Taxes and Camp NaNo: Monday Blog Post

Pansies

Newest News:

If you didn’t see it from me on Twitter or Facebook, I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

April is tax month and no doubt it’s as stressful a time for you as it is for me. I finally filed my taxes at the end of March. I decided I needed to withhold more money every month so I don’t have such a big tax bill to pay at the end of the year. Sigh. Adulting is hard.

April’s Camp NaNo is over halfway done. I passed 25k on the 14th so I’m doing well as far as word count goes. I’m also doing well in totally pantsing this new story. (book 2 of the Zoe Ohale series) I was a little fearful about going into a novel with little to no plan but it seems to be working out so far. I guess, at least for me, Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing into the Dark does work.

In other writing news, my editor sent Mystery at the Book Festival back and it looks like it will only need a few rewrites, nothing major. Oh my gosh I’m so pleased. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this writing thing.

http://magikstock.deviantart.com/art/Camel-1-319794644

My Elf Slave serial story began last Friday. Like all of the stories I put up on Fridays, it’s a little rough. I have three parts written and have no idea how long it will be. I found a lovely picture to illustrate part 3 and have received permission of the photographer to use it. You’ll love it. Part 3 will post on the 28th. That gets me through April and in May I can start writing the story again. Maybe Troubled Campus will be done, maybe not. That remains to be seen.

Part of being a writer is taking classes to help get better. I was taking a class on how to write a series with Holly Lisle when she became quite ill. The class stopped two years ago, unfinished. However, she’s re-written the class and started it back up again with better than ever lessons. I’m going to restart that class and apply a new Christmas series to it. I’ve been wanting to do a Christmas series for a long time and I’ve been brainstorming ideas. This is the perfect opportunity for me to get this project off of the ground. I’m very excited. Perhaps I can get the first book out in November! We’ll see.

Gardening: The roses are beginning to bloom. I’ve planted parsley, onion seed and chives (in a pot). I should dig out my bean seeds and get them in. They’re plenty hardy enough to deal with the cool nights here in central Arizona. I received a bonzai seed kit from my mom for my birthday last year. I’ve been keeping the seeds cold all this time. Last week I bought seed starter pods and planted one seed in each pod. I’m checking them daily to see if anything sprouts.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

I think this week I’ll give author and speaker Joshua Robertson a shout out. He can be found at  http://www.robertsonwrites.com/ and he writes dark fantasy. His most recent series is the Kaelandur series and he has a deal going on them right now. https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Robertson/e/B00RHAMPHM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1. Check him out!

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

I have contracted for a booth at Phoenix ComiCon with some other author friends. The ComiCon is May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall in the Four Carat Press booth number 1795.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts 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.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

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.

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Mars Wings Part 4: Flash Fiction Friday Post

This image shows the floor of Suzhi Crater, an approximately 25-kilometer diameter impact crater located northeast of Hellas Planitia.

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/images/index.html

Part 4 of 5

You can find Part 1 here:

I met Kayla mid-morning the next day in the concourse outside of Glenna’s Gifts. The concourse was busy, Christmas was only a day away. I had my eye on a bracelet made from gold found right here on Mars with a red Martian stone set in the middle for my mom. She lounged on the bench until Tommie and Albert showed up, then the rest of the gang. Amber showed up last, Tayln getting up to give her his spot on the bench.

“What’s the news?” Amber asked.

I shrugged. “Just Christmas.”

Tayln laughed. “Oh. It’s going to be a good one, all right.”

Amber gave him a look that was plainly meant to mean shut up.

“Something going on?” I didn’t like the way Tayln was grinning. He was up to something.

Amber sighed. “Nothing important.” She changed the subject and it was an hour before we all began to drift away.

“Don’t be on the concourse on Christmas Day,” Amber said to us before we left.

Again, Tayln smirked.

“Why not?” I liked to come down to hear the Choral Society sing. It was something my family always did. I’d even sent a message to the Korians about it.

Amber shook her head. “Just don’t.” She turned and left, Tayln on her heels.

Everyone else was gone, even Kayla so I couldn’t ask her what she thought about Amber’s comment. Did she mean something was planned? Something bad? I didn’t like it. I went to the Security office at the end of the concourse. At the desk I asked for my dad then sat down to wait. He came a few minutes later and took me back to his console.

“What’s up, pumpkin?” He drew up a chair for me and sat in his spot.

“I don’t know for sure, Dad.” I took a breath. “Something Amber said a few minutes ago.”

“What’s that?”

“Not to come to the concourse on Christmas. But we always go, to hear the music. Why would she say that?” I twisted my hands in my lap.

He turned to his console. “What’s her last name?”

“Novak.”

He typed a few strokes. I could see her file come up. The picture was from last year. Her hair was longer now. His fingers tapped on the desk as he read. “Anyone else?”

“Tayln Roose. They both talk about separating from Earth.”

He typed and Tayln’s file came up. Dad read and sighed, then typed some more. Other reports came up, which I was too far away to read. “She talk about a time?”

I shook my head.

His fingers twitched on the keyboard. “Could be nothing.” He spun his chair around to face me. “Thanks for bringing it in.” He stood up. “I’ll check it out.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

He walked me out and I wandered down the concourse. What if it was something? Something bad. I hoped not.

The next morning was Christmas. Mom loved the bracelet and Dad loved the new shirt I’d bought them. They gave me three new games, just up from Earth, a new tunic top and a bracelet. The bracelet had a tiny button and when I pushed it, a tiny hologram of mom and dad appeared over the bracelet. I couldn’t wait to show Kayla.

Mid-afternoon we went to the main concourse. I was a little worried. “But what about Amber?” I asked dad in a soft voice so mom couldn’t hear.

“We rounded up some agitators yesterday.” He wagged an eyebrow at me. “It’s all taken care of.”

That made me feel better. I took his hand as we walked along. “Good.” I saw the Korians at the concert spot and introduced my parents to them. We sat together and enjoyed the music. Afterward, we were all walking together back to our berths, when from behind us, at the end of the tunnel where the Security office was, there was an explosion. The blast knocked me and Ali off of our feet. People were screaming and smoke filled the air. I could hear the blast doors slam shut, trapping us in the tunnel.

Idai was yelling, “What do we do? What do we do?”

Dad pulled me and mom together. “Get them,” he pointed with his chin, “Somewhere safe. I’ve got to go.”

Mom nodded. “Be safe.”

Dad ran toward the blast site and disappeared into the smoke and crowd. I grabbed Ali’s hand. “Stay with us.”

Mom got Idai and David together and pushed David to take Zane’s hand. “Follow me.”

She led us to the other end of the concourse. Many of the shops already had their blast doors shut. She hustled us into Frank’s Grocery, just as Frank was closing the blast doors. “Come on,” he said as he waved us in. “Hurry.”

We hustled in and joined the small crowd at the back of the store. The blast door clanged shut. Frank came to the back. “We don’t know how long this is going to be so everyone get comfortable. I let go of Ali’s hand and she went to her mother. All of us had smoke streaked faces. We sat down, backs against the shelves and I leaned my head on mom’s shoulder, her arm around me. The Korians sat across from us.

“It’ll be fine,” Mom told them. “I’m just sorry this happened so soon after you’ve arrived.”

David nodded, his arm around Idai. “What do you think happened, the separatists?”

“We won’t know until it’s over.” Mom shook her head. “Sorry.”

He gripped his wife tighter and with his other arm, hugged his son. Idai had her arm around Ali. “So be it.”

 

 

 

Thank You!

943 Words

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

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Happy Holidays: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

We had a good Christmas. It started with a light snow falling on Christmas Eve. My brother-in-law was coming over for Christmas Eve dinner. The house smelled of roast chicken and what could be more wonderful than a warm house on a cold day. Then Christmas morning was quiet, just the hubby and myself exchanging gifts while drinking hot tea. Most of the gifts were books, though my daughter sent us the cutest little bird house made to look like an old-fashioned travel trailer. Hubby and I each got each other socks, too. That’s what happens after 40 years of marriage. We don’t need much anymore. Christmas afternoon was spent with friends, sharing potluck dishes and enjoying the day. The snow was melting but it still covered the ponderosa pines and the distant mountains making the day look like a Christmas card. We went home fulfilled and satisfied to watch a little TV before bed. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

Mystery in the Woods was published on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/691914 on Christmas Day. It was also entered into the CreateSpace review system as well. So, if you’re eager for the book, you can get it in your desired ebook format on Smashwords. It should be up on Amazon by Tuesday. You’re not on my A Team? Let me know you want to be. I’ll set it up. I’m also considering an Instafreebie (Mystery at the Fair is up right now!), Author Shout promo, and of course twitter and facebook announcements. I began the process of setting up a Reader’s Gazette account so Mystery in the Woods may show up there. And if you’ve never checked it out, Bundle Rabbit has some wonderfully priced collections of books.

I have scheduled a Facebook Live for Wednesday at 3pm, Arizona time. We can talk about Jean Hays and her friend, Karen, or my SciFi books or something else. Hope to see you on there.

I’m also considering a Thunderclap. This is a simple way for people to support my book release by sending a facebook post or tweet to announce the release. It doesn’t cost anything and can really get the word out. I’ll keep looking into it.

 

Giveaways:

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway is in full swing. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

 

Shout Out:

This week I’d like to shout out to my friends on Four Carat Press. https://fourcaratpress.com/ We write a variety of books from Children’s to Spicy Romance. Stop in and see if you can find an author new to you.

 

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Do you follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. This is a troll free site and free to join. Enjoy.

 

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 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, 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.

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Chicken Scallopini with Mushrooms and Brandy Sauce: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s the thing. Aren’t we overwhelmed with food right now? I know, but chicken scallopini is an easy to make, impressive dinner that can be used for any holiday meal and wow your guests. Turkey could most certainly be substituted if you want to use a more traditional holiday protein.

Hardware

2 bowls or pie tins for breading process

Cutting Board

Knife

Cookie sheet with cooling rack

Large frying pan

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

 

Ingredients

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, washed and patted dry

¼ cup diced onion

2 med garlic cloves, minced

Two full chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half

2 T Olive oil and 2 T butter

2 eggs, whisked and put in one pie plate.

Cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper.

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half and half or heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the large frying pan, add the olive oil and butter, melt. Add the mushrooms. Saute until browned, remove from heat.

Dice the onion and garlic.

Read more here.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite holiday meal? 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.

 

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Creating the Gift: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Blue Pottery Bowl by Connie Cockrell

Blue Pottery Bowl by Connie Cockrell

Emily Wu checked her bank statement and sighed. It wasn’t going to work, getting her mother a nice Christmas gift. She was sick of the TV talking heads telling everyone it was the economy. The economy seemed good for the rich. Why didn’t any of that trickle down to her? She closed the bank app on her computer and rubbed her eyes. Her $8.53 per hour job gave her just over $1700 a month. It wasn’t enough. With rent so high, she had to live at the edge of town which meant she needed a car to get to work. She needed nice clothes to be the receptionist at the office she worked at. Thrift stores helped with that, but then there was the medical insurance, poor as it was, it was at least something if she got sick. Then the life insurance, taxes, cell phone bill, internet, and on and on and on. She choked back a sob. All she wanted to do was buy her mom a nice Christmas gift.

At work the next day she was looking through the paper. A local artists group was doing a workshop for gifts. Anyone could come and create a project. At the bottom was the price for the workshop, $25, and a name, Brian Wellsley with his phone number. Emily sighed. Twenty-five dollars was a quarter of her grocery bill or half a tank of gas. She thought about it all day. Finally, deciding that she could live on rice and beans for a week, she called the number.

“Hi, I’m Emily Wu. I saw your article in the paper. I’d like to sign up.”

“Great. Love to have you.” He gave her the address and time and when they hung up, Emily smiled. He sounded nice. It would be good to do something besides watch TV in the evening.

The day of the workshop, Emily brought clothes to change into after work. No sense wasting gas by driving home then back into town. The address turned out to be an old factory, turned into artist workshops and apartments. She’d heard about these. It seemed cool. There were signs directing people to a large open space where wooden tables, easels, stools were scattered around the room. Art hung on the walls and from the ceiling. The splashes of color made the room seem friendly and alive.

She found an empty stool and sat down at a table, greeting others who had also signed up. Brian introduced himself and several other artists and that they’d be helping everyone with their projects. After going over the projects available, they broke into groups, each around the project they wanted to do. Emily had to switch tables. She wanted to work on a pottery project. She was pleased to see that Brian was the mentor for her group.

At every step of the process of molding the clay, shaping it, prepping it for the oven and decorating it, Brian was there. His hands over hers, laughing. They went out for coffee after class and talked about their dreams. After five weeks, the workshop was over. Emily had a bowl, glazed blue, for her mother. But she had received a gift, too. New friends, a new-found passion and a new love.

They went out nearly every night. He spent the weekends at her house. By Christmas, he was invited to meet her family. Her mother loved the bowl. Even better, in the kitchen, she complemented Emily on Brian. “He’s a lovely young man, Emily.” She gave Emily a hug. “I’m happy for you.”

The next spring, they were married. One afternoon, Emily was looking at her bank statement. She played with the ring on her finger. The statement didn’t look any better but she no longer fretted. Her life was now full. Happiness covered everything and she felt rich beyond measure. Brian came into the room and gave her a kiss on top of her head.

“We still solvent?”

“Barely.” She laughed and turned off the computer. “And that’s enough for me.”

 

Thank You!

677 Words

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

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Christmas is Creeping Up: Monday Blog Post

From this year's Electric Light Parade

From this year’s Electric Light Parade

Newest News:

Christmas is creeping up on us. Hubby and I attended a Christmas open house at a friend’s house on Sunday. It’s nice to see everyone, for sure.

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Presents are wrapped and under the tree. Christmas cards are trickling in. I love opening them up and then putting them on my wall. The collection is another decoration! Brother-in-law has been invited to a Christmas Eve celebration at our house. I guess I’m ready! Hope you are, too! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

mystery-woods-meme-population

Mystery in the Woods made it back from the editor and I spent all week doing the rewrites. I sent it back to him on Sunday. We’re trying very hard to get it out before the end of the month. And as I said last week, I’ve been brainstorming ways to promote the release. One way is to contact my A Team people, and have them let me know if they’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review. There are several other ideas on my list. We’ll see if I can make them work for me. You’re not on my A Team? Let me know you want to be. I’ll set it up. I’m also considering an Instafreebie (Mystery in the Woods is up right now!), Author Shout promo, and of course twitter and facebook announcements. I began the process of setting up a Reader’s Gazette account so Mystery in the Woods may show up there. And if you’ve never checked it out, Bundle Rabbit has some wonderfully priced collections of books.

One thing I’m considering is a live chat. Who’d be up for that? Put a comment below if you are. I could set one up on Imzy, on Google +, or maybe somewhere else. What do you think?

I’m also considering a Thunderclap. This is a simple way for people to support my book release by sending a facebook post or tweet to announce the release. It doesn’t cost anything and can really get the word out. I’ll keep looking into it.

 

Giveaways:

2016-christmas-giveaway-my-meme

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway is in full swing. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

 

December 16th – 18th, was the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. This  Holiday Book Giveaway ended on Sunday and we had a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out and we had so many games and giveaways it was amazing. I had signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (3pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th and had so much fun! I’m sorry if you missed it. There were a LOT of giveaways. Next time, right?

Shout Out:

Author Maggie West

Author Maggie West

On the 21st, my author interview is with Maggie West. She’s a cozy mystery author and if you can’t wait, check her out on MaggieWestBooks.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Imzy Stickers

Do you follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. This is a troll free site and free to join. Enjoy.

 

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, 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.

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Facebook Live: Monday Blog Post

xmastree

Newest News:

Ha! I got the boxes all mailed to family on Tuesday. It took me all morning but I got it done. Hooray! Major Christmas task done. Also got my tree up so that is done as well. That’s it at the top. The big blue square? That’s a cloth picture I cover in paper every year to display the Christmas cards I receive. Only 4 cards so far but it’s still early. People already have the boxes!

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

Mystery in the Woods has made it to the editor. We’re trying very hard to get it out before the end of the month. I’ve been brainstorming ways to promote the release. One way is to contact my A Team people, and have them let me know if they’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review. There are several other ideas on my list. We’ll see if I can make them work for me. You’re not on my A Team? Let me know you want to be. I’ll set it up.

house-lites

I have this to-do list for book marketing and promotion and one of the things on it was to look into Facebook Live. I finally figured out that it’s only on my smart phone. Can’t use my laptop mic and camera to record. So I did a quick 30 second test. I was so surprised to see friends commenting on the video while I was recording! All totally unannounced. I felt the test was successful so I’ll set a time to do a full one and mention it in my newsletter. Then people can look for it. If you aren’t in my newsletter list, see below to sign up today.

Giveaways:

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Rudolph’s Reads Holiday Giveaway is in full swing. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

14702331_1344993582191009_7933048603693284889_n

December 16th – 18th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention to be held in April. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

I’ve signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (2pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th. Want to have some fun, play a couple of games? Click on the link and join in the fun.

Shout Out:

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Mark Dawson is a great thriller/suspense author selling his series, John Milton. If you, like me, love to read a good thriller, check out his site at http://markjdawson.com/

 

Where Will I Be?

Do you follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. This is a troll free site and free to join. Enjoy.

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, 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.

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Holiday Season Madness: Monday Blog Post

Homemade Truffles

Homemade Truffles

Newest News:

It’s December. That means baking and candy making. I do it every year because for the longest time there was no candy for celiacs. If I wanted Christmas chocolates, I had to make them myself. This year I found out that Reeses has gluten free peanut butter cups. That’s one item I no longer need to make. I still make truffles and peppermint patties. And in addition to my usual Russian Teacakes, I replaced the peanut butter cups with a cranberry bar cookie. I had hoped to have all the baking done by Sunday but that didn’t happen. So, today, Monday, I’ll be dipping the truffles and they’re the last thing to be done. Then it’s box everything up and send it to various family members. Hopefully done by Friday so I don’t miss the mailing window. How about you? Do you mail things across country? Are you done or are you, like me, still scrambling.

house-lites

We had some outdoor lighting issues this year. Timers have died or become terribly sensitive. I don’t have any interior decorating done since I spent the weekend on cookies and candy. This week though, it’ll all be done. I’ve also accepted some party invitations for the month. So, now there’s finger food to consider. On Saturday evening we went to the Electric Light Parade our town holds every year. It’s always fun to watch the little kids along the street. They’re so pleased with the Christmas music and the lights. And the parade isn’t shabby either. Every year it seems to get better and better.

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

Mystery in the Woods has made it to the editor. We’re trying very hard to get it out before the end of the month. I’ve been brainstorming ways to promote the release. One way is to contact my A Team people, and have them let me know if they’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review. There are several other ideas on my list. We’ll see if I can make them work for me. You’re not on my A Team? Let me know you want to be. I’ll set it up.

I’ve mentioned it before but since it is gift-giving season, check out my store www.conniesrandomthoughts where you can get very nice coffee mugs with my book covers on them. A handy, useful give and a collectible at the same time! Very reasonably priced.

Giveaways:

2016-christmas-giveaway-my-meme

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway is in full swing. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

On Sunday I spent 2 hours hosting the Writers Colony Press Holiday Indie Extravaganza. Writers Colony Press publishes anthologies for charity. The Longest Night Watch Volumes 1 and 2 are to raise money for Alzheimers. We dedicated them to Terry Pratchett and Gene Wilder. The other Anthology out is “Stardust Alway’s” for Cancer research, and dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie. I had a great time. In addition to the event contests and contests the other authors held, I held my own. The prizes have been awarded and I had people buy my books and were interested in my website and a couple of the sites I frequent as an author. All in all a good day.

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December 17th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention to be held in April. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

I’ve signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (3pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th. Want to have some fun, play a couple of games? Click on the link and join in the fun.

Shout Out:

Author J.B. Hawker

Author J.B. Hawker

J.B. Hawker is my featured author this week on my Author Interviews. J.B is currently living in the wilds of Northern California, J.B. is a woman of a certain age with a lot of living behind her, who looks forward to all the great adventures ahead.

J.B. mines the richness of her history as a pastor’s wife in small communities all over the Western United States to people her not-quite-cozy mystery/thrillers. (If you’ve ever attended a small-town church, you may even recognize some of the characters.)

Writing from a Christian perspective, her stories include men and women at all stages in their faith walk, along with some truly scary villains.

Can’t wait? You can find her at: http://jbhawker.com/

Where Will I Be?

Do you follow me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. This is a troll free site and free to join. Enjoy.

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, 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.

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NaNo 2016 Week Four and the End: Monday Blog Post

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner_congrats

Newest News:

This is the end of the fourth week for of the 2016 National Novel Writing Month. I finished with 50,129 words. My fourth Brown Rain series novelette, Tested, is done as is my already started short story, a space opera, Jania, Princess of Tania, and a short story I started in October and never finished that’s currently titled, Granny, is also done. Since Granny ran shorter than I expected I also began a non-fiction book I’ve been working on called How to Organize a Book Fesitival. And I’ve won! I printed out my certificate for winning and put it in my binder with the rest of my certificates.

I’ve been posting pretty much daily over on Imzy.com/conniesrandomthoughts. Check it out! I’ve had fun moving from work to work this month, though I haven’t been immune to the second week slump (was writing Tested at the time) where it seemed to me that every word I typed on the page was the worst thing ever. I haven’t looked at it since I finished the draft, or the two short stories. I will in March or April. Before then I need to edit Mystery at the Book Festival and get that out into the open. I’m sure fans of Mystery at the Fair are more than ready for their next installment of Jean and Karen.

xmas-lites001

And, because it’s now after Thanksgiving, it’s time to think Christmas. On Sunday I pulled all of the decorations out of their storage spots in the garage. We’ll do the outside lights first. Then I’ll take a few days to decorate inside. I don’t go overboard but it’s fun and I like it. Picture is the outside from last year. It’ll look pretty much the same this year.

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

And in the good news category, I’ve spent the last few days since winning NaNo, editing Mystery in the Woods. I was right. I had some significant time line issues, name confusion and other problems with the book which I’ve straightened out. I’m doing another round of edits, correcting misspelled words and other stuff then, this week, it will be off to the editor! I’m so happy. I really want this out by the end of December. Then I’ll have an Instafreebie for you in January. Stay tuned for that information.

And, for my A Team people, let me know if you’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review.

Giveaways:

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Rudolf’s Reads Holiday Giveaway is in full swing. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

writers-colony-press

I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Writers Colony Press Holiday Indie Extravaganza. The event runs December 3rd and 4th which is THIS Saturday and Sunday. Writers Colony Press publishes anthologies for charity. The Longest Night Watch Volumes 1 and 2 are to raise money for Alzheimers. We dedicated them to Terry Pratchett and Gene Wilder. The other Anthology out is “Stardust Alway’s” for Cancer research, and dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie. And also, to our very dear friend Stacy Whitemire who passed away recently. She will be greatly missed. Find some new to you authors today and do a good deed for charity. Come join our extravaganza. Lots of authors will be on the event page sharing books, contests and fun. A couple of contests have already started. Readers, don’t miss out. The hourly author hosts give away a lot of stuff! I’ll be on the page hosting on December 4th, at 3pm Pacific, which is 4pm Arizona time and 6pm Eastern. I’ll have at least one ebook to give away, a game or maybe two, and pictures to share. Mark your calendars and join me. https://www.facebook.com/events/364089737264705/ Click on the Discussion tab.

14702331_1344993582191009_7933048603693284889_n

Then later in December, on the 17th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention to be held in April. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

I’ve signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (3pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th. Want to have some fun, play a couple of games? Click on the link and join in the fun.

Shout Out:

I have so many people to mention it’s hard to pick just one. How about Chuck Wendig? Chuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and his books about writing. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

You can find his work on his Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Wendig/e/B003P9JZ0O

 

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Imzy Stickers

Do you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. I’ve been posting daily updates on my NaNo progress there including snippets and random pictures. Enjoy.

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:

front-troubled-streets

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, 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.

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Happy Thanksgiving and NaNo Week 3: Monday Blog Post

happy-thanksgiving-2016

Newest News:

If I don’t get to it this week, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I don’t have any family nearby except my brother-in-law. Usually we go to a local friend’s house but this year they are feeling under par so I invited them, and the brother-in-law here. I’m excited. I haven’t made Thanksgiving dinner in about four years. Time to get back in the saddle! I’m making the cranberry sauce we always had when I was growing up and my friends are bringing their go-to sweet potato casserole. We’ll all feel right at home. What is your must have dish for Thanksgiving?

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month

This is the end of week three of the 2016 National Novel Writing Month. As of the end of the day, Sunday, I have over 45k written. My fourth Brown Rain series novelette, Tested, is done and my already started short story, a space opera, Jania, Princess of Tania, is also done. Sunday I began work on a short story I started in October and never finished that’s currently titled, Granny. That’s kind of a supernatural. It was intended for Halloween but I didn’t get it done. No matter. It’ll be ready for 2017. So, only 5K to write to win the NaNo challenge. I’ve been posting pretty much daily over on Imzy.com/conniesrandomthoughts. For example, yesterday I posted a snippet of the Granny story and a recipe for snickerdoodles. Check it out!

 

Giveaways:

14925555_10154128590631317_3701655618015299006_n

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway has started. This time, there is a $120 grand prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like? And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time. http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

writers-colony-press

I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Writers Colony Press Holiday Indie Extravaganza. The event runs December 3rd and 4th. Writers Colony Press publishes anthologies for charity. The Longest Night Watch Volumes 1 and 2 are to raise money for Alzheimers. We dedicated them to Terry Pratchett, and Gene Wilder. The other Anthology out is “Stardust Alway’s” for Cancer research, and dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie. And also, to our very dear friend Stacy Whitemire who passed away recently. She will be greatly missed. Find some new to you authors today and do a good deed for charity. Come join our extravaganza. Lots of authors will be on the event page sharing books, contests and fun. A couple of contests have already started. You could win a prize, or two! https://www.facebook.com/events/364089737264705/ Click on the Discussion tab.

14702331_1344993582191009_7933048603693284889_n

Then later in December, on the 17th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

 

Shout Out:

91xztbetfl

I’ve just begun reading the book, Hild, by Nicola Griffith. https://www.amazon.com/Nicola-Griffith/e/B000APEZ4W. The historical fiction follows Hild, from the time she’s three years old, in ancient Britain. The story is compelling and the writing is lush. I just want to roll around in the words, they’re so rich. Check it out and her other books as well. I think you’ll enjoy them.

 

Garden News:

The Meyer Lemon tree, the bay leaf tree and the jade plant have been moved inside for the winter. That’s it for gardening news until spring.

 

Where Will I Be?

Do you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. I’ve been posting daily updates on my NaNo progress there including snippets and random pictures. Enjoy.

 

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, 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:
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