Number 5

Number 5

by Adam Huddleston

Last week, my family and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world; kid number 5 (if anyone’s counting). I used to write a bit of poetry, and while my skills are beyond rusty (and they were always far from sharp), I felt like dusting off the old lyrical portion of my brain and recording my feelings in verse. If you’ve ever spent those other-worldly hours in a delivery room, I’m sure you can relate. God bless and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

I know we did.


Cold steel, coats of white,

Nervous smiles, and gleaming lights.

Weary eyes, hearts beat fast,

Hours from now, we’ll meet our “last”.

Computers beep, the I.V.s drip,

The nurses float, the doctor’s quip.

….as pressure climbs,

“You’re doing great,” they say. “It’s time.”

The lovely face I see each day,

Begins to frown in tightening pain.

I hold her hand and kiss her brow

And tell her that “It’s not long now.”

The doc and nurses gather ‘round,

And do their job so smooth and sound.

Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes,

Two perfect eyes, and one button nose.

We hold our breath until she cries,

And grin so wide to know she’s fine.

We swaddle her in blankets soft,

Invite friends in to show her off.

Brothers/Sisters take their turn.

Pictures made and lessons learned.

We thank our loving God in heaven.

The Huddleston clan, now boasts seven.


Characters and Careers

Outtakes 232

Characters and Careers

by Cait Collins

Characters don’t just sit around all day shooting the breeze. They have jobs, careers, and education. But where do you start in researching careers? If you know someone in the profession, make an appointment to discuss the job description, education, salary, perks, lingo, attire and so forth. But if you don’t have access to an expert in the field, there are other sources to help you out.

When I first began writing fiction, I knew I would need handy resources. Writer’s Digest released Careers for Your Characters by Raymond Obstfeld and Franz Neumann a number of years ago. It’s one of the first books I purchased for my library. The volume covers 101 professions providing good information on common careers and some not so common ones. It’s has helped me better define some of my characters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide information on jewelry design and gemology. So it’s time to punt.

I started with pulling information from my college geology classes and labs. What equipment did I need for my hero? What would he have in his kit? Would he do some prospecting on his own? What is the process for filing a claim? And as the writer, what did I need to learn to create this character?

My local Barnes and Noble Booksellers provided a number of books for my research. Tom Jackson’s What’s that ROCK or MINERAL? guided me in rock and mineral identification. Smithsonian Nature Guide Rocks and Minerals by Ronald Louis Bonewitz provided information on gem properties and locations. Gemstone Settings by Anastasia Young gave me insight on the types of settings and lingo. I began comparing some of my personal jewelry with the designs in the book so that I could describe the various pieces in my hero’s line.

I then hit the internet to learn what gems one could find in Colorado. I also found fee sights where I could go to pan for gold and sluice for gems and minerals. I may need to make a trip to the state to put my book knowledge to work so that I can accurately describe the panning process.

What do I hope to gain from this research? I will be able to create more dynamic characters, settings and description. And in turn I will hopefully give the reader a really great story.


Sunday Writings

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.    



What’s Your Genre?

What’s Your Genre?

Natalie Bright

As you think about your writing goals for the New Year, have you thought much about genre?

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you develop blogs, tweets, and promotion around your stories.

What kind of people will be your readers?

Where can you find these people?

Do your readers have other interests in common?

What blog topics can you focus on that directly relates to your published works?

Here’s to a productive New Year!

Too Busy to Write

Too Busy to Write

By Natalie Bright

Some days cause us to wonder why we even think that writing is a necessary part of our lives. Sometimes those days turn into weeks, and those weeks turn into months…and well, you understand.

Finally, we get back to the business of writing and the creative process seems so foreign. It’s like we’ll have to start over and relearn the basics.

Here’s a few writing exercises to get you back in the muse groove:

Write the inner thoughts from your main characters. Start with their life growing up, description of their parents, most afraid, most embarrassing–all from first person POV. Dig deep and really get inside your character’s head.

If you’re stuck on your book, write a short story, a magazine article, a nonfiction book, a story about your grandfather, childhood memories. Just write.

Make lists. I love making lists. Since I write westerns, I made a list of word substitutions for the word “horse” . Make a list of spicey words. Instead of the word jump, what other word would make that descriptive phrase better? Make an alphaetical list of your character names with a brief discription, like red hair, green eyes, trimmed mustache.

Prepare a timeline of your novel, scene by scene.

So there you go. Hope you have a productive week!



By Natalie Bright

One of the notable things that many successful writers have in common is that they read. If you find interviews by some of your favorite best-selling authors, they usually reveal their reading lists. And more often than not, they’ll have a few books that they’ve read over and over.

William Faulkner wrote, “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.” 

One of the WordsmithSix writers told me she reads Stephen Kings’ THE SHINING every year around Halloween. It’s one of her favorite books because of the psychological intensity, and of course written by one of the masters. My goal this year is to read that book in October. It’s already on my eReader.

Which comes first: the writer or the reader? For me personally, I can’t answer that question, but one bookshelf holds several of my cherished childhood picture books. And I can vividly remember my hometown library, Rhoads Memorial Library in Dimmitt, Texas.

Located on the same block, and just around the corner from the Laundromat, I spent most Saturdays there.  While my mother did our weekly wash, I whiled away the time with characters and discovered places I’ll never forget. Mrs. Howell usually had books ready and waiting for me. With a cheery “Good morning. I think you’ll enjoy this,” she’d hand me a stack of treasures.  The feel, the smell of the pages, the tingle of excitement; I couldn’t wait until I could bury my thoughts into the story.

One of the happiest days for my mom, and probably one of the saddest for me, was when my dad backed his pickup truck next to the front porch and unloaded a new washer and dryer. That was the Saturday I didn’t get to go to the library. And perhaps that was the day I started writing the stories in my head.

Who influenced you to become a reader?



By Natalie Bright


We think of our eyes as video cameras and our brains as blank tapes to be filled with sensory inputs.

Michael Shermer

I love this quote! Think of your readers as blank tapes. It’s your job as a writer to convey that image in as vivid a picture as possible. You create a world on a page with words that comes alive in the readers’ brain.

Let’s consider the color red. Think about digging even deeper. Instead of red, how about:

Pink, salmon, coral, raspberry, strawberry, tomato, currant, cherry, crimson, vermillion, flame, ruby garnet, wine

Each one of those shades of red creates a totally different mental image.

Thanks for following Wordsmith Six!




Story in a Blog

Story in a Blog

by Natalie Bright


…is an important component of any great novel. Laughter, sadness, or horror—experiencing a wide range of feelings is perhaps the main reason readers read. Inciting emotion should be the goal of writers when they write.

An exceptional writer can take their readers on a roller-coaster ride of sensation. Can you remember the story that made you laugh out loud? How about an ending that left you crumpled in tears? And horror—thank you King and Koontz. Heavy sighs, heart pounding love; innocent and sweet, or in graphic detail if you so choose. Which brings me to topic of this post.

Last week, I read a blog post that contains all of the components of a great novel, an example that writing good blogs is just as important as writing good stories. Follow the link, read, and let’s discuss: click here.

Story in a Blog.

  • Writing from the heart makes for intense reactions. Dig deep. You might have to revisit those painful and embarrassing times in your life. Go there and be fearless. Your writing will be all the richer.
  • Empathy with the author. The reality of the situation brings to mind a myriad of sentiments for most of us. Panic, sheer terror, frustration, and tremendous joy at the thought of being a parent, plus I laughed out loud.
  • This blog post has the necessary components of a novel. A great beginning that drags the reader in, solid middle, and an ending that ties up the tale in a nice little package. It leaves the reader satisfied.

Side note: The author of THE BIG OOPS is our niece, Lindsay Bright, and I’m so very proud to announce that she’s recently been selected as a new contributor to the hugely popular CityMomsBlog. She’ll be blogging from the diverse city of Austin, so please watch for her posts there.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix!



            Head Games minus the Publishing Part


By N. Bright


It’s true that there are as many different writing processes and ways to craft a book as there are writers. However, based on what I’ve learned, all writers go through similar angst before they type THE END. Whether it’s your first book or 49th, I’m guessing you’ve probably experienced a few of these head games yourself.


  • You’re hit with an absolutely brilliant idea set in an amazing world. You are certain it will be a #1 NYT bestseller and a movie.
  • Realizing that you will never completely understand the time period, character profiles, theme, setting, plot—whatever it may be—to effectively write an entertaining story. Why are you torturing yourself?
  • First Draft. There is no possible way this can ever be a cohesive novel worthy of any reader. You should just watch television.
  • This isn’t that bad. Maybe your critique group will like it, and it might show promise after you tweak it based on their input.
  • Return to your life. The novel disappears under a stack of short stories waiting to be submitted and rough drafts of magazine articles.
  • Final Read. Outloud. To yourself. You discover it has some brilliant parts, but in your mind no one will ever read it. YOU like it and it’s done. Now what?
  • Spark…. See No. 1 above.


Happy NaNoWritMo everyone!


Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Outtakes 173

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

By Cait Collins


Most folks in the United States joke about the local weather. In the Texas Panhandle we make comments like, “You don’t like the weather? Well, just wait five minutes and it’ll change.” Last night was a perfect example of Panhandle weather. It was a balmy 72 degrees when I walked into the grocery store. I walked out forty-five minutes later only to be confronted with 40–50 mile an hour winds an air temperature of 47 degrees. It went downhill from there. Hello winter.

The great thing about the cold weather is I have the perfect excuse to sit by the fire and read. It maybe my imagination, but the world seems quieter when it’s cold. It’s as if a sleep has descended, the imagination opens, and I can really get into the story. And there are some fantastic stories out there.

If you’re look for a good read, here are some suggestions.

Killing Patton, Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy                    Bill O’Riley

The Heroes of Olympus series (great for adults and kids)     Rick Riordan

Virtue Falls                                                                             Christina Dodd

The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy                                              Nora Roberts

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn                                       Mark Twain

The Longmire Series                                                               Craig Johnson

Son of No One                                                                        Sherrilyn Kenyon

Revival                                                                                    Stephen King


And if you feel guilty about taking a break from your writing, just remember reading is part of a writer’s job. How can we be good writers if we’re not good readers?

Happy reading.