It’s January So That Means Goals!

Goals! Of course. It’s the start of the year and yep, I do have a list of things in mind to help guide myself along my writer’s course in 2016. You’ll note that I’m only talking about writing goals. I could put a lot of other goals in here but that would lead to chaos. Let’s just stick to the writing goals.

  1. Goal: Start an author interview post on my website for 2X per month.

Note: I began this process in November when I put out a call for authors who’d like to be interviewed. I posted the first interview on January 13th, one of our own Forward Motion authors, B. C. Mathews. I loved how she answered the interview questions. You can see that interview here.

  1. Goal: Submit stories to newspapers/magazines about my appearances before and after each appearance.

The thinking here is that this goal is one of several to help me increase my readers. It’s hard for most readers to find new authors. This is one way I can help increase my visibility.

  1. Goal: Publish 6 books in 2016

I had this as a goal for 2015 and only published two books. This year, though, I already have two books in the editing process, one book finished and resting before editing, and another book about 2/3 finished. I also want to do a collection, probably science fiction, of pieces I really loved and posted on my blog. I’d have to select those stories, polish them up or maybe even expand them, and then edit and publish. That leaves one more book. I’d like to do a Christmas book. I may draft that at the April Camp NaNo. I’ll see what I can think of between January and the end of March.

  1. Goal: Participate in the April and July Camp NaNo’s and in the November NaNo

I mentioned the April Camp NaNo in goal 3. But I like to do the July camp and the November NaNo as well. After all, I have to have something to publish in 2017, don’t I!

  1. Goal: Produce a Christmas Book this year.

Again, see goal number 3. I love to read Christmas stories. Aside from A Visit from St. Nick, the first Christmas story I remember was The Gift of the Magi, by O’Henry. I read that story in grade school and it always stuck with me. It’s become my yardstick for what a good Christmas story is all about.

  1. Goal: Submit a story to the 2016 FM Anthology.

This is one of those goals that may be out of my control. If Forward Motion doesn’t have a 2016 anthology, I want to submit a story to some other anthology. In any event, it will get done.

  1. Goal: Complete the Holly Lisle World Building class and the How to Write A Series Expanded class

This is another one that may be out of my control. The How to Write a Series class is dependent upon Holly Lisle’s health and her ability to finish writing the class. The other one, the World Building class, that one is within my control. So, it’s up to me to schedule the time to improve my writing!

  1. Goal: Submit at least 20 stories to contests/magazines in 2016

I might have been ambitious here. However, I have already subbed: Bell Ring, Rest (a poem), The Reunion, and Eavesdroppers, to various magazines. My stories Gold Dream and After Math were subbed in late December so I’m counting them for 2016 as well. That makes 6 stories out by mid-January. Not a bad start.

  1. Goal: Participate in May Story A Day

May Story A Day is a writing challenge on the Forward Motion site. We can try for a story every day of May or set ourselves a goal. My usual goal is twelve stories. That way I can write short stories instead of just flash stories and I have a pool of stories to apply to number 8!

  1. Goal: Increase speaking appearances and opportunities to sell my books to 12.

This goal works hand in hand with number 2. I’m trying to expand the number of readers of my books.

  1. Goal: Participate in the Payson Book Festival as an author.

This goal is a no-brainer. I’m the organizer of the event. Unless I’m deathly ill, I’ll be there.

You’ll notice I don’t have the goals in chronological order. I put them down as I thought about them. It doesn’t bother me that they’re not in order. I’ll get to all of them sooner or later. How about you? Do you have a few goals for 2016? What’s driving them? I’d love to hear your comments.

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.

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, traveling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara.

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Completed! Monday Blog Post

NaNo-2015-Winner-Certificate-Halfsize

Completed! I completed my National Novel Writing Month Challenge! I hit 50,000 words on Saturday the 28th. That felt pretty darn good. The book, however, is not completed. I may have about 10,000 more words to go on Zoe Ohale. That’s what I’m calling this YA book. I may change the name later but that’s it for now. It will be out mid-late 2016.

I have begun the process of editing both Kindred Spirits, the 3rd book in the Brown Rain series, and All About Bob, the 1st book in my All About Bob series. The ‘Bob’ book needs a title. I may hold a title writing contest for my newsletter folks. See below for how to sign up. I still need to finish Mystery in the Woods, which I started in July. Those of you who are waiting for the next Jean Hays book, I promise, I’m working on it.

I’m going to be on the January Jones web radio show, Sharing Success Stories, on both December 7th and December 14th. The show on the 7th 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.

I’ve been signing up authors for my new feature, author interviews. I’m leaning toward every other week, on Wednesdays. What do you think would be a good day to post them?

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.

The mornings here in Central Arizona have been cold, with hard frosts. Most of the garden has died off. However, the parsley, the sage, and the rosemary are still good to cut. I love being able, this time of year, to walk outside my back door and cut fresh herbs. I put a small bunch of sage in my giblet stock on Sunday, when I roasted a chicken. The chicken was sprinkled with a lemon zest, salt, pepper, sage and rosemary mixture both inside and out. I stuffed the bird with cut up orange, lemon and apple. Best roast chicken ever.

Holiday gift giving. I’m making candy to send to my mom and siblings and my daughter. They all enjoy the dark chocolate confections I make. Are you ramping up your holiday buying? I have decreased the prices on all of my books. Right now, the most you’ll pay is $2.99. That makes it very affordable to buy the whole Gulliver Station series or the Brown Rain series. I even have a middle grade book, Lost Rainbows, which I’ve put on sale for .99. Yep, Ninety-nine cents. Several other of my books are also .99. You can check them out on Chatebooks.com, Gumroad.com, or find links to many other sellers on my website, My Books, page.

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. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  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/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve brought all of my Christmas decorations out of the garage and am prepping to put everything up.

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, 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 December 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, Books tab. 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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NaNo Break: Monday Blog Post

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Since my last Monday blog post, it’s been crazy. I managed to get a few words written this week but for the most part, the week, at least concerning NaNo, has been a loss. I’ve only written two days out of the seven. Since today is the 23rd, that means I have only seven days left to get to 50,000 words. On Saturday I had 35.3k finished. That means I need over 2k per day to finish NaNo. I think I can do it. The rest of my month, except for Thanksgiving Day, is appointment free.

I attended for my first time, the Arizona Fair Commission Conference. I’m so glad I went. We’ve not attended, by we, I mean the fair board in general, this conference in years. It was way past time to do so. Several nearby fair managers, have all volunteered to help us out. It was so nice to be among such passionate people. I learned a lot about fairs, entertainment, management and organizational skills specific to fairs. I can’t wait to share it all with the rest of my board.

I taught a writers workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. What a wonderful group of writers. Everyone, no matter their skill level or time as a writer, had excellent points to offer on the topic. I think we all learned a lot! I know I did. I enjoyed meeting a whole new group of writers. They all have such unique points of view. I can’t wait to read more of their work.

I’m compiling a new feature on the site, author interviews. I don’t know about you but as a reader, I’m always on the lookout for authors new to me to read. I think I’ll start the new feature in January. Perhaps one article every other week to start. If you like the feature, please be sure to comment. I have to assume that no comments means that you’re not interested and I’ll drop the feature after a time. So, be sure to let me know what you think of the posts!

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. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I finished getting all of my books but my first (The Bad Seed) up on Chatebooks.com. You can find my books by searching on my name or here’s a direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  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/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving full of family and friend love and good food.

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, 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 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 , Gumroads  or Chatebooks 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 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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Wild Ride: Monday Blog Post

VetFest table for Connie Cockrell

VetFest table for Connie Cockrell

I have to say, this has been a wild ride of a month for me. So much is going on in all aspects of my life. First, it’s National Novel Writing Month. That means I am being committed have committed, to writing 50,000 words this month. This annual challenge gets thousands of authors all around the world pumped up and super excited to just write. I tend to write 2k words per day, a little over the 1667 words per day requirement to meet the 50k goal by the end of the month. This is important for me, especially this year, because…

From Tuesday the 17th through Thursday the 19th, I’ll be in Laughlin, Nevada to attend for my first time, the Arizona Fair Commission Conference. The reason I’m going? Because I serve on the Northern Gila County Fair board. For the first time in a very long time, the board has decided someone should attend. That turns out to be me! I’m supposed to attend workshops and presentations and attend the associated trade show where I can sign up acts, carnivals, and whatever else, for my fair next year. I’m a little nervous about all of the responsibility. Good thing the other board members are a phone call away.

This last weekend, Saturday, November 14th, I was in Avondale, AZ to sell and sign books at their VetFest. Avondale’s Western Avenue is being updated to be beautiful and visitor friendly. It’s a lovely spot. Besides a full-blown craft show, there were at least 17 authors there to talk to readers and sell a few books.

Some of the VetFest Authors

Some of the VetFest Authors

I sold two and lost at least two sales because my Square application couldn’t connect to the internet. That was very disappointing. I have a picture above of my table at the show. Also offered, veteran support: ID’s, services, and so much more were available for visiting vets. See http://www.historicavondale.org/vet-fest.html for more pictures of the entire festival.

I’m teaching a writers workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing which means I’m ditching the banquet at the Arizona Fair Commission conference so I can be back on time. If you live in the area, call the Camp Verde library to sign up. There’s still time! I have an entry for this event on my Where Will I Be tab on my website.

No Author Friend Boost this week. I’m working on National Novel Writing Month. I’m doing well, a little ahead of plan, as I know I’ll lose writing days while in Laughlin. I’m working on a Zoe Ohale novel so if you’ve liked the flash fiction story I posted about her not too long ago, I have a short story about Zoe in the upcoming Forward Motion Anthology, and now, this!

Promo for Winter Wonderland Giveaway

Promo for Winter Wonderland Giveaway

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. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I’ve also started my Christmas candy making. One of the things I make is miniature peppermint patties. I’ve been having a horrible time making the fondant that is the center of the candy. You can read all about it on the 25th in my post on Chicklets In the Kitchen, blog. Have you started your holiday prep?

I’m also busy getting my books up on another new site, Chatebooks.com. You can find my books by searching on my name or here’s a direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  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/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. How about you, is November starting to feel like a marathon? Post your comments below.

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, 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 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 , Gumroads  or Chatebooks 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 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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Provoking: A Monday Blog Post

Promo for Winter Wonderland Giveaway

Promo for Winter Wonderland Giveaway

Do you watch the show Madam Secretary? I do. I love the show. I know. Much of it is way over the top. Every week it’s an international crisis. That begs the question, what would we do? That’s what the show is really about. What would we do? What is fair? What is appropriate? What should our policies be on SO many issues? It’s a show, regardless of its grand-standing, which asks, what would we do? What should we do? Big questions.

Anyway, I get to my question in a round-about way. As an author, no matter the genre, the goal is to ask, What if? What if the girl is angry and then falls in love with the very person she’s furious with? What if the government decides (and by that I mean what if the “people” decide) that offspring of criminals cannot expect any governmental assistance? What if, as a society, we allow corporations to run roughshod over our rights as human beings?

Today’s post is different. I am poking the bee’s nest, if you will. I’m provoking, and on purpose. As an author, I want to tell a story. Since my favorite genre is science fiction, I’m used to the story making me question, making me look at reality in a whole different perspective. All of the other genres do the same, some with more subtlety, perhaps than SciFi or Fantasy do.

So, tell me, what’s your beef? What are you passionate about? Is it about the lack of budget to take care of our mentally ill? Is it about our food and the control the big conglomerates have over what we eat? Do you fume over the fact that our major “food” companies have an express mission statement to take over the control of all drinkable water on the planet? What about the distance in income between the richest and the poorest in our society? What’s your beef?

I’m here to tell you that stories, whether they’re mysteries or romances, SciFi or Noir, Westerns or Erotica, is talking to you about the issues that you are most passionate about. If you have a favorite genre, it’s because that form of story speaks to you and what you’re passionate about.

So, that’s all I have to say. I want you to question. I want you to be passionate. Love the authors that speak to you. Support them! Buy their books. Respond to their Facebook posts. Follow them on Twitter and GoodReads. Sign up for their newsletters. An author cannot write in a vacuum. They need to pay the rent, buy groceries, purchase clothing and food for themselves and their children. You are a patron of the arts. Support your local author.

I’m appearing on November 14th in Avondale, AZ to sell and sign books. I hope to see you there. See http://www.historicavondale.org/vet-fest.html

I’m teaching a writers 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.

No Author Friend Boost this week. I’m working on National Novel Writing Month. I’m doing well, a little ahead of plan, just in case. I’m working on a Zoe Ohale novel so if you’ve liked the flash fiction, I have a short story about Zoe in the upcoming Forward Motion Anthology, and now, this!

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. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Feel free to comment.

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, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. 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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Monday Blog Post: Birthday News

Payson Book Festival, Banner,  Chamber of Commerce

Payson Book Festival Banner at the Chamber of Commerce

There’s only 7 more days until the festival and we’re finalizing all of the tiny details required to be completed before we have our author Meet and Greet on Friday and the Festival on Saturday. Banners have been hung around town. TV, Radio, Blog and Newspaper interviews have been conducted all over Arizona. Posters are up. We’re ready!  I hope you can make it to Payson on July 25th, 9am – 4pm, and stop by the festival to say hello!

If you missed any of the interviews or media releases or want to read the proclamation, click here to find everything.

So Friday was my birthday. A hiking friend of mine had her birthday a week earlier. We’re the same age. Twins! So we had a joint birthday party on Saturday.  We belong to many of the same groups so we sent out an email to all of our friends to join us. We had a blast. Burgers and dogs, salads, cake, cookies, watermelon and oh, way too much food! Below is a picture from the party.

Birthday Cake, Connie, Ruth

Birthday Cake for Connie and Ruth

Mystery at the Fair is released! I’m happy that I have it done and was able to buy copies to have for the Book Festival. So far it’s only up on Amazon. Soon I’ll have it up on other sites: Apple, Barnes and Noble, and a few others.

Camp NaNo progresses. I’m not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to hold two major functions, release a book, and write 50K in a month but there you go, certifiably crazy. As of today I have over 30,000 words.  I’m working on the second Jean Hays series book, Mystery in the Woods. When will it be out, you ask? No idea. I have two other books, that I wrote in April, waiting for editing. Maybe you can tell I’m not as enthusiastic about the editing and rewriting part as I am about writing the first draft.

The garden is looking wonderful. I’ve picked four zuchinni already and harvested the potatoes. Now I’m in the process of not water the bed where the mint has run amok. I’m going to have to let that bed go until I can dig out all of the mint. The tomatoes are looking good even though none are ripe yet. This is Tomato Hornworm season so I have to carefully examine the plants. The damage a tomato hornworm can do is incredible.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I have a special offer going up in my newsletter, sign up today! Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

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! 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 their books. Thanks in advance.

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Monday Blog Post: July Starts with a Bang!

Mayor Evans, Connie Cockrell, Payson Book Festival Day Proclamation. Photo, Marie Fasano

Mayor Evans and Connie Cockrell with the Payson Book Festival Day Proclamation. Photo by Marie Fasano

On July 2nd, as the Chair for the Payson Book Fesitval, I received a Proclamation from the Town of Payson Mayor, Kenny Evans. The proclamation declares July 25th, the day of our book festival to be Payson Book Festival Day! You can see me and the Mayor in the above picture, shaking hands.

There’s only 19 more days until the festival and we’re hot and heavy into the marketing part of the event. Our Media committee member, Marie Fasano, has sent small articles to all of the major magazines in Arizona for their Calendar sections. She’s set up all of these interviews on radio and TV I’ve been posting about and she’s sent articles about our participating authors to their hometown newspapers to run. Marie has been doing a fantastic job. I hope you can make it to Payson on July 25th, 9am – 4pm, and stop by the festival to say hello!

If you missed any of the interviews or media releases or want to read the proclamation, click here to find everything.

It having been the 4th of July weekend I feel obligated to share that hubby and I went to a friend’s house and watched the fireworks from there. One of hubby’s pictures of the show is below. Our town does a great 4th of July festival in Green Valley park: children’s games and contests, food vendors, live music and then, a thirty-minute fireworks display.

Payson, Fireworks, Randy Cockrell

Payson Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

I’m still working on my Mystery at the Fair edits. After that will be the CreateSpace and Smashwords formatting and the release. I’m still shooting for the end of this week to finish the edits and then spend next weekend formatting and releasing. Cross your fingers for me, every one.

July is also a Camp NaNo month. As of today I have over 10,000 words. I completed the first draft of my short story for the Forward Motion anthology. Now I’m working on the second Jean Hays series book, Mystery in the Woods. When will it be out, you ask? No idea. I have two other books, that I wrote in April, waiting for editing. Maybe you can tell I’m not as enthusiastic about the editing and rewriting part as I am about writing the first draft.

My tomatoes have finally begun a serious growth spurt. I put the trellis for them up a few days ago and already they’re growing through the loops. The Sungold cherry tomato has tomatoes on it but still green. The rest of the plants are blossoming. Two of the six plants were volunteers that I dug up and put in the tomato bed. I can’t wait to see what they are!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! 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 their books. Thanks in advance.

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Monday Blog Post: Month’s End

Apple Blossoms, Connie Cockrell

Apple Blossoms by Connie Cockrell

It’s been a hectic quarter for me, and I can hardly believe it’s over.

The yard and garden continue to be worked. I have trimmed 3 more of the 12 rosebushes and did yet another run of pulling mint out of my deepest square foot garden bed. The peach tree seedling I transplanted into a small container is doing well. So are the mystery tomatoes. I think I’ll just buy hot peppers and sweet peppers and a few of the other things I put in the garden. I really should put the peas and beans in now. It’s already a hot spring for us. A neighbor gave me a lot of ancient flower seeds. I’m going to set up some pots and see if anything will sprout. Who knows, I may end up with a lot of flowers this year.

Sunday I made a new batch of soap. The last batch was made fifteen months ago. This time I made half the batch a rosemary scent, leaving the other half unscented. The unscented stuff I’ll use to make my own shampoo. Since I’ve been making my own shampoo I think my hair is much softer and not all dried out. I poured the liquid soap into a 2 qt glass measuring cup and poured out the unscented soap into silicon muffin cups. Then I mixed the ground rosemary (from my own rosemary bush that I dried and ground myself) and a half ounce of rosemary essential oil into the remainder and stirred it all through. I poured that into a second silicon muffin pan. Twenty-four 4oz bars of soap are now curing in my dining room.

I finalized the editing on After Math and sent it to Clarkesworld, who rejected it after two days. I immediately sent it back out to EscapePod. No, the two day turn around wasn’t particularly fast. I once had a submission rejected in 3 hours.  So, we’ll see how EscapePod likes it.

I’m excited that a new month starts Wednesday, along with the April Camp National Novel Writing Month. I’m all ready to go on that. While waiting for that I used some time to update my web site a little bit. I’ve added a Media page where you can find my contact information, a sub-page with information about me, and another sub-page where I point out I’m available for speaking events. I tried to load an audio file of my February presentation to the Arizona Professional Writers, Rim Country Division but the site requires me to upgrade to a premium service. That’s the big push now. Since I have to upgrade, I’m going to go full website. I will retain the site as Connie’s Random Thoughts but it won’t be a blog only anymore. I also bought my name as a domain. I now own conniecockrell.com, along with 2ndWindPress.com and ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Authors, there’s still time to sign up for a table. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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Monday Blog Post: Things are Moving Fast

Peach, Tomato, Seedlings, Connie Cockrell

Peach (very top) and tomato seedlings by Connie Cockrell

We’re trimming up around the yard. Last week hubby trimmed some diseased branches from a tree in the back yard and took out a tree that was growing too close to another and leaning over the house. The fact that it was a juniper with a pollen pod on the end of each needle and spewing pollen all over the place was an added bonus. I have managed to get 4 of the 12 rosebushes trimmed and did another run of pulling mint out of my deepest square foot garden bed. Onion and parsley I planted last November are coming up. A bonus, a peach pit that had been composted, sprouted in another of my garden beds. I thought it was a weed at first until I realized the pit was still attached. It has transplanted nicely into a small container where I will try and keep it alive. A friend gave me a small container of mystery tomato seedlings, just getting their first set of new leaves. She had no idea which seedlings were which and at this stage they’re pretty hard to differentiate. However, I selected six seedlings at random spots in the container, hoping I get six different tomato plants. I’ve passed the seedlings on to another friend. There’s no sense in us buying seedlings when we have free ones available.

My book signing on March 21st at the Scoops Ice Cream store here in Payson was slightly disappointing. However, I did sell 3 books and garnered 3 sign-ups for my newsletter. My mom came with me and we had a chance for a nice chat.

The month has progressed quickly. I can’t believe it’s already the 23rd. I’ve prepped my scene cards for April’s Camp NaNo. I’m starting it with the 3rd book in my Brown Rain series. Then I’ll move on to cleaning up random stories I have started but not finished.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Kick-off pricing on author tables is now over. There’s still time to sign up for a table, though. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

I submitted my short story, After Math, for line editing. I’m looking forward to getting it out to emagazines.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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Monday Blog Post: Anyone have a Super Bowl Hangover?

e-book Cover, Lost Rainbows, J.A. Marlow

Cover for Lost Rainbows by J.A. Marlow

I just finished watching the Super Bowl. I chose to root for the Patriots because I’m from upstate NY. No other reason. Imagine my delight that they won. My 2nd brother, I have 4 of them, was rooting for the Seahawks. Sorry Bro. I invited my husband’s brother down from the neighboring town and the four of us, Hubby, me, mom and Bro-in-law, had a good time chowing down on pulled pork sandwiches and chicken wings and coleslaw. Brother-in-law brought a coconut cream pie for dessert. Yummy.  A good day all around.

I have finished getting Lost Rainbows up on both Smashwords and CreateSpace so you should be able to find the book on Amazon at the very least. I put the first chapter out last month on my newsletter. You didn’t get it? Sign up for the newsletter on my blog, www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll get the scoop on what I’m writing much earlier than I post it here.

Today I’m headed for Phoenix with a bunch of hiking friends. We’re going to ride our bikes on a Greenway path from Scottsdale to Tempe Town Lake and back again, about 30 miles. I think I have lost my mind but we’ll see. Tuesday is the regular hiking day and it’s a 7 mile hike. Yep, I’m thinking I need an evaluation. Hopefully on Wednesday I’ll be still walking.

On the writing front. I’m still working on the first draft of my All About Bob series, It’s a College Thing. The title sucks, I hope by the time I finish it something better will occur to me. I have seven scenes left to write so it will be a novella, unless in revision it becomes something else. This remains to be seen. I’m also editing the NaNo novel from November, Mystery at the Fair. I have a lot of irons in the fire, for sure. Want special updates and offers? Check out signing up for my newsletter.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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