Knowing when to stop

You’d think by now I’d know how to spell the word “corral” as many time as I’ve used it, both in The Cowboy’s Baby and now in my new novel Arroyo. But I have to look it up in the dictionary every time. I want to type it as “corall”, which isn’t a recognized word to begin with, and I keep having anxiety attacks thinking I have writted “coral” every time. I am in the process of proofreading Arroyo for the very last time, but to be honest, what I’m really doing is copyediting it, changing things here and there that don’t quite seem right.

You have to know when to stop. There has to come a time when good enough is good enough, because there isn’t a thing you can write that can’t be changed (maybe for the better, maybe for the worst) if you keep on working on it. Ten years from now when I re-read The Cowboy’s Baby and Arroyo and whatever else I will have written in this time span, I know I’ll see things that could have been done better. Dean Wesley Smith has written a column about this that I’ve taken to heart, because I think he’s right. He says the more you re-write things from the original draft the more you lose your unique voice, which is what makes your novel worth reading even in a sea of others just as good. His article is contained in the Killing The Sacred Cows of Publishing section of

So, when I get to “the end” this time, this will be the stopping point for Arroyo (The Cowboy’s Baby has been on its own for more than a year now). Time to take a short break and then begin the next story. First up, The Taking of Rhinoceros 456, a short story. And then a mystery novel that’s only a germ of an idea in my mind right now. I’m calling it Talking To The Dead Guys, a Boo-Done-It mystery.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—Fever Dream by Preston & Child.

Photos by Roxanne Rix

Look for The Cowboy’s Baby at and for When Gymkhana Smiles at In about a month they will be joined by Arroyo, a paranormal Western.

Jan Hudson’s The Twin

You are going to love this Texas-centric romance novel The Twin. 

An easy read full of humor and Texas warmth, The Twin by Jan Hudson is about beautiful Sunny Outlaw Payton, one of the two twin sisters owning the Austin chili restaurant Chili Witches. It’s Sunny who falls in love with a Texas Ranger while getting to know the fabulous Outlaw family she’s never met. She and her sister Cass are from the illegitimate side of the family tree and always assumed they’d be unwelcome. They quickly find out otherwise. It’s a great clan. 

Clever, amusing, good-natured romantic tension permeates this short Harlequin American Romance novel, one of a series featuring the Texas Outlaw family. The Twin will leave you feeling good. It will leave you craving chili. And it may even leave you hooked on Jan Hudson books. Click on the Look Inside feature at and read the first couple of pages for free. Bet you buy the book.  Link to it at 


WHAT I’VE READ THIS WEEK—The Twin by Jan Hudson. 

Photos by Roxanne Rix 




Author Events

I just scored tickets to the author event of the year: A Conversation With Stephen King. I have actually met him before, a long time ago at the World Fantasy Convention that celebrated Fritz Leiber as guest of honor, but this may be my last chance for an autograph, seeing how Mr. King doesn’t do many book signings and probably no conventions anymore. So, I’m very pleased at this opportunity.

I just finished being a guest author myself, at Evening With The Authors in my small town of Lockhart, Texas. It was a casual and fun event that ended with me selling and autographing fifteen books. Fifteen books was not a chore. But can you imagine signing maybe five hundred books? I’ve been to plenty of book signings, the best of them being at BookPeople in Austin, Texas, and usually there are less than a hundred people there. Signing a hundred books while people wait in line for you has got to be damned hard too, but it’s not five hundred. I feel a little sorry for Stephen King.

Why do we want our books signed? For some of us, I suspect, it’s the perceived added value to the book. We can sell it on E-Bay for more. But for others of us, it’s the knowledge that someone we admire actually left their signature on something we possess, and that maybe they gave us a bit of their personal attention when we talked to them. Years later we re-read their work and remember the meeting. (I will always remember meeting George R.R. Martin, but I’m still buying his books anyhow.)

I wonder what memories meeting me Saturday night and having me sign The Cowboy’s Baby will elicit later in the life of that book. I heard the food was really good at the event. The weather was great. There were few-to-no mosquitoes. And good company. I also heard that one copy of my book is going to Baghdad where the recipient works at the American Embassy. That is so cool! I hope they like it.

So, go out and meet Stephen King this fall as he promotes his newest novel 11/22/63, and tell him thanks for sharing his stories with us.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—Roses by Leila Meacham. The Miniaturist by Jay Bonansinga. Still Life With Murder by Patricia Ryan.