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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Found: Key, Part X of X – Friday Flash Fiction Post

 

Skeleton Keys by Livefast_x via DeviantArt.com

Skeleton Keys by Livefast_x via DeviantArt.com

Part X of X http://www.deviantart.com/art/Skeleton-Keys-130788426 by LiveFast-x

NOTE: This final installment is a little longer than the usual flash piece. Enjoy.”

 

Ying opened the door to the antique shop. “You’ll love this place.”

“I already love it. It’s where I met you!” Jason kissed her cheek as he entered.

Inside, Eleanor was at the counter cashoug out a customer. She nodded at Ying, acknowledging her presence. In the background, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata played. It was a little heavy for Ying’s taste but played as softly as it was, it made for a relaxing stroll around the store. Ying inhaled the scent of lemon polish and bees was, detectable but not overwhelming. It provided her a feeling of quiet and comfort.

Jason stopped inside the door and looked around. Ying couldn’t help noticing, even with her annoyance at being manipulated, how nice he looked in his Dockers and polo shirt.

“I can see why you like it here. Lovely things surround you.” He turned and smiled. “Have you bought anything yet?”

“Not yet.” She threaded her arm through his, the one with the watch, and led him to the Chinese screen she’d noticed on her first visit. “What do you think?”

“It’s gorgeous! What are you waiting for?”

Ying shrugged. “It’s kind of pricey.”

“Nonsense. You should get it. It’s perfect.” He dropped her arm and stepped to the screen to examine it.”

Eleanor joined Ying. “Hello.”

“Eleanor. You’ve met Jason.”

Jason stepped away from the screen and held out his right hand, the watch clearly visible on his bare wrist. “Nice to meet you under better circumstances.”

“Yes. It is.” She glanced at his watch. “What a lovely watch.”

He pulled his hand back, left hand covering the watch. “Thank you. A family heirloom.”

Eleanor exchanged glances with Ying. “Would you mind if I looked at it? Professional interest, you know.”

Ying thought he looked uncomfortable. He spun the watch around his wrist several times. She was waiting for the rush of warmth but it never came. Jason was looking at Eleanor, who suddenly looked confused.

“Eleanor?” Ying put her hand on her friend’s arm.

Eleanor gave herself a little shake and smiled at Jason. “I won’t damage it, I promise.”

It was Jason’s turn to look confused. He glanced at the watch.

“Go ahead, Jason. She’s an expert.”

His eyes met hers, then back to Eleanor’s. “Umm, I suppose.” His reluctance to unclasp the ltach and hand the watch to Eleanor was obvious in his slow movements. Jason lay the watch in Eleanor’s outstretched palm.

Eleanor hefted the watch. “Gold, I presume?”

Jason nodded. “It was my great-great-great-grandfather’s.”

“The style is certainly old. Let me get my lupe.” Eleanor turned and strode to the counter.

Ying watched Jason dart after Eleanor as though she were stealing the watch. That was inconclusive proof that the watch was magic. He would do the same if it were simply what he claimed. She followed them to the counter.

Eleanor had laid the watch out on a square of black velvet. Jason’s hands hovered at the edge of the cloth. Ying had to admit it was a handsome watch. The face, also gold, had gold hands elaborately pointed and engraved. The face had what looked like diamons at 12, 3, 6 and 9 with the following numbers in ruby and the last four numbers in emeralds. Mystic symbols were engraved on the face. The antique dealer fixed her lupe to her eye and without touching it, examined the watch closely. She already had her book of artifacts open on the counter beside the watch.

“It’s a beautiful piece, late 1800’s? It must have cost a great deal. Watches for men were only just coming into style.”

Jason nodded. “No one ever said how much it cost.” His voice was tight – as though having the watch on the counter was painful.

Ying put her arm around his waist. “A wondful keepsake, Jason.”

“Hmm,” was his response. He watched Eleanor flip through her book.

“I don’t see anything like it.” She took the lupe from her eye. “It must have been custom made.”

Ying watched Jason stiffen as Eleanor flipped the watch face down. She studied the back. “a lovely sentiment is engraved on the back. ‘To my darling Husband, Love and Long Life, Mary’” She looked up. The elaborate script is right for the time frame. “Your three greats grand-mother? What was her maiden name?”

He sighed. “Mary Whitten. It was her wedding gift to him.”

Eleanor pulled another book from the shelf and began flipping pages. “Ah, here she is. An accomplished woman, your grand-mother.”

Jason picked up the watch and put it back on. “Yes, she was, in her day.”

Eleanor looked him in the eye. “You know she was considered a great Spiritualist?”

“All table knocking non-sense, of couse.”

Her eyebrow rose. “You think so?”

Ying noticed Jason begin to fidget.

“Nice to have met you again, Eleanor. Ying, I have a meeting back at the office.” He twisted his watch.

As the warm glow came over her, Ying clasped the key. The nausea and the glow fought for a moment, then they both disappeared. “I know the watch is magical, Jason.

He stopped and turned back to her. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that I know the watch has magic. You twist it on your arm whenever we meet or when you want me to do something. A few minutes ago you tried to use it on Eleanor.” Ying raised an eyebrow at Eleanor. “I’m not sure why it didn’t work on you.”

“We’re trained to resist magic used on us.” She shrugged at Jason. “Your watch’s magic isn’t very powerful against trained people.”

Jason stared at both Eleanor and Ying. “You’re magicians?”

Ying shook her head. “No. but I carry a powerful artifact. I could feel it every time you used the watch.” She saw his face fall. “It wasn’t necessary, you know. You’re charming, funny, smart, I’d have gone out with you without the manipulations.”

Jason closed his eyes and sighed. “I thought so but you’re so high-powered, I didn’t think you’d take the time.” His eyes focused on the key around her neck. “You have an artifact? A magical piece?”

Her hand crept up to the key. “Yes. I found it. Or it found me. It’s good with business.”

“Wow.”

The two stood staring at each other. Ying was certain he would break up with her and she realized she wanted him to stay.

Eleanor cleared her throat. “I think, if I may be so bold, that the watch is making it possible for you two to be together.”

It was Ying’s turn to be puzzled. “How so?”

“Just a guess, really.” Eleanor glanced at Jason. “No other documented owner has had a family. So something has changed.” She made a pointed look at zjason’s watch. “The watch has to be the difference.”

Ying reached out and stroked Jason’s watch. It was warm to the touch, nothing at all like touching metal. She smiled at him as the familiar warm glow washed through her. “I think this could work.”

 

Thank You!

 

End Part X of X: 1186 Words

 

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

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Found: Key, Part I – Friday Flash Fiction Blog

Key by Chunkygummybear via www.deviantart.com

Key by Chunkygummybear via www.deviantart.com

http://www.deviantart.com/art/key-62685439, Key by chunkygummybears

Part I

Ying Lee hurried along the sidewalk, high-heels clicking a staccato beat, her briefcase tapping against her skirted thigh. She rehearsed her presentation as she traveled. If she could land this account, that would put her in the running for partner. She felt good about this. She’d been emailing her potential client, sending him freebies, making friends. Today it was time to close the deal.

A glint from the sidewalk made her step stutter. She backed-up, causing the man behind her to bump her shoulder. “Sorry.” He glared but went on. Ying stopped and stared at the grubby junction between the building and the cement sidewalk. Crouching, she studied the key that lay in the dirt. It didn’t look shiny now. It seemed old—an ancient skeleton key, like in some story book.

She reached out and picked it up. It had an elaborate, curlicue bow, but no key ring or cord attached to it. The shaft had four cuts of different lengths and widths. She couldn’t imagine what kind of lock the key would open. Standing, she pulled a tissue from her purse and rubbed off some of the dirt. Ying felt a little dizzy. She took a breath and thought, stood too fast. It’s pretty. She wrapped it in the tissue and put it in her purse. Ying checked her watch and continued to her meeting. I’ll go to a locksmith after the meeting and ask what kind of key this is.

Ying was pleased as she left her client’s office. The contract was bigger than she expected. She grinned all the way out of the building. Take that, Clint Baker. I’m going to be the next partner. As she went along the sidewalk two mothers with strollers blocked her way. She stepped into the nearest doorway to let them pass. An old man in a Veteran’s ball cap rode by on a motorized chair. Ying glanced in the window of the shop. A display of keys, old ones, caught her eye. Her found key leapt to mind.

Opening the door, she went inside. Antiques, she realized. The store had classical music playing in the background. Everything was displayed elegantly, dusted and expensive looking.

At the counter an old woman sat, a gilt-edged book open on the counter in front of her. “May I help you?”

Her voice was firm, a surprise. Ying expected a weak, quavery voice. “Umm, yes.” She reached into her purse and pulled out the tissue. She placed it on the counter and unwrapped it. “I found this a little while ago. What can you tell me about it?”

The old woman put a ribbon in her page and closed the book. “I’m Eleanor. I own this shop.” She pulled a magnifying glass out from under the counter and examined the key. “Interesting. Where’d you find it?”

“Just up the block. I saw it glint.”

Eleanor descended from her stool like a queen from her throne and turned to the wall of research books behind her. She studied the spines then selected a book with a spine so old, faded and broken, Ying couldn’t read it.

Eleanor opened the book and turning the pages with care, stopped on a page near the middle. Even upside down, Ying could see that the illustration looked exactly like the key she’d found.

“Interesting.” Eleanor adjusted her glasses. Circles sat in such a thin gold frame it was nearly invisible. The frames were attached to black ribbon that went around her neck. “It’s been over a century since this key has been seen.”

“What do you think it goes to?”

“Originally, the study in a castle in France. A famous alchemist of the time owned the castle. At least that’s the rumor. The last report of it was from before World War I. A young Frenchman found it and apparently met with much success despite the war.”

Ying pushed down her impatience with such an unbelievable story. “Okay. Really?”

“I can see you don’t believe the story.”

“Well.” Ying shrugged. “I’m a practical person. I succeed because I work hard. There’s no magic.”

“The history of the key is quite clear.” Eleanor ran her finger down the page and turned it. “Every owner, that we know of, has had remarkable luck. Each owner said the key was responsible.”

A small snort escaped Ying. “I’m sorry, Miss. I didn’t mean to be rude.”

“Let me ask you a question,” Eleanor smiled. “Did you meet with some success this morning?”

Ying’s eyebrows rose. “I did. But I was prepared and I landed a new client.”

“Did it surpass your expectations?”

“The contract was bigger than I had anticipated.” Her eyes narrowed. “But I seriously don’t think it was because of a magic key.”

Eleanor shrugged. “Perhaps it was your hard work. Take the key. Keep it with you for a month then come back and tell me what you think.”

Ying eyed the key. “So, what? I rub it or something?”

“Is that what you did this morning?”

“I, uh, I just…” She remembered rubbing dirt from the key. “Yes. Yes I did.” She nodded to herself. “Can I wash it? It’s really dirty.”

“Try it.” Eleanor smiled again. “Thank you for stopping in. Do come back and tell me how it goes.”

“Ying re-wrapped the key in the tissue and put it back in her purse. This whole thing sounded crazy. “I, uh, I will.” On the way out the door she chastised herself. Why’d you promise to come back? I don’t have time for fairy-tales. Get back to the office and fill out the reports.

Thinking about her new client and the benefits the account would bring to her cheered her up. Her steps grew more definitive until her heels made a staccato beat on the sidewalk. No one or nothing is responsible for my success but me. Her chin rose. Poor Clint won’t know what hit him.

 

Thank You!

Part I: 989 Words

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

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Serial: Lost Rainbows Chapter 1 – Theft

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

Cover for Lost Rainbows by J.A. Marlow

Chapter One – Theft  (Lost Rainbows – Serial)

By Connie Cockrell

Shamus O’Malley is on a quest to recover the Leprechaun Kingdom’s magic rainbows and gold before the rainbows are lost forever. To do so he must travel to the new world where he finds the evil wizard, David Bannon, intent on using the magic from the rainbows and the gold to conquer the Leprechaun Kingdom. He also finds an ally, Becca Bannon, the wizard’s niece. Can Becca and Shamus recover the rainbows and gold and defeat her wizard uncle?

This entry is part 1 of 16 in the series Lost Rainbows

Want to start this serial from the beginning? Click here for links to all available chapters.

Theft

It was a typical evening in the court of the Leprechaun King, Mac Shadenan. The throne room was full. Harpists, drummers, flautists and horn players were halfway down the left wall from the King. The center of the hall’s polished wood floor was filled with dancers. Shamus O’Malley was standing on the right side of the hall near the buffet table, a silver goblet of Irish Whisky in his hand.

Dressed in his court best, he tugged at the collar of his lemon-yellow shirt. Like most of the male leprechauns present, he had on his cherry-red wool weskit and frock coat with seven rows of seven buttons. It was annoying to button all forty-nine buttons but luck was luck. He didn’t want to push any away. His pantaloons and stockings were white and his brogans were black leather and as shiny as his polishing could make them.

He had his eye on Princess Lyeen. She was dancing in the middle of the floor with that half-wit Banar Donovan. Shamus sipped his drink. Banar, he snorted to himself. More like banal, and boring to boot. Lyeen wouldn’t be givin’ him a second look if it weren’t for the five rainbows with their pots of gold at the end that he owned. He put the goblet he was holding down on the table and began to edge his way into the dancers. As soon as the music for this dance stopped, he was going to ask the Princess to dance.

She was a vision. Like most leprechauns, a smattering of freckles crossed the bridge of her nose, accenting the creamy, smooth skin of her complexion. Merry blue eyes flashed with her laughter. Best of all though, to Shamus, was her hair. His own could be best described as orange. But hers, left unbound as was customary among unmarried maids, hung to her waist. The burnished gold highlights in her dark red hair set off the gold of the dainty, diamond-encrusted crown around her forehead that held her hair back from her face. She’d chosen to wear green today, setting her apart from the traditionalists in the court. When she’d come into the room earlier in the evening, she’d set their tongues wagging.

“She’s not wearing the traditional red!” one old biddy whispered loud enough for the people on the other side of the hall to hear.

Her neighbor nodded. “What are young people coming to?” she lamented. “Defiance, that’s what it is.”

That’s what Shamus loved about Lyeen. She had spirit and flair. Too bad her father didn’t consider Shamus’s worthy. True, he was tall for a leprechaun, four foot three inches, which worked in his favor. But there was only one rainbow among his whole, large family. The gold was spread thin. Despite that, he was determined to get the Princess’s attention, gold or no gold.

He had nearly reached her when the guardsmen at the door to the throne room called out, “Courier for the King, the great Mac Shadenan! Make way for the Courier!”

The dancers split apart, moving to each side of the hall. He was separated from the Princess as she moved to the other side. Reluctantly he backed up to make way. The courier, dressed in woodland colors to better blend into the environment, entered the hall and staggered across the floor to the king. Dirty and road weary, the man looked as if he had been through every bramble in the kingdom.

Twenty feet from the throne, the courier dropped to his knees in exhaustion. King Mac Shadenan leaned forward on the carved, backless wooden seat. The red pillows could barely be seen under the red wool cloak the king wore, with a gold harp pin holding it together at his shoulder. His advisors, two on each side of the throne, whispered to each other.

“What say you, courier?” the King asked.

“My Lord,” the man gasped. “The rainbows are gone!”

While one of the advisors hurried to the courier’s side with a goblet of wine to help revive him, the court burst into loud cries and lamentations. Shamus noticed that Banar grew quite pale. Princess Lyeen, though, he saw with a great deal of admiration, straightened her spine and, head held high, strode to the front of the room to stand beside her father’s chair.

There was so much confusion and consternation, the King signaled the guard near him to pound on the floor with the butt of his spear. He stood up.

“What is this caterwauling? You all sound worse than the animals in the humans’ zoo at feeding time.” King Shadenan glared at the people in the hall. The horror of being compared to those poor creatures confined in unnatural habitats stunned them. They shut up.

He stepped off of the throne’s platform and pulled the courier to his feet. “Come, man.” He clapped the courier on the shoulder. “You’ve had a bit of wine to refresh yourself. Tell us your news.”

The courier nodded. “I’m Draum, son of Fitz.”

The courtiers nodded. Fitz was a high-ranking member of the court. Draum was in service to the King, as every courtier’s able-bodied sons were at one time or another. Shamus had been a courier himself upon his eighteenth birthday for twenty years. That had been a long time ago.

“Sire, the treasury was robbed. All of the guards are dead. I don’t know how I escaped the explosion but something large and ferocious chased me nearly all the way here.” He looked down at his appearance. “My apologies, Sire, for appearing before you in such a state.”

The King clapped him on the shoulder. “No need to apologize, young Draum.” He motioned for one of the guards standing near the throne to come to him. “Take Draun to the baths. Get him food and drink and fresh clothing. We’ll talk to him again in two hours.”

The guard led Draum away through a side-door of the hall near the throne. The courtiers refilled the hall and whispered to each other. Shamus began edging his way to the front of the room. The Advisors had surrounded the King. As he neared he could hear a furious discussion going on between them.

“Sire,” the eldest Advisor said, “we need to send guards to assess the damage.”

“Yes,” said the youngest. “How do we know if Draum is telling the truth?”

“Majesty, we should send someone to bring back the rainbows.”

The King stood still in the rain of comments and suggestions, nodding at each person as they spoke. Shamus moved up to stand directly behind the King. When the suggestions died down, the Advisors waited for the King to speak.

“We will send an investigator,” the King announced. “Someone from our court, someone trustworthy.”

They all nodded.

“But who?” the eldest Advisor asked. “Perhaps the savage beast that chased Draum is still lurking about.”

“I’ll go,” Shamus piped up.

The entire group turned to stare. Shamus began to blush under the inspection.

The King nodded. “It’s dangerous, you know. The beast may still be outside the sidhe.” Their villages, the sidhe, pronounced shee, were hidden by magic. The leprechauns had long separated themselves from the world of men. King Mac Shadenan ruled all the sidhe of the leprechaun kingdom, scattered far and wide across the men’s countries of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The leprechauns kept track of the world of men but since the loss of their gods, the Tuatha De Danann many centuries ago, they had no choice but to hide. It was safer to stay in their hidden kingdom, and they flourished in their own way.

Shamus breathed a sigh of relief. As a courier, he’d always gotten along with King Mac. “I understand, Sire. But the kingdom’s treasury has been stolen. If we wait too long, all evidence of the dastard will be gone and the trail cold. I’ll leave immediately. The sooner I go, the sooner the rainbows may be recovered.”

Lyeen had joined the circle of Advisors. She smiled at Shamus and he nearly missed the King’s words.

“Good idea, Shamus. You will be my representative in this. Leave at once. Draw whatever you need from the armory.”

Shamus bowed. “Thank you, Sire. I’ll depart as soon as I can.”

He turned and hustled down the middle of the court, the courtiers parting in front of him. The murmurs began as soon as he passed.

~~~~~

Lost Rainbows

To be continued…

Come back for more! Look for the next exciting installment each Wednesday.

 

You can read more of this story serially on this website for free or you can buy it and read it now at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

See more at: www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts

Thank you for reading. You can support the story by commenting or leaving a review. Buy my other books for more reading pleasure. If you’ve enjoyed this chapter, please spread the word, tell a friend or share the link to the story by using the share buttons to your right. The author is part of the Forward Motion Flash Fiction Friday Challenge and the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour.

© 2015 Connie Cockrell

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