One famous writer used to say he sent off for them like box-top prizes. I know that some popular and successful writers just take a title and then run with it. There are others who use word association to build a story. And then there are some who want to write about themselves.

I wrote THE COWBOY’S BABY from the title out. Some of it was obvious—cowboy, baby (but if you’ve read TCB you already know it’s not just any old cowboy and it’s a very different sort of baby). But then before I put a single word to paper, I decided my cowboy was going to be Sleeping Beauty. Why?  Because I like these sort of stories and have always wanted to write one.  That’s the only reason why. (Researching Sleeping Beauty tales was interesting. Anyone other than me run into the Anne Rice versions? No comment.)

So, now I had a sex (female) and a problem for her (sleeping? obliviousness?). To make things easier on me, I picked a setting I knew—a gated community with a golf course, swimming pools, lots of nice homes and too many middle class retirees (my parents had lived in such a place). The golf course itself gave me my other main character and one of the pivotal plot lines. At first Ellison Stewart was going to be the golf pro. Again, before I put any words to paper he morphed into the managing director of the whole place, complete with pretty, perky assistant. And since he had the pretty, perky assistant, then Sleeping Beauty had to have the stable, steady, tried and true ranch hand beau. Yes, Sleeping Beauty owns a ranch. This is Texas.

Then all of it just about wrote itself from these few basic ideas. THE COWBOY’S BABY is the only book, the only piece of fiction I’ve written from the title out. Oh, wait. I did do another a very, very long time ago. It was sort of a challenge from Harlan Ellison in an article he wrote. He said no one could write an interesting story called THE CHAIR, and I told myself I could.  I wrote it, but it didn’t work.

Back to THE COWBOY’S BABY and the title. Since I wrote the book entirely from the title, I couldn’t change the title once I was finished. It never occurred to me to look it up and see if there were any more books named THE COWBOY’S BABY. Well, there are quite a few named THE COWBOY’S BABY, but from the covers I can pretty much tell you they aren’t anything like mine. 

So, where do you get your ideas? I got mine from a title and extrapolated a complete story from it. When I found the cowboy I found the Sleeping Beauty idea. When I found the setting I found the hero and the problem that brings the two main characters together for the first time. When I found the hero I found a lot of secondary characters. And when I moved to Lockhart, Texas, I found the cowboy’s baby.

All my novels and short stories can be found at  https://www.amazon.com/author/gretchenrix 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—Blossom by Andrew Vachss.

If You Love Dean Koontz, You’ll Love Blake and Jordan Crouch


EERIE is a haunted house novel for adults, almost impossible to put down. That said, the story turns around on itself at the end, taking us to totally unexpected places. Which is why I’m comparing EERIE to recent Dean Koontz.

Police detective Grant Moreton, never fully recovered from a brutal car accident in his childhood, abruptly finds his estranged sister Paige working out of her house as a high-dollar prostitute for successful businessmen. Businessmen just like some of the men who’ve recently disappeared in the case he is investigating. She doesn’t welcome his return, but once reuinted Grant is bound to the house and its secrets just as she is. They literally cannot walk out the front door to freedom, and it’s killing the girl.

There’s something in her bedroom that won’t let them go at any price. But it’s sending her clients away, more like zombies than living men. Why?

Compelling thriller/horror, EERIE  doesn’t go where you expect. It’s nice to see that in a novel every once in a while. Available in all the usual places:

Amazon Kindle Store  

Barnes and Noble Store

Createspace Store

You can find my books and short stories at https://www.amazon.com/author/gretchenrix . The closest thing I’ve written to this genre is When Gymkhana Smiles.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK— The Old Vengeful by Anthony Price.  Thoroughly Kissed by Kristine Grayson.  Eerie by Blake Crouch and Jordan Crouch.


The home stretch

As I’m writing this I’m wondering if I’ll Have Another will be the horse that finally wins the Triple Crown this upcoming Saturday. Probably not. Does this have anything to do with my writing process? Only in that the phrase “the final stretch” is equally relevant to both the horse race and what I’m doing the month of June, which is revising and editing my current novel Talking to the Dead Guys, a Boo-Done-It mystery.

Sometimes I think revisions are the hardest thing to do in the writing of a novel. Then later on, when I’m face to face with a completely blank page one, I know the hardest thing to do in the writing of a novel is the first draft.

As far as my revisions go, I’ve already finished the final outlining (I know, I know. Normally this comes first.), and the plot outline (this is to help highlight any problems), and right now I’m going through the manuscript and taking out/beefing up the  plot problems I’ve discovered so far. I should be finished with this in a couple of days, and then I go back and flesh out the characters and make sure they’re consistent. After that I’ll go back over my research, and since this is a novel based on the town I live in, I’m going to walk out the novel and see what details need to be added in or changed to make it as close to reality as it gets. Checking for typos, misspelled words, awkward sentences and style will be last.

I made a mistake. I put off making revisions way past when I should, dreading it. Wish I could be one of those fantastic writers who have perfect to near-perfect first drafts. Already I’ve lost a couple months worth of writing time over it. But now that I’m into the work, I’m finding it enjoyable.  Almost like editing someone else’s novel. Also, putting a bit of distance between writing it and editing it makes it easier to see the problems. 

All photos by Roxanne Rix. My novels and short stories can be found at 


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK–Origin by J. A. Konrath.  Heavy Time by C.J. Cherryh.