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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Crazy Week: Monday Blog Post

Baby Plants

It was a crazy week for me last week. All day meetings, volunteering, a trip to Scottsdale for a workshop on Screen Writing, it seemed never ending. That of course, affected my writing. I continued to work on my Camp NaNo novel, Mystery at the Book Festival, but made barely any progress on it. As of today, I’m just reaching 35K to my goal of 50,000 words. The challenge ends on Saturday. So I have to write about 3K words per day every single day for the rest of the week (also the month!) to reach 50K. I can do it if I put my mind to it. Cross your fingers for me.

The Spring Into Reading giveaway is in full swing. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. 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.

Butterfly002

The picture at the top of the page is of my tomato seedlings. The weather continues to cycle through mild and cold so I’m not sure when to plant. Friends of mine in southern Arizona are already harvesting their tomatoes! I plan on visiting the local garden shop to get some lettuce and Swiss chard. I should also get my peas and beans into the ground. None of these will be harmed by a little cool weather. The roses have been blooming long enough that I now need to go out and dead-head the spent flowers. It’s good to get away from the computer, even with my high word count goal, and get some sunshine and fresh air. It always helps me clear my mind and recharge the creative juices.

RD Teaser 3

Yesterday I did a special blog post bragging up my author friend Mistral Dawn. Her new book, Rainbow Dreams, is just out and as a science fiction fan, I’m stoked! Anyway, check out yesterday’s blog post with all of the links to buy Rainbow Dreams and the first chapter, free!

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

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 and Friday night is open to the public for Author Signings. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling you all about it. Register in advance on the site and mention that you heard about the event from me. 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.

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!

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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Mistral Dawn Publishes Rainbow Dreams

An author friend of mine, Mistral Dawn, has just released her fantastic new book, Rainbow Dreams and I wanted to share this new Science Fiction book with all of you. I’m going to let Mistral speak for herself.

RD Teaser 3

Hey Everyone!!! 🙂

 

Guess what? It’s finally here!! Rainbow Dreams is now out! What’s it about?  I’m glad you asked!  Here’s the blurb:

 

Have you ever had a terrible secret you didn’t want anyone to know? Petri does and it may get her killed. Life is hard on Upworld, especially for the residents of Under City, and it’s even harder for those who don’t fit in. Petri has always been different and now those differences may cost her life. Her one hope is to leave the only home she’s ever known while evading the mob that’s calling for her blood. But Petri has never been outside of her sector of Under City, never mind off the planet. And the laws of Upworld forbid people like her from leaving. Will Petri overcome the odds and make good her escape? Maybe…with a little help from her friends.

 

Sound interesting?  You can download it in seconds from the following merchants:

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E1INIQE/

 

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rainbow-dreams-mistral-dawn/1123649619?ean=2940152964004

 

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rainbow-dreams/id1101890767?mt=11

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/628561

 

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/rainbow-dreams-2

Rainbow Dreams Fullsize

Now allow me to take a moment to draw attention to that amazing cover. The wonderful and talented Julie Nicholls created it, and I think she did a fantastic job of capturing Petri’s likeness. If you’d like to see more of her incredible work, check out her website here:

 

Artwork by Julie Nicholls

 

Okay, okay, I know, enough stalling.  If you’re as excited as I am about this story, I know you’re all ready for a peek:

Rainbow Dreams Chapter One

Lightning bolts of fire and ice shot up and down Petri’s spine as she moved over the human man on the bed. Her short, slender body bowed with the sensations that washed over her. His lust was like a fountain of cold water on a hot day, and she was parched. It had been too long; she needed this. Desperately.

Looking down at him as she slid her body onto his straining cock, she smiled. This client had wanted to be blindfolded; he said he enjoyed the mystery. There was more mystery in Petri than most humans would know what to do with, so that was fine with her. With him blindfolded, she didn’t need to be careful to keep her own eyes shut. This was going to be a good feed, and there was no way she could have kept her eyes from glowing.

The man moaned in pleasure. Being fed upon felt as good for humans as feeding did for Petri. None of her clients knew she sipped from their energy, their life force, when she fucked them. All they knew was that she was one hell of a talented dolly. A win-win for all involved.

This client was a regular; Petri had shown him many times how good it could be with her. Some of her regulars came to crave her, almost like the dream dust that was sold in the club below. They were guaranteed repeat business, and she always made sure to show them a good time. After all, that was her job.

The energy of the man’s lust filled Petri as she glided up and down on top of him. She shivered. It was renewing, rejuvenating. She couldn’t get enough. A few grains of dust remained on his upper lip as evidence of his earlier indulgence in some of the chemical delights that were available at Abracadabra.

It was clear her client was high long before Petri started feeding. Before she blindfolded him, she had noted the man’s dilated pupils and the flush of pleasure on his face. She had no doubt the management of Abracadabra would go to great lengths to make sure he received the maximum enjoyment possible during his visit. There was a reason it was the hottest nightclub in this part of Under City.

The club specialized in hedonism in all its forms. Drugs of every description, games, gambling, and other, darker pleasures could be found within its walls. House dollies, little more than sex slaves, waited to fulfill the customers’ every desire. Freelance dollies, like Petri, rented space to ply their trade as well. The house allowed it because the dollies offered the club’s clientele more variety and were motivated to attract business. Once a patron had satisfied their lust, they often wandered downstairs in search of other entertainments.

Leaning down, Petri pressed her cat-like mouth to her client’s lips in a sizzling kiss. Their tongues tangled as he responded, and she undulated her hips against his, faster and faster. The drugs he had consumed tainted his energy, giving Petri a pleasant buzz. She never took dust herself since it interfered with her ability to control her power, but she enjoyed the effect when one of her johns indulged. As their sex intensified, Petri drank deeper, swallowing down the man’s whimpers and sighs of ecstasy as she swallowed his desire.

Lost in the haze of feeding for the first time in days, Petri didn’t realize it at first when the man suddenly went still underneath her. His penis remained stiff and eager inside her, and she continued to ride it, draining his energy. It was only when the cold, clamminess of his skin penetrated the pleasurable trance she often sank into when feeding that she realized that she had gone too far. Her heart skipped a beat.

Swinging her leg over him, she clambered off his body and knelt beside him on the bed. She grabbed his shoulder, shaking him, but there was no response. He was as still and cold as death.

Petri’s breath froze in her chest as she tried to suppress her rising panic. She slapped him, hard, across his face, trying to provoke a response. There was nothing. Leaning down, she put her ear against his chest, listening for something, anything. Any sign that a spark of life remained in the man. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have heard a faint fluttering within.

Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and put her hands on his chest, fingers splayed. She had never done this before, but her instincts said it might work. The process of drawing energy from others had come automatically when she reached physical maturity. It was as natural as breathing to her. But reversing the flow of energy… That was something else altogether. She forced herself to focus; all she could do was try.

Reaching down into the well of energy within her, Petri tried to snag a wisp of it. It was like trying to catch fog. Gritting her teeth, she concentrated and managed to grab a small piece of the mist and tease it up, out of herself and back into the man. It flowed at a slow trickle, but it did flow. The man took a deep breath and Petri slumped in relief.

Before she could stop him, or even turn away, the man reached up and snatched the blindfold from his face. When he saw her glowing eyes, he shrieked, “Mgeni!”

Petri swore. She knew she didn’t have much time. Sitting up, she sucker-punched her client hard in his stomach. The man folded over, clutching his gut, just like she knew he would. As her former client coughed and wheezed, Petri scrambled into her tight, red mini-dress and stiletto pumps and clambered out the window. She couldn’t risk trying to make it through the crowded club below; she needed to be gone before the man recovered enough to sound the alarm.

As she scurried down the fire escape, Petri cursed herself. She should have known she needed to be more careful. After having gone without feeding for several days, she shouldn’t have broken her fast in such a public place. At least he wasn’t dead. That was the one thing that might save her. If she had killed an Upworld client in Under City, the houses would have banded together and hunted her no matter where she went.

The funny thing about Under City was it could be a wild, crazy place, but only within certain parameters. In some ways, it was as restrictive as the world above. Upworld citizens were fair game for cons, beatings, muggings, pick-pocketing, and many other crimes. As long as the citizens left Under City breathing, the houses would look the other way. After all, most people from Upworld came to Under City for the thrill of danger, so, in many ways, the underworlders were just giving them what they paid for.

But too many deaths were bad for business and that the houses would not allow. The only reason an Upworld citizen could be killed in Under City with the blessing of the houses was if the citizen killed an underworlder without paying for it first. Life was cheap in Under City, but it wasn’t free. And no one left Under City without paying their bill. No one.

Even though the man was alive, Petri’s life was still in danger. She had survived thus far in Under City because everyone thought she was a Human/Paka hybrid. Half-breeds weren’t especially loved, even among the generally open-minded underworlders, but they were tolerated. Arcanum, on the other hand, were universally despised, and the glowing eyes and energy draining power were unmistakable. Petri was now a marked woman, and it wouldn’t be long before half the underworlders in the Southern sector were howling for her blood. She needed to get away.

The problem was where could she go? Each sector of Under City was isolated from the other sectors, and the only way to get from one sector to another was to travel through Upworld. And the only way underworlders were allowed into Upworld was if they had a pass. Even if she did manage to get to another sector, that would only be a temporary reprieve. Word would travel and her appearance was too distinctive for her to be able to disappear into a crowd of strangers.

No, the only possible way for her to survive was for her to find passage off-world. Petri grimaced. She might as well wish for the planetary presidency.

The moment she reached the ground, Petri looked both ways down the alleyway she was in. Everything seemed normal. The bass from club Abracadabra throbbed through the street, lending the night a syncopated heartbeat. The fast food dollies who worked the crowd outside the club seemed to be doing a brisk business. The groans and gasps of pleasure from their johns blended with the music.

Other than the regular street activity, nothing was happening. Maybe the hottest club in the sector wasn’t the worst place this could have happened. At least, she was central. It wouldn’t be hard to get anywhere in the sector from here; if she could only decide where it was she should go.

Hiding and lying low were out of the question. There were too many people in Under City who would be thrilled to earn a couple of easy creds by informing on her. Which also made going home impossible; that was the first place they would look for her. The distant rumble of a subway broke through her temporary paralysis and got Petri moving.

But she didn’t run. Running in Under City was never a good idea. Running meant trouble and attracted attention. Predators chased those who ran, and Under City was full of predators.

Neon signs glittered in the night, advertising the wares to be found in the many businesses in this central part of Southern sector. Outlines of naked men and women, frothing drinks and steaming food, new hairstyles, and more had been recreated out of glowing lights and buzzing bulbs. Abracadabra wasn’t the only purveyor of pleasures in the area; there were others, though each was smaller and had a narrower focus than the popular club. Brothels, restaurants, bars, dust dens, casinos, gaming establishments, salons, and chop shops abounded. This part of Under City existed to cater to the whims of the rich, and there was nothing subtle about the offerings that were available to those with money.

Shops of all kinds welcomed customers from Upworld with open arms. Clothing, children’s toys, vehicles, sex aids, personal electronics, game programs, jewelry, and domicile furnishings could be purchased right next to each other at any time of the day or night. “Come In!” flashed their advertisements. “Good Deals!” “Low Prices!” “Rare Merchandise!” A constant siren song of the consumerism that ruled the underworld.

There were also businesses with darker, less obvious entryways. The snuff industry was alive and well in Under City. Upworld citizens who had the creds could indulge their most twisted and violent fantasies, and there were snuff houses that specialized in providing those services. Fights, snuff porn, torture, cannibalism—it was all available for the asking. And no matter if a citizen wanted to watch, participate, or direct, their most hidden desires could be satisfied by the snuff houses. Customers were only limited by their bank accounts, and the grinders waited to clean up the mess afterwards.

Petri ignored all the enticements and offerings and tried to keep her mind away from where she might end up if she failed in her escape attempt. A short, brisk walk brought her to the transit station just as a train pulled up to the stop. It wasn’t a perfect solution, it wasn’t even a good solution, but at least it was a stopgap that might give her the time she needed to formulate a plan. Being a moving target was better than being a stationary one.

She hopped on the train and found an empty car. As she dropped into a seat at the back of the car, she sighed. It had started out as such a good night.

 

Looks like Petri’s night has taken a bad turn, huh? Want to find out what happens next? Head to your favorite online merchant and download your copy now! 😉 Thank you all for stopping by today and for checking out my first sci-fi novel!! Happy reading! 🙂

 

Thanks Mistral. I’m so happy to help you spread the word about your new book.

 

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Ambush: Flash Fiction Friday Post

The Arrestra by Jay Richmond at http://bit.ly/1SsjrfT

The Arrestra by Jay Richmond at http://bit.ly/1SsjrfT

Zeke wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his wrist. The grit scratched like a rasp. He would have used his bandana but it was caked with the mud of his sweat and the dust. The donkey plodded around the arrastra, crushing the gold bearing quartz so he could get at the gold ore.

It seemed like it had taken forever to build the thing. He had to level the ground then water it heavily until he could smooth the caliches into a cement-like floor. Hauling water from the creek took more than a week with nothing but empty gunpowder casks to use as barrels, and that was using both donkey and horse to move the water.

Finding the wood to use for the arms and center of the arrastra was another problem. He’d had to cut, trim and haul the right sized trees to his site. The central pivot and the rock crusher pole had to be installed and assembled. He decided to attach the donkey to the rock crusher pole as best he could. Fitting it all together was a nightmare, especially as he should have put the center pole in the ground before he made it hard as cement and he’d only had some old-timer’s word on how it went together. Zeke had wanted to bash his own skull in with the pickaxe before he managed to get the set-up to work.

The crusher was the final problem. It didn’t seem possible to move, let alone carve rocks big enough to be useful. He walked around and around the empty arrastra trying to come up with a plan. The old miner told him he needed two flat-bottomed drag stones, one at the end of each arm. He had the chain. But finding rocks in the creek, then dragging them to the camp, then drilling holes in them drove him to distraction. After a long search he found two rocks, about the right size, beggars couldn’t be choosers, and with his mismatched pair of haulers, dragged the rocks to camp, drilled them out and hooked them to the newly assembled arms. It was easier to dig the damn quartz than to build the arrastra. When it was done he sank to his knees, and wept.

Three nights later a noise penetrated Zeke’s exhausted sleep. He heard his horse, Butter, whinny—it seemed wrong. Too far away.

He tossed off his wool blanket and rolled to his feet. If that horse has broken free again I’m going to shoot it. This is the fourth time in a month. He pulled on his boots without bothering with socks and grabbed his rifle.

Zeke stepped into the night. A half-moon in a star-studded sky provided a little light. At the picket line the donkey stood, looking to the west. “Damn horse.” Zeke patted the donkey to reassure it before moving in the direction the donkey was pointing.

He whistled softly then called, “Butter, Butter,” in a low voice. He didn’t want to spook her. Zeke stubbed the toe of his boot on a rock. I’m gonna trip and break an arm out here in the dark. If I had any sense I’d go back to my bedroll till daybreak.

Just as he decided to go back to his tent he heard Butter nicker. He followed the sound, grazing a prickly pear cactus in the dark. The thorns stabbed him in the shin and despite wanting to catch the horse, had to stop and pull the spines from his leg. Butter whinnied. She sounded close.

“Butter?” Zeke heard the horse stamping. “Come on girl. She’s close. He followed the noise and in a moment was at the horse’s side. “Hush, hush,” he whispered to her as he stroked her neck. Butter shivered. “Let me untangle your lead.” Zeke struggled in the dark to remove the reins from an acacia. “You couldn’t have got tangled in a shrub oak?” he asked the horse as the acacia thorns caught in the skin of his hands.

Something whizzed past his head. He dropped the lead and hit the ground. Butter danced around him. Zeke hoped he wouldn’t die by trampling from his own horse. More whizzing. Something hit the ground a foot away from him. He reached out and grabbed it. An arrow! The Apache were on him. The old timer’s stories raced through his mind.

“They take your horse in the night, boy. You think your stock has wandered off and you go out, barefoot and unarmed. That’s how they get you, sonny!” The old coot cackled at his bad joke.

Zeke tried to swallow around his dry mouth. Not so funny, old timer. But he had his rifle and a handful of rounds in his pocket. Please Lord. Let it be enough. Leaving Butter to her own chances, he rolled behind the acacia not knowing if the Apache were all in front of him or he was surrounded. He fired a shot into the dark where he thought the arrows came from.

He was rewarded with the sounds of scrambling. “There’s more where that came from.”

More arrows fell around him. The thickness of the acacia main branch saved him from one. Zeke fired again. More scrambling and a hoot. Did he hit someone? He fired toward the sounds and hoped, his heart beating out of his chest. Was he going to die?

Butter pranced left, then right, rearing and snorting. It was the distraction Zeke needed. He rolled to his left and crab walked on hands and feet what seemed a long distance ignoring the cactus spines that stuck in his hands. Butter ran off into the dark.

Sounds of running, then more horses, then horses running off. Was it over?

Zeke hid behind a boulder, rising with the sun to a deserted landscape. He swiped a dirty sleeve across his forehead and limped back to camp. He hoped Butter would be there but he called it a wash. He was alive and that’s all that counted.

 

 

Thank You!

1008 Words

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

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Author Interview: Chevoque!

Chevoque

Chevoque

I’m so happy to introduce author Chevoque! She writes contemporary, historical, and paranormal stories, among other things. If you’re looking for stories with an international flair, Chevoque may just be what you’ve been searching for. Here’s a little bit about Chevoque.

I was born as Rochelle de Beer on 15 May 1992 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, and as an only child, the world seemed like a lonely place, until I set my mind free and got lost in the worlds I created myself. My writing started at a young age and with numerous stories still waiting to be released from my mind, only time now seems to hold me back. I also have a degree in BSc. Environmental and Biological Sciences, because I’m a tree-hugging animal lover, who hopes to never use my degree to cause cruelty.

Cover Just Like You

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

Writing used to be just a hobby, but now as a full-time author, I have to say photography and photoshop are past-times I can’t get enough of.  Which is likely a good thing, as I have created most of my covers myself and I enjoy doing digital art as well, so all those things combined sure keeps me sane.

 

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

Sir David Attenborough.

I will shamelessly admit that I envy all the things he has done and all the things he has achieved.  I primarily decided to do a degree in BSc. Botany and Zoology, because of all the amazing TV shows I had watched of him growing up.  So an afternoon with tea and a long conversation with him would be a bucket list tick down I hope to actually one day achieve.

 

Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I’m a sucker for caffeine! Be it in the form of coffee, I love Nescafé’s Alta Rica and Rosabaya blends the most and when it comes to tea, I love Rooibos and Lager’s is my absolute favourite.  Apart from that, I love a Steelworks when it is hot, so basically in South Africa, that means every day.

 

What are you working on right now?

The Marked Series, it is a two book series about two different people, who have birthmarks on their faces, and how they deal with being different in a society where looks are everything.

 

How would you describe your writing style?

Easy with a lot of South African flare…or so I hope.  I use South African slang, as there really is no better way to describe some situations than with a few proudly South African trimmings, but I do keep in mind that most of my readers are international.  Thus, I always keep it descriptive enough so all can enjoy the sarcasm or jokes, because I love adding humour in everything I do, while never forgetting to add a cause/theme to my books.

 

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

Don’t think you can’t and never aspire.  Only be.

If you take the time; wrote your heart out, sold your soul and nearly lost yourself in your own mind, you’ve proved yourself worthy to be known as an author.

 

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

They come to me in whatever I do, I can literally be out to buy some groceries and then I’ll need to rush home to get the idea down, before it slips from my mind.  Or I can even be working on something and then I’ll hear a song (I love music) and then everything will be put on hold, so I can get this new idea down.  Thus I own four notebooks filled with ideas for books and it grows every week!

 

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Amazon Author Page: http://goo.gl/ZaDsnM

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChevoquePublic/

Newsletter: http://goo.gl/ME5hsS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chevoque

Website: http://goo.gl/X9ifYB

 

Thank you so much, Chevoque! I appreciate you taking time from a busy schedule to tell us about yourself and your books.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please go to Chevoque’s website, facebook or twitter page or sign up for her newsletter. You’ll be glad you did.

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Tempe Library Book Festival and More! Monday Blog Post

Connie at the Tempe Library Book Festival

Connie at the Tempe Library Book Festival

I attended the Tempe Book Festival Saturday as an author and a panelist for a SciFi panel on world building. I had a great time talking to a lot of readers, adults and children. I also met some of last year’s Payson Book Festival authors and some of this year’s registered authors. Oh what a great time we’re going to have in July at the Payson Book Festival. These are wonderful authors and fun to talk to. I sold 7 books, which seemed to be above average for the authors I talked to. Some made no sales at all. But this was Tempe library’s first festival so with more experience I’m sure a larger reader turn out will happen.

I continue to work on my Camp NaNo novel, Mystery at the Book Festival. (Yes, I couldn’t help it!) Anyway, I’m just about 50% through the story, well at least to my goal of 50,000 words. I missed writing on it Saturday because of the festival. Sunday, I had just enough gumption to write this blog post. I’ll try and catch up starting tomorrow.

I was on the January Jones show Sharing Success Stories, at 3pm Eastern time last Monday. If you didn’t get to tune in, you can go to the recording. Just go to www.iheart.com Official Site. Type in January Jones Sharing Success Stories. You can hear the whole show!

Chevoque

Chevoque

In other blog news, my Author Interview with Chevoque will be posted on Wednesday. You are going to love her. Can’t wait? Here’s her website called, what else? Chevoque.

The Spring Into Reading giveaway is in full swing. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. 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.

My craft project of putting an owl charm on each new book mark has only progressed one step. I punched holes in the top of each book mark. I need to set aside time to get the charms attached to the ribbon. Ack! Time!

I’m still putting together my next newsletter. I thought I’d have it done last week. I did get my video done. It still needs to be edited. Again, more time! I’ll have to be super disciplined.

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

June 2nd and 3rd 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 and mention that you heard about the event from me. 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.

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!

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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Favorite Conventions and Events: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour

Payson Book Festival 2015

Payson Book Festival 2015

I was about to say I’ve only ever been to one convention but then re-read the rest of the prompt. I can include National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). Not mentioned might also be Book Festivals. Well now, I think I have something to talk about.

InD'Tale Conference 2015

InD’Tale Conference 2015

Let me talk about my only convention. That was the In’DTale convention in September 2015. I went with a Romance author friend and I had a blast. First of all, there’s all the excitement of talking to other authors. They get it when you say you’re worried you can’t figure out the ending. They also have all kinds of great tips and tricks for writing, for marketing and promotion, and for, well, everything. There’s a lot of learning going on as well. There were workshops scheduled all day. I went to one titled How to put more Sex in your Book. It was a romance convention after all. Then there were the after-hours parties where we could get to know each other better. I’m still emailing and facebooking many of the women I met at that event. Definitely worth the money.

CNW_Participant

Then there is National Novel Writing Month. (NaNo) I did my first NaNo in November of 2011 and while I didn’t get into the forums on that site too much, I did look at the forum for Arizona Elsewhere. This is the spot for us Arizona authors that don’t live in one of the big cities. Here I met a lot of cool people and was invited to join their usual home, the Forward Motion writer’s group. I’m so glad I did. There was and still is a lot for the new author to learn and this group really helped me along the new author path. I haven’t missed a November NaNo or the Camp NaNo’s that have been held since. These are ready made groups ready to commiserate with your writer’s block, your search for just the right word or your lack of motivation for the day.

Book Fest032

Finally, let’s talk about Book Festivals. There was nothing in my area for book festivals. There were art festivals, art walks, art shops and art auctions but nothing for writers and I knew there was a writer community here, I just didn’t know where they were. So I decided to start a book festival. Talk about high energy. We held our first one last year in Payson, AZ and it was a huge success. People came in the morning and stayed all day they were having such a good time! We’ll be holding it again this year, July 23rd, at the Gila Community College. This was a fantastic opportunity for the authors to meet readers and create interest not only in their own books but in reading in general. I am so glad I dragged others into my mad plan.

One of these days I’m going to go to a SciFi convention. The Phoenix ComiCon is just down the highway after all! I can hardly wait.

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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The Diner: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Cafe001

The local radio station played in the background, a non-offensive blend of modern western music that appealed to the usual customer of the diner. The place was lightly populated this morning when I came in. Usually, you couldn’t find a table, or even a stool at the counter, because of the regulars who knew the names of all the waitresses as well as the line cook and the busser.

I was in for breakfast while my hubby was at the dentist. I enjoyed my alone time, where I wasn’t just half of a couple. Don’t get me wrong. Married for over four decades I was happily married to my best friend. It’s just nice, sometimes, to be my own person.

Across the diner, I noticed a man in a ball cap. Even with my glasses on all I could read from the cap was World War II Veteran. Not a tall man, his face was wrinkled around his goatee with time but his eyes behind the large lenses of his glasses were alert and he noticed everything that went on within the diner walls.

He was alone in his booth, a newspaper open on the table beside him. It looked like he was having oatmeal for his breakfast. I wondered about his life. Had he been Army, Navy, a Marine during his war? Was he in the Pacific or Europe? Had he been a prisoner of war? What happened when he came home? I supposed, like most men of his era, he married, had children, worked in the steel mills or the booming auto industry or went to California and like my now deceased father-in-law, found work in the aerospace industry with one of the big airplane manufacturers. Maybe he used his G.I. Bill and went to college and became a businessman or a university professor, built a nice, middle-class home and contributed to his community.

Dress in our town is pretty casual. You generally couldn’t tell who had money and who didn’t by clothing alone. It was a point of pride among most of the town retiree population to buy most of their clothing from one of the many thrift stores in town. His attire didn’t really tell me anything about him, except for that hat, which looked fairly new.

More people came in—an older couple, a family with two young children. Two young men, boisterous and spouting millennial slang entered and sat in the booth behind me. “Bro” and “Man” punctuated every sentence they spoke in voices that carried across the diner drowning out all other conversation. Too loud and too familiar for my taste I wondered what the man, who I now labeled, The Vet, thought?

I saw the Vet stare at the young men behind me. They talked fast and laughed at their own jokes which echoed too loud across the sparsely populated diner. More people came in, older couples mostly but one young man came in alone. That brought the tally to three of us single diners. He sat alone, head down in the menu, as though he was ashamed to have to appear by himself.

The Vet finished his breakfast and pulled bills from his wallet, dropping a couple on his table. I watched him get up, bringing a portable oxygen concentrator with him. I hadn’t noticed an oxygen tube from my table. He moved the way I did, taking care and moving slowly, giving hips a chance to remember what they were supposed to do. Despite that, he walked to the register easily for a man that would be in his late eighties or even into his nineties. He paid his bill, joked a moment with the cashier, and left.

Through the windows, I watched him walk to a beat-up old Chevy pick-up truck with a cap on the back. The brown paint was dull, faded and peeling in places from the brutal Arizona sun. I saw a small dog leap up on the steering wheel to greet him. So, the Vet wasn’t totally alone. I was glad. I hoped, as he got in and pulled away, that he had family in the area. That he was able to play with his great-grandchildren. I hoped he belonged to the local veteran’s group, or car club, or anything else that allowed him to get out of a lonely house and stay active.

I found myself on the point of tears, worried for the Vet yet wishing him a happy life, whatever he had left of it. My breakfast was done when I saw my husband walk in the door of the diner. He waved and came over.

“Are you finished?”

I smiled up at him. “Yes.” I dropped three dollars on the table and stood up, slowly, my hips had to remember their job, after all and picked up the check. “How was the dentist?”

“Just a little filling,” he told me as we walked to the register. “See anyone you know?”

I smiled to myself. “No, not quite.”

 

 

Thank You!

837 Words

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

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Roses, Camp NaNo, and Other Fun

CNW_Participant

Today’s the 11th  and so far I’ve only missed 2 days of writing in the April Camp NaNo. As of Sunday, I’m over seventeen thousand words into my new book, Mystery at the Book Festival. I’m moving right along through my outline, changing some things as I work my way through each chapter but so far have not had to throw out any scene.

I have not received any notice of reviews for the new contest I started two weeks ago. That’s too bad as the contest ended on the 10th. No prizes awarded.

If you’d like to hear me, I’ll be on the January Jones show Sharing Success Stories, at 3pm Eastern time tomorrow, April 11th. I decided to keep the whole hour for myself and I’ll be talking about the Payson Book Festival, my current writing projects, and maybe even gardening. Tune in!

April Rose

On the gardening front, we have had another  cold front move through though not enough to get snow. The tomato seedlings are outside during the day but I have to still bring them in for the night. The roses are beginning to bloom. I’m including a picture of the yellow and the pink ones. They’re especially pretty when the entire bed is in bloom at the same time.

April Yellow Rose

The Spring Into Reading giveaway has started. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. 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.

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

The owl charms I mentioned last week have too small a hole for me to thread ribbon through so I went and bought some tiny jewelry making findings and will hook the charm to the finding circle and then thread the ribbon through that to attach to the book marks. It’s going to take a little more work and it has to be done this week because the Tempe Library book festival is this Saturday, the 16th! I’ll have some there for anyone who purchases a book.

Speaking of appearing, I’m putting together my next newsletter. Last week I mentioned I needed a hair cut. Well on Thursday I got one and now I’m just about ready for Saturday’s book festival. I’m going to be on a SciFi panel there, with three others, to talk about world building. Also on the panel is Randy Lindsay at RandyLindsay.net, Ray Torres at TheMonsterWarSeries.com, and Austin Aslan at laustinaslanspace.wordpress.com. These are super guys and great authors and have attended the Tucson Book Festival and the Phoenix ComicCon. We’re going to have a great panel. It starts at 1pm so get there early and grab a seat.

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

April 11th at 3pm Arizona time I’ll be on the January Jones Sharing Success Stories web talk radio show at w4cy.com. Have you heard me there? Don’t miss out. You can even listen on your computer!

April 16th I’ll be at the Tempe Public Library book festival where I’m on a panel talking about Science Fiction and World Building. I’m looking forward to meeting you there.

June 2nd and 3rd 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.

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.

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!

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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