Book Review of BORDERLANDS 6, and other stuff


An anthology edited by Olivia F. Monteleone and Thomas F. Monteleone which definitely delivers on its promises of no zombies, no serial killers, no vampires, and no ghosts. Aims for the disturbingly original.

Ten years in the making, but highly recommended despite the delay between #5 and #6.

Not a single cheerful or uplifting story in the bunch (unless it was one of the three I didn’t understand), so I’ll call this a horror anthology. Includes tales by David Morrell, Steve Rasnic Tem, and Jack Ketchum. Twenty-two in all.

I won’t give away any of the plots, but there are some seriously good stories here.

Buy this book.

And on another topic:

I wasted a sales opportunity this Sunday.

Never gave real-time events the world was going through a thought, just went right into sale mode and didn’t get a single taker.

Half-price. Can’t get much better than that.

But there were lots and lots of football games on TV. People were still caught up in the Hurricane Matthew mess. And then there was the Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton debate.

No one had the time or inclination to buy a little science fiction e-book from someone they’d never heard of.

I’m not whining. Not really. Just trying to fix this in my memory so that next time I check what’s going on in the world before trying to sell books.



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Cleon Moon by Lindsay Buroker. Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough. Arkadian Skies by Lindsay Buroker. Borderlands 6 edited by Olivia F. Monteleone and Thomas F. Monteleone.

See my books here and here and

Henry Melton Book Review

Happy HalloweenROSWELL OR BUST! By Henry Melton.


I was totally charmed by this science fiction road trip adventure. Lots of action, a little bit of a love interest, skulduggery, betrayal, secrets, and best of all, aliens! It’s not called Roswell Or Bust for no reason.

It’s easy to read. Suitable for adults, but meant for the YA crowd.

You can get the Kindle version at Henry Melton can also be found a various Texas science fiction conventions and comic cons.

I’m not often tempted to use my blog site to tout other people’s books. This is the type of genial science fiction you don’t see much of these days. Buy a copy. Read it. Have a pleasant couple of days on Joe Ferris’s road trip. You’ll meet a lot of interesting “people.”


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan.  Roswell or Bust by Henry Melton.


You can find my books at

Photos by Roxanne Rix

Experimenting With Promotions

I’m making the month of August an experiment with promotions.

Actually, what I’m going to do is take the month of August off from book promotions. And I’m talking about my promotions, not yours or anyone else’s.

I’m curious to see if it makes any difference in book sales. So, here we go.

THE RESULTS: I sold 5 e-books the month of August, and 14 paperbacks, for a total of 19 books. No promotion whatsoever.

I’m a bit surprised. Part of the sales came from the hand-selling we did at the Methodist Church crafts and clutter event. We can always sell books face-to-face with customers.

I do believe, however, that my Amazon e-book sales were affected, and also those from Apple. It definitely affected ACX audio-book sales.

So, what did I learn. That a little promotion is necessary. Especially that directed at Apple, Kindle, and ACX. I also learned that I missed gabbing about my books and what I’m writing now.


Here are the actual figures:

August 1: No sales (But that is typical for the beginning of the month anyhow.) August 2: No sales (Ditto). August 3: No sales. (Again, par for the course). August 4: No sales. Not surprised. August 5: I sold one copy of The Goodall Manifest to a Nook customer. (Great news. The exact book I want to sell right now, to the exact venue I’d like it sold in!)   


August 6: No sales. (Always expect more sales to follow sales, but alas, it was not to be.) August 7: No e-book sales, but 2 paperback sales of The Goodall Manifest now showing up for month of August. (Love you, whoever you are.) August 8: No sales. August 9: Surprise! Sold 1 e-book copy of The Goodall Mutiny on Kindle. August 10: No sales. August 11: No sales. August 12: No sales. August 13: Spent four hours today selling my books at a local church craft and clutter event. Sold 4 copies of The Goodall Mutiny, 1 copy of The Goodall Manifest, and 1 copy of Talking to the Dead Guys.  Lockhart, Texas

 August 14: No e-book sales, but it looks like BookPeople sold 1 copy of The Goodall Mutiny. I’ve got my happy face on! It is so hard to sell at BookPeople. Bless you, anonymous reader! August 15: No sales. August 16: No sales. August 17: No sales. August 18: No e-book sales, but up to now (during August) have sold 1 copy of The Goodall Manifest, 1 copy of Twisted Rixter, and 1 copy of Tea With A Dead Gal at Buffalo Clover in Lockhart. Really good news.  


August 19 No sales. August 20: No sales. August 21: A couple of surprises. E-book sales to Canada (haven’t sold anything in Canada in since forever). 1 The Goodall Mutiny and 1 The Goodall Manifest. Plus 2 books sold today at Bookpeople in Austin, Texas. 1 The Goodall Mutiny and 1 The Goodall Manifest. 

August 22: No sales. August 23: No sales. August 24: No sales. August 25: No sales. August 26: No sales. August 27: No sales August 28: Sold one copy The Goodall Mutiny through Nook. August 29: No sales. August 30: No sales. August 31: No sales. THE END.




WHAT I READ THIS MONTH: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Murder As A Fine Art by David Morrell. Paloma by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Landing Party: A Dinosaur Thriller by Rick Chesler. Personal by Lee Child. Recovery Man by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Honor’s Flight by Lindsay Buroker. Her Fateful Debut by G.G. Vandagriff.  Starseers by Lindsay Buroker.

Come join us at Armadillocon 2016

The Goodall Mutinyrsz_1rsz_the-goodall-manifest-2500x1563-amazon-smashwords-kobo-apple

We will be at Armadillocon (Omni South, Austin, Texas) Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Dealer’s Room. We’ve got some special giveaways for people who stop to say hi! And of course, we’d love to sell you one of my books.


And if you prefer e-books, go to and and

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  End of Watch by Stephen King. Buried Deep by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Sweet and Deadly by Charlaine Harris. The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters.

Of hippos and walking canes

I’d two great hippo photos from the San Antonio Zoo to put up on this blog, but alas, they can’t be copied over. They were both green screen photos of me and my sister posing. One with a friendly hippo. One with an angry hippo. I was pointing my cane straight at the mouth of the angry one. It’s a funny picture.

The hippo we actually came face to face with was a hungry hippo.

Or at least, one willing to eat what we threw into her widely gaping mouth. The male hippo refused to get out of the water and come see us. He watched.

This was at one of the San Antonio Zoo’s backstage experiences with their animals. They offer one with the okapi and one with the giant tortoises, too. (I think we’ll wait until mating season is over for the tortoises before we try that one).

We were led up the locked stairway behind all the flowers and bushes to see the engines needed to keep the hippo tank water clean, and then past heavily barred entrances that would have protected us from King Kong himself. Into the hippos private areas. And then down to the last barrier keeping us from the hippo tank where our keeper enticed the female hippo out to meet us. She didn’t come racing up, full of enthusiasm. She came stately, walking out of the water like a Hawaiian queen. Then opened her mouth for the food. We threw hay and food pellets into her maw.

We kept a relatively safe three feet away from her (but damn, she could push her head part way through the bars, and did!). I stepped back. My sister leaned forward. Nothing bad happened. We continued to throw food at the hippo’s widely open mouth, which she clearly loved. The male hippo still watched. 

An open hippo mouth is a sight to behold. The ivory tusks surprised us. The rows of molars looked weird. There was some sort of bloody-looking discharge coming off her hide that the keeper explained. And then we got to touch her. Under the chin where it was relatively safe.

My sister and I have petted several rhinos, baby alligators, snakes, and now we’ve added a hippo to our accomplishments. When we were kids we got bitten by Shetland ponies and spit on by llamas. I’ve ridden an elephant. And I’ve got a photo of me as a child riding a giant tortoise back when zoos didn’t know any better.

We will never achieve the Manhunter/Red Dragon’s coup of caressing a sleeping tiger, but it remains a potent fantasy.

Love the San Antonio Zoo. Wish we were closer to the Fort Worth Zoo. Or the Houston Zoo. Check out their behind the scenes programs. Once we slept overnight at the Houston Zoo. Lots of fun.





You can find my books at: and at the other usual sites.

Photos by Roxanne Rix.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker.  Street Justice by Kris Nelscott. Night Shift by Charlaine Harris.

Thank you, Texas State Education Department

butterflyFriday I gave a lecture on writing and publishing to a group of teachers at Texas State University in San Marcos. I took my sister Roxanne with me in case I froze. Or got caught up in an everlasting loop trying to pronounce something hard like rodomontade. This was my first paid lecture.

I want to thank the Education Department of Texas State University for including us in their summer program. I think our audience learned a little bit. And since it was my first experience in a college classroom as the instructor rather than the student, I also learned a little bit.

We had fun (except for walking the long block up the hill from the parking garage to the Education Building in the heat of near lunchtime). Roxanne did fine. I thought I was going to die. Note to self: Lose Weight! We were carrying deviled eggs from the Cottonseed Cafe as our contribution to lunch, and nineteen of my books we’d decided to give away instead of trying to sell to them. Books are damned heavy.

We got there early and were welcomed into the ongoing publishing class the group was listening to for their last thirty minutes. What I was getting ready to tell them about publishing was in direct opposition to what they were learning right then, so that was really interesting. We came at the right time. Not to “save the day,” but to give them the current (and in my opinion, the future) alternative. The group was young (I expected thirty-year-olds and most were in their twenties), and all women. Texas

First we introduced ourselves. Then we gave away our books. And if you don’t already know, there’s a huge difference between getting something free and paying $13.95 plus tax! Not a single book left. It was worth it. This way we got readers, maybe got the possibility of some library inclusion, and didn’t have to make change. Then we had lunch.

Afterwards, I talked about why I write. About how I write (on a personal computer and sometimes with pen and paper). I love that joke. And I gave them my three favorite tips to help their students write, which I have used myself to great benefit.

Then we got into publishing.

What I know about legacy publishing and agents is almost all through second-hand accounts. Which I told them. I haven’t submitted anything to a magazine or publisher since about 2009. But I passed on what I read from The Passive Voice and Kris Writes, and J.A. Konrath, and then told them about our modest success at self-publishing through Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, and our paperbacks through CreateSpace.

The comments we got later ranged from thanking us for sharing the several ways I use to get and keep myself writing (the one-hundred-word-a-day challenge, always finishing what you start, and the dictionary random word kickstart program),

to their being encouraged to proceed to self-publish after hearing about our experiences,

to the startling news that this was the first some of them had heard of e-publishing.

And then this was my favorite, that our brutal honesty about our success in publishing these past six years had been eye-opening and appreciated.

Make it so!We’d told them our actual sales figures (both money and numbers of books), and how hard it was to get noticed electronically, while also telling them that we do get noticed, we do sell books, and we do make money. We just don’t make enough money to live on. What I’ll share here is the jaw-dropping statistic that we’ve given away about 20,000 free copies of our e-books.

What I forgot to add was some of the websites or blogs that would help them. Here they are:

Thank you, ladies. Thank you, Texas State. We’d do it again in a New York minute! Unexpected farm animals





WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Persuasion by Jane Austen. Thin Walls by Kris Nelscott.  Superbia Collection by Bernard Schaffer. Stone Cribs by Kris Nelscott. Allan Quartermain by H. Rider Haggard. War at Home by Kris Nelscott. (Actually, this has been two or three week’s worth of reading). Vengeance Is Mine by Mickey Spillane. Days of Rage by Kris Nelscott.

You can find my  books at

Photos by Roxanne Rix and Gretchen Rix.

THE GOODALL MUTINY on sale today (Friday)


ON SALE TODAY, FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2016. For 99 cents. Goodall Mutiny




WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Rum Runner by J. A. Konrath. Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill. And from last month that I didn’t list: The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett.  Innocence Lost by Tiffany Green.  The Vines by Christopher Rice. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman. Sawfish by Rick Chesler. She by H. Rider Haggard.