With a blend of photography, ranching heritage, and real cowboy food, I pitched my brilliant idea for a book to an editor at the Western Writers of America Conference several years ago. She told me the book would never sell because bookstores could not determine where to shelve it. Coffeetable book? I’m not a professional photographer. Cookbook? It has nonfiction text about cowboy work and cattle ranching. The Texas special interest section? Except for the recipes and food pictures.

I thanked her for her time and as I stood to leave, she asked if I might be interested in writing a book about chuck wagons. It so happened that I had toured the ranch headquarters of the man who invented the chuck wagon, Charles Goodnight. It was only an hour from my home. So yes, I would be glad to do more research and send her a proposal.

Here’s the thing Wordsmith Six friends, sometimes NO isn’t exactly a NO. I could have rejected her twist on my idea and self-published my vision. But she was right, it would have never made it into bookstores. It had no specific theme. Sometimes you need to think outside of your vision and allow your ideas to morph into a thing that might be totally different. Be open to new ideas. Consider opportunities that might challenge your talents. Long story short, after a year of research, I give you the end results, which is up for pre-order now!

KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’; The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook.

It has history, it has recipes and I got to use my ranch photographs. All the things I had envisioned except ten times better and guided by a savvy editor who wasn’t afraid to give me an honest opinion. Keep writing and keep believing in yourself. The opportunities are out there.

Writing Quotes

Writing Quotes

by Adam Huddleston


This month’s blog topic is “writing quotes”.  While there are a multitude to choose from, here are some of my favorites:

“No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

– Ernest Hemingway

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

-Douglas Adams

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”   – Robert Frost

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”   –Stephen King

“Happy writing!”  – Adam Huddleston





Natalie Bright

Have you ever read a book with the intention of putting it down at the end of the chapter, only to realize you’re 5 chapters in? The chapter ending hook is where you end your scene and entice readers to turn the page as defined in Rory’s blog post here

Here are a few chapter ending hook examples from the book I’m reading now, THE SEARCH by Nora Roberts. Genre: romance.

  1. She pushed herself up, shut down the laptop. 

“I’m going to take that long bath, drink that stupid tea. And you know what? We’re going to book that damn villa. Life’s too damn short.”

  1. “I’m a fan of cold pizza.”

“I’ve never understood people who aren’t.” She rose, held out a hand for his.

  1. She walked out with them, stood with her arms folded over her chest against her thudding heart and the dogs sitting at her feet as they drove away. “Good luck,” she murmured.

Then she went inside to get her gun.

  1. Mai glanced at the doorway, lowered her voice. “I told the concierge not to leave a paper at our door in the morning. Just in case.”

“Good thinking.”

They heard the pop of a cork and Fiona’s shouted, “Woo-hoo.”

“Put it out of your mind,” Sylvia murmured. “So we can keep it out of hers.”

  1. And when he fell, he fell into her eyes.


Your homework is to choose several books by your favorite authors, preferably in the same genre of your WIP, and with pen and paper, write every last sentence or two of every chapter ending. No typing or reading, only handwriting. 

You will be amazed at how your brain will click on where to end chapters and how to leave an enticing hook for your readers.

Happy Writing!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade. 


A Sneak Peek 


A Sneak Peek 

By Nandy Ekle

A sneak peek from my story, Halloween Land, to be released later this year as an example of a hook.

8:00 pm

Made it home. I’m in my room now; wine glass on the bedside table and my book is on my lap. And you, dear journal are laying open on the bed next to me so I can document this experience. 

As soon as I walked in the front door, I opened the bottle, slipped into my comfy pajamas, and turned out the lights. I pushed the button on my bedside lamp and propped my pillow up behind me. Rubbing the front cover of Halloween Land, I feel the anticipation stirring the adrenaline in my head. I take a sip of the luxurious Apothic Dark red wine and swallow it down. Now I’m opening the book. 

Before I can even see any words, a breeze blows up from the pages and a faint eerie chuckle floats at me from the spine.  A pair of icy-cold bone-white hands with fingernails sharpened to daggers and painted as black as sin, are reaching out of the pages——


Hook’em Early

Hook’em Early

Rory C. Keel

Here is a good example of the opening hook from Elmore Leonard’s The Tonto Woman.

The time would come, within a few years, when Ruben Vega would go to the church in Benson, kneel in the confessional, and say to the priest, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

With the first sentence, the writer creates interest with a scenario of a future event, What is the character Ruben Vega going to do?

the reader is HOOKED to continue reading in order to find out.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix



Natalie Bright

We are blogging about hooks all month, and I’m veering from the topic of chapter endings to creating interesting characters that Hook your reader and makes them sympathetic to your character and engaged in your story.

In his book TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT, Lawrence Block talks about unique ways to hold a reader’s interest and make them experience the story along with the character. As a brilliant example and food for thought, there are exceptions to every rule as in the case of Sherlock Holmes stories. Mr. Block explains:

“The obvious functions of a Watson include keeping the reader in the picture while hiding certain things from him; he knows only what the Watson knows, not what the Great Detective is thinking or observing. Additionally, the Watson character can marvel at the brilliance and eccentricity of the Great Detective, who would appear egomaniacal were he to mutter such self-aggrandizement directly into our ears.

But I think another important advantage of the Watson device is the distance it creates, distance from the Great Detective but not from the story. That character, with his quirks and idiosyncrasies, is more commanding if we are made to stand a bit apart from him. Let us peer over his shoulder and we can see his feet of clay.” (Block.174)

Hope your 2020 be a productive one!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade. 



Natalie Bright

The best way to hook a reader is to create memorable characters that are real, not cardboard. Make your main character (MC) have flaws, which can be physical, internal issues like guilt, hate, shame. This makes characters relatable and unforgettable.

Provide readers with insight into your MC head. It’s not safe with this character, you can never tell what they might do. Hook them with the unexpected and give your characters a secret.

Hook readers with a setting, fantasy or unusual place. Let your setting be a character in itself by providing imagery. Paint a word picture.

Struggles hook the reader, never let your main character have what she wants. Throw every obstacle you can at them and end your chapter with an emotional punch.

Example Ending Chapter Hook: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (By J. K. Rowling) from Chapter 3:

One minute to go and he’d be eleven. Thirty seconds…twenty…ten…nine—maybe he’d wake Dudley up, just to annoy him—three…two…one…


The whole shack shivered, and Harry say bolt upright, staring at the door. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.”

There is no human alive that can resist turning that page and reading the next chapter.

Hope your 2020 be a productive one!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade. 



Natalie Bright

Here’s a list of ideas on how you can entice readers to keep turning the pages, even when they reach the end of a chapter.

Sharon Dunn, in her article from the book A NOVEL IDEA, recommends splitting a scene into multiple chapters to hold the reader’s interest. She explains, “…look for the moment in the story when there would be a question planted in the reader’s mind.” 

Here are other ways to end your chapter:

  • With a cliffhanger
  • Your main character has been harmed. The reader is concerned and keeps reading.
  • End with dialogue and a question.
  1. Create an Arrival. A perfect example posted in a previous blog from Charlaine Harris’ EASY DEATH: The sight of two strangers sitting on the bench outside my front door seemed so wrong and bad I had to blink to make sure they were really there.
  • Reveal something new. 
  • End at the beginning of the next scene and carry on in the next chapter.
  • Add to the theme or setting with description.
  • Insight, flashbacks or internal struggles relating to your main character with internal dialogue.

May 2020 be a productive one!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade. 

The Bait


The Bait

By Nandy Ekle

I am the daughter of a fisherman. My dad can catch anything that swims in the water. When I was a pre-teen, Daddy would plan family outings to the “barge”—a barn-type building that sits on the lake with big holes cut in the floor, rails around the holes, and chairs. We would sit in those chairs for hours with lines in the water, the line wrapped around our fingers, and books in our laps. He made his own homemade bait, and when that ran out, we would catch mayflies or other harmless bugs from the corners of the building to use as bait.

So, this is a blog about writing. Why am I talking about fishing? 

Our readers are like fish deep in the water and our job is to catch as many as possible. But you absolutely cannot catch a fish without bait. If you drop a line with a bare hook into the water, it will hang there until you reel it up and go home.

In the writing world, this is called “THE HOOK.” 

Another thing my dad would do is go out to the lake earlier in the week and drop a bucket full of “chum,” something to call his favorite kind of fish to the area so that when he showed up for the real action, the fish would be present looking for treats.

When you start a story, you need to feed the readers something to make them hungry for more. I’ve heard from successful writers to start your story the day something is different for your main character. For example, JK Rowling starts the entire Harry Potter series with a young orphan living with relatives who resent his presence. His life is not fun in the least. And what happens? He gets a letter delivered to him by an owl. In the world he grew up in, owls do not deliver mail. And even if they did, it wouldn’t be to him, a nobody. So the reader is immediately saying, “What?!” And they have to keep reading to find out why this little boy gets his first piece of mail ever, and it’s delivered by an owl. 

She fed the readers just enough to make them hungry for more.


A Blast From the Past

A Blast From the Past

By Adam Huddleston

Several years ago, I entered a short story in a collection entitled “The Darwin Murders”.  This week I just wanted to share this brief “blast from the past.”

A Beautiful Sunday Drive

By Adam Huddleston

Well hello Mr. I-refuse-to-move-over-and-allow-cars-to-enter-the-interstate-from-the-onramp.  Yes, I realize that legally you have the right of way and I am sure that whoever you’re texting is anxiously awaiting your next dim-witted post.  However, it would be nice if I didn’t have to slide around your car like a road ninja in order to match the speed of traffic.

Now that I’m behind you, filling up my lungs with the fumes from an exhaust that needs attention, I see that you’ve chosen to drive a safe ten miles an hour below the limit.  Perhaps the mobile device in front of your face is affecting your vehicle’s RPMs.  

I see that Murphy’s Law is well in affect as we are destined to take the same exit.  I follow you to the next stoplight only to discover that both of our destinations are to the right.  Another five miles reading your banal bumper stickers and I decide upon the most appropriate course of action.

I notice that for some odd reason, you have chosen to move the speedometer’s needle to ten miles over the speed limit in a school zone.  As we leave said zone, I recall a car chase video I’d seen years ago.  A slight tap of your right rear bumper with my vehicle sends your heap out of control.

My rearview mirror frames the accident nicely.  A madman’s laugh escapes me as I watch your car first flip several times then burst into flames.  

I hope you hit the “Send” button first.