Five unique short stories and novellas set on historic Route 66 in Texas:

  • A gripping story of family betrayal, deep despair, and a young girl’s courageous triumph. MAGGIE’S BETRAYAL by Natalie Bright
  • A young soldier leaves his new bride for war sharing their life through letters in this heartfelt story. WAITING by Rory C. Keel
  • A down-on-his luck cowboy sees opportunity in a young widow’s neglected ranch in 1944 Texas. SUDDEN TURNS by Joe Nichols
  • A Cherokee Chief predicts Mora O’Hara’s future as she travels The Mother Road seeking closure after a career related tragedy. SHOWDOWN AT U-DROP INN by Cait Collins
  • Raylen Dickey learns the difference between her friends, lovers, and enemies. FEAR OF HEIGHTS by Nandy Ekle


Five authors tell five different stories, through five different time periods, and all crossing the same place—the Tower Station and U-drop Inn.

Read it now!

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Carpe Diem Publishers



Outtakes 359


By Cait Collins


Our Director sent an email the other day that really made me think.  It went something like this.  “Patience is not the ability to wait.  It’s the ability to keep a good attitude while you wait.”

I’ll admit patience is not one of my stronger characteristics.  I’m better than I used to be, but I’m still not where I want to be.  As a writer, I’ve tried to develop my patience.  But this can be a frustrating business.  I’d submit a novel or a story and get these really nice rejections.

“We’re sorry, but your story, while interesting, does not meet our needs at this time.”

Or, “You have potential, but may I suggest…”

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the constructive ideas, but sometimes I just wanted to know what I was doing right.  And then a friend would get a first publication and I’d wonder why him or her and not me.

I finally found an answer that helps me.  It’s just not my time yet.  So what do I do to keep from shooting my computer?  I’ve thought about papering my walls with rejection letters and pages from rejected manuscripts.  Unfortunately, my apartment complex does not approve of my decorating idea.

I rewrote a novel and realized the second version was a vast improvement over the original.

I killed off a major distraction in a blog.

I edited a finished work.

I read.  Not just romance, but mysteries, and selected non-fiction.

I meet with my critique group.  They can pick me up when I’m down.

I tell myself that I’m a good writer and someday I’ll have that book contract. Someday.

I really try not to be discouraged.  I try not to let the disappointment make me impossible to be around.


Elbow Grease Required

Outtakes 358

Elbow Grease Required

By Cait Collins

My co-worker attached a really great saying to her morning report.

Faith doesn’t make things easy.

It makes them possible.

This statement makes sense to me.  It’s not just in reference to religion or philosophy, but also to our dreams and aspirations.  For example, I believe I have the talent to write.  I’ve made my living writing training manuals, commercials, sales handouts, news, and television programs. I know I can write.  I have faith in my talent.  But that belief will do me no good until I act on it.

Maybe I can write.  Maybe I have the words circling through my head and colliding into each other.  However, if I don’t put the words on paper, if I don’t seek to develop my craft success will not be possible.  Yes success is possible, but not without effort on my part.  I have to provide the elbow grease to achieve my goals.

And just because I believe or have faith in my abilities and I apply myself to enhancing my gifts does not ensure success.  There are often outside forces that throw a monkey-wrench into the plan.  Believing in myself, setting reasonable goals, and working toward them makes success possible. We also have to learn to navigate around the roadblocks.