Travelling: Monday Blog Post

Mom at her 70th Birthday Party

Newest News:

I’m travelling today. I have been in upstate New York for my mother’s 80th birthday party. So many places to visit and family to see in four days! I have a few pictures on my Twitter: @conniecockrell, and on my Facebook: ConniesRandomThoughts, if you’d like to see.

A new post will be up on the 30th. See you then.

Giveaways:

The newest giveaway is called For the Love of Books, Valentines Giveaway. The link is http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. This is a short giveaway because we’re lining up one for St. Patrick’s Day. So get in on the opportunity to win $135 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 40 authors, that’s over 80 prizes! Hurry!

 

Shout Out:

This week’s shout out is for my mom! Hi mom!

 

Where Will I Be?

No appearances in the short-range future. Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements. I have contacted both the Phoenix ComiCon (http://www.phoenixcomicon.com/) and the Tucson ComiCon (https://www.facebook.com/TucsonComicCon/) for information about attending their events. It’s still early, they’re not working yet. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. 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.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Hassleback Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

hassleback006

This is the time of year for entertaining and while I’m a mashed potatoes kind of girl, once in a while it’s nice to change things up. Hassleback potatoes are named for the Austrian restaurant that developed them. Deceptively simple to make and very elegant on the plate, these are delicious.

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Baking pan (I was cooking for two so I only needed an 8-inch square pan)

Large metal or wooden spoon

Small saucepan for melting butter

 hassleback001

Ingredients

4 whole, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (Other recipes I saw called for baking potatoes (russets) or even sweet potatoes.) The potatoes I used were small so we had two each. Judge your needs accordingly.

1 stick butter

Salt and Pepper

hassleback002

Melt the butter over low heat. To see the rest, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite kind of potatoes? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Waiting: Friday Flash Fiction Story

Baby by Randy Cockrell

Baby by Randy Cockrell

I watched the seconds pass on my digital watch, counting the passing of my life. My hands trembled, my mother’s tremors now part of my existence. Better than my brother, though, who developed his tremors in his thirty’s. Mine at least waited until I reached my sixties, when it wasn’t a strange sight to see an old woman’s hands shake.

The nurses scurried through the halls along with the occasional harassed-looking doctor. It occurred to me that a harried-looking doctor didn’t project much confidence. Was harried the step before panic? I didn’t know the precise hierarchy of that sort of thing was. And why were they harried? Were people sicker than they’d anticipated? My mouth went dry. Where was our doctor? I checked the watch again—it continued to count the seconds of my life, my future racing up to me then whooshing by, gone, history.

I drew a deep breath and sighed. A lot of history—much of it faded in my mind. Not dementia or Alzheimer’s, thank God. Just distance. I never was much for dwelling on the past. I tend to live in the present or the future. But to be honest, in my sixties, there wasn’t a lot of future left, given the current standard women’s lifespan. My heart leapt when a doctor stopped outside the door. I waited, breath held, but he checked his watch and moved off. Ne news for me yet, then. I went back to breathing. What was taking so long?

It was November and my mind drifted to Thanksgiving. It was at my house this year, my brother and his wife, my sister, all their kids. Mom was gone two years. I’ll make her recipe for rice pudding, a family favorite and she’ll be present in our hearts.

Another doctor paused outside the door, a nurse walked up to him. I couldn’t hear what was being said, the waiting room TV was blasting a soap opera. I was surprised. I didn’t know any were still running. The nurse nodded and left. The doctor, too, in the opposite direction. I sank back into my seat. My own anxiety level rising.

I dropped the year-old magazine I was holding onto the side table. I wasn’t reading it—I might as well let someone else pick it up to hold.

The air conditioning kicked on and I pulled my sweater closer around me. Why is the A/C on in November? I gave the vent a glare and considered moving my seat but a look around revealed everyone else was as annoyed as I was. So when I heard my name called out, I jumped. “Yes!” I hurried to the nurse in the door.

“Mrs. Johns?”

I tucked my purse under my arm. “That’s me.”

“Your daughter, Jessica, is fine. You have a new grandson.” She smiled at me, the corners of her blue eyes crinkling. “Nine pounds, six ounces. He’s healthy as can be.”

My knees quivered with relief. “Can I see her?”

“Right this way, Mrs. Johns.”

I followed her—already planning the baby’s first Thanksgiving.

 

Thank You for Reading!

513 Words

 

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Cranberry Orange Relish: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

I’m jumping the holiday gun just a little. Since my posts appear on the 25th, I wanted to share this before your Thanksgiving holiday meal. This is the cranberry sauce I grew up with. It used to be right on the back of the 12 oz Ocean Spray fresh cranberry bag but this year when I looked, it wasn’t. I had to go to www.OceanSpray.com where it, and a good many other holiday recipes, are located and download it. This is also great because there’s no cooking, freeing up a burner on your stove for other things, like gravy!

To see the rest, click here.

 

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

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Fall Photo Contest: Monday Blog Post

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From October 2009 Upstate NY

Have been traveling to California and back to see my daughter and arrived home after noon today, totally wiped out. So instead of my usual Monday post, how about this. I offer up a contest. Your best fall picture. Yep. I choose from the photos posted to comments. I’ll give you a free ebook if your photo is chosen. I’ll make the winner announcement next Monday (Oct 3rd).

So, to kick it off, I’ve put a photo at the top of the page, just to give you an idea.

Also, just a quick push for my new mug: a halloween one. https://www.gearbubble.com/chihuahuapumpkin2016

Not very scary but cute.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Click here to see more.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Fair Is Over: Monday Blog Post

ZoeMeme001

Newest News:

Totally missed writing last week’s Monday blog post because I was doing final Fair clean-up. But now, that is over and I had time over the last week to get rid of my fair-brain, and get back to writing.

Zoe Ohale rewrite came back from my editor. Now that I’m done with the fair I’ll have time to go over the last edits and get it ready to release. I’m still working with my cover designer on alternate titles. I still want my “A” Team to review possible covers and get to select which of the draft covers will be my release cover. If you’d like to be in on the action, respond to this blog and let me know your name and email address. Do it now cause who knows when I’ll finalize those covers and get ready to release. Cover reveal will be to the “A” Team first, then the newsletter subscribers, then here on the blog. Want to be in the know first? Comment on this blog to join the A Team.

front

I am trying something new. A mug offer. Since we’re close to Halloween, I thought I’d do a Halloween themed mug. It has a picture of my daughter’s Chihuahua, Phoebe, in a pumpkin. She really didn’t like being in the pumpkin, hence my caption. You can find the mug at https://www.gearbubble.com/chihuahuapumpkin2016. I’m thinking of putting my book covers on mugs, too, for a memento. What are your thoughts?

Giveaways:

The Red Hot Summer Giveaway is over. My first prize, a copy of Mystery at the Fair, went to Michael Fritz, and the 2nd prize, a $10 Amazon Gift card went to Sammy’s Book Obsession.

spooktacular-author-giveaway

Now, it’s the Halloween Author Group Giveaway. 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!

Instafreebie September 18- 20th, 2016

Instafreebie September 18- 20th, 2016

Starting 1 September, I’m involved with a group doing a promotion on Instafreebie. The main promo is going to be today, September 19th. There are a lot of authors involved and we’ll be cross promoting the books so you get the best selection of cozy mysteries we could put together. My link on Instafreebie is https://www.instafreebie.com/free/rXIZT and the book is free! I know! Last week I said .99 but nah, it’s free! Hashtags for the giveaway will be #instafreebie, #mystery, #Cozy20, #freemystery, #20Mysteries. The full link is http://annertan.com/free-mystery-books/ Please share the tweets and posts. Let everyone in on the fun. Check for us on Facebook and Twitter.

Shout Out:

Author Kim Bailey Deal

Author Kim Bailey Deal

On September 21st, my author interview is with Kim Bailey Deal, author of Women’s Fiction, short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction. She’s been published in several blogs and magazines, including Pilcrow & Dagger’s August/September issue, http://pilcrowdagger.com/issues/. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and can be found at www.kimbaileydeal.net. Check out her website!

Garden News:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Paste, Early Girl and Cherries. It’s still all about the tomatoes and zucchini. I foisted off gave two big zukes to my brother-in-law Saturday. I used up a lot of cherry tomatoes making tomato soup. I blogged about that on the Chicklets in the Kitchen blog due out on the 25th. I’m turning chopped zucchini into breakfast hash with chopped left over pork chops. The Swiss Chard and broccoli plants I planted a week ago are doing well. Days are warm and nights are cool. Just what those plants like. How’s your garden doing? Are you enjoying an abundance of something? Do tell.

Where Will I Be?:

The wonderful people at Dog-Eared Pages Book store (http://www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com/) were nice 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.

FallFest2016

9th annual Fall Festival in Pine, AZ. October 8th and 9th. http://pinestrawberrybusinesscommunityaz.com/fallapple.html. I’ll be there all weekend as part of the local author book signing. My hubby will be there as part of the chili cook-off with his Hot Italian Sausage chili at 11am on Saturday the 8th. There are also crafters and a very excellent antique show scheduled, not to mention music and food!

Want more details about this event? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. 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! I’m getting ready to share some things on the Zoe Ohale book. I’d love to see you there.

Newest Book Release:

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Peach Shortcake: Chicklet’s in the Kitchen Blog Post

PeachShortcake005

Mid-Summer in my neck of the woods means peaches. My peach tree tends to ripen late July, depending on the weather. It held off to the 1st week in August when all the peaches ripened just about at once. Nothing like an avalanche of peaches to make you put on your thinking cap. After giving away a LOT! I decided peach shortcake would be just the thing. Now it’s not complicated, but after all those peaches, I didn’t have too much brain power left. And it’s hot! So why not peach shortcake for supper. Or breakfast!

Hardware

Medium Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

Individual serving bowls

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of peaches, washed

½ to 1 cup sugar (your choice)

Can of Whipped Cream

Shortcake

PeachShortcake001

Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, chop up and put in the bowl. Continue until all of the peaches are chopped up. Read the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

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

 

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Chili Cook-Off: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Chili Cook-off

Chili Cook-off

This story is based on my Jean Hays series. For the recipe, go to my blog post Chili Spice Mix, Chicklets in the Kitchen.

 

Jean and Karen and Karen’s daughter, Peggy, were in the bowling alley bar. Jean sipped her beer. “I haven’t had beer this good since I was in Germany.”

“I’ll have to admit; I do love these craft beers. Clever of the bowling alley to upscale their bar.” Karen poured a second glass from the pitcher on the table.

“Mom, did you read today’s paper?” Margaret drew the twice weekly paper from her tote. “The chili cook-off is in two weeks.” She handed the paper to her mother.

Karen opened it and looked at the community activities section. “Oh, yeah! I haven’t entered that in a few years.” She grinned at Jean. “Want to enter?”

Jean laughed. “The way I cook? What would be the point?”

“Come on. About time you learned to cook the southwest way. That New England boiled dinner stuff has got to go.”

Jean’s mouth fell open. “That’s comfort food, I’ll have you know.”

“Maybe so. But it’s dull. Spice up your life.”

“I don’t know. I suppose I can just open a chili spice packet.”

Both Karen and Peg gasped. “Don’t you dare! I’ll tell the judges and have you kicked out.” Karen shook her head.

“Well then, what do you do?”

“I use my mom’s spice recipe. You’ve had it, by the way. I use it as a dry rub on ribs.”

“Oh, the ones we had last week? Those were wonderful.”

“Good. Go on line, search for chili recipes. Find one that seems good to you. Then go to the store and look at the ingredients in canned or jarred Mexican food. Modify the recipe so it’s yours. Make a test batch or two of chili. Then bring it to the contest.”

Jean snorted. “That’s all, huh?”

“Well, you have to enter the contest now.” The three of them laughed.

The next day Jean went on-line to the contact given and entered the chili cook-off. Then got on her computer to search for recipes. She focused on prize-winning ones. No sense getting just any recipe. After jotting down ingredients from a handful she found she noted that most of them were quite similar. She started a new list, one that contained the same ingredients that they all did. Then Jean considered the differences. It seemed that the small amounts of different herbs and spices were the key. Time to go to the grocery.

She spent some time looking at the canned and jarred prepared Mexican food. Most of it contained the basic flavors she had on her base recipe. A few, however, did go outside of the box. Making notes about those different flavors, she gathered all of the ingredients and went home to whip up a batch of chili spice.

Jean made some averages on measurements. Many of the recipes used almost the same amounts. It was her additions that caused her pause. She decided to base her amounts on the other recipe’s small additions and give it a try.

The first batch was way too hot, as far as she was concerned. She cut back on the ancho peppers. The second batch had too much cilantro. It was the fifth batch that she liked the best. Writing down her recipe, she went back to the store to refresh her supplies. The cook-off was two days away.

She borrowed a crock pot from Karen and carefully transported the chili to the cook-off. It was a fund-raiser so people bought tickets, then after getting one ounce tastes, selected the chili they liked best, second and third, by dropping the tickets into cans at the exit.

Jean and Karen were next to each other and enjoyed talking to all of the people who came by to get a taste of their chili. Chief White, the Greyson Chief of Police came by. “Hi Karen. Glad to see you back. Your chili is always a favorite.” He held his little cup out to Jean. “Glad to see you entering, Jean. Is the chili hot?”

She shrugged. “I’d say medium, but everyone’s taste is different.”

“We’ll see. Later, ladies.”

Karen elbowed Jean. “Two years. Why don’t you ask him out for coffee?”

Jean rolled her eyes. “Oh for gosh sakes. He’s not interested. Remember, he thinks we’re both bubble heads.”

Karen laughed. “Keep telling yourself that.”

Jean was scraping the last half ounce of chili from the crockpot when time was called. Several of the competitors had run out half an hour before. She hoped it was because they’d been too generous or hadn’t brought enough, not that theirs was better.

It took forty-five minutes before the organizers got on the microphone to announce the winners. Jean didn’t know the third place winner, though Karen seemed to and clapped when the guy’s name was announced. Then the announcer said, “And second-place goes to returning cook, Karen Carter!”

Jean jumped up and down and hugged her friend. “How great! And after you’ve been out of it for so long.” Karen went up and got her small trophy and certificate. Jean was looking the prize over when the announcer said, “And this year first-place goes to newcomer Jean Hays!”

Karen hooted in Jean’s ear. “You won!” She jumped up and down. “You won!” She shoved Jean, still shocked, toward the announcer.

Jean stumbled forward, applause washing over her, blushing. The announcer, the head of the organization, held the first prize cup between them as they faced a photographer. Jean smiled and nodded at the congratulations and managed to get “Thank you all so much,” out of her mouth.

At their table, Karen hugged Jean again. “I guess I can’t say you can’t cook anymore.”

Jean shook her head. “I guess not.”

 

Thank You!

951 Words

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Chili Spice Mix: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

I know. I missed May and June. I can only plead that I was super busy but I haven’t forgotten you. Today I’m talking about chili spice. What’s that? It’s a spice mix that I use to flavor my chili! I know a lot of people just by those little packets at the store. That would work except I’m Celiac and most of those packets have additives in them that I can’t eat. Well, what’s a girl to do who likes chili? Make it myself. There are tons of recipes out there for the spices for chili. I started with a recipe that is courtesy of Tyler Florence from Food Network. I added my own twists.

This spice mix can also be used as a dry rub. I love it on spare and country ribs, especially.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Read more at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you make your own herb or spice mix? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr