Happy May Day!: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy May to everyone. Already into the fifth month of the year. Is everyone else asking themselves what happened? Good gosh!

April’s Camp NaNo is now over. I ended up with over 51,000 words written and a manuscript with serious flaws. It needs a lot of TLC but that’s all right. I can do that.

I’m still working on the edits of Mystery at the Book Festival. I’ve finished 24 chapters so far. I also received a couple of blurbs (book description) that I want to rework. I’m not sure the first sentence is good enough. So now I have that to do. Once the blurb is done, I can send it to my book cover designer and the book cover can be finished. I haven’t seen the draft cover yet. I’m crossing my fingers.

Malaysia Mosque with Muslim pray in Malaysia – Depositphotos_108130076_original

This week I will continue writing Slave Elf. I hope you’re enjoying the story so far.

Other writing news, my story Gold Dream, a western, has been accepted by the ezine, Frontier Tales. It will be in two parts. Part 1 will be in the May issue and Part 2 in the June issue. You can find it at www.FrontierTales.com. The magazine has a contest where readers can vote for their favorite story. Those stories get put into an anthology. So, take a trip over to the website and check it out. I’ll post again when the story is published.

Before

After

Gardening: Yesterday we found that a large flower pot I have out by my front walk had been totally torn up. Probably by javelina.  The pansy root balls were scattered all around the pot and the plants totally gone. That pot has been out there for three years. This is the first time the javelina have gotten into it. Maybe they didn’t like anything else I have had in there?

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

My appearance at the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum last Saturday was a big success. I talked to a lot of people about the Payson Book Festival and I sold a few books, too. Also, the presentations were top notch. I really enjoyed them. Thank you, Mogollon Health Alliance, for putting on another great forum.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

The Phoenix ComiCon is coming up the end of this month, 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 in the Four Carat Press booth number 1797.

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 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 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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Gardening, Conferences and More!: Monday Blog Post

Connie vs Horton Creek taken by Randy Cockrell

While the mid-west and east coast are taking a major weather beating, here in central Arizona the weather couldn’t be more perfect. Yesterday hubby and I took a short hike on the very popular Horton Creek trail. The creek was running high and the above picture is me, trying to get across. I made it that time but when we came back my left leg didn’t want to be the first on that skinny log and I ended up crossing through the water a few feet downstream. Since we were heading home, I didn’t mind my pant legs being wet. Today my feet are a putting up a bit of a fuss about having to had to go on a 2 mile hike but it’s not too bad. A little stretching will take care of it.

The organizer for a Nook promo I mentioned last week is sending a list of authors and books for the promo. I sent in for Mystery at the Book Festival. I imagine we’ll here soon if Nook agrees to run the promo with us. Stay tuned for that.

Peach Blossoms

The roses did get trimmed, all but one. I have to get to it this week. I haven’t stopped at the hardware store yet for the potatoes.  I see my nectarine tree is already starting to bloom. The peach and pear and apples won’t be far behind. This is a picture from last year.

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The last two episodes are coming up this Friday and next. I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up. Enjoy.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

Author Anna Payne

This week’s shout out goes to Anna Payne. She’s an author of Christian Cozy Mysteries, the Planted Flowers series. If you can’t wait until Wednesday’s Author Interview, check out her website at apayne.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to 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. The link was just established so I don’t have anything in there yet. But I will!

I’m also on a scifi webinar panel discussion on March 22nd at 1pm Eastern time titled The new age with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Wars? Are we looking at a new audience? And another panel on March 25th at 7pm eastern titled Science Fiction doesn’t need to be factural! It’s Fiction! Vs Science Fiction must have accurate science! These last two webinars occur early and recorded then replayed during the con so you have two chances to listen in! How cool is that! I’ll publish more info as I get it.

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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Things are Moving: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

The weather has been unsettled. Probably not a surprise for the end of winter and early spring but still, it’s interrupted plans for walking around the neighborhood and testing out my plantar faciitis. Oh well.

I did edits on Tested, the fourth book in the Brown Rain series. I don’t want to send it to the editor, though, until I get Mystery at the Book Festival published. It’s coming, may be end of May before it’s published though.

I’m already thinking about a Nook promo for Mystery at the Book Festival. I’ll make the ebook of Mystery at the Fair free, for a time, to encourage people to get into the series. I’ll be working with some other authors on that promo so you’ll get the chance to try out new to you authors at little to no risk. Good deal for you.

The unsettled weather has also delayed getting my roses cut back. Sigh. Now they’re really starting to bud out. I need to get out there this week! Hold my feet to the fire, would you? I want to stop by one of the hardware stores or the local gardening store to find seed potatoes. I can plant them now and harvest in July. Then dig them up and plant carrots afterward. I love gardening in Arizona.

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? I’ve had some wonderful comments from KD Clark. The story is based in the Jean Hays series and as an added bonus, I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. I had fun writing the story. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up.

Speaking of free books, this week is Read an eBook Week. I have several books on special pricing for the event. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/ and search on my name. I have put Mystery at the Fair up for free for this week. Other books are just .99, some are $2.99. Enjoy and spread the word. If you do get one or more of my books, remember to write a short, honest review. It really helps an author out.

 

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

I’d like to mention humane societies. They do their best for the creatures brought to them. However, some dogs or cats end up living there their entire lives. If you are thinking of getting a pet, please consider your local humane society. A wonderful dog or cat will thank you forever. Annie Bamber

Outreach Programs Coordinator

(928) 474-5590 ext. 100

annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org

www.humanesocietycentralaz.org

Like us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/

“Because They Matter”

 

Where Will I Be?

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

This week, March 9th at 10am, I’ll be interviewed on KPJM-FM by host Pam Newman. We’ll be talking about Mystery in the Woods and the Payson Book Festival. You can listen here: http://www.kpjm-fm.com/listen-live/

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Both events are open to readers so as I get closer, I’ll give you more details.

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 above mentioned 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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End of February: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I totally spaced out doing Monday’s blog post last week. *Rolls my eyes* I have no idea what I was thinking. Apologies for missing it.

Update on the foot braces. I’ve taken short walks around the area. One was at the town’s newest trail, The American Gulch trail. This is a short trail, maybe 1/2 mile, that circles a dry streambed. The town is working to bring the water back to it and make it the centerpiece of a park area. Also planned for it is a heritage apple orchard. I’m excited to see how the new park will look.

Mystery at the Book Festival manuscript was sent off to my editor last week. Looking at the end of March before I can get it back. I also did contact a cover designer and we’ve made a deal. I’ve sent appropriate files, except for the blurb on the back. I won’t have the blurb until the editor is done. Sigh. Can’t wait to see what the cover people do.

 

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

Gail Kittleson is my featured author this week on Wednesday’s Author Interview. A women’s fiction and memoir writer, her books are focus on World War II. Can’t wait for the whole interview? Check out www.gailkittleson.com to see what she’s up to.

 

Where Will I Be?

Last week on February 23rd, at 5pm Arizona time, I was interviewed on BackPorchWriter.com. I had a blast with the host, Kori Miller talking about writing, mysteries, and a few of the strangest things we’ve run into while researching. This interview is in preparation for the April B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Both events are open to readers so as I get closer, I’ll give you more details.

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

 

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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Happy New Year 2017: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy New Year! I hope that you, your family, and all of your friends have a wonderful and productive new year.

One of the things I do each year is set some writing goals. Usually I check in July to see how I’m doing but July was so busy this year, I never did get around to seeing how I was achieving the goals I set in January. Here’s the breakdown.

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

I did that. I had two author interviews per month all year long. I plan on continuing this feature on my blog. See below for who’s coming up next, January 4th! Do you enjoy these? Is there an author you’d like to see on the feature? Let me know.

 

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

I didn’t do so well on this goal. I would get busy and forget to send something to the paper for local appearances. However, I think I will keep this goal for 2017. Promotion is a big part of an indie author’s life and a good way to build a local following.

 

  1. Goal: Publish 6 books in 2016

I didn’t publish 6, but I did publish four: Kindred Spirits, Troubled Streets, and just under the wire, Mystery in the Woods. On the non-fiction side, I had 9 hiking articles in the Payson Roundup’s Trails book. Not too shabby. I don’t know if I can do another year with six books published but for 2017 I do want to put together a collection of my Science Fiction. I also have Mystery at the Book Festival to edit and publish. I also have a Brown Rain book drafted, called Tested. Which will also come out in 2017. I have a fun, novelette, Jania, Princess of Tania drafted. This is my take on a campy Space Opera. I may release that ebook only, I’m still thinking about that.

 

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

I did participate in April and in November but because I run the book festival, there was just no way for me to get involved in the July Camp NaNo.

 

  1. Goal: Produce a Christmas Book this year.

I did not do a Christmas Book this year but some author friends and I were having a little fun brainstorming conversation in December and I came up with some ideas for a Christmas book. Some of them are doing the same. Not all of us liked all of the ideas so even if we all write a Christmas book out of the discussion, they’re going to be very different books. So that would bring my total 2017 published books to 5. Oh! I’m getting closer!

 

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

I did that. It’s a short story about a trip Kyra and Alyssa take just before they leave the Algonqwa tribe, just after Kindred Spirits. It’s called Vision Quest. No publishing date is available yet.

 

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

This was not achievable. Holly came down with a life-threatening health condition and her site was totally under reconstruction. I just had a recent email though that she’s back at it, and putting the two classes back up on her renovated site. Yay! It’ll be on the 2017 goal list.

 

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

I came close, 17 stories submitted to contests/magazines. I’ll keep this goal, too.

 

  1. Goal: Participate in May Story A Day

I did and created 12 stories. This goal stays as well.

 

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

I didn’t achieve 12 but I did the following:

Appeared on an Indie Author panel at an Arizona Professional Writer meeting 1/21/16, April 16th I was at the Tempe Library Book Festival, June 3rd and 4th was the AZ Mystery Conference, June 30th I was on KRIM local radio as an author and to publicize the Book Festival. July 22nd was the Book Festival. On September 21st, I spoke at the Rim Country Chapter meeting on writing NaNo. In October I spent the 8th and 9th at the Pine, AZ, craft show selling and signing books. November 12th, I was with other local authors at the Romance Cottage here in Payson to chat with visitors to the rental’s open house. Total appearances: 9.

 

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

Easy since I’m the organizer. We had a great festival in 2016, over 600 attendees and 95 authors. If you all are in Central Arizona on July 22, 2017, stop by the festival. All the details will be on my Where Will I Be tab.

 

I scheduled a Facebook Live for January 28th at 3pm, Arizona time. I had several people on the broadcast and I answered questions both live and afterward on the Facebook Live recording. That was fun! I’ll schedule another one for January.

 

Giveaways:

Rudolf’s Holiday Giveaway is now over. I’ll be notifying the winners of my prizes soon. Don’t miss out on the next one. It’s being called For the Love of Books, Valentines Giveaway. The link will be on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link.

 

Shout Out:

This week I’d like to shout out to Megan O’Flynn. She writes mysteries with a supernatural edge. If you like your mysteries a little dark and creepy, you’ll want to check out her interview. Can’t wait? She can be found at: www.meghanoflynn.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

I already have a January appearance. The local Payson Library is doing a Book Blitz. Throughout the month of January, they’re inviting authors to do a reading and take audience questions. I’ll have books to sell there, too. See me at the Payson Library community room, January 11th at 9am. See you there!

 

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 January 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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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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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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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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Pestilence! Monday Blog Post

The Hi Jolly Memorial, Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

The Hi Jolly Memorial, Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

You may have noticed that this post is up later in the day than usual. I have a reason. Hubby and I were in Quartzite over the weekend. If you know anything at all about traveling, you know that checking into a hotel wifi is a certain recipe for getting your accounts hacked. So, no logging in for me. It wouldn’t have mattered. I was also sick. I have an appointment this afternoon to see my doc but I’m pretty sure she’s going to say I have bronchitis. This is the second time in nine months. Ugh. Just about half of the people I know locally have this ‘creeping crud’ so I’m in good company. I just wish I could breathe. Cherry on top, hubby’s now getting sick. Yeah!
Some news, what’s in my brain enough to mention it. The 2016 Payson Book Festival is opening author registration today. The seats are already going fast. If you are an author and would like to attend this festival of books, go to www.paysonbookfestival.org/Authorregistration. Review the criteria and download and send in your application. NOTE! This is only open to Arizona authors.
I managed to get some words in last week on my Friday Flash Fiction (see http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/2016/01/jaguar-tale-flash-fiction-friday-post/) I wrote a flash before Jaguar Tales, called Bell Ring and liked it so much that instead of posting on my blog I decided to do some polishing on it and send it on the rounds. I sent it out to three authors whose advice I respect and they all agreed it had a shot. I’ll keep you posted on its progress. Thankfully, I also managed about 4k words on the Zoe Ohale story. I’m nearly done, perhaps even this week if I can work through my bronchitis fog. In the meantime, Kindred Spirits is in the editor’s hands. I should be hearing back from EJ (SilverJayMedia.com) in a week or two. I nearly have the cover completed for Kindred Spirits. I’m polishing up the back of the cover blurb. I’m also looking for reviewers to send 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.
Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway is now over. Over one hundred thousand people entered! Wow! Anyway, drawings for winners are on-going. I’ll let you know who won my two Brown Rain Series books and the Christmas Tales book. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who signed up for my website, newsletter, Google Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.
You didn’t get to participate in the Christmas Giveaway? Good news. We’re starting a new giveaway in a few days. It’s called the Lovestruck Authors Giveaway and runs from a TBD date in January through Valentine’s Day. Here’s a picture. I’ll post the links as soon as they’re ready.

The Next Giveaway

The Next Giveaway

I mentioned earlier that hubby and I went to Quartzite AZ over the weekend. Despite my non-stop coughing, I managed to see one or two things. First, we were driving around the neighborhoods and found a yard with both roadrunners and quail. Here’s a picture.

Roadrunner Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

Roadrunner Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

At the top of this post is a picture of the Hey Jolly memorial. If you like rocks, Quartzite is the place to be in January. One rock show after another runs until late March.

One of the many Malachite tables at the Rock Show, Quartzite, AZ by Randy Cockrell

One of the many Malachite tables at the Rock Show, Quartzite, AZ by Randy Cockrell

The weather is warm, or, at least, warmer, and the people are friendly. If you haven’t been, you should schedule it. Quartzite is a mecca for winter RV’ing. There is a Super 8 hotel in town, though, if you don’t have an RV.
I published my December newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The January newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.
Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Merry New Year 2016: Monday Blog Post

Bird by Betty Marsh

Bird by Betty Marsh

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

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

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

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway has been extended to run until midnight, January 1st. (midnight after New Year’s eve) Here’s the link through my website:  http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the supporting author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. I’ve put up the two signed paperback books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book (signed, of course) as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

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

I published my December newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The January newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

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

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