Opium, Cocaine and Other Odd Facts


Is That Cocaine?

Is That Cocaine?

A friend asked me recently if I ever had writer’s block, and I said firmly, “no, never.” Well, because fiction writers are accustomed to lying, we do it all the time in our books, don’t we? I guess I am guilty. I do get writer’s block, but only when I sit down to write a blog. Never when I’m writing books. The words simply come, one piled upon the other. Characters walk out of dark recesses of my mind demanding their stories be told and often, though I am a speed typist, I have trouble keeping up with their jabbering.

But tell me I have to write a blog this week, like every week, and I balk. What to write about? It has to be something readers will care about. Sometimes I write a blog and no one comments, telling me I’d better not write on that subject again. Other times I get lots of remarks so that tells me my readers were touched. So here I sit, with dozens of writing duties pecking on my shoulders, trying to write something you might want to read.

One of the oddest things I’ve noticed about blogs is that when I write a guest blog, I come up with a subject, get an okay on it and have no trouble at all turning out something acceptable. Why doesn’t my own blog flow so easily?

In thinking on some of the things I could write about, there are all the odd facts I’ve learned while researching my books. I could interview one of my characters (now that’s a good idea) I’ve suggested that to writer friends who ask me what they can write about in their blog. Yet I’ve never done it myself.

Being a mostly historical writer, I run across some interesting facts when researching for a

Opium cough syrup

Opium cough syrup

novel. Did you know that opium was used as a pain killer by doctors in the 19th Century? Often a teaspoon was added to morphine to give it an extra kick. And kick it did. Codeine was in cough syrup into the 1950s. Women once drank whiskey and called it their medicine. They also used laudanum, which was a potent drug readily available. I ran across these labels from actual medications sold by pharmacists during the 19th Century. Unusual, huh?

Well, I’ve exhausted those little tidbits. Blocked again. Did you know that yesterday was Bald and Free Day and World Smile Day. I can see smiling because being bald sets you free. I couldn’t find a special day for today, but tomorrow is not only Fire Prevention Day but it is also Moldy Cheese Day. Every once in a while I have moldy cheese in the refrigerator, but I don’t celebrate it. The only other day I could find in October that I would celebrate is National Candy Corn Day and that’s celebrated on October 30, followed by Increase Your Psychic Powers Day on October 31. Halloween is a good day for psychics, I would imagine.

Speaking of Halloween, my book, The Purloined Skull is featured on The Long and Short Halloween Blogfest and I will give away a free copy to someone who comments there. I’ll include a link when they open the blogfest to the public. Over 200 authors are offering free books for participating. I’ll keep you posted. Till next time, let’s hope I can find something at the Ozark Creative Writers Conference to write about. Leaving tomorrow. Poor hubby is staying home.

About veldabrotherton

For thirty years I've been a writer. Publication of my work began in 1994 . I'm pleased to have recently settled with Oghma Creative Media as my publisher. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. I recently signed a contract to write westerns again, and what fun it's been working on the first one. If I weren't writing my life wouldn't be so exciting.
This entry was posted in research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Opium, Cocaine and Other Odd Facts

  1. Staci Troilo says:

    Who dedicates a day for moldy cheese? Neat stuff here, Velda. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great post, but I’m like you. The blog topics are the hardest to write!

  3. sallyjadlow says:

    When you say laudanum ws easily available, you’re not kidding. When I write historical, one of my best resources is the 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Company Catalogue. You could buy 12, 4 oz. bottles of laudanum for $3.00. A few pages over, you could buy a cure for opium and morphia habit. Twelve bottles for $8.00. I doubt it worked. I’ve been working in the catalog again since I’m working on “The Late Sooner’s Daughter.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s