Broken Toe: Monday Blog Post

Early Girl Tomatoes flank a Zucchini plant

Early Girl Tomatoes flank a Zucchini plant

Newest News:

Friday a bag of heavy groceries slid out of the child seat where I’d hurriedly put it and directly onto my right big toe! Painfully I hobbled to the car, loaded groceries in, put the cart in the corral and drove home. Once the groceries were put away the toe still hurt like the dickens. I peeled off shoe and sock and there was a small bruise already forming just below my toenail.

In sandals the rest of the day, I watched as the toe became more bruised and swollen. I couldn’t bend it, touch it, or walk on it. By Saturday I knew—it was broken. WebMD said the doc would just tape it to the next toe. Takes 2 – 4 weeks to heal. So I didn’t go to the doctor. It’s taped, with a cushion, to my next toe and I have bought a larger pair of sandals to wear so I can put a sock on to keep my feet warm.

Why is this important? Because I’ve been doing research hikes for articles for a hiking book the local newspaper is doing. I had planned a hike for Sunday. I had to drop that. I’m also not going to be able to document the regular Tuesday hikes, for the twice per month articles in the paper. I’m seriously bummed. And the toe still aches. I’ll spare you the picture.

Giveaways:

The Spring Into Reading giveaway closes in June. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, please enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

Out-of-Time-Cover

A shout-out goes to my next author interview, Jason Meadors. Jason’s interview will appear on Wednesday, the 25th. Yep! This Wednesday. Don’t miss out on Jason’s interview and a little bit about him. Can’t wait? Check out his site: www.grandpa-tells-stories.com.

Garden News:

The local garden club held a plant sale on Saturday. Hubby, I, and my broken toe hobbled to the sale site where I bought 2 Early Girl tomato plants and a zucchini plant. All are quite large and blooming. That will be a good head start on my veggie season. Yay!

Where Will I Be?:

Mystery Con Flyer

June 3rd and 4th I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there at 3pm on Saturday on writing a mystery. The conference is just two weeks away! Tickets for both days are only $39. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it. Register in advance on the site so we know how many are coming to lunch, then email me or comment here that you registered. I’ll put your name in for a drawing of a special prize on both Friday night and Saturday at my presentation. The prize? A bracelet, hand made by me, with Kindred Spirits as the theme. I’m nearly done with the book marks. I still need to make the bracelets. I’m the last presentation of the day on Saturday in my room, so if you want any of my books autographed, buy them at the book seller and bring them to the presentation. Can you make it? Email me.

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival, partly funded by the Arizona Humanities. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits Ad

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Kitten Magic: Flash Fiction Friday Post

http://www.deviantart.com/art/A-kitten-68838991 titled A Kitten by Ultrakitten via DeviantArt.com

http://www.deviantart.com/art/A-kitten-68838991 titled A Kitten by Ultrakitten via DeviantArt.com

http://www.deviantart.com/art/A-kitten-68838991 titled A Kitten by Ultrakitten

Kitten Magic

Eight-year-old Breanne huddled in the back corner of her closet, kitten, Smoke, cuddled in her arms. The sound of her father screaming at her mother drifted up the stairs from the kitchen. Breanne flinched at the crash of dishes.

“I wish daddy would stop yelling,” the girl whispered into the kitten’s neck. The kitten growled, then the last dish crashed and the back door slammed. Breanne wiped away tears. She crept from the closet and down the stairs. Peeking around the kitchen door jamb, she could see her mother, Mary, sweeping up the broken crockery.

“Mama?”

Mary set the broom against the counter and dashed her hands across her eyes. She turned. “Hey, baby.”

Breanne ran to her mother. “Where’s Daddy?”

They hugged. “He went out. Sweetheart. Did you hide in the closet like I told you?”

Breanne nodded, blue eyes solemn. “Smoke hid with me.” The kitten rubbed up against Mary’s ankle. Mary picked up the kitten and included her in the hug. “Good girls.”

Every night Daddy screamed at Mommy. Breanne trembled in the closet. Sometimes Daddy hit Mommy, and Breanne cried into Smoke’s soft gray fur. “Please, Daddy, stop,” Breanne whispered into the kitten’s back each time. Each time, Daddy would storm out of the door.

One night after she turned nine, she gathered up her courage and inched down the stairs to hide under the dining room table, Smoke clutched in her arms. She watched her father storm around the kitchen, Mary huddled in the corner of the counter and the sink, arms around herself, head bowed. He yelled things at Mary that Breanne had been told never to say. Breanne began to sob and just as he raised his hand to strike his wife, Breanne whispered, “Stop, Daddy. Go out the door.”

Smoke looked into the kitchen like she’d spotted a bird a few feet away. Halfway through her father’s strike, his arm dropped and he slammed out of the back door. Breanne ran out to the kitchen where her mother stood sobbing and shaking.

“Breanne, you shouldn’t be here, baby.” She pulled a paper towel from the roll and wiped her eyes and blew her nose.

Breanne hugged her mother around the hips. “Smoke sent Daddy away.”

Mary dropped to one knee and hugged her daughter. “I don’t think so, honey.”

Breanne looked her mother in the eyes. “Oh, yes, Mama. I saw.”

Mary half-laughed and hugged Breanne again. “If you say so, sweetie.”

After that Breanne tested Smoke. She held the kitten close and crept downstairs to watch through the kitchen door. At first she waited until her father started to strike, then she’d wish her daddy would stop. Each time he’d stop and leave.

She grew bolder, stopping him earlier and earlier. One day before her father came home from work she asked, “Mama, doesn’t Daddy love us?”

Mary, her back to Breanne, stopped stirring the spaghetti sauce. It took a moment for her to set the spoon in the rest and turn to Breanne. “He loves you very much.”

“He said you trapped him. That I was a bastard.”

Mary hurried to the table, pulled out a chair and sat down. She took Breanne’s hand. “He’s upset, that’s all.”

“Why doesn’t he just go away? When my friend Jimmy’s being mean, I just go away.”

Smoke jumped up into Breanne’s lap. Now a year old, the kitten looked at Mary with wide green eyes. Mary’s hands twisted on the table top. She couldn’t hold the kitten’s gaze and stared at the far wall. “It’s a kind of pride. He doesn’t want to look weak.”

“He hits you, Mama. Hard.”

Mary nodded, her hand creeping up to her cheek where her make-up was wearing thin. The nearly permanent bruise was beginning to show. “Not like that. Different.” She whispered, “I wish he would leave forever.”

Breanne’d never heard her mother say anything like that before. “Smoke can make that happen. She’s been stopping Daddy every night.”

Mary shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

“So why does he stop like that. Right in the middle.” Breanne glared with defiance.

“What?” Mary’s gaze lifted.

“Every night I wish Daddy would stop and Smoke makes it happen.” She stroked the kitten who began to purr, staring at Mary with half closed eyes. “I’ll just wish he goes away forever.”

Mary’s eyes went wide. “You’d make him disappear?”

Smoke head-butted Breanne’s hand when she stopped petting. The girl stroked her cat’s head. “Just send him away, forget us.”

Mary rose and went to the stove where she stirred the sauce. She stirred and stirred then turned back to the table. “Not dead?”

Breanne and the cat stared into each other’s eyes. Smoke purred.

“Not dead, Mama. Just not here.”

Mary turned back to the stove, shoulder’s slumped. “Only if he gets angry again.”

Breanna nodded.

After supper it began again. Breanne sat on the top stair and cried. If only Daddy wouldn’t be so mad!

Smoke drifted from Breanne’s bedroom and eased into the girl’s lap. She stroked the cat. “He’s doing it again, Smoke.”

Smoke flowed from her lap and down the stairs. She stopped in the kitchen door and sat, front feet together and stared into the kitchen. Breanne followed and stood beside the cat.

On a rampage around the kitchen her father jerked Mary from her chair by the hair. He caught sight of them. “Watta you starin’ at?” He slurred his words, empty beer bottles evident on the counter.

“I wish you would go away, Daddy. Go away forever.”

Mary’s hands flew to her mouth as her husband shouted curses at Breanne. He took a step.

Smoke hissed.

Breanne watched as her daddy began to fade.

Mary screamed.

By the time her daddy would have reached her, he was gone.

The police came when Mary reported her husband missing.

When Breanne was seventeen, she stood as maid of honor at her mother’s wedding. Smoke never did do any more magic.

 

Thank You!

999 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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We All Have to Start Somewhere: May Merry-Go-Round Blog Post

The_Bad_Seed_Cover_for_Kindle

Whoa! Interesting topic. I published my first book, The Bad Seed, in 2012 and I haven’t gone back to look at it since. I’m a little nervous. Here’s the first page.

The front and back doors burst open in an explosion of sound.  Willa turned to look, her eyes wide and mouth open, knife still in hand, as men in black burst into the kitchen from the back hallway and from the living room. 

In shock and hardly breathing, she stood in front of the stove with the knife in the air.  They were all shouting, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife! Drop it!”  She finally regained enough presence of mind to drop the knife.  One of the men came rushing at her from the morning room, around the kitchen island and pushed her to the floor.  Before she knew it, he had a knee in her back and both hands pulled painfully behind her.  The handcuffs were tight and cold. 

She tried to relax even with all of the boots milling around her head.  Two of the SWAT team lifted her by her arms to stand.

Willa looked frantically around the room at all the men, “What’s going on?”

“Are you Wilhemina Hayes?” the one in charge asked as he stepped in front of her.

“Yes,” Willa tried to get her fear under control.

He read from a sheet of paper, “You are under arrest for violations of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2011, “otherwise known as the PIRA Extension Act of 2011.”

He read Willa her rights then looked around the room, pointing at one of the team members. 

“You, bag up this stuff on the stove.  Mrs. Hayes, do you understand your rights as I’ve read them to you?”

“Yes,” She didn’t think there was any point in dragging this out.

He turned to go to the front door.  “Come along with me Mrs. Hayes.”

 

To be honest, I’m pretty impressed! The opening is actually from later in the story, but I wanted to start the story with a bang and create the tension and reader concern for the main character right off of the bat.

I still want to do that but after my second book, I haven’t used that method of creating that first page hook again. Somehow I have the feeling it’s unfair to the reader to give them a scene out of sequence. I know it’s done in movies and on TV all the time but for some reason, I just don’t want to do that in my books.

The rest, the grammar, punctuation, point of view, and other technical stuff, are pretty good for a first book. I didn’t head hop or change from 1st to 3rd person, and with just one exception in the snippet, stayed in active voice. Yay!

There was some telling and not showing, but overall that first page looks pretty good. I guess I did a fair job after all, no need to be nervous.

What do you think? Were you hooked? Want to read more of the story? It’s up on many of the major ebook retailers. Available in paperback as well. You can use the links below to search for it.

Kindred Spirits released March 14th! I’m so excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today!  You can also see all of my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

 

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, traveling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. Check out the rest of the tour starting at http://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/favorite-conventions-2016-merry-go-round-blog-tour/.

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Winner! Monday Blog Post

HONORABLE MENTION

Newest News:

I’m am so pleased to announce that after four years of trying, I’ve won an Honorable Mention with the Writers of the Future contest with my science fiction story, Eavesdroppers. The logo at the top of the page was sent to me after winning and I’ll be getting a certificate in the mail from them sometime soon. I’ll share that, too, when it arrives.

Writers of the Future is THE contest for science fiction and fantasy authors. Many of the biggest names in the genres have won this contest. This just doubles my determination. If I can do it once, I can do it again. So stay with me!

Giveaways:

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

The Spring Into Reading giveaway closes in June. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, please enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

Bahn Bonnie Cover Bumblefoot

I’m giving a shout out to my friend Bonnie Bahn. I’m hoping to interview her on this blog in the future. Right now she’s re-writing Bumblefoot and creating a new cover for it. She can be found on Twitter at @BonnieBahn or on her website at bonniebahn.wordpress.com so watch out for her re-release announcement. Follow my blog so you don’t miss out on this and other special features.

Garden News:

I have broken down and planted my seedling tomatoes in my garden. The rest I’ll give away. I also planted my basil. The reason? The weather went from cold to hot in a day. Also, a volunteer tomato plant has sprung up. I figure if the weather is right for the volunteer it’s good enough for my seedlings. I need to get my trellis set up and buy some Early Girl tomato plants to finish my tomato garden. Other plants? Beans and peas, peppers, butternut squash, zucchini and yellow squash. All of those do really well here. The peach tree, despite the cold, is heavily laden with peaches while my two apple trees have one apple between them. Interesting. How about you? What do you plant?

Where Will I Be?:

Mystery Con Flyer

June 3rd and 4th I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there at 3pm on Saturday on writing a mystery. The conference is just two weeks away! Tickets for both days are only $39. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it. Register in advance on the site so we know how many are coming to lunch, then email me or comment here that you registered. I’ll put your name in for a drawing of a special prize on both Friday night and Saturday at my presentation. The prize? A bracelet, hand made by me, with Kindred Spirits as the theme. I’m the last presentation of the day on Saturday in my room, so if you want any of my books autographed, buy them at the book seller and bring them to the presentation. Can you make it?

pbflogoorig1446X1253pxcroppedcontrast

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival, partly funded by the Arizona Humanities. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Jealousy: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Misty by Justchasingfireflies by d2ybmge.jpg via DeviantArt.com

Misty by Justchasingfireflies by d2ybmge.jpg via DeviantArt.com

Edmund hissed.

His slave worried over the device. Enough was enough. The sun inched its way across the sky while the slave fussed and bothered over the machine. Edmund was bored. The slave had forgotten him.

He muttered to the other lord and lady. What is wrong with the slave?

“We don’t keep it busy enough.” Peaches licked her claws as she eyed the others.

“Nonsense.” Edmund rolled over and stretched then lay on his side. His yellow eyes blinked. We must give the slave some time to herself.

“Bollox.” Zaphod’s fur stood up straight as he arched his back. “Too much time on their own projects and they start to forget who’s in charge.”

Peaches rose up from her platform on the scratching tree and sank her claws into the central support, stretching her back into an inverted arch. “I agree with Zaphod. Let them take an inch and they want the whole house. Remember when we were kittens? All that bother about us not sleeping on the bed.” She ripped the carpet from the pillar. “As though the bed belonged to her!”

Edmund shook his head. “The slave uses the device to document us. That’s a good thing.”

“Sometimes.” Zaphod licked his paw and washed behind an ear. “Not often enough. The slave leaves us locked in the house for hours and comes home all involved with the device. What do we get when we investigate?”

“You walk on her controller.” Peaches coughed up a hair ball. “I’ve seen the monitor. All of the pictures go crazy. Your meddling ruined a perfectly good picture of me draped across the chair seat.”

“You think too much of yourself.” Zaphod sneered.

Peaches launched from the cat tree and chased Zaphod around the house. Candlesticks were knocked from the fireplace mantle, the end table lamp fell over and they pulled the curtains from one of the living room windows before they hissed at each other face to face and the slave separated them with tiny treats.

Back on the cat tree, Edmond sneered. “And you criticize the slave.” He rolled his eyes as he sharpened his claws. “Kittens. That’s what you are.”

Zaphod licked his paw and cleaned behind an ear. “Just a little exercise.

“The matter still remains about the device.” Peaches leapt down from the cat tree and stretched on the floor. “Time to take matters into my own paws.”

Zaphod and Edmond watched as Peaches wandered, nonchalantly, into the office. They followed. When they arrived, Peaches had already claimed the slave’s lap. Zaphod leapt up onto the printer. This device shook at random intervals and paper spit out that was easily hooked and destroyed. Edmond was left with the pile of paper in a basket at the side of the desk. Not ideal but paper wasn’t the cold of the glass topped desk, either. Good enough.

The slave did her best to work around Peaches, reaching over and around to the controller. Peaches wouldn’t hear of it. She butted her head into the slave’s hands at every move. The slave tried to remove Peaches. That only ended with the slave’s hand bleeding from Peaches’ retaliatory strike.

The slave set the detested device on the desktop. Peaches left the slave’s lap and approached the device. She sniffed it, then ever so gently, pushed it over the edge of the desk.

The slave leapt up, chair flying backward across the room. Edmond hissed and sprang straight up, paper flying through the air. Zaphod yowled and leapt onto the slave, who shrieked as the device hit the floor.

Peaches yawned and paced deliberately out of the room. Edmund and Zaphod followed as the slave yammered, kneeling over the broken device.

“My work is done.” Peaches eased into her cat bed, curled her tail over her nose and closed her eyes.

Edmond and Zaphod looked at each other. “I didn’t do it.” Edmond swiped a paw across his face.

“Me either.” Zaphod leapt up the cat tree and snuggled into a corner of a carpeted room. “Coming?”

Edmond followed. “Sure, twin. Don’t want to be around Peaches. She’s going to get it from the slave.”

They snuggled down together. “Not our problem.” Zaphod wrapped his tail around his nose. “Let her deal with it.”

 

 

Thank You!

712 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Author Interviews: S. L. Lewis

Author S.L. Lewis

Author S.L. Lewis

Oh my goodness, we have a great author interview lined up for today. S. L. Lewis, or Sunny, is a new author planning her career a bit differently. She’s writing, re-writing and editing a number of books all to be released very close together. Nothing is available yet but when it is, you won’t have to wait long for her next one.

With that said, let me introduce, Sunny!

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby. Well then, I have a lot. I love to write (obviously), and I love to play my Pokemon games, which are Pearl and FireRed. I kind of inherited them from a man I called brother, actually. And they’re the only ones that I currently have.

Let’s see, I also love to read. I read constantly. Embroidery, sewing, painting, sculpting, and going for walks while listening to music are more hobbies that I love to do.

As long as I can actually afford to buy supplies for my artsy crafts.

 

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

If I had the opportunity I would actually love to meet the Lady of Manners herself, Jillian Venters. She’s what’s known as an ElderGoth and is the author of Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love them.

I once showed my more Gothic nature (having grown up with the literature instead of the music) and I would love to speak with her face to face about so many things. Luckily her site works just as well for me for the time being. But I hope to at least buy her book one day and get her to sign it.

Call it a fangirl moment if you will.

(Her site: http://www.gothic-charm-school.com/

And her book: http://www.amazon.com/Gothic-Charm-School-Essential-Guide/dp/0061669164/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247078045&sr=8-1 )

 

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Ah, such a choice. Tea most often than not, either iced or cold, and usually a flavor of some kind. I’m a lover of a good chai or vanilla tea. I do like a good chocolate tea too, most particularly Stashes White Chocolate Mocha Tea. I do drink coffee too, either Folgers or Maxwell house, but rarely.

More so during National Novel Writing Month than other times.

Same with soda. Sometimes but not quite so often. And of course I drink a lot of water. Must stay hydrated after all.

 

4. What are you working on right now?

Warning: this is kind of long. So I’ll just condense it down into a small list.

A: Book Zero (yes, you read that right, zero as in the number) of the “Don’t Look” series called Thread the Needle, and book 1 called “A Delicate Thread”. The second book is mostly rewriting and fiddling since I need to write Thread first.

B: “Black Veiled Saviour”. And yes…I spelled that last word wrong and because it connects to the book itself, so no grief over that. It is a murder mystery that will be filled with drugs, sex, murder, action, and intrigue. All the good things a noir needs yes?

C: Book 1 of my “Crimson Series” called “Crimson Shadows” and plotting book 2 called something along the lines of “Drips of *something*”. Haven’t decided on that last word.

Yes, I’m TRYING to keep this short.

D: A couple of stand-alones. One is called “Follow Me Down”, which I’m thinking is called a horror noir fantasy, and a paranormal horror that I haven’t figured out what to call yet.

E: I have a couple of duologys actually in the works, too, but I’m not working on them very hard since I barely know where I’m going with them. One is a Zombie fic that I’ve quite literally labeled “Zombie with a Brain”. You can blame one J.A. Marlow for that one. The other is a kind of post-apocalyptic that spawned from my entry into the latest Forward Motion anthology.

F: I’m doing a complete rewrite and overhaul of two shorter stories that will be more filler between actual novels than anything. One is a basic “Suburban happenings” kind of book and isn’t titled currently. The other is called “All You Need” and is set in the future, a romance.

G: And finally an 8 book superhero story that revolves more around the characters instead of the action. You’ll get to see them grow up, find out what shapes their lives and get more in-depth with who they are. Book 1 is actually 17 chapters into a 36-chapter outline. Not too far from the end of the first draft.

All of my books have a mix of pan/bi/gay/straight characters with a variety of genders mind you. I write M/M best apparently.

 

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style? Hmm, goodness, what to say about that. I’ve been told a few times my first drafts tend to sound like an overly detailed outline but my final drafts tend to take a more poetic bent depending on the genre I’m writing.

I have a rather good vocabulary, so if I can use one word instead of another in its proper context, I shall. Especially if the word is saving me from the ever dreaded “repeating” word. I am well known for being rather…graphic when it comes to certain scenes.

 

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Advice. What to say that I would have loved to hear when I was first learning?

Research is your best friend. I’m not joking you! You know the old saying “Write What You Know”? Well, how do you know anything if you don’t sit there and learn about it first? That’s where the research comes in.

Go to a library and look up things. You want to write paranormal novels? Find all the books that you can that deal with ghosts, spirits, various cultural stories about the spiritual and supernatural worlds. Pull out movies on the paranormal and watch them. Study how they build the story up.

You want to write a romance? Get online, Google “Best Selling Romances” and if you can, read them. Ebooks are cheap now days. It won’t hurt to buy a new book if you can get away with it.

You want to write a horror story? Figure out what kind of horror you want to write. Do you want to write one where a ghost torments the inhabitants of a house? Research ghosts and hauntings.

Do you want to write about vampires? Research the types of vampires. And yes, there are many types of vampires out there. It’s not hard to Google “Types of Vampires”, dearies. Same with were’s and creatures of the night.

And of course there is also just going and watching a movie or show that has what you want to write about. You can glen a wealth of knowledge just from watching a show and studying how they build the action up, how they hint at this and that, before coming to the climax. It’s amazing what you can learn by watching.

Like I said, research is your best friend and having several methods of research is a good idea. My research bookmarks have their own folder with folders within folders. It takes time and a lot of trial and error to figure out the best way to research for yourself, but once you get it down, it’ll be just as easy as sitting down and surfing the net for hours on end.

Oh, and invest in a good chair or a really good butt cushion. They’ll be your best friends in the long run.

 

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Luckily, to a point, they come to me in my day-to-day life. I have a mildish case of hypergraphia, which is the need to write. It’s not just an urge, it’s an itch that needed to be fulfilled. It can be tied to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and even Bi-Polar Disorder.

For me, it’s connected to my OCD. But I do get ideas by watching movies, reading books, and talking with friends. See the zombie fic ala Marlow. I just look around and take everything in.

Even some interesting posts on Tumblr and Twitter sometimes. Depends on what I’m looking at.

 

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Where can you find me? So many places.

On Twitter as @SLStrailo. https://twitter.com/SLStrailo

On my writer’s Facebook Page called S.L. Lewis Writing https://www.facebook.com/sllewiswriting/

I even have a writer’s Tumblr called A Peek Into a Creative Mind. http://apeekintoacreativemind.tumblr.com/

And I even have a blog called A Peek Into a Creative Mind on Blogger. Though I am thinking of moving to WordPress so we’ll see what happens in a year’s time. http://apeekintoacreativemine.blogspot.com/

 

Thank you to Connie for having me here. I hope you all find my answers interesting and that you guys have a good day.

Thank you so much for coming onto my blog and visiting with us. So, dear readers, you don’t have to wait to hear about what Sunny is doing. Check out her social media sites and enjoy!

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May Weather or Not: Monday Blog Post

Butterfly from a Hike

Butterfly from a Hike

Newest News:

So far this month May’s weather has been just as changeable as April’s was. We’ve had rain! I know, that doesn’t sound like any big news but for this area, rain doesn’t happen from March to July’s monsoon season. Instead, we’ve had several days in April and so far in May, with actual falling out of the sky water. I’m sure the native plants and trees and animals are enjoying it. My garden does, too.

Giveaways:

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

The Spring Into Reading giveaway is at the halfway point. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. You could easily win a prize. Enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

I’m giving a shout out to my friend S. L. Lewis. A new author, I’m interviewing her right on this blog on Wednesday. Follow my blog so you don’t miss out on this and other special features. She can be found at http://apeekintoacreativemine.blogspot.com/ where she updates every Monday.

Garden News:

Last week I talked about drying oregano so this week I took a picture of my oregano on my drying rack.

Oregano on Drying Rack

Oregano on Drying Rack

It’s really easy. Share your photo of your drying rack.

Where Will I Be?:

Mystery Con Flyer

June 3rd and 4th I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there as well on writing a mystery. Tickets for both days are only $39. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it. Register in advance on the site so we know how many are coming to lunch, then email me or comment here that you registered. I’ll put your name in for a drawing of a special prize on Friday night and/or Saturday. The prize? A bracelet, hand made by me, with Kindred Spirits as the theme. I might even make two and have a giveaway both Friday and Saturday. What do you think?

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits Ad

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Malwhere: Friday Flash Fiction Post

 

ancient_mainframe_computer_by_mistgod-d58t3st via DeviantArt.com http://www.deviantart.com/art/Ancient-Mainframe-Computer-317125757

ancient_mainframe_computer_by_mistgod-d58t3st via DeviantArt.com http://www.deviantart.com/art/Ancient-Mainframe-Computer-317125757

“What do you mean?” Bethany had been debugging the system for the last twelve hours. Management was calling down to the fourth level basement where she worked outside the data center every ten minutes. Billions of dollars were flying out of the corporation’s accounts.

“I mean, it’s an AI, it’s reprogrammed itself. I told you this might happen.” Jan flopped into the chair beside her best friend. “While you’ve been chasing bugs in the code, I’ve been tracking the malfunctions. I think the AI is doing it.”

Bethany scrubbed her hands through her pixie-cut blond hair. She’d warned her boss. Messing around with AI computer infrastructure was a bad idea, she’d told them. But they didn’t want to listen. It would be cheaper to let an AI run itself than to pay people to run the system. “Fewer errors,” the CFO had said in the meeting where they decided this course of action.

“But…” she’d opened her mouth.

The VP of IT shut her down. “I think that’s sufficient, Bethany. The matter is decided.”

“I know you told me. I told them. They decided they’d take the chance and save money on staff.” She sank back into the chair. “So what can we do?”

“You’re the boss. You tell me.”

Bethany shot Jan the evil eye. “We tossed a coin, Jan. don’t get all indignant with me.”

Jan waved her hand in submission. “Fine. I think we should pull the plug.”

The lights on the front of the outward facing server flickered. Bethany’s eyes grew wide. “Did you see that?”

Jan nodded. They both got up and went out into the hall and found a corner where the cameras couldn’t see them, or hear them. “What the hell! The damn thing is already aware.”

Bethany slumped against the wall. “I’m going in there and disconnect the power. You stand in the hall with the door open. If something goes wrong, run to maintenance, tell them to cut the power to this whole floor.”

“They won’t do that without permission from management.”

“We’ll see.” She pushed herself off of the wall. “Let’s go.”

Jan held the door open as Bethany marched down the long lines of server racks to the back of the room. Every server was connected but all she needed to do was disconnect the primary, the server that controlled all the rest. She reached for the plug with her bare hand but half an inch from the wall, she stepped back and looked around. There was a safety board hanging on the wall. She pulled the heavy-duty rubber gloves down and put them on then went back to the plug. The camera in the ceiling corner turned in her direction. “Here goes.”

She grabbed the plug and pulled. Lights began flashing and an alarm sounded but the servers all kept working. “Damn. The AI’s transferred itself. I’ve got to pull them all,” she shouted so Jan could hear. Bethany began pulling the power cords randomly so the AI couldn’t tell which one she’d pull next. Down to the last three plugs the power panel exploded in a shower of sparks that sent her flying down the server aisle.

Jan screamed. “Bethany! Are you all right?”

Scrambling to her feet, Bethany ran for the door. “Let’s get to maintenance.”

On sub-floor one, the ran into the power room. Two guys were responding to the alarms indicating a problem on sub-floor four. “Cut the power to that floor,” Bethany gasped. “The AI is out of control. Shut it all down.”

“We can’t do that.” The older of the two men stared at her. “There’s a couple of billion in computers on that floor.”

“They run the whole place,” the younger guy nodded. “We’ve been told.”

“And I’m telling you,” Bethany struggled to catch her breath from running up three flights of stairs, “the whole thing just tried to electrocute me. Shut. It. Down.”

“They aren’t listening, Beth,” Jan said.

“Keep talking to them. I’m calling management.” She stepped away from the men and dialed her phone. “Boss,” she said when he picked up. “We have to shut the AI down. It just tried to kill me.”

“What?”

“It tried to kill me. It’s out of control. I’m in maintenance. They have to shut sub-level four down. Right down.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. We’re not shutting it down.”

“You have to. If this gets outside the building the whole international computer network will be infected. We don’t know what will happen.”

“I’m sending security.”

“Thank you, sir. You’re doing the right thing.” She hurried back to the maintenance men. “My boss is sending security. You’ll have to shut it down.”

It was only a couple of minutes before five of the building security officers were at the door. “Thank goodness you’re here. You’ve got to…” Two of the officers grabbed her as two more pushed by and grabbed Jan. “No! Not us, the maintenance men. Stop!” She screamed as they dragged her and Jan out of the room.

A month later it was over. The two women huddled in a basement outside of the city. The AI had opened all of the prison and jail doors right after it had taken down the entire financial infrastructure.

They heard it called Malwhere, just before most everything had crashed. “Good name for it,” Bethany told Jan as they made their way to Bethany’s great-grandparent’s house in upstate New York. They helped great-granny get the house stocked as best they could. Granny told them to get guns and as much ammo as they could buy. Some of the neighbors Granny trusted were also there. It helped as they held off marauders.

The AI wasn’t dead—it was reconstructing, Bethany heard from people fleeing the cities. It was making the world into the image it thought best. She wondered if Malwhere was looking for her. She checked her rifle’s load. If it was, it was going to meet some resistance.

 

 

Thank You!

994 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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New Format: Monday Blog Post

Owl_using_Computer_by_RedPigeon via DeviantArt.com

Owl_using_Computer_by_RedPigeon via DeviantArt.com

Newest News:

I’m trying out a new format for my Monday blog posts. I’ll still do my free flash fiction on Friday, though I’m thinking about changes for that, as well. But for Mondays I’m going to change to something shorter. The majority of my news is going to move to my newsletter. So if you haven’t already signed up for it, see the end of this post where I tell you how to sign up.

Giveaways:

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

That said, let me tell you that the Spring Into Reading giveaway is halfway done. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple times to enter. You could easily win a prize. Enter today and every day.

Shoutout:

An author friend of mine, Selena Laurence has released her newest book: The Kingmaker, the first of her Power Play series. She calls herself an author of edgy contemporary romance. I’ve read Laurence’s series Lush, and the first book in her Foreign Exchange series, Speaking Greek. Her writing is quick, and the love scenes hot. I haven’t had a chance to read Kingmaker yet but I’m sure it will be better than ever. Here is a quick blurb of The Kingmaker.

He’s America’s golden boy. A power broker. A Kingmaker.

She’s America’s dirty little secret. A sex broker. A scandal maker.

Together they are headline news.

Lies, deceptions.

 A Presidency hangs in the balance.

Selena can be found at https://selenalaurence.com/.

GardenNews:

Saturday I picked my first three strawberries. I didn’t think to take a picture, I ate them too fast, LOL! Anyway, Sunday we had hail so I was glad I didn’t have the tomatoes outside. It’s been very cool all weekend. My oregano is about ready to cut for drying. If you don’t have a patch in your garden with oregano, you should. I bought one pot of oregano for less than three dollars five years ago and haven’t bought oregano since. Just think about how much dried oregano costs in the store! Anyway, I cut it, wash it and hang it in small bundles from a medium large picture frame that I stapled bird netting to the back. Tie the bundles on the frame or the netting with kitchen twine and put up on top of your cupboards. That’s where mine lives. It’s warm and dry up there and it only takes a couple of weeks for the herbs to dry. Then take them off the netting, spread wax paper on your table and strip the stems of the leaves. Put into air tight bottles or jars. I have used baby food jars, jam/jelly jars, canning jars and even fancy metal tins made for storing dried herbs. You’ll feel good about yourself. I promise.

Where Will I Be?:

Mystery Con Flyer

June 3rd and 4th I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there as well on writing a mystery. Tickets for both days are only $35. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it. Register in advance on the site then email me or comment here that you registered. I’ll put your name in for a drawing of a special prize on Friday night and/or Saturday. The prize? A bracelet, hand made by me, with Kindred Spirits as the theme. I might even make two and have a giveaway both Friday and Saturday. What do you think?

Color Color Arched Book Logo w Event Date 2016

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you are a Brown Rain series fan, I’ve created a list just for you! If you join my regular newsletter, that’s all right too as I’ve put sign-up prizes on both. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. The YouTube video I just made about Kindred Spirits will be in the newsletter. Just a note. I’m going to be sending out newsletters more frequently. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Newest Book Release:

CS Front Cover Kindred Spirits V1

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Red Cadillac: A Friday Flash Fiction Story

Red Cadillac by Partywave http://www.deviantart.com/art/red-1959-Cadillac-tailfins-138267320 by Partywave titled red 1959 Cadillac tailfins

Red Cadillac by Partywave http://www.deviantart.com/art/red-1959-Cadillac-tailfins-138267320 by Partywave titled red 1959 Cadillac tailfins

They’d followed the song from clear on the other side of the Milky Way. The rhythms of it enticed them. They moved in a way that no one of their species had ever done. The scanners couldn’t help but pick up the signals from the planet from far outside the solar system. The aliens had to dial the scanners back to sift the tsunami of signals pouring past them.

“It’s like they’re all screaming into the universe!” The ship’s Captain shook his head over the stream of data the ship was gathering.

“It’s too much, Sire.” The lead cultural scientist had bleached white with the stress of trying to make sense of the signals. “There’s no reason. It floods out from every part of the planet as though they can’t wait to have someone find them.”

“Aren’t they aware of all of the life forms out here? Some are quite dangerous.”

“I cannot tell, Sire.”

The Captain was perplexed. “What do you mean?”

The scientist sagged a little more. The Captain was certain that this form wouldn’t last too much longer.

“Sire, I cannot tell what’s real and what isn’t.”

“Real? What do you mean?”

“They have real and they have what they call fiction. The song we followed was fiction.”

The entire staff blanched. “We’ve been following this signal for hundreds of light years! What do you mean it’s not real?”

The scientist sagged more. “No, sire. The signal is real. The rhythms are real. What the story says is not real. It’s…” the scientist struggled to create a name for the concept. “It’s a Fiction.” He stumbled over the translation of the word into his own language. It had taken him the entire trip to understand and the concept was so foreign, it was killing him.

“Chief Scientist. You are not well.”

“No, Sire. I am not. This concept is too dangerous. I beg you not to approach this planet. It will kill us all.”

The rest of the staff gasped, in their own way. The Captain shook his appendage. “We’ve come all this way. We must find this Red Cadillac.”

The scientist shook its tentacles and left the briefing room. They found him the next ship’s morning, a deflated, dried sack on the floor of the linguistics lab. He was mourned with appropriate ceremony and stored in the ship’s vault for return to his family.

“Do not be afraid,” the Captain intoned at the memorial. The song they were chasing played softly in the background. The Chief Scientist was a noble being. He will be sorely missed but the search must continue.”

A few solar days later, the ship hovered outside of the orbit of Pluto. The entire ship was listening to the sounds of the planet the recordings called Earth. The music had changed. It was both more and less melodic. The magnet, Red Cadillac, still played from various parts of the wet, blue globe, but there was more. Each of the crew had a new favorite. Something that appealed to them and them alone. Conflicting tunes blasted from every cabin, mixing in the corridors in such a cacophony that the Captain had to have the new Chief Scientist develop a method for each crew member to listen to the sounds in a way that didn’t intrude on the others.

When they reached the satellite of Earth they hid behind it, out of detection range of the primitive’s search capabilities.

The Captain was astounded. “They send their signals of this “music” out into the universe but lack the most basic of detection or defense?” It didn’t matter to him. The scan of the planet proceeded. They accessed all of the Earth’s databases. The goal was finally achieved.

The modification unit went to work. Lots were drawn. The four lucky crew members were chosen and modified and the appropriate clothing and credits manufactured. The stood in the transporter, stomach’s quivering. The Captain stood before them. “You’ve been equipped with our best recording devices. We salute you.” He came to attention and saluted with both appendages. “We’ll be watching.”

The landing party descended and made the transaction. The old human they contacted was grateful for the credits. She wept with joy, actually. From the ship the Captain suspected they’d paid too much but no matter. It was just paper after all. The landing party climbed into the vehicle and maneuvered it with only minor mishaps onto the nearest travel lane. By the time they reached what the humans called an interstate, they had all the experience they needed.

They found a local radio station and tuned in. They’d just reached cruising speed in the 1959 red Cadillac when the song played.

“Going to Memphis, going down on Beale street

I have all the pretty girls just looking at me

My top let down and my hair slicked back

Tell me the southern girls, they like it like that…”

The entire ship fell silent as the music played on every speaker.

They’d made it. These humans had so much more to offer! It was hard to tell what they could do or couldn’t! They’d make wonderful trading partners. That was after the “fictions” were separated from fact.

The Captain watched the videos carefully. One was particularly disturbing, The Day the Earth Stood Still. He studied that one, especially. It was old. Recent scans confirmed that the human military had advanced. The problem was the attitude. War of the Worlds was another. The humans seemed hostile. He’d have to think about the best approach.

No matter. The landing party was recording everything. That alone would pay for the trip. The Captain settled back into his command chair. It would go just fine. He was sure of it.

Acknowledgments: Johnny Rawls and his song: Red Cadillac from the album, Red Cadillac.

 

Thank You for reading! I’d love to hear your comments.

970 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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