Rough Work Part III

Rough Work Part III

by Adam Huddleston


Here is the last part of the first scene that I began posting two weeks ago.

Lucas tossed the empty bottle into his neighbor’s chair and began searching the house.

“Kimberly! Jax! Junebug!” His heart, which was already hammering in his chest, doubled its pace. Sweat streamed down his face and back.

“Are ya’ll here? Somebody holler something!”

He scanned the two guestrooms and the bathroom connecting them. He checked their game-room and instinctively grabbed a pool cue from the rack on the wall.

A muffled yelp came from the bedroom at the end of the Waldon’s central hallway. Lucas ran through the doorway and listened for the sound again. Another cry came from the closet. He yanked the door open and his mouth dropped open. His family sat huddled in a small circle, their hands bound behind them and mouths gagged.

His wife’s eyes widened and something hard crashed into the back of Lucas’s head, turning everything dark.


Outtakes 342



By Cait Collins


I don’t know about other writers, but editing is my least favorite part of my writing career. I don’t mean thing like checking my spelling and grammar, it’s the big things like switching tenses or failing to develop a character or storyline correctly. I am concerned that as I make a change for one issue I will create another problem. I’ve tried making the edits as I received suggestions from my critique partners and that has helped. But as I tie up the loose ends, I worry I will compromise my story. But the edits are part of the job and they will be done and done on time. So please forgive this short note. I’m only on chapter three.


Things that make you say, Humm?

Things that make you say, Humm?

Rory C. Keel


I recently had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in the state of Massachusetts on a business trip. Several friends had asked if I had ever been there during the time that the leaves change in the fall. Between all the maple, Sumac and Birch trees the change in color is said to be unbelievable. When I arrived, the trees were still green, however, like a magic trick, change appeared within a week. It was an amazing thing to see.

I decided to take one day and go to Boston and experience some great American history. In my search for the most fantastic piece of history, I found the Boston drain. Many people would spend their time imagining all of the creepy things underneath this heavy metal stopper, but not I.

My query was how long it would take for the city to begin to swirl and be sucked down through this little drain.



Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!


“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job; it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”  ~NEIL GAIMAN

The blank piece of paper is winning in my world. Can you believe it’s already half-way through March? We have not had any moisture in the Texas Panhandle this winter, so fire is on everyone’s mind. It is true that you can see for miles, and that means the sight of smoke rising on the horizon is a scary thing. We’re hoping for spring rains to begin soo.

I have so many projects half way done, with none finished, and that many more ideas swirling in my head waiting to come alive on the page. If we the ideas overwhelm us, we’d never get anything written. I’ve learned to focus on the task at hand and push the other projects out of my head. Sometimes I have to add notes to an existing stack or add a new page to the idea journal. It’s the only way to stay sane.

First things first, I’m down to the last chapters of edits for the Route 66 anthology that the Wordsmith Six group is doing. You are going to love this collection of stories, all with a common setting of the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, Texas. I’m also editing a collection of animal stories for a friend who has also worked as a veterinarian of 30 years. His stories are so much fun. It hardly seems like work. Coming soon are two more books in the Rescue Animals series about rescue horses. These are in easy reader format for emerging readers eBook and print.

Hope you have a production week,



Excerpt from THE SPRING OF 2025


Excerpt from


By Nandy Ekle

Raylene and Sherry handed their tickets over and were led to the car. Raylene felt the same old butterflies in her stomach and sweat spring out on her hands.

“Are sure this is safe?” She asked the woman buckling her in.

“Oh, yeah,” the woman answered. “Nick has been running this thing for a long time. He’s very careful with his passengers. He checks the machinery and stuff over and over.”

“So it’s working okay? We’re not going to be stranded in this seat?” Raylene felt Sherry roll her eyes. “I mean, well, I’m a little scared of heights and I don’t want to be stuck at the top.”

“Oh, no, ma’am. You’ll do just fine.” The woman smiled, waved at Nick standing at the control center, and backed away. “You’ll be fine.” Nick touched a dial on the board and their seat went backward and raised off the ground, then stopped so the next car could be filled with passengers.

Raylene took some deep breaths. She closed her eyes and gripped the safety bar for dear life. After a minute she heard Sherry muttering under her breath.


Rough Work Part II

Rough Work Part II

by Adam Huddleston

Here is the continuation of last week’s story.

Lucas alternated hammering his fists against the Waldon’s front door and jabbing repeatedly at the bell beside it. A minute later, the door creaked open and Fred Waldon stood in the entrance, his massive frame eclipsing the light coming from his small kitchen.

“Lucas? What’s wrong? It’s nearly eleven o’clock.”

“Have you seen Kim or the kids today? I just got home and the car is in the garage but the house is empty. I can’t get ahold of her on the phone either.”

Fred took the frightened man by the elbow and led him into his home.

“Sit down, son. You want a drink?”

“No. No, I’m fine.”

Waldon grabbed a couple of longneck bottles from his fridge and sat down in the chair opposite the younger man. He twisted the caps off with large, calloused hands, handed one to Lucas and waited for him to speak.

“She didn’t say anything about going anywhere tonight. And the Suburban is in the garage so someone must have picked them up. I mean, the kids have school tomorrow and all, so why would she take them somewhere?”

Fred remained silent, sipping his pilsner. When his visitor had quit speaking for a minute, he cleared his throat.

“Relax, Lucas. Drink your beer and relax. What if I told you that your family is alright? Would that calm you down some?”

“What the hell, Fred? What’s going on? Where are they!” Lucas started to get up, and with a speed belying his size, the older man sprang to his feet and pressed Lucas back into his seat.

“Be still, son. Finish your drink. They’ve been chilling all day.”

Lucas kept a firm gaze on his neighbor and did as he was told. When the only thing left in the bottle was a thin line of foam, he lowered his eyes and began slowly peeling off the label. Feigning what he hoped was calmness, he began making an inventory of his surroundings. If the situation turned south, he wanted to know if he could escape. Regardless, he planned on keeping a firm grip on his empty bottle.

The older man nodded at Lucas’s free hand. “You cut yourself?”

Lucas looked down and reflexively closed his hand into a fist. “No sir. Been painting.”

Fred gave a small grunt and continued drinking.

“Okay, Fred. I gotcha. Everything’s cool. We’re good.”

The older man stood up and leaned over Lucas. “Damn right we’re good.” He reached one grimy hand behind his back and that’s when Lucas made his move.

Holding the glass bottle by its neck, he swung downward as hard as he could in a large arc. Fred’s eyes went wide for a moment, then the bottle connected with the top of his balding scalp and split the skin open. Warm blood splattered Lucas’s upturned face, running into his eyes and mouth.

“Whaaa-,“ Fred moaned. From a holster attached to his belt, he pulled a small pistol. Lucas swung the bottle again, this time cracking his neighbor’s left temple. Fred dropped to the floor, twitched twice, and lay still.

Finishing Touches

Outtakes 341

Finishing Touches

By Cait Collins


The story is written. My characters are people I would be proud to call friends. I love the twists. And I like the surprises. But it’s not done yet. I still have to review every chapter for spelling and grammar errors, tense shifts, and discrepancies. (My hero can’t have blue eyes in chapter one and brown eyes when he finally gets the girl.) And I have to make sure every sentence moves the plot and that every word counts.

Once I’m sure the mechanics are good, I will reread with an eye to the story. Is there a true beginning, middle, and a satisfying ending? Will the readers be able to visualize the characters and settings? Have I tied up all the plot twists? Can I put “The End” on the last page or do I need to edit or complete storylines?

When I have made the needed edits, I will email pdf copies to my critique group and beta readers. Before submitting the final version to the publisher, I will review the changes suggested by the critique group and beta readers and make appropriate changes, proof read the story, and send it to the publisher. Now that the product is completed, I can focus on marketing and the next story.

Better Blogging

Better Blogging

Rory C. Keel

Tonight I have worked on my blogs. I’m trying to be a better blogger.

Here are some tips i’ve been trying to follow. Try them yourself


Here are ten tips that help me with my blog writing.

  1. Make your opinion known
  2. Link like crazy
  3. Write less
  4. 250 Words is enough
  5. Make Headlines snappy
  6. Write with passion
  7. Include Bullet point lists
  8. Edit your post
  9. Make your posts easy to scan
  10. Be consistent with your style
  11. Litter the post with keywords


Natalie Bright

The writing life is a solitary endeavor, and routinely interrupted by
everybody! Life happens.

Seriously, at times writers have to put aside the world within their heads
and face reality. Somebody’s always hungry (at least at my house), something
needs cleaning, bills past due, and laundry piles grow as I write this. I’ve
been hit with reality for several weeks now and I can’t seem to dig out from
under it. Sometimes I really miss my fictional world.

Many experts suggest that you have to live a real life in order to find
material for your stories. New York Times Bestselling author, Jodi Thomas,
says that writers live two lives with one foot in reality and the other in
the fictional realm. Overheard conversations, experiences, and research can
add richness to your writing. That may be true. During the break my creative
mind may be taking a pause, but my self-editor and self-doubt is partying

Thank goodness part of the real world includes a writer’s meeting this past
weekend.  Kim Hunt Harris talked about adding humor to your writing and K.
J. Waters enlightened us on the business side of becoming an Indie Author.
Once again I am reminded how sitting in a room full of creative people can
motivate you to keep going and inspire you to fill pages with words.

Texas High Plains Writers meets every other odd month on the third Saturday
at the Chase Tower in downtown Amarillo.

Our next event is co-sponsored with Canadian Arts Alliance, to be held in
beautiful Canadian, Texas April 13-15. Follow us on Facebook to keep updated
on all the details: Texas High Plains Writers based in Amarillo, Texas.

A Bit of Rough Work

A Bit of Rough Work

by Adam Huddleston


This week I wanted to share a small portion of a suspense/thriller/drama I had tucked away from awhile back. Enjoy (if you want), or don’t, whatever.

Lucas pulled his car into the garage and killed the engine. His thoughts were on the last email he had received before leaving the office; a not-so-lighthearted scolding regarding sales vs. purchases. He never noticed the light that usually filtered through the bedroom window blinds was absent.

He popped the radio button and slid his thin frame out of the sedan. The door leading from the garage to his family’s laundry room was locked.

Great. I always leave it unlocked for her…

Lucas turned his key, wincing as the tumblers gave a tiny shriek. He rolled his eyes at the new project his wife would be laying on his shoulders that weekend.

He opened the door leading to the kitchen and stopped. No lights were on. The house was almost completely dark. The only light he could see was the digital green glow coming from the clock on the microwave above the stove.

“Babe!” he yelled. “Ya’ll already in bed?”


He flipped the switch on in the kitchen and moved from room to room, turning on lights as he went. His house was empty. No children. No wife.

Lucas thought back to when he pulled into the garage and remembered seeing the family SUV in its usual spot.

Well, where was everybody?

He pulled out his phone and hit his wife’s number under the “Favorites” list. Five rings later, her voicemail informed him that she wasn’t available and to leave his message after the beep.

He sat down on the soft leather sofa in the den and grabbed the remote lying beside him. His palm pressed into something moist and sticky.

“What the-“

He pulled up his right hand to reveal a dark red substance smeared across its surface. He swallowed hard and heard an audible click in his throat. His stomach seemed to twist on itself and he feared he might vomit the fast food burrito he’d scarfed down in the car all over the den’s tan carpet.

Lucas leaped up and took a long look at the remote control that had fallen to the ground. It sat there staring up at him with its numerous eyes. The top was covered in what looked like raspberry jam.

Without another thought, he spun on his heels and ran out the front door. He went straight to the Waldon’s house across the street, absently rubbing his stained hand against his slacks. It never occurred to him that this would be the worst decision of his life.