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



By Natalie Bright

The ‘Scenic” ranch road dissects our East Pasture. It takes a fairly steep grade towards the creek bottom, descending next to a tree lined canyon. At the lowest point you drive through a dense thicket of plum bushes, a china berry grove, and wild grape-vines. Towering cottonwood trees, decades old, casts shadows on the peaceful creek beds. The land remains as it was hundreds of years ago when Native Americans camped near the natural springs, leaving flecks of flint. If you take a rest on an uprooted tree, you’ll feel miles away from a modern world.

The Flood

Following a long drought, too much of a glorious rain caused two creeks to converge in the middle of the Scenic Drive road. The force of the water formed a whirlpool that washed out a five foot hole making it impassable. And now, just two years later, we’ve never graded the road to fill the hole and it is barely navigable by four-wheeler.

Our Scenic Drive is now covered in soft sand and cow prints, and if you look really close, tracks from deer, wild turkey, quail, and bobcat too. The steep grade is terraced in uneven ledges, while other places have deep trenches washed out by running water. There is a shadow of evidence that this was once a path for modern vehicles. The mighty forces of nature have a way of erasing human presence.

Finding What to Write

I wish I could take you all on a drive in the four-wheeler along our Scenic Road. Of course I can’t, but I can write about it. This place and these people, both past and present, ignites my brain with ideas.

Helpful friends are always making suggestions as to what I should write. It was pointed out to me at a writer’s conference that kids living in city apartments aren’t interested in reading stories about the Wild West. They can’t relate to such places. Do I create trendy stories based on what seems to be selling in the market, or do I write the stories in my head? By the time we can craft a story on what’s hot, that trend is usually over saturated. The answer, I think, is to write the story that burns inside of you.


Is there a particular place or time period that inspires your work?

Feed that fire in your gut and WRITE ON!

Writers and Their Many Lives

Writers and Their Many Lives

By Natalie Bright

As I waited for our Dairy Queen order, I checked my iPhone calendar. Today, Monday, deliver lunch to my husband who was tending to cattle. I’ll hop a ride with him while he makes his afternoon rounds keeping watch for spring photo opportunities.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, it’s back to the day job office. I’d wear my best speaker suit and heels for a lunch at an exclusive dinner club in downtown Amarillo to talk about children’s literature with a group of retired educators. I am looking forward to what I feel sure will be a lively discussion.

What a contrast. Today I watched a newborn calf on wobbly legs take his first taste of warm milk. Tomorrow I’d be peering down at the streets of the city from the 30th floor of a high rise office building.

A Writer’s Path

A friend and author of 37 books, Jodi Thomas, warned me that if I took the writer’s path I’d be living several lives. I realize now that she didn’t just mean the stories inside my head.

The writing part of your life is nothing like the living part of your life, although there are some who seem to manage the chaos. For most of us families and day jobs are detached from prose and publishing. Add to that marketing, promotion, social media, conferences, networking, and whatever else it takes to achieve our dreams of becoming a successful author. Families have no idea what we do.

There too is the world inside our heads. On some days I feel like the stories choose me and I am powerless to control the process. To successfully convey that world on to a blank page, writers must immerse them selves in the fictional existence of our imagination. If it’s believable and real to us, we hope it will be the same for our readers.

My life seems so jammed packed, and when I can’t imagine taking on one more task, I’ll say yes to chairing a committee or volunteering for the book fair at my son’s school. When I’m busiest shuttling kids and juggling appointments, a new character will shoot in my brain like a firework and I’m scrambling to find a blank page and a pen.

Live in the Moment

As I jotted notes for this blog on a crumpled piece of paper, I paused to watch a jumble of calves run away at the sound of the feed truck. They bumped and tottered across the pasture, stopping to catch their breath only to realize their mommas were nowhere close. They turned and made a beeline back towards the herd. We laughed at their shaky legs and cute faces. Today was full of greasy burgers and cloudy skies and endless pastures. New life running full tilt.

Tomorrow will be completely different.

“They’re thinking it’s a great day to be in the world,” my husband said.

Yes. It certainly is. It’s a great day to be in the world, no matter how many worlds or lives or careers you might have. We make it through whatever this day might bring, and then we can be somebody totally different tomorrow. And the cool part is we can write about it all.

Being a writer is never dull.