Wednesday, March 23, 2016


By Natalie Bright

My women friends astound me. They are so focused and BUSY with careers, families, volunteer work, and other interests. And yet, they’re ready and willing to take on something new should an opportunity present itself.

Just like the amazing friends in my life, WWW members intrigue me as well. As I look through the 2015 Catalog of Authors’ Books published by Women Writing the West, I’m struck by the diversity of themes and main characters. As I explore their author websites and read their blogs, I find that the creators of these books are just as diverse and remarkable as the characters. That’s why being part of a writer’s group like WWW is so inspiring.

Where Do Story Ideas Come From?
The people we know, the places we visit, and our unique life experiences are the backbone our stories. Where ideas come from, is without a doubt, the number one question most frequently asked of every author. 

The things that interest us and feed our soul usually appears in our writing at some point. Which brings me to an interesting encounter with a rescue horse and his trainer.

Lacey, Christie, and Natalie

Last summer, my son noticed his former teacher during the finale scene of the musical drama, “Texas”. Performed in an outdoor amphitheater with the walls of Palo Duro Canyon State Park as the back drop, it tells the story of the Texas Panhandle of 1800’s.

That lady, Christie Shippy, had been my son’s elementary music teacher.  I contacted her soon after because I just had to know how she came to be sitting at center stage on a horse and holding a gigantic American flag. It wasn’t until February that we finally caught a break in our crazy lives and met at the local coffee shop. So typical of women today, Christie teaches music at the elementary school, plus she plays piano, sings, and just last season, has taken on the position as Head Wrangler for the musical drama. Christie is the perfect personification of western women today, with BUSY being the operative word.

What began as curiosity about my son’s music teacher has turned into ideas for several writing projects based on her work as a horse trainer. Christie introduced me to a local photographer, Lacy Johnston, who has agreed to help me with several projects focusing on our ranch.

Flash, the Rescue Horse

Flash, the Rescue Horse
One of Christie’s horses, Flash, led me to Dove Creek Ranch and Equine Rescue, a peaceful place for healing and new beginnings ran by the energetic Laurie Higgins. Recovering from a significant loss, Laurie felt a need to introduce the healing power of horses to others who might be suffering. Thanks to Jodi Thomas and Linda Broday for taking a break from their own writing to share in my adventure at the horse sanctuary.
Linda Broday at Dove Creek Ranch

It’s been a great start to the year. These unbelievable women have inspired me beyond measure. I’ve come to realize that the world is a better place because of girls who can and do: women who follow their passion and reach for the stars. 

These are the kinds of people that provide the heart for great stories, whether they’re writing it or living it. Thanks WWW members for creating all of those wonderful books!
Incidentally, I’m excited to say that my ‘To Be Read’ pile has grown into a monster.


Natalie Bright is an author, blogger and speaker. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Chicken Soup and West Texas Christmas Stories. She holds a BBA from WTSU, and enjoys talking to groups about writing. Find her on Facebook, Twitter @natNKB, Amazon Author Pages, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. She blogs every Monday about story craft at

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March Member News

What a great lineup of new novels and awards this month! Congratulations to you all!

Janet Fisher, The Shifting Winds (Globe Pequot Press/Two Dot) Jennie Haviland’s father takes the family west over the Oregon Trail in 1842, tearing Jennie away from her prestigious academy in New York and forcing her to face a lonely wilderness across the continent. In Oregon she meets two young men, handsome British Hudson's Bay Company clerk Alan Radford and brash American mountain man Jake Johnston. The two vie for her as their nations vie for this rich contested territory, but Jennie wants choices of her own.

Bonnie Hobbs, Sweet Justice. Wounded by her fiance's betrayal, Rachel Logan returns to her father's ranch in Arizona Territory determined to live an independent life. Kol Hawk comes home after ten years in Yuma Prison for attempting to kill Rachel's father, believing him responsible for the deaths of a Pima woman and her daughter. As they come together to find the truth, can they also find solace in each other? 
Sarah Byrn Rickman, WASP of the Ferry Command (University of North Texas Press) is the personalized story of the women pilots who, when qualified male pilots were in short supply early in World War II, volunteered to fly brand new trainer aircraft from factories to the training fields in Texas and elsewhere. Then the women's job changed dramatically when, in January 1944, they were needed to deliver sleek, powerful P-51 fighter aircraft to the docks at Newark, NJ, for shipment to the war zone. Ultimately, those P-51s were the key to the victory over the German Reich because they had the range to escort and protect the four-engine bombers on raids all the way from England to Berlin and back. 
   Enter code 3B at checkout for a 30 percent discount. The code will expire on 4/3/2016.

Julie Weston, Moonshadows, won Finalist in the May Sarton Literary Award in the category of historical fiction.

Donis Casey, All Men Fear Me, is a finalist in the fiction category for the 2016 Oklahoma Book Award.

Nancy Bo Flood, Water Runs Through This Book (Fulcrum, photographs by Jan Sonnenmair), an informational book about the wonder of water and the need for conservation, has been recognized as a Green Earth qualified book.


Nancy Bo Flood, Soldier Sister, Fly Home, (Charlesbridge, cover art by Shonto Begay), is a Junior Library Guild selection,. This contemporary middle-grade novel is a celebration of family, riding horses pell-mell in the dark, sharing secrets with a sister, and the beauty of the Navajo desert.

Sandra Dallas, The Last Midwife (St. Martin's Press), Winner Traditional Novel, Western Writers of America Spur Awards. 

Jane Kirkpatrick, The Memory Weaver (Revell) earned the Finalist Spur status for Best
Historical Novel.