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

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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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Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Click here to see more.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? 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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Broken Toe: Monday Blog Post

Early Girl Tomatoes flank a Zucchini plant

Early Girl Tomatoes flank a Zucchini plant

Newest News:

Friday a bag of heavy groceries slid out of the child seat where I’d hurriedly put it and directly onto my right big toe! Painfully I hobbled to the car, loaded groceries in, put the cart in the corral and drove home. Once the groceries were put away the toe still hurt like the dickens. I peeled off shoe and sock and there was a small bruise already forming just below my toenail.

In sandals the rest of the day, I watched as the toe became more bruised and swollen. I couldn’t bend it, touch it, or walk on it. By Saturday I knew—it was broken. WebMD said the doc would just tape it to the next toe. Takes 2 – 4 weeks to heal. So I didn’t go to the doctor. It’s taped, with a cushion, to my next toe and I have bought a larger pair of sandals to wear so I can put a sock on to keep my feet warm.

Why is this important? Because I’ve been doing research hikes for articles for a hiking book the local newspaper is doing. I had planned a hike for Sunday. I had to drop that. I’m also not going to be able to document the regular Tuesday hikes, for the twice per month articles in the paper. I’m seriously bummed. And the toe still aches. I’ll spare you the picture.

Giveaways:

The Spring Into Reading giveaway closes in June. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, please enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

Out-of-Time-Cover

A shout-out goes to my next author interview, Jason Meadors. Jason’s interview will appear on Wednesday, the 25th. Yep! This Wednesday. Don’t miss out on Jason’s interview and a little bit about him. Can’t wait? Check out his site: www.grandpa-tells-stories.com.

Garden News:

The local garden club held a plant sale on Saturday. Hubby, I, and my broken toe hobbled to the sale site where I bought 2 Early Girl tomato plants and a zucchini plant. All are quite large and blooming. That will be a good head start on my veggie season. Yay!

Where Will I Be?:

Mystery Con Flyer

June 3rd and 4th I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there at 3pm on Saturday on writing a mystery. The conference is just two weeks away! Tickets for both days are only $39. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it. Register in advance on the site so we know how many are coming to lunch, then email me or comment here that you registered. I’ll put your name in for a drawing of a special prize on both Friday night and Saturday at my presentation. The prize? A bracelet, hand made by me, with Kindred Spirits as the theme. I’m nearly done with the book marks. I still need to make the bracelets. I’m the last presentation of the day on Saturday in my room, so if you want any of my books autographed, buy them at the book seller and bring them to the presentation. Can you make it? Email me.

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival, partly funded by the Arizona Humanities. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits Ad

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

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