A Little Magic: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Camp Fire by Kiaraz via DeviantArt.com

I just needed a little magic. Just a little. Enough to get the fire started, get the room warm, maybe to save my mother. I heard her moan from her pallet along the wall. I rearranged the wet wood in the fireplace. If I could just get the wood to burn. I could make a little soup, a cup of tea, anything to warm her up. Me too, to be honest.

She moaned again. I knew she had a fever. If the soldiers had just left any of my brothers or sisters behind I wouldn’t be in this fix. But they took all of the people with magic abilities off to fight the war. Father had been taken a year ago. Yesterday, they came for the rest. The wailing and screaming in the village had been horrific. My stomach roiled just thinking about it as I struggled to light the fire.

“Come on.” I willed my shaking hands to strike the flint against the steel but they were too cold. My sister Hilda would have just held her hand over the tiny pile of kindling and it would have burst into flame. A year younger than me she always gave me a hug when she made the fire. It was my job, but she knew I didn’t have any magic. A tear ran down my face. And now she was gone, along with my littlest sister, Maggie, and my big brothers, Todd and Edward. All gone. Dragged away to fight even though Maggie was only eight.

My hands shook more, with anger this time. How were we supposed to plow the fields or plant the crops with so many villagers gone? I glared at the tiny pile in the fireplace, gripping the flint until it cut my hand. The wood smoked then burst into flame. I rocked back from my squat and sat hard on the floor, staring. The flame began to die down and I scrambled to my feet to feed the tiny fire twigs, then sticks, then wood. I piled the wood on, uncaring if I set the house on fire or not. Mother would be warm, at least tonight. I set the kettle on the hob and put the pot on the hook, filled it with water and the jerky and vegetables I’d already prepared. I put two pinches of salt in the pot, unconcerned with where more salt would come from.

Another pot went next to the fire and I filled it with water to warm. Clean water to wipe mother’s face and hands. As I tended her, I finally allowed myself to think about the fire. The mage yesterday took one look at me and passed me by even as the soldiers were dragging my brothers and sisters out of the house. Mother cried out from her sick bed and it broke my heart. There was nothing she could do. She didn’t have any more magic than I did. But, I did have magic. I started a fire!

How had I done it? I just remembered feeling angry. So angry. Rage, that’s what it was. Rage against the king and his stupid war. Rage against the mage and the soldiers. Rage against my mother’s sickness. The water in the bowl I was dipping the rag into began to boil. I dropped the rag into the water and blinked. The water calmed but was hot.

I put the bowl on the table and wrapped my arms around myself. I’d never been so angry before in my life. I did have magic but just a little. I used both hands to wipe the tears from my eyes. So little magic I was of no use to the King but here, well, here I was of use. I wondered how many of the other villagers had tiny sparks of magic?

The next morning I went door to door and asked the remaining people. They shook their heads but I could see in their eyes that they were going to try. The priest, so old that the mage and the soldiers left him behind even though he did have magic, patted me on the shoulder.

“Child. Be careful. Don’t let that rage take over just for a bit of magic.”

He was a fool. All I had left was rage. Hadn’t the King’s men dragged off more than three quarters of our village? “Who will do the plowing and planting, priest? Me? I’m twelve. Mother is sick. The rest of the village is in the same shape I am. Too young, too old, too sick. We’ll starve.”

His eyes filled with tears as he nodded. “True, child. But rage will burn you up.”

“Maybe.” I turned and left.

Mother died not long after I found my rage. It was a hard year. I grew hard with it. We worked together, we survivors. We plowed and planted. We learned to hunt and forage. Winter killed many of us but at the next spring we that remained were stronger. I was leader, even though I was only just come into my womanhood. We gathered wood, nurtured our tiny magics, made plans.

The King lost his war. The new King’s soldiers came through and saw the pitiful remnant we were and went away. We grew stronger. We had children. We made contacts throughout the land with others like us. We hid our tiny magics until it was time. Then we attacked. The mages first, then the new king and his lords. It didn’t take long. They underestimated us. We had no great magic.

I was named Leader, I refused to be called Queen. Many wanted to kill everyone with magic. I said no. Would we kill ourselves? I set the cleverest of us to creating weapons that needed no magic. We would be ready when and if the time came, magic or not.

 

Thank You!

981 Words

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

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February – It’s a Hoot!: Monday Blog Post

 

Newest News:

I spent a lot of time this last week working on the Payson Book Festival and the Northern Gila County Fair. For the book festival, I completed the grant application and sent it in then talked with the director of the grant and received some tips on tweaking the grant application. I did that and sent it back. Authors are signing up for the book festival like gang-busters. I feel certain that the new on-line application and PayPal credit card process is making it so much easier for authors to sign up. I know I enjoyed it when I put my application in. For the fair, I contacted a local new shop owner that sells bath and body stuff made by local artisans. It’s a lovely little shop and she agreed to work with me to set up criteria for judging homemade soaps, lotions and other things in our fair’s Homemaking Arts department. I’m looking forward to seeing what our local crafters are doing in this area.

Hubby and I spent the day at home on Sunday and watched the Super Bowl with just the two of us. We had snacks and while hubby was interested in the game, I was more interested in the commercials. That didn’t stop us from picking opposite sides with him cheering on Atlanta and me the Patriots. It’s hardly any fun if there’s no opposition, right?

I broke down and bought two foot-torture devices. They have a hard plastic top that goes on top of the foot. Then there are straps to Velcro around the leg above the ankle and then around the ball of the foot to keep your foot in a 45-degree positon. I use one on each foot and sleep with them on my feet. You’re right, they catch in the blankets and wake me up when I turn in my sleep. On the other hand, after three nights using them, my feet do feel better. I’ll keep using them then try another walk at the end of the week. I’m missing out on great hiking and want to get back to it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Good progress was made on Mystery at the Book Festival. I finished my paper edits and have started on the research edits. Those are places in the manuscript where I need to do more research on what a real police department or ambulance drivers would do. There are the notes, also, where I realized I changed names in the middle of the book, mention something from book 1 that I need to look up to be sure I have the details right, and spots where I mention the characters saying they’d do something but I have to make sure it happened or at least is mentioned again to tie up all of the loose ends and questions I brought up. It’s a lot of detail to keep straight but I don’t want to send it to my editor with a bunch of stupid errors in it.

 

Giveaways:

My science fiction giveaway ends today over on BookSweeps, https://www.booksweeps.com/enter-win-45-science-fiction-adventure-books/. This is your last chance to enter to win my book or 44 others and a grand prize of a Kindle Fire! Click on the link and enter now. Come back and leave a message when you do.

My multi-author giveaway called For the Love of Books, Valentines Giveaway is in full swing. 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! This giveaway ends at midnight the 14th.

 

Shout Out:

Are you figuring out your travel plans for summer yet? Consider coming to beautiful central Arizona. The Payson Book Festival is July 22nd this year. Check out http://www.paysonbookfestival.org/ for details about authors at the event and the tab labled Area Information, in the area. Camping, hiking, natural wonders and more await the savvy traveler.

 

Where Will I Be?

On February 23rd, at 5pm Arizona time, I’ll be interviewed on BackPorchWriter.com. This interview is in preparation for the April B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Both events are open to readers so as I get closer, I’ll give you more details.

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.

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Spring is Coming: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Lake Thaw, Sacandaga Lake, Fulton County, NY by Randy Cockrell

Free from my nurse and my Lord mother’s demand to learn needle work, I hurried to my room and changed into riding gear. In the stables, I saddled Dawn, my uhlans, as the stable master eyed me.

“And where are you going?”

“Hunting.”

His eyebrow rose. “Spring is coming. Who are you going with?”

“No one. I want to get out of the castle and breathe the cold air.”

He watched as I fastened my bow to the saddle and my spear. “A lot of gear for a ride.”

I wagged my eyebrows back at him. “You never know what you’ll run into.”

“Hmm,” was his response. “I’ll send Ben with you.”

Ben was his son. He was a good companion. “Sure. Where is he?”

The stable master whistled and Ben hurried through the stable door. “Papa?”

“Saddle up and go with Lady Zung.”

Ben gave me a quick wink as he hurried to saddle his mount. I noticed he packed weapons as well. The same age, fourteen, we learned to hunt together and I was glad to have him along.

We rode out. His father called out behind us. “Be careful. The ice is melting.”

I waved and kicked Dawn into a cantor as we reached the gate.

Two hours later we were at the lake. I knew that the wisent herded on the other side. I guided Dawn down the bank.

“Don’t, Yunki. We don’t know if the ice will hold.”

I sniffed. “It’s too early for the lake to melt.” I kept moving down the bank.

“Lady Zung!” His tone was sharp and he only called me Lady Zung when the adults were around or I was being particularly dense.

I sighed and turned in the saddle. “The melt has only just started, Ben. The ice is going to be four feet thick.”

“Do you know where they cut last?”

I had to stop and think. Where was the last place the men had cut ice? I shrugged. “Don’t know. It’ll be obvious.”

Ben shook his head. “Better not. I know you’re after a wisent. But let’s just hunt for a gulate instead. There are bound to be beds around here. Look,” he pointed at the lake edge. “You can see a thin line of water.”

He was right but I really wanted a wisent before their thick winter pelt started to shed. “Then you hunt for gulate. Summer will last three years. I’m going for a wisent.” I kicked Dawn in the ribs and dashed down the bank and onto the lake. I ignored the faint cracking of ice as I guided her straight across. I could hear Ben behind me and I grinned.

Dawn’s large feet were secure on the ice but I didn’t push her. No sense risking a slip and having her break a leg. I eyed the lake in front of us. It looked completely safe. As we neared the center, Ben four lengths behind me, I heard the ice crack. A loud snap that made Dawn’s head toss.

“Stop, Yunki!”

I tried to get Dawn to back up but more cracking made her dance. Then we were both in the water, the uhlans thrashing all six legs and shoving me into the sharp ice as she tried to climb out.

“Hold on!” Ben was off of his mount and pulling rope from his pack.

“Get Dawn first.”

“Don’t be stupid! She’s made for the cold.”

“So am I.” I argued with him but he was right. Even as cold-adapted as we were, the icy water was having an effect.

He tossed a loop to me and despite Dawn’s struggles, she had her two front legs up on thick ice now, I could grab the rope and pull it over my head and arms. “Ready,” I called.

Ben finished fastening the other end to his saddle and began to back up his uhlans. “Hang on.”

I kicked hard, trying to generate some lift but my fur boots and leggings were already soggy. The edge jabbed into my chest. I could feel the force break a rib and I cried out in pain.

“What?” Ben called.

“Nothing. Keep pulling.” I gasped and did my best to slide up the edge with a wave Dawn caused as she got a third leg up onto the ice.

Dripping, I slid up just as Dawn crawled out of the water. The air caused icicles to form as the water dripped from her. She shook, sending a spray of water over me and Ben as he hurried to me.

“Let’s get you back to shore.” He helped me to my feet. As I grabbed my rib cage he brought Dawn over. “I should build a fire.”

“I’m fine. Let’s just head home.”

“In wet furs?” He looked at me as though the top of my head had just fallen off.

I started to shiver. The water had gotten to my skin. Ice was forming on my coat. My boots were already solid ice. “It’s only two hours.”

“You’ll be dead and then your Lord father will kill me. Don’t be stupid.”

In the end, I gave in and probably as well. Ben left me at a huge fire, Dawn standing as close to it as she could, and rode home for dry clothes. My oldest brother came back with him. He laughed as he dismounted. “So, little sister. Spring is coming.”

I just rolled my eyes.

 

 

 

 

Thank You!

909 Words

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

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Diet, Meetings and Editing: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

How’s your January going? Anyone else still on their after-Christmas diet? I felt so sluggish and horrible I started the Whole 30 diet. It calls for giving up sugar, alcohol, grains and dairy, and legumes, for 30 days. I know it sounds radical but really, I just felt all crappy and just needed to de-tox for a few days. It’s been 16 days, as of this post, and I feel so much better. I miss my wine in the evenings and I’ve had to change out a few of my go-to recipes for dinner but it hasn’t been all that bad. I have a breakfast hash instead of eggs and toast, salad for lunch (for the most part) and grilled lean meat and 2 veggies for supper. If I still feel like a nosh, those Cuties, mandarin easy peel oranges or an apple are my after-dinner snacks. I will stay on this till the end of January then begin to slowly add back the grains and dairy. Try it! You’ll feel better.

Unfortunately my Thunderclap failed. I was certain I had enough followers to make it work. Oh well.

My Kindle Publishing for Blogs is still not active. Probably because it’s in beta. The blog has to be approved by the Kindle folks and that hasn’t happened yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Meetings this week are with my writer’s group from Four Carat Press. https://fourcaratpress.com/ We’re working on a journal to put up on Amazon. It will have short essays from each contributing author and writing prompts. We hope to have it out soon. The other meeting is with the Arizona Professional Writers at our local, Rim Country Chapter. I’m the program manager for the chapter and this month we’re bringing in a local accountant experienced in small business. Writers are a small business and it just seemed perfect to have this program in January to explain how to handle reporting from last year and how to set up our books for this year. I’m looking forward to it.

I have printed off Mystery at the Book Festival and am beginning the edits. So, all of you Jean Hays fans, it’s coming. Really it is.

 

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 Lyndsey Cole. Lyndsey is my author interview this week and you don’t want to miss it. If you can’t wait, check out her website at http://lyndseycolebooks.com/. If you like culinary cozy mysteries, check out Lyndsey’s titles!

 

Where Will I Be?

I participated in the local Payson Library’s January Book Blitz last week. I had a great time reading from two of my books and talking to the visitors who came. Does your library do author presentations or book signings? You should certainly go and support your local authors.

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.

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Big News: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So much is going on. I just put Mystery at the Fair on Bundle Rabbit. This is a new site that allows the author to list my book individually but also has curators who build bundles (ebooks!) at discounted prices. https://bundlerabbit.com. You do have to be a member but it’s free. Seach on my name. So far I just have one book in there but if it becomes popular, I’ll put other books in there.

I have a Thunderclap underway and it ends on the 13th! A Thunderclap is a way to let my readers, friends and family help me let people know my book has been released. It’s free for my readers, friends and family to do and it’s simple. Click on the link, tweet, facebook or tumblr post with the handy buttons. It’s simple, free, and helps me a lot. I’m doing this Thunderclap on Mystery in the Woods, my newest book. So, can you help me out? Click here, click on the social media button, and that’s it! I really appreciate the help. http://thndr.me/rzLcmq

By next week I’ll have an Instafreebie up, so stay tuned for that.

And! Just yesterday I put my blog up on Kindle Publishing for Blogs. You’ll be able to get my blog delivered directly to your Kindle and read it wirelessly! How cool is that! Check out Kindle Publishing for Blogs!

Giveaways:

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway winners were Karen Giasson and Emily Smith. I’ve sent them emails but they haven’t gotten back to me yet. When they do, Karen wins a free ebook and Emily won the mug! Don’t miss out on the next one. It’s being 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:

If you’re looking for books, perhaps you’d be interested in Joshua Robertson. He’s a author of dark scifi and fantasy and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/joshua.robertson.9235?fref=ts. Check out his page.

 

Where Will I Be?

The lovely author Gail Kittleson, who writes Women’s fiction based in the World War II era, has invited me to appear on her blog. That is today, January 9th! So click on this link, http://www.gailkittleson.com/ and see my post!

This is the week! The local Payson Library is doing a Book Blitz. Throughout the month of January, they’re inviting authors to do a reading and take audience questions. I’ll have books to sell there, too. See me at the Payson Library community room, January 11th at 9am. See you 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:

Mystery in the Woods released on January 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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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.

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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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Mars Wings 2: Flash Fiction Friday Post

mars-sunset-msl-curiosity-martian-sky-pia194001

http://mars.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/?ImageID=7189 Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M Univ.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of the sun setting at the close of the mission’s 956th Martian day, or sol (April 15, 2015), from the rover’s location in Gale Crater.

Here’s the thing. I couldn’t stop thinking about this story last week. http://wp.me/p6LAko-Om.  I knew it was just a partial story and it kept nagging at me. So here we are. I’m going to make this a short serial and give you both a Christmas and a New Year’s story out of it. I’m totally pantsing this thing so you get it rough and only lightly edited. Hope you enjoy.

Part 2 of 5

It would take at least two hours for them to get settled and view the first video. Longer if they decided to be thorough and view all the associated vids. I decided to hustle over to the main tunnel. It was the original tunnel, that the first landers found and developed into the first habitat. Now it’s the Main Street, as they say on Earth. A large concourse, the old berths now shops. It’s beautiful, all the walls covered in spider plants and such that take CO2 and turn it into oxy. Planters with flowers in the walkway the ceiling had a light net that made it seem like stars twinkling. My favorite part of the habitat.

My crew was in front of Benji’s, the ice cream shop. As old as the habitat, one of the original landers, Benji, retired and decided to grow soy beans. He figured out how to make it into ice cream. No dairy needed. He always said that’s what he missed most. Now his son, Dayrn, runs the place, or did. He’s gotten old, too, and people get old slowly on Mars. Grandson, Isha, is the new manager, learning from his dad. I like that. Mars business belongs to Mars.

I skidded into the group, knocking Kayla to the side. She punched me in the arm. “Earther!”

“Waiter.” I punched her back. We both laughed.

“How’d it go?” Tayln lounged against a planter of Christmas cactus. It was far from blooming.

I sank, cross-legged to the tile floor. “As you’d expect. Lots of questions. A little resentment.” I rolled my eyes. It was the same every ship. They thought they knew it all. Coming to rescue the hicks. “I liked the girl. My age. Gads, she’s so small!”

Everyone laughed. I was the last in the group to get sponsor duty. They’d all been through it.

“Who do you think will buy it?” Dary asked, all hyped. He made me nervous, to be honest. There was something wrong with him.

“No one, I hope. If I’m a good enough sponsor.”

Dary giggled. A sound all wrong in more than one way.

“Maybe so. But I’ll do my best.”

“I don’t know why they keep allowing them to come.” Tayln shook his head. “We don’t need them. They keep us back. All this talk about Earth. We’re Mars. We don’t need them.”

“Too much listening to Sirius, Tayln.” Amber stretched her whole body. It was like watching liquid in motion.

“What do you mean?” I wanted to know.

Amber was a year younger than Tayln but, I thought, twice as smart. She was working in the astro-physics lab when she wasn’t with us. Tayln was in the Engineering section, and it was just clean-up, to be honest. Work that had to be done but still, not as smart as Amber.

She drew a breath. “I agree, Tayln, that we shouldn’t be tied so much to Earth. I mean, really. They’re marking winter’s onset and we’re coming into spring. It’s ludicrous. And all these Earth holidays. Bastille Day, what’s that mean to us. We should have a Lander’s Day.”

“We do have Lander’s Day.” I didn’t understand. What was wrong with Bastille Day?

Amber smiled at me. “True, little one.” She looked around the group. “But what holiday is coming?”

“Christmas.” I and all the rest shouted.

“I love Christmas.” I had to admit. The wall tree, the presents, the extra colored lights. It made everything happier.

“And what does Christmas mean to us?” Amber looked around the circle.

“An extra sugar ration!” Angus Holloran called out. We all laughed.

“Yes,” Amber grinned. “Extra sugar ration. Candy, chocolate, it’s all a party, isn’t it?” She grew serious. “But what does it mean?”

We all shook our heads.

“It’s a religious holiday.” She looked around the group as people walked by us, toddlers in tow, shopping bags filled with the week’s groceries. “It’s a yoke, to tie us to Earth.”

I had to take a minute to process that. What was she saying? “What religion?” I finally asked.

Tayln snorted. “The one that keeps us tied to Earth.”

“And why is that bad?” I wanted to know. All of our time was dual, Mars and Earth time. Mars rotated at a different rate, of course our days differed but still, we all knew what time it was in Greenwich. Our most important shifts of scientists and government worked to Greenwich time.

Amber looked at me with a sad smile. I felt like an idiot and began to blush. “Sweet child. It’s a trick to keep us tied.” She looked to Tayln, who nodded. “We’re nothing but a cash cow to Earth. We discover new materials, new insight into the cosmos, new medicines and they take it all. As though they’re our masters!”

I didn’t like the word masters. It made me feel small and ignorant. I’m not small or ignorant. “Why?”

Amber stood. I knew the audience was over. “To keep us down, Sweet one. To keep us down.”

She swept away, Tayln trailing. The rest of us huddled together. “What’s she mean by that?” I asked.

Elise, Tommie, Hope, Dary, Kayla and Albert shook their heads. They were older than me but younger than Amber and Tayln. “I think they’re radicals.” Tommie finally said. “My pop said there’s a group in the habitat that are trying to get us to break away from Earth.

“Break away? That’s stupid. Where would we go?” I was annoyed. We were in orbit around the same sun. How could we break away?

“The governments,” Elise said. “We don’t answer to the Earth government. We don’t take their colonists unless we say so. We don’t send all of our work to them for nothing.”

“Are you a radical?” I asked. I mean what else were we supposed to do? “We owe Earth. That’s in all the histories.

Elise shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. Do you?”

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You!

994 Words

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

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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:

14925555_10154128590631317_3701655618015299006_n

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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NaNo 2016 Week 2: Monday Blog Post

14956050_1110670688988738_7483154330595768438_n

Newest News:

This is the end of week two of the 2016 National Novel Writing Month. As of the end of the day, Sunday, I have over 27k written in my fourth Brown Rain series novelette, Tested. I took Saturday off as I attended the Romance Cottage open house. My friend Susie Haught, http://susanhaught.com/, organized authors to donate books to fill the empty built-in book shelves of this newly renovated historic home, now a vacation rental, in Payson, AZ. We had so much fun. Then we went to lunch and talked and talked. So, there you have it. I’m moving along on Tested and should have it drafted by the end of the month.

 

Giveaways:

2016-christmas-giveaway-my-meme

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:

I’m finishing up the Kevin Hearne fantasy series, Iron Druid. I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed following the main character, Atticus and his Irish Wolfhound, Oberon. If you like fantasy, you may like this series. Hearne is a great author and the whole series is rolicking fun. You can find the series on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Hearne/e/B004FR1V8O

 

Garden News:

Gardening is about done for the year. We had a light frost the other morning. The Meyer Lemon tree and the bay leaf tree were unharmed but that’s my cue to bring them and the jade plant inside for the winter.

 

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. The site is now out of beta testing and has opened its doors to everyone. 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

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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