End of February: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I totally spaced out doing Monday’s blog post last week. *Rolls my eyes* I have no idea what I was thinking. Apologies for missing it.

Update on the foot braces. I’ve taken short walks around the area. One was at the town’s newest trail, The American Gulch trail. This is a short trail, maybe 1/2 mile, that circles a dry streambed. The town is working to bring the water back to it and make it the centerpiece of a park area. Also planned for it is a heritage apple orchard. I’m excited to see how the new park will look.

Mystery at the Book Festival manuscript was sent off to my editor last week. Looking at the end of March before I can get it back. I also did contact a cover designer and we’ve made a deal. I’ve sent appropriate files, except for the blurb on the back. I won’t have the blurb until the editor is done. Sigh. Can’t wait to see what the cover people do.

 

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

Gail Kittleson is my featured author this week on Wednesday’s Author Interview. A women’s fiction and memoir writer, her books are focus on World War II. Can’t wait for the whole interview? Check out www.gailkittleson.com to see what she’s up to.

 

Where Will I Be?

Last week on February 23rd, at 5pm Arizona time, I was interviewed on BackPorchWriter.com. I had a blast with the host, Kori Miller talking about writing, mysteries, and a few of the strangest things we’ve run into while researching. 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 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.

 

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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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 2 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Azula: Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

If you’ll notice, the picture illustrating this week’s serial section is of a local dog, Azula, currently at the Humane Society awaiting her furever home. The next 5 sections will also feature one of the many dogs awaiting a home. If you’re looking for a new member of the family, please consider contacting the Humane Society.

 

Part 2 of 7  See Part 1 here.

 

After lunch, Jean and Karen drove over to the radio station instead of calling. In the office they talked to the secretary, Barbara.

“Dogs for sale?” Barbara asked.

“Yes.” Jean showed her the lost dog flyer. “We’re trying to find this dog. The Humane Society told us there’s a market for stolen dogs and that they get sold through the newspaper and radio, sometimes. So we thought we’d look.

Barbara’s eyebrows went up. “I had no idea.”

“Us either.”

“Let me look.” She pulled up a list on her computer. “No.” She shook her head. “No dogs for sale. Sorry.”

Jean saw the woman slump a little, then she brightened. “Let me make a copy of the flyer. I’ll keep my eyes open for an ad that resembles the dog.”

Jean handed her the flyer. “Thank you.”

When they left, Karen propped her arm on the window and tapped her fingers. “Why don’t we do the same thing at the paper. Go over and give them a copy of the flyer and have them keep an eye out for a dog sale?”

“Good idea.” Jean grinned. “We can get the whole town looking for the dog.”

After they finished at the paper, Jean drove Karen home. “Maybe the dog is really just lost. Keep your eyes open for Sandy on your walk, tonight.”

Karen got out and held the door open as she leaned in. “Sure. You too. If she did wander off she could be anywhere by now.”

“Talk to you tomorrow.”

Karen nodded and closed the door.

At home, Jean stood and looked out of her garage door. It was late summer and hot. If Sandy was lost, she was going to be thirsty. There were a few water sources, ponds and such, in town. If the dog was going to be anywhere, it should be around the water. She went inside and closed the door. Something to do with Karen tomorrow.

#

The next day they hiked around every pond and stream in town. After a long, hot morning, they stopped at the Highway Diner to eat. Jean bought a paper from the newspaper box despite the fact she knew one was lying in her driveway. She opened it to the want ads and skimmed the page. “Darn. No dog.”

Karen sipped her iced tea. “Well, Margaret did say thieves wouldn’t advertise to sell a dog in its own area.” She sighed. “The dog is probably gone.”

Jean nodded. “Probably down in Phoenix or even Tucson by now.”

“Maybe the police have a handle on this. We should check with Nick.”

“I like checking the police department but I don’t think the Chief of Police is going to be aware of every lost dog report in town.” Jean thought he’d laugh himself silly at them.

Karen shrugged. “Then we’ll ask Paul. He’s not so prickly as Nick is. Anyway, they owe us for helping them with the last murder.”

Jean laughed. “I don’t think getting beaten up by a crazy woman counts as helping.”

“You know what I mean.” Karen laughed too.

“Sure. We can stop by there after lunch and see if Paul can help us out.”

#

At the police department, Lieutenant Paul Oliver came to the window to talk to them. “You want what?”

“We want to see a report on the number of missing dog reports you have.” Karen told him.

He raised an eyebrow. “We don’t track that.”

“You should,” Jean said. “The Humane Society said it’s becoming a problem.”

“Lost dogs?”

“No, stolen dogs. The owners just don’t realize the dogs aren’t lost, they’re stolen.”

Paul rubbed a hand over his sandy-brown crew cut. “Sounds nuts but let me dig around. I’ll let you know.”

Jean and Karen both grinned at him. “Thanks, Paul,” Karen said.

“Talk to Margaret over at the Humane Society. She has the whole story.”

“I’ll do that.”

Jean and Karen left. Jean felt pretty good as they walked to the car. “That’s progress, don’t you think?”

“I do. Paul has always been a good guy. If there’s something, he’ll find it.”

“But what do we do now?” Jean got in the car and clicked the lock to unlock the door for Karen.

Karen got in and put on her seat belt. “How about animal control? We could call them and ask questions.”

“I like it. Your house or mine?”

“Mine. I’ve got a roast in the crockpot I want to check.”

“Fair enough. Let’s go.”

At Karen’s, it took only a second for her to check on her food. She brought the phone book over to the kitchen table with the phone handset and sat down. “Glad I made fresh iced tea this morning.”

Jean nodded. She’d already drank half of her glass. “Me too. I’ve started making fruit water.”

“Fruit water?”

“Yeah, a two-quart pitcher of water, some apple slices, or mint, or lemon, or orange or a mix. Let it set for a bit. Then drink whenever. I get tired of iced tea all the time.” Jean wiped condensation from the glass onto a napkin.

“That’s a great idea. I’ll have to try that.” Karen opened the phone book to the page with town listings. She ran her finger down the page. “Here they are, Animal Control.” She dialed the number and put it on speaker.

 

Thank You!

899 Words

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

 

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Mystery at the Dog Park 1 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Little Dog by Randy Cockrell

Hi,

I had this idea for a Jean Hays story but it wasn’t enough of a story for even a novelette so I’ve decided to make it a serial short story. Not every section is 1000 words or less. Some run over to 1200 but I didn’t think you all would mind too much.

I hope you enjoy it.

Mystery at the Dog Park

Part 1 of 7

Jean pulled the leash around her body as the lab-pitbull mix lunged forward.

“She’s giving you a run today.” Karen laughed

“It’s not funny.” Jean puffed. The dog was wearing her out. “Can’t wait to get to the dog park and let her run.”

“I hear ya.” Karen stopped to untangle the two Chihuahuas and the Yorkie mix she was walking.

They arrived at the park and herded the dogs through the gate. Karen took her dogs to the small dog enclosure while Jean let her dog loose in the large dog area. They stood next to each other on opposite sides of the fence to talk as the dogs played.

A woman left the group of dog owners at the picnic table provided and came over to them. She handed them a flyer with a picture of her caramel colored cockapoo, Sandy. “Have you seen my dog?”

Jean took the flyer and held it so Karen could see. “No.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry. I haven’t.”

Karen shook her head, too. “No. How long has she been gone?”

“Since yesterday.” The woman sniffed, eyes red, as she scanned the area. “I was talking with the usual people yesterday,” she waved her hand at the group around the table, “while Sandy and the other dogs played. Then, she was just gone when I looked for her.” Her voice quavered. “I don’t know how she got out of the dog park.”

“We’re walking the humane society dogs,” Jean explained. “But we’ll keep an eye out for Sandy.”

Shoulders slumped, the woman nodded. “That’s my number on the bottom. Call anytime if you find her.”

“We will,” Karen said. “Good luck.” They watched her shuffle back to the table. “How awful. I wonder what happened?”

After hearing the woman’s story, Jean looked for her dog, Arthur. She spotted him chasing a squirrel on a tree trunk around and around the tree. It looked to her that the squirrel was teasing the dog on purpose. “It’s not a big dog, probably got through a hole in the fence.”

Karen turned around to watch the dogs she brought. The Chihuahua’s were chasing each other while the Yorkie dug a hole. “Poor woman. I hope the dog doesn’t get caught by a coyote or a hawk. One of my neighbors lost her little dog when an eagle swooped in and plucked it right out of the backyard.”

Jean’s eyes went wide. “That sucks.”

Karen nodded. “Yep.”

Back at the humane society, the women turned the dogs in. It broke Jean’s heart to make Arthur get back in the kennel. They stopped in the office. “Margaret,” Jean pulled the flyer from her pocket and unfolded it. “Have you seen this dog come in?” She handed the shelter manager the paper.

Margaret looked at the picture and shook her head. “Nope. Poor little thing. I had a call from this woman this morning.” She sighed. “I told her to do the flyers. And talk to the neighbors around the park. What I didn’t tell her was that the dog may have been stolen.”

“Stolen? Who would do that?” Jean asked.

Margaret handed the flyer back to Jean. “People who then sell the dog on Craig’s list or in a newspaper ad.”

“Oh no!” Karen looked horrified.

“Yep.” Margaret went back to her desk. “Happens all the time in the bigger cities but we’ve been seeing it more and more up here. There’s a market, especially for little dogs like that one. And the bad guys just scoop up the little ones when no one is looking.”

“They don’t take big dogs?” Jean leaned on the counter.

“Oh, they do. They’ll disguise themselves as handymen or maintenance people and take dogs right out of their backyards. No one pays any attention to those guys coming or going in the neighborhood. Purebred dogs are the target, German Shepherds, Labs of any sort, those kinds of dogs.”

“That happens here?” Jean couldn’t believe that people would just go into someone’s backyard and take another person’s pet.

“Not that one, so much. That’s more in the big cities, too. Also, they disguise themselves as animal control and knock on the door. They tell the owners that a complaint of abuse has been filed and they’re taking the dog under protective custody. They show the owner some sort of legal looking document. In confusion and fear, they hand the dog over planning to go to court and get it straightened out but it’s too late. The dog and the thieves are long gone.

“I would be so ticked!” Karen said.

“Me too. Isn’t there anything that can be done?” Jean asked.

“Not usually. They don’t advertise the dog in the area where it was stolen from so you can’t even check the paper or anything to try and find it.”

“How awful.”

Margaret nodded. “Yep. Unfortunately, little Sandy, there,” she nodded at the flyer in Jean’s hand, “wasn’t microchipped. If she had been, there would be some chance of finding her.”

Jean and Karen said their good-byes and left. “Who knew there was a market for stolen dogs?” Jean drove them both to lunch as was their habit after their turn at walking the humane society inmates.

“I had no idea. I mean, you see dogs up for sale in the paper and on the radio all the time. It never occurred to me they might be stolen.”

“Let’s grab a paper and see if there are any dogs for sale in there.”

Karen nodded. “Good idea. Though the current paper came out Friday and Sandy was stolen yesterday. Tomorrow’s paper would be a better bet.”

“You’re right. Tomorrow we’ll look. In the meantime, let’s call the radio station and see what they have on their ads.”

“Great idea. After lunch though. My tummy’s growling.”

 

Thank You!

974 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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Author Interviews: Meghan O’Flynn

Author Meghan O'Flynn

Author Meghan O’Flynn

Today we’re welcoming in the new year with Meghan O’Flynn. Meghan is a clinical therapist, writer, artist, wife, and mommy. She adores her amazing little boys, dark chocolate, tea, dirty jokes, and back rubs with no strings attached, in that order. She writes psychological suspense novels and is amazed that her husband still agrees to live with her after reading them.

I appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Meghan, so let’s get started.

Hi, I’m Meghan. And I’m an author.

I’d describe my writing style as emotive with a side of snarky, heavy on the character development (I’m a shrink, it’s what we do). But I think what makes my work interesting overall is its unpredictability. It’s a virtue for a mystery writer, I presume, perhaps less so for an interview questionnaire, and yet, here we are, answering question number five instead of question number one like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

Maybe I have trouble thinking linearly. Maybe I’m a jerk. Jury’s still out.

Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tea. It goes better with vodka.

I kid, I kid, I never drink vodka, but I am a tea geek. I have about twenty-five different kinds of loose leaf tea: Bancha, Houjicha, Matcha, Yerba Mate, Pu Erh, Wu Yi Oolong (because screw the Makaibari estate). It’s an obsession. But it’s cheaper than shoes. Or cocaine.

Clearly my favorite hobby is telling jokes, as anyone on my newsletter knows (so if you’re into that, sign up at www.meghanoflynn.com or visit my book group, Meghan O’Flynn’s Partners in Crime). Riddles, knock-knocks, dirty limericks–all awesome. So I guess I’d spend my perfect afternoon with a clown. (But not one like the masked man in my third novel, Repressed. That bastard has issues.)

repressed-cover

Speaking of, Repressed hit the shelves back in December, but I’m following it up in just a few short months with Hidden, both installments in my Ash Park mystery series. And as I round out the Ash Park series this year, I’m working on a novel with a supernatural edge. Creepy. Chilling. Fun.

I sound insane, I know. After years of clinical therapy practice, I might be. And though I have enough stories in my brain to last a lifetime, I sometimes immerse myself in situations to get into a character’s head. When I was working on Famished, https://www.amazon.com/Famished-Park-Novel-Meghan-OFlynn-ebook/dp/B01EZ7HCEK, I wrote all the killer’s stalker scenes out on my back porch. By moonlight. It looks creepy as heck, but it keeps the neighbors away. Which gives me more time for jokes and tea.

As for my best advice for new writers: Don’t stop. You’ll have days where you wonder what you’re doing. Why you’re wasting your time. Nights when you want to throw your computer out the window at the neighbor’s cat for breaking your concentration (little fluffy punk). Keep going. Get an editor. Breathe. You’ll make it. And in the meantime, there’s always pretentious tea drinking and dirty limericks.

Thank you, Meghan. It was fun to mix around the questions. I’ve enjoyed talking to you.

Readers, you can find Meghan on her website at www.meghanoflynn.com or her Facebook group, Meghan O’Flynn’s Partners in Crime, https://www.facebook.com/groups/676239022514919/. Go ahead, visit her on either site.

 

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Happy New Year 2017: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy New Year! I hope that you, your family, and all of your friends have a wonderful and productive new year.

One of the things I do each year is set some writing goals. Usually I check in July to see how I’m doing but July was so busy this year, I never did get around to seeing how I was achieving the goals I set in January. Here’s the breakdown.

  1. Goal: Start an author interview post on my website for 2X per month.

I did that. I had two author interviews per month all year long. I plan on continuing this feature on my blog. See below for who’s coming up next, January 4th! Do you enjoy these? Is there an author you’d like to see on the feature? Let me know.

 

  1. Goal: Submit stories to newspapers/magazines about my appearances before and after each appearance.

I didn’t do so well on this goal. I would get busy and forget to send something to the paper for local appearances. However, I think I will keep this goal for 2017. Promotion is a big part of an indie author’s life and a good way to build a local following.

 

  1. Goal: Publish 6 books in 2016

I didn’t publish 6, but I did publish four: Kindred Spirits, Troubled Streets, and just under the wire, Mystery in the Woods. On the non-fiction side, I had 9 hiking articles in the Payson Roundup’s Trails book. Not too shabby. I don’t know if I can do another year with six books published but for 2017 I do want to put together a collection of my Science Fiction. I also have Mystery at the Book Festival to edit and publish. I also have a Brown Rain book drafted, called Tested. Which will also come out in 2017. I have a fun, novelette, Jania, Princess of Tania drafted. This is my take on a campy Space Opera. I may release that ebook only, I’m still thinking about that.

 

  1. Goal: Participate in the April and July Camp NaNo’s and in the November NaNo

I did participate in April and in November but because I run the book festival, there was just no way for me to get involved in the July Camp NaNo.

 

  1. Goal: Produce a Christmas Book this year.

I did not do a Christmas Book this year but some author friends and I were having a little fun brainstorming conversation in December and I came up with some ideas for a Christmas book. Some of them are doing the same. Not all of us liked all of the ideas so even if we all write a Christmas book out of the discussion, they’re going to be very different books. So that would bring my total 2017 published books to 5. Oh! I’m getting closer!

 

  1. Goal: Submit a story to the 2016 FM Anthology.

I did that. It’s a short story about a trip Kyra and Alyssa take just before they leave the Algonqwa tribe, just after Kindred Spirits. It’s called Vision Quest. No publishing date is available yet.

 

  1. Goal: Complete the Holly Lisle World Building class and the How to Write A Series Expanded class

This was not achievable. Holly came down with a life-threatening health condition and her site was totally under reconstruction. I just had a recent email though that she’s back at it, and putting the two classes back up on her renovated site. Yay! It’ll be on the 2017 goal list.

 

  1. Goal: Submit at least 20 stories to contests/magazines in 2016

I came close, 17 stories submitted to contests/magazines. I’ll keep this goal, too.

 

  1. Goal: Participate in May Story A Day

I did and created 12 stories. This goal stays as well.

 

  1. Goal: Increase speaking appearances and opportunities to sell my books to 12.

I didn’t achieve 12 but I did the following:

Appeared on an Indie Author panel at an Arizona Professional Writer meeting 1/21/16, April 16th I was at the Tempe Library Book Festival, June 3rd and 4th was the AZ Mystery Conference, June 30th I was on KRIM local radio as an author and to publicize the Book Festival. July 22nd was the Book Festival. On September 21st, I spoke at the Rim Country Chapter meeting on writing NaNo. In October I spent the 8th and 9th at the Pine, AZ, craft show selling and signing books. November 12th, I was with other local authors at the Romance Cottage here in Payson to chat with visitors to the rental’s open house. Total appearances: 9.

 

  1. Goal: Participate in the Payson Book Festival as an author.

Easy since I’m the organizer. We had a great festival in 2016, over 600 attendees and 95 authors. If you all are in Central Arizona on July 22, 2017, stop by the festival. All the details will be on my Where Will I Be tab.

 

I scheduled a Facebook Live for January 28th at 3pm, Arizona time. I had several people on the broadcast and I answered questions both live and afterward on the Facebook Live recording. That was fun! I’ll schedule another one for January.

 

Giveaways:

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway is now over. I’ll be notifying the winners of my prizes soon. Don’t miss out on the next one. It’s being called For the Love of Books, Valentines Giveaway. The link will be on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

 

Shout Out:

This week I’d like to shout out to Megan O’Flynn. She writes mysteries with a supernatural edge. If you like your mysteries a little dark and creepy, you’ll want to check out her interview. Can’t wait? She can be found at: www.meghanoflynn.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

I already have a January appearance. 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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Author Interviews: Maggie West

Author Maggie West

Author Maggie West

We have with us today the wonderful author, Maggie West. Maggie is a woman after my own heart writing several series in different genres. West is the author of the Antique Pickers in Paradise cozy mystery series and the Lily Thistle cozy mystery series, the Doorways to the Past time travel series, and several romance books. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to craft and sew, keep her kitten out of trouble (oh boy, good luck with that!), and take walks where she dreams up new stories.

I certainly appreciate your time, Maggie. Let’s get started!

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

I love looking for treasures at yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. I particularly love to find vintage items, like linens, kitchenware, and just anything that strikes my fancy.

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

I’d love to spend 10 minutes with Martin Short. A whole afternoon? Yeah! He’s a hoot and a half! I know it would be a fun afternoon since I’d spend it laughing.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Coffee. Definitely coffee. I sometimes drink warm herbal tea on cold nights. I gave up soda several years ago and now the stuff tastes awful to me!

picked-to-death-cover

4. What are you working on right now?

The third book in my antique pickers cozy mystery series. It’s tentatively called Picked On.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Straightforward with a touch of humor.

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

Keep writing. Like with anything else, the more you practice, the better you get.

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

I get lots of good ideas from watching people and listening in on conversations. So in a sense I find new ideas by being out and about, but I don’t purposely seek out experiences so I can write about them. They seem to come about from my own experiences and being observant.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

My website is MaggieWestBooks.com, and I can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MaggieWestAuthor.

Well I certainly appreciate finding new cozy mystery and time travel stories. Thank you so much, Maggie.

Readers, I hope you take the time to visit Maggie’s lovely pages and give her a lot of support. Thank you so much for being with us today.

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Author Interviews: J.B. Hawker

 

Author J.B. Hawker

Author J.B. Hawker

I’m very pleased to bring to you today Author J.B. Hawker. J.B. is a fellow cozy mystery author, 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.

I’m ready to get to know, J.B., aren’t you? Let’s get to it.

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

Gardening. I love to dig in the dirt and then enjoy the fruits (and veg and flowers!) of my labors. There is something so elemental about growing things. It is the perfect antidote for a high-tech lifestyle.

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

This is easy: my three granddaughters, ages 15, 6 and 5. They live in northern Italy, so I don’t see them in person often enough. Skype just isn’t the same.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Strong black tea with milk in the morning gets my engine started, then I take a cup of latte to my desk to begin writing. I almost never drink soda, but I like minty lemonade on a hot summer day.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m unwisely juggling three projects: a non-fiction resource for women’s ministry leaders, a collection of Christmas-themed short-stories, and the first book of my new Mrs. Thistlethwaite series, Mrs. Thistlethwaite and the Magpie, coming out in 2017.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I write from my own heart and experience. I try to create authentic characters I would like to spend time with. I try not to take myself too seriously, so there are bits of gentle humor in all my stories. I can be a bit dark, on occasion, but only when the story calls for it. I do write mysteries, after all, and that means bad guys.

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

Fear not. That’s the first thing. It’s both easier and harder than you think, but don’t let the enormity of the task paralyze you. Learn as much as you can about your craft, then just write, proof, edit and rewrite, but don’t wait for perfection before publishing or you’ll never think your work is ready for prime time.

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

I’ve been around the block quite a few times, so I’ve got enough stored experiences for a library of books. Occasionally, it will be a new adventure, like a trip to Italy, say, which sparks the writing ideas, but most often it is simple, day-to-day events which recall past experiences to mind.  I frequently write about pastors, their wives, and church life because I was a pastor’s wife for twenty-five years. I’ve lived all over, so those locations also find their way into my writing.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Website: http://jbhawker.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JBHawker.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HawkerJB

Blogs: Power Walking with Jonna (Inspirational): https://jonnaturek.wordpress.com/

Author Blog: http://jbhawker.com/category/author-blog/

And special news. 

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I just released a collection of cozy short stories for Christmas (along with recipes). I’m attaching the cover and this is the link. It’s only 99 cents through Christmas Eve. Here’s the link

Thank you so much J.B. for taking the time to be with us today.

Fellow readers, I invite you to visit J.B. on any of her pages. I’m sure there’s a cozy mystery just waiting for you there. And what a bargain on her new Christmas book! Get that today while it’s on sale.

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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.

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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:

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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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