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


Linda Broday said...

Natalie, this is a very touching and inspiring post. I can't say enough about Dove Creek Ranch horse sanctuary. Such an amazing place. I confess when you asked me go out there with you, I was a bit leery. I thought the ranch would have an achingly sad feel to it. But what I found was such peace and tranquility. Those horses were very loving despite the traumas they'd suffered. When I ran my hands over Joe, I felt such an outpouring of love and compassion and it made tears well in my eyes. I love that horse! We never know where an open door might lead. For you it was an opportunity to write more magazine articles. For me, it was a new understanding for wounded horses that I'm sure I'll add to my stories.

Love your new pub photo! You look so pretty.

Nat said...

Thanks, Linda! The horse sanctuary was an amazing place. Who wants to join us for a volunteer Saturday work day? And stay tuned for more stories about Flash. He is an amazing horse.