Finished First Draft Next Book

From the State Fair of TexasLast month I wrote THE END to my most recent novel. This upcoming month I’m editing it. I have read it from beginning to end, and am mostly very pleased. It’s a very quick read, which was my goal. And because I did a bit of editing as I wrote it, it’s pretty clean. I’ve already made a list of discrepancies I had found, and have cleaned up problems in chapter one and chapter two.

When all of this revision is done, THE GOODALL MUTINY goes to my first reader. Hopefully she gives it a big okay. From there it goes to my three Beta readers and I start proofreading the hell out of it.

If you’re a writer, you know the drill.

And if you’re reading this, you might wonder why the delay. Well, to steal from Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, life got in the way. I had and still have a more important role to play than writer right now. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal in a week or two. Until then, most everything is on hold.





WHAT I READ THESE LAST WEEKS:  Dress Her In Indigo by John D. MacDonald.  Wool by Hugh Howey.  Spurs & Lace by Bonnie R. Paulson. Tiffany Tumbles by Kristine Grayson.

You can find my books here

Do Free Books Do An Author Any Good

The Cowboy's BabyDo free books do an author any good?

It’s been a question debated lately. I’d like to answer it from my viewpoint. First as a reader. And next as one of the authors who has given away one or more of my books for free.

Authors! As a reader, I love free books. And I love you for giving me your book to read for free. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. But sometimes I won’t look at it for months. Or maybe even a year. I promise, though, I’ll get to it eventually.

And guess what? If I really enjoy that free book, I’ll go search you out and BUY one of your other books. And if I really enjoy that one, then I’ll go back in and buy as many of your books as I can afford. IF your prices are reasonable.

Lindsay Buroker. I’ve bought seventeen of your books after reading that first free one, The Emperor’s Edge. The Emperor's Edge

William Doonan. Keep those cruise ship mysteries coming. I’ve bought all three of the other ones after getting the first of them free.

Steven F. Havill. So far I’ve only bought six of your novels, but I’ll get around the the rest, given time.

And J.A. Konrath. I’ve bought twenty of your books so far. Thank you for being so damned entertaining. And especially for the free books, and for keeping your prices low.Draculas

Does every reader do this? Unfortunately, no. It would make an interesting survey, finding out the percentage of readers who go on to buy a writer’s books after accepting one for free. I’d guess we make up less than twenty percent of readers. I bet we’re pretty loyal fans, though.

Now, from the other side of the equation. As a writer.

I put my romance novel The Cowboy’s Baby up for free on Smashwords in 2014 and Amazon price matched it down to free within a couple of days. I’d remembered that we gave away a lot of copies, and when the interest waned several months later, we took the book back up to a $2.99 price.

I got quite a shock preparing a spreadsheet on the Kindle sales for The Cowboy’s Baby earlier this year. And I’m only talking Kindle sales, not Smashwords or Nook and not paperbacks. Just Kindle.

From publication to end of year in 2014, The Cowboy’s Baby had earned a little more than $1,500. That’s not a lot of money, but it’s comparable to the advance it would have received from a traditional publisher at this point in time. And that would likely have been the only money I saw from it. The Cowboy’s Baby continues to sell.

But what shocked me, were the freebies. Just from the Kindle, we gave away 13,321 copies of The Cowboy’s Baby. That’s right, thirteen thousand. And there were quite a few through Smashwords as well. Pipsqueak numbers to the best selling of us, but not so pipsqueak to me. (Wish I’d made a dollar for every one of those downloads, though).

So, back to my question. Do free books benefit the author?

In my situation, my answer is not yet. The run on this book was almost exactly a year ago. We pulled the book from free when the numbers started to significantly slide, and we never saw any evidence other than about twenty extra book reviews that anyone had ever read the book. So, my answer is still, not yet.

I’m saying not yet because of how I’ve treated the free books I downloaded. I’ll get around to reading all of them (or at least sampling all of them) eventually, but it might be years before I get back to them. What I’m hoping, is that a significant number of these thirteen thousand potential readers finally see my book in their TBR pile and give it a chance.

I don’t think I’d do it again, though. Giving away a book for free over three months or more. It’s very possible that the entire market for this sweet romance/romantic comedy book was about twenty thousand, and they’ve almost all, already got their copies.

Purple and blueOh, well.

Check out our new website  where you can see all my books and stories.


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Pale Gray For Guilt by John D. MacDonald.

New Rix Cafe Texican website

My website Rix Cafe Texican has just gotten a makeover. Actually, we scrapped the old one, and Molly Humphrey of Molly Pop Design took our suggestions and created a new site for us.

It’s cleaner, shows off my books better, and looks more fun.

There are going to be a lot of Darwin pictures! Our dog Darwin

Go over and take a look.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. The Changeling Prince by Vivian Vande Velde. The Conjurer Princess by Vivian Vande Velde. The Last Town by Blake Crouch. The Enemy Within by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  (Actually, it’s two or three weeks). And The Quick Red Fox by John D. MacDonald.

5 Reasons Why I’m Lowering My E-Book Prices to $3.99

5 reasons why I’m lowering my e-book prices to $3.99.

1. Because I can.

How great is that? I can lower the prices when I want to. I can raise the prices if I think it’s warranted. I can sell the books virtually free at 99 cents. Or I can look at the market, think about the economy, and set a reasonable price of $3.99 for each of my books.

2. I’ve been experimenting with prices all along.

Since the beginning (July 2010), I’ve tried about every price. The books sold well enough at $3.99 at the beginning, sold extremely well for a short time at 99 cents, sold regularly at $2.99 for a long time, and still sold when I experimented with $4.99 and $5.99 this past six months.

I’ve finally decided I’d rather sell more books and engage more readers than sell less books at the higher price, even though the monetary result is about the same.

3. I can always change my mind.

And I probably will. Given more books and more time. But right now $3.99 feels correct. It’s what J.A. Konrath sells his books for. It’s what Lindsay Buroker sells most of her books for. And they’re the two writers I enjoy reading that I feel most akin to, as a writer, not counting Charlaine Harris (who can’t control her book prices so she doesn’t count).

4. I’m getting ready for the Christmas and New Year’s rush. 

I believe in planning ahead. By the time this blog is published, all six of my novels and the two short story collections will be priced at $3.99.

5. Except for The Cowboy’s Baby.

My romance novel, romantic comedy, contemporary take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale The Cowboy’s Baby will remain priced at $2.99. If you like this one, you’d probably enjoy any of my other books because this is pretty much my “voice,” except for Arroyo, and maybe The Safari Bride. The two Baby romances and the two Boo Done It mysteries tend to the humorous, as do the two short story collections.



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Cold Call by Dean Wesley Smith.  Pines by Blake Crouch.

Photographs by Roxanne Rix

Visit The Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas, for a copy of The Safari Bride. Visit Bookpeople in Austin, Texas, for The Safari Bride. Logos and Buffalo Clover in Lockhart, Texas, have most of my books. Or, if you’re a Lockhart citizen, check them out at the Dr. Eugene Clarke Library.

Tea With A Dead Gal


Not a real dogSMOOCHES FOR POOCHES. Sounds like an event where you get to cuddle and kiss dogs, doesn’t it? And maybe even sign the adoption papers and take one home right then and there?

ALAS, we’ve never been able to persuade the local Cause For Paws spay and neuter charity to bring adoptable dogs and cats to the nighttime party. Speaking of which, the 12th annual Smooches for Pooches (and Kisses for Kitties) is this upcoming Saturday (September 12, 2015) from 630 pm until midnight.

Even without man’s best friend and man’s supposed best friend in attendance, this annual event usually brings in the animal lovers and raises money for the Cause. Join us this Saturday at the Evening Lions Club (220 Bufkin Lane) in Lockhart, Texas, and dance the night away with music from oldies but goodies cover band the Fossils, spend your money at the live auction, and eat nachos to your heart’s content. But this is a real courthouse.

The newspaper story advises that a silent bar will be open until 11 pm, but I doubt that it will be very silent.

If you’re out of the area and want to donate money instead, call 512/557-9025 or 512/227-4255 for more information.

Cause For Paws successfully spays and neuters feral cats in Caldwell County. This event is where they get most of their operating money.

See you there. And get your pets spayed or neutered, and keep them in the house or your backyard. The life you save may be your own pet’s.

Photos by Roxanne Rix

Books by Gretchen Rix available at The Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas, and through

I’ve even got several books that feature pets:

The Cowboy’s Baby, The Cowboy’s Baby Goes to Heaven, Talking to the Dead Guys, Tea With A Dead Gal, and Baby Sings the Boos. A monkey features heavily in the plot of The Safari Bride.



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Asphalt and Blood by Warren Bell.  Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle.

A tale of three blurbs

I received the suggestion last week to show the original blurb alongside the changes. So, here goes. For my short story THE TAKING OF RHINOCEROS 456. 

Cover design by Molly Humphrey. Photo by Roxanne Rix

Cover design by Molly Humphrey. Photo by Roxanne Rix



Something mysterious goes on after hours at the San Antonio Daedalus Memorial Zoo. Myths live here. Mother Earth, for one. When the rhinos vanish, Steve the bum finds a talking dog. Maybe. Oddball whimsy combined with a puzzle: THE TAKING OF RHINOCEROS 456.

This is a short story.


A homeless man named Steve lives in the zoo in the empty cage next to the abominable snowman. There stupid zoo visitors hound him for photographs, mistaking him for the chimera.

Steve is much more dangerous than that.

Southern Gothic shot through with whimsy. Imagination let loose. THE TAKING OF RHINOCEROS 456.


Arguably the most vicious exhibit contained at this zoo—

Steve, the homeless man living in the empty cage next to the abominable snowman.

Things aren’t quite what they seem at the San Antonio Daedalus Memorial Zoo. Southern Gothic meets Texas Whimsy in this highly imaginative short story.

Contains The Taking of Rhinoceros 456

Contains The Taking of Rhinoceros 456



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  The River of Corn by John Rose Putnam. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee.

Here is the link to the story and here is a link to the collection Those of you subscribed to KU can read them for free.


Twisted RixterOver the next few months I’m going to redo all my product descriptions, commonly known as blurbs.

I started with the short story TRUEPENNY. Here’s what the new one looks like:

The braver the mouse, the better the supper. Not every house cat’s slogan, but Paw Paw likes them feisty. Cats eat mice, you know; even in stories.

As Paw Paw relates the latest Truepenny legend to his attentive mouse audience, he thinks of nothing but the food sitting so vulnerable in front of his eyes.

Until he remembers the real Truepenny, and what actually happened.

TRUEPENNY is available as a single story, or as part of the collection TWISTED RIXTER

TRUEPENNY is available as a single story, or as part of the collection TWISTED RIXTER



(Believe me, it’s a lot better than what I had.)

And here’s the one I’m working on for THE TAKING OF RHINOCEROS 456 (I’m not finished).

A homeless man named Steve lives in the zoo in the empty cage next to the abominable snowman where stupid zoo visitors hound him for photographs, mistaking him for the chimera.

Steve is much more dangerous than that.

Southern Gothic shot through with whimsy. Imagination let loose. THE TAKING OF RHINOCEROS 456.

Cover design by Molly Humphrey. Photo by Roxanne Rix

Cover design by Molly Humphrey. Photo by Roxanne Rix


Comments appreciated.


WHAT I READ THESE PAST WEEKS:  The Kingdom of the Sun and the Moon by Lowell H. Press.  Smoke-Filled Rooms by Kris Nelscott. Falling Down the Aether Sky by Sekji Ani. Never Trust A Dead Man by Vivian Vande Velde.


You can find my books and stories at

And most of the books at and

Paperbacks are available in Lockhart, Texas, at Buffalo Clover on the square and at Logos off the square near Blacks BBQ. And in Austin at Bookpeople  and in Round Rock at The Book Spot

(Truth of it is, though, any bookstore can order the paperbacks for you).