Last Week of March Already: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I have four authors I need files from and the authors are set up. Hooray! We have 72 authors, a publisher, historical society, literacy organizations, it’s going to be great. We have booked the duo Windstrum. We have two separate rooms where we’ll have children’s story times, entertainment and author presentations. We’re also looking for sponsors. Putting on a festival of this size costs money and if you can support us, we’d love it. You can find an on-line fillable form on http://www.paysonbookfestival.org/sponsor-levels/.

April’s Camp NaNo starts Saturday and my plotting for the next Zoe Ohale story isn’t going any better than last week. I’m going to have to plot heavily this week or write “Into the Dark” as Dean Wesley Smith, says. Have you read the first Zoe Ohale book, Troubled Streets? Where do you think Zoe should go next?

Apple Blossoms and Bee by Randy Cockrell

Not much on the gardening front. A cold snap came in and for the last week we’ve been getting cold, frosty nights and two days ago it was hailing. However, the local stores have been getting in tiny plants and I’m eager to put something in the ground. I just found out about the flower, borage. It helps keep hornworms off of your tomatoes. I’m going to get at least a couple of borage plants to put in the tomato bed. I also learned about pruning my tomato plants of the suckers. I’m going to try it out and see if it helps. My tomatoes are usually running amok and taking over every square inch of space for two feet around the outside of the bed. Hopefully, this will help.

Sadie – 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”

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The last episode is coming up this Friday. I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up. Enjoy.

I’m prepping the April flash stories so I can focus on the Camp NaNo story. The first one is a riff off my Gulliver Station series. The rest is a fantasy serial I started two days ago. I have no idea where I’m going with it right now but there’s an elf princess, so it has that going for it.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is now over. I’ll be contacting the winners soon. In a few days I’ll have the spring giveaway up. If you missed out on the last one, the next will be your chance to win.

 

Shout Out:

I don’t have an Author Interview scheduled this week. So let me give a shout out to Anita Stewart. A speculative fiction (SciFi and Horror) author, she’s a major mover and shaker in the below noted B2BCyCon. You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/afstewart, to learn more.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. I’ve added some content. Please feel free to comment on the posts. Are you a Goodreads user? Love to see you there. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, here’s your chance to find a ton of books, chats with other readers and even ask an author a question. Me included!

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.

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

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up 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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Book Festival, Brain To Books Cycon, Gardening: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I’m finalizing the author registrations for the Payson Book Festival. That involves tracking down the authors who owe me files and getting them up on the website. We have a wonderful group of authors lined up covering every genre in fiction and non-fiction that you can think of. We’re also looking for sponsors. Putting on a festival of this size costs money and if you can support us, we’d love it. You can find an on-line fillable form on http://www.paysonbookfestival.org/sponsor-levels/.

There’s only a couple of weeks left before April’s Camp NaNo and my plotting for the next Zoe Ohale story isn’t going well. I’m just writing scene cards and it all seems trite and done before. Sigh. I’ll keep working at it. Have you read the first Zoe Ohale book, Troubled Streets? Where do you think Zoe should go next?

All the roses are trimmed and the canes disposed of. The oregano and lavender dead stems were trimmed. Compost has been restarted. I dug out the broccoli stems and planted potatoes. The apple tree I thought I’d lost last spring has a shoot coming up from the root stock. That’s pretty exciting! I’m going to let it grow and see what it is. I failed to trim the peach tree and now it’s in full bloom. I guess I’m going to have to do it now. The nectarine tree is also in bloom and between them, my rosemary is blooming. The pink and blue flowers look so nice together. The garden is looking good!

This is Dos. He’s ready to be adopted.

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”

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The episode is coming up this Friday. I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up. Enjoy.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is now over. I’ll be contacting the winners soon. In a few days I’ll have the spring giveaway up. If you missed out on the last one, the next will be your chance to win.

 

Shout Out:

A shout out this week to my poet friend Carena del Uno. She’s releasing a book of poetry this week, Echoes Within the Wondrous. Carena’s Amazon author page is https://www.amazon.com/Carena-del-Uno/e/B00JHZ4XH0 where you can find her other books, too.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. I’ve added some content. Please feel free to comment on the posts. Are you a Goodreads user? Love to see you there. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, here’s your chance to find a ton of books, chats with other readers and even ask an author a question. Me included!

I’m also on a scifi webinar panel discussion on March 22nd at 1pm Eastern time titled The new age with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Wars? Are we looking at a new audience? This webinar will be conducted early and recorded then replayed during the con so you have two chances to listen in! How cool is that! I’ll publish more info as I get it.

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.

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

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up 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: Anna Payne

Author Anna Payne

I’m very pleased to bring Anna Payne, Christian Cozy Mystery author to the website today. Anna K Payne loves a mystery. Her favorite movies include one-liners and things that explode. Her relationship with her Savior is her number one priority and her family come second. Her passion and vision is to inspire hope, encourage others, love richly, and listen well through the strength of Jesus Christ. She seeks to inspire and encourage through her devotionals and cozy mysteries as well as aiding her family of writers publish their own books.

Anna, let’s get started!

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

I love my kids, my cats, and I love reading. I love keeping up with extended family throughout the world.

Because of my food allergies and a constant struggle with digestive issues I have developed a keen interest in a healthy diet, supplements, and essential oils.

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

So many bible characters come to mind, Jesus, the Father, but I think my grandfathers would be interesting. Both of my grandfathers have a sense of humor and they loved telling stories. And I enjoyed listening. If I could spend an afternoon with them and hear them speak of the glories of heaven, it would be fun. I’d like to joke with them and laugh with them again.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I drink a glass of Masala tea every morning, then I can have decaf tea. But mostly I drink water with essential oils.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m still in editing mode right now. I’m finishing my latest novella, Rose, Book 6 of Planted Flowers Christian cozy mystery series. I’m creating a bible study workbook to use with the series.

In the next few months, I will edit and reissue on of my grandmother’s book of family history, help my mom publish her first book on the fruit of the Spirit, and edit several books I’ve written in another series, Matthew’s Matchmakers. Before the end of the year I hope to work on a Santa Clarita valley time travel suspense novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style is a fast paced Christian suspense with surprising twists. I tell stories of faith, hopeless humanity, and how they discover hope.

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

Write down your ideas and start putting words on paper (or screen). Be bold, learn how to edit a book, and write what thrills you.

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?

Most of my ideas come from off-hand remarks people make. For some reason, I see a story behind most conversations. And I can hear the sinister overtones where everyone else sees a peaceful vista.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

My main website is www.apayne.com and you can find the other sites from there. You can download free books at https://www.instafreebie.com/author/AnnaKPayne

Thank you so much Anna, for visiting with us today.

And gentle readers, check out Anna’s site, social media and free books. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Gardening, Conferences and More!: Monday Blog Post

Connie vs Horton Creek taken by Randy Cockrell

While the mid-west and east coast are taking a major weather beating, here in central Arizona the weather couldn’t be more perfect. Yesterday hubby and I took a short hike on the very popular Horton Creek trail. The creek was running high and the above picture is me, trying to get across. I made it that time but when we came back my left leg didn’t want to be the first on that skinny log and I ended up crossing through the water a few feet downstream. Since we were heading home, I didn’t mind my pant legs being wet. Today my feet are a putting up a bit of a fuss about having to had to go on a 2 mile hike but it’s not too bad. A little stretching will take care of it.

The organizer for a Nook promo I mentioned last week is sending a list of authors and books for the promo. I sent in for Mystery at the Book Festival. I imagine we’ll here soon if Nook agrees to run the promo with us. Stay tuned for that.

Peach Blossoms

The roses did get trimmed, all but one. I have to get to it this week. I haven’t stopped at the hardware store yet for the potatoes.  I see my nectarine tree is already starting to bloom. The peach and pear and apples won’t be far behind. This is a picture from last year.

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The last two episodes are coming up this Friday and next. I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up. Enjoy.

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:

Author Anna Payne

This week’s shout out goes to Anna Payne. She’s an author of Christian Cozy Mysteries, the Planted Flowers series. If you can’t wait until Wednesday’s Author Interview, check out her website at apayne.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. The link was just established so I don’t have anything in there yet. But I will!

I’m also on a scifi webinar panel discussion on March 22nd at 1pm Eastern time titled The new age with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Wars? Are we looking at a new audience? And another panel on March 25th at 7pm eastern titled Science Fiction doesn’t need to be factural! It’s Fiction! Vs Science Fiction must have accurate science! These last two webinars occur early and recorded then replayed during the con so you have two chances to listen in! How cool is that! I’ll publish more info as I get it.

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.

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

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up 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: Gail Kittleson

Welcome today to author Gail Kittleson. Gail writes Women’s Fiction and memoir, with a focus on the World War II era. She facilitates writing workshops and speaks on writing-related topics. She and her husband enjoy Rim Country during the winter.

And I love your line: Dare to Bloom. That’s a wonderful way to greet your readers. So, first question.

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

It’s a tie between hiking and reading. Hiking/walking frees my mind, and reading has always intrigued me.

 

2. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I’m a tea person, and Good Earth original Sweet and Spice is my favorite—I could own stock in the company.

 

3. What are you working on right now?

My work in progress. Right now, it’s called A Distant Goodness, and it’s the sequel to the second in my Women of the Heartland World War II series. Depending on the editor’s opinion of the title, it may change, since my second one did.

 

4. How would you describe your writing style?

My heroines and heroes juggle difficult questions and situations. I guess that’s obvious, since the stories are set in the midst of a nasty war. I do my best to remain faithful to historical facts, and really enjoy the intensive research required.

 

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

Keep in mind that writing carries no guarantees. It’s a calling (in my humble opinion), and sometimes seems to have a life of its own. If you’re a control freak, you’ll likely experience frustration. And if you’ve put off writing for a long time, never fear—with a little nurturing and a lot of courage, your gift can still blossom.

 

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

The ideas come during regular everyday experiences, but once the main character gets firmly planted in my brain/heart, the research begins. That’s one way of immersing myself in new situations—I try to drop down into the historical era/setting as much as possible. Plotting is tougher than characterization for me, so the research helps the story unfold.

Documentaries and movies can sometimes be helpful, and in my dreams, I plan research trips to London and Southern France. (:

 

6. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

http://www.gailkittleson.com/

www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor

http://twitter.com/gailgkittleson

http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson

Thank you so much, Gail, for joining us today. We all enjoyed it.

Readers, you can follow Gail on two social media sites, her website and her Amazon page to keep up with her releases. Check them out today.

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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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Author Interviews: Colleen Cross

colleen-author-pic

I’d like to welcome Colleen Cross to my blog today. Colleen Cross writes page-turning thrillers and fun, cozy mysteries. She lives with her family on the West Coast. When she’s not writing, she loves to run, hike, and explore with her rescue dog Jaeger, who reminds her daily that life’s too short to not follow your dreams–or a squirrel or two. Her books are international bestsellers and have been translated into multiple languages with more to come.

I’m sure we’ll have fun today. Let’s get started, shall we?

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

I like to run and hike with my dog, Jaeger. We have fun wearing each other out. 🙂

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

Agatha Christie. Aside from her talent as a mystery writer, she was extremely successful as a businesswoman in an era where women didn’t work. It would be fascinating to get her perspective on things.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Strong coffee.

4. What are you working on right now?

witch-you-well-cover

I am writing books 3 and 4 of a humorous witch cozy mystery.

5. How would you describe your writing style? Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Read lots on the craft, join a critique group and write as much, and as regularly, as you can. Practice makes perfect. I would also advise someone just starting out to research their genre by studying bestsellers. You can write what you love, but you also want to be able to see it. There’s a way to do both if you study the market.

6. 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 am never short of ideas. I probably have 3-4 ideas a day for different books. Plotting and writing it out is where the real work is for me.

7. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me here:

Website: http://colleencross.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colleenxcross/

exit-strategy-cover

Thank you so much Colleen. Both of your series sound like a lot of fun. Dear readers, please visit her website at www.colleencross.com and sign up for her twice-yearly private newsletter to hear about new releases and exclusive subscriber-only offers. You can also connect with her on social media: Twitter: @colleenxcross or find her on Goodreads.

 

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Author Interview: James Stack

I want to give a warm welcome to James Stack, a non-fiction author. James lives in the lovely and gentle state of Vermont and his memoir, WORLD’S FAIR, and collection of poetry, PLEASURES & SEASONS OF VERMONT, were published in 2013. His blog, Postcards From Lebanon, about his experience with chemotherapy, appeared on The Huffington Post during 2013/2014. His poems have appeared in ENGLYN: Journal of Four Line Poetry, the Maine Review (Grand Prize winner), America Is Not the World (Pankhearst Anthology), and Ash & Bones, among others. His short stories have appeared in the Maine Review and Five2One Magazine and been semifinalists in the New Millennium Writings and Cutthroat contests.

We’re so glad to have you here, James.

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

This is an interesting question. It has caused me to think about what I do that could be considered a hobby since everything I do is fun. After all, the definition of a hobby is: “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” At my age, all the episodes of my life are considered leisure time, especially the time during which I write. As such, all that I now do could be considered a hobby. With that said, some things may reside in that niche more than others. I have to say that cooking – the planning, shopping and preparation – would have to be my favorite hobby.

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

There isn’t one person who would fit this bill. There are so many. It’s interesting as I think about it. I would have to insist on some requirements. The person would have to be willing to talk to me and be honest. I say this because as I thought about spending the afternoon with my father, he would have been silent and lied as he had in life. All questions would be allowed. There should be nothing off limits, as my mother would have told me, “There are some things you don’t ask in polite society.” There could be no judgmental replies by either party. This is important because time can be wasted on defending topics.

Then it came to me. A mythical bolt of lightening struck. I’d like to spend a sunny, warm, pleasant afternoon with my pre-teen self, after my parents divorced.

I’d love to tell that short, skinny, acne-faced, hormonal boy that not only does life gets better, but I’d want to be convincing since I know what I have in front of me. To encourage the once extrovert in myself that had been cowered to come out of his shell and live life to the fullest so long as we/I do no harm to anyone else. Begin reading everything you/I/we can get our hands on and don’t stop because it will help us be a more knowledgeable and better person/writer. This part of my/our time together should never come across as my preaching to myself, as I know my younger self would never have listened. It would have to be an intimate dialogue where I could share with the pre-teen I had become that there are so many glorious experiences that I/we will have and not to spend so much time worrying about what might have been or will be. Simply know that it will be glorious! I could then put my soul to rest.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tea is my drink of choice during the morning, followed by well water from lunch until dinnertime, during which wine becomes my drink of choice. After dinner it is more water before bed and through the night. My favorite tea is from India – Assam Bop – whose botanical name is Camellia Sinensis. I do not like coffee. In fact, the smell of a fresh pot of coffee makes me ill. I do like the odor of coffee beans, but not the brewed aroma. I used to drink more than my share of diet Pepsi. I will still drink it, but only when traveling or skiing. I allow myself to luxuriate in the treat of a diet Pepsi soda at only those times. I could easily fall off the non-soda wagon and partake once again, but I do fight the urge every day.

4. What are you working on right now?

Funny you should ask. My primary focus is a novel, tentatively entitled The Wycliffe Six. It is a New Adult, coming-of-age, mini mystery that has as its themes friendship, bigotry and betrayal. I’m also working on a series of short stories with my prior Vermont home, Popplewood Farm, as the common theme. I also have several flash fiction pieces in draft form. In reserve I have three collections of poetry hovering around the lower limbs of the maple trees. With that said, I’m hoping to soon begin querying agents about my novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I’m actually glad you asked this question, as I believe it crosses several genres. As such, it is hard to classify. As for how I would describe it, my pen (actually a keyboard) flows from personal experiences. Those that are considered non-fiction are based upon the truth as I lived it. The ones that are fiction have elements of truth mixed in with sensational text to embellish and enhance what I might have experienced or read. I consider myself a realist with a twist. My memoir was from my memory; my novel is expanded realism; my poetry is highlighted life; while my short stories are capable of incorporating fantasy since they may be told from the perspective of a talking bird or ghost.

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

I have three pieces of advice for anyone beginning their writing career:

  1. Read everything on which you can get your hands. The classics are a good place to start. The books that received awards, like the Man Booker International Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize in Literature Pushcart Prize and many more. Also incorporate books within your genre. For instance, if you are a romance novelist, you will want to read those that I don’t believe have won any of the awards I’ve mentioned.
  2. Write at least 500 words every day without editing (editing can be done later). In order to get started, think of them as flash fiction pieces, even if based on a fact of life. Many terrific short stories and novels have come from this exercise.
  3. Do not fear failure or being declined. This is what others call rejection. It’s part of the life of a writer (also being human). Put yourself out there, starting with having other writers/editors read your work. Look for honest feedback. Failure only makes us stronger and better writers.

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 have to say I do not actively look for writing ideas. My past and day-to-day living have provided so many experiences from which to draw stories. Some are invented and some are based on truth, yet embellished, while still others are drawn from the actual instances in which I breathed. I have traveled extensively, and I have yet to write any stories about the places I’ve visited. I don’t lack for ideas. My struggle is with turning those ideas into a viable story that someone might want to read. My life, to my way of thinking, is not boring; but when I tell a story about it, most times there needs to be a twist or kick to make it interesting to someone else. The truth of the matter is that life is often stranger than fiction.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I don’t yet have an author webpage, but the following are links to where you can find me or follow me.

http://www.siroliverofskygatefarm.com (blog)

https://www.facebook.com/JamesStackAuthor (facebook)

On twitter @SkygateStack

World’s Fair

Pleasures & Seasons of Vermont

Thank you so much, James for being on today’s interview with us. I know I appreciate getting some tips from a non-fiction author.

Readers, check out James’ social media. You’ll be glad you did.

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Author Interviews: Lyndsey Cole

I’d like to welcome author Lyndsey Cole to the blog today. Lyndsey Cole lives in New England in a small rural town with her husband who puts up with all the characters in her head, her dog who hogs the couch, her cat who is the boss, and 3 chickens that would like to move into the house. She surrounds herself with gardens full of beautiful perennials. Sitting among the flowers with the scent of lilac, peonies, lily of the valley, or whatever is in bloom, stimulates her imagination about who will die next!

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

I would have to say gardening, especially flower gardens. I spent thirty years growing cut flowers to sell to flower shops and there’s something about the scent, the colors, the variety, and the short life span that has me addicted to flowers!

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

I would love to meet Sue Grafton. I love her Kinsey Millhone character –a strong, smart female – and it would be fascinating to hear how she develops a story, where the initial idea comes from, her plotting method, where she pulls her characters from, and her writing discipline.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

That’s an easy choice—tea. I’ve never been a coffee drinker even though I love the smell of coffee and soda is just too sweet for my taste buds. My routine is a pot of black tea in the morning and a pot of either lemon ginger or peppermint in the afternoon.

 

4. What are you working on right now?

I’ve just completed book 9, Jingle Buried Cookies, in my Black Cat Café series and I’m working on an outline for book 5 in my Hooked & Cooked series.

 

5.  How would you describe your writing style?

Usually I just start right in once I have an idea for the first paragraph but with my latest project, I’m forcing myself to spend more time plotting with the hope that the writing will go quicker.

 

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

Write! Put one word after another and repeat until done! Sounds easy, doesn’t it, but if you don’t start, you will have nothing. One of the first things I remember reading is, you can fix crap but you can’t fix nothing, or something like that. You will get better the more you write.

 

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?

Both but probably more the normal, day-to-day stuff. My secret idea generator is my 90 year old mom who moved in with me a year ago. She loves giving me ideas and I’ve used several in my books!

 

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

http://lyndseycolebooks.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/LyndseyColeAuthor/

Thank you so much, Lyndsey for joining us today. We’ve enjoyed talking to you.

Readers, if you’d like to know more or follow Lyndsey in her writing journey, check out her website and facebook pages!

 

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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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