and began to write my idea for a story. I’d been day- and night-dreaming the characters and their lives for weeks, perhaps months, with myself plopped right in the middle of the story. But let’s back up for a bit.

Some 20 years earlier I had sworn off writing because it had become an addiction. Sometimes I wrote most of the night, then couldn’t wake up in the morning to go to my day job. The wash piled up, as did the housework. All I wanted to do was write. I had a short story published and I was going to be a great writer. But this couldn’t go on. I was hooked and my poor children and husband were suffering. I couldn’t find a middle ground. So one day I packed all my notes and half finished novels away in a box and I quit, cold turkey.

Then we moved to the country, my kids grew up, I stayed at home to garden, can, sew, etc., hubby found things to do, and the addiction I’d kicked so many years earlier began niggling at me. Oh, I fought it. I did. I started painting and enjoyed that a lot, I taught piano and made pocket change. Then I went to work part time at a Craft Outlet, and the unexpected happened. Karma? Maybe, I’m not sure. It seemed that they needed someone to write a weekly column for three local newspapers. It involved interviewing crafts people and writing their stories. Would I do that?

That would be fun. Trembling with anticipation, I agreed. And there was the monster, sneaking out of hiding and attacking me once again. The interviews and articles became a part of my life. Turned me into a quasi-journalist without a degree. Sent me down a road I had never expected. Hired by a small newspaper, I began a 19-year career writing features, news stories and finally a weekly historical column. This led to all kinds of adventures from cuddling 30 foot pythons and petting grown tigers to riding in every airplane that came to town.

Now we’re back to that rainy Sunday and my notebook. I couldn’t stop that pen, couldn’t silence the voices. The story had hold of me. I had bought a typewriter to write the column and so began to type my pages with no thought of doing anything with them. Just getting the story down because those pesky people in my head wouldn’t leave me alone.

Then at the shop one day I ran into a hopeful author and we got to talking. Decided to get together once a week and read each other’s work and make suggestions. Yeah, you can see it coming. Right? I’m hooked but good. I’m sure everyone reading this can look back and point to the time when their writing got hold of them and wouldn’t let go.

Sandwiched in between the newspaper career, which was not full time, I began to write novels for enjoyment, with no thought of publishing. Then I met other writers, we formed a critique group and the publishing desire loomed.

On an October day in 1994 my first Western Historical Romance was published by Topaz, the romance line of Penguin at the time. And that first book I began in a notebook with a pen? Well, it earned me an agent, and a good one. But it never sold. I still have the manuscript. It was written in a program called Word Star on my first computer, a Kay Pro, which was actually a word processor. There was a program on a large floppy disk, my work went on a second large floppy disk, no hard drive. I don’t have the book in my laptop computer. It doesn’t dig Word Star.

And to say I remain addicted to writing is the absolute truth. But somewhere along the line I learned discipline, and how to put my desire to write in a proper prospective. I write all day six days  a week, but I take time out for other things too.

Two novels came out in 2012 from Indie Publishers. My ninth romance came out as an ebook in December and will be in print Feb. 13 from The Wild Rose Press. I have six non fiction books, all still available. With a back list to Kindle, I’m working on a novella which I plan to publish directly to Kindle. My publisher is looking at a new book from me and another publisher is considering two manuscripts they’ve yet to decide on.

At seventy-seven I don’t see myself kicking this addiction anytime soon. And it’s been a wonderful high all these years.

 

Here’s an excerpt from my latest romance.

 

WildasOutlaw_TheVictorians_w7621_300Wilda’s Outlaw: The Victorians by Velda Brotherton

 

“Calder,” she murmured, and ran her hand up under his shirt along the laddering of his ribs. Soft down, warm skin, tight muscles aquiver under her touch. He replied in a language she did not know, but understood, breathed her name. She shifted enough to touch his mouth with hers once again, prolonging the taste of him. Honey and coffee and a masculine essence that she would have known anywhere, in any dark corner of the universe. Blindfolded, she could follow him across endless miles of prairie. If she kissed a hundred men, a thousand men, she would always know this one, above and beyond all the rest. For what remained of her life.

His arm tightened around her waist, the other hand cupped her buttocks to pull her even closer. A groan rumbled from deep in his throat. Under her cheek the rise and fall of his chest, the beat of his heart, the racing of blood through his veins. A rhythm, a haunting song needing no words.

His mouth covered hers in a gentle plea for more, his desire throbbing against her like a live, insistent, most secret thing. That she did not know how to quench his needs frightened and enthralled her. Passion washed over her until there was nothing else. Not her hopes or dreams, not her fears for Tyra and Rowena, nor her dread of all her tomorrows.

He uttered her name over and over. A mantra whispered against her skin, igniting yet another flame. Even as the repetition faded, she sensed his withdrawal, a stillness that coalesced into retreat. She could not let him go, would not, her fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt.

Though she desperately prayed for it, he did not try to kiss her again. Instead he put space between them, took long deep breaths and stared toward the horizon as if he sensed something about to appear there. After a long moment of silence, he pried her fingers loose. Uttered the words she had dreaded.

 

Bio: Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements.  She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.

 

 

Website: http://www.veldabrotherton.com

Blog: http://veldabrotherton.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorveldabrotherton

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18 responses »

  1. What a story! It’s interesting to hear about someone so taken over by writing, when most of us lament how hard it is to find time or make ourselves stop being distracted by everything else that needs to be done. I have great respect for your long and wonderful career, and your passion. Good luck with the next projects!

  2. Velda,

    I worked part-time for a newspaper for three years during high school. The editor never approved of any of my stories for publication in the weekly newspaper, but the owner, same guy, did let me help him set ads, run the presses, and operate the folding machine. The equipment in the office dated back to 1903 and ran off of big belts that hung from pulleys overhead. I had to jump up and pull on the six-inch wide belt to get the big electric motor to start. It arced and through sparks until it started, but each Wednesday night the two of us got that newspaper printed and folded. Each one had to be wrapped with an address label before being stuffed in mailbags. I can still remember the clatter of that huge cylindrical steel press with a single light bulb hanging overhead as I feed it one large sheet at a time.

    Over my shoulders I’d haul the full mailbags to the post office a block away. I dropped them at the back door. It took everything I and the owner had in us to get that paper out each week, but somehow we did it. After I went off to college, he called one day at noon. He said his helper hadn’t shown up in three days and he was in a bind. I didn’t wait for him to ask. I told him I was on my way. I cut classes that afternoon and drove as fast as I could. It was way after midnight when I dropped the bags off at the post office, but we made it. That was the last time I ever saw him.

    I would like to add my thanks for all of your help. Your advice is priceless.

  3. Velda,
    This is a wonderful story of your journey, one I thoroughly enjoyed. I recently remembered that my writing start wasn’t the oral stories I made up as a child as much as getting to John Adams Junior High in Los Angeles. It was there that I learned to run the linotype in the print shop, wrote for and edited an 8 page (weekly or bi-weekly?) newspaper for our Christian Endeavor club. If we dig deeply enough, many of us find our roots in some form of journalism I think. Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully!.
    Arletta

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