Poached Pears: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Poached Pears with Frozen Custard and Orange Slice Garnish Picture by Connie Cockrell

Lots has happened to me since my last post in June. July held the Payson Book Festival for which I am the director, then August is prep for the Northern Gila County Fair which is the weekend after Labor Day. Then, well, I was just tired.

But, news! In August I began eating the Paleo Diet. I love it! I lost 15 pounds in August alone. If you don’t know what the Paleo Diet is, a quick explanation is that you stop eating grains and dairy. You can Google it for a more complete explanation. I have Celiac Disease which is closely related to Hashimoto’s disease. With that, you should also stop eating sugar (well, we all should anyway), caffeine (which I gave up years ago), and raw cruciferous veg (cooked is ok). So that’s what I’ve done.

I don’t feel deprived at all, despite my strong love of anything pasta. But it was making me feel bad so, while I may make the very seldom choice to go gluten-free pasta, it’s gone! Now I eat as clean as possible (meaning organic, grass-fed meat, organic veg, organic fruit. It helps that I have my own pear, apple, and peach trees, and grow a lot of veg in my small garden.

The pears are where this blog comes in. My Bartlett pears became ripe the end of September. They’re not a soft pear. I was having my brother-in-law and his girl for supper and was thinking about dessert. At first, I thought about an avocado-chocolate mousse, (more on that next month), but then I was looking at all of my lovely ripe pears and decided poached pears would be a better choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really missing anything on my new diet, but a girl does like the occasional sweet, am I right?

Serves 4 – 6.

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Saucepan

Ingredients

4 pears, peeled, cored, cut into quarters or sixths

3 navel oranges, 2 juiced (1/2 cup or more if extra juicy), 1 sliced into rounds

See the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Mars Wings Part 4: Flash Fiction Friday Post

This image shows the floor of Suzhi Crater, an approximately 25-kilometer diameter impact crater located northeast of Hellas Planitia.

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/images/index.html

Part 4 of 5

You can find Part 1 here:

I met Kayla mid-morning the next day in the concourse outside of Glenna’s Gifts. The concourse was busy, Christmas was only a day away. I had my eye on a bracelet made from gold found right here on Mars with a red Martian stone set in the middle for my mom. She lounged on the bench until Tommie and Albert showed up, then the rest of the gang. Amber showed up last, Tayln getting up to give her his spot on the bench.

“What’s the news?” Amber asked.

I shrugged. “Just Christmas.”

Tayln laughed. “Oh. It’s going to be a good one, all right.”

Amber gave him a look that was plainly meant to mean shut up.

“Something going on?” I didn’t like the way Tayln was grinning. He was up to something.

Amber sighed. “Nothing important.” She changed the subject and it was an hour before we all began to drift away.

“Don’t be on the concourse on Christmas Day,” Amber said to us before we left.

Again, Tayln smirked.

“Why not?” I liked to come down to hear the Choral Society sing. It was something my family always did. I’d even sent a message to the Korians about it.

Amber shook her head. “Just don’t.” She turned and left, Tayln on her heels.

Everyone else was gone, even Kayla so I couldn’t ask her what she thought about Amber’s comment. Did she mean something was planned? Something bad? I didn’t like it. I went to the Security office at the end of the concourse. At the desk I asked for my dad then sat down to wait. He came a few minutes later and took me back to his console.

“What’s up, pumpkin?” He drew up a chair for me and sat in his spot.

“I don’t know for sure, Dad.” I took a breath. “Something Amber said a few minutes ago.”

“What’s that?”

“Not to come to the concourse on Christmas. But we always go, to hear the music. Why would she say that?” I twisted my hands in my lap.

He turned to his console. “What’s her last name?”

“Novak.”

He typed a few strokes. I could see her file come up. The picture was from last year. Her hair was longer now. His fingers tapped on the desk as he read. “Anyone else?”

“Tayln Roose. They both talk about separating from Earth.”

He typed and Tayln’s file came up. Dad read and sighed, then typed some more. Other reports came up, which I was too far away to read. “She talk about a time?”

I shook my head.

His fingers twitched on the keyboard. “Could be nothing.” He spun his chair around to face me. “Thanks for bringing it in.” He stood up. “I’ll check it out.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

He walked me out and I wandered down the concourse. What if it was something? Something bad. I hoped not.

The next morning was Christmas. Mom loved the bracelet and Dad loved the new shirt I’d bought them. They gave me three new games, just up from Earth, a new tunic top and a bracelet. The bracelet had a tiny button and when I pushed it, a tiny hologram of mom and dad appeared over the bracelet. I couldn’t wait to show Kayla.

Mid-afternoon we went to the main concourse. I was a little worried. “But what about Amber?” I asked dad in a soft voice so mom couldn’t hear.

“We rounded up some agitators yesterday.” He wagged an eyebrow at me. “It’s all taken care of.”

That made me feel better. I took his hand as we walked along. “Good.” I saw the Korians at the concert spot and introduced my parents to them. We sat together and enjoyed the music. Afterward, we were all walking together back to our berths, when from behind us, at the end of the tunnel where the Security office was, there was an explosion. The blast knocked me and Ali off of our feet. People were screaming and smoke filled the air. I could hear the blast doors slam shut, trapping us in the tunnel.

Idai was yelling, “What do we do? What do we do?”

Dad pulled me and mom together. “Get them,” he pointed with his chin, “Somewhere safe. I’ve got to go.”

Mom nodded. “Be safe.”

Dad ran toward the blast site and disappeared into the smoke and crowd. I grabbed Ali’s hand. “Stay with us.”

Mom got Idai and David together and pushed David to take Zane’s hand. “Follow me.”

She led us to the other end of the concourse. Many of the shops already had their blast doors shut. She hustled us into Frank’s Grocery, just as Frank was closing the blast doors. “Come on,” he said as he waved us in. “Hurry.”

We hustled in and joined the small crowd at the back of the store. The blast door clanged shut. Frank came to the back. “We don’t know how long this is going to be so everyone get comfortable. I let go of Ali’s hand and she went to her mother. All of us had smoke streaked faces. We sat down, backs against the shelves and I leaned my head on mom’s shoulder, her arm around me. The Korians sat across from us.

“It’ll be fine,” Mom told them. “I’m just sorry this happened so soon after you’ve arrived.”

David nodded, his arm around Idai. “What do you think happened, the separatists?”

“We won’t know until it’s over.” Mom shook her head. “Sorry.”

He gripped his wife tighter and with his other arm, hugged his son. Idai had her arm around Ali. “So be it.”

 

 

 

Thank You!

943 Words

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

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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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Creating the Gift: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Blue Pottery Bowl by Connie Cockrell

Blue Pottery Bowl by Connie Cockrell

Emily Wu checked her bank statement and sighed. It wasn’t going to work, getting her mother a nice Christmas gift. She was sick of the TV talking heads telling everyone it was the economy. The economy seemed good for the rich. Why didn’t any of that trickle down to her? She closed the bank app on her computer and rubbed her eyes. Her $8.53 per hour job gave her just over $1700 a month. It wasn’t enough. With rent so high, she had to live at the edge of town which meant she needed a car to get to work. She needed nice clothes to be the receptionist at the office she worked at. Thrift stores helped with that, but then there was the medical insurance, poor as it was, it was at least something if she got sick. Then the life insurance, taxes, cell phone bill, internet, and on and on and on. She choked back a sob. All she wanted to do was buy her mom a nice Christmas gift.

At work the next day she was looking through the paper. A local artists group was doing a workshop for gifts. Anyone could come and create a project. At the bottom was the price for the workshop, $25, and a name, Brian Wellsley with his phone number. Emily sighed. Twenty-five dollars was a quarter of her grocery bill or half a tank of gas. She thought about it all day. Finally, deciding that she could live on rice and beans for a week, she called the number.

“Hi, I’m Emily Wu. I saw your article in the paper. I’d like to sign up.”

“Great. Love to have you.” He gave her the address and time and when they hung up, Emily smiled. He sounded nice. It would be good to do something besides watch TV in the evening.

The day of the workshop, Emily brought clothes to change into after work. No sense wasting gas by driving home then back into town. The address turned out to be an old factory, turned into artist workshops and apartments. She’d heard about these. It seemed cool. There were signs directing people to a large open space where wooden tables, easels, stools were scattered around the room. Art hung on the walls and from the ceiling. The splashes of color made the room seem friendly and alive.

She found an empty stool and sat down at a table, greeting others who had also signed up. Brian introduced himself and several other artists and that they’d be helping everyone with their projects. After going over the projects available, they broke into groups, each around the project they wanted to do. Emily had to switch tables. She wanted to work on a pottery project. She was pleased to see that Brian was the mentor for her group.

At every step of the process of molding the clay, shaping it, prepping it for the oven and decorating it, Brian was there. His hands over hers, laughing. They went out for coffee after class and talked about their dreams. After five weeks, the workshop was over. Emily had a bowl, glazed blue, for her mother. But she had received a gift, too. New friends, a new-found passion and a new love.

They went out nearly every night. He spent the weekends at her house. By Christmas, he was invited to meet her family. Her mother loved the bowl. Even better, in the kitchen, she complemented Emily on Brian. “He’s a lovely young man, Emily.” She gave Emily a hug. “I’m happy for you.”

The next spring, they were married. One afternoon, Emily was looking at her bank statement. She played with the ring on her finger. The statement didn’t look any better but she no longer fretted. Her life was now full. Happiness covered everything and she felt rich beyond measure. Brian came into the room and gave her a kiss on top of her head.

“We still solvent?”

“Barely.” She laughed and turned off the computer. “And that’s enough for me.”

 

Thank You!

677 Words

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

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Christmas is Creeping Up: Monday Blog Post

From this year's Electric Light Parade

From this year’s Electric Light Parade

Newest News:

Christmas is creeping up on us. Hubby and I attended a Christmas open house at a friend’s house on Sunday. It’s nice to see everyone, for sure.

xmastree

Presents are wrapped and under the tree. Christmas cards are trickling in. I love opening them up and then putting them on my wall. The collection is another decoration! Brother-in-law has been invited to a Christmas Eve celebration at our house. I guess I’m ready! Hope you are, too! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

mystery-woods-meme-population

Mystery in the Woods made it back from the editor and I spent all week doing the rewrites. I sent it back to him on Sunday. We’re trying very hard to get it out before the end of the month. And as I said last week, I’ve been brainstorming ways to promote the release. One way is to contact my A Team people, and have them let me know if they’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review. There are several other ideas on my list. We’ll see if I can make them work for me. You’re not on my A Team? Let me know you want to be. I’ll set it up. I’m also considering an Instafreebie (Mystery in the Woods 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.

One thing I’m considering is a live chat. Who’d be up for that? Put a comment below if you are. I could set one up on Imzy, on Google +, or maybe somewhere else. What do you think?

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:

2016-christmas-giveaway-my-meme

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

 

December 16th – 18th, was the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. This  Holiday Book Giveaway ended on Sunday and we had a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out and we had so many games and giveaways it was amazing. I had signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (3pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th and had so much fun! I’m sorry if you missed it. There were a LOT of giveaways. Next time, right?

Shout Out:

Author Maggie West

Author Maggie West

On the 21st, my author interview is with Maggie West. She’s a cozy mystery author and if you can’t wait, check her out on MaggieWestBooks.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Imzy Stickers

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

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

Newest Book Release:

troubled-streets-graphic-meme-004

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

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Facebook Live: Monday Blog Post

xmastree

Newest News:

Ha! I got the boxes all mailed to family on Tuesday. It took me all morning but I got it done. Hooray! Major Christmas task done. Also got my tree up so that is done as well. That’s it at the top. The big blue square? That’s a cloth picture I cover in paper every year to display the Christmas cards I receive. Only 4 cards so far but it’s still early. People already have the boxes!

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

Mystery in the Woods has made it to the editor. We’re trying very hard to get it out before the end of the month. I’ve been brainstorming ways to promote the release. One way is to contact my A Team people, and have them let me know if they’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review. There are several other ideas on my list. We’ll see if I can make them work for me. You’re not on my A Team? Let me know you want to be. I’ll set it up.

house-lites

I have this to-do list for book marketing and promotion and one of the things on it was to look into Facebook Live. I finally figured out that it’s only on my smart phone. Can’t use my laptop mic and camera to record. So I did a quick 30 second test. I was so surprised to see friends commenting on the video while I was recording! All totally unannounced. I felt the test was successful so I’ll set a time to do a full one and mention it in my newsletter. Then people can look for it. If you aren’t in my newsletter list, see below to sign up today.

Giveaways:

14925555_10154128590631317_3701655618015299006_n

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

14702331_1344993582191009_7933048603693284889_n

December 16th – 18th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention to be held in April. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

I’ve signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (2pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th. Want to have some fun, play a couple of games? Click on the link and join in the fun.

Shout Out:

516oqnqqkol

Mark Dawson is a great thriller/suspense author selling his series, John Milton. If you, like me, love to read a good thriller, check out his site at http://markjdawson.com/

 

Where Will I Be?

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

Newest Book Release:

troubled-streets-graphic-meme-004

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

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NaNo 2016 Week Four and the End: Monday Blog Post

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner_congrats

Newest News:

This is the end of the fourth week for of the 2016 National Novel Writing Month. I finished with 50,129 words. My fourth Brown Rain series novelette, Tested, is done as is my already started short story, a space opera, Jania, Princess of Tania, and a short story I started in October and never finished that’s currently titled, Granny, is also done. Since Granny ran shorter than I expected I also began a non-fiction book I’ve been working on called How to Organize a Book Fesitival. And I’ve won! I printed out my certificate for winning and put it in my binder with the rest of my certificates.

I’ve been posting pretty much daily over on Imzy.com/conniesrandomthoughts. Check it out! I’ve had fun moving from work to work this month, though I haven’t been immune to the second week slump (was writing Tested at the time) where it seemed to me that every word I typed on the page was the worst thing ever. I haven’t looked at it since I finished the draft, or the two short stories. I will in March or April. Before then I need to edit Mystery at the Book Festival and get that out into the open. I’m sure fans of Mystery at the Fair are more than ready for their next installment of Jean and Karen.

xmas-lites001

And, because it’s now after Thanksgiving, it’s time to think Christmas. On Sunday I pulled all of the decorations out of their storage spots in the garage. We’ll do the outside lights first. Then I’ll take a few days to decorate inside. I don’t go overboard but it’s fun and I like it. Picture is the outside from last year. It’ll look pretty much the same this year.

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

And in the good news category, I’ve spent the last few days since winning NaNo, editing Mystery in the Woods. I was right. I had some significant time line issues, name confusion and other problems with the book which I’ve straightened out. I’m doing another round of edits, correcting misspelled words and other stuff then, this week, it will be off to the editor! I’m so happy. I really want this out by the end of December. Then I’ll have an Instafreebie for you in January. Stay tuned for that information.

And, for my A Team people, let me know if you’d like an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Mystery in the Woods to read and review.

Giveaways:

14925555_10154128590631317_3701655618015299006_n

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

writers-colony-press

I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Writers Colony Press Holiday Indie Extravaganza. The event runs December 3rd and 4th which is THIS Saturday and Sunday. Writers Colony Press publishes anthologies for charity. The Longest Night Watch Volumes 1 and 2 are to raise money for Alzheimers. We dedicated them to Terry Pratchett and Gene Wilder. The other Anthology out is “Stardust Alway’s” for Cancer research, and dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie. And also, to our very dear friend Stacy Whitemire who passed away recently. She will be greatly missed. Find some new to you authors today and do a good deed for charity. Come join our extravaganza. Lots of authors will be on the event page sharing books, contests and fun. A couple of contests have already started. Readers, don’t miss out. The hourly author hosts give away a lot of stuff! I’ll be on the page hosting on December 4th, at 3pm Pacific, which is 4pm Arizona time and 6pm Eastern. I’ll have at least one ebook to give away, a game or maybe two, and pictures to share. Mark your calendars and join me. https://www.facebook.com/events/364089737264705/ Click on the Discussion tab.

14702331_1344993582191009_7933048603693284889_n

Then later in December, on the 17th, is the Brain to Books Holiday Giveaway and CyCon Sampler. Every year Brain to Books hosts a Holiday Book Giveaway. This year, our giveaway is a CyCon Sampler. Get a sneak preview of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention to be held in April. While you’re here, we have a $100.00 Amazon gift card to hand out to someone along with a list of books we’re giving away! Here’s what’s happening.

1 – Browse the Author Takeover displaying sales, giveaways, games, prizes, etc.

2 – $100.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

3 – Holiday Book Giveaway

4 – Blog Hop (YA, Science Fiction, and Romance)

5 – Vote in Character Tournaments

It should be a lot of fun and who couldn’t use a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

You’ll find us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/624679124381085/

I’ve signed up to host the 5pm Eastern (3pm Arizona) time slot on December 17th. Want to have some fun, play a couple of games? Click on the link and join in the fun.

Shout Out:

I have so many people to mention it’s hard to pick just one. How about Chuck Wendig? Chuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, and the Heartland YA series, alongside other works across comics, games, film, and more. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and his books about writing. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

You can find his work on his Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Wendig/e/B003P9JZ0O

 

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Imzy Stickers

Do you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. I’ve been posting daily updates on my NaNo progress there including snippets and random pictures. Enjoy.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

Newest Book Release:

front-troubled-streets

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

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Freezing the Year: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Sunrise by Randy Cockrell

Sunrise by Randy Cockrell

Mairissa shivered in the dawn light with the rest of the novitiates. The High Priestess chanted at the well at the top of the hill. Mairissa didn’t have a good vantage point from the last row of the gathering but she could see Mother Superior raise the chalice high, a wisp of steam coming from the cup to touch the first ray of the sun. They were supposed to be adding their power to the priestess’s own for the ceremony. Mairissa only knew that she was cold to the bone and wished for a warm mug of tea.

In the dining hall Mairissa’s hands circled her mug of tea, her face in the steam, a bowl of oatmeal in front of her. She had just taken that first, satisfying sip when Sister Yahlin touched her shoulder.

“Mother would like to speak with you.”

The girls around the table sent her silent looks of commiseration. Mairissa was often called into Mother Superior’s office for one offense or another. She wan’t disobedient, but full of life and she saw no reason to be all glum and dumb as she called it, all of the time.

She took a last, defiant sip of her tea and got up. She followed Sister Yahlin to the High Priestess’s office. The sister closed the door behind Mairissa, who walked to stand in front of the Mother’s table. She wasn’t sure why she was here. There was no prank, no missed class time, no shirking of her tasks, in over a week.

Mother looked up from the parchment in front of her. “I missed you this morning.”

“Missed, Mother? I was at the morning ritual, then in the hall to break my fast.”

“Do you know why we had that ritual this morning? It wasn’t a normal gathering.”

“To try and halt the year from freezing.”

“Yes. You learned about it in class. The band of mages called The Aladrin are slowly freezing the planet. They’re mad, of course, but their magic is strong. I know every mind in the convent, Mairissa, and I could not feel yours this morning.”

The girl gaped. It never occurred to her that the priestesses could do that. “But, but I’m just a novice, Mother. What help could I be? I’m only in my third year here.”

The priestess rose from her stool and leaned over the table to stare at the girl. “You have the potential to be the strongest mind of us all. That’s why you were brought here.”

Mairissa shook her head. “My parents sold me. It was a hard year, the crops failed, and there was no dowry for a marriage.”

Mother Superior laughed and stood, folding her hands into the pockets in her deep-sleeved woolen robe. “We paid, certainly. But it was because we could feel you broadcasting for twenty miles around. You had to be brought in before the Aladrin could pick you up. The convent is shielded, girl, protecting you and the rest of us in this fight.”

Mairissa’s head whirled as she rearranged all of her preconceptions. “So this morning?”

The old woman sighed. “We are close. The battle is on the edge. We’ll have another ceremony tomorrow morning. Perhaps we can push back their black magic and bring the year back from the freeze.” She walked Mairissa to the door. “Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year. It will make the dark magic that much stronger.” She rested a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “You, and all of the rest, must focus in the morning or we shall surely freeze this winter.”

Mairissa nodded and left. She spent the rest of the day talking to the other novitiates and even the youngest priestesses. She didn’t know if she believed the High Priestess but at the very least, everyone she knew would understand that tomorrow they had to focus.

In the dark morning the priestesses assembled in their amphitheater, the Mother Superior at the top of the hill at the well. The wind was whipping and tiny crystals of ice bit into exposed faces and hands. Tears formed in Mairissa’s eyes from the cold but she let them run. She was focused on the High Priestess. Every lesson she’d ever had on controlling her magic was brought to bear.

The wind whipped the woolen cloaks and gowns and the freezing air circled her legs. The tears froze on her face. It was as though the mages were doing their best to distract her. She refocused, sending energy to the Mother Superior. This time, it seemed as if the chalice glowed. Mairissa renewed her effort.

The clouds roiled in the pre-dawn sky. The breath of the sisters rose in the cold air and was snatched away by the wind. Tendrils of hair escaped their hoods but still the sisters and even the novices, focused on the chalice. The sky brightened. First one small pale blue patch appeared, then another. Mairissa could feel the others in her thoughts. She linked with them, pushing her power to the High Priestess. More of the sky broke open and the chalice became too bright to look at. Each priestess began to hum with power until every woman and girl there began to vibrate.

The clouds disappeared and the first ray of the rising sun touched the sacred chalice. A wave of light and sound exploded from the High Priestess’s hands and washed over the assembly. The High Priestess slumped and two priestesses ran to support her. They carried her to the front of the assembly. Mairissa wiped the ice from her face, her body trembling with the cold and sudden absence of power. As the sun’s rays touched the women, Mother Superior called out. “The Sun has arisen.”

“The Sun has arisen,” the priestesses cried out.

Mairissa didn’t know for sure that the mages had been beaten back but if not, they’d been dealt a severe blow. “The Sun has arisen.”

 

The End

983 Words

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

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Merry Christmas! Monday Blog Post

My Tree

My Tree

Last week I talked about the 21st and 22nd being busy days for me. It’s true. I’ve mentioned before that I’m on the board of the Northern Gila County Fair. I love the fair and it’s very exciting for me to be on a team that puts on this great event every year. There are drawbacks. One of them is the every third year audit required by the state of Arizona. Like every volunteer, I dread these audits.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re necessary but no one likes to be put under a microscope. At any rate, it starts at 8am today and will run through the end of the day. It may bleed into tomorrow, too, more than likely, actually. Cross your fingers for us. We have to produce paper trails for everything. Let’s hope we have everything they need.

Want to wish my hubby a very happy birthday. He’s such a sweetie and I want everyone to know.

I have everything ready for Christmas. Presents are under the tree, food is on hand, brother-in-law and daughter are invited to participate. It’s a big day. We’re having duck and ham. I love duck and ever since we were stationed in England, I fell in love with goose for Christmas dinner. It’s too expensive for goose here but duck is doable as I only buy it once a year. I’m looking forward to it, actually. Some people don’t like duck, they feel it’s too fatty or too strongly flavored. I love it. How about you? What is your Christmas dinner plan?

I’ve been having fun with my new Instagram account. This week I posted pictures of the snow coming down on Monday and our Tuesday hike on the south end of town high up on a ridge. It was just stunning. Here’s a pic.

Bike Trail to Mogollon Rim in Snow by Randy Cockrell

Bike Trail to Mogollon Rim in Snow by Randy Cockrell

You can find me on Instagram at ConniesRandomThoughts. What a fun way to share pictures. I hope you stop by my page and follow.

We’re down to the last week of Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway. Here’s the link through my website:  http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the supporting author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. I’ve put up the two signed paperback books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book (signed, of course) as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I hope you had a chance to sign up for the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel, offer. It ended Tuesday (the 15th!) at mid-night. I’ve used this course myself and found it to be just the thing to get me from a hot mess of an initial draft manuscript to a real story. It’s been revised and is better than ever. If you missed out, I know it will be out again, probably the end of 2016 but it may come out sooner. Even so, Holly has a lot of other classes, including the free, How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck. You’re coming onto her site at the end of a massive six month overhaul. Click on this link to take a look around the site and join up. It’s free. Then you’ll be in on the next classes opening back up. https://hollyswritingclasses.com/?home&aid=10009

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you’re having a marvelous December. Do you have family Christmas stories? Kitchen disasters to share? Fun in the snow pictures? I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments below.

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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Gar’dyne’s Revelation: Flash Fiction Story, Christmas

Young Mage by hokunin at DeviantArt.com

Young Mage by hokunin at DeviantArt.com

Prince Gar’dyne pulled off his battle helmet and wiped the sweat. From just after sunrise until now, just before sunset, he’d wielded his battle sword in a bloody swath across the hell hounds and gremlins of the evil wizard, Anrak. They were victorious; he and his battle-scarred battalion, but he had no joy. The wizard had escaped and his battalion was cut to a third of its previous power.

His lieutenant, Yawo, his first cousin from his mother’s side, rode up beside him. “The wizard vanished into a cloud, sire, taking a guard with him. The evilest of the lot, as far as our scouts can tell.”

Gar’dyne pulled his canteen from his hip and drained the last of the well-watered wine. Every muscle in his body screamed but he only had a few cuts, so he hid his exhaustion. “The conjuror has caused great havoc, cousin. Have the seers a destination for the craven?”

“No, Lord. Their cauldrons provide only smoke and confusion.”

Gar’dyne grunted. That was usual in his experience. He’d have the whole lot of seers beheaded and start over. The wizard had power, the seer’s not as much. But his mother favored them so he held his tongue. “Find the damned wizard. Someone must be able to track the stench of his magical passing.”

After his tour of the wounded and prayers over the dead, Gar’dyne retired to his command tent where his servants had prepared a bath and a simple supper. He was scooping the soldier’s portion of grits and bacon with a square of corn bread when his staff entered the tent.

“Sire,” Yawo dipped his head. “We have a seer with news.”

Gar’dyne scraped the last of the gruel from the wooden bowl with the cornbread and chewed while he thought. “A seer actually saw something?”

Yawo dipped his head. The rest of the staff shifted uneasily. Gar’dyne had made his feelings about seers well known. The prince leaned back in his camp chair. Time to put the staff at ease. If the seer knew something, well and good. Best to keep the staff open minded. “Bring the seer.”

Yawo snapped his fingers and the tent flap opened. A young woman entered. Dressed as a peasant, an un-dyed woolen gown reached to her ankles with an apron of un-dyed linen, she caught his attention with a curtain of glossy blond hair that fell to her waist. Her eyes were downcast.

Gar’dyne had to catch his breath. “Speak, maiden seer, what have you for your prince.”

He watched her swallow. She’s nervous! “Tell, maiden,” he said in a softer tone. “Tell your prince your vision.”

She glanced up through thick lashes. “A babe, highness. The evil one has tracked a babe, destined to save the world.”

Gar’dyne blinked. He was so tired and now a riddle. His wrath against the seers was renewed. “That’s it? A baby?” He scrubbed a hand across his bearded face. “What’s that to my king?’

The girl slipped to her knees and he saw that she quivered as she dropped her head to the carpets strewn across the floor of his tent. He did his best to control his anger at the stupid wench. “Rise, girl. Explain.”

Tears glistened in her eyes making him feel even more a callous clod.

“Sire. Rescue the babe and win freedom from the wizard and his minions for the rest of time.”

And in front of the entire staff. Damn Yawo for not dealing with this slip of a girl in private. “Where is this babe?”

“A day’s march, Sire. The wizard is already there. The family resists.”

Gar’dyne wanted more than anything to sleep. “Yawo, Generals, form up. We march on this mud-hole of a town.”

The staff hustled out. Yawo took the girl by the elbow.

“Hold, cousin.”

The girl turned back to him.

“If you are wrong, I’ll have you flayed in the town square.”

She paled but nodded. Gar’dyne signaled for them to leave.

At dawn they arrived at the mud-walled village the girl had seen. The wizard’s soldiers surrounded the town. Gar’dyne wondered how the peasants had held off the wizard when his own troops had been mowed down the day before. He deployed his troops and had the wench brought up beside him.

“Girl, how do we win?”

“The babe will win, Sire. You will press the attack.”

He glared at her and she shrank into the saddle of the pony she rode. He felt both an ogre and a fool. “Yawo, deploy the men. Attack at each gate. Beat the evil scum back whatever the cost.”

Yawo nodded and spurred his horse. The girl hung her head.

“Have you always had visions?”

“Yes, Sire.” Eyes on the ground she patted the pony she rode and it ceased it’s stamping.

He sighed. From his hilltop vantage he could watch his troops. A horn blew and his troops attacked. He ground his teeth at the first contact. The gremlins and hell hounds savaged what was left of his battalion. Then, sun beams broke through the sullen clouds. Puffs of smoke arose whenever the beams hit the wizard’s army. Gar’dyne blinked. His soldiers were winning!

He and his guard raced down the hillside. Sword swinging, he cleared a path through the town to the stable where the girl directed him. He dismounted his foam-flecked horse and strode inside.

There, a baby lay in a horse manger. Mages surrounded the babe and the parents. They knelt. “Sire. We’ve been waiting.”

Gar’dyne approached the manger. The baby, wrapped in homespun wool, smiled up at him. The girl beside him dropped to her knees. Exhaustion and worry melted from him. Gar’dyne knelt on one knee, his sword point to the ground in front of him and bowed his head. His father would want to know his seer’s predictions had come true. The savior was born.

 

 

The End

983 Words

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

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