End of July: Monday Blog Post

Payson Book Festival 2017

Newest News:

Some updates from the Payson Book Festival. After digging into the stats, we had over 700 people attend the festival. That’s the 3rd straight year with 100+ attendee growth. Our new venue, the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino had the tables arranged so that it didn’t feel crowded, even with so many attendees. Feedback from volunteers, authors and attendees were favorable for the most part and I really thank everyone who filled out a feedback form. It makes it so much easier to figure out whether or not there was a problem when people actually tell us!

Bush Green Beans

I harvested 8 yellow squash on Friday. I’m definitely going to have to start calling friends and asking if they want some squash. The peaches are ripe and I have a glut of those, too! Hubby ate three of them (they’re small) for his morning snack on Sunday. Good thing we like peaches.

The editor emailed me, he’s having trouble getting the Tested file to me. I’ve sent an alternate email address so hopefully that will do the trick. I’m still looking for my First Encounter and Downtrodden files. Grrrrrrrr.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway on the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is over at midnight today! You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Author Mary Anne Edwards

Today’s shout out goes to author Mary Anne Edwards. 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. Mary Ann is my featured author on Wednesday’s Author Interview. Can’t wait? Check out her site at http://maryanneedwards.com.

Where Will I Be?

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

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts 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.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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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Birthday, Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Today’s my birthday. I’m far past the point where I do much celebrating of the day though hubby may take me out to dinner. We like two local restaurants for special occasions. The closest to me, right in town, is Fargo’s Steakhouse.  https://www.fargossteakhouse.com/ They have the best osso buco ever. And if you’re more into burgers and fries, the fries are hand cut on the premises and gluten free. There are other gluten free menu items as well. The second place is Diamond Point Shadows Steakhouse.  http://www.diamondpointshadows.com/ This restaurant is a little way out of town but not that far. This is the place where I get lamb chops and for dessert, crème brulee. I don’t know why crème brulee went out of style but Diamond Point still serves it. Yay! What’s your favorite special occasion place?

On the garden front, my garden survived a hail storm Saturday. The yellow squash leaves are ragged but everything is still alive. And in case you were wondering, yes, what was supposed to be a zucchini is, in fact, a yellow squash. I don’t mind, I guess. More yellow squash for me. The peaches are ripening. Another week I think and I’ll be swimming in peaches. I followed a tip to thin the peaches in the spring to get bigger peaches but that didn’t happen. They’re lovely but still small. I’m disappointed.

I’m still waiting for the editor to get Tested back to me. I found a picture of a college building that I liked and have begun creating the cover. I’m stalled though, as the font I used on the previous covers is not on my computer. I replaced the last computer due to power surge. I had the font name listed in my book notes but can’t find the notes for either First Encounter or The Downtrodden. I’ve looked all over the house and can’t find them so now I’m stumped. I’ll keep looking. The files have to be somewhere.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway is the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Author Sherry Knowlton

My next author interview is with Sherry Knowlton. She writes the Alexa Williams series of suspense novels. If you can’t wait until Wednesday’s post, you can find her at www.sherryknowlton.com

Also, Timothy Bateson, an author from back in my hometown area of upstate NY is featuring me today on his blog. Check out the interview at https://timothybatesonauthor.wordpress.com/?p=2326&preview=true

Where Will I Be?

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

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with over 80 authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts 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.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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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Happy April: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Last Friday and Saturday hubby and I drove up to Nellis AFB to celebrate the promotion of my nephew to Chief Master Sergeant. We were very proud of his accomplishment and it was nice to see so many of the family. We’re spread all over the U.S. and don’t get together very often. He’s a handsome young man, isn’t he?

April’s Camp NaNo started Saturday and I was on the road all day. So I hand wrote four pages of the next Zoe Ohale story in the car. I’m not sure how many words that is, I still need to type them up. At least I got a few words in. After I finish drafting this blog post (written on Sunday), I’ll have to do that and see what my first day’s shortfall is and work extra hard to catch up.

I bought nine dollars worth of pansies at Walmart last week and put some in my front planter, and the rest in two pots I had in the back yard. Aside from watering, not much gardening though the Swiss Chard was big enough to cut and have with dinner one night last week. I just love going out to the garden and picking my food, bringing it in and cooking it up. Talk about convenience food!

Last week I talked about my Elf Slave story. I have 3 episodes written and it’s not done yet. So that story is going to run into May, at least. I’m not fond of Elf Slave as a title, what else can I call it?

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading, Easter Giveaway is now on. Grand Prize is $100 in Paypal cash and lots of other prizes from 48 authors. My prize winners of the St. Patrick’s Day giveaway are Ashley Nichole Poteet and Zarah Robinson. Congratulations ladies. Check your emails for a message from me about your prizes.

 

Shout Out:

Author Marsha Ward

I have an interview this week with Marsha Ward. An author local to me, she is just putting out a historical fiction cook book with recipes from one of her characters. I love the cover on this cook book and it not only has recipes, but also tiny stories. I think you’ll love it. Can’t wait till Wednesday? Check her out at http://marshaward.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

This coming weekend, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from Friday April 7th to Sunday the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. I’ve added some content. Please feel free to comment on the posts. Are you a Goodreads user? Love to see you there. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, here’s your chance to find a ton of books, chats with other readers and even ask an author a question. Me included! If you’re a Facebook user, I’ll be part of a Science Fiction event on that platform at  https://www.facebook.com/events/1466110423422872/. It will run Saturday, from 5pm Eastern time until midnight Eastern. So if you’re on Pacific time (or Arizona time like me) that’s 2pm – 9pm. Other fun stuff is happening on http://b2bcycon.com/ so be sure to check it all out. Our panel discussions on multiple topics are being posted as we speak. Check those out on http://b2bcycon.com/panels/.

I have contracted for a booth at Phoenix ComiCon with some other author friends. The ComiCon is May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall.

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

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

 

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Roasted Veggie and Shrimp Salad: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Roasted Veggie and Shrimp Salad

I first saw this in my facebook feed and it looked so good I had to try it. Taken from www.buzzfeed.com/mercedessandoval/this-roasted-shrimp-and-veggie-salad-is-perfect-for-a-filling-lunch, when I tried going to buzzfeed to find the actual link, I couldn’t find it. However, a very similar recipe is https://www.buzzfeed.com/alixtraeger/sheet-pan-steak-and-rainbow-veggies?utm_term=.dulwdZ8ry#.ap2yL27Bo. Either way you’re going to end up with a really good meal. Serves 2.

See the rest here.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite salad supper? 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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Finger Paint: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

It’s the winter doldrums. The kids no longer want to go play in the snow. You are tired of them either being underfoot or want them off of their electronics. What to do?

I downloaded this graphic years ago and though it says Easie Peasie on the bottom, a website search did not reveal an actual link to give you. So, with my apologies to the actual author, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite craft? 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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Rain Wet Earth: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yard River by Randy Cockrell

A monsoon storm blew in. Great dark clouds piled up over the escarpment and filled the sky, spilling down into the valley. Rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning punctuated the now dark day. The air began to cool—a relief from the heat and humidity.

Rain began to fall. Fat, heavy drops coming one at a time, then the sky opened and water gushed down as though from a fire hose. The gullies and gutters filled and overflowed. I watched from my window, closed against the wind-whipped water. It was over in a few minutes and I stepped out of my front door. The smell of rain wet earth drifted by as the sun broke through the racing clouds and made me want to go camping.

My husband came out and put his arm around my shoulders. “That didn’t last long.”

“Never does. I feel like going camping.”

He nodded. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“The camping box is ready. We just need to load it and the tent into the car and get some groceries.”

A grin spread across his face. “No plan? Just go?”

“Yes. A few days in the outdoors will do us both good.”

I got a squeeze. “Sure. Why not. Let’s go camping!”

The still wet pine in the front yard sparkled like Christmas in the sunlight as I turned to go inside to pack. The scent of rain wet earth followed me into the house.

 

Thank You!

243 Words

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

 

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Hassleback Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

hassleback006

This is the time of year for entertaining and while I’m a mashed potatoes kind of girl, once in a while it’s nice to change things up. Hassleback potatoes are named for the Austrian restaurant that developed them. Deceptively simple to make and very elegant on the plate, these are delicious.

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Baking pan (I was cooking for two so I only needed an 8-inch square pan)

Large metal or wooden spoon

Small saucepan for melting butter

 hassleback001

Ingredients

4 whole, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (Other recipes I saw called for baking potatoes (russets) or even sweet potatoes.) The potatoes I used were small so we had two each. Judge your needs accordingly.

1 stick butter

Salt and Pepper

hassleback002

Melt the butter over low heat. To see the rest, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite kind of potatoes? 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 my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Waiting: Friday Flash Fiction Story

Baby by Randy Cockrell

Baby by Randy Cockrell

I watched the seconds pass on my digital watch, counting the passing of my life. My hands trembled, my mother’s tremors now part of my existence. Better than my brother, though, who developed his tremors in his thirty’s. Mine at least waited until I reached my sixties, when it wasn’t a strange sight to see an old woman’s hands shake.

The nurses scurried through the halls along with the occasional harassed-looking doctor. It occurred to me that a harried-looking doctor didn’t project much confidence. Was harried the step before panic? I didn’t know the precise hierarchy of that sort of thing was. And why were they harried? Were people sicker than they’d anticipated? My mouth went dry. Where was our doctor? I checked the watch again—it continued to count the seconds of my life, my future racing up to me then whooshing by, gone, history.

I drew a deep breath and sighed. A lot of history—much of it faded in my mind. Not dementia or Alzheimer’s, thank God. Just distance. I never was much for dwelling on the past. I tend to live in the present or the future. But to be honest, in my sixties, there wasn’t a lot of future left, given the current standard women’s lifespan. My heart leapt when a doctor stopped outside the door. I waited, breath held, but he checked his watch and moved off. Ne news for me yet, then. I went back to breathing. What was taking so long?

It was November and my mind drifted to Thanksgiving. It was at my house this year, my brother and his wife, my sister, all their kids. Mom was gone two years. I’ll make her recipe for rice pudding, a family favorite and she’ll be present in our hearts.

Another doctor paused outside the door, a nurse walked up to him. I couldn’t hear what was being said, the waiting room TV was blasting a soap opera. I was surprised. I didn’t know any were still running. The nurse nodded and left. The doctor, too, in the opposite direction. I sank back into my seat. My own anxiety level rising.

I dropped the year-old magazine I was holding onto the side table. I wasn’t reading it—I might as well let someone else pick it up to hold.

The air conditioning kicked on and I pulled my sweater closer around me. Why is the A/C on in November? I gave the vent a glare and considered moving my seat but a look around revealed everyone else was as annoyed as I was. So when I heard my name called out, I jumped. “Yes!” I hurried to the nurse in the door.

“Mrs. Johns?”

I tucked my purse under my arm. “That’s me.”

“Your daughter, Jessica, is fine. You have a new grandson.” She smiled at me, the corners of her blue eyes crinkling. “Nine pounds, six ounces. He’s healthy as can be.”

My knees quivered with relief. “Can I see her?”

“Right this way, Mrs. Johns.”

I followed her—already planning the baby’s first Thanksgiving.

 

Thank You for Reading!

513 Words

 

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

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Interrupted 2: Friday Flash Fiction Post

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

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station by Connie Cockrell

See Interrupted 6/17/16

She changed her lunch spot from the grocery store because the same guy figured out her routine and began approaching her every day, no matter how often she told him she wasn’t interested. Apparently her appearance was encouragement enough.

So now, even though the selection of lunch items was limited to three pre-made and wrapped sandwiches and two soups, cream of mushroom and vegan vegetable, she spent her lunch hour at Bectie’s Tea and Coffee. It seemed the patrons of Bectie’s understood that someone with a book or working on their pads, were engaged and not interested in conversation.

She settled into the café chair, tuna salad and a slice of lemon cake beside her, Caramel Macchiato at hand, and opened her new book, Jania, Princess of Taria.

Janie yelled as the ship lurched. “Fire all weapons!”

The ship shuddered as all six guns blasted, the gyro’s barely able to stabilize the craft as the gunners complied.

“Princess!” Admiral Rayquil grabbed the back of her command chair. “The Peet fleet is too powerful – they outnumber our ships four to one.”

Jania slammed her fist onto the arm of the chair. He’s right. They’ve already destroyed half of my ships. “Order a retreat.” She could feel the slow burn of anger and shame but it was better to fall back and regroup than be destroyed.

“Fleet!” Admiral Rayquil shouted over the sparking and explosions of the bridge consoles. “Prepare to….”

“Hey there!”

She jerked with the shock of the enthusiastic greeting and the sound of metal chair legs dragging across the tile floor. She blinked as she dragged her consciousness across the galaxies to the reality of Bectie’s.

The guy, twenty-five at her guess, hipster hat on his head and a goatee that needed several more months to actually fill in, dropped into the chair opposite her and settled his clear plastic cup – a latte by the look of it – on the table. He stuck out his hand. “Brandon.”

She resisted her manners in politeness and stared at him. “Do I know you?”

His hand remained suspended over the table. She looked around. Every table had someone at it. All of the other customers were male. Of course. “Why are you here?”

Brandon’s grin fell away with his hand, which grabbed his cup and gave a little salute with it. “Best latte in town.” He glanced at her cup–opaque paper so no real way to tell what was in it. The look was his question as to what she was drinking but she was in no mood to satisfy his curiosity.

“I’m here to eat my lunch and read in peace.” She waved at the other tables. “You should make friends at another table.” She opened her book and stared at the pages, eyes skimming the ink on the page but no reading. Waiting.

He twisted out of the chair, legs scraping, and grabbed his latte. “Bitch.” He stomped out of the shop.

She sighed. She just wanted to read her book and eat her lunch. Was that so wrong? She took a bite of her sandwich—the joy of starting her new book spoiled.

“Don’t feel bad.” Bectie appeared at the table, wiping down the half where Brandon had sat. “Happens all the time.”

That did make her feel better. “Thanks.” She sipped her macchiato and took another bite.

Bectie gave her a wink and went back to the counter.

She reopened her book.

“Prepare to disengage.” The ship was hit with another volley from the Peet.

“Disengage!”

 

 

Thank You!

589 Words

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

 

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Fall Photo Contest: Monday Blog Post

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From October 2009 Upstate NY

Have been traveling to California and back to see my daughter and arrived home after noon today, totally wiped out. So instead of my usual Monday post, how about this. I offer up a contest. Your best fall picture. Yep. I choose from the photos posted to comments. I’ll give you a free ebook if your photo is chosen. I’ll make the winner announcement next Monday (Oct 3rd).

So, to kick it off, I’ve put a photo at the top of the page, just to give you an idea.

Also, just a quick push for my new mug: a halloween one. https://www.gearbubble.com/chihuahuapumpkin2016

Not very scary but cute.

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