February: Ready, Set, Go! Monday Blog Post

Aspens in the Woods

Aspens in the Woods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Keeping up the Pace: Monday’s Blog Post

D'Elen McClain at APW January meeting

D’Elen McClain at APW January meeting

Hiking and bronchitis update. I did not go on last Tuesday’s hike. As expected, the water was running high and fast. At least two hikers slipped on wet, algae-covered rocks and landed in the stream. I’m still coughing. It seems as though I cannot get my lungs clear. I continue to take the allergy meds the doc gave me and use the puffer to open airways. The hope is that with the airways open, the congestion left in my lungs can be coughed up. I hope so. I’m beginning to worry about using that puffer every day. This Tuesday’s hike is to the south of Payson. I’m planning on going on that. I haven’t been hiking since the week after Christmas. I need to get out of the house!

At last week’s monthly Arizona Professional Writer (APW) Rim Country Chapter meeting our speaker, D’Elen McClain, spoke on using social media to build our author platforms. We had a great turn out for the talk and a lot of enthusiasm from several people on using Twitter. The Thursday APW Phoenix chapter meeting panel on self-publishing was also very well attended. There was a lot of interest by traditionally published authors and even self-published authors on what our experiences were with the process.

My story, The Reunion, was rejected but FreezeFrameFiction.com included their reader’s comments on what they felt didn’t work with the story. That kind of feedback is invaluable and I’m very grateful that the publisher took the time to provide it. If you’re interested, you can find more about the company at http://freezeframefiction.com/ or on Facebook at facebook.com/freezeframefiction.

Kindred Spirits is still in edits. I’m glad my editor is so thorough but it takes time to get through everything. I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. I may have it whipped into shape by the end of January for a February release. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today!

Mystery in the Woods is moving forward. After a review of my scene cards, I realized one of the plot lines had been left hanging. I am fleshing out that part of the story and continuing to write on it. My enthusiasm for my Jean Hays story has been renewed. I hope to have this book out in late May so I can bring it to the June MysteryCon in Scottsdale, June 3-4.  More on the conference later in this post.

Vision Quest, the short story set in the Brown Rain series I mentioned last week is finished. Not only was it a fun little story but I used it to foreshadow upcoming series books. When the anthology comes out, I’ll let you know so you can buy a copy.

My next Author Interview posts Wednesday, January 27th, and is on author Katharina Gerlach. I hope you enjoy reading about Katharina as much as I did.

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

I’ve updated my Where Will I Be page on my website. The MysteryCon I mentioned above is on there with details about how to attend. Also listed are all of my planned January Jones, Sharing Success Stories, web-radio interviews. As other events come up, I’ll post them there. Oh! Just saying that made me remember that I didn’t put the Payson Book Festival on there. The festival is on July 23rd, 2016 again at the Gila Community College campus. I hope you can make it here. We already have a fantastic array of award winning authors attending, some from last year and there are several new authors attending this year. Mark your calendar. I’d love to see you at our Book Festival.

I put out the January newsletter on Saturday, the 23rd. I have a couple of contests in there. Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign-up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. 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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What Are You Up To? Monday Blog Post

New House Light Decorations by Randy Cockrell

New House Light Decorations by Randy Cockrell

December, month of parties, obligations, gift giving and running myself ragged trying to do it all. Thank goodness for the internet. Gift giving, or should I say gift buying, in a small town can be difficult. The internet makes that less of a hair pulling event. I spent part of the morning in my recliner, buying gifts for hubby and daughter. No crowd, no line, I loved it.

Also as my Christmas prep, filled the cookie tins (only they’re plastic), with the treats I’ve been making for the past week. I made the cookies yesterday and washed all of those plastic “tins” yesterday too. So today the task was to line them with wax paper and fill them with the candy and cookies. I also managed to get them into boxes, addressed and ready to take to the Post Office tomorrow. I feel as though I’m ahead of the curve.

Today was also decorate the yard day. Hubby wanted to change up the look I’d been using for the last four years so last year at clearance he bought a whole new set of lights for the house and front yard. The above is a pic of most of the front yard. There are a couple of things not on timers, we’ll have to buy the equipment to hook it all up to timers. But I’m pleased with the effect.

Monday is a full day. I meet a few local author friends for coffee at eight then at 11:30am, I attend my neighborhood ladies lunch. I promised my brother that I’d do a News Press Release for his ham radio group, Tryon Amateur Radio Club (Fulton County, NY). On Sunday they did a surprise simulated emergency test at a local hospital which also involved the Emergency Operations Centers of both Fulton and Montgomery Counties in New York. In this day and age we think everything is over the internet but in emergency situations, often the internet and cell service are down. HAM radio operators offer a lifeline of communication in chaotic situations. My brother’s group practices regularly to be of service in emergency situations. So I’m happy to be their press secretary and send out releases to local papers and other media outlets. For more information concerning this event or Amateur Radio, please contact Don Gifford – WA2EZ via: TRYON.ARC (@) Live [dot] com

I managed some words on the Zoe Ohale story this week. I’m getting into the last conflict Zoe has in this book. Both Zoe and her friend Sera are confronting demons in their lives. This should prove game changing for both of them.

A reminder. I’m going to be on the January Jones web radio show, Sharing Success Stories, on both December 8th and December 14th. The show on the 8th is me wrapping up 2015. The show on the 14th is a Christmas show. I have links to the show on my Where Will I Be page and the times. I hope you tune-in to listen.

Llama with lights

Llama with lights

On Saturday we went to Payson’s Electric Light parade. I just signed up for Instagram that afternoon so tried to take a picture of a float and post it. Ack! If you go to ConniesRandomThoughts on Instagram you’ll see. The phone camera took too narrow a view and because the float was moving, it’s blurry as well. A definite learning curve for me! But I love the spontaneity of the format. I’ll keep working on my cell phone picture taking skills.

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway started 1 November. I have a link to the giveaway on my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s also a Youtube video at the bottom of the page to watch. You will love this. 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 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 books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

Chatebooks.com is a new reader/author site that allows readers to connect directly to authors. Each book has its own forum space. You can ask questions, leave comments, and tell your fav author how much you liked the book. You can find my books by searching on my name or use this direct link. I’m very excited to be able to provide multiple platforms for readers to find my work. Chatebooks, as the name implies, is only for ebooks. To get a paperback copy of my books, go to Gumroad.com or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

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? 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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Sharing November! A Monday Blog Post

Bookshelf

Bookshelf By Connie Cockrell

I love sharing what’s going on with my writing and my life.

November is an exciting month. As always it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo. I began yesterday with a nice word count of 2200 words, equally two chapters. I think I have a good start, now to keep it going. On Facebook, it’s thankfulness month. I and several other friends of mine post daily things we are thankful for. I suppose I should be mindfully aware everyday of what I’m thankful for but well, life happens. And I’m thankful for that too.

Special this month, the fair (Northern Gila County Fair), has asked me to go to the Arizona Fair Conference. That will be a first for me and it will suck up four days in the middle of November when I should be writing for NaNo! I think I can get writing in even while I’m gone. But more exciting is that this conference is where fairs can book carnivals and other acts and events for their fairs. I’m really looking forward to that.

I’m also teaching a workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. I have an entry for that on my Where Will I Be tab on my website. Also where will I be, I’ll be in Avondale November 14th to sell and sign my books. That’s also on the Where I Will Be tab. It’s a full month for me but I think I’m up to the task.

Thanksgiving will be spent at our friends house. Every year they invite friends over for a big pot-luck style feast. It’s always a lot of fun.

My garden needs to be cleaned for the winter but as you can see from above, I’m busy. However, if I can get out there and just do a little each day, I should be done before we get a hard frost or even snow.

Author Friend Boost! Jamie Raintree She has a web fiction story, The Stretch Mark Club. Here’s a description.

Three women, four babies, one week apart. Shea, married just a few months, is still learning about life as a wife when Zoe is born, and hopes that her husband didn’t marry her just because of the two pink lines. Riley’s ex-boyfriend disappeared as soon as he found out she was pregnant, leaving Riley to raise Alexis on her own. Jasmine, the mother of twins, Xavier and Andrea, has been married to Hector for years but despite his initial excitement to have a baby, he refuses to change a single diaper. Follow Shea, Riley and Jasmine as they navigate the world of new motherhood.

Want a free ereader copy of The Stretch Mark Club? Sign up to my newsletter and send me an email at author(at)jamieraintree(dot)com to request it.

She can be also found at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and YouTube.

Writing progress: The Zoe Ohale outline for NaNo is done and I wrote two chapters of it yesterday. There is no progress on Mystery in the Woods but if I finish Zoe Ohale early, I’ll pick this up to work on.

Marketing: In addition to my new Gumroads.com/conniecockrell site where you can buy my work directly from me, I’ve been considering adding a blog post a couple of times a month with author interviews. Would that be of interest to you?

Don’t forget 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!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway started 1 November. I’ll give everyone the details for signing up to win free books and prizes as soon as I have them. Better yet, follow me on Facebook at conniesrandomthoughts, or Twitter at ConnieCockrell, and you’ll get the details even faster. Mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on this.

Writing news. My story After Math, was rejected by Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show magazine a few days ago. That’s the sixth rejection. I’ve sent it out to Asimov’s Science Fiction. We’ll see how long a reply takes. Cross your fingers for me, everyone.

Other writing news. I’ve been working on an on-line challenge on WritersDigest.com. It’s called the October Platform Challenge. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules. Robert Lee Brewer is the host of this challenge and I started it before I went on vacation. That set me back a long way on completing the daily work but I’ve been catching up. The nice thing is that it’s helping me check my social media platform and I’ve picked up a few things that I should be doing that I haven’t been. One thing is the interviews I mentioned above. Anyway, if you’re running a business, you might want to take this challenge yourself to help you build your social media platform. Robert gives you not only the how, but the why, for each step. I can’t say enough good words about this. It’s really helping me up my game on social media.

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 October 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, too. Don’t delay.  You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November 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 or Gumroads 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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