Necessary evils

Promoting your books isn’t really a necessary evil, it just feels that way sometimes. I gave my first talk as a writer this week to the McMahan Community Women’s Club. Turned out it wasn’t evil at all. About halfway into it I felt I was talking to a group of friends.

I lucked out, actually. The room was small enough and the women gathered close enough that there was no need for a microphone. (I’d only used a microphone once before in my whole life.) I was really pleased with the venue.  I’d been practicing my talk in my head for a couple of months, but had only put it to paper the previous Friday. The talk was on Tuesday. I ended up with seven pages of single-spaced type. They’d asked for about a twenty minute talk and this had taken me twenty minutes to read it out loud when I practiced.

They’d asked for a short talk about how I wrote so I put together a short talk about how I published that was to segue into its a finale with a bit about how I wrote my first novel (actually my second novel, the first will forever remain nameless). Then the day before the talk I changed my mind and turned my notes around to where how I wrote The Cowboy’s Baby would come first and how publishing had changed in the last five years would come last. But when I got to the meeting and saw the ladies and I was seated at the table, I took a pen and wiped out half of my speech. As they ate their late afternoon lunch I took my pen back in hand and wiped out much of the rest of it. Publishing information would probably put them to sleep.

Even so, I did put one of them to sleep. Bless her, I know exactly how she felt. I only wish she hadn’t been right in the front row where I could see her so well. Now I know what I look like in boring meetings. I think I’ll take to sitting further in the back from now on. But I got some laughs out of them, explained how some writers are plotters and some are pantsers and some are a combination of the two, and told them in some detail how I came to write The Cowboy’s Baby.

Personally, I don’t want to know how or why someone wrote something. I have always thought less of Moby Dick knowing there really was a whale like that and that Melville hadn’t made it all up himself. Worse, I can’t watch that great scene in The Fellowship of the Rings where our heroes are running through the mines of Moria without seeing them as Legos. I made the mistake of watching all the extras that came with the extended DVD. Jackson used Legos to sketch out his action scenes. But many people do want to know this sort of stuff.

They bought my books when I was done and I sat through the rest of their program, full of admiration for how they’re raising money for their Volunteer Fire Department. And when I was sitting in my car afterwards, getting ready to drive home, I realized I’d given a talk all about one book, but almost all the ladies who’d bought a book from me chose the other one instead. Oops.

Actually, a sale’s a sale. Thank you women of McMahan, Texas. I had a really nice time in your company.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—Conspiracy by Lindsay Buroker.  The Shining by Stephen King.

Photo by Roxanne Rix.

Catch up to my novels and short stories at for the Kindle at

Catch up to my novels at Barnes & Noble for the Nook at


My new novel TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS is now available on the Kindle (soon on the Barnes & Noble Nook, too).  See it at

This is a Texas mystery about a dog, strong women, and small town living (or is it dying?), sort of a Texas cozy. Cue in the theme music from “Dallas.”

Shoot! I’ll cut right to the chase. This is about how me and my sister’s mastiff Boo Radley dragged me off my feet during the damned cemetery tour in Lockhart right onto a dead corpse. And that’s just chapter one.

Welcome to Lockhart, The Barbecue Capital of Texas, where there is more than indigestion brewing.

This is the newest novel from Gretchen Rix (me), the author of THE COWBOY’S BABY,  ARROYO, and several quirky short stories.




WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.