Author Interview: Mary Ann Edwards

Author Mary Anne Edwards

Today I’d like to welcome Mary Anne Edwards. Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, will be released in June 2017, with at least five more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Mary Ann.

 

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

I love to read. Yes, I know rather boring but I rarely get the chance to sit down and read. Before I starting writing full-time, I read a book a week. Now it more like a book a month.

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

My mother passed away February last year. I’d like one more day to her how much I love her and how thankful I am for her support and influence.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else? Yes, please! I like coffee with lots of cream and no sugar. I also enjoy a good cup of hot tea. I LOVE diet Dr Pepper, too much. I’ve cut back from my 2 liters plus a day habit to one soda a few times a week. I’m drinking lots of water now. I purchased an infusion pitcher. I’ve made all sorts of water like Pineapple Jalapeno Mint to simple Lemon Mint water.

4. What are you working on right now?

My fifth book, Flirting With Time: A Charlie McClung Mystery, will be released June 30th. I’m currently working on the sixth book in the series, Good To Be Kind.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Hank Phillippi Ryan, bestselling author and award-winning journalist described my style of writing this way, “It’s as if Agatha Christie wrote Hart to Hart.” My books are traditional mysteries with romance and fun.

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

Get a website or blog or both going right now. Start building your network before your book is released. Once your book is released you’ll have a fanbase ready to buy your book.

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?

My ideas come from music and everyday life. Tom Petty’s music gets my writing juice flowing for some reason. I guess his music is my muse. LOL!

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Facebook and Twitter are my two major hangouts but I have a website and I can be found on Pinterest and a few other places. Here are my links.

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

Website:  http://maryanneedwards.com/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/maryanneedwards/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MaryAnneEdwards/posts

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/maryanneedwards

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/maedwards58

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Edwards/e/B00HZ28TIQ

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpzz9_nQ5yzE60nW-LMkgUQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7791576.Mary_Anne_Edwards

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-anne-edwards

Wiselike:  https://wiselike.com/mary-anne-edwards

Thank you so much for spending a little time with us today, Mary Ann. We really appreciate it.

And gentle readers, don’t be shy. Stop by Mary Ann’s sites and say hello!

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Happy Holidays: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

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

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

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

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

 

Giveaways:

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

 

Shout Out:

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

 

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

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

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Newest Book Release:

Troubled Streets released on October 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Zoe Ohale Rewrite: Monday Blog Post

ZoeMeme001

Newest News:

I’m finally making progress on rewriting the end of the story. There were so many decisions to make about the rewrite it took me a bit to get it all straight in my own mind. Those decisions have been made and I’m writing away! Once done, it will get one more pass through the editor, because I’m really making changes, then after the cover is finished, I’ll publish. This has taken longer than I anticipated but it’ll be so much better for having taken the time to do the rewrites. Thanks EJ from Silver Jay Media for pointing these things out.

Giveaways:

SpringIntoReadingGiveawayPromo

The Red Hot Summer giveaway is still in full swing. Just click on the Rafflecopter link. You do have to sign up to Rafflecopter but after that, you’re free to click away. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, Mystery at the Fair, or for second prize, a $10 Amazon card. Over a hundred prizes from 50 authors plus a grand prize of $150 Paypal Cash. It’s not hard to enter, there are multiple ways to enter, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

I think this week’s shout out should be David Bridger who has just released his newest book, The Honesty of Tigers. I’ve already started reading it and if you all are interested in powerfully drawn characters; you have to pick up this book! It’s on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Honesty-Tigers-David-Bridger-ebook/dp/B01K7DHUO8. Don’t delay, get it today!

Garden News:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Garden Produce

I have a steady crop of yellow beans, a batch every other day. The green beans are still teeny-tiny. The tomatoes are plentiful enough for me to share with friends and I have way too much zucchini even though I only have one plant. I cut one up and put it in last night’s spaghetti sauce. Healthy living through gardening, for sure. How’s your garden doing?

Where Will I Be?:

FallFest2016

9th annual Fall Festival in Pine, AZ. October 8th and 9th. http://pinestrawberrybusinesscommunityaz.com/fallapple.html. I’ll be there all weekend as part of the local author book signing. My hubby will be there as part of the chili cook-off at noon on Saturday. There are also crafters and a very excellent antique show scheduled, not to mention music and food!

Want more details about this event? Click here for more information.

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! I’m getting ready to share some things on the Zoe Ohale book. I’d love to see you there.

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Kindred Spirits Release Day: Monday Blog Post

Draft front cover: Kindred Spirits

Draft front cover: Kindred Spirits

Hoo! I’m releasing the third book in my Brown Rain series, Kindred Spirits, today. I mentioned last week that I’m doing something different this time. Usually I put the book up for sale, mention it once or twice and call it a day. This time I’m really get some excitement going. I’m actually promoting the release. I’ve made up little meme cards and posted every day. I’ve started a giveaway. More about that below. I’ve created a video of all of the meme cards and quotes I’ve made and put it on YouTube. Here’s the link. Please share it with all of your friends, family and significant others. Note that the cards have links on them. Not clickable, unfortunately an  issue with jpeg files, but I encourage you to check out the links. Every link discusses something in the book. I hope you find the information both informative and fun. The book is up on Amazon, paperback and Kindle, and Smashwords and GumRoad for the other ebook formats. Soon it will be out on the other ebook sites and up on chatebooks as well.

So what’s this about a giveaway? I’ve started a giveaway on Amazon that ends March 20th. I have 10 First Encounter ebooks to give away. You could win one! You’ll have to follow my Twitter account but that’s all it takes! Click on this link to enter. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/402a5ef0fe1e0234

Last week was Author Interview week and Terra Luft (terraluft.com) was my guest. What do you think about the author interviews? Have you found a new-to-you author that you’re checking out?

A friend of mine just gave me some tomato transplants. She always starts way more than she needs. She gave me six plum tomatoes and six unspecified cherry tomato seedlings. About for more of each than I need. I’ll give those away. I will, however, still grow or obtain Sungold cherry tomato plants and some Early Girls. Both of those varieties grow really well for me here in central Arizona. And we LOVE the sungolds. There’s no way I’m going to have tomatoes and not sungolds.

Have you entered the Luck O’ The Authors giveaway? This is going to end at midnight St. Patrick’s Day, just 3 days away. That means a lot fewer contestants over some of the longer giveaways. Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. Even if you’ve signed up for all of the authors, there are daily ways to win. Check it out!

Another fun thing I found a few weeks ago is called Cover Wars over on http://authorshout.com. I submitted my book cover for Mystery at the Fair even though I knew I was going to revise it. Anyway, here’s the fun part. You can go to the site, vote for my cover or someone else’s every day through Saturday. You get to see some new to you authors and I get a little free publicity for my book. It’s a big win all the way around. Stop by http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/ to vote and/or share this page so that all your friends can vote. You don’t even have to sign up for anything. Just scroll down the page past the covers and vote for me or someone else daily through Saturday.

Speaking of covers and Mystery at the Fair. I’ve been thinking about redoing the cover before Mystery in the Woods comes out. A friend of mine had some time and designed me the best cover ever, and one for Mystery in the Woods! It is so awesome! Can you tell I’m excited about it?  Here it is. What do you think?

Mystery at the Fair New Cover2

I’m continuing to work on Mystery in the Woods. There are only a few more scenes before I finish the first draft. To be honest, I still don’t know who did it. I’m also now writing non-fiction hiking stories for my local paper. Hubby does most of the photography. A friend of mine told me he ran into some hikers on a trail I wrote about a few weeks ago and they were there because of the story in the paper. How cool is that! April is Camp NaNo and I’m plotting out my next mystery book, Mystery at the Book Festival. It takes place the summer following Mystery in the Woods and poor Jean Hays is starting to look like the murder whisperer. In the mean time my novel Zoe Ohale is up for rewrites and edits, then after that, my still not really titled book, All about Bob. I’d like to get both of those out this year!

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

April 11th at 3pm Arizona time I’ll be on the January Jones Sharing Success Stories web talk radio show. Have you heard me there? Don’t miss out.

April 16th I’ll be at the Tempe Public Library book festival where I’m on a panel talking about Science Fiction and World Building. I’m looking forward to meeting you there.

June 2nd and 3rd I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there as well on writing a mystery.  Tickets for both days are only $35. I do hope you can make it to that one.  Here’s a flyer telling all about it.

Mystery Con Flyer

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous!

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you are a Brown Rain series fan, I’ve created a list just for you! If you join my regular newsletter, that’s all right too as I’ve put sign-up prizes on both. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. The YouTube video I just made about Kindred Spirits will be in the newsletter. Just a note. I’m going to be sending out newsletters more frequently. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Kindred Spirits released today! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Kindred Spirits Promotions: Monday Blog Post

Kindred Spirits Releasing March 14th PTSD w Name

Oh my goodness I’m releasing the third book in my Brown Rain series, Kindred Spirits, on March 14th. What’s all the hoopla about then? Well, I’m doing something different this time. Usually, I put the book up for sale, mention it once or twice and call it a day. This time, I’d like to really get some excitement going. I’m actually promoting the release. I’ve made up little meme cards to post every day. I’ve started a giveaway. More about that in a moment. I’m doing my best to create a bit of buzz. That’s where you come in. If you see one of my posts on Facebook or Twitter or one of the other social media sites, please share. Note that when you see the cards, I’ve put links on them. Not clickable, unfortunately, some issue with jpeg files, but I encourage you to check out the links. Every link discusses something in the book. I hope you find the information both informative and fun.

So what’s this about a giveaway? I’ve started a giveaway on Amazon that ends March 20th. I have 10 First Encounter ebooks to give away. You could win one! You’ll have to follow my Twitter account but that’s all it takes! Click on this link to enter. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/402a5ef0fe1e0234

This is Author Interview week and Terra Luft (terraluft.com) is my guest. Her interview will pop up on the 9th so get ready. She’s an excellent author and a real sweetheart. Stay tuned for that on Wednesday!

Last week I mentioned February as a slow growth time. Not this year. The peach and nectarine trees are blooming. The roses have leafed out and the daffodils are blooming. I’m afraid a March or even April killer frost will descend and all of the fruit buds will be lost. Sigh. A picture of the peach blossoms is at the top of the page.

Have you entered the Luck O’ The Authors giveaway? This is going to end at midnight St. Patrick’s Day. That means a lot fewer contestants. Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. Even if you’ve signed up for all of the authors, there are daily ways to win. Check it out!

Where am I with my writing? Of course, I put up a free flash fiction story every week on Friday on my blog. Do you catch those? I vary genre just because I quite often write to what I’m exposed to that week. The story could be scifi but it could also be a western, or a contemporary, or a fantasy. Free and easy every week. I’m still working on Mystery in the Woods. There are only a few more scenes before I finish the first draft. To be honest, I still don’t know who did it.

Where will I be? Here’s the scoop.

April 11th at 3pm Arizona time I’ll be on the January Jones Sharing Success Stories web talk radio show. Have you heard me there? Don’t miss out.

April 16th I’ll be at the Tempe Public Library book festival where I’m on a panel talking about Science Fiction and World Building. I’m looking forward to meeting you there.

June 2nd and 3rd I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there as well on writing a mystery. I do hope you can make it to that one.

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous!

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I did something radical. If you are a Brown Rain series fan, I’ve created a list just for you! If you join my regular newsletter, that’s all right too as I’ve put sign-up prizes on both. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for some time and this last week I spent several hours setting it up. Yay! I’m also including my second newsletter video within the newsletter. I’m having fun making these and this time I talk about my nectarine tree and the above giveaway. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. Just a note. I’m going to be sending out newsletters more frequently. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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February: Ready, Set, Go! Monday Blog Post

Aspens in the Woods

Aspens in the Woods

It’s February already! Since I’ve spent most of January sick, I feel like I’m way behind the curve. Projects I thought would be done by now are just barely started. Ugh. I did what I could and now I’ll pick up and do my best to make progress. Update, I was still coughing too much to go on last Tuesday’s hike. I’m definitely going on the hike on the 2nd. It’s time to get back to exercising. I hope you all are getting your exercise. What’s your favorite? Mine is hiking. Do you skate, bike, go to the gym?

I’m just finishing the edits and rewrites for Kindred Spirits. I had hoped to have it finished by Friday but that didn’t happen. No matter. I’ll get it to my editor today or tomorrow. That means I’m very close to releasing! I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today! Time is running out for an advanced ‘look see’ at the third book, and if I may say, the best book, in the series. You’ll want to get this in advance of your friends.

I managed a few more chapters for Mystery in the Woods. It’s still several chapters from being completed. Who likes mysteries? I’ve loved mysteries since I read my first Miss Marple book. Like the cop shows on TV, I’m always trying to guess who the killer is. What is your favorite mystery story?

How did you like Katharina Gerlach’s interview last Wednesday, January 27th? She’s an awesome author and I hope you took a look at her list of books. I’m sure you’ll find something you like. The next author up is Susan Haught. Susie writes lovely romance. If you’re a romance reader, you won’t want to miss her interview. By the way, she just released her newest book, A Promise of Fireflies, now available on Amazon and other ebook retailers. Check it out!

Did you know that your library lends ebooks? They do! I’ve been working to get my books on the library catalogs. It’s not complete yet but I’m crossing my fingers that it will be soon. I’ll let you know when it has actually happened. Then you can go to your library and borrow one of my books in ebook format! I think that’s so cool, don’t you?

Do you love to enter contests? I put two contests into the January newsletter released on Saturday, the 23rd. Also in my newsletter, a new feature, a short video by me! The one in January’s newsletter was less than a minute. A test, if you will. Did you like it? February’s will be longer, perhaps two minutes. I hope you’ll comment back. Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on great offers. Sign up now.

The Lovestruck Authors Giveaway is well underway. There are over 40 authors involved in this giveaway so there are books and prizes galore! I have put up my book, Recall, signed, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. This giveaway ends at midnight on February 14th, so start clicking. The more times you enter, the better your chances to win. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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It’s January So That Means Goals!

Goals! Of course. It’s the start of the year and yep, I do have a list of things in mind to help guide myself along my writer’s course in 2016. You’ll note that I’m only talking about writing goals. I could put a lot of other goals in here but that would lead to chaos. Let’s just stick to the writing goals.

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

Note: I began this process in November when I put out a call for authors who’d like to be interviewed. I posted the first interview on January 13th, one of our own Forward Motion authors, B. C. Mathews. I loved how she answered the interview questions. You can see that interview here.

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

The thinking here is that this goal is one of several to help me increase my readers. It’s hard for most readers to find new authors. This is one way I can help increase my visibility.

  1. Goal: Publish 6 books in 2016

I had this as a goal for 2015 and only published two books. This year, though, I already have two books in the editing process, one book finished and resting before editing, and another book about 2/3 finished. I also want to do a collection, probably science fiction, of pieces I really loved and posted on my blog. I’d have to select those stories, polish them up or maybe even expand them, and then edit and publish. That leaves one more book. I’d like to do a Christmas book. I may draft that at the April Camp NaNo. I’ll see what I can think of between January and the end of March.

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

I mentioned the April Camp NaNo in goal 3. But I like to do the July camp and the November NaNo as well. After all, I have to have something to publish in 2017, don’t I!

  1. Goal: Produce a Christmas Book this year.

Again, see goal number 3. I love to read Christmas stories. Aside from A Visit from St. Nick, the first Christmas story I remember was The Gift of the Magi, by O’Henry. I read that story in grade school and it always stuck with me. It’s become my yardstick for what a good Christmas story is all about.

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

This is one of those goals that may be out of my control. If Forward Motion doesn’t have a 2016 anthology, I want to submit a story to some other anthology. In any event, it will get done.

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

This is another one that may be out of my control. The How to Write a Series class is dependent upon Holly Lisle’s health and her ability to finish writing the class. The other one, the World Building class, that one is within my control. So, it’s up to me to schedule the time to improve my writing!

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

I might have been ambitious here. However, I have already subbed: Bell Ring, Rest (a poem), The Reunion, and Eavesdroppers, to various magazines. My stories Gold Dream and After Math were subbed in late December so I’m counting them for 2016 as well. That makes 6 stories out by mid-January. Not a bad start.

  1. Goal: Participate in May Story A Day

May Story A Day is a writing challenge on the Forward Motion site. We can try for a story every day of May or set ourselves a goal. My usual goal is twelve stories. That way I can write short stories instead of just flash stories and I have a pool of stories to apply to number 8!

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

This goal works hand in hand with number 2. I’m trying to expand the number of readers of my books.

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

This goal is a no-brainer. I’m the organizer of the event. Unless I’m deathly ill, I’ll be there.

You’ll notice I don’t have the goals in chronological order. I put them down as I thought about them. It doesn’t bother me that they’re not in order. I’ll get to all of them sooner or later. How about you? Do you have a few goals for 2016? What’s driving them? I’d love to hear your comments.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, traveling 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.

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Mixed Blessings: Monday Blog Post

Snow Covered North Peak at Sunrise by Randy Cockrell

Snow Covered North Peak at Sunrise by Randy Cockrell

The week has gone slowly. Monday the doc did diagnose me with a severe case of bronchitis and infection in both ears. Husband had full blown cold all week. I didn’t leave the house from after my doctor visit Monday until Sunday morning when hubby and I went out to breakfast. We’re both still coughing, coughing, coughing but on the mend. I think I’ll skip hiking on Tuesday. Any exertion at all sends me into a coughing fit. I’ll wait another week.

I am saddened to report that a good friend of mine lost her mother to brain cancer on Sunday morning. Mother Hen, we called her because she was always looking out for us. She was kind, encouraging, full of life and a fighter up until the very end. We will miss you Mother Hen.

My story, Bell Ring, was sent out, rejected and is out again, along with a second story and a poem. I’m hoping they’re all accepted. On Sunday I finished the first draft of my Zoe Ohale story. I already know it needs a lot in the way of rewriting and editing but I’m going to let it sit for awhile and in a few weeks I’ll come back to it with fresh eyes. Kindred Spirits is still in the editor’s hands. I should be hearing back from EJ (SilverJayMedia.com) in a week or two. I nearly have the cover completed for Kindred Spirits. I’m polishing up the back of the cover blurb. I’m also looking for reviewers to send an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. My next project is to pull Mystery in the Woods out and reread what I have and finish that story. Mysteries require a lot of work to get the ‘mystery’ in them. So I want to finish it and get editing on it. My Bob story is also through my first round of edits and when I’m done with Kindred Spirits, it’s next up to go to the editor.

New starting Wednesday! I’m offering a new feature, author interviews. I don’t know about you but I read a lot faster than my favorite authors can put out new books. What to do? Well, find new authors to read, of course. So, to help you find new to you authors, I’m posting twice a month, an author interview. At the end of the interviews are links to each author’s website, Amazon page or wherever else they have stories for you to read. The first post is this Wednesday, the 13th. Enjoy!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway is now over. Alisa Jenkins won my two Brown Rain Series books and the Christmas Tales book was won by Donna Walo-Clancy. I’ve already sent Alisa her books. I need Donna to contact me so I can send her the Christmas Tales prize. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who signed up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

You didn’t get to participate in the Christmas Giveaway? Good news. We’ve started a new giveaway called the Lovestruck Authors Giveaway and it runs through Valentine’s Day. Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. There are over 40 authors entered, all of them with books and prizes to give away. The more times you enter, the better your chance for winning.

If you live in the Phoenix area, I’m going to be at a panel discussion on January 21st. Arizona Professional Writers is offering “What’s New in Self-Publishing,” a two-hour workshop for writers to hear from the experts and gain useful tips about this emerging publishing genre. The workshop will be held on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ, 5524 E. Lafayette Ave., Phoenix, Arizona. Registration with breakfast pastries and coffee starts at 9:30 a.m. Check out the full details at www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/WhereWillIBe. I’d love to see you there.

Are you an Instagram user? I joined Instagram at ConniesRandomThoughts. Even sick last week, I managed to open my doors and get pictures of all of the snow that we received. Visit me on Instagram and follow. I follow back!

I published my December newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The January newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Merry-Go-Round Blog Post: Conclusions

Goal by oscarsnapshotter via DeviantArt.com

Goal by oscarsnapshotter via DeviantArt.com

Goals? Arrggh, I haven’t looked at my goals since May, I think. Let’s see what I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t. I feel like Santa, checking my list, lol! So much has happened to me this year I really need to think about what is new and what isn’t. I’m including May’s status first, then my current status.

Status:

1. Goal: Upgrade my blog site to a real website

MAY: The blog is half transformed. If you look for www.conniesrandomthoughts.com, you’ll find it but I’m having trouble getting into it from the WordPress side. I also want to dress it up better. Many of the cool things I had on my blog did not transfer over to the website. I have to figure all of that out. Stay tuned.

DECEMBER: The blog is now a website. I seemed to have lost all of the WordPress followers, maybe not, but I am signing up new followers so that’s a good thing. Goal achieved.

2. Goal: Research the pros and cons of selling my books from my own website. If it seems good, get that page set up.

MAY: No activity

DECEMBER: Research the pros and cons of selling my books from my own website. If it seems good, get that page set up. I haven’t begun selling from my own site, but I am selling directly on Gumroad.com which allows me to sell both paperback and ebooks. I have to sell the paperbacks from my home, which means I need a supply of each book on hand to satisfy any buyers. So far, I don’t have buyers but, that could change. I am also selling directly on ChateBooks.com. ChateBooks is a great, reader-friendly site. Every book has its own chat! So until my sales increase, I’m sticking with these options for direct sales. After that, I will re-examine selling directly from my own website. I’m calling this, goal achieved

3. Goal: Publish 6 books in 2015

MAY: One book published in January. One (from November) is being edited. The 3rd book in my brown rain series is drafted. A new series, All About Bob, has the first book drafted.

DECEMBER: I published a second book, Mystery at the Fair, in July. That was it. I wrote 2 novellas, and part of one novel and am finishing up a second novel manuscript from November’s NaNo. Hopefully next year I’ll get more out. Goal not accomplished.

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

MAY: Participated in April Camp NaNo! Yay, a small win for me.

DECEMBER: Participated in July’s Camp NaNo drafting Mystery in the Woods, which is not finished. Also in the November NaNo with my Zoe Ohale book. So this goal was achieved.

5. Goal: Produce a Christmas Book this year.

MAY: Working on my 2013 2YN story, Mrs. Claus. Maybe.

DECEMBER: Mrs. Claus is not completed. No other Christmas story was written. Goal not achieved.

6. Goal: Submit a story to the 2015 FM Anthology.

MAY: Had an idea, changed it, haven’t messed with it in two months. It may be part of the May Story a Day or the July CampNaNo.

DECEMBER: In late June I took a flash fiction I had written and as part of July’s CampNaNo, expanded it into a full short story. I did submit that to the anthology. Goal achieved.

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

MAY: Still working on the How to Write a Series Expanded class. Holly’s been putting it together slowly, that’s what being on the beta group means. No matter. I don’t mind working slowly.

DECEMBER: With all of the July, September, and November activities and October’s vacation, I didn’t get back to the World Building Class. I also haven’t finished the Write a Series Expanded class as Holly got sick and then has been totally involved in a complete site rebuild and revisions of her major workshops. Will have to pick both of these back up in January. Goal not achieved.

8. Goal: Develop a schedule of contests for short story submission process

MAY: I have the schedule of contests. What I don’t have is good material to submit. Working.

DECEMBER: I have submitted to a couple of the contests from the list I generated before May. I didn’t feel I had a lot to send off.  Goal achieved.

9. Goal: Participate in May Story A Day

MAY: Participating in MAD. So far 4 stories drafted.

DECEMBER: Completed 10 flash and short stories in May. I thought that was pretty good. Goal achieved.

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

MAY: Appeared at an Arizona Professional Writers lunch in February. Did a book signing locally in March. Plan on a book release in July and an appearance at the Payson Book Festival on July 25th. Have my tickets and table for the InD’tale conference in September.

DECEMBER: I did the July book release, and was an author at the Payson Book Festival. I attended the InD’tale conference in September. In October, while on vacation, did a book signing in Gloversville, NY. In November I had a table at the November 14th VETFest in Avondale, and did a workshop in Pine for the Pine/Strawberry writer’s group. I also did a workshop in Camp Verde in November, Critiquing on a Shoestring. The addition of Gumroad.com and Chatebooks.com is also part of the increase in opportunities to get my name out there. Goal achieved.

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

MAY: All ready to appear at the book festival.

DECEMBER: Participated. Goal achieved.

For me, 2015 was a year mostly successes! Three goals were not achieved but progress was made on them so I don’t feel too bad. How about you? Did you have a few goals for 2015? How did you do? What would you do differently? I’d love to hear your comments.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

 

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, traveling 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

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Monday Blog Post: Back from the InD’Scribe Conference

InD'Scribe Reader-Writer Conference

At my Signing Table at the InD’Scribe Reader-Writer Conference by Connie Cockrell

I spent the weekend at the InD’Tale Magazine, InD’Scribe Reader-Writer Conference in Palm Springs, California. Let me start by saying that I had a blast and learned so much! The cherry on the top of the cake, though, was the opportunity to meet SO many fantastic authors.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you saw a few of the pictures I took over the course of the conference. Thursday we started the event and had a great time getting to know each other. We did a mini-writing afternoon, huddled around a table pool-side, writing, editing or outlining with occasional breaks to ask each other brainstorming questions. How great was that!

Friday began the official conference and there were both book signings and presentations. I managed to attend two of the presentations.

The facility: Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center. It’s not a huge facility so the conference felt intimate and very comfortable. Amenities included a pool, spa, gymnasium, and enough meeting rooms and ballrooms to accommodate all of our needs. Hotel staff were pleasant and extremely helpful. The hotel even had a shuttle that will take the resident to historic downtown Palm Springs so the guest (you!) can park your car and enjoy your weekend.

This was my very first writer’s conference and I’m so happy I chose to attend this one. But, you may be thinking, why attend what’s primarily a Romance conference when you don’t write romance? For one reason, I came with my friend, D’Elen McClain, WickedStoryTelling.com. We live in the same town and drove to the conference together. She introduced me to a lot of authors and showed me the “ropes”. Additionally, romance authors are smart, savvy business people. I wanted to “up” my game, so who better to talk to and learn from than the authors at this gathering.

The last night, Saturday, of the conference held the RONE awards. Some of my favorite friends, new and old, were listed in the winners and honorable mentions: Susan Griscom, Marsha Ward, and Donna Michaels. Wow. I was so impressed at how close the competitions were.

The pictures are from the conference. I apologize for the late posting. I’m so tired but happy. I hope to see you at my next event. I’m signing in Gloversville, NY at the Mohawk Valley Cooperative on Main Street, on October 10th from 9am to Noon. I hope to see you there. Bring one of my books or buy it there and I’ll be happy to sign it.

 

Author Friend Boost! Susan Griscom. Her newest book, A Gypsy’s Kiss, is the first in an eight book series, The Sectorium.  Here’s a description.

Breena Cassidy 

Cursed with what could be one of the worst supernatural abilities imaginable, Breena has never had the luxury of falling in love. Hell, she’s never even held a guy’s hand. At only twenty-two years old, she’s just about given up on the whole love thing. After all, when you can see twelve hours of someone’s future by a simple touch, and they, in turn, can see what you see, well… relationships are sort of out of the question. Her gigs performing psychic readings at parties, and the occasional one-on-one private appointment are just about Breena’s only connection with people. No matter how much she might wish otherwise.

Hawk Covington

Hawk’s hard body and skill have earned him a starting position on the Pioneer’s college hockey team. But it’s not his talent with a hockey stick that’s the most remarkable. His gorgeous two-colored eyes not only draw the attention of every female on campus, they also allow him to track people and objects. But when he suddenly finds himself stalked by a stranger, he seeks out the help of the rumored, “campus gypsy” for help.

Despite his vow to stay single and play as many college women as he can while the fun lasts, Hawk can’t ignore his attraction to the lovely and spirited Breena. And she can’t get the hunky star hockey player out of her mind once a single touch of his hand reveals something utterly strange. Surrounded by mystery, they realize that fate has brought them together for a reason, but can they stay alive long enough to recognize the depth of their feelings for one another? 

You can find more at: http://www.susangriscom.com/

Writing progress. On Thursday of the conference I managed a chapter on Mystery in the Woods. I also did more outlining on my November National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) project. I haven’t titled the story yet but it’s going to be a Zoe Ohale story. I’ve written two short Zoe stories. One will be published on my web site as a free flash. The other one is in the Forward Motion anthology for this year. It will be released in October or November. I’ll keep you posted.

Now that I’m back from the conference, it’s time to get ready for October. I haven’t finished writing the Friday Flash stories for October. It’s a lot of writing and I’ve decided to write all horror/Halloween type stories for October. I already have six title prompts to work from.  I only have a few days to get this done. I also must get my October Chicklets in the Kitchen post written. I have the pictures done. It’s just a matter of writing it up and getting it posted. On Thursday I’m on tap to attend the Strawberry Author’s group meeting and teach them a little about CreateSpace. If you’re an author and would like to learn more about self-publishing, please stop by.

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my WordPress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I stopped posting to the WordPress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, too. Don’t delay. The September newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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