Book Cover Reveal


Book Cover Reveal


Finally, two more books will be out soon in the Rescue Animal Series. Book #5, Flash: The Story of Me and Book #6, Taz & The Big Flappy Thing. These two will gallop straight into your heart!

Both books will be available in eBook and print formats, worldwide. Written in easy reader vocabulary for your emerging readers and featuring color photos, for ages 7-9.

My kids picked out their dogs from ASPCA and I thought that was very nice gesture on our part, and then I met a group of people who help rescue horses. It is an unbelievable commitment of time, energy and money. I hope these books bring an awareness to the work these people do.

FLASH is a registered Tennessee Walker who came from Dove Creek Equine Rescue in Canyon, Texas. The story follows his adoption, training to overcome fear of noises, his work in an outdoor musical drama, and the moment he learned to trust the human who loved him. Based on a true story.

TAZ is a registered Hackney, saved by the Sheriff’s Department and rehabilitated at Panhandle Safe Hayven Equine Rescue in Amarillo, Texas. His adopted owner trained him for a Mounted Search and Rescue Team and his story is also based on actual events. The book tells the story of his training for his first Veteran’s Day Parade through downtown Amarillo, Texas.

Be on the lookout for book signings this spring where you can meet these amazing rescue horses. We’ll be visiting several public libraries in the Texas Panhandle area. For details on upcoming events, check out my website , follow my Facebook page

and events will also be listed on my Amazon Author Page

Hope to see you at a book event sometime soon!


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.


Outtakes 209


by Cait Collins


The outdoor musical drama, TEXAS, is a seasonal event in the Texas Panhandle. The show is spectacular and is loaded with special effects and fireworks. A couple of weeks ago, the young stage manager, Peyton Trueblood, was killed in a tragic accident at the amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon. Performances were cancelled for Friday and Saturday, but the cast and crew chose to start again on Sunday.

I was privileged to be in the audience for the second performance following the accident. The average age of cast and crew could be considered young. Many of them are students pursuing their educations at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas or at another area college or university. The actors, singers, dancers, musicians, and crew bond as a family. No doubt they were still grieving the loss of their friend, but they performed. From the opening number to the close, I did not see a missed dance step, no lines were dropped, no voices faltered. Even as they opened the second act with the beautiful song “West Texas Rain”, they remained strong, and in perfect harmony. These young men and women along with the older members of the company showed true professionalism from the appearance of the Rider on the Rim to greeting guests after the performance. I was impressed by their courage; by their dedication to their craft and to the audience. They taught a valuable lesson just by keeping on keeping on.

Sometimes I get discouraged when my writing does not go the way I think it should. I wonder if I will ever make it in the business. I make excuses for not getting out my computer and working on my current project. I am not always living up to my personal standards. I have no reason to sluff-off on my commitments. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. So I am rededicating myself to my writing. No more failing to have my blog ready to post. I will have something new to read every critique meeting. No more hiding accomplishments. I will put my name on everything I write. I am a professional writer. And the emphasis will be on “professional”.


We’re Back

Outtakes 206

We’re Back

by Cait Collins

It’s been a while since our critique group has been together. Work, family obligations, vacations and floods (yes, flooding in the Texas Panhandle) have kept us apart. But as summer comes to a close, it’s time to get back to the business of writing. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on some ideas; it means I haven’t been focused.

There’s something about having deadlines and meetings that tend to help me keep on track. Knowing I need to have about ten pages ready to read on Thursday night forces me to put a book away, turn down the TV, and open the lap top. I often do my best work under pressure or time lines.

I’ve been considering how to complete the set-up of my new story. I have names, cities, settings, and now I know how to describe that office. It’s simply a matter of getting the edits on paper. I can’t wait to read the results to the group.

The other thing I have missed is the friendship. Not only do we critique each other’s writing, we’ve developed a camaraderie that helps us work together for the benefit of each member. No one is more important than another. And if one is struggling, we make the time to give the extra support and guidance needed to help him or her over the slump. That’s what makes a good, productive group.

I’m so blessed to be a part of Wordsmith Six. I wish every writer had such dedicated friends and writing partners.




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!

The Art of Friendly; Texas Style

The Art of Friendly; Texas Style

How traditions can become awkward situations for your character.

By Natalie Bright

As a writer, everything I hear can become a spark in my mind for words on paper. An interesting resource has become people’s comments on current events. It’s fascinating to me how people are so very diverse and will interpret the same situation in so many unique ways, which brings me to the point of this blog.

A post on Facebook has stayed in my head these past several weeks. The blogger said,  “Manners and caring are so rare these days that acts of kindness are misunderstood and considered sexual advance in today’s world.”

Do you think that rings true?

Acts of Kindness

A car bumped me this past week in line at Taco Bell.  I got out of my vehicle to check the damage, which wasn’t anything that I could see. The driver of the other car refused to get out. She gripped her steering wheel with both hands and with a half smile, just starred. She could have at least rolled down her window to say, “Sorry, is everything okay?” I wish I had thought to take pictures of my bumper and of her with my iPhone. That might have generated some kind of reaction.

I have to admit that I’ve been the recipient of strange looks sometimes just for saying “Hello, how are you?” I can see it in the store clerks eyes; Beware, Crazy lady approaching. When did a common greeting and kindness become a reason for distrust? And why are people so scarred of engaging others in conversation? Maybe the statement made on Facebook does ring true in today’s world.

Chit-Chat and Hugging

Here in the Texas Panhandle, for the most part, manners and kindness still rule. Men really do hold doors open for ladies. Most of us chit-chat. A lot. We visit with each other while waiting in line at the grocery store. We visit about the weather in passing at the post office and chat to our waitress at lunch.

And we invade each others space. We hug hello, we hug goodbye, we hug not only relatives and close friends, in addition many of the people we have a working relationship with. Yeah, I know that sounds very awkward, but it’s really not, if you grew up that way. The hug I miss the most is a giant-all encircling hug that came from my Grandmother Williams. She really enjoyed talking to people and always welcomed everyone she knew with a sincere hug of warmth and love.

Hugging and chit chat: regional practices that can have the potential of creating huge conflict for your characters, and not just external. Consider the battles going on inside your character as well.

The What If of a Hug

Utilize the simple act of hugging to create conflict and awkwardness for your characters. It’s only one element of your story, but it can offer readers a glimpse into your characters personality. Here are a few story starters for you.

  1. What if a simple act of kindness is considered to be a sexual advance? How can your character explain his/her action and keep their job?
  2. An affectionate, life-loving southern woman dates a man who likes his space. Does her hugging and friendships with everyone in town create jealousy issues between them? How can he ever trust her? How can their relationship survive?
  3. She’s raised by a cold-distant mother, hard-working, absent father, and is sent to spend the summer with affectionate grandparents and a passel of cousins in small-town Texas.  She misinterprets a hug hello from the neighbor’s boy resulting in a first crush. How does that create conflict for them?
  4. What about the character that is accused of being extremely rude, but in her world she’s just extremely shy, detached and scarred of people?

It all starts with a hug. Happy writing!

Growing Up Friendly

Growing Up Friendly

By N. Bright


“Most people that are too nice are either very naive or have a hidden motive.” This comment posted on a blog was very troubling to me and has been on my mind for several weeks.

Seriously? Do people really believe this about kindness and manners?

Hidden Motives

When the coffee barista hands me my latte and says, “Have a wonderful day” with a friendly smile that shines in her eyes, does she have a secret motive? When the bank teller says that he really appreciates my business, obviously he must be naïve about the world. When a friend buys my lunch for no good reason, what secret agenda is she hiding?  And when the waitress tells us to come back again soon, what is she really plotting?

Living in the Texas Panhandle, I have experienced “nice” my whole life.

Good Manners

Good manners are  important in this part of the country. I think back to my grandparents who treated each other with nothing but kindness and respect, and I remember them showering the same over their kids, grandkids and neighbors.

My mother managed the cosmetic counter at Parsons Rexall Drug in my hometown of Dimmitt. I grew up as “Peggy’s daughter”. From her I learned that people love to talk about their life and the things that matter to them, and sometimes they just need someone who’ll listen. She had a steady stream of loyal customers and sold a lot of perfume and jewelry, but I don’t believe this was her hidden motive. I think my mom really cared about other people and their lives. She was a kindhearted, generous person.

I am continually reminded that nice and friendly are not foreign to the Texas Panhandle. When I walked across the campus of West Texas A&M University on my way to a meeting with writers, several young men held the doors for me usually with a friendly “Hello “ma’am”. These young gentlemen might sport a white Stetson and wrangler jeans, typical West Texas attire, and yet  another had a tattooed arm attached to fly-away locks and body piercings. The kindness expressed by these students makes me proud to know that common courtesy can be found even in today’s youth. After my meeting I made a stop at the local Braum’s for milk and eggs, only to be greeted at the door by a young man of about seven who held the door open for his mother and me.

I’ve traveled to numerous places to speak in Texas, as well as to Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Kansas, and I’ve found nice people in all of those places.  I attended a conference in Bakersfield, California and had a blast with several very nice and fun folks who rolled out the red carpet to welcome us.

Friendly People & Talented Writers

I don’t believe that acts of kindness and good manners are entirely absent from the human race, and I don’t think that nice people are stupid to the ways of the world. My heart goes out to the person who wrote that comment above, and to other people who truly believe it. How very sad to live every day in suspicion, cowering in alarm of random smiles or hellos, and wondering at any kindness that might come their way.

A New York City acquiring editor told me that she loves coming to this area to find authors. “People here have a clarity of emotion that is rare. You are sincere in your thoughts and actions, and writers have the ability to arrive at the heart of the story.”

Isn’t that a better way to live?  Growing up friendly and finding the heart of the story.

Or maybe I’m just naïve.