NaNo Prep: Monday Blog Post

Bear Canyon Lake

Bear Canyon Lake

Newest News:

Spent Saturday the 15th in Scottsdale for the Arizona Professional Writers State Conference. Oh my gosh! So much information. And time to renew acquaintances with the people I see only once or twice a year. Because of the presentations, I’m planning some social media changes. If you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites, you’ll see some changes. If you don’t follow me on those sites, why not? You can find all my links here.

This week I’m getting ready for National Novel Writing Month. This will be my sixth one. My first one, and where I picked up the writing bug, was November 2011. The challenge is the same. Write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. I’m as excited about it now as I was in 2011. This year I have some notes to write the 4th Brown Rain novelette, already titled, Tested. I also have a short story, partly written, to finish and other projects, if I finish with that.  I’ll be doing some tweeting and Facebook posts about the process for sure.

Troubled Streets is out! Hooray! It’s already up on Amazon, both as an ebook and as a paperback. It’s up on Smashwords and other places. See my links at the end of this newsletter. I’m very excited to have the 1st book about Zoe Ohale out and into reader hands. As always, if you get it, I’d appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes and give me a review.

Giveaways:

14355594_10153990683271317_3995576374014877399_n

The Halloween Author Group Giveaway is still going until the end of the month. You can find the Rafflecopter link on my website. You do have to sign up to Rafflecopter but after that, you’re free to click away. I have links to it on my facebook and twitter pages, too. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, Recall, or for second prize, a copy of my Halloween Tales ebook. Over a hundred prizes from 30 authors plus a grand prize of $100 Paypal Cash. It’s not hard to enter, there are multiple ways to enter, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, enter today and every day!

Shout Out:

Author and Social Media Consultant, Raleigh Pinskey. Raleigh was one of the guest speakers at the APW conference on Saturday and I enjoyed every minute. You can find her on Amazon at: http://www.raleighpinskey.com/ or on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Raleigh-Pinskey/e/B001ITXFFO.

The other guest speaker was Ric Hinkie. Ric is a multi-talented speaker, writer and business professional. Funny and inspirational, Ric kept us riveted with his presentation on how to fast forward our career to thrive as a writer. He can be found at: https://twitter.com/rhinkie, or at http://www.richinkie.com/.

I recommend both speakers for your next conference!

Garden News:

Some critter has killed the Swiss Chard and is slowly nibbling to death every single broccoli plant. Very disappointing. Some tomatoes are left and I’m picking them. Leaves are starting to turn yellow on the fruit trees but without a frost, it’s a slow process.  How about you? Is your garden clean-up done or do you still have some growing season left?

Where Will I Be?:

The wonderful people at Dog-Eared Pages Book store (http://www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com/) were kind enough to put a few of my Mystery at the Fair books on their shelves. If you’re in Phoenix, stop by the shop and say hi to the nice people there.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Newest Book Release:

troubled-streets-graphic-meme-004

Troubled Streets released on October 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! I’m still getting it loaded onto Apple, Gumroad and Chatebooks. You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Kitten Magic: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

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

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

Kitten Magic

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

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

“Mama?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He hits you, Mama. Hard.”

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

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

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

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

“What?” Mary’s gaze lifted.

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

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

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

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

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

“Not dead, Mama. Just not here.”

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

Breanna nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smoke hissed.

Breanne watched as her daddy began to fade.

Mary screamed.

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

The police came when Mary reported her husband missing.

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

 

Thank You!

999 Words

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

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Malwhere: Friday Flash Fiction Post

 

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

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

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

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

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

“But…” she’d opened her mouth.

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

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

“You’re the boss. You tell me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What?”

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

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

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

“I’m sending security.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Thank You!

994 Words

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

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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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April Camp NaNo 2016: Monday Blog Post

CNW_Participant

Oh! Oh! Oh! It is April Camp NaNo and as of Sunday, I’m over four thousand words into my new book, Mystery at the Book Festival. Camp NaNo is a slightly different take on the November event. At Camp NaNo, we choose our desired word goal count. Some people choose just 5,000, some, like me, push for that 50,000-word goal. I’m already looking forward to digging deeper into my main character, Jean and her best friend, Karen. In Mystery at the Book Festival, Jean and Karen, both big readers, learn more about authors and book writing and publishing than they ever wanted to know. I think you’ll like the story.

 

Me, Begging for Reviews Photo by Brenda Warneka

Me, Begging for Reviews
Photo by Brenda Warneka

I have not received any notice of reviews yet, the new contest I started last week. Missed last week’s blog? Reviews, you say. What’s up with that? Well, in the publishing world, reviews are everything. They are a measure of my audience involvement, my ratings. My several ratings on Amazon and other book-sellers is predicated on my reviews. How many, how good are they? It’s a thing. Other places actually count the number of ratings I have. If I don’t have “enough” reviews, they don’t want to take my ads or other promotional materials. So for an author, reviews are a big deal. So here’s the contest. If you have read or read one of my books, drop a review for it on your platform of choice. It doesn’t matter to me where you put the review. It also doesn’t matter to me what kind of review it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a good review but that’s not what I’m asking for. I’d like an honest review from you on how you liked my book, whichever one you read. Back to the contest. You write a review. Put it where ever you’d like. Send me a link to your review. In a couple of weeks, I’ll do a random number generator choice of the people who’ve done a review and you win! Prize? An ebook of mine of your choice. Contest ends April 10th. I’ll announce the winner here on this blog and on my newsletter on the 11th.

 

Author Arlene Hittle

Author Arlene Hittle

Just so you know—my next author interview is romance author Arlene Hittle in two days on Wednesday, April 6th. She’s a wonderful author and her books are sweet. You’ll want to hear what she has to say.

 

Tomato Seedlings and Rosemary Cutting

Tomato Seedlings and Rosemary Cutting

On the gardening front, we had a big cold front move through and it did indeed drop some snow on us. Those tomato seedlings were safely inside. But now the forecast is for warm sunny days. It’s time for me to get the compost on the garden beds and get planting. The rosemary is a sprig I had cut to use with a chicken dish a month ago. I didn’t need that sprig, but thought I would later. I stuck it in a glass of water and not using it, the cutting rooted. So, I’ve stuck it in a pot of dirt. I think I’ll give it to a friend. She doesn’t have rosemary growing in her garden, yet! Who doesn’t need rosemary growing in their garden?

 

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

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.

 

StPatsGiveawayPromo

Speaking of the Spring Into Reading giveaway, I want to give a shout out to my winners of the Luck o’the Authors giveaway. My first prize winner was Petr Kristek and he won a free ebook. My second prize winner was Belinda Clemons who won a necklace and earring set. I want to thank both of them so much for participating in the giveaway. I’m glad these great fans won these prizes. Don’t forget to enter the Spring Into Reading giveaway.

 

Bookmark and Charms Swag

Bookmark and Charms Swag

The owl charms and the book marks I ordered have come in. I plan on attaching the charms to the book marks to give away to book purchasers at the events I attend. Aren’t they cool!? The April 16th event at the Tempe Library is free but the June MysteryCon is a 2-day event with just a $35 entry fee for BOTH days. Sign up for that now. Mention my name on the registration. I may have a special gift for people who’ve registered in advance and visit me at the event. I am making special prizes for a drawing for those who have registered in advance and noted my name on the registration. I need to know in advance, though, so register today. Look below or at my website, Where Will I Be tab for specifics.

 

TempeBookFestival2016

Speaking of appearing, if you get my newsletter you may have clicked on my link to my newest YouTube video. (The video is something only newsletter people receive.) I know! I have a YouTube channel. I didn’t even realize I was setting one up! Anyway, you can see my hair is getting a little shaggy. Sometime this week I’ll be getting it trimmed so I don’t look like a sheepdog at the Tempe Book Festival.

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

January-Jones

April 11th at 3pm Arizona time I’ll be on the January Jones Sharing Success Stories web talk radio show. Have you heard me there? Don’t miss out.

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.

Mystery Con Flyer

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.

pbflogoorig1446X1253pxcroppedcontrast

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 Ad

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

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My Writing Origin: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour

Owl_using_Computer_by_RedPigeon via DeviantArt.com

Owl_using_Computer_by_RedPigeon via DeviantArt.com

This month’s topic is an origin story. How did I start writing? I’ve always written. Stories for school, a play when I was 13 that the school actually let me produce, fits and starts at books as an adult. The problem was I never knew how to get past the first couple of chapters.

That all changed in 2011. My daughter Elizabeth had moved in with us while she re-evaluated her life, and made friends with a lovely young woman, Jaime Raintree. Jamie is an author and she told Elizabeth about this writing challenge called National Novel Writing Month. She was going to participate and encouraged Elizabeth to do so as well.

Elizabeth told us about this challenge. “Write every day, 1667 words a day, and you’ll win the challenge. I’m going to do it.”

“How hard can that be,” I asked. I should have realized right then that karma was about to give me a boot.

“Hard, mom. If you think it’s so easy you should do it.”

Well, challenge issued and accepted.

I knew I needed a plan. The problem was still that I had no idea how to go about it. Not a problem. Elizabeth had a book, Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I sped read the book as it was already the middle of October and following his suggestions, used the back of the closet door and a lot of sticky notes to plot out my first book, The Bad Seed.

It was hard as those of you who write could have told me back in October. Some days I was completely at a loss. Some days I knew exactly what I wanted to say. By the end of November I had my 50,000 words!

That NaNo was where I found the wonderful people of the Forward Motion writing group and a whole new world of writing. They suggested the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel class. One that I was hesitant to spend the money on but was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Since that November of 2011 I’ve gone on to write and publish 13 books, another, Kindred Spirits, due out soon, and numerous short stories. I post a free flash story every week on my blog, ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

So that’s it! That’s how I got started. Do you write? How did you get started?

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, 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. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com! Up next: L.C. Aisling.

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Completed! Monday Blog Post

NaNo-2015-Winner-Certificate-Halfsize

Completed! I completed my National Novel Writing Month Challenge! I hit 50,000 words on Saturday the 28th. That felt pretty darn good. The book, however, is not completed. I may have about 10,000 more words to go on Zoe Ohale. That’s what I’m calling this YA book. I may change the name later but that’s it for now. It will be out mid-late 2016.

I have begun the process of editing both Kindred Spirits, the 3rd book in the Brown Rain series, and All About Bob, the 1st book in my All About Bob series. The ‘Bob’ book needs a title. I may hold a title writing contest for my newsletter folks. See below for how to sign up. I still need to finish Mystery in the Woods, which I started in July. Those of you who are waiting for the next Jean Hays book, I promise, I’m working on it.

I’m going to be on the January Jones web radio show, Sharing Success Stories, on both December 7th and December 14th. The show on the 7th is me wrapping up 2015. The show on the 14th is a Christmas show. I have links to the show on my Where Will I Be page and the times. I hope you tune-in to listen.

I’ve been signing up authors for my new feature, author interviews. I’m leaning toward every other week, on Wednesdays. What do you think would be a good day to post them?

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway started 1 November. I have a link to the giveaway on my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s also a Youtube video at the bottom of the page to watch. You will love this. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. I’ve put up the two books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

The mornings here in Central Arizona have been cold, with hard frosts. Most of the garden has died off. However, the parsley, the sage, and the rosemary are still good to cut. I love being able, this time of year, to walk outside my back door and cut fresh herbs. I put a small bunch of sage in my giblet stock on Sunday, when I roasted a chicken. The chicken was sprinkled with a lemon zest, salt, pepper, sage and rosemary mixture both inside and out. I stuffed the bird with cut up orange, lemon and apple. Best roast chicken ever.

Holiday gift giving. I’m making candy to send to my mom and siblings and my daughter. They all enjoy the dark chocolate confections I make. Are you ramping up your holiday buying? I have decreased the prices on all of my books. Right now, the most you’ll pay is $2.99. That makes it very affordable to buy the whole Gulliver Station series or the Brown Rain series. I even have a middle grade book, Lost Rainbows, which I’ve put on sale for .99. Yep, Ninety-nine cents. Several other of my books are also .99. You can check them out on Chatebooks.com, Gumroad.com, or find links to many other sellers on my website, My Books, page.

Chatebooks.com is a new reader/author site that allows readers to connect directly to authors. Each book has its own forum space. You can ask questions, leave comments, and tell your fav author how much you liked the book. You can find my books by searching on my name or use this direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  I’m very excited to be able to provide multiple platforms for readers to find my work. Chatebooks, as the name implies, is only for ebooks. To get a paperback copy of my books, go to Gumroad.com/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve brought all of my Christmas decorations out of the garage and am prepping to put everything up.

I published my October newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The December newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it 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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NaNo Break: Monday Blog Post

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Since my last Monday blog post, it’s been crazy. I managed to get a few words written this week but for the most part, the week, at least concerning NaNo, has been a loss. I’ve only written two days out of the seven. Since today is the 23rd, that means I have only seven days left to get to 50,000 words. On Saturday I had 35.3k finished. That means I need over 2k per day to finish NaNo. I think I can do it. The rest of my month, except for Thanksgiving Day, is appointment free.

I attended for my first time, the Arizona Fair Commission Conference. I’m so glad I went. We’ve not attended, by we, I mean the fair board in general, this conference in years. It was way past time to do so. Several nearby fair managers, have all volunteered to help us out. It was so nice to be among such passionate people. I learned a lot about fairs, entertainment, management and organizational skills specific to fairs. I can’t wait to share it all with the rest of my board.

I taught a writers workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. What a wonderful group of writers. Everyone, no matter their skill level or time as a writer, had excellent points to offer on the topic. I think we all learned a lot! I know I did. I enjoyed meeting a whole new group of writers. They all have such unique points of view. I can’t wait to read more of their work.

I’m compiling a new feature on the site, author interviews. I don’t know about you but as a reader, I’m always on the lookout for authors new to me to read. I think I’ll start the new feature in January. Perhaps one article every other week to start. If you like the feature, please be sure to comment. I have to assume that no comments means that you’re not interested and I’ll drop the feature after a time. So, be sure to let me know what you think of the posts!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway started 1 November. I have a link to the giveaway on my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s also a Youtube video at the bottom of the page to watch. You will love this. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I finished getting all of my books but my first (The Bad Seed) up on Chatebooks.com. You can find my books by searching on my name or here’s a direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  I’m very excited to be able to provide multiple platforms for readers to find my work. Chatebooks, as the name implies, is only for ebooks. To get a paperback copy of my books, go to Gumroad.com/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving full of family and friend love and good food.

I published my October newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it 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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Wild Ride: Monday Blog Post

VetFest table for Connie Cockrell

VetFest table for Connie Cockrell

I have to say, this has been a wild ride of a month for me. So much is going on in all aspects of my life. First, it’s National Novel Writing Month. That means I am being committed have committed, to writing 50,000 words this month. This annual challenge gets thousands of authors all around the world pumped up and super excited to just write. I tend to write 2k words per day, a little over the 1667 words per day requirement to meet the 50k goal by the end of the month. This is important for me, especially this year, because…

From Tuesday the 17th through Thursday the 19th, I’ll be in Laughlin, Nevada to attend for my first time, the Arizona Fair Commission Conference. The reason I’m going? Because I serve on the Northern Gila County Fair board. For the first time in a very long time, the board has decided someone should attend. That turns out to be me! I’m supposed to attend workshops and presentations and attend the associated trade show where I can sign up acts, carnivals, and whatever else, for my fair next year. I’m a little nervous about all of the responsibility. Good thing the other board members are a phone call away.

This last weekend, Saturday, November 14th, I was in Avondale, AZ to sell and sign books at their VetFest. Avondale’s Western Avenue is being updated to be beautiful and visitor friendly. It’s a lovely spot. Besides a full-blown craft show, there were at least 17 authors there to talk to readers and sell a few books.

Some of the VetFest Authors

Some of the VetFest Authors

I sold two and lost at least two sales because my Square application couldn’t connect to the internet. That was very disappointing. I have a picture above of my table at the show. Also offered, veteran support: ID’s, services, and so much more were available for visiting vets. See http://www.historicavondale.org/vet-fest.html for more pictures of the entire festival.

I’m teaching a writers workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing which means I’m ditching the banquet at the Arizona Fair Commission conference so I can be back on time. If you live in the area, call the Camp Verde library to sign up. There’s still time! I have an entry for this event on my Where Will I Be tab on my website.

No Author Friend Boost this week. I’m working on National Novel Writing Month. I’m doing well, a little ahead of plan, as I know I’ll lose writing days while in Laughlin. I’m working on a Zoe Ohale novel so if you’ve liked the flash fiction story I posted about her not too long ago, I have a short story about Zoe in the upcoming Forward Motion Anthology, and now, this!

Promo for Winter Wonderland Giveaway

Promo for Winter Wonderland Giveaway

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway started 1 November. I have a link to the giveaway on my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s also a Youtube video at the bottom of the page to watch. You will love this. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I’ve also started my Christmas candy making. One of the things I make is miniature peppermint patties. I’ve been having a horrible time making the fondant that is the center of the candy. You can read all about it on the 25th in my post on Chicklets In the Kitchen, blog. Have you started your holiday prep?

I’m also busy getting my books up on another new site, Chatebooks.com. You can find my books by searching on my name or here’s a direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  I’m very excited to be able to provide multiple platforms for readers to find my work. Chatebooks, as the name implies, is only for ebooks. To get a paperback copy of my books, go to Gumroad.com/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. How about you, is November starting to feel like a marathon? Post your comments below.

I published my October newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it 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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Sharing November! A Monday Blog Post

Bookshelf

Bookshelf By Connie Cockrell

I love sharing what’s going on with my writing and my life.

November is an exciting month. As always it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo. I began yesterday with a nice word count of 2200 words, equally two chapters. I think I have a good start, now to keep it going. On Facebook, it’s thankfulness month. I and several other friends of mine post daily things we are thankful for. I suppose I should be mindfully aware everyday of what I’m thankful for but well, life happens. And I’m thankful for that too.

Special this month, the fair (Northern Gila County Fair), has asked me to go to the Arizona Fair Conference. That will be a first for me and it will suck up four days in the middle of November when I should be writing for NaNo! I think I can get writing in even while I’m gone. But more exciting is that this conference is where fairs can book carnivals and other acts and events for their fairs. I’m really looking forward to that.

I’m also teaching a workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. I have an entry for that on my Where Will I Be tab on my website. Also where will I be, I’ll be in Avondale November 14th to sell and sign my books. That’s also on the Where I Will Be tab. It’s a full month for me but I think I’m up to the task.

Thanksgiving will be spent at our friends house. Every year they invite friends over for a big pot-luck style feast. It’s always a lot of fun.

My garden needs to be cleaned for the winter but as you can see from above, I’m busy. However, if I can get out there and just do a little each day, I should be done before we get a hard frost or even snow.

Author Friend Boost! Jamie Raintree She has a web fiction story, The Stretch Mark Club. Here’s a description.

Three women, four babies, one week apart. Shea, married just a few months, is still learning about life as a wife when Zoe is born, and hopes that her husband didn’t marry her just because of the two pink lines. Riley’s ex-boyfriend disappeared as soon as he found out she was pregnant, leaving Riley to raise Alexis on her own. Jasmine, the mother of twins, Xavier and Andrea, has been married to Hector for years but despite his initial excitement to have a baby, he refuses to change a single diaper. Follow Shea, Riley and Jasmine as they navigate the world of new motherhood.

Want a free ereader copy of The Stretch Mark Club? Sign up to my newsletter and send me an email at author(at)jamieraintree(dot)com to request it.

She can be also found at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and YouTube.

Writing progress: The Zoe Ohale outline for NaNo is done and I wrote two chapters of it yesterday. There is no progress on Mystery in the Woods but if I finish Zoe Ohale early, I’ll pick this up to work on.

Marketing: In addition to my new Gumroads.com/conniecockrell site where you can buy my work directly from me, I’ve been considering adding a blog post a couple of times a month with author interviews. Would that be of interest to you?

Don’t forget Indie Books Direct at http://indiebooksdirect.com/. The site, free to readers, has a tab that lists all of the authors on the site. The reader just clicks on the author’s name and a link takes them directly to the author’s website or sale page. If you want to find authors in a particular genre, click on one of the several genre pages to find authors that have stories in that genre. It makes things so easy for readers! The site is still under construction but we’d love to have you come browse. Let us know how you like the site. Official grand opening is November 1st!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway started 1 November. I’ll give everyone the details for signing up to win free books and prizes as soon as I have them. Better yet, follow me on Facebook at conniesrandomthoughts, or Twitter at ConnieCockrell, and you’ll get the details even faster. Mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on this.

Writing news. My story After Math, was rejected by Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show magazine a few days ago. That’s the sixth rejection. I’ve sent it out to Asimov’s Science Fiction. We’ll see how long a reply takes. Cross your fingers for me, everyone.

Other writing news. I’ve been working on an on-line challenge on WritersDigest.com. It’s called the October Platform Challenge. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules. Robert Lee Brewer is the host of this challenge and I started it before I went on vacation. That set me back a long way on completing the daily work but I’ve been catching up. The nice thing is that it’s helping me check my social media platform and I’ve picked up a few things that I should be doing that I haven’t been. One thing is the interviews I mentioned above. Anyway, if you’re running a business, you might want to take this challenge yourself to help you build your social media platform. Robert gives you not only the how, but the why, for each step. I can’t say enough good words about this. It’s really helping me up my game on social media.

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

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I published my October newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, too. Don’t delay.  You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords or Gumroads today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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