Rory C. Keel

His desire to go home grew stronger every day. He gave every bit of his strength to the mission in front of him and pushed forward through the stress knowing it was the only way he could go home. He endured the constant running, the overbearing heat of the desert, the sand getting in places where grit shouldn’t be, and eating the same bland military rations every day. Every evening he dug a fresh foxhole to cradle him while he slept. And every night when he closed his eyes, he dreamed the same dream. In his nightmare, he would dig his own shallow grave in a foreign land and settle into the cool sand to sleep. And one-by-one, the other men would shovel the sand over his body while he slept and forget where they buried him. And he would be alone forever.


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

Coming in June




Nandy Ekle


Raylene was in a hurry to get in the house. She thought she had seen her ex-husband’s truck in the neighborhood when she left for work that morning and she didn’t want to take a chance on him spotting her.

She dropped her purse and keys in the chair by the door. Her six-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Pearl, and her just-turned-five-year-old son, Jam, came bounding up the steps into the mobile home behind her, trying to tear each other apart.

“No, I get the first snack,” Pearl yelled.

“No, I do,” Jam yelled back.

“Ow! You pulled my hair! I’m telling. Mom, Jam pulled my hair and it really hurt!” She rubbed the offended part of her scalp, then she stomped on his foot.

 Jam let out an amazing shriek. “Mom! Pearl stepped on my foot!”

 Raylene took a deep breath and shut the door. “Stop it right now! Both of you. No snacks for anyone. Both of you get to your rooms while I figure out supper. Now.”

            “But, Mom,” they both whined in unison.


Find this story and more in OUR TIME ON ROUTE 66.

Coming in JUNE.

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




Rory C. Keel

The fumes from the Yellow Coach Greyhound parked in front of the Tower Station and U-drop Inn cafe swirled around the vehicle. The odor of diesel fuel was familiar to him on the farm but it never lingered very long in the swift West Texas wind. 

Standing on the sidewalk between the cafe and the open door of the bus, Brennon O’Neill held his new bride Patricia as if it would be the last time. Pulling her close, he inhaled deeply, drawing in the sweet aroma of cinnamon, apples, and the hint of rose perfume that always hid in Patricia’s thick auburn hair. He knew the one thing that the stiff breeze could never blow away was the scent of her.

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

Coming in June

Promote You: Hit the Road, Find Inspiration, & Post a Picture

Promote You: Hit the Road, Find Inspiration, & Post a Picture

By Natalie Bright

Spent a Saturday morning with my Thursday night critique group researching historic Route 66, which runs through our area of the Texas Panhandle. We are working on an anthology of stories set on this iconic road.

I’ve been involved in this discussion before with a previous group of writers, and even have a 25,000 word story that never materialized into anything tangible. Sometimes you have to give a story everything you have, and then know when to move on. Maybe I can revive that someday, but in the meantime the topic of doing a group project came up again. We’ve talke about this before, and finally, we are actually to the DOING because Mr. Keel hit on a common theme that inspired us all:

Old Route 66

To set fire to our inspiration and story sparks, we planned a field trip to visit one of the most well known landmarks on Old Route 66 in our area. The U-Drop Inn is located just up the road in Shamrock. It was a great day and very inspiring. My character and her journey is definitely more clearer in my head. At some point in the story, she will make her way along Old Route 66 and stop at the U-Drop Inn diner.

Here’s the cool part; the spark from the my story came from my husband’s great-grandmother who was given to a man 31 years older then her when she was 21. Some of the family believe it was to pay off her own father’s gambling debt, others can’t say for certain. I’ve thought alot about this lady and how she must have felt. She was an interesting lady. She acquired a divorce in Washington D.C. and married a young man her own age, my husband’s great-grandfather. I have no idea if she ever traveled on Route 66 during her lifetime, but that’s where the character becomes fictional. Don’t dismiss those wonderful family stories as sparks.

Our characters  and their adventures are beginning to take shape. I am so excited about this anthology. The six stories in our new book will be in various genres and time periods, but they will all have at least one scene at the U Drop Inn. I’ll also be offering my novella as a stand alone title.

Promote You

Have you been on a research trip? Post pictures on your social media and create a little buzz about your upcoming story.

Are you looking for inspiration? Nothing like a road trip. Clear your head and just look, listen, smell, and touch. Don’t forget your pen and notebook.

More about Old Route 66

Built in 1936 at a cost of $23,000, the Tower Conoco and U-Drop Inn were featured in the 2006 Disney Pixar movie CARS.

Although the cafe does not serve food today, it is immaculately preserved. At the grand opening in April, 1936, it was considered “the swankiest of the swank eating places.” When Route 66 came through Shamrock in 1937, it was the only eating place for a hundred miles along the new roadway. Elvis ate in one of the corner booths. As an excellent example of Art Deco, the building features two flared towers with green glazed ceramic tile walls and neon light accents.

Route 66 was decommissioned in 1984 and Shamrock became one of the many towns bypassed by highway Interstate-40. Through several owners, name changes, and layers of paint, a son of one of the original owners purchased the dilapidated building in the 1980s and restored it back to the original colors and name.

Today, the U Drop Inn is owned by the city of Shamrock and houses the local tourist information center.