Book Launch























And you can get it here !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Rescuing Rosalind by G.G. Vandagriff.  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  Love and the Proper Fantasy by Dean Wesley Smith.

WHAT I WATCHED THIS WEEK:  The Pit and the Pendulum.  Identity.  Chamber of Horrors.  Scream 4.


NOTICE: For an email alerting you to when my new books come out,  sign up at

My off season

First of all I’ve decided to follow in Dean Wesley Smith’s footsteps and sit down to write this blog without a plan, without a clue, with only the directive to write. It works for him (he puts out enjoyable stories and novels using this very same technique), and I have done it to modest success before as well.

I call this my off season. I’m in limbo waiting for my cover artist and formatter to finish with The Cowboy’s Baby Goes To Heaven so I can publish it by November, although I certainly don’t have to be. I’ve got a story to edit, two novels to complete, and a critique session to participate in. I don’t need to simply wait and anticipate, but I seem to have some sort of block about wanting to see something that’s this far along actually published before I dive into the next thing.


So, as you can see below, I’m immersing myself into the spirit of the season by watching horror movies. My goal is one horror movie a day for the whole month of October, something I used to do regularly before 9/11 took the wind out of my sails and left me depressed all through the rest of that year. I have never yet completed a whole month of October and the horror movie marathon since then. Until now, maybe. Gosh, there’s only eight days to go.


Some of these horror movies leave me feeling bad as well, but pretty much not the ones I actually select. I’m leaving the really ugly ones alone and going for the over-the-top or the atmospheric or the just plain silly ones. I could swear we had Scream 4 in the house, but we don’t. I’ve added it to my Netflix list.

What should you take from all this? Number one: my new book’s going to be available in November or shortly before. It’s a romantic comedy that leaves readers smiling, if not laughing. I’m really pleased with it and the cover that’s emerging from Streetlight Graphics. THE COWBOY’S BABY GOES TO HEAVEN. Number two: it’s probably better not to follow my lead about taking time off to see your next book launched. But if you find yourself in what you think of as writer’s  block, following Dean Wesley Smith’s pattern of just sitting down at the computer and putting fingers to the keyboard is the best thing you can do.


Follow Dean Wesley Smith’s progress writing this year through his blog


And see my books and stories at 

Also available for Nook and Smashwords readers.


Photos by Roxanne Rix.



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  The Fall by Annelie Wendeberg.

WHAT I WATCHED THIS WEEK:  The Phantom of the Opera.  Unearthed.  White Zombie.  Willard.  Secret Window.  Scream 3. Drag Me To Hell.

My two-week formatting/cover gauntlet

Monday started the two-week formatting and cover gauntlet I am running to finish my next book THE COWBOY’S BABY GOES TO HEAVEN.I have been working with Streetlight Graphics for several years now. I can’t recommend them too highly. See their work here at


Here’s what I’ve done so far. My formatters started with the CreateSpace paperback book formatting first. I’m used to doing the Kindle e-book first, but the order is no problem. I made up a list of eight things to double-check on the initial finished manuscript they returned to me.

1. Problems I saw while simply rifling through the file.

2. Page numbers. I checked to be sure all the page numbers were there and in their proper place.

3. Headers. It says The Cowboy’s Baby Goes To Heaven on one page and Gretchen Lee Rix on the other.

4. Chapters. All Chapter numbers have to be accounted for.

5. Front material.

6. End material.

7. I check to make sure every page starts in a logical manner and ends in a logical manner. This is my shorthand solution to reading the novel all the way through ONE MORE TIME. If the last sentence on a page continues onto the first line of the next page and seems to be the correct one, then there’s no way anything was lost or transposed on the rest of that page.

8. The indented margins. I take my cursor and put it at the first indented margin that isn’t part of the first paragraph of a chapter and follow it down to the bottom of the page. Then when I get to the next page (this is for paper books), I move it to the other appropriate indented paragraph and then down to the bottom of the page. Everything on the left hand side of the book should align perfectly.

Obviously, all of this takes time and most of it is quite boring. Plus you can get a twinge of carpal tunnel if you try doing too much in a hurry. When I get the corrected draft there should be no reason to repeat much of the above, though it would be smart to do so.

I can’t wait to see what the cover is going to look like!



Photos by Roxanne Rix.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Well, I’m reading several books still, but I haven’t finished.




My books and stories can be found at

Guest blog by Tam Francis, The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Diving into social media

I am fortunate to have met Gretchen through her “Scare the Dickens Out of Us” ghost story contest three years ago. Her support and enthusiasm for writing and writers is boundless and has often buoyed my own quandaries. She is a proponent of self-publishing. So when she asked me to guest blog I knew I had to share my experiences in building a social network which is vital to self-published authors.

A year ago I launched my website and blog and dove into the deep end of the social media pond. Honestly, it feels a lot like skinny dipping, a bit exposed, a bit of learning how to swim with sharks, a bit of navigating the water, but a bit freeing too.


At first I felt absolutely naked out there in cyberland. I’m pretty sure I had a huge sign on my avatar that screamed “newbie” and many times, “idiot.” I did a lot of things wrong like blasting tweets and facebook posts about my novel and website. Just a few words to the wise: Please, do NOT post on any social media outlet, Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book; which includes variations of: Read my blog, Read my Blog, Read my blog, juicy lines from your novel, book cover photos, NOW on Amazon, etc. Tantalizing lines from your novel mean NOTHING if you haven’t created a community (aka made online friends.)

The thing is no one on twitter or facebook tells you this stuff; they just ignore you. It seems cruel, but would you approach a stranger at a party and tell them what they’re doing isn’t socially cool? No, it would be rude.  I try to give hints and direct the wayward to sites I’ve learned from. Here are a few of my favorites, not specifically etiquette, but good people imparting valuable advice. There are many, many more social media gurus out there. Find one that speaks to you (and share).


You have to learn how to swim with sharks. Let me tell you, authors can be a desperate lonely lot and they really, really, want you to love them, or love their writing at least. Be wary of new online friends who want you to critique their work after knowing them for forty seconds, have robots tweeting for them, or spam your page with ads for their site and novel. These people are

not interested in building relationships; they are interested in building faceless numbers.  Faceless numbers mean nothing if the person behind them has no interest in you or your writing. Word of mouth is still the best sales tool there is.

Learn what kind of strokes you enjoy ( aka blogging, tweeting, facebooking, pinning, tumblring et al.) Find what you’re good at. If you like blogging, blog, if you like pictures pin, you get the idea. There are rules for each social media outlet. If you’re going to do it, learn to do it right. Take time to do the research. Do not spend months spinning your wheels.  It takes about a year to build an author platform and social network, don’t waste it.


That said, once you get past the learning curve it can be very freeing. I thought writing the novel and launching my website was amazing and unique and it is and it isn’t. There are scores of writers in the same boat you’re in. And this is good news, you’ve got lifeboats all over the place, all you have to do is reach out. But here’s the catch, and it took me a while to learn this one: You have to invite them into your boat first. Believe it or not, even with the cyber-distance, it’s all about giving online. The more you give the more you receive in support, attention and love.  But don’t give just to get, give to give. Don’t ask someone to comment on your site, page, retweet, if you haven’t done it first. You know the old adage: Be the change you want to see.

I make it my policy for every single person (real person) who follows me to click their link and check out their website. I read their blog post or facebook updates until I find something I can relate to and comment on. Then I send them a DM (direct message) and thank them for following me. I let them know what I liked about their site, blog or novel.  Do I expect them to return the favor? To be honest, at first I did.

I was surprised and hurt when most people did not return my courtesies. It was almost enough to make me pull up oars, but I kept going. I found that although most would not reciprocate, those who did evolved into excellent online friends. I began sharing experiences, links and posts with them. I did not feel resentment for those who did not. This is the essence of true goodwill and it applies not only to your social media network, but your life.

Do you have an online experience you would like to share? We would love to hear it.


Thank you, Tammy. 

Tam Francis is the author of The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress and the publisher of two indie magazines (From the Ashes, Swivel: Vintage Living Magazine, now out of print). She has been featured at The Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Visual Voices Public Access show and New Times Magazine. She blogs about, swing dancing, writing, vintage lifestyle, and era specific book and movie reviews at She enjoys writing stories across genres with a dash of vintage and romance in each. Tam is currently working on a collection of ghost stories.




Gretchen’s  books can be seen at


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Riding The Rap by Elmore Leonard.  Twice Buried by Steven F. Havill.





It’s down to the wire time for publishing THE COWBOY’S BABY GOES TO HEAVEN. I’m doing the absolute final proofing and writing blurbs for it. That’s right, blurbs plural. I can’t tell which one works and which one doesn’t.

I’ve written five blurbs I’m proud of for this upcoming release. The first one I wrote was supposed to have been “the one.” I’m no longer sure it is. Blurbs two and three were offshoots of blurb one. I’m still really proud of blurb number four, but my primary beta reader (my sister Roxanne) hates it. Says it gives away too much of the plot. So I reworked it into blurb number five, which my sister loves, which I really like, and which my critique group says will drive readers away from my book in droves because it tells nothing of the plot.

(Believe me, it’s so much easier just to go with your gut, meaning no outside opinions allowed. But they might be right. Right?)

I finally decided to hire it out. I’ve sent my top three choices to the novelist Margaret Yang who also works as a freelance editor and blurb doctor. Or she’ll write the blurb for you from scratch. You can read more about her at .


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Well, I’m reading three separate novels but I haven’t finished a one. See below for the probable reason.

WHAT I WATCHED THIS WEEK (in celebration of Halloween–I started a day early): MISERY, THE WOLFMAN.

Photos by Roxanne Rix

My books and stories can be found at