Monday Blog Post: Memorial Day Weekend

Hummingbirds, Bees, Feeder, Randy Cockrell

Hummingbirds vs Bees by Randy Cockrell

So how was your Memorial Day weekend? Do anything fun? Go camping? Have the whole family over for a BBQ? My town’s Farmer’s market opened for the first time this season on Saturday. Mom and I went early, saw all the stalls, some new, many returning again. She bought a huge cinnamon bun from the local bakery and we both bought tamales from the tamale lady to eat for breakfast. I had the green pork and she had the red pork tamale. Yummy in my tummy. On Sunday, hubby, me and my mom went to the Pine Craft Fair. Randy had the Navajo Taco to eat. One of our hiking friends was a volunteer making them. So that was fun. Then we had what hubby and his brother call a Taco Feast on Sunday evening. The two brothers had fun reminiscing about taco night when they were boys.

This month’s challenge is called May Story A Day, May SAD, and I committed to write 10 stories for the month and actually shoot for 12. As of the 23rd, I have 9 stories written, most of them are flashes but there are a couple of short stories in the mix, too. In my other writing group I’m still keeping up with my 5 minutes per day writing challenge. I have missed a day or two but I’ve been diligent about putting something on the screen every day.

Last week I mentioned that I’ve upgraded my my website. I now have a basic site up and running at www.conniesrandomthoughts.com. Notice there is no more wordpress in the URL. I’ll be closing down www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. Last week I asked you to go check up the new site and follow that before you lose out on weekly stories and my writing updates! Unfortunately, the site subscribe button was missing. I’ve spent many hours this week putting a subscribe button on there as well as social media follow and share buttons. I’m not a web site developer or a programmer but I’ve got things operational. Take a look.

My editors at Silver Jay Media helped me cut the final 600 words in my short story, Eavesdroppers, and it’s now in their capable hands for the final line and copy editing. If you’re thinking that it’s quite a process, you’re correct. At any rate, soon the story will be as good as I can make it and I’ll send it off to a contest. I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress.

The Payson Book Festival is at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. Check out the site, especially the Meet the Authors tab. Is your favorite author listed? If not, come and find a new favorite author. Mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Today’s picture is of our hummingbird feeder. Somehow tiny cracks developed in the bottom of the feeder. The leaking nectar attracted the bees. It went on like this for several days and the hummingbirds were not happy. Anyway, Friday, hubby took the feeder down and repaired the cracks. No more nectar for the bees. The hummingbirds are happy. The bees got a head start on their honey making.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Monday Blog Post: Anyone have a Super Bowl Hangover?

e-book Cover, Lost Rainbows, J.A. Marlow

Cover for Lost Rainbows by J.A. Marlow

I just finished watching the Super Bowl. I chose to root for the Patriots because I’m from upstate NY. No other reason. Imagine my delight that they won. My 2nd brother, I have 4 of them, was rooting for the Seahawks. Sorry Bro. I invited my husband’s brother down from the neighboring town and the four of us, Hubby, me, mom and Bro-in-law, had a good time chowing down on pulled pork sandwiches and chicken wings and coleslaw. Brother-in-law brought a coconut cream pie for dessert. Yummy.  A good day all around.

I have finished getting Lost Rainbows up on both Smashwords and CreateSpace so you should be able to find the book on Amazon at the very least. I put the first chapter out last month on my newsletter. You didn’t get it? Sign up for the newsletter on my blog, www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll get the scoop on what I’m writing much earlier than I post it here.

Today I’m headed for Phoenix with a bunch of hiking friends. We’re going to ride our bikes on a Greenway path from Scottsdale to Tempe Town Lake and back again, about 30 miles. I think I have lost my mind but we’ll see. Tuesday is the regular hiking day and it’s a 7 mile hike. Yep, I’m thinking I need an evaluation. Hopefully on Wednesday I’ll be still walking.

On the writing front. I’m still working on the first draft of my All About Bob series, It’s a College Thing. The title sucks, I hope by the time I finish it something better will occur to me. I have seven scenes left to write so it will be a novella, unless in revision it becomes something else. This remains to be seen. I’m also editing the NaNo novel from November, Mystery at the Fair. I have a lot of irons in the fire, for sure. Want special updates and offers? Check out signing up for my newsletter.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Blog Post: Last Monday of 2014

Gold Fish

Gold fish in large Tank by Randy Cockrell

It’s the last Monday of the year. I hope your Christmas was merry and bright. My daughter and her boyfriend came down from Flagstaff to visit both sets of families. Of course we all overdosed on turkey dinner. They got it twice. Presents were exchanged. I received books I’ve had on my list. I’m already a third of the way through one. We have had a quiet weekend. Sunday I spent time exploring a program called Daz3D. Its basic program is free with extra things you can buy to expand the options. I went through a lot of tutorials and spent an hour playing with it. It will take some time to learn how to create backgrounds, people/creatures, and effects. Check it out at Daz3D.com.

The garden is finished till growing season. I spread compost and planted onion and parsley seed. I should see activity in February or March, depending on the weather. The bed that’s overrun with mint, I spent a lot of time pulling roots, twice! But there’s still mint in there. I’ll have to be very diligent about pulling it up every time I see some poking its head up. In the meantime, I have a 2 foot square of grass that we planted for the dog who is now gone. I’ll drop some roots in there and see how they do. The square is surrounded by hostile ground, the hard, rocky, clay soil of my yard. It should stay contained there pretty well.

This week we have an invite to a New Year’s Eve get together and a New Year’s Day brunch. Both are pot lucks and I have my recipes selected. I’ll need one or two more ingredients so I’ll go shopping today for what’s still needed. Oh! I’ll take pictures of one of them and share it on another blog I where I post. It’s called Chicklet’s In the Kitchen on WordPress. I am scheduled to post on the 25th of every month.

On the writing front, I’ve been editing a short story called After Math. It’s been shopped out to three different contests and was rejected each time. I’ve revised it and sent it to a Content Editor for review. Once I get it back and make final changes, I’ll submit before the end of February deadline for that contest. I’m also working on my leprechaun story, called Lost Rainbows. That’s been edited and I’ll be passing it out to my beta readers this week. I hope to have it published by the end of January. If you’re interested in following this process more closely, sign up for my newsletter. Special offers show up there you may be interested in receiving.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

The Downtrodden: a Brown Rain Story released November 22nd! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Writing Platform? Do I have One?

Phoebe at Park by Randy Cockrell

Phoebe at Park by Randy Cockrell

When I saw this month’s topic, to be honest, I was baffled. I didn’t know what that meant. So, being a modern woman I went to the internet to get some help. I stumbled on http://www.be-a-better-writer.com/writing-platform.html and checked out the definition there. Here’s the first paragraph on their page.

“Having a writing platform means that you have an audience, and that you have some vehicle in place to reach that audience when you have books to sell. This platform is as important to those not yet published as it is to established writers.”

Oh! Yeah, how am I contacting people, selling books, putting my name out there? Good question. The site offers thirteen things you should or could do to create a rounded “platform”. If you’re interested in what they suggest, check out the site. However, we get all of this same information right here on Forward Motion. Here are a few of the things I do.

Aside from writing the next book, which is the number one suggestion, I started a blog. One day I’ll turn it into a regular website but for now, until I start earning money from my books, the blog does much of what a website will do for me. It forces me to write to my audience on a regular basis. I’ve settled on two days per week, Monday and Friday. Friday’s are for a flash fiction piece. It tends to be a little rough. After all, I’m putting out a story a week! But that regularity helps me be consistent. Don’t think I gained a lot of readers right off the bat, it took a long time and I still have fewer than 500. Monday posts are for getting to know me. I share news about my garden, my writing, my family, my hobbies. I’ve focused my blog on my readers, not other authors. You won’t find author tips there but you may find a recipe to use the abundance of your garden.

I have business cards for my writing. That’s another suggestion. When I mention that I’m an author, people want to take a look at what I’m writing. A business card makes it easy. I use the cover of my most recent book as the graphic and usually print ten or so at a time with my facebook page and blog page listed so people can find me. When do I buy business cards? See the next paragraph.

To get more exposure, do an author signing, or a reading at the local library, or give a presentation to a local group. An author signing can be at a book store, the local library or in my case, a local craft fair. I made sure I had plenty of professional looking business cards made up, they cost about $10, and I had a postcard made as a give away at my table. It’s good to offer a little something extra to those that buy your book. And it’s nice to have something with your info on it to give those who look interested but don’t buy right that minute.

Another thing I’ve done is help other authors. I had a lot of help in my path to learn how to be an author. Now, I feel confident enough to help other authors. Being generous with my knowledge helps others and who do you think they’ll mention to their readers when they talk about how they became successful? This is a good place to mention that you can use your website or blog platform to help authors advertise their books. Give them a platform or give them a review. It’s all good.

There are a lot of other ways to add to your writer’s platform. Some I have the time and competence to do, others I’ve not tried yet. If you’re a reader, how do you feel about going to your favorite author’s website? If you’re an author, what do you do to build your writer’s platform? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment box below.

About the picture above. I was looking for a picture of puzzlement. I didn’t find any I liked but I did come across this picture of a little chihuahua I know, Phoebe. It was so cute I had to use it.

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Fun Times In August

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station Cover Reveal by Connie Cockrell

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station Cover Reveal by Connie Cockrell

My friend Selena Laurence is releasing her new book, Buried, today. A picture of her book cover is below. You can find it at:
B&N –> http://bit.ly/1qXpeyt
iTunes –> http://bit.ly/1ra0NeJ
Goodreads –> http://bit.ly/1kQkPpw
#JuanAndBeth — with Selena Laurence.

10561612_714787788588447_8940547487853398356_n

We had a wonderful rainy thunderstorm on Saturday. The air cooled down, the rain fell, the plants became very happy. Yay for rain!
Well I completed Revolution’s formatting and put it up on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, CreateSpace and Smashwords. I’m very excited. I have a good deal for you if you’re a subscriber to my newsletter. Want to get on it? Sign up in the next five days and I’ll get you in on it too!
The Northern Gila County fair is in a month. We’ve been working with the printer to publish the Fair books and I’ve been updating the website, www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com, to correct out of date information. The site is still a work in progress but at least the information is correct. LOL! Do you attend your local county fair? What do you like the best about it?
Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.
I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here. Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.
Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

It’s Officially Summer!

Glow Stick Fun by Randy Cockrell 2013

Glow Stick Fun by Randy Cockrell 2013

It’s not a surprise. Here in central Arizona the days reach the ninety degree mark. Hot, hot, hot!

As you can imagine, the garden is taking off. The potatoes are ready to be dug up. The hot pepper plants are producing, the tomatoes are all in bloom. I have to keep an eye out now for hornworms. The buggers look exactly like a tomato leaf so they’re hard to see, until they’ve eaten half a plant, that is. I have some volunteer vines growing. At first I thought they were butternut squash, like last year, but the blossoms are too small. So these could be cantaloupe or cucumber. I have to wait to see.

Summer weekends in Payson are lively, to say the least. Friday night was a wine tasting at the local liquor store. We see a lot of our friends there each week. Saturday morning is the Farmer’s Market. It’s not just vegetables, though produce is there in abundance. There’s also canned goods, crafts, music and food. My favorite? The tamale’s. Yummy. Saturday evening’s are for the concert in the park. Hundreds of people come to these. The music is good. Kids get to run around on the grass playing Frisbee, tossing softballs, and having fun with glow sticks. Adults chat with friends. Fun for all and the local ice cream store and a hot dog vendor set up in the park, just in case you missed dinner.

Revolution was sent out to beta readers over a week ago and copies are coming back. So far so good, the readers seem to like the book. Once they’re all back, I’ll make the edits and turn it over to hubby for a final copy edit. The cover is nearly finished, too. I’m tweaking the front cover picture, then I’ll do a reveal.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Please sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get first dibs on any promotions, book announcements, and other information. Want to know how to get a free copy of each new book? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Want to be a beta reader? Sign up for the newsletter! I’ll give you a free copy. All I ask is a review on the e-tailer or Goodreads site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here.  Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Hard Choices: A Gulliver Station Story released May17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

A New Week

The Last Obstacles in the Mogollon Mudder June 7th, 2014 Photo by Connie Cockrell

The Last Obstacles in the Mogollon Mudder June 7th, 2014
Photo by Connie Cockrell

So much is going on with me personally and in the world, it almost makes me want to unplug from the TV and Internet. Plane crashes, child kidnappings, school shootings, it is all very sad. I always seem to be asking myself what those people were thinking. My hubby’s response is generally, “They’re crazy.” I guess that’s it. They’re crazy.

My mom hasn’t been well so I worry about that too. She has a series of tests coming up and with any luck a treatment will result that lets her get back her strength and breathing. I hope so. I talk with her just about daily. She spent the weekend with my second brother and his family. A mini-vacation so to speak. She’ll go home tomorrow morning.

I picked an early Sun Gold cherry tomato yesterday and one ripe blueberry. They never made it to the house. I ate them right there in the garden, still warm from the sun. Doesn’t get better than that.

Saturday I went to the Farmer’s Market and attended the Monster Mogollon Mudder. For those who don’t know, it’s a 5K run with obstacles that you have to climb or crawl over or through. Lots of mud pits along the way. A friend of ours was entered of over 400 entrants, twice the size it was last year. A good crowd of spectators was there, as well. The above picture is from that event.

I’m still editing Revolution. It’s going slowly because I’m also taking a writing class that is heavy on the planning work and writing my flash stories for Fridays. I put out a newsletter a couple of days ago. I made an offer to those readers. Want to know what the offer was? Sign up for the newsletter. Those readers get a few perks that others don’t. June is planning month for the July Camp Nano. I still don’t have an idea. I was thinking about my Gulliver Station series and started to wonder what kind of marketing I could do for it. One idea is a little shamrock pin, similar to the one Meg gave Jo to wear to show that she is part of the Underground. Another idea is a ship patch, for the Adirondack. The Adirondack features in both Hard Choices and Revolution. What do you all think? Would either of those be of interest to you?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Please sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get first dibs on any promotions, book announcements, and other information. Want to know how to get a free copy of each new book? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Want to be a beta reader? Sign up for the newsletter! I’ll give you a free copy. All I ask is a review on the e-tailer or Goodreads site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here.  Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Hard Choices: A Gulliver Station Story released May17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

End of November 2013

I finished my National Novel Writing Month challenge. It’s the last book of my Gulliver Station series. I’m pretty excited about it. I release the first book of the series at the end of January so stay tuned for the announcements.
December is a grueling month for me. I need to edit/revise the first book of the Gulliver Station series. Why, do you ask, have I waited for so long? I wrote the 1st book in April of 2013. I’ve been in a steep learning curve all of this year. I want the book to be the best it can be at my current level of writing expertise. So, I’ve delayed and delayed. Now it’s time. I have to put up the book. Stick with me people. I’m getting better all the time. I also need to design book covers, write my Flash Fiction Friday posts and oh, yeah. Do all of the family Christmas stuff, like baking, candy making, putting up Christmas decorations. Oh, yeah, presents. People like presents to be under the tree!
Above all of that, it’s my husband’s birthday and we’re having a host of people over for a party. Well, I’ve got a lot to do!
Links:
Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get first dibs on any promotions, book announcements, and other information. Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. http://conniesrandomthoughts.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=8c24bb15bdf9245512f722298&id=0a097feea0
I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/conniecockrell Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.
Christmas Tales released November 17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon or Smashwords today!
Links:
Kobo: Still loading.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-tales-connie-cockrell/1117497310?ean=9781494200572
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Tales-Connie-Cockrell/dp/1494200570/ref=la_B009O6199C_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385963121&sr=1-4
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/379010
Apple: Still loading

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Join My Team and Other News

I’m finalizing my Christmas Tales collection. Would you like to be among the 1st to read it? I’m looking for beta readers. If you’d like to be “in the know” and a critical part of my next book, sign up for my Newsletter. You can do that two ways. There’s a link at the top right of the page and a Newsletter tab where you can sign up. In a week or so, I’ll be sending the draft out and looking for critical feedback on punctuation, missing or misspelled words and any other mistakes to be found in the stories. Sign up today!

Image

Other news, NaNo starts on Friday. My writer friends and I are gearing up, finalizing our outlines, cleaning our desks and stocking up on snack food. It will be 30 full days of writing madness.

Halloween Tales released September 30th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon or Smashwords today!

Links:

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/halloween-tales-a-collection-of-stories

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/halloween-tales-connie-cockrell/1116995365?ean=2940045288972

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-Tales-Collection-Connie-Cockrell/dp/1492783072/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380515780&sr=1-2&keywords=Halloween+Tales

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/359689

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/halloween-tales-collection/id716418558?mt=11

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr