The Writer’s Life

One of the main things about “the writer’s life” is that you make it a priority to write. No matter how much or how little, you always write some. But then come the times you just don’t want to. It happens. I’m in the middle of a very short break, not having written since Saturday. But I’m so very close to finishing the rough draft of my new novel Arroyo that I don’t dare take too much time off. I’ve promised myself to finish it this year and it’s more than possible. So, back to work tomorrow.

But then I’m going to take a month-long break. No fiction writing in January. I’ve written every day (almost) since December 8, 2008. I want a vacation from it. My work in progress also needs a breathing space so I can pick it up and read it as if someone else had written it. 

What have I been doing instead? Reading, watching TV, doing yard work, driving around the beautiful Central Texas countryside (we’re in a drought, which is horrible, but the burnt up grass looks golden in the sunlight and is really lovely). I’ve recently read His At Night by Sherry Thomas, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, and I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett. I’ve recently watched all of season 5 of Dexter, season 2 and 2.5 of Battlestar Galactica, and have started re-watching Star Trek Enterprise. Plus The Amazing Race and Survivor. January will probably be like this. It’s nice.

 Yeah, yeah, I know. I should be writing. (Photos by Roxanne Rix)

Oh, in January sometime The Cowboy’s Baby will be in paperback and available from  But it will also still be available as an e-book for Kindle for $2.99

Steven Utley’s Ghost Seas

Unforgettable and disturbing stories here. Be warned. They’ll make you think.

Ghost Seas is a short story collection of literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternate history (and even a Western) by Steven Utley. If you like reading you’re going to love this collection.

There are two First Contact science fiction stories the likes of which you’ve never read: Upstart, funny as all get out (depending on your interpretation, I suppose) and Race Relations, a very odd and affecting story, just the way I like them. Then there’s the title story Ghost Seas where a newly married couple learns something unexpected about each other with tragic consequences. In Haiti, Utley give us the horribly topical tale where the future United States of America’s recent triumph in putting the first man on Mars is juxtaposed against the never-ending misery of Haiti in the middle of a cholera epidemic the whole world is ignoring. And this is just a sample of what’s waiting in Ghost Seas.

Howard Waldrop’s written a most entertaining introduction.( If you don’t know Steven Utley now you will afterwards.) Michael Bishop’s written the foreword. These stories were originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Pulphouse, Shayol, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and others.

Ghost Seas is available as a Kindle e-book. .

Photo by Roxanne Rix.

Kindle Publishing

Well, I was all prepared to tell you how I published to Kindle, how easy it was (and wasn’t), and just what the process was. Then I went over to the site to make sure I had the terminology right and found out they have just changed it all up. They’ve added several steps I did not have to take, and since it will be a while before I publish again I can’t say I know how to do it anymore.

But I bet it’s even easier now.

First, you need an account and for that you need a credit card. That is the most basic step necessary for Kindle publishing.

Next, go to the website and scroll down to the very bottom of the screen to Make Money With Us and click on Self-publish with us. Go down to the Kindle books section. Click on learn more. Then click on Getting Started & FAQs with the Kindle Publishing Guide. Read everything with a link. Everything. Then scroll back up and click on the video tutorial. Then, finally, look at the announcements and click on the “New”First-Time Publishers link from December 2. This is what is new to me, but if you will follow it step by step you will probably bypass what was my most difficult task—getting the book formatted properly.

Alert. Most of the problems I had with formatting my book came from the fact that I have been working in Microsoft Works. For best results you need to be in Microsoft Word from the very beginning. What looked perfect in my works document was degraded bit by bit every time it was translated from one platform to another. We got it fixed, but it caused unnecessary anxiety and time.

So, easy. Just go look at their NEW FIRST-TIME PUBLISHERS link from December 2 and follow their instructions.

Your book is published within three days. You can later go in and republish it if something has gone wrong, but this takes your book off the market for a period of time ranging from the three days to much longer, depending. If you make mistakes or want to change the book description or the price or the author name, again, you can go in and change it.  And if you end up really unhappy, or for some other reason don’t want the book up anymore, you can unpublish it. The one thing that remains is that anyone who bought your book will still have access to it.

Like Kirstie Alley and losing weight, if I can do it then you can do it.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK— Ghost Seas by Steven Utley and Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. Here is the link to Steve’s short story collection .

Photos by Roxanne Rix.

My Kindle book is a romance titled The Cowboy’s Baby.

Find Gretchen Rix on  facebook, and follow me on Twitter at  Check  out my interview on Kindle Author from November 9.