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Life and Writing

Life is wonderful. Life is a challenge. It brings us great joy, and tremendous heartache. There are funny moments, and sad ones. Every day we get up and face whatever is to come, sometimes musing on what already has passed us in this unpredictable journey. This is one such exploration.

Let’s take a look back a few years (okay, maybe more than a few), to a time of youthful exuberance, when I had unlimited fortitude and energy. Out of the blue, I decided to write a book. I was an avid reader of Historical Romances, my favorite author was Kathleen Woodiwiss. I know I just dated myself…good thing I’m not hung-up on people knowing my age. I’m not saying I don’t hate the wrinkles, gray hair, and annoying chin hairs, but we are what we are. And I am a middle-aged woman who lives alone with two cats. Now, getting me to post a picture, that’s definitely a neurosis and NOT going to happen any time soon. Sorry to disappoint, I know you wanted to see those chin hairs.

Now back to my story. I did write a book, with no experience or background to be an author. I bundled it up and mailed it to Avon Books, the publisher of my favorite author of course. I was so naïve I didn’t know how impossible a dream I had and didn’t submit it to any other publisher.

And yes, this was way back in the day when you could send an unsolicited manuscript (all of it) and actually get it read. It was also before computers were commonplace. Again, I digress. Lo and behold, after one revision and resubmitting it, I sold my book, released in 1985 as an Avon Ribbon Romance. Life was good—until I tried to get a second book sold. The truth was I had no idea how to write a novel. My first tale was an act of pure passion and hope, not so much ability. I spent the next five years learning my craft and developing my writing skills.

Fast forward a bit and I had published five historical romances. The years passed and life’s challenges continued to come my way. Still, no matter what, I never lost hope that I would fulfill my dream to earn my living writing full-time. I eventually teamed up with a friend and fellow author to write as Brit Darby, and together we planned our assault on the writing world.

Then life and its odd sense of humor demanded I pay attention to its needs. I had to close a business I loved, having faced the grim truth of economics. As one door closed, another opened, and Brit Darby signed a contract too good to be true. Well, it was just that, not true, the Canadian Publisher disappearing under a cloud of fraud and dishonest practices, breaking our Brit Darby hearts. And finally, that same year I was diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a rare neurological voice disorder that made the simple act of speaking difficult.

Bottom line, I stopped writing. And, to be honest, I thought I would never write again.

I was wrong. Yes, life has continued its barrage, and to my amazement, one of the biggest trials I now face has brought me full circle.

Three years ago I was laid-off from a real estate firm I worked for. I have spent this time desperately looking for work, and to my surprise and dismay, I cannot find a full-time job. I take contract work when I can get it but that, too, has tapered into nothingness. My unemployment benefits have run out and the Big Bad Wolf is camped out on my doorstep. To say that it has been a difficult and dark time is an understatement.

Yet, a light has come back into my life, giving me reason to look forward to getting up each day. On Christmas Eve 2010, my writing partner e-mailed me (she now lives in another state, far, far away). It had been several years since I had heard from her, and she wondered if I was interested in reviving Brit Darby and self-publishing. It seems we had both been checking into Amazon eBooks and we felt like the time was right and we planned our comeback.

After many years away, we are back. Emerald Prince, the first book by Brit Darby, is now available as a Kindle Edition on Amazon. Simultaneously, we are each re-releasing eBooks of our first published novels.

I don’t believe that this is my financial solution, the Wolf still howls hungrily, his big teeth showing. And I’m not that young, naïve girl who thinks I will make millions from this venture. What I do believe is that without this pleasure (which I didn’t realize I missed so much) to distract me from my dire situation, I would be…. Well, I don’t know what I would be, and I don’t want to think about the possibilities such despair might have inspired.

Writing saved me. And my friend and writing partner gave that to me. Thank God I hadn’t changed my e-mail address! And thank God for old friends.

Fela (Darby)