Individual Scalloped Sweet Potatoes: Chicklets In The Kitchen

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Finished individual scalloped potatoes with green beans and sirloin steak

One of my favorite dishes is scalloped potatoes. My mom taught me to make it in a huge pan and nestle pork chops into it for a delicious one pan meal that fed two parents and six hungry kids. I have posted a gluten-free version of it on this website in the past. Today I’m sharing a recipe I saw on a Facebook post. Have you ever done that? Seen something that looked tasty on Facebook and gave it a try?

Well, I did, mainly because this recipe looked easy and used very few ingredients. I love my traditional scalloped potatoes but it involves a lot of steps. Hey, I thought, let me try this easier version.

Hardware

One 12 cup muffin tin

Bowl (to hold potato slices)

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

One large sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme, or fresh if you have it

1 pint heavy cream

Vegetable oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

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If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Be sure to get sweet potatoes. There is a difference between the light yellow sweet potatoes and the dark orange yams we’re used to having at Thanksgiving. The yams would certainly work as would regular potatoes. Lots of options.

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In the bowl, mix the potatoes, melted butter, salt, pepper, and thyme.

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Lightly oil the muffin cups. Layer the potatoes in each muffin tin.

 

See the rest of the post at Chicklets In The Kitchen.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

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

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Merry New Year 2016: Monday Blog Post

Bird by Betty Marsh

Bird by Betty Marsh

For those of you who read last week’s post, we did just fine on the fair audit AND we finished it in one, very stressful, day. Yay! We’re lining ourselves up to get the 2016 fair planned. If you live in my town, I have several openings for volunteers! If you’re interested in our fair, check out www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com or Northern Gila County Fair on Facebook.

We had my daughter and brother-in-law (hubby’s brother) over on Christmas Eve for our Christmas feast. As usual, I cooked way too much food. The duck was delicious and the company was great. We played both Chicken Foot and a game new to me, Sequence. There was a lot of trash talk and laughter. Good times. The daughter brought her hamster with her as no one was home to take care of it. We had fun watching the little critter in her hamster ball roam all over the house checking things out. Daughter shared her art. The pic at the top is one of her drawings. We think she’s awesome. How about you? LOL!

Writing is going. Even though it was Christmas week, I managed over 6000 words on my November NaNo novel, Zoe Ohale. I’ve got about six scenes to go and I’ll be close to 65,000 words on the work when I’ve finished the first draft. After that is done and put away to rest awhile, I’ll pick up July’s Mystery in the Woods. At this point I’ll have to read the whole thing through to figure out where I left off and what else has to be done. That story was an experiment in NOT plotting. This is where it has led me, down a rabbit hole. No matter. I’ll get it back to active status and finish it up. I’m planning on being at a Mystery Convention in Scottsdale the beginning of June and want to have it there for sale. So, I’d better get writing.

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway has been extended to run until midnight, January 1st. (midnight after New Year’s eve) 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.

This is the time of year for me to look back at 2015 and think about what I want to do for 2016 at least as far as my writing goes. Do you do that in your life or job? I find it helpful to have a goal to shoot for. I did a blog post on this in my December 18th post. Click here to see how I did in 2015. I think my main goal in 2016 is to not only write and publish but to expand my reader base. I have 13 books out now plus stories in four different anthologies. I’ll be able to put out at least three books in 2016, perhaps more. Do you recommend my books you’ve read to other readers?  Do you write reviews for my books that you’ve read on Amazon, Goodreads or the site where you purchased the book or books? Those are some of the ways a reader can help out an author. What is your suggestion for bringing more readers to my books? I hope you had a productive and happy year. I wish you all the best with your goals for 2016.

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 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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Anything But Quiet: Monday Blog Post

Jade Plant with Christmas Decorations

Jade Plant with Christmas Decorations

It’s the middle of the month and my supposed quiet month is anything but. I’m working on two non-profits, with no respite since their actual operational dates. I know I shouldn’t put so much energy into them but both are dear to my heart. I have mentioned in past weeks about my editing projects and trying to get my Mystery and NaNo novel to finished 1st draft. None of that has happened. What I have started is a project for another writer, formatting her book. That has been a struggle but I think I’m about done. It had to be converted from PDF to word, which made the formatting that much harder. On the positive side, she’ll have a word doc that she can actually work with once I hand it back. That’s a win in my book. Aside from the 21st and 22nd, the remaining days of the month are actually appointment free. I may get things done after all.

I took my Christmas boxes to the post office last week. It only took half an hour in line to get them mailed out. I count that as a win. My friend, eight people in line behind me, was there over 45 minutes.

On the Christmas front the front yard is decorated beautifully. Best of all on Saturday we had snow. All day the trees were frosted but that didn’t last long. By sundown, most of the snow had melted. I was hoping by the time the outdoor lights came on there’d be snow to offer a frosted effect but that did not happen. A little sad but that just means my Sunday walk with friends was less slippery. I have the tree up and the cloth picture we cover with wrapping paper to tape received Christmas cards is hanging up. The rest of my interior decorations I’ve left in the bins and taking back out the garage. Other than my jade plant, the tree and the card display, I’m not going to put up any other decorations. My heart just isn’t into it. No real reason except I keep thinking about all the work to put them up only to take them down in two weeks. Just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

I had a January Jones web radio show scheduled for today but January is travelling. If you missed my show last week, you can go to my Media tab and the Recorded Interviews sub-heading to find links to any of the six supporting stations broadcasting last week’s show. Author friend, D’Elen McClain, was on with me. A two for one deal. Please listen. We talk about our work, how we go about doing it and even some personal Christmas stories. By January I’ll have my 2016 appearances, at least the ones I have scheduled so far, up on my Where Will I Be tab. Take a look. If you’re in the area, please stop by and see me. I’d love to chat with you.

I’m excited about Christmas, despite my reluctance to decorate inside my house. My daughter is coming to visit, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depends on other family obligations. I’m going to try and convince her to come Christmas Eve. I’ll make duck for dinner. When we were stationed in England, I always bought a goose, an English tradition, for our Christmas feast. Goose isn’t available here so duck is the next best thing. I love duck and can’t wait to share it. I’ll have the traditional mashed potatoes and green beans and from my own family, cole slaw, or as my people say, cabbage salad. I’ll make cranberry sauce too, the fresh kind with ground up cranberries and orange. There’s nothing better in my opinion.

I mentioned last week that I started an Instagram account. I’ve posted a few pictures since last Saturday’s Electric Light Parade. There are pics of our Tuesday hike to a spot called the Spanish Ruins, putting up my tree and even Saturday’s snow. 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 getting down to the last two weeks 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.

If you are an author, please take a look at the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel, offer. It ends Tuesday (the 15th!) at mid-night. I 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’d like to turn your NaNo novel, or any other manuscript, into a work that can be published, you want to sign up for this workshop. Click on this link to sign 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 Christmas decorating 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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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Going Home

Suitcases on the Road by Connie Cockrell using Suitcases by Frost_Stock via www.DeviantArt.com Road picture by Randy Cockrell

Suitcases on the Road by Connie Cockrell using Suitcases by Frost_Stock via www.DeviantArt.com and Road picture by Randy Cockrell

Zara cleaned off the end of the shelf where the waitresses kept their personal stuff. Nothing extravagant— her coffee mug, a baggie with spare hair elastics and ties, and her purse. The mug and baggie went into the last. The two other girls sent sympathetic looks in her direction but in the middle of the lunch rush, they couldn’t stop to give a proper goodbye.

Fine by her. She slung the purse strap over her shoulder and made sure to slam the back door as she left. The owner, the nasty little man, had felt her up for the last time. Zara marched out of the alley like a soldier. Head up, shoulders back, eyes forward but her mind was roiling.

She didn’t know what to do. Rent was due in two weeks. Zara expected she’d have to fight to get her final paycheck and it would be short, being fired mid-pay period. She sighed as she stopped at the corner to wait for the light. Running to the big city wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Halfway down the block, hookers, no older than her, were talking to men in passing cars. At least I didn’t get caught up in that. The walk light glowed, and she crossed the street.

She pulled out her phone and called her sister. “Anna, it’s me,” she said when her sister picked up. “I was just fired.”

“Oh no, Zara. How awful.”

“Yep.” Zara stepped into a doorway to get out of the flow of pedestrians and to cut the street noise a little. “I don’t know how I’m going to make the rent, but at least I don’t have to put up with that grabby owner anymore.”

“Come stay with us.”

Zara shook her head. “I can’t do that. You have Bill and the kids to take care of. You don’t need me there.”

“Well, then, what about going home to mom and dad. I talked to mom. She said she’s asked you back over and over. Talk to her, talk to dad.”

“You know I haven’t talked to him since I left.” Zara watched the people going by, everyone with a look of determination on their faces. They knew what they were doing with their lives.

“It was a silly argument, Zara. Make up with him.”

“He told me if I didn’t like it to get out. So I did.” She wasn’t miffed about it anymore. Now it was more a matter of pride.

“You stayed out all night. He was trying to lay some ground rules for your own good.”

“How’d that work for him?”

“You and Dad are too much alike.”

Zara sighed. “Probably. Mom told me he’s still holding my college account open. He won’t touch the money, even when the whole roof had to be replaced.”

“See,” her sister said. “He still loves you. Come home. If you turn your apartment back to the owner clean, you’ll get your deposits back. That’ll give you the cash to find a new job or something.”

It was eighty-five today in Phoenix. It would be cold back in New York. She’d have to get winter clothes. “I’ve got nothing to wear. I left all my coats and stuff behind when I tossed my stuff in the car and left.”

“Mom still has it all,” Anna encouraged her. “Do you need me to buy a bus ticket for you?”

Zara chewed her bottom lip. What did she want to do? Go home? Go to college, at last? She realized she was ready to make up with her father. “No, I have some money set aside. I wanted to use it to buy the kids Christmas presents.”

“Forget that. You’re the best present they could get. Please come home, Zara.”

Zara felt her throat ache and tears form. She sniffed them back. “Then I guess I’m coming home. It’ll take me a couple of days to tie things up here. The car still works. I’ll drive.”

“Hoo, hoo!” Anna cheered. “You’ll be home in time for Thanksgiving. Fantastic. Are you going to call mom?”

“I’m going to call dad.” Zara wiped her eyes. “It’s time.”

 

The End

695 Words

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

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Chicklets in the Kitchen: Making Soap

Lavender, Soap,

Lavender Soap by Connie Cockrell

The kitchen isn’t just for making breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t know about you, but a lot of crafts get done in my kitchen. Not long ago I showed you how to make butter. Here is another craft that is fairly easy to do at home and the result is great for gift giving. Hoo! Anyone thinking about Christmas?

So, here’s how you do it.

Some hardware and ingredients for making soap

Some hardware and ingredients for making soap

Hardware

2 quart glass measuring cup

1 quart glass measuring cup

2 cup glass measuring cup

2 silicone muffin sheets (optional. 2 4X8 inch bread pans, lined with parchment)

1 cookie sheet

2 wire racks

1 large stainless steel spoon to still lye and water mixture

Stick Blender

4 quart stainless steel pot

Rubber Gloves and Eye Protection

Soap ingredients

40 ounces olive oil (not extra virgin)

10 ounces of coconut oil

16 ounces of warm water (from the tap is fine)

6.9 ounces of lye

1.5 to 2.2 ounces of essential oil, any scent (optional)

1/4 cup of crushed flower petals, chopped herb, whatever matches with your essential oil

Directions

Things move quickly when you’re assembling this so make sure you have all of the ingredients measured out, open and ready to add to the pot. Use glass and stainless steel so there won’t be any adverse reactions. Aluminum is not suitable for the measuring cups or pot.

To see the rest go here.

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Monday Blog Post: Happy Columbus Day

At the book signing

At the book signing

The vacation has gone well. After Missouri, we headed to Canada to meet friends and spent two nights there. Reg and Maureen have a lovely home just outside London, Ontario and we had a wonderful time there. Thursday we drove to Northville, N.Y. Mom is now staying with my second brother and has already reconnected with her old friends.

My book signing in Gloversville, NY at the Mohawk Valley Cooperative was a big success. Several people I grew up with, went to school with or worked with in 4-H came by and we had a chance to catch up. It was lovely.

I did get my phone to work, finally. For some reason, the wifi was turned off. After much button pushing and experimenting, I finally found where to turn it on. Yay! Phone service.

TONIGHT! I’ll be on the January Jones Sharing Success Stories this evening at 5pm Eastern time. (2pm Arizona time). It’s an hour show and I’ll be on with my author friend, J.A. Marlow. It should be a fun show. Here are some links so you can tune in.

Talk4Media.com 
iHeartRadioTalk – Clear Channel Communications
1.5+ million listeners to date 
BlogTalkRadio.com 24/7 Featured Host
Over 2.2+  million listeners to date 
 
January’s Books Now Available at amazon.com
 

No Author Shout-out today since I’m on the road.

So, I’ll still be on vacation next week but I’ll post a short blog on the 19th, just to keep you all up to date.

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 published my September 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 October 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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Monday Blog Post: Prepping for Vacation

Mohawk Harvest Co-Op Storefront, Gloversville NY.

Mohawk Harvest Co-Op Storefront, Gloversville NY.

We’re getting ready to drive across the country to my old hometown of Northville, NY. We’re stopping along the way to visit with some friends. We should be in Northville by the 8th. I’m looking forward to this. It’s our first vacation in two years. Also, we haven’t been back to Northville since we moved to Arizona five years ago. We’re way overdue for a visit.

While we’re in upstate NY, I have scheduled a book signing in Gloversville, NY at the Mohawk Valley Cooperative on Main Street. That’s a picture of the store front at the top of this post. I’ll be there Saturday, 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! Margaret McGaffey Fisk. Her newest book is, Gifts, The Steamship Chronicles Book Three.  Here’s a description.

Sam has never been happier than aboard this merchant ship in the middle of the ocean. Most of the crew accepts her despite knowing about Sam’s Natural abilities. They tease and scold as if she were one of their own, even letting her listen to their tales. She’d do anything to stay, but the captain has made it clear: Come the next port, her voyage is at an end.

Sam’s presence has cost Nat so much, but he’d do anything to have her stay. Still, Nat knows the captain made the only possible choice in these circumstances. The sailors view Sam as a good luck charm now, but as soon as something goes wrong, they could turn on her. Transforming Sam into a boy and giving her Nat’s share of the profits means she’ll have a decent chance on shore as long as she stays in control. Nat likes neither image of her future so struggles to come up with a better plan.

You can find more about Margaret at: http://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/

Writing progress: I’ve made some progress on my Zoe Ohale outline for NaNo. It’s still a long way from finished. I did get another chapter written on Mystery in the Woods. It’s moving, albeit slowly.

Marketing: As an indie author, I’m responsible for marketing my own work. It can be a challenge but I keep my eyes and ears open for new opportunities to tell people I’m out here and have some stories they might like to read.

One great opportunity is that my author friend D’Elen McClain (wickedstorytelling.com) has started a new website to connect readers to authors. It’s called Indie Books Direct at http://indiebooksdirect.com/. The site, free to readers, has a tab that lists all of the authors on the site. The reader just clicks on the author’s name and a link takes them directly to the author’s website or sale page. If you want to find authors in a particular genre, click on one of the several genre pages to find authors that have stories in that genre. It makes things so easy for readers! The site is still under construction but we’d love to have you come browse. Let us know how you like the site. Official grand opening is November 1st!

On Saturday I found a promotion that will start right after Halloween is over. It’s called Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway. On 1 November, the party starts. I’ll give everyone the details for signing up to win free books and prizes. Mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on this. The below picture is my promo ad for the event. What do you think?

Christmas Giveaway Poster

Christmas Giveaway Poster

I have finished writing the Friday Flash stories for October. There are five new stories all scheduled and waiting to post. The theme I wrote to is Halloween. I just had to do it. LOL! I still must get my October Chicklets in the Kitchen post written and scheduled. Last Thursday I attended the Strawberry Author’s group meeting and gave them an overview of CreateSpace and how it works. They liked it so much they’ve asked me to come back the end of October and talk about editing. Hoo, big fun!

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 published my September newsletter on Saturday. 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 October 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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Monday Blog Post: County Fair, Story Submissions, and Event Jitters

Quartz Rocks by Connie Cockrell

Quartz Rocks by Connie Cockrell

Gardening has picked back up. The Early Girl and Roma tomatoes are producing like crazy. The trellis is leaning way over due to the weight of the plants and fruit. I’ve had to do emergency tie-offs to keep everything upright. I harvested two more cantaloupes and took them to my daughter. We just can’t eat everything fast enough. Pears are still being harvested. The zucchini is slowing down. A good thing as I still have two giant ones in my fridge to use up.

Author Friend Boost! Lazette Gifford. She has just released her newest book, In the Shadow of Giants. Here’s a description.

In a future filled with starships, a gathering of Norse sail far wider oceans than they had in the ancient past. When members of the Chinese pantheon abduct one of the Norse, it will take all of Odin’s skills to convince an estranged Loki to help get her back.

You can find more at: http://www.lazette.net/

The Northern Gila County Fair is September 11- 13th. We’re in the ramp up. Tuesday starts the major lifting. I’ve been posting like crazy on the Facebook page: Northern Gila County Fair. There were four articles in Friday’s paper. Monday starts the KRIM radio spots. We’re all scurrying to tie up those last minute details. If you don’t hear from me next week, you’ll know why.

I received my editor’s edits this morning and finished my final corrections of Gold Dream. (The post picture is meant to represent this story.) I wanted to send this story to a particular contest. Don’t know what I was thinking but I overshot the wordcount by 4X. Sigh. I thought I could pull up a story I’ve already written. I found one I liked, edited it to a good place and realized that I had posted that on my blog. Since it’s been “published” I couldn’t submit that one either. The deadline for the contest is September 15th. I don’t feel that I can write and edit a good short story in seven days. So! I sent Gold Dream to a western fiction story magazine and I’ve saved the edited version of the second story, a scifi, to a file for a collection to release next year. Yay! No work wasted. I’ll try and get my act together for the contest next year.

Did something fun last Friday. Hubby, me and Mom took a ride up to Flagstaff. We had to get the car a service for some sort of computer update. Afterward picked up the daughter and her friend and went to the Pioneer Museum. Housed in what was once the Indigent Hospital, we learned a lot about early Flagstaff history and of the homeless population problem. If you’re ever in Flagstaff, this is a great place to visit.

The Pioneer Museum in Flagstaff is located in the historic Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent. The Hospital was built in 1908 using purniceous dacite from the Mount Elden Explosive Eruption about 500,000 years ago. The building was used as a hospital until 1938 and was considered a Poor Farm. The exhibits within the museum reflect the history of Flagstaff and northern Arizona. Visitors will learn of the local history of ranching, logging, transportation and life in Pioneer Flagstaff. Festivals and events are also held on the grounds including the annual Wool and Fiber Festival, the Folk Festival and the Heritage Festival.

2340 N. Fort Valley Road

Flagstaff AZ 86001

Phone 928-774-6272

Email: wpeterson@azhs.gov

 

The week after the Fair I’m at the InD’Scribe conference in Palm Springs, CA. http://indtale.com/indscribe-con-information  This is my first conference and I’m more than a little nervous. I want so much to learn a lot of stuff from all of the experienced authors that will be there. I want to connect with the readers that are attending and, obviously, sell a lot of books. If you’re around the Palm Springs area September 18th and 19th, stop on by. I’d love to chat with you.

On September 24th, I’ll be in Strawberry, AZ, speaking to the writing group there about CreateSpace. I’d love to see you there.

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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Friday Flash Fiction Story: Desperate Quiet

Tears, Rain, BlackJack 0919, DeviantArt.com

Tears and Rain by BlackJack 0919 via DeviantArt.com

Eleanor Marks drove home from her job as a mid-level secretary in a mid-level accounting firm. Her ten year old car was a sedan, as plain as she was. Once home she made grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans for supper. It was the same thing they had every Wednesday night. Her husband, Arnold, arrived home promptly at six and wanted dinner on the table by six-fifteen.

“Good supper, El.” He wiped his mouth on his napkin and went into the living room to watch the seven o’clock game show.

El. Eleanor sighed and began clearing the table. Her family called her El, too. All of the people in college and now at work called her El. Why couldn’t she be Ellie? Ellie was bright, happy, and popular. El was plain, ugly even. She hated her short name. Once, in high school she’d tried to get people to call her Ellie. It was a waste of time. No one noticed the plain girl nor cared enough to follow her request. She stopped trying years ago.

After she did the dishes she came into the living room. Arnold was turning the channel to catch his favorite eight o’clock TV show. She picked up her embroidery hoop and began where she left off last night. Tonight’s program was another shoot ’em up cop show. She wondered why her husband liked them. No one on the series was happy. It was depressing.

At a commercial break she turned to Albert. “I think there’s a leak in the roof. There’s a water spot on the upstairs bathroom ceiling.

“Always something.” Albert got up and went to the kitchen. He came back, beer in hand, just in time for the show to restart.

Eleanor took a deep breath. She’d remind him on Friday and he would take care of it over the weekend. The show droned on and she occupied herself with the tiny stitches. The thread colors pleased her, reds and oranges, violets and blues, greens of grass and moss and new shoots. She loved them all.

At nine o’clock Albert turned off the TV and began his nightly routine of checking that the doors and windows were all locked. Eleanor followed along behind him, turning off lights. She wondered how this routine began. They never even spoke. They just started the house rounds, every night the same.

He readied for bed and vacated the bathroom. After her hand washing and face creaming, she stood in the adjoining bathroom door and looked at her husband, already asleep in their queen sized bed. She rubbed the lotion into her hands.

She’d never dated in high school. No boy wanted to date such a plain girl. So it was in college that she dated. Not the cool popular boys. College was just high school on steroids. But George worked in the student cafeteria when he wasn’t in class studying programming. Certainly not handsome, they had begun talking as he bussed nearby tables. One date, then two, and before she knew it they were going together. He graduated the year before her and at their quiet graduation ceremony, just the two of them at the local pizza place, he proposed.

Eleanor wondered at her immediate acceptance. Did she think there were no other men out there who would be interested in her? She drew a deep breath, a lump forming in her throat. That must have been it. She was so pleased to be asked that she just took the first offer. Finished rubbing in the hand lotion she went back into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She studied her face in the mirror. There was nothing to see. Eyes were gray, not blue, her hair was graying, and she didn’t have the energy to even consider dying it. What was the point? It was a mousey brown to start with, hardly worth trying to keep. Wrinkles were forming at the corners of her eyes and mouth, as were jowls at her jaw line. The lump in her throat grew and she sat down on the toilet lid.

How did she get here to a boring marriage in a boring life in a boring house? Perhaps children would have made the difference but Albert wasn’t able.  She considered how children might have changed their lives. PTA meetings, taking the children to sporting events and talking with the other parents as the kids played on the fields or courts. They might have become more social. Instead they became insulated. Neither of them made friends at work so there were no get-togethers for drinks or dinner after work. It was just the two of them, moving silently though a quiet house every evening and weekend.

Tears flowed down her face and she unrolled three squares of toilet paper to wipe her eyes. She was only forty-five. She was smart. She liked good food and music and plays. Eleanor felt trapped by a life she’d built one small decision at a time. Crying herself out, she blew her nose and rewashed her face. In the mirror she could see that her eyes were red and puffy. It didn’t matter. Albert was sound asleep. He’d never know that she had been crying.

She turned out the light and crawled into bed. Eleanor stared at the ceiling. He never knew that she cried every night.

 

 

The End

897 Words

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

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