Friday Flash Fiction Story: Desperate Quiet

Tears, Rain, BlackJack 0919, DeviantArt.com

Tears and Rain by BlackJack 0919 via DeviantArt.com

Eleanor Marks drove home from her job as a mid-level secretary in a mid-level accounting firm. Her ten year old car was a sedan, as plain as she was. Once home she made grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans for supper. It was the same thing they had every Wednesday night. Her husband, Arnold, arrived home promptly at six and wanted dinner on the table by six-fifteen.

“Good supper, El.” He wiped his mouth on his napkin and went into the living room to watch the seven o’clock game show.

El. Eleanor sighed and began clearing the table. Her family called her El, too. All of the people in college and now at work called her El. Why couldn’t she be Ellie? Ellie was bright, happy, and popular. El was plain, ugly even. She hated her short name. Once, in high school she’d tried to get people to call her Ellie. It was a waste of time. No one noticed the plain girl nor cared enough to follow her request. She stopped trying years ago.

After she did the dishes she came into the living room. Arnold was turning the channel to catch his favorite eight o’clock TV show. She picked up her embroidery hoop and began where she left off last night. Tonight’s program was another shoot ’em up cop show. She wondered why her husband liked them. No one on the series was happy. It was depressing.

At a commercial break she turned to Albert. “I think there’s a leak in the roof. There’s a water spot on the upstairs bathroom ceiling.

“Always something.” Albert got up and went to the kitchen. He came back, beer in hand, just in time for the show to restart.

Eleanor took a deep breath. She’d remind him on Friday and he would take care of it over the weekend. The show droned on and she occupied herself with the tiny stitches. The thread colors pleased her, reds and oranges, violets and blues, greens of grass and moss and new shoots. She loved them all.

At nine o’clock Albert turned off the TV and began his nightly routine of checking that the doors and windows were all locked. Eleanor followed along behind him, turning off lights. She wondered how this routine began. They never even spoke. They just started the house rounds, every night the same.

He readied for bed and vacated the bathroom. After her hand washing and face creaming, she stood in the adjoining bathroom door and looked at her husband, already asleep in their queen sized bed. She rubbed the lotion into her hands.

She’d never dated in high school. No boy wanted to date such a plain girl. So it was in college that she dated. Not the cool popular boys. College was just high school on steroids. But George worked in the student cafeteria when he wasn’t in class studying programming. Certainly not handsome, they had begun talking as he bussed nearby tables. One date, then two, and before she knew it they were going together. He graduated the year before her and at their quiet graduation ceremony, just the two of them at the local pizza place, he proposed.

Eleanor wondered at her immediate acceptance. Did she think there were no other men out there who would be interested in her? She drew a deep breath, a lump forming in her throat. That must have been it. She was so pleased to be asked that she just took the first offer. Finished rubbing in the hand lotion she went back into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She studied her face in the mirror. There was nothing to see. Eyes were gray, not blue, her hair was graying, and she didn’t have the energy to even consider dying it. What was the point? It was a mousey brown to start with, hardly worth trying to keep. Wrinkles were forming at the corners of her eyes and mouth, as were jowls at her jaw line. The lump in her throat grew and she sat down on the toilet lid.

How did she get here to a boring marriage in a boring life in a boring house? Perhaps children would have made the difference but Albert wasn’t able.  She considered how children might have changed their lives. PTA meetings, taking the children to sporting events and talking with the other parents as the kids played on the fields or courts. They might have become more social. Instead they became insulated. Neither of them made friends at work so there were no get-togethers for drinks or dinner after work. It was just the two of them, moving silently though a quiet house every evening and weekend.

Tears flowed down her face and she unrolled three squares of toilet paper to wipe her eyes. She was only forty-five. She was smart. She liked good food and music and plays. Eleanor felt trapped by a life she’d built one small decision at a time. Crying herself out, she blew her nose and rewashed her face. In the mirror she could see that her eyes were red and puffy. It didn’t matter. Albert was sound asleep. He’d never know that she had been crying.

She turned out the light and crawled into bed. Eleanor stared at the ceiling. He never knew that she cried every night.

 

 

The End

897 Words

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

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Chicklets in the Kitchen: Mint Water and Homemade Butter

I thought it’d be fun to share something different this month. Two things, as a matter of fact.

Mint Flavored Water

Mint Flavored Water

In the summer months I make flavored water. As a Celiac, I’m limited by my disease to drinks that have no additional, artificial ingredients. That limits me, usually, to water, iced tea, lemonade and the like. But I live in Arizona where it’s hot so I drink a lot of water. Don’t get me wrong, I like water but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little extra special.

See the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen blog.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Monday Blog Post: It’s Busy!

Apples, pie, Applesauce, Connie Cockrell

Apples for pie and as Applesauce by Connie Cockrell

The garden has slowed down. The pear trees are ready to pick and the Sungold Cherry tomatoes are ready but everything else is slow. It’s been super hot and I think the garden is just resting. The apples I picked weeks ago have been sitting on my kitchen table nagging me to do something with them. So Sunday I turned the majority of them into applesauce, some into an apple pie and the best ones went in the fruit crisper to eat out of hand. That’s the picture up at the top. Yay!

Author Friend Boost! J.A. Marlow She has just released her newest book, When the Skies Fell (A String Weavers, Book 6). Here’s a description.

A band injury forces Kelsey hale and her team to return to space station Sanctuary, the last remaining Weaver refuge among the multiple Universes. Not a good place to go considering the Weaver Council wants to take away her Weaver band. Kelsey turns the risky visit into an opportunity to learn more about Professor Hadrian’s ultimate plan for his Phoenix Eggs. Only one other person might know: Dr. Rozelle Mallard, his former aide and traveling companion.

Professor Hadrian arrives on Sanctuary to heal his own band injury and he will do anything necessary to keep certain information forever secret. He knows of a way to silence Rozelle while also stealing Kelsey’s Phoenix Eggs. Never mind that it will kill both of them.

He forgets the Weaver team he is dealing with.

He forgets Kelsey’s determination to never give up.

He forgets what Phoenix Eggs really are.

Join Kelsey Hale in a coming of age science fiction adventure across alternate universes and encounters with alien planets, species and societies. Thrust into a dangerous journey to places she could have never imagined, she is determined to discover the truth of her mysterious past. A truth that will change her life.

See more at: http://jamarlow.com/category/new-releases/

Amazon US

Barnes and Noble
iBooks
Kobo

 

I haven’t mentioned it before now but we’re creeping up on the dates for the Northern Gila County Fair. This year it’s September 11- 13th. I’m still the VP of Exhibits with all of the work that entails. But this year in addition to managing the website and Facebook page, I’m doing the marketing for the fair. I have ads in several high profile Arizona magazines and newspapers. I’m posting daily on our facebook page: Northern Gila County Fair and daily updating our website, www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com. I’d love it if you’d leave a comment on the facebook page. Saturday we (members of the fair board and some 4-H kids) were in the Payson Rodeo Parade and handed out a BUNCH of flyers advertising the fair. The picture at the top is our float. As we went we could hear the comments about the fair. “Oh, we have a fair!” “It’s just a dollar admission!” “Cool!” Let it be known, this is the 61st fair, shouldn’t be such a mystery but there you are. More people now know about it and will, maybe, come.

Betrayal Moon for the Forward Motion anthology is completed and turned in to the anthology editor. I’m pretty pleased with both the story and the world I’ve created.  I expect the book to be published in October or November, just in time for Christmas gift giving! I’m looking forward to writing in that world again.  I finished my edits of Gold Dream and sent it to my editors. They’ll get back to me this week with their edits and I’ll go final. The deadline is September 15th so I don’t have a lot of time to dither. I’ve gone back to writing Mystery in the Woods, the second book in the Jean Hays series that I started in July. Not as many new words on it this week as last but I’m getting there.

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my wordpress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I’ve stopped posting to the wordpress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up too. Don’t delay. The August newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. 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.

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Flash Fiction Friday Post: Extra Baggage

Farmer's Market by Alaniz25 via DeviantArt.com

Farmer’s Market by Alaniz25 via DeviantArt.com

Zoe Ohale squatted in the shade, her back against the brick wall of the pawn shop. In front of her was the market in the parking lot on Antares Road between the pawn shop and discount clothing store. She could feel the sweat running down her temple but it was too much bother to wipe it away.

She was here because there was food here, especially if she was quick. It had been four years since her mother had died and had to learn to live on the streets. Now sixteen, Zoe knew all too well what it was like to be hungry. Today she hoped a distracted stall-keeper would be her opportunity to pick up a loaf of bread or a piece of fruit. Both, if she had any luck at all.

Standing up, Zoe wandered along the stall fronts, casually looking over the goods in each stall. Her goal was the baker, halfway down the row. There was always a big crowd at his counter and the odds of him being distracted were high. She edged up to the counter behind a large bodied woman with a baby on her hip. With the baker at the other end of the counter and using the woman and baby as a shield, Zoe slipped her hand between the plastic tent wall and the counter to a table with a wicker basket of rolls. She’d slipped two out and into her pockets before the baker came to help the woman with the baby. It was easy to fade back and move on before the baker got to her.

Across from the baker, a woman had her produce stacked in bins. Zoe was reaching for a tomato when a girl, not much younger than her, came screaming past the stand, four teen boys in pursuit. She crashed into Zoe, nearly knocking her off her feet. The boys grabbed the girl and began shoving her between them.

Zoe yelled as she rubbed her arm where the girl had hit her. “Stop that.”

“Mind your own business,” the biggest boy said as he held the girl by the arm. “She ratted on us. Now she has to pay.”

The other shoppers melted away. “Not four on one.” Zoe stepped toward the group. “She’s half your size.”

“I didn’t rat on them.” The girl’s face was dirt streaked. Her brown hair was a tangled mess and her clothing hardly more than rags. “The owner caught them breaking into his store and they saw me hiding in the alley. So they blame me.” She tried to jerk her arm out of the biggest boy’s hand. “Not my fault they were noisy.”

Zoe stared at the biggest boy, apparently the leader. “That true?”

“She must have ratted. Why else was the owner there after hours?” The other boys were nodding. A couple reached out and smacked the girl in the back and the arms.

“Quit that,” Zoe took another step forward. “Ever hear of vid?” She asked the leader and pointed at the roof of the discount store across the parking lot. “Look up at the corner.”

All four boys turned to look. “Most places have vid installed. That’s how the owner knew. He must live near the store.”

The leader scowled and shook the girl again. His cohorts stared at him. “Maybe. But she ran. Why’d she run if she didn’t snitch?”

“Because four of you were chasing her.” Zoe rolled her eyes. “Turn her loose.”

The leader glared at Zoe then at the girl. He shoved her away from him. “Don’t hang in our turf again or you’ll get what’s comin’ to ya.” He motioned to the other boys and they hurried off.

“Oh, thank you.” The girl grabbed Zoe’s hand and shook it. “You saved my life. I’m Lindy.”

“I’m Zoe.” She shook Lindy’s hand. “No problem. Take care.” Zoe turned to leave. She wanted to try and snag some more food.

Lindy looked around. “Uh, you don’t mind if I hang with you for a minute, do you? In case those guys are waiting around the corner?”

Zoe shrugged. “Just stay out of my way.”

The crowd in front of the vegetables had returned. Zoe edged between an elderly woman with a string bag and big guy that looked like a workman on his lunch break. She snagged an apple and a tomato and slipped out of the crowd. Lindy caught up to her as Zoe walked along the stall fronts.

“That was pretty slick. I’m always too scared to try that.”

Zoe eyed the girl. It was obvious that Lindy wasn’t doing well. “How come you’re on the street?”

“Parents overdosed a year ago. I wasn’t eligible for foster care or the orphanage,” she said in a low voice. “They kicked me out of our apartment with whatever I could shove into my backpack.” Her voice quavered.

“Same here.” Zoe was still angry about it. “You have a gang?”

“No,” Lindy shook her head. “I’m afraid to ask.”

“That’s how to survive. Get in with a group.”

“Are you in a group?”

“Yeah. It’s not much but we look out for each other.”

Lindy sighed.

Zoe knew what was going through the girl’s head. Could she join the group? Lindy didn’t bring much to the table. She couldn’t shoplift, it looked as though she didn’t scavenge, and was skin and bone. She did run fast, though. That was something. “Look. You can come hang with my group. See if you fit in.”

A wide smile brightened Lindy’s face. “Thank you,” she grabbed Zoe’s hand and shook it until Zoe had to forcibly remove it.

“You’re welcome.” She already regretted making the offer. “It’s not up to me, but hang around the edges. Don’t be a problem. They’ll probably let you stay.”

Lindy danced up and down. “Great, thank you.”

Zoe introduced Lindy to the gang. She stayed a year, learned how to survive and left for another group where her boyfriend belonged.

 

 

The End

1000 Words

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

 

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Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: What have I learned from other story-telling genres?

Fair Ride

Fair Ride

I’m an eclectic writer. While I love SciFi and write in that genre often, I don’t limit myself to just that form. What that means is, I need to be consciously aware of the tropes, the expectations, if you will, of every genre I write in.

A good example is my latest book, Mystery at the Fair. I’ve been reading mysteries and thrillers since I was a teen, right along with my SciFi and Fantasy. But I was never conscious of what it was about those stories that made them a mystery, rather than a SciFi or a Fantasy.

Of course, there’s the mystery. That much is obvious. But what makes it a mystery? Readers expect one thing from a mystery and something else from a SciFi. In my case I’ve written a cozy mystery, so the person doing the sleuthing is not a police officer or detective. I had to work to tease those expectations from my memory. There needs to be danger for my main character, she needs to have a self-interest in finding out who committed the murder. The mystery has to hold all the way through the book and there has to be a twist. The murderer cannot be the first person the reader expects, or even the second or third. Who are the other suspects? Why are they suspects, what are they hiding?

I had a lot of help from my editor. He kept making me go back and ramp up the tension, the mystery, and make sure everything tied together at the end.

So my major take-away from this last book is to be more aware of the reader’s expectations for the genre I’m writing.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. 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, travelling 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. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara

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Monday Blog Post: Website Update

Garden, Produce, Connie Cockrell

Garden Produce by Connie Cockrell

Update on the new website: managed to get a follow button posted so you all can receive the blog posts. That has been a major headache for me but I’ve finally figured it out. It’s now the top thing on the right-hand side of the home page. After that is the follow buttons for other social media. Don’t be shy! Go ahead, follow me on those as well!

I picked peaches from my tree on Saturday. There are some left, hard to get to. I’ve decided the birds can have those. Also on Saturday I picked a good number of cherry tomatoes, several cantaloupe, two zucchini which have gotten too big, and one New Mexico chili still green. The chili received full sun and had some sun scald so I decided not to wait for it to turn red but to pick and use it on tonight’s dinner. I put the cherry tomatoes in a bowl on the counter. We all love to go over there when we’re trolling the kitchen and grab a handful to snack on. Yummy.

Author Friend Boost! D’Elen McClain. She has just released her newest book, Dragons Live for Ever. Here’s a description.

It’s Tahr, my silver dragon’s turn to find happiness. And of course it doesn’t come without him growing up and changing his perspective. It seems like I’ve been waiting so long to tell his story. I also hope I answer many of the questions readers have had about my world building.

 

Just a little secret… I take you on a quick trip back to Bastian, Laryn, Sarn and Tahr’s youth and also relive the day the curse began. The story has been in my head and it was so nice to have it come alive.

 

I’m going to miss these characters so much. Eventually I’ll need to drop in and see how they’re doing and I promise to share the experience with you.

 

I humbly ask my readers to leave a review where you purchased the book. It’s the nicest thing besides buying my work that you can do for me. Thank you and enjoy Tahr and his adventure as he discovers his mate in his own back yard.

 

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z2QH7H6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Z2QH7H6
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/qxt58hc
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/nck4lju

 

I have been checking out the indie publishing site Draft 2 Digital. A site that helps put an author’s manuscript up on electronic book sales sites. I may try it for my next book. It looks helpful and a good many other authors have recommended it highly. As a reader, you probably won’t notice anything different but for me, the reduction of formatting time will be a tremendous thing.

Betrayal Moon for the Forward Motion anthology is at the editors. I should hear from them this week.  The deadline for that story is September 1st and I’m close to that now.  I finished turning Gold Dream into a short story. I’ve been letting it simmer for a week to give myself some perspective before I start my first edit/rewrite pass. I have a limited number of words to work with, 8,000, and the story is nearly at the limit so I’ll have to be careful with my edits. That deadline is September 15th so I need to get in gear on this one too. This week I’ve gone back to writing Mystery in the Woods, the second book in the Jean Hays series that I started in July. I managed nearly 4,000 words on it this week and have enjoyed getting back into that story.

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my wordpress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I’ve stopped posting to the wordpress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. 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.

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Friday Flash Fiction Post: Images of a Black Flame

Images of a Black Flame

I dredged up this prompt from long ago and for some reason, it spoke to me now. I have written a chapter of what seems like a longer work. Do you like it? Do you want to read more? Let me know. If there’s no interest, I’ll let the story drop, never to be seen again.

Chapter 1

Anrak woke with a gasp and sat straight up in her bed. She pulled her russet hair, come loose in her sleep, back from her face and flipped her braid to her back. Deep calming breaths, just breathe. She looked around her tiny room, the embers of the fire close to gone, and tried to reorient herself while her heart beat slowed. The dream had seemed so real.

In the morning, she rose from her pallet and began the day’s work. Breakfast for Master Eddan and herself was first before they began the task of taking down the dried herbs and putting them into jars and boxes.

Eddan came into the main room as Anrak scooped oatmeal into bowls. “I put dried cherries in it this morning.”

Eddan sat at the table and nodded. “I’m pleased.” He eyed her, his face, wrinkled with time, showed concern. “I heard you call out last night. The dream again?”

Anrak swallowed. “Yes.” She sighed. “I wish I knew what it means.”

“Just the image of a black flame? Was it on a table, an altar, in a building, the woods?”

The apprentice rubbed an eye. “There might have been a candle, or that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I don’t understand why it terrifies me.” She scooped oatmeal into her bowl and sat across the table from her master. “It’s as though the flame is alive, can see me.” She stirred the mush around the bowl. “Or that there’s someone near, in the same space with the flame.” Anrak shook her head. “It makes no sense.” She ate a spoonful of the oatmeal.

Eddan stroked his beard, gone white in the twelve years she’d been his apprentice. “I’ve been thinking about your flame. I’ve read through all of my books looking for a reference. It might be time to go to the Mage Council to collaborate.”

“Is that wise?”

Eddan snorted. “They’ll have to get over themselves. They know I was right, it just galls them that I saw the dragon coming before the rest of them did.” He scooped up a spoonful and ate it.

“Good thing you did. Otherwise the land would have been seared from one end to the other. The King was happy.”

“Yes, but I’m concerned that you keep seeing this image and are fearful of it. It could be a portent. That’s why I took you as an apprentice. Your dreams are strong and even as an untrained child, could foresee events. We’ll go today. After breakfast, pack us some travel food, prepare our bags. We’ll go to the council and get some help.”

#

After four days walk, Eddan and Anrak reached the castle where many of their brother and sister mages lived and studied. It was located in the capital city, making it easy for the King to summon them should he need counsel or assistance. They were ushered to the rooms of the head of the council.

“Gar’dyne!” Eddan strode across the carpets strewn across the stone floor like pools of color. “So good to see you.” The two men clasped each other’s arms and hugged in greeting.

“It’s been too long, Eddan.” The mage held his friend at arm’s length and studied his appearance. “You’ve gotten grayer.”

“And you’ve gotten thinner. Doesn’t your apprentice feed you?” Eddan laughed.

“He does, but I don’t always remember to eat what he brings me.” He looked past Eddan. “And this is Anrak?” Gar’dyne walked to her and gave her a gentle embrace. “You have grown into a fine young woman.” He studied her face. “But you have dark circles under your eyes. Are you well?”

She smiled at the kind old man. “I am well.” Anrak looked to her master.

Eddan spoke up. “She is dreaming. We want the council to help us.”

“Come, sit.” He led them to a table and chairs. “Tell me everything.”

#

After the tale, Gar’dyne called for tea, bread and cheese. “It seems to me, this black flame is a symbol, a warning perhaps.”

While they ate, Eddan said, “That’s my thought also. The library here is large, there may be some reference to a black flame and one or more of the council may have knowledge of this image.”

“We’ll meet after supper in the council chamber and tell the rest of the mages. He stood up. “I’ll have Yawo escort you to your chambers. Rest, have a quiet supper and meet us after.”

Eddan shook Gar’dyne’s hand. “Thank you. I feel this is a threat. We should be prepared.”

#

At the meeting of the mages, they hashed over Anrak’s dream. By the time they finished, she was exhausted.

“I don’t know,” Tankal, a middle-aged man whose main talent as a mage was creating flame, whined. “None of us seem to know what this image she dreams of is about.”

“Belsing,” Gar’dyne called out. “You’re the one with the best knowledge of the library yet you’ve said nothing.”

Anrak turned to look at Belsing. At least ninety, he looked as fragile as the ancient manuscripts he studied.

“There might be something, a prophesy, very old. Something about a war with black flames. I’d have to research it.” He scratched his liver-spotted bald head. “I would suggest a dream reader stay with Anrak tonight and view the dream with her.”

“Excellent idea, Belsing.” Gar’dyne turned to a woman that was near his age. “Releh, you’re the best dream follower we have. Would you help us tonight?”

Relah looked at Anrak. “If the young woman gives me permission, I’d be happy to help.”

Anrak nodded. “I would appreciate that service. Thank you.”

“Then it is done.” Gar’dyne clapped his hands. “We’ll reconvene in at mid-morning to discuss what has happened over the night.”

 

End of Chapter 1

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Monday Blog Post: Surprise!

Town Car

Town Car

Last week my daughter texted me that she and her significant other would be driving down from Flagstaff to visit and “show us something.” I said, “Sure, come on down.” I’ll admit I was curious but I waited patiently and on Saturday she arrived in this.

Lincoln Town Car Interior

Lincoln Town Car Interior

Yep, a Lincoln Continental Town Car. Apparently one of only three made for the Soprano’s show. Two were destroyed and this is the only one left. Through an unexpected twist, their neighbor owned the car and was going to get rid of it. Sometime in the car’s past, someone had pimped it out with the running lights, decorative bling and the winged angel on the front. The wings light up! The interior is ostrich leather. It turns out they want to sell it.  So, if you’re interested, I can connect you.

Angel Hood Ornament

Angel Hood Ornament

I’m still picking peaches from my tree though as of Sunday morning, there is only about one branch full left on the tree. We’re really enjoying eating those fresh peaches. Of course I sent daughter home with a bag of peaches and apples as well as just picked cherry tomatoes, a New Mexico chili and a jar of canned peaches. I’ve been studying my squash patch. The yellow squash plant is producing little pumpkin looking fruit! I suspect a plant tag was misapplied at the store. I’m watching these fruits with some interest to see what they turn into.

Mystery at the Fair is released on Smashwords who has distributed the story to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes. It’s also up on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions. See the links at the end to find Mystery at the Fair on those sites.

As for writing, Betrayal Moon for the Forward Motion anthology is at the editors. In the meantime, I’m rewriting Gold Dream, a flash fiction I wrote earlier this year, into a short story. If I can get it written and edited in time, I’ll send it to the Society for Southwest Authors writing contest. That deadline is September 15th so I need to get in gear!

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my wordpress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I’ve stopped posting to the wordpress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) as of Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. 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.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Eternal Water

Water, Fall, Waterfall, Randy Cockrell

Water Fall by Randy Cockrell

It had been a hot and muggy July and Mom and Dad had taken us to the shore for the first week of August. Not just any shore, we were in Maine and the water was so cold you could only go into the ocean to your knees before you turned blue as the sky and had to come back out.

I was thirteen and feeling too old to play with the little kids but not old enough to just swim out like my teen-aged cousins. So there I was; wading in to my knees until my toes went numb then back out to the beach to sit on my blanket and dig those frozen toes into the hot sand.

After two days of that, Dad asked if we wanted to go for a hike. There was a nearby national park we could drive to and a waterfall to visit with a pool at the bottom, perfect for swimming. My older brother wanted to stay at the beach with our male cousins. The female cousins wanted to stay at the beach, too. I’d seen them flirting with some boys their age. It seemed they were much more interested in that than a change of view.

So Dad and I climbed into the car with our hiking boots, swim suits on underneath the hiking clothes, and drove to the woods. After we parked, we stopped to put on socks and boots. Even in the dirt lot I could feel myself relaxing. The ocean was noisy with the wind and the surf crashing and the screaming of little kids as the waves washed over tiny feet for the first time. The woods were quiet with bird song, the sound of crickets and frogs, and the soft sigh of the wind in the tree tops.

We started off, Dad carrying a day-pack full of our lunch and water bottles. The trail followed a stream. “Is this the stream with the waterfall?”

“Yep. It’s about two miles away.” He adjusted the pack on his shoulders. “I’m hoping no one else is at the pool and waterfall since it’s a weekday. We’ll have to see.”

I hoped so too. A whole pool and waterfall to ourselves! Along the way we stopped to look at the moss growing between the roots of massive oaks, red flowers my dad called Cardinal flowers, and fascinating yet horrifying, a snake that was eating a toad, only half-way into the snake’s mouth. We stopped to watch the drama going on just off of the trail.

“Can’t we do something?” I felt a little queasy.

“Would you like it if someone came along and took your dinner out of your mouth?”

He had a point but still. We left before the poor toad was totally eaten.

We rounded a bend in the trail and I could see what we’d heard for the last quarter mile, the waterfall. “Oh!” I ran to the edge of the pool. The falls were at least three times taller than my dad. A young couple was just packing up their things to leave.

“Pretty awesome, huh?” The young man picked up his pack and helped a young woman to her feet.

“It is.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of the wide ribbon of water falling over the lip of stone.

“Have fun.” The young woman waved as they left.

Dad and I kicked off boots, stripped off hiking clothes and dove in. The water was cold but nothing like the ocean. I came up for air, gasping and laughing. Dad splashed water at me.

“Race you to the falls!”

We raced across the pool, half the length of a swimming pool and stopped just outside the range of the waterfall. “Beat ya!” he laughed.

I eased onto my back and floated. The roar of the water falling could be heard through the water in the pool as I stared up into a clear blue sky framed by maple, oak and white pine trees. Dad climbed out onto the bank, spread out two towels then lay down and closed his eyes.

I continued to float, listening to the falling water, loud near the falls, mellower as I drifted away. A gray squirrel darted along the branches of an oak, stopping to rip a leaf from the tree and throw it at the pool, chattering in fury at my intrusion. It occurred to me that I liked the forest much more than the sea shore. I could hear my heart beat, slow and steady. The flow of the water across my skin was soothing, not the abrasive battering that the ocean gave. It seemed as though all of time trickled to a stop and it was restful as the sun dappled the leaves overhead.

Too soon Dad called to me. “Time to eat, Emma.”

It took a force of will for me to pull myself up and swim the few strokes to the shore where Dad had laid out lunch. There were two sandwiches, a couple of apples, two bags of potato chips. I sat cross-legged on my towel and wiped my hands on it.

“Having fun?”

“Yes.” I picked up a sandwich and unwrapped it, taking a big bite. My stomach was growling. He did the same. We watched the water ripple out from the falls, sun sparkling off of the tiny waves. “I like it here. What’s it called?”

“Eternal Falls.”

It was fitting. “I think I’m going to call it Eternal Water.”

The End

918 Words

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

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Monday Blog Post: August and Summer

Garden, Zucchini, Connie Cockrell

Garden Zucchini by Connie Cockrell

It’s amazing, really, how fast the summer goes. I stay busy, and that, I think, is the clue. I seldom have a lazy day, a day where I just lounge around, reading or binge watching movies. Even my downtime, hiking or gardening, is scheduled into my day so that they get done. I’m fully invested in the old saying, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I’m never idle.

The garden is going nicely. Cantaloupes are just about ready to pick. Zucchini is growing well. Picked my first roma tomato a few days ago. Fortunately for me, the hornworms are few and far between this year. Yay! Yesterday I made zucchini fritters from one zuke I forgot about. It didn’t get too big but bigger than I want for grilling.

Saturday I canned peaches. A hiking friend had never seen it done so I invited him over and he helped me through the whole process. I ended up with 12 pints of peaches. There are still peaches on the tree. They’re not quite ripe yet.  I also picked all of my apples. Perhaps applesauce.

Mystery at the Fair is released on Smashwords. Smashwords will distribute the story to Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes. See the links at the end to find Mystery at the Fair on those sites.

Camp NaNo is over and I missed my 50,000 word goal. I did achieve 32,000 so I’m satisfied. I’ll continue to write on it until it’s finished. In the meantime I need to edit Betrayal Moon for the Forward Motion anthology and rewrite Gold Dream, a flash fiction I wrote earlier this year. I want to turn it into a short story and send it to the Society for Southwest Authors writing contest. That deadline is September 15th so I need to get in gear!

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com. The techs at GoDaddy, my hosting site, were very helpful and we’ve straightened out all of the problems. Yay! I’ll put a notice up on my wordpress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I’m going to stop posting to the wordpress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! 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.

Share this:
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