Gretchen Rix and Tam Francis at the Texas Book Festival 2017

I took fellow author and friend Tam Francis (left) with me to the Texas Book Festival this year, my usual companion Roxanne (sister) being at the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio representing me and my books. Tam and I had a great time. As vendors. Selling our indie-published books.

We could have attended the author panels, as audience. God’s truth, though, on Saturday so many people went through our tent and stopped to talk with us that we had a hard time getting away for the port-a-potty. The port-a-potty that was positioned right behind our table (but a street-width away in a parking lot). We feared it would smell, especially by day two, but it did not.

No complaints at all about our tent. The first one on the tent path. The one with the great view of the Texas Capitol Building lawn. The one that was open to the elements. We were lucky. No real rain, only a few little sprinkles. No real cold, just enough for a sweater. No real heat. All the other vendor tents had covered sides. I think they sweltered a little bit in the afternoons. We had the breeze.

We also had the crowds. (So did they, but we got them first). Thousands of book-lovers paraded past us Saturday, and hundreds on Sunday. Some of them stopped. Less stopped to buy, but that’s how it goes at these things.

Our fellow authors want to know a few things about our experience. Like, was it worth it?

I did not make enough sales on my side to pay for the cost of the table. But Tam and I, as a team, just about did.

Having two writers at one table both hindered each of our sales and helped. Neither of us sold the number of books we would have sold if the other hadn’t been right there selling her books, too. But I sold some of Tam’s books, Tam sold some of my books, and she graciously allowed me the use of her credit card swipe thingie. And honestly, if we’d each had our own tables and only sold our own books BUT had been placed next to each other, we’d still have cannibalized each other’s sales.

Both the folk-tale/recipe author on my right and the Texas history author on Tam’s left outsold us by leaps and bounds. What’s that they always say: location, location, location. Ours, not theirs. They had a product that drew in the readers. We were sandwiched between them. By the time the crowd walked our way, their money had been spent.

But the crowd was friendly. We met some very interesting people (my vote goes to the snake-and-tornado-story man myself). We made a couple of new friends. And we learned more about hand-selling books. Tam is right. Giving out bookmarks helps.

But was it worth the $375.00 the table cost? Depends on your definition of success (and how much disposable income you’ve got). The competition was fierce. I mean, Tom Hanks, Lemony Snicket, Sherry Thomas, the Bush sisters, and tons and tons of literary authors (as opposed to genre writers like we are). The Texas Book Festival really is set up for them and not us.

So, not really. And yes.



Photo by Nita McBride.


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Beneath the Sky by Dan Thompson. The Exotic Mermaid by Leonora Raye.



In preparation for the World Fantasy Convention next week in San Antonio, Texas, here are the covers for my fantasy books (includes space opera, comic horror, weird western, impossible quirky short stories, and romantic adventure bordering on the type of fantasy represented by the Tarzan series). Fantasy.




You can still get the paperback version of ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT at Bookpeople in Austin. Logos, Buffalo Clover and Printing Solutions, all stores around or near the courthouse square in Lockhart, have my books for sale. Or go to Nook Smashwords Amazon or Audible

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Forged in Blood I by Lindsay Buroker.

Crawling towards the middle of the book

THE CIMARRON BRIDE advances slowly. Mostly because it’s that time of the year when lots of fun stuff happens. Halloween. The Texas Book Festival. Thanksgiving. Dickens on the Strand in Galveston. Movie events at Alamo Drafthouse. Cool, invigorating mornings that invite walks. The Fall TV season. I could go on and on and on and on.

So, I’m working on Chapter 11 now. In bits and pieces as I force myself to get off Facebook, abandon Twitter, forget about Mah Jong for the night, all sorts of other things to do other than write. Emails. Checking book sales. Sleep.

Here’s a snippet of what I’m writing:

Marcus Wilde in cahoots with Alain Valentin?

May Ling followed her bodyguards to the outside door to study the features of Valentin’s guest. The dust from the stampede still swirled. Shadows began to emerge, quickly coalescing into the form of a man. Her heart skipped erratically. If she hadn’t intimately known her lover’s size and shape and way of walking, she’d have mistaken Marcus Wilde for Junyur Wilde. But the age difference told.

Marcus Wilde had lived life. Junyur Wilde had just begun. Her lover  seemed almost a blank slate compared to this man. 


WHAT I’VE READ THIS WEEK: A couple of the books in Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series. I’m up to Forged in Blood 1 right now. About half-way done.

I’m at chapter eight now!!!

I’m redrafting a historical romance I started writing on a train ride to Dallas, Texas and back (Austin) more than a year ago. It might have been two. THE CIMARRON BRIDE.

When I dragged it out of mothballs to edit, I didn’t like the main character, and some of the plot was ridiculous. So very glad I waited on this one.

I’m at chapter eight now, which I feel might need a few more revisions in the long run, but I’m soldiering on into chapter nine. It’s Stephen King’s advice, to keep writing forward, and it has helped turn me from a writer with six or seven partial novels in my desk drawers, to a writer with twelve published books who is working on her thirteenth and has part of the fourteenth stored under the keyboard I’m typing on right now.

Yea, Stephen King!  

Here’s a very small sample:  

It was Valentin.

Everyone in the room recognized that voice. May Ling was surprised she hadn’t. The deputy seemed scared. While he sucked on his bruised and cut hand, Big Jim cautioned him. “Better pour some spirits over that, and I mean right now. Wrap it in some cloth.” Everyone else stood stupefied, even the previously manic Squash Blossom.

May Ling wanted verification that it was truly Valentin out there. To see with her own eyes. She moved toward the door.  Big Jim pulled her back into the office. “It’s him all right. No need to meet him head on, Miss May Ling.”

The three horses inside had retreated to the back of the room and stood with their heads hanging down. “That’s not a good sign,” Big Jim commented. “I’m going to open the door back up and let them out.”

Richard walked over to shut the exit door, but stopped in the threshold to watch what May Ling could no longer see. “They’re gone,” he told her, talking over his shoulder in her direction. He wafted his hand in front of his face to disperse the settling dust. “And here he comes,” he added. “Earlier than I expected,” he told Big Jim.


You can find one of my books in Austin at Bookpeople. You can find all of my books in Lockhart at Logo’s and Buffalo Clover and some at Printing Solutions. Go to  for NOOK books and  for KINDLE books.



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Deadly Games by Lindsay Buroker. Conspiracy by Lindsay Buroker.

New writing

THE SAFARI BRIDE is the first of three non-related romance novels I’ve planned. You can see it here I haven’t re-read it recently, but I liked it then, I’ll probably like it now.  

THE CIMARRON BRIDE was the second planned book, and it’s what I’m working on now. That was another story. I started it about two years ago on a train ride to Dallas and back, plus all the time in the hotel room. It’s been finished for quite a while, but when I took it out to check for typos, etc, I found I didn’t like what I was reading.

THE CIMARRON BRIDE is undergoing what is called a re-draft. I ruthlessly cut out all the chapters I didn’t like reading, and am working my way through the rest, which I do like. Quite a bit.

It’s very interesting working this way, and a lot easier to get it right the first time through than with a re-draft. And I’d considered it, too. Just tossing the whole thing, keeping the characters and the plot but none of the actual writing at all.

This will be a more traditional type of romance novel than I’ve attempted before. I’ve got the marvelous novels of Sherry Thomas to thank for that. When I finally ventured from Not Quite A Husband to the rest of her books, I began to realize what was wrong with THE CIMARRON BRIDE. Thank  you, Sherry.

Wish me luck. I hope to finish my book by the end of October. Then I’m going to wait. Until I can read it with fresh eyes. Hopefully, I’ll like it this time. If not, I’ll be trying the re-write from scratch method.

P.S. I really hope the redraft method works because I’ve had something really special just waiting for me to get good enough to fix.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEKThe Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker.  The Western Star by Craig Johnson.

My Audible Files

THE GOODALL MUTINY is available as a paperback, as an e-book, and as an Audible file. If you’d like a free copy of the Audible file, I have a few left. Go to the comments area and let me know.




WHAT I READ THESE PAST WEEKS:  Ships of My Fathers by Dan Thompson. Murder As A Fine Art by David Morrell. Scorched by Mari Mancusi. A Strange Twist of Fate by Debra Erfert. FYI, I’ve read a lot more than this. Not going to list them this time.

Clouds in my backyard, a poem


TV Dallas once said hurricanes coming/Take shelter.

I watch tornadoes die in my backyard. They meant tornadoes. Dumb screenwriter. Dallas is too far from the coast.

Gray, black-tinged cotton, lowering heavy atmosphere ready to drop.

On me, not really so safe lying in the grass in my backyard. Watching. Eyes dazed even now by the sun hidden in there somewhere. I squint. Flinch with the first crack.

Thunder. It rolls over ground like bowling balls, knocking air out of its way. Wind assaults the dry grass, begging for water, and then whips my face red.

Cold, ice-laden in its thoughts if not in its stroke, it sandpapers me, then dies.

Too cold for tornadoes.

My backyard sky is an art gallery of clouds and of unmarred blue and of black menace hurtling down like the hawks that eye my cat as they float overhead.

And sometimes I can still see the sun set. Pink and orange and red, mostly hindered by my neighbor.

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset. Slow as slow until the end, then gone, then minute by minute more stars reveal themselves, and the moon, where she sometimes is.

Dying over living? Rest. It is over.

“That will do, pig.”


A very old poem of mine. Here is the cat 

THE GOODALL MUTINY is free on Smashwords for a short time. Check it out:



It should have been BILL OBERST JR. and then THE GOODALL MARAUDERS, but we hit a snag. THE GOODALL MARAUDERS appeared first. Then early last evening I got the notice that Emmy award-winning actor BILL OBERST JR.’s narration of my walking macadamia horror stories ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT has gone live on Audible. You really don’t want to miss this. Believe me, you don’t.

ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT is more funny than anything else (not counting quirky, and maybe macabre), and nobody could have done a better job on it than Bill. Although it is a horror collection about walking macadamia trees, I laughed myself silly. Couldn’t believe I’d written these hilarious stories. Couldn’t believe what this marvelous actor had done with them. He doesn’t just read them, he becomes them.

And the other news,

THE GOODALL MARAUDERS. I can’t stop humming, and sometimes singing the drunken sailor song.

What do you do with a drunken sailor? What do you do with a drunken sailor? What do you do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?

Weigh heigh and up she rises. Weigh heigh and up she rises. Weigh heigh and up she rises, early in the morning.

Trust me. The above has a lot to do with my story, the third of the Goodall Mutiny series. Sends chills down my spine. Hey, the book went live a couple of days ago. My latest book is always my best book. I outdid myself with this story. The cover is by Streetlight Graphics.



Get the Audible file here:


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:  Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris, The Resistance by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Delicious by Sherry Thomas.