Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking what could have been as opposed to what was in my life. That’s a strange occupation that often brings tears, but then I shake myself and order a reboot. Time to remember all the good times and discard the bad. Bad only brings on regrets. On thinking about it I hope I didn’t do too much stuff that I’ll regret. Okay, order number one. Discard regrets and concentrate on those memories that bring rainbows and flowers, smiles and joy, love and passionate thoughts.

It’s taken a year to come through some really hard times. But when I think back on that year you know what comes to mind first? All the smiling faces of those who helped me through. My daughter and the rest of the family come first of course. Without them I would never have made it. Never be sitting in my own small home perched out here on the side of the mountain, and not locked up in a one-bed-room with no birdsong or view of flowers and trees out my windows.

Then there are the faces of all those who are responsible for my still being alive and kicking. The heart specialist in Little Rock who made me one of the first 100 to undergo a new heart surgery in Arkansas that saved my life. As they told me, gave me ten more years. And that ain’t bad considering I’m 82. Those who drove me back and forth and back and forth till we accomplished what they set out to do.

This all began though back in December a year ago with a surgery for what looked like a tumor and could have been cancer but wasn’t. Then we went on to the heart surgery in late April which we’ve already talked about. Two days after I was released as okay I took a dive from my walker in the bedroom and broke my left arm. No, I didn’t pass out or faint or anything dramatic like that. I simply turned the thing around too fast and it threw me. Across the room missing furniture that could’ve done me in.

Now I’ve ridden horses for a portion of my life and never been thrown. Certainly not like that. I was thrown off my bike a few times as a kid, come to think of it. Anyway, off we went to the hospital, tended by some of the finest people in the county, our first responders from the Boston Mountain Fire Department. They’ve been involved in my life for a while too. Scary times cause I couldn’t walk and now I only have one arm to use. And my therapy at Health South was finished, thanks to many wonderful therapists, nurses, etc. Now there was discussion about taking me out of my home. How could I cope living alone?

What happens next in a situation like this might be of interest to my readers. If so, I’ll post the next chapter next week to keep this blog from being so long. I do hope I’m back to posting weekly and will move away from health issues to what I hope will be of more interest to regular readers.

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Years with Dusty


90s Book Signing


Dusty and I joined many other writers at a book signing in Branson many years ago

The day of his funeral and I waited in the front row. His closed casket held the cow hide he often had on his book signing table, a pair of his boots polished to a brilliant shine, and his black hat. We rarely saw him without one on his head. My continuing thought. Will I be able to view him when the time comes? The previous week I had been told I could visit him in the hospital that Friday. It didn’t happen, for that day he decided it was time for him to join his beautiful wife Pat, who, only a week earlier, had gone on to prepare their new ranch for his arrival.

He left at 8 a.m. that morning. I never got to say goodbye. So many people have to say that when loved ones have passed. So many times we regret that we never expressed our love. But he knew I loved him. It was a love one would have for a brother. He called me Buddy and once in a while Vel. But mostly Buddy. And that’s what we were to each other. For 32 years we worked together. Learning, writing, teaching. The time passed so quickly from that first day we met.

October, 1985, I approached the conference center in Eureka Springs for the Ozark Creative Writers annual gathering. My three novels written over the past few years proved I could put words on paper, but that was all. I wanted to find out if I was truly a writer. Inside the door were all those people who called themselves writers and standing in the crowd, surrounded by listeners, stood this tall man in a cowboy hat. He laughed at something said, then glanced up. I had to smile, that laugh was so hearty, infectious I guess you’d call it. To my surprise, he made his way through the crowd in my direction, and welcomed me. I think he guessed I was new and nervous from the expression on my face. He made me right at home when he introduced himself. “Dusty Richards,” he said and stuck out his large hand.

Thirty-two years later I’m at his funeral and I didn’t get to say goodbye. All those years are gone, as fleeting as smoke from a campfire. So yes, I will take that journey up front where he lays forever silenced. He won’t be there, he’s already ridden off. He’s sitting on the front porch of the new ranch, holding a glass of lemonade Pat has just brought him. She lowers herself into the rocker next to him, moving like a young woman, and laughs at something he says. Maybe it’s about the horses grazing in the pasture across the way, or who will mend the fence on the lower forty. He turns to her, looking so much like that tall lanky cowboy she met so many years ago. The man she spent much of her life with. Together they watch a colt frolicking across the pasture.

He lays his hand over hers. “It’s good to be home.”

In the front row I smile and slowly join my friends moving forward. When I reach him, I pause and touch his vest. And say goodbye to the best friend I ever had. “I love you, Buddy. See you soon.”





Posted in a writer's life, Dusty Richards, Uncategorized, Velda Brotherton | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Letting Go

Letting Go

This is my first blog since last December when the descent of surgeriesz began. I never thought I’d see so many doctors and land in hospitalsso frequently. Atg 81 I’d only been hospitalized for two births and one major surgery. Add to that a few trips to emergency and one day events. Never took a pill except for high blood pressure till I was over 60. My mother passed away in January of 1996 and I turned 60 in February. That was about to end. The problems began. I don’t want to become an old lady who can only discuss health problems, so I won’t, other than to say it’s been one heck of a year. A hysterectomy and heart surgery followed by a broken arm is all I’ll say to explain the absence of my blog.

Some may not have even missed me, which is fine. I got to thinking the other day about the things I had to let go of to continue being independent and live in my home. Well, really it’s my mother’s home. My home was too big and had a split level so we could no longer live in it. We moved next door into a smaller house. To do that I had to squeeze my eyes shut and watch uncounted books carried out, as well as many other things. My grandmother’s dining room table for one. Then the other day it was going to freeze and a night blooming cerius which had belonged to my mother for fifty years and handed down to me was on the front porch. I sat in the living room and watched the temperature drop knowing it would kill that huge plant. Even if I asked someone to bring it inside I couldn’t care for it and the other plants out there. Carrying water to them on a regular basis was out of the question. I have two huge pots of cactus that I water twice a year. Those I will keep…for a while yet. But I calmly let go of those other plants.

Letting go of them represented a lot of occurrences in my life as I grow older. The most important things I can keep are my family and friends and a comfortable home, thanks to those very people. And you know what? Those are what I cherish more than anything else and I will keep them close for whatever time is left to me.

In spite of all my troubles, several books were published by my two publishers during down time. I managed to finish mystery #5 of the Twist of Poe Series and it will be out next year. This June #4 was published by Oghma Creative Media and number #3 of my Victorian series from Wild Rose Press came out the same time. My novel Remembrance also came out this year, so I didn’t fall behind. I’m beginning work on the sequel to Beyond the Moon.

To catch up on reading my books go to  and they’ll all be revealed.

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Sexy, Dark, and Gritty


Portrait of Poe

Portrait of Poe


Do you like to be scared? We were discussing this on messenger recently and decided that if we really didn’t like to be scared we should not watch or read stories meant to scare us. Then it came up: What movie or book scared you the most?

Of course The Shining from Stephen King is right up there on top. Both the book and the original movie are tops in the scary field. My pick for recent movies that terrified me the most is The Ring. What reminded me of this is the recent release of The Rings, which appears to be a sequel to that original of a few years back. No matter how much we try it’s difficult to define why so many people enjoy being terrorized by both books and movies. I have to beg off on Psycho. I didn’t think it was all that scary, but I did like it. And there lies the rub. I like good stories that manage to intrigue and/or scare me.

What is really scary?

Today we are supposed to be frightened by Zombies. To me Zombies are disgusting, gory and tasteless (pardon the pun) but not scary. I do admit to liking the Walking Dead but that’s because the characters and their stories are so very, very good. I often have to shut my eyes during the gorier scenes. But that’s not scary.

The worst thing about my thirst for terror is it doesn’t stop with the good scary stories. The bad ones intrigue me as well. I’ve been known to read some of the dreck along with the best as long as it’s scary. You know the kind. Giant spiders, killer tomatoes, and the like. Bad writing and acting is actually sometimes fun. There’s no explaining that, because I’ll usually throw a bad book across the room, unless there’s something supernatural, or a ghost or demon involved.

Into the Past

Edgar Allan Poe is an example of an author good at scaring me so bad I feel great. In his day Poe was a writer of all genres. He is credited with inventing the detective story in Murders in the Rue Morgue. Arthur Conan Doyle fashioned some of his Sherlock Holmes tales after Poe’s earlier works. And there were Poe’s love stories, The Purloined Letter and who could forget The Raven or Anabelle Lee?

On the other hand, The Tell-tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher were so creepy they were not popular with the readers of his time. They are two of my favorites for that very reason. I get the shivers reading them.

Twisting of Poe

A few years ago I decided since my brand is sexy, dark, and gritty I would write a mystery series. I needed an idea for a theme and settled on titles twisted from Poe’s works. I could sneak in a few scenes or characters harking back to that fantastically talented writer. I began with a twist of The Purloined Letter thus The Purloined Skull was released; I went on to steal The Tell-Tale Heart by titling the next mystery The Tell-Tale Stone; This was followed by The Pit and the Pendulum my title being The Pit and the Penance; and due out in May, 2017, is The Masque of the Rising Moon twisted from The Masque of the Red Death. In the works and due out in May of 2018 is a twist on The Fall of the House of Usher with no title as yet.  None of these are in any way copies of Poe’s works, just that twisted title and the ambiance in places that might remind readers of Poe. Look for them all on Amazon as ebooks or print, and let me know if you enjoy them.

Actually, all the Poe twists are set in fictional Grace County, Arkansas. The stories revolve around my experiences during the ten years I worked and wrote for The Washington County Observer. The books are fictional, as are the town, the characters, etc. But I do include some fabulous personal experiences and twist them all around into these suspenseful tales.

If you like horror, check out A Savage Grace, no connection to Poe, but set on top of the Boston Mountains in Arkansas. Demons in the Ozarks? Hmmm.

Curious about Edgar? Check here.

final-coverThe Purloined Skull

The Tell-Tale Stone




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On a happy note, I have a fun, sexy, romp in Montana coming out in a six-part series, and I thought you might like to know about it. Read the first now, Montana Promises, and forget all the disturbing things that may be going on in your life. Or not. Back in the 1800s right after the Civil War people had a lot of troubles, but it was an exciting time as well.

Montana Promises begins with sadness and troubles when seventeen-year-old Tressie finds herself abandoned by a father following the gold rush and a mother who dies in childbirth. Imagine having to handle such a situation. But handle it she does and she and Reed, a Civil War soldier on the run help each other survive while walking across the high plains into Virginia City, Montana.

In Montana Treasures follow Tressie as she builds a life and cares for a baby whose mother dies birthing him. Reed has gone on his way trying to clear his name so he can return to the woman he has grown to love.

Every two months you can pick up a print or ebook copy of this series that will continue following other characters living and working in Virginia City. Here’s an excerpt from the first book to give you a taste.

Darkness had fallen to the ground, though the sky gleamed like silver around early sparkles of stars. She heard only the roar of a wild fury that blotted out the nasty burring of a rattler in her path. Quicker than lightning, Bannon hit her from one side, knocking her away as the diamondback struck. She landed hard, gasping to regain her breath. At first she had no idea what had happened, but on rising to a crouch saw Reed Bannon where he’d landed on hands and knees, facing down the snake.

I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out how they get out of this. But even when they do there’s more adventures to come.

I know you’ll enjoy traveling the high plains with my young couple. I’m so pleased to bring you this Montana series that will keep you guessing every step of the way.

Get the first in the series and preorder the second at Amazon. Here’s the ebook link, or order the print here as well.


Here’s number two in the series, Montana Treasures that will continue the story of Tressie and Reed. Pre Order it at Amazon now. I know you’ll enjoy this entire series.


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Why Not Me?


Having a Party

Who am I?

For a long while now I haven’t posted a blog. Life sometimes takes hold of us by our ears and when it finishes shaking we’re not sure where we’re at or where we’re going. I guess that’s what has happened to me. One thing I have not stopped, no matter what else goes on, is my writing. Funny thing, and this flies in the face of what most writers urge, I have never kept a journal. I think my time has been spent talking to and writing about others so there’s never been time to write my personal thoughts.

In the few times I’ve tried to base a story on myself I’ve found it impossible. Just never works. Oh, sometimes something I think or see will show up in my fiction, but autobiographical stuff has never worked out for me. And believe me, I’ve tried. Just like this blog. I will never be satisfied writing something about me. Sharing my health problems or emotional problems, etc., has never appealed to me. Only my closest friends know those things.

Yes, I’m sharing this about me here, and already I don’t feel comfortable. If you asked me to talk about my writing I could go on and on about that. But that’s not what readers want to hear. What they want reflects today’s social activities. Everyone wants to know something personal about celebrities. Who they’ve slept with or who they fought with or what their sex life is really like.

If I ever became a celebrity I still wouldn’t share those things. Not that there’s anything to worry about there. I’m working on my 33rd book which is contracted. Besides those, others have been written and are hiding under the bed or in plastic storage boxes, never to be read by anyone. Of those, I’ve lost count. And I’m still not famous or rich, just content that I’m doing what I enjoy and a few readers are interested in the results of my labor.

Interesting things are happening in the publishing world today. My earliest published books, the Montana Series originally released by Penguin, have been available on Kindle for quite some time, as have my other western historical romances published in the early Nineties by Topaz. Having all of them still available for new fans to discover is a good thing. This made possible by Kindle.

2cover-300What else is a good thing is that small publishers are taking up the reins dropped by the big publishers in New York who are struggling to remain alive. My latest historical romance, Tyra’s Gambler, will be out soon from Wild Rose Press, where I have five books. The romantic suspense series A Twist of Poe #4 The Masque of the Rising Moon will be released by Oghma Creative Media next May. Friday Oghma will release the first of a six-part Montana series in paperback. Montana Promises will be followed in two promises-2treasures

months by Montana Treasures, available on pre order Friday. Keep an eye out for these quick reads. My books are easy to find just about everywhere books are sold online.

Those are just a few of the books I have coming out soon. Simply examples of why I’m able to continue writing and being published. So if you want to get me started ask me what I’m writing, not how I’m feeling. Read a book and spend time in a very special place created just for you by an enthusiastic writer.


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Where have I been?



Good question. No blog for over two months. What’s going on and where in the world have I been? Sometimes I feel like I really don’t know where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing. I’m working as Distribution Director for Oghma Creative Media. At 80 years of age, to say I’m working is fabulous, yet I’m doing more at home than I once did in an office. And each morning I wake up happy to be alive and involved in something so exciting.

Casey asked me yesterday if I wanted to sign a ten year contract for Beyond the Moon so it could be included in the contract we’re signing with Audible for audio books, I had to laugh. While I may not be around ten years, I sure plan on it, so I agreed. After all, what could keep me alive more than having a purpose.

I always worked away from home in business offices until we moved to Arkansas. Then I changed directions. In our mid-thirties and kicking the rut behind us, we started living a back-to-the-land existence. Ten acres in the mountains changed our lifestyle enormously. Too old to be classed as hippies, we nevertheless were living in much the same way.


My Favorite photo taken at work on The Washington County Observer 1990-1999

Here in this serene place I truly found myself. I’d always told stories in my head. Now I had the freedom to embrace that creativity. Painting, sketching, writing, music, all opened up new avenues for me. In the end writing won out. It came so natural to me that, after free-lancing articles and columns to several area newspapers, I was hired as feature writer for The Washington County Observer. I learned journalism on the job and about the same time finally sold a manuscript to a New York Publisher.

Sometimes we have dreams of what our life might be, often fate can smash those hopes. Mine came true. I was living my dreams with a terrific family and the perfect job. Couldn’t believe I was being paid for a job I loved. Not everyone is blessed in that way. I still love that job. At 80 I just saw my 29th novel published. I’ve lost count of the short stories, creeping up on 20 I believe.ocw-book-table

And I work with exceptional people. Casey Cowan who owns Oghma Creative Media is brilliant, thoughtful, hard-working and successful at what he does. Working with him and other members of the company is a real pleasure.

I have the most wonderful daughter in the world. She and her husband make sure I have everything I need and only recently assured me I would get to remain in my home because they are remodeling it for that very purpose. The rest of my family keep me feeling safe and well loved. I couldn’t be happier. Somehow, I felt it important to let all my friends and readers and family know that.




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Life Can Be Beautiful or Ugly

our house

Could be our house

Lately many people have revealed having lived childhoods of abuse. This makes me realize just how very fortunate I was growing up. Looking back now I see that it could have been so different had my family history gone in different directions. That might easily have happened. For the men in my family, father, uncles and brother were all alcoholics.

But the story, fortunately for me, did not develop as you might expect. My father, with his Cherokee heritage, did not handle liquor well, and after he came home from the war, he soon became addicted to it, as did his brothers. However, my dad was well liked by everyone, no one suspected his secret because he was not an angry or violent man. I guess you could say he was a fully functional alcoholic. For many years he ran a construction business with a partner, a buddy from the Navy.

Dad with plane

Me, my brother, granddad and Dad

When I look back on my life I see how very lucky I was. He loved me and I loved him, never guessing at his secret growing up. It’s difficult to believe because men who drink are often portrayed as loud mouthed, violent, unreasonable and abusive. I never once heard my dad raise his voice to my mother. He never lifted a hand to me. Oh, he set down some strict rules, or so I thought then, but they kept me from making many a dumb adolescent decision.

He fought my marriage because I was so young. Still never any verbal or physical abuse involved. I see now what kind of man he must’ve been to be so kind and well liked and successful despite his addiction to alcohol. As we all do he had his faults, but my mother told me right after his death just after his 61st birthday, that he was the best man she ever knew. The life he chose to live must have hurt her, for women loved him and he often didn’t resist the temptations that brought about. Yet they had a wonderful life together and my childhood is nothing but good memories. He insisted on a summer travel vacation every year and we had some exciting and unforgettable times.

Why did I write this? Because so many harsh stories are being written about abusive childhoods at the hands of brutal men that I thought it was time a better story was told. It’s all far in the past now. My parents are gone, my brother is gone and I miss them still because we were always close and always happy. Life often turns out with twists and turns we have no power over. But what we do control is the way we react to the events that make up our lives. And ultimately, who we blame if we fail to triumph.


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The Flight of Time

B 29 Boeing


Wow. I’ve seen a lot of examples of how time flies, but when I checked my blogs and realized I hadn’t posted one since the last week in May I knew I’d really had my wheels up and the flaps straight out in June.

Some of the things going on that caused this breaking the sound barrier to occur had to do with conferences. Not only have I been in charge, more or less, of planning Storytellers of America coming up July16, 17, I decided to take Dusty and Casey up on an invitation to attend Western Writers of America for Oghma Creative Media. I’ve not regretted either decision, but that’s where June went without my noticing it.

It goes without saying that I hate to be out of communication with my readers that long for fear they’ll forget me.

We returned from Wyoming late Monday night after several unusual happenings that weren’t all welcome, but we did come home all in one piece thanks to a couple of emergency hospitals, one in Cheyenne and one in Hays, Kansas. Enough can’t be said for the people at both. Their kindness, helpfulness and support brought us home healthy and happy. No, it wasn’t me who needed them, which was a definite possibility when I agreed reluctantly to accompany my good friends on the trip.

Wyoming and Western Writers of America were both exceptional experiences. I was so pleased to meet one of my favorite authors, Craig Johnson, who writes the Longmire series. What a perfect gentleman and delightful man he is. Not to denigrate others, for there were many western writers there whom I admire. What fun they all were. Some were western ladies, too. With my forgetful brain, it would be a mistake to begin to name all of them, because I’d leave some out, so let’s just say it was a wonderful experience I’ll always remember because of all the super folks we met.

Now, on to Storytellers of America. I’ve been in touch with Crow Johnson several times and she can hardly wait to join us and share her superb talent for creating music. Lisa Wingate is also eager to talk to us about experiences writing her popular inspirational fiction. And Gordon Bonnet is flying down from New York just to be with us. These three stars will only make up some of what’s in store for those attending our first “official” creative conference for Storytellers of America.

Prior to the conference, Oghma Creative Media is sponsoring a three-day authors retreat where we’ll all share with each other and have a great time at gorgeous Sky Vue Lodge on top of the Boston Mountain. I for one am looking forward to both events. It’s time Arkansas had their very own yearly creative gatherings where all the authors of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, script writing, as well as musicians and artists can get together and share their wealth of knowledge.

For those who haven’t registered yet, there are a few openings. Check us out either on my website or look here or for a glimpse of the lovely locale. Hope to see you there.

A view out over the Boston Mountains, at sunset after an afternoon storm

The view from Sky Vue across the majestic Ozarks

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F**k Changes

going nuts

Quickly Going Nuts

In all probability I’m too old for this changing world. I’ve tried, really I have. Learning new things on the computer, not complaining when all the voices on my telephone were electronic and not real, learning to shop online at Amazon, which I will admit is one of the better changes. This list could go on and on but I’ll bet you know what I mean.

Okay, so I realize that if I were an American Indian I’m old enough be to put on a floating iceberg, or under a tree or on the edge of a cliff, and bid farewell to. Come to think of it I have some of that heritage, but we don’t do that nowadays. We respect our elders and allow that they probably have learned something in their years on this earth.

I’ve learned how to use a computer because I’m a writer, not because I had any particular yearning to spend a day on Facebook. Speaking of that, it is a good way to stay in touch with grandchildren, but it also makes sure they don’t bother to write cause FB is there. Or send birthday cards, or Mother’s Day. Yeah, well, stop grumbling old woman.

What began this rant was is the changing of my bank. All these 44 years we’ve banked with a local bank. When things went online I learned to pay my bills there, balance my accounts, use a debit card, etc. But now they have sold out or merged or whatever the hell they call it and established this new account system online. I set mine up, got it approved after about four tries, then noticed that it said transactions would not be shown yet. So I waited four days. Today I tried to get into my account with the same earlier approved information and what do you think? Nope. I don’t exist. All I can hope is that by the time my June bills come due those electronic idiots will have figured it all out.

There, that’s my blog for the day cause I had to get this out of my system and the cat don’t care, she just flat don’t care. As long as she gets in and out of the house, has her food and water, is allowed to sleep anywhere she wants to from the bed to inside one of the kitchen cabinets, then she don’t care about my problems. Oh, and yes, I know that isn’t grammatically correct, but it comes from an old commercial I really liked. If you don’t remember it I’m not in the mood to jog your memory.

I appreciate your reading this. Photo of your cat


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