Author Interviews: Susan Haught

Susie Haught

Susie Haught

I think this author interview thing is off to a fine start already. Don’t you? Let’s keep it going. Next up is Susan Haught.

At home in a small town in the mountains, Susan Haught lives in Arizona’s Rim Country with her husband and Shih Tzu, Mercedes, who believes her princess status earns her the right to sleep on pillows, ride shotgun, and sit at the table. Thankfully, her husband isn’t quite as spoiled, and Susan will share her Australian black liquorice with him. On special occasions.

When Susan isn’t creating quaint settings with captivating characters, you’ll find her tackling an overgrown garden, engrossed in a movie, glued to a craft project, or curled up with a good book—Mercedes and a stash of Australian black liquorice close at hand. She and her husband have one son.

Susan writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance with the belief that love is ageless and has the power to change lives–one step, one touch, one kiss at a time. She is the author of Shall We Dance?, Under the Mistletoe, and Paper Hearts, which will soon become the heart of a full-length novel, Seasons of the Heart.

Look for new releases from Susan in 2016, and you can stay connected at:

www.susanhaught.com

Twitter: @srhaught

Facebook, Google+, Pinterest & Goodreads as Susan Haught, Author

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

That’s a great question, Connie. My favorite hobby is eating Australian black liquorice (yes, that’s spelled correctly) because I’m secretly addicted. I limit buying it, or I’d seriously need a “liquorice eaters anonymous” group therapy intervention. Other than my passion for Australian black liquorice, I enjoy all kinds of crafts and recently discovered scrapbooking. What fun! In the spring, summer and autumn, you’ll find me tinkering with our flower garden—although nature and I share a love/hate relationship. I love to grow things. Nature hates me. I tend to kill flowers I want to grow, and weeds thrive. Hobbies are a great way to escape writing for a bit and let my mind wander.

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

Another great question. I’m going outside the box here because there are actually three I’d love to chat with. The first is Stephen King. The way his mind works fascinates me, and he’s deliriously funny in interviews. He’s a master with the written word and an afternoon wouldn’t be enough time, but I’d take it in a heartbeat. The next is Mark Twain. One of my characters in A Promise of Fireflies (coming January 2016) resembles him in looks (quite by accident) and when I saw his picture one day in the newspaper, I said, “That’s him! That’s Ambrose!” While doing research on Mr. Twain, I became quite intrigued with him, and I think it would be delightful to chat with him. He’s also quite humorous. And the last is my mother. She always told me I could do anything I wanted to do, but she passed away before I’d become an author. I keep her picture above my desk and I know she’s encouraging me with her heavenly smile.

Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Oh, coffee, no doubt! Unless it’s the occasional Diet Coke with a splash of Jack Daniels. And did I mention Chocolate Shop wine? Red wine infused with a hint of chocolate. Oh my! Coffee gets the day revved and keeps me going through the afternoon, and a glass of wine or mixed drink occasionally end the day either with a celebratory salute or if it’s been “one of those days”. The latter seems to outweigh the former quite a bit.

What are you working on right now?

A Promise of Fireflies (women’s fiction with romantic elements) is in the hands of my editor and I’m working with a graphic designer on the cover. It’s scheduled for a January 2016 release and I’m very excited about sharing this story. My focus now is on Seasons of the Heart, a heartwarming story of a young nurse who chooses to start her career in a nursing home. Rachel has a soft heart and risks her job to help the elderly realize their dreams and in some cases, their last wishes. Three of the stories were traditionally published as separate novellas, but I’ve received the rights back and I’m adding to the stories, elaborating on Rachel’s relationship with Ben (the nursing home’s resident psychiatrist) and Nico (an orderly) and combining them into a novel. I’m also working on several novellas to be published after Fireflies that either add to or elaborate on the storyline.

How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve been told my writing is emotional, lyrical, and with dialogue that creates banter and intimacy between characters. I dig deeply into the emotional side of the characters I write about, and I love creating vivid secondary characters. Actually, I don’t create them—they usually just show up unannounced, knock loudly inside my head and demand their page time. (No, I haven’t had a Jack n Coke today) I also try to create settings that have a character of their own—many times the setting can be as emotionally tantalizing as a person, and have as much impact. I hope it shows in my stories. I’m a slow writer—I tend to agonize over sentence structure, rhythm, and the overall “feel” of the scene. So it takes me longer than most writers to finish a novel.

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

LEARN the craft. Write your story, but learn HOW to put your story on the page. I learned this the hard way. My manuscript was complete, but I didn’t have a clue about point of view, scene, setting, plot, emotional writing, dialogue, sentence structure, etc. I joined writer’s groups and attended workshops, online classes, read books on craft, entered contests, and I realized I knew nothing about the craft of putting a novel together. I’d learn a new skill and revise. Then another and revise again. It took forever until I was comfortable with it. I still have a lot to learn, but I love it when a new aha! moment pops up and I can incorporate it into my work. I’m always learning and becoming a better writer for it. Start with learning the craft, and if writing is your dream, never, ever give up.

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

I think both. I recently visited Butterfly Wonderland (amazing place) in Scottsdale, AZ not far from my hometown, and I knew instantly that this experience or at least the setting would someday end up in one of my novels. I never would have thought of this had I not visited. As an older person, I’ve been through a lot in my life and I take from those experiences quite often. But as a young writer, I’m like a kid in a candy story—itching to get my hands on a new and exciting treat. You won’t find me bungee jumping, or scaling a rock cliff (back. away. from. the. edge) or anything remotely life threatening or scary. I’m too big a chicken and an extreme introvert. But when I do discover something new and fun, you’ll see me jotting notes like a fiend.

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me at www.susanhaught.com @srhaught on Twitter; on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads and Google+ as Susan Haught, Author. I also have an author page on Amazon.

I want to thank you, Connie, for inviting me to this interview today. It’s been a blast answering these great questions, and to you and all the readers out there—I wish you rainbows of happiness and wishes come true. Hugs!

Many thanks, Susan, for taking time out of a busy day to chat with us.

If you liked Susan’s interview, please check out any of her sites.

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Superbowl Weekend: Monday Blog Post

Mint

Mint

Superbowl! Did you watch? My hubby and I were invited to a friend’s house to watch. She is a die-hard Bronco’s fan and I had my fingers crossed for her. I’m not a big football fan so I was really there to watch the great commercials. There were some great ones though I was disappointed that Budweiser didn’t use the Clydesdales this year. Which was your favorite?

Kindred Spirits is back with the editor. I had to do some re-writing and of course corrected all of the errors my editor found the first time around. Apparently I am never going to learn when to use an m-dash or an ellipse. I have improved on putting the hyphen into hyphenated words. I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today! Time is running out for an advanced ‘look see’ at the third book, and if I may say, the best book, in the series. You’ll want to get this in advance of your friends.

Over the week I booked my hotel room for the Phoenix-Scottsdale MysteryCon (http://www.azmysterycon.com/) that will be held on June 3rd and 4th. I’m so looking forward to that and the entry fee is pretty reasonable. If you’re a mystery reader, I think you’ll enjoy the conference. I hope to see your there!

I’m also going to be on January Jones web radio show, Sharing Success Stories, this afternoon, February 8th, 5pm Eastern, 3pm Arizona time. I’ll be on with my author friends Susan Haught www.susanhaught.com/ and Bonnie Bahn www.fourcaratpress.com/our-authors/bonnie-bahn/ who have both released new books this month. You can hear the show live at www.w4cy.com.

My Author Interview feature runs on the 10th and this week it is Susan Haught. Susie writes lovely romance. If you’re a romance reader, you won’t want to miss her interview. By the way, she just released her newest book, A Promise of Fireflies, now available on Amazon and other ebook retailers. Check it out!

The weather here in central Arizona is warming up. If you remember from last summer, I was trying to eradicate mint from my deep garden bed by not watering it. I went out on Saturday and looked at my beds. The darned mint is growing again. I’ll continue to try and dig it out but the wet winter here isn’t helping me kill it. Also my daffodils are poking up through the remnants of snow. Spring is coming! I posted a picture of them poking through the snow on my instagram account, https://www.instagram.com/conniesrandomthoughts/, check it out!

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on great offers. Sign up now.

The Lovestruck Authors Giveaway ends next Sunday, the 14th! I have put up my book, Recall, signed, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. The more times you enter, the better your chances to win. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

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, 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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Too High For His Nut: Friday Flash Fiction

Hands

Take These Hands by theblueraja via DeviantArt.com

Too high for his nut — beyond someone’s reach. “That clay-bank hog wants the same pay as a Senator; he’s getting too high for his nut,” according to a grammar-corrected version of the Oakland, Calif., Tribune on Jan. 12, 1885.

Logan stared at the guy sitting next to him at the bar. “You what?”

“I think,” the guy took a long pull from his sixth bottle of beer, “that everyone should get paid the same.” He belched. “I mean, I work hard. Why shouldn’t I get paid enough to buy me a yacht or a fancy vacation house?”

“Taylor, just because you work hard doesn’t mean that you should get paid the same as the CEO of Arizona Banking and Loans.” Logan took a drink from his beer stein.

“Just because you’re a computer programmer doesn’t mean you should get paid more’n me.” Taylor glared at his old high school buddy.

“You’re a laborer, Taylor. I told you in high school you should get on with an electrician or plumber, but no. Digging ditches and hauling cement around a work site paid good, you said. You didn’t want to be bothered with the certifications.”

Taylor flagged the bartender for another round. “That’s still true.” He slid a ten dollar bill across the bar when the drinks arrived.

“That’s why you don’t get paid like someone who took the time to get an education. You can’t have it both ways.”

Taylor turned on the stool to face his friend. “You callin’ me stupid?”

Logan sighed. “Of course not. But you didn’t want to do the extra work, so you don’t get paid as much as I do, let alone a CEO.” He could tell his friend was getting mad. It never did work out well when Taylor was drinking. “Look, why don’t I drive you home.”

“I just got this beer.” Taylor upended the bottle and drank half of it down. He slammed the bottle on the bar. Several customers and the bartender turned at the noise.

“Fine. Finish up then I’ll drive you home.”

“I can drive.”

“Not after six brews, buddy. Better safe than sorry.”

“You’re not smarter’n me,” Taylor slurred.

“Never said so.” Taylor pushed the still full mug of beer back and stood up. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”

The bartender came over. “Everything okay over here?”

“Yeah,” Logan told him. “Me and my buddy are leaving.”

The bartender nodded. “Drive safe.”

Taylor drained his beer and slid off of the barstool. He wobbled when he stood. Logan took his friend’s arm and began to direct him to the door.

“Everybody should get paid the same,” he muttered as they walked by the bar.

“What a load of crap,” one of the customers snorted.

Taylor pulled away from Logan. “What’d you say?” His hands formed fists.

The customer turned around. “I said that was a load of crap. You’re too high for your nut.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Taylor shouted.

“Doesn’t matter.” Logan grabbed Taylor’s arm and shot the customer a sharp look. “We’re leaving.”

Taylor glared at the man but allowed himself to be led away. “What does he know, anyway.”

They reached the door and Logan pulled his friend outside into the darkness. “Not a thing, buddy, not a thing.”

After dropping his friend at his house, Logan drove home. He thought about what the stranger at the bar said. Too high for his nut, that’s a good one. I’ll have to remember that for the next time one of the other programmers makes a mess of the code.

 

 

 

The End

597 Words

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

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February: Ready, Set, Go! Monday Blog Post

Aspens in the Woods

Aspens in the Woods

It’s February already! Since I’ve spent most of January sick, I feel like I’m way behind the curve. Projects I thought would be done by now are just barely started. Ugh. I did what I could and now I’ll pick up and do my best to make progress. Update, I was still coughing too much to go on last Tuesday’s hike. I’m definitely going on the hike on the 2nd. It’s time to get back to exercising. I hope you all are getting your exercise. What’s your favorite? Mine is hiking. Do you skate, bike, go to the gym?

I’m just finishing the edits and rewrites for Kindred Spirits. I had hoped to have it finished by Friday but that didn’t happen. No matter. I’ll get it to my editor today or tomorrow. That means I’m very close to releasing! I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today! Time is running out for an advanced ‘look see’ at the third book, and if I may say, the best book, in the series. You’ll want to get this in advance of your friends.

I managed a few more chapters for Mystery in the Woods. It’s still several chapters from being completed. Who likes mysteries? I’ve loved mysteries since I read my first Miss Marple book. Like the cop shows on TV, I’m always trying to guess who the killer is. What is your favorite mystery story?

How did you like Katharina Gerlach’s interview last Wednesday, January 27th? She’s an awesome author and I hope you took a look at her list of books. I’m sure you’ll find something you like. The next author up is Susan Haught. Susie writes lovely romance. If you’re a romance reader, you won’t want to miss her interview. By the way, she just released her newest book, A Promise of Fireflies, now available on Amazon and other ebook retailers. Check it out!

Did you know that your library lends ebooks? They do! I’ve been working to get my books on the library catalogs. It’s not complete yet but I’m crossing my fingers that it will be soon. I’ll let you know when it has actually happened. Then you can go to your library and borrow one of my books in ebook format! I think that’s so cool, don’t you?

Do you love to enter contests? I put two contests into the January newsletter released on Saturday, the 23rd. Also in my newsletter, a new feature, a short video by me! The one in January’s newsletter was less than a minute. A test, if you will. Did you like it? February’s will be longer, perhaps two minutes. I hope you’ll comment back. Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on great offers. Sign up now.

The Lovestruck Authors Giveaway is well underway. There are over 40 authors involved in this giveaway so there are books and prizes galore! I have put up my book, Recall, signed, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. This giveaway ends at midnight on February 14th, so start clicking. The more times you enter, the better your chances to win. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

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, 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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The Mighty Five: Friday Flash Story

Sparks

Sparks

The old woman stirred her fire and dropped another piece of wood on top. The sparks danced up the chimney like demented fireflies.

“Granny, tell the story.”

Elsa wiped her rheumy eyes; of course the grandchildren would want to hear about her adventures. She nodded and hobbled back to her rocker. Shifting the chair so she could face both them and the fire, Elsa’s heart filled with love for the sweet girls cuddled together under a blanket on the bench, ready for a bedtime story.

“It was long ago,” she began, “when my eyes were clear and I moved like a gazelle across the land.”

“You were Elsa the Archer, one of the Mighty Five,” Corrine piped in.

“I was, though you’d never think so to see me today.” Elsa smiled at her oldest grand-daughter. It’s not the children’s fault I’ve grown so old. “It was before your mother was borne when Ragnar the Bold and I took on the evil marshal who was running roughshod over the shire.”

“Then Steven the Red, Dale Strongarm and Jamie the Bull joined you,” Denise, the younger girl added.

“Indeed they did. And we fought Marshal Eggleston with everything we had.” Elsa’s mind flashed to their first fight against the marshal’s men. “The first fight was later called the battle of the ford. The marshal had put a gate on either side of the ford.”

“To collect a tax!” Corrine called out.

“He did. Coming or going, it made no difference to the marshal. While he filled his coffers with our coppers and silvers the people of the Shire grew poorer and poorer. Something had to be done.”

“So Ragnar the Bold devised a plan,” Denise shouted.

Elsa chuckled. “He did. The five of us marched up to the ford, the marshal’s men lounged in their place, calling out that the fee to cross was two coppers. They stood up as we approached, the foul men calling out lewd invitations to me.

“Grandpa Ragnar didn’t like it,” Corrine noted.

“He did not but he kept his temper.” Elsa smiled as she remembered how much she admired her new husband for his control. “Ragnar stepped up to the man in charge as I stood back and the others spread out across the road. Ragnar told the man that we wanted to cross. The soldiers laughed. The head soldier said, ‘When we get the coppers, clod. Two for each of you to cross, though, for the woman, we’ll allow you to pass for free.’ I could see Ragnar grip his stave until his knuckles turned white. I pulled set my arrow and pulled my bow. Ragnar told them he would not pay.”

The girls stared at their grandmother with rapt attention.

“You will pay or turn around, peasant. The soldiers from the other side of the ford were listening to their comrade. Ragnar raised his stave. I’ll give you this if you don’t let us pass. The marshal’s men pulled their swords as the others on the other side began to cross. Ragnar swung back and hit the lead man with his stave. Then it was chaos. I pulled my bow but the men were too close together for me to shoot.”

“You were very brave, Grandma,” little Denise’s eyes shone. Elsa thought about how terrified she’d been. “Perhaps, little one. So your grandfather was in the fight of his life, his stave against swords. Steven, Jamie and Dale were also fighting hard. The five soldiers from the other side of the ford were nearly at the fight. I had to stop them or my friends would be outnumbered two to one and them with swords and armor.”

“You shot them!” Corrine said.

“I did.” Elsa’s stomach churned at the memory of the sound of her arrows slamming into the soldier’s chests but she didn’t stop firing until all five of them were down, screaming and writhing on the ground. She swallowed. “That gave Ragnar and our friends the time they needed to overcome the soldiers.”

“You saved the day, Grandma.” Denise grinned.

“I suppose so. That’s what the people cheered later as we went from town to town.”

“You were a hero,” Corrine nodded.

Elsa never felt like a hero. She had only wanted to raise children and work the farm. “Perhaps. As any man or woman is who fights for what they believe.” She shook off the memories of long ago. Ragnar had been dead these last ten years. “Time for bed, little ones. Enough of ancient stories.”

The girls unwrapped from their blanket, Corrine bringing it with her to their bed in the loft. Elsa tucked them in. “Sleep well.” She kissed each of them on the forehead.

“I’m going to be a hero someday,” Corrine said.

“Me, too,” Denise chimed in.

Elsa shuddered with the memories of all of the battles she’d fought in. “Dream of peace, girls. Being a hero is over-rated.”

Back in her chair she stared into the fire. All of that blood and death and for what? The King sent a new marshal and order was restored but it didn’t last. The old King died and the prince became king. Things became worse than ever.

She tossed another stick on the fire and picked up her knitting. The girls grew so fast new socks were needed every three months. Rumor had it that a new band was fighting back. The Protectors people were calling them. Elsa wished them well. If they lived through it they’d need help to bury the bad memories and live their lives in peace. She hoped they’d find it.

 

 

The End

937 Words

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

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Author Interviews: Katharina Gerlach

Katharina Gerlach

Katharina Gerlach

I thought the thirteenth’s interview went well, don’t you? Let’s try it again with Katharina Gerlach.

Born and raised German with a generous helping of an adopted Scottish heritage, Katharina started writing at age seven (although she didn’t get serious until much later) when the tomboy adventures she lived in her father’s forest weren’t enough for her imagination anymore.

Writing about balloon people, flying hearts, giant spiders, and more was her lifeline to sanity and Real Life™ all through her education. After finishing with a Ph.D. in science, marriage and the start of a beloved but distracting family, she returned to her life-long vocation.

These days, Katharina lives for stolen moments of writing happiness in two languages while juggling her husband, two girls in puberty, a fledgling daughter that just left the house, a dog, and … laundry.

Find her online: Homepage, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest

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

Reading … what did you expect. 😀

But I also love spending time in forests, rowing, making dolls (although I haven’t made one in years), and – most of all – visiting friends.

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

Oh dear, there are so many people I’d love to meet, most of them historical. So assuming I had a time machine, I’d love to meet young Mozart (when he was a kid) because he wasn’t burdened with the daily chores of an adult man.

I’d love to meet Edith Nesbit (British author and full-time mother). She raised not just her own kids but also those of her husband’s affairs too, and she supported them all through her writing.

I want to meet Astrid Lindgren (writer) and Diana Wynne Jones just to learn from them.

I’d really enjoy talking to Alexander the Great, Cesar, Ada Lovelace, Nelson Mandela and many, many more.

If I were restricted to living people I’d spend most of my time with my writing colleagues, my reader friends and all those lovely book bloggers I met.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tab, water or milk – seriously. I hardly ever drink anything else.

4. What are you working on right now?

I just finished writing book 8 of my fairy tale retelling series. Books 1-4 are already published, book 5 is edited and ready to go, and I’m currently translating books 6-8 back into German. Also, I’ve got the planning for a sequel to Scotland’s Guardians nearly done (I’m still missing some research), and the audiobook will go live sometime in early January. You see, I’m quite busy.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Flexible. 😀

My writing style adapts to the story I’m trying to tell, so it’s never exactly the same. I hope my readers like not getting the same book over and over again. Diversity and tolerance are important themes in my books.

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

BIC = butt in chair. As long as you don’t have several books to sell anything else doesn’t make sense. You will learn all the additional stuff (like coding eBooks, marketing, print versions, etc.) when the time is there. Take it one step at a time and make writing new stories your priority.

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

Both. Usually, ideas happen when two things I noticed at some point in my life connect. They spark an AHA-moment which forces me to write.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

http://www.katharinagerlach.com

https://www.facebook.com/KatharinaGerlach.Autorin

http://www.pinterest.com/catgerlach/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/111863430632383297320

Many thanks for stopping by the blog today, Katharina. We appreciate having you on ConniesRandomThoughts.com

Be sure to visit Katharina at any of the links she’s provided.

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Individual Scalloped Sweet Potatoes: Chicklets In The Kitchen

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Finished individual scalloped potatoes with green beans and sirloin steak

One of my favorite dishes is scalloped potatoes. My mom taught me to make it in a huge pan and nestle pork chops into it for a delicious one pan meal that fed two parents and six hungry kids. I have posted a gluten-free version of it on this website in the past. Today I’m sharing a recipe I saw on a Facebook post. Have you ever done that? Seen something that looked tasty on Facebook and gave it a try?

Well, I did, mainly because this recipe looked easy and used very few ingredients. I love my traditional scalloped potatoes but it involves a lot of steps. Hey, I thought, let me try this easier version.

Hardware

One 12 cup muffin tin

Bowl (to hold potato slices)

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

One large sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme, or fresh if you have it

1 pint heavy cream

Vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

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If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Be sure to get sweet potatoes. There is a difference between the light yellow sweet potatoes and the dark orange yams we’re used to having at Thanksgiving. The yams would certainly work as would regular potatoes. Lots of options.

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In the bowl, mix the potatoes, melted butter, salt, pepper, and thyme.

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Lightly oil the muffin cups. Layer the potatoes in each muffin tin.

 

See the rest of the post at Chicklets In The Kitchen.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

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

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Keeping up the Pace: Monday’s Blog Post

D'Elen McClain at APW January meeting

D’Elen McClain at APW January meeting

Hiking and bronchitis update. I did not go on last Tuesday’s hike. As expected, the water was running high and fast. At least two hikers slipped on wet, algae-covered rocks and landed in the stream. I’m still coughing. It seems as though I cannot get my lungs clear. I continue to take the allergy meds the doc gave me and use the puffer to open airways. The hope is that with the airways open, the congestion left in my lungs can be coughed up. I hope so. I’m beginning to worry about using that puffer every day. This Tuesday’s hike is to the south of Payson. I’m planning on going on that. I haven’t been hiking since the week after Christmas. I need to get out of the house!

At last week’s monthly Arizona Professional Writer (APW) Rim Country Chapter meeting our speaker, D’Elen McClain, spoke on using social media to build our author platforms. We had a great turn out for the talk and a lot of enthusiasm from several people on using Twitter. The Thursday APW Phoenix chapter meeting panel on self-publishing was also very well attended. There was a lot of interest by traditionally published authors and even self-published authors on what our experiences were with the process.

My story, The Reunion, was rejected but FreezeFrameFiction.com included their reader’s comments on what they felt didn’t work with the story. That kind of feedback is invaluable and I’m very grateful that the publisher took the time to provide it. If you’re interested, you can find more about the company at http://freezeframefiction.com/ or on Facebook at facebook.com/freezeframefiction.

Kindred Spirits is still in edits. I’m glad my editor is so thorough but it takes time to get through everything. I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today!

Mystery in the Woods is moving forward. After a review of my scene cards, I realized one of the plot lines had been left hanging. I am fleshing out that part of the story and continuing to write on it. My enthusiasm for my Jean Hays story has been renewed. I hope to have this book out in late May so I can bring it to the June MysteryCon in Scottsdale, June 3-4.  More on the conference later in this post.

Vision Quest, the short story set in the Brown Rain series I mentioned last week is finished. Not only was it a fun little story but I used it to foreshadow upcoming series books. When the anthology comes out, I’ll let you know so you can buy a copy.

My next Author Interview posts Wednesday, January 27th, and is on author Katharina Gerlach. I hope you enjoy reading about Katharina as much as I did.

The Lovestruck Authors Giveaway is well underway. There are over 40 authors involved in this giveaway so there are books and prizes galore! I have put up my book, Recall, signed, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter.  I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

I’ve updated my Where Will I Be page on my website. The MysteryCon I mentioned above is on there with details about how to attend. Also listed are all of my planned January Jones, Sharing Success Stories, web-radio interviews. As other events come up, I’ll post them there. Oh! Just saying that made me remember that I didn’t put the Payson Book Festival on there. The festival is on July 23rd, 2016 again at the Gila Community College campus. I hope you can make it here. We already have a fantastic array of award winning authors attending, some from last year and there are several new authors attending this year. Mark your calendar. I’d love to see you at our Book Festival.

I put out the January newsletter on Saturday, the 23rd. I have a couple of contests in there. Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign-up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. 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, 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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Dinner with the Boss: Friday Flash Fiction Story

Dinner with the Boss

Dinner with the Boss

Morgan sprayed the counter dividing the kitchen from the dining room with disinfectant, wiping it with a new towel, just removed from its sterile wrapper.

“I don’t know why you invited them,” his wife, Ellen, snapped as she drained the potatoes.

“He’s my boss, E. He just promoted me. It seemed like I should thank him in some way.” He forced the sterile gloves onto his hands and pulled the plates, glasses and silverware from the sterilizer and began to set them on the dining room table.

“You should have a mask on,” Ellen said across the counter.

Morgan could tell his wife was upset by the way she was pounding the potato masher into the pot. “It will be fine, hon.”

“You should have just given him an expensive bottle of wine.”

Morgan sighed. She didn’t get it. He wanted to do something personal to show his appreciation. There were six other people in the company that could have been chosen. The promotion made him a vice-president. Initiative and risk-taking were part of the job. This would show his boss that he’d made the right choice.

He opened the Beaujolais and poured it into a sterilized carafe, setting it on the tray with the glasses, turned upside down.

Ellen finished the potatoes, scooped them into a sterilized serving dish and put them in the oven to keep warm. She removed the standing rib roast and covered it in foil to rest then started the process to make béarnaise sauce for the asparagus.

Morgan leaned over the stove. “That smells wonderful.”

“Get your germy face out of the food!” She shook the whisk at him splattering béarnaise sauce all over the stove and Morgan.

“Ellen!” Hands outstretched he looked down at his shirt. “Now I’m going to have to change.”

“Good. That will get you out of the kitchen.”

He swallowed his annoyance. She had every right to be nervous. It was chancy inviting people over to eat. He went to the bedroom to change. Maybe I should have invited Jack and Margaret to dinner. After Hours would have made the exact same dinner and Ellen wouldn’t be such a wreck. He sighed as he buttoned up his shirt. Casual dress he’d told Jack but that didn’t mean jeans and T-shirt. He’d chosen gray slacks, a dress shirt worn open-collared and the sleeves rolled to three-quarters length. He adjusted the tuck of his shirt and went back to the living room.

While he was gone Ellen had set the hermetically sealed tray of appetizers on the coffee table next to the tray with the wine and glasses. He resisted the urge to uncover the appetizers, deciding to wait until Jack and Margaret were here to see him do it. The individually wrapped, sanitized paper napkins were laid out between the wine and food.  When he looked into the kitchen, Ellen was grilling the asparagus. He checked his watch, six-thirty on the dot. His boss would be here any minute.

“Six-thirty, hon.”

“Thanks.”

He watched her put the asparagus in a serving dish and cover it with foil before sliding it into the oven. The plan was for him to carve the roast at the table, in plain view of the guests. Ellen passed him. “I’m going to change and tidy my hair.”

Morgan kissed her on her flushed cheek. “Thank you, Sweetheart.”

Ellen arched an eyebrow but said, “You’re welcome.” She disappeared into the bedroom.

Morgan checked his watch again. Six-thirty-two. It wasn’t like Jack to be late. It just wasn’t done. Ten seconds later the doorbell rang. Morgan sighed with relief. At the door, he did a fist bump with Jack and the faux-bump and wave with Margaret. Any more would be a huge broach in etiquette.

Ellen came out, greetings were done again. Morgan remembered turning the wine glasses over, popping the cork, pouring wine, unwrapping the appetizers. Then he remembered sitting at the table, carving the roast, pouring more wine. It was going well until it wasn’t. Margaret started to choke. Ellen screamed. He and Jack raced to Margaret, grabbing at her throat, a horrible wheezing whistle coming from her instead of a constant flow of breath.

After Morgan yelled at her, Ellen dialed emergency. They tried everything, the Heimlich maneuver, bending her over the chair back. The EMT’s were heroic though destructive of furniture and the dinner table food.

Six months later he was reading the thin plas-screen in his cell. The trial had been dragging on forever. Rumors were that he’d tried to assassinate his boss and Margaret had gotten the wrong bite. He shook his head as he read the gossip column. It was no such thing. The stupid woman had drunk two bottles of wine before they’d sat at the dinner table. She managed to choke on mashed potatoes. He’d protested to his boss, the paramedics, Ellen. It didn’t matter.

Now here he was, on trial. He should have listened to Ellen. He should have taken his boss to a restaurant. They were insured for this kind of thing.

He scraped his finger across the screen. Liability. That’s what it was all about. Ellen had already divorced him. He didn’t blame her. It was all his idea. She shouldn’t be held accountable financially for the rest of her life for his error. With nothing but time on his hands he read every article. It didn’t make him any happier. The Karshan’s were suing the Westwood’s for infringing on their media time. Of course, everything was in litigation these days, whether it was anyone’s fault or not.

He couldn’t read that drivel and swiped the page. Thank goodness the cow hadn’t died from any bacterial or virus infection. That would have put him in prison for life. Morgan figured the trial would go on another three months. His lawyer would prove Margaret was a suicide. After all, who goes to dinner at someone else’s house?

 

The End

992 Words

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

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Writing, Meetings, Personal Appearance: Monday Blog Post

Draft front cover: Kindred Spirits

Draft front cover: Kindred Spirits

I’m still recovering from bronchitis. However, on Sunday, I went with the morning walk group and even though it was thirty-seven degrees, didn’t cough all that much. The walk was about three miles. I’m thinking about doing the hike on Tuesday with the Payson Packer C group. That’s the group I usually hike with and which my hubby leads. We’re going south, where it’s warmer but into a canyon with a year round stream. Since snow is still melting off of the mountains, I know that stream is going to be running high and we have to cross it several times. Hmm, I’m up for it breathing-wise but do I want to chance getting wet in an icy cold stream. I’ll decide Tuesday morning, I think.

Other fun stuff this week includes my usual Monday morning meeting with three other authors that live here in Payson. I love our Power Hour meeting. Also, this week is the Tuesday hike which I’ve already mentioned, and Wednesday is the monthly Arizona Professional Writer (APW) Rim Country Chapter meeting. We have a great speaker, D’Elen McClain, who’s going to speak on using social media to build our author platforms. It should be fun. Then on Thursday, I’m at the APW Phoenix chapter meeting where I’m on a panel with three other authors to talk about self-publishing. Full details are here.

My story, Bell Ring, was rejected again and is out again. My poem was rejected as was Eavesdroppers. I’ve sent Eavesdroppers back out. It’s harder to find a good poetry market. Cross your fingers for me that they’re all accepted. Kindred Spirits came back from the editor’s hands on Sunday morning. I took a brief look at the edits on Sunday but I’ll be using this week and next to make changes. I’m also looking for reviewers to send an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today! Above is a draft of the front cover. What do you think?

I re-read my unfinished draft of Mystery in the Woods and am pleasantly surprised at how much it doesn’t suck. I distinctly remember being very discouraged with it in July, part of my reluctance to get back into it. Now that I know it isn’t as bad as I remembered, I can get going on it again I’d like to have that first draft completed by the end of January. I know that’s ambitious but it’s already at 35,000 words, halfway done.

I’ve started a new short story, Vision Quest. It’s set in my Brown Rain series and Alyssa is heading off on a vision quest in Spring, just before they leave their winter home with the Ogonqwa in the Kindred Spirits book. The story is for an anthology being put together by fellow students in a recent on-line class for building our author platforms.  The theme is Journeys and what better story for me than one set in my Brown Rain universe where every book is a journey? The deadline for submission is end of March but I know I’ll have the story done long before that deadline.

Last Wednesday (the 13th) my new website feature, author interviews, went live. The first author was B. C. Mathews. She was a wonderful visitor to my website. I hope you enjoyed reading about her. I’m posting an interview twice a month, so the next one will be January 27th, Katharina Gerlach. At the end of the interviews are links to each author’s website, Amazon page or wherever else they have stories for you to read. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I am enjoying having these excellent authors on my site. Enjoy!

As soon as the Santa’s Christmas giveaway was over, the Lovestruck Authors Giveaway began. There are over 40 authors involved in this giveaway so there are books and prizes galore! I have put up my book, Recall, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter.  I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

Last week I mentioned I opened up my Instagram account. I’ve also opened a Periscope account. I haven’t posted a video yet, though. Do any of you use Periscope? Maybe you use Youtube? Do you like watching videos from your fav authors? If you do, what would you like an author to talk about? Maybe you’d like something more interactive, like a Google Hangout chat? Tell me what you think.

January’s newsletter is coming out soon. Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up, you’ve already missed out on two great offers. 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, 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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