Adventure and Romance in one

Adventure and Romance in one

Looks like I’ve done nothing but read in the last few weeks.

WHAT I READ SINCE LAST TIME:  An Invitation to Scandal by Kelly Boyce.  The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Merchanter’s Luck by C. J. Cherryh. Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.  Mercenary Instinct by Ruby Lionsdrake.  Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

Weird Western

Weird Western

I did more.

In addition to all the reading, I binge-watched season two of American Horror Story (Asylum), got BABY SINGS THE BOOS up and ready for CreateSpace trade paperback publication, got the car maintained, got Merry Maids fired (actually they fired us, didn’t want to come this far from home base), and I’ve almost finished the first draft or rough draft or the non-critical brain version of my next book THE CIMARRON BRIDE. Next up will be a science fiction novel THE GOODALL MUTINY. And then the third in the Boo Done It mysteries CHECKING OUT THE DEAD DUDE. And I hope for a fourth novel this year, another short romance, THE TEXICAN BRIDE. I’m also deep into an online Dean Wesley Smith writing workshop that’s downright fun (so far).

What I haven’t done is eat properly or get any exercise. Taking the golf cart out for a ride doesn’t count as exercise. Not even in Texas.

The armadillo didn’t see his shadow on groundhog day. I think our short (very short) winter in Texas is almost over. Bluebonnet driving trips are just around the corner. Texas highways during the Spring are fantastic things to behold. People stop on the shoulders and walk out into rattlesnake-infested wildflower fields just to get a great selfie.

Find my books at

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix and http://barnesandnoble.com/c/gretchen-rix and at http://smashwords.com/books/view/105559

These are poppies. Bluebonnets are sort of purple.

These are poppies. Bluebonnets are sort of purple.

 

The real Boo Radley.

The real Boo Radley.

The Boo Done It Mystery series started with our dog Boo Radley, named for the To Kill A Mockingbird character played in the movie by Robert Duvall.  Our Boo Radley is female. We tend to pick out our pet names before we pick out our pets.

Boo out walking in our yard

Boo out walking in our yard

Boo in real life was much as she’s described in the novels TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS and TEA WITH A DEAD GAL, and in the new short story collection BABY SINGS THE BOOS. Stubborn, beautiful, nervous, hard to control, afraid of thunderstorms (and just about everything else unexpected), and beautiful.

That's me on the other end of the leash getting dragged by Boo Radley

That’s me on the other end of the leash getting dragged by Boo Radley

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Aleutian Grave by William Doonan.

My books are available at

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix and http://barnesandnoble.com/c/gretchen-rix

Photographs by Roxanne Rix.

Boo Radley

Boo Radley

WHAT I’VE LEARNED OVER FOUR YEARS OF INDIE PUBLISHING:  

A Boo Done It Mystery

A Boo Done It Mystery

 

SALES AREN’T STEADY. A terrific six months can be followed by six months of few to no sales. You don’t necessarily get any sales at Christmas time. And a book that started off slow and then got a lot of sales, and then sold very slowly? That book still sells four years later. But not a lot. I don’t think you can look at your figures and plan your upcoming income from indie published books. ADVICE: When you do make a lot of money out of your books, save the majority of it against the year you don’t do so well.

YOU (AND THE PROFESSIONAL COVER ARTIST YOU HIRE) CAN CREATE BEAUTIFUL AND KICK-ASS BOOK COVERS. I think the operative word in the above sentence is professional. A professional cover artist with experience knows what they are doing. You can still have a lot of input in the creation of your cover, but let the professionals handle it.

SALES TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY REALLY DON’T HELP. So don’t ask them to buy your books. Don’t expect them to buy your books. What you need is strangers buying your books. Work on that. How? Targeted e-book email blasts like BookBub and ebook soda.

WRITE MORE GOOD BOOKS. The more good books you have in your stable, the more sales you will make. It won’t be equal, either. One or two of your books might make up most of your profit, with the others getting few to no sales at all. But the more you have, the more visible you are.

KEEP PRICES REASONABLE (OR LOW). Even I don’t like paying $12.99 for Stephen King books on Kindle, although he is one of only a few authors I will accept that from. Book prices run the gamut from free to ninety-nine cents to $2.99 and up past $9.99. Best advice is to look at your own book buying habits. How much are you willing to pay for a book from an author you’ve never hear of? How much are you willing to pay for a book that’s part of a series? If you take a free book and enjoy it, are you now willing to pay for other of the author’s books?

CONSTANTLY CHECKING TO SEE HOW MANY BOOKS YOU SOLD IS FUN!  It’s also a big waste of your time. And in more than four years of publishing, I still can’t break the habit. Like I said, it’s fun. ADVICE: Don’t let yourself get depressed over the days (or months) of no sales or over-elated over the sales you do get.

I LOVE INDIE PUBLISHING! This is the most important of the many things I’ve learned so far.

DISCLAIMER: These have been my experiences and might not apply to you.

 

I’ve got a new book coming out in a week. BABY SINGS THE BOOS. It’s six short stories combining the main characters from THE COWBOY’S BABY and TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS. They get into all sorts of Texas-based mischief. It was damned fun to write. Should be fun to read. Look for it on Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords.

Darwin says you'll like my new short story collection. She's in one of the stories!

Darwin says you’ll like my new short story collection. She’s in one of the stories!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson.  Hot In December by Joe R. Lansdale.

 

You can find my books here http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix and here http://barnesandnoble.com/c/gretchen-rix and here http://smashwords.com/books/view/105559 and if  you’re ever in Lockhart, Texas, check out LOGOS and the LOCKHART SHOPPES ON MAINE and BUFFALO CLOVER.

Prize toys from the game alley of the State Fair of Texas

Prize toys from the game alley of the State Fair of Texas

Texas longhorn from the Lockhart/Luling corridor

Texas longhorn from the Lockhart/Luling corridor

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Unwritten  by Charles Martin.

My cover artist is Streetlight Graphics. They’ve done all my covers for about four years now. I couldn’t be more proud of them. And it’s an interesting process. Between me and my sister we decide what we want, we tell them what we want, and then we get back a cover that’s exactly what we ordered, but it looks nothing like we’d imagined. We’ve got another new one coming up in a couple of weeks: BABY SINGS THE BOOS, a collection of six short stories combining the characters from The Cowboy’s Baby and The Cowboy’s Baby Goes To Heaven with the characters from Talking To The Dead Guys and Tea With A Dead Gal. Lots of fun to write. Hopefully lots of fun to read.

http://streetlightgraphics.com

And here’s where you’ll find the Kindle versions of the below three novels.

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix

Photos by Roxanne Rix.

 

A Boo Done It Mystery

A Boo Done It Mystery

A Boo Done It Mystery

A Boo Done It Mystery

Adventure and Romance in one

Adventure and Romance in one

 

 

 TANGLED HONOR by Philip McBride, a book review.

There are more than enough accurately depicted battle scenes in TANGLED HONOR to satisfy the Civil War buff, but it’s also a compelling family story.

While Captain John McBee ably commandeers his men through bloody horrors, he also fights against his attraction to a beautiful woman he accepts shelter from one frightful night. Add to that his growing respect for his slave Levi, who has become indispensable to him as his aide, and is most likely his son.

TANGLED HONOR starts with a riveting bit of back-story from after the Texas Revolution when Comanche tribes were a major foe: The Battle of Plum Creek. Then the action jumps forward to Texas’ involvement in the Civil War where main character Captain John McBee fights for what seems at the time to be the upcoming victory of the South over the North.

No reader who enjoys realistic battle scenes will be disappointed in this historical novel. No reader who enjoys historical fiction from the Civil War era will be able to put this book down.

DISCLAIMER: I am part of the same critique group as Philip McBride, the author, and saw many chapters of this book as it was being written. Follow his blog at  

http://mcbridenovels.blogspot.com

 

 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Revival by Stephen King.

Photos by Roxanne Rix

You can find my books at

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix and http://barnesandnoble.com/c/gretchen-rix

THE TEN BOOKS I ENJOYED BEST IN 2014

 

I got this idea from Julia Tomiak’s Favorite books of 2014 nblo.gs/12dc9t blog. I’m going to share with you the 10 books I read in 2014 that I most enjoyed.

Here's Darwin telling me to put my book down and pay attention to her

Here’s Darwin telling me to put my book down and pay attention to her

 

THE SEVENTH MAN by Max Brand. It’s a western like no other, where the bad guys are the viewpoint characters. It will take your breath away.  

THE WALK by Lee Goldberg. Wildly entertaining catastrophe novel that should be a movie. I’ll re-read this book forever.

DEAD MONEY by Dean Wesley Smith. A thriller set in the world of gambling and high politics. I bet you can’t put it down once you start reading it.

GRAVE INDULGENCE by William Doonan. Loved it, loved it, loved it. An octogenarian private detective solving murder mysteries on cruise ships. I wish I’d written it.

MEDITERRANEAN GRAVE by William Doonan. Another splendid and rip-roaring cruise adventure that will have you falling out of your chair.

QUICKSILVER by Toni Dwiggins, one of her Forensic Geology thrillers. It’s absolutely riveting.

COCKTAIL HOUR UNDER THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS by Alexandra Fuller. The memoirs of a girl growing up in post colonial Africa. What a life!

REPUBLIC by Lindsay Buroker. The latest in the adventures of The Emperor’s Edge gang of Amaranthe, Maldynado, and everyone’s favorite conflicted assassin Sicarius. Fantasy/science fiction steampunk.

STREET JUSTICE by Kris Nelscott. Hard-boiled mystery from the steamy side of the street.

BROOD OF BONES by A.E. Marling. You’ve never read a fantasy like this one.

 

Someday I hope to see one of my  books on a list like this. The books above are what I strive to achieve with my own.

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTOS by Roxanne Rix

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  The Before by Emily McKay.  Tangled Honor by Philip McBride.

My newest book Tea With A Dead Gal.  

A Boo Done It Mystery

A Boo Done It Mystery

 

LIFE WITHOUT POETRY

 

LIVE FROM LA PRYOR: The poetry of Juan Manuel Perez, a Zavala County native son, volume I

You know you're in Texas when ...

Big Disclaimer. I don’t read poetry, nor do I often enjoy it. I’ve got a book of the complete Lord Byron poems (never opened), ditto Shelley, and I’ve got the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe as well, and at best I read a couple of poems for Halloween before I give up.

But I read LIVE FROM LA PRYOR, The Poetry of Juan Manuel Perez, cover to cover.

It helps that the poetry is short. It really helps that the poetry’s really short. He uses small words, he writes about everyday experiences (and not in a flowery way). This is almost a book of poems for people who don’t like poetry.

Don’t mistake me, though. Some of his writing is quite angry. Combative. A lot of it is funny. It’s all offbeat. I can see what we used to call beatniks reading Juan Perez poems out loud at nightclubs. With music. But in this case it’d be mariachi music. Much of what he writes about comes from his experiences as a Mexican-American facing various sorts of barriers.

But then there’s that poem about lovely food, and then about comic books. He mentions Taco Bell in here somewhere, too.

This is volume I. I’m wondering if any of his Hooter’s poetry is in volume II. You know you're in Texas when ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Live From La Pryor: The Poetry of Juan Manuel Perez, A Zavala County Native Son, Volume I edited by Dr. Malia A. Perez.  Want It Bad by Melinda DuChamp.

 

Find my books at

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix and http://barnesandnoble.com/c/gretchen-rix and at Smashwords.

Photos by Roxanne Rix

GhostoriaGhostoria, Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright, is my friend Tam Francis’s first published short story collection, and I had a hand in it. (Aside: Though primarily a ghost story collection, it also contains horror stories. My hand is not literally in any of the stories, I promise you.)

Tam wasn’t anyone I knew when she started writing these stories. She submitted to the Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest my sister and I started and were preliminary judges for in 2010, then 2011, and then in 2012 when I thought she might actually win the thing. That story, Mrs. Franklin’s Night Out, is in this book.

We met finally through the Gaslight Baker Theatre where she’s an actress, and then when I joined her writer’s critique groups more than a year ago we became friends. I made editing suggestions to almost all the stories in this book (some of which I see that she ignored).

Enough of my disclaimer.

About three or four of the twelve stories in this volume are stunning ghost stories that I hope make it to a wider audience. I am so extremely proud of Tam Francis for these, and the rest of her tales are entertaining. (I’m proud of her for those, too). Many are stories of a more polite and refined era she’s calling vintage, and most of them have women protagonists.

They’ll send chills down your spine, or make you cry. They’ll while away the hours and take your mind off the nightly news. And to pay tribute to the United Kingdom’s Christmas ghost story tradition, I’ll remind everyone that Ghostoria would make a great Christmas present for someone.

WHERE TO BUY

Kindle           Paperback          Nook

 

You can find my books at

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Ghostoria by Tam Francis.

 

Truepenny

The Safari Bride

 

 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Smith’s Monthly # 6 (includes the novel Kill Game) by Dean Wesley Smith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://amazon.com/author/gretchenrix

Boo Radley

Following in the steps of The Passive Guy, I occasionally actually read my Spam. Here are a few of the charmers that caught my attention.

 

the shoe by itself is assemble it stand up to the shock of routinely hitting the floor which implies fewer harm to your feet and decrease legs.

 (I’d like to see those decreased legs. Sounds dangerous to me.)

I personalized manboobs my own self. 

(I thought manboobs were things men didn’t want!)

I have certainly picked up anything new from proper here.

(Wonder what I wrote that brought on that comment?)

 

 

The Cowboy’s Baby 

The Cowboy’s Baby Goes To Heaven 

Talking To The Dead Guys 

Arroyo  My second book

The Safari Bride

Available for Kindle, Nook, and just about everything else

Available for Kindle, Nook, and just about everything else

Twisted Rixter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

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