Congratulations, Joe and Hello, James!


Congratulations, Joe and Hello, James!

Natalie Bright

It’s an extra special celebration to kick off the New Year because we are adding a new member, James Barrington. James will introduce himself and tell you more about his work in a later blog. This week I wanted to share some wonderful news about one of our members, Joe Nichols.

Joe and I are neighbors. We live about eight miles from town past the pavement down a bumpy, caliche road. A mutual friend noticed we had similar addresses, and I was thrilled to find out he was interested in writing. He joined our group many years ago to write a book; an idea that he’d been thinking about most of his adult life. He came to that first meeting knowing nothing about plotting or sentence structure, but I remember how determined he was to learn. The story he wanted to write wouldn’t leave him alone. As a former rodeo bronc rider, his story-telling is raw and authentic. He has also been developing ideas for freelance articles. We are so excited that Western Horseman magazine has published BRUTUS’ NEW JOB. It’s about a bucking bronc who decided he didin’t want to buck anymore and gets a second chance at life in the rodeo arena and on the ranch. You can read Joe’s article in the February 2017 edition of Western Horsemen Magazine. Congratulations, Joe!

WordsmithSix writers critique group has been meeting together since 2009. We’ve said goodbye to a few members and gained a few. We have cranked out words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters which have been discussed, cussed, submitted, published and rejected. Writing is some of the hardest work you’ll ever decide to tackle in your life. Seeing your words in print is one of the most rewarding things ever. When one of my critique mates has good news to share, I’m just as excited as if it were my own work. Every little success just propels the rest of us to work harder.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix as we navigate the world of writing and publishing. Have you set your goals for 2017?

Writing onward…

Advertisements

Meet the Author – Natalie Bright



Meet the Author  

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established Author and Blogger, her writing includes: Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschoolers Soul “The Race”, Books – Oil People, Gone never Forgotten and West Texas Christmas Stories. You can find more about Natalie on her website nataliebright.com.

Please welcome Natalie Bright

When did you start writing?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been scribbling in diaries or writing silly poems, and then I began to write novels in high school.

Why did you choose the Genre you write in?
The stories choose me. My vision was to be a romance novelist because I’m been a lifelong fan of the genre, but the stories inside my head tend to be more for young readers. I honestly do not have any control over the characters that wake me at night.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?
Found a great critique group (thank you WordsmithSix!). I read a gazillion kid lit books, and reread my childhood favorites with a critical eye. Why have those classics stood the test of time? Write every day. Stop questioning the why. Joined writing organizations directly related to the genre I write.

What’s your writing routine like?
There is no routine. I have two teenagers, a day job, community volunteer work; I write whenever, wherever I can.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?
Butt in chair, focus and do your job. Writers must practice intense self-discipline. No one is hovering over your shoulder telling you to work. I think this is what separates the successful writers from the ones that always struggle to reach THE END. It’s an endless internal battle.

Are you an outliner?
Sometimes. Every book is different.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?
Finishing one novel before the next spark takes over.

What advice would you give to new writers?
Just like any professional in any career, learn as much as you can about story craft and the publishing business.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?
I believe it’s an amazing time to be a writer. If you have respect for the craft and can find joy in the writing, then your work will be authentic. When writers view their craft like a business and they see themselves as a professional, both traditional and indie published authors can achieve great success. We have just begun to tap the potential of eBooks and the ability to reach worldwide markets. There are readers out there waiting for your stories.

Meet the Author – Cait Collins


Meet the Author  

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. An established writer, she lists three documentaries, a thirteen-week local television series, commercial copy and news copy on her writing resume. She has also written Bible application stories, puppet plays, and two 15 minute plays for her church youth group.

Please welcome Cait Collins

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was in grade school. Then I fell in love with Illya, the Russian agent from Man from U.N.C.L.E, and wrote “romances” based on the show.

Why did you choose the Genre’ you write in?

I like suspense and romance, so I began writing romance with the suspense twist. I recently tried writing memoirs of growing up during the 50’s and 60’s. My nieces and nephews have no knowledge of how different my childhood was. Some of the memoirs are for the kids.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

First was taking a creative writing course at Amarillo College taught by New York Times Best Selling Author, Jodi Thomas. Jodi is a great teacher and mentor. I also began attending writers’ conferences and workshops. Wordsmith Six, my critique group, is the best. If you don’t want honest critique, you don’t belong in the group. We have a rule; give the good before pointing out the weaknesses.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’m not one to force myself to look and the computer daily and get frustrated when the words don’t come. I tend to go on writing binges when my characters are talking to me and demanding I tell their part of the story. I don’t sit down after a critique session and make the requested changes. I’d rather keep going forward, and editing when the inspiration is just not there.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

Silence the phone, put on some music or turn on the news (the news is easy to block out). I read a few paragraphs from the last point, and start writing. Once I get going, I don’t stop until I need a break for food or something to drink, or until the session ends itself.

Are you an outliner?

No. I make lists or do timelines, but outlines stifle my creativity. I find myself writing to the outline instead of responding to my characters nagging.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Coming from a broadcasting and business writing background, I find settings and details are often overlooked. When the action is moving forward, I will neglect the setting and concentrate on the action.

What are you working on currently, future?

I have a memoir and a novel I’m trying to edit and I’m actively writing book five, a suspense novel with the working title Three by Three.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Write your story. Don’t disregard the advice of critique partners or beta readers, but remember it is your story. If you think the character would not respond as a reviewer suggests, stick to your guns. If you are honest with yourself, you will be able to make the right choice between your gut instinct and the reviewers’ suggestions.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

Opportunities are unlimited for writers. Network studios need material. The Netflix and other independents have opened doors for us. Ebook outlets are exploding. Movie studios need original material. Don’t overlook opportunities in magazine articles, technical writing, and training manuals. I truly believe we are limited only by ourselves. That said, do your homework. Learn what the media and publishers are looking for. Watch the trends in releases. And above all, be sure your formatting, grammar, and facts are correct before submitting to an agent or editor.

 

Meet the Author – Nandy Ekle


Meet the Author

 

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to feature one of our original Wordsmithsix members. She is a multi-published author in the Psycho-thriller and horror genre.

Please welcome Nandy Ekle

When did you start writing?

I started writing in junior high. In the 8th grade I actually wrote a book (I’m talking about 80 pages) about a group of kids who found tunnels underneath the school. I really didn’t have a plot, but it was fun for them to explore the tunnels. This was in the middle 70’s. Of course, nothing happened with the story, which is lost somewhere in my childhood. But in the middle 80’s, The Goonies came out on the big screen, and it reminded me of my first writing adventure. After that I wrote a story called The Kiss That Never Was. I’m actually a little embarrassed about that story now because it was so awful, but it was something I wrote, and it had a definite plot, weak as it was. After that, I wrote part of a story about a woman and her boyfriend who were kidnapped, which was also hilariously ridiculous because my kidnapper did not even have a gun.

And I had no concept of “short answer” questions on tests. Once we were assigned to write a short essay about Christmas for English class. But mine was more of a short story about a little girl waking up and feeling the Christmas magic in the air. Needless to say, the teacher advised me to stick a little closer to the assignment instructions.

Why did you choose the genre you write in?

Well, I didn’t choose my genre, it chose me. I write the dark stories, the horrors, psychologicals, thrillers, mysteries. I’ve tried to stick to lighter stories, but there’s always a twist that heads back to the dark side. It’s as if I can’t control it.

And I think I understand where it comes from. I’ve been accused of being an adrenalin junkie, and I guess that’s true. There’s nothing I love more than reading a book, or watching a movie, and a completely unexpected life shattering twist leaves me feeling as if I’ve been punched in the gut. That, my friends, is a fantastic feeling. And I suppose that’s why I try to include that type of twist in my writing.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve ever done to help my writing is join a writing group. I had been the person who, even though I’ve been a writer for most of my life, I’ve always felt self-conscious about it. I mean, I’m a grown woman, a grandmother, and I see other worlds and hear characters talking in my head all the time. So the first time I walked in the group and people came up to me and said, “So, what do you write,” I was completely floored. I had never felt that open about it before, and it was absolutely . . . liberating. Then I found the critique group. Not only was I accepted as a writer, I was encouraged, even expected to write more and more words, in more and more creative ways. And that has made all the difference.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’m ashamed to say I really don’t have a set writing routine. As a “pantser,” I write when the whim strikes me. And that means that sometimes there are huge chunks of times between writing sessions. This creates guilt feelings, and that makes me try to force words on a page that have no business being there.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

Getting myself in “the zone” sometimes is harder than others. One thing is to have a character be real to me. I have to do that by getting deep in their heads. One way I do that is to write in first person.

Another thing that helps is listening to music, especially if what I’m writing was inspired by a specific song. I once wrote a story about a wife who suspects her husband is seeing another woman, so she goes to a fortune teller. An old 70’s song by Cher was my inspiration, and I had to listen to the song over and over while I was writing it. To this day, when I hear it, I hear the characters arguing with each other.

Movies and books also inspire me. Also pictures of old houses and true crime stories. Also, an interesting situation or character.

Are you an outliner?

As I mentioned before, I am a “pantser,” which means I write “by the seat of my pants.” I usually have an idea of where I want the story to go and the twist, which is very important to me, but when I do get into “the zone,” anything can happen, and it’s usually better than what I had originally planned. While the rest of my life is very organized, I suppose writing is where I’m actually able to let it go and let it happen. But it’s finding that zone . . .

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

Well, definitely, keeping a writing routine is a challenge. I know the masters say, “the more you write, the more you want to write,” but if I force myself to write, it reads, at least to me, like it was forced. In my case, spontaneity is definitely the best.

What are you working on currently, future?

Currently, I have more than ten short stories going, at least I think they’re going to be short. I have several more started that will be longer than than a short story, but I really don’t plan to make them into a novel. I have two novels completely written in my head, but only about one fourth of the way on a page. And I have countless rewrites and completions to get done. And no number for the ones in my head that have not floated to the top of my story soup and screamed for attention. Besides these are the situations and characters, or even just a glimmer of a twist, and I know there’s a full-blown story there, but just have not been able to put my finger on exactly what it is.

What advice would give to new writers?

Writers write. That’s all I know. Writers write.

Oh, and let go and let it flow.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The most positive thing advice I can tell writers today is don’t ever let anyone make you feel silly because you like to make up worlds and characters. And find a master to emulate.

The People Surrounding You


The People Surrounding You

Rory C. Keel

For a writing exercise, take a few moments and make a list of your closest friends, relatives, your boss and co-workers.

Choose the person you like the most and the least; the person who has had the most positive and most negative influence on you; the person who has changed the most and the least since you’ve known them; and then write a write a brief paragraph on each of them explaining why you feel this way.

Notice any quirks they may exhibit such as, do they constantly jerk their head back to flip their the hair out of their eyes, or do they run their hand throughout their hair?

Do they chew their food quietly, or smack their lips loudly?

These are the kind of details that add life to your story characters.

roryckeel.com

A Great Experience


A Pinch of Rodeo

By Joe R. Nichols

 

A Great Experience

I’ve never been paid to be a pick-up man at a rodeo.

My experience has only been at college practice sessions, or trying out horses.

When people watch a rodeo, the men who assist bronc riders safely to the ground, and clear the arena, mostly go unnoticed. If they’re doing a good job, there is no reason for the average spectator to pay any attention to their duties.

I’ve always wanted to be involved at the Cal Farley’s Boy’s Ranch. My wife and I have no children of our own, yet young kids are very important to us. I have personally seen how the sport of rodeo can change and effect lives for the better. A dear friend of mine has given me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization. J.B. asked me to help him pick-up at the practice sessions for the Labor Day Rodeo.

This is the biggest and most important event at the Boy’s Ranch for the whole year. The young women at Girls Town are also involved all the way.

I’m only there to try and help, not to take over or get in the way. J.B. is not there for any benefit for himself, only to help and improve the kid’s chances, in and out of the arena. That’s what I’d like to do as well. Surely, my knowledge of the rodeo events could effect someone in a positive way.

I’m honored to have been asked to help pick-up at the Labor Day Rodeo. I hope I do a good job and can live in the moment. These kids are phenomenal. They come from everywhere and anywhere, and they try harder than most kids.

I wish them the best, at this rodeo, and for the rest of their lives.

The People Surrounding You


The People Surrounding You

Rory C. Keel

For a writing exercise, take a few moments and make a list of your closest friends, relatives, your boss and co-workers.

Choose the person you like the most and the least; the person who has had the most positive and most negative influence on you; the person who has changed the most and the least since you’ve known them; and then write a write a brief paragraph on each of them explaining why you feel this way.

Notice any quirks they may exhibit such as, do they constantly jerk their head back to flip their the hair out of their eyes, or do they run their hand throughout their hair?

Do they chew their food quietly, or smack their lips loudly?

These are the kind of details that add life to your story characters.

roryckeel.com

Anthologies a Good Place To Start


Anthologies a Good Place To Start.

by Natalie Bright

While you’re working on the novel have you thought about submitting a few short pieces to build your pub clip file and boost your ego?

Our critique group, WordsmithSix, came together in part from connections made through a local writing organization to combine with an existing group who lost several members, and through long time friends and new neighbors. We’ve been meeting since 2009.

We began with a common goal—get published. We’ve consistently produced, read our work to the group, revised (and revised some more), and submitted. Between us we’re now multi-published across several genres in short stories, inspirational, devotionals, and kid lit. Since 2010 we became active bloggers. Each success motivates us to keep writing. Every meeting inspires us to work harder.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. I’d like to share a few of our recent works with you.

The Least He Could Do And Eleven Other Stories

Featuring Miss Bitsy by Nandy Ekle

From StoneThread Publishing comes an eclectic collection of twelve short stories. At times you’ll laugh out loud, and at times you’ll have to stop reading to let your heart calm down. This edition includes a story from WordsmithSix member Nandy Ekle. Miss Bitsy tells the tale about a kindly neighborhood grandmother who isn’t all she appears to be. This story gave me chills when I first read it in critique group, and I’m thrilled that it’s out there for everyone to enjoy. Way to go Nandy!

The Least He Could Do And Eleven Other Stories 51xt5BNVf3L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers

Featuring The Challenge by Rory C. Keel
Features 101 Motivational Stories for Writers. Sometimes we need to be challenged to write, and this would make a great gift for those special writers in your life. This edition features The Challenge, by WordsmithSix author Rory C. Keel.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writerscss-inspiration-for-writers-2

West Texas Christmas Stories

Featuring A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings by Natalie Bright

An anthology of more than 30 Christmas stories–short and upbeat, set in West Texas or by West Texas writers including Elmer Kelton and John Erickson. You’ll laugh out loud at the clever piece by editor Glenn Dromgoole about a holiday fruitcake, while other stories will evoke warm memories about past holidays.  My story, A Cowboy’s Christmas Blessings, was inspired by the cowboys and their families who live and work on Texas cattle ranches. It’s an age old tradition and a proud heritage that continues today.

Texas Christmas Stories west texas christmas stories

Remember, books make great gifts!

www.nataliebright.com

Count Down to the Wrangler NFR


A Pinch Of Rodeo
By Joe R. Nichols
Count Down to the Wrangler NFR
  

Trevor Brazile won his fourth Steer Roping Championship Nov. 9th & 10 at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, OK. Trailing Rocky Patterson of Pratt, KS, going in to the final go-round, Brazile tied the fastest steer of the 10 round finals with a smoking 9 seconds flat. He won four go-rounds in all, overtaking the lead by earning $26,462.

This title marks his 19th overall World Championship, tying him with “The Legend”, Guy Allen of Lovington, NM. A tie that will be broken in December.

For the All-Around Championship, Trevor’s winnings of $255,187, leads his closest competitor, Tuff Cooper, better than $120,000. Trevor has qualified for the NFR in tie down roping and heading, the only two-event cowboy at this year’s final. Cooper is certainly capable of winning over $120,000, but it won’t be enough to overcome what Trevor accumulates. This is the only title race that is a virtual lock, and Trevor Brazile will win his 11th All-Around and 20th World title. He is also a contender in his other two events for those titles as well, and could surpass 5 million in career winnings. Regardless, with a record twenty Championships, he is the most winning cowboy in PRCA history.

The Steer Wrestling is probably the closest contested event every year. Those guys are so evenly matched and tightly positioned together by the money standings. However, this year they are spread out a little more. The range goes from Casey Martin with $108,938, down to the 15th hole at $50,000. The top three have separated themselves somewhat from the rest with Trevor Knowles seven thousand back of Martin, and Pampa,TX native Matt Reeves eleven thousand back of Trevor.

It’s still anybody’s game when you consider each of the ten go-round pays nearly $19,000, and the average win will pay almost $50,000. Casey Martin has led all year long, but I have a feeling this is going to be the year for Trevor Knowles. He is physically awesome, and I believe his experience competing in his previous NFR’s are going to make the difference for him.

Thanks for reading. Next week I’ll make some more comments and predictions.

A Great Experience


A Pinch of Rodeo

By Joe R. Nichols

 

A Great Experience

I’ve never been paid to be a pick-up man at a rodeo.

My experience has only been at college practice sessions, or trying out horses.

When people watch a rodeo, the men who assist bronc riders safely to the ground, and clear the arena, mostly go unnoticed. If they’re doing a good job, there is no reason for the average spectator to pay any attention to their duties.

I’ve always wanted to be involved at the Cal Farley’s Boy’s Ranch. My wife and I have no children of our own, yet young kids are very important to us. I have personally seen how the sport of rodeo can change and effect lives for the better. A dear friend of mine has given me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization. J.B. asked me to help him pick-up at the practice sessions for the Labor Day Rodeo.

This is the biggest and most important event at the Boy’s Ranch for the whole year. The young women at Girls Town are also involved all the way.

I’m only there to try and help, not to take over or get in the way. J.B. is not there for any benefit for himself, only to help and improve the kid’s chances, in and out of the arena. That’s what I’d like to do as well. Surely, my knowledge of the rodeo events could effect someone in a positive way.

I’m honored to have been asked to help pick-up at the Labor Day Rodeo. I hope I do a good job and can live in the moment. These kids are phenomenal. They come from everywhere and anywhere, and they try harder than most kids.

I wish them the best, at this rodeo, and for the rest of their lives.