The Dead Robots' Society

Writers on Writing

Terry Mixon

Many thanks to P.G. Holyfield for prodding me to write this bio. Without his snarky wit, it still might not be here.


A lot of writers tell you they’ve always known, since they were breast feeding, that they wanted to be writers. Not me. I’m a reader. I’ve read thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of books in the four and a half decades I’ve wandered this planet and I’m proud to be a consumer of good fiction.


That isn’t to say I didn’t like telling a good story to entertain my friends. For over thirty years, I’ve been a role player. Many of those years I was running games and crafting a good story. That probably explains why I see myself more as a craftsman creating and making a story aimed to please an audience, rather than an artist creating for the sake of the story itself. Another big difference between me and most writers. I still RP, though only by email and not as often. Time, there just isn’t enough of it anymore.


I credit the RP experience with making me want to write. I knew how to tell a ripping good story in person, and so many books off the shelf were just drek. I kept telling myself I could do better. I even bought books on writing to learn more about the craft. But I missed doing the one important thing: writing.


Then a friend told me he was writing a book. I was thrilled for him, of course, but it shone a bright light on my procrastination. I started writing that day and posting it online a chapter at a time. I chose to write an erotic mystery, since I knew of several places anyone could post erotica and I had a cordial relationship with a number of well-thought-of authors in the genre who encouraged me to write. My wife, God bless her, is my first reader and has supported my dreams ever since. Thank you, Babe.


I assumed I’d be pummeled with rants and negative feedback. This is, after all, the Internet. It didn’t turn out that way. I posted four novels in serial format, one chapter a week or so, and several shorter works in a two year span. The response was enthusiastically positive. I was even nominated for, and won, some reader-based awards. To be fair, when I look back at them, I see a lot of flaws and things I would rather have done better. I’ve grown as a writer, after all. But they did cement my confidence. Tens of thousands of people had read my work and most liked it. Maybe I could write something good enough to be published by a real publisher after all. Why not try? I’d already wildly exceeded my expectations. I had nothing to lose.


So I found the I Should Be Writing podcast, and others. I got encouragement and more information. Justin, from the Dead Robots’ Society invited me to come here and sully his forum. Then he couldn’t get me to shut up, so he invited me to be a co-host. I wonder if he regrets that impetuous decision? Did I mention I’m opinionated?


I learned about podiobooks and other web 2.0 ways to share your fiction. I met some great people and my ideas on how to become a published author changed, grew. The last year has been a wonderful ride, and very educational. I can’t wait to see where it goes next. Isn’t that what being a writer should be all about?


Looking back, I see that I failed to do the expected and tally all the neat things I’ve done in this life. I’ll hit some high points here at the end.


  • I served 4 years in the US Army straight out of high school, most of it as a helicopter crew chief in the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Ky.
  • I drove a cab in Austin, Tx for a few years.
  • I’ve delivered pizza.
  • I’ve worked in a bakery, making the donuts.
  • I’ve been a rent-a-cop.
  • I’ve done road construction. (Hard work. Props to the people that do that every day.)
  • I’ve been a telemarketer. (Yes, I hate them too, and I didn’t last long at all.)
  • Currently, I’m a contractor at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. I’m a computer administrator working directly in support of the flight controllers for the international space station and shuttle programs. It’s my job to make their programs and displays work they way they need them to. And they pay me for being part of the space program. Wild, isn’t it? I’ve been here 10 years and hope to be here a lot longer directly supporting manned space flight.
  • Last, but most importantly, I’m married to the most wonderful woman on the planet. After all, she puts up with me. I have four step kids, four grandchildren, and a herd of cats. Life is good.

I’m currently working over the second draft of a romantic (non-erotica) mystery that is posted in our Crypt here at the Dead Robots’ Society. I’ve taken far to long to work it and I need to get cracking if I want to get it published. Come on in and check it out in the Encrypted Forum.