Critters! CokoCon 2020, Payson Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Not the actual rodent that jumped out of the engine compartment.

Newest News:

Critter in the engine compartment is no joke. Hubby took the Prius to the garage for an oil change. They came and got him just after they pulled the car into the bay. They pointed out a two-foot in diameter nest. Apparently when they opened the hood the rodent critter jumped out and disappeared into the recesses of the garage. I imagine it scared the tar out of the poor mechanic. Anyway, the critter has apparently given up making nests in the glove box and has moved to the car engine. Yay! Another place for us to check daily to make sure nothing has moved back in. Sorry. No pictures.

I’ve spent the last week processing Payson Book Festival registrations. Nearly all of the tables are now full. It’s only the 12th of January! They go so fast. I’m glad, of course, that the festival has become so popular. I’m just sorry I can’t get more authors in to show off their work. Readers, be sure to mark your calendar for July 18th, Payson, Arizona, at the Mazatazal Hotel and Casino ballroom. You won’t be sorry! www.PaysonBookFestival.org.

Healthy eating!

Just some personal stuff. We all know that January is the month for many of us to try and get healthy. I don’t know about you but the holidays really make me ready for vegetables in January. Anyway, I’ve gone back on my Paleo routine and as of the 12th, I’ve lost 10 pounds. Most of that is water weight, but still, my pants fit better, I feel better and I’m ready to get back to some sort of exercise routine. A friend of mine is opening a gym and I’ve signed up for a free, “getting to know you” class on Friday. I’m so excited to see what she has done in her new business and to wish her well as well as get in some movement in the new year. What are you doing to get or keep healthy this month? Let me know in the comments!

Giveaways:

I missed the Valentine’s Day giveaway. I’m not sure how. However, I am signed up for the St. Patrick’s Day giveaway. I’ll post links as soon as I get them. I’ll post the Christmas winners as soon as I’m notified.

Where will I Be?:

Tempe FanCon. January25th from 10am to 4pm at the Tempe Public Library.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is still available. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. 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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

NANOWRIMO, To Do List, Friday Flash The Party, Giveaways News: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So how is National Novel Writing Month going for me? Well, I’ve had a dearth of motivation this last week and skipped writing from Tuesday through Saturday. Well, Saturday I spent on the road. I had a meeting in Tucson so there was about four hours each way on the road, plus the meeting I attended and a lunch and social couple of hours afterward. That has put me behind. Not so far I can’t catch up, but I’ll have to work harder and longer to get the words in that I need to complete the NaNo challenge this year. When I do write, the story seems to be moving along. This is after, It’s All About the Girl, had a particularly slow start. No matter. The words are flowing and I should finish the month strong. I cannot believe the month is already half over with. That’s what happens when you spend so much time in other worlds. LOL!

In between writing sessions I’m like most women, thinking about Thanksgiving, and beyond that Christmas. Planning needs to be done. People invited over. Presents to be acquired. Candy to be made. I also haven’t finished updating everything needed to be done for the Payson Book Festival, so that’s nagging at me in the back of my brain. Lots to do. I’m sure many of you are in the same situation. My plan is to just take one thing at a time and get it all done. Hope your plan works for you!

Oh. And I missed my Friday flash fiction post on my serial, The Party. It fell into that same lack of gumption as It’s All About the Girl. However. I have been thinking about it. It looks like I have about eleven characters. Somehow, before the end of the story, they’re all, or at least most of them, are going to intersect in some way. I have no idea how. I do have a glimmer of how the story could end. I’m really writing this by the seat of my pants so hang on. It’s going to be a ride.

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now over! Twenty-two authors are participated giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

The Christmas giveaway is now open! For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. There are 21 other great prizes available and a $72 Grand Prize in PayPal cash. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize here.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Veteran’s Day, NANOWRIMO, Gratefullness: Monday Blog Post

Airman 1st Class Wilcox

Newest News:

Happy Veteran’s Day! The youngster in the above picture is me. Airman 1st class. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or what the future would bring. Fortunately, mostly good stuff and for that I’m grateful. May the vets in your life have nothing but happiness from now on.

Yay! It’s November and with it, National Novel Writing Month! This is the annual challenge to all writers to put your editing brain in the closet and just write, write, write! As of Sunday morning, I’ve written almost 18,000 words so far. I have transitioned to the next All About Bob story, which right now I’m calling, It’s All About the Girl. This story isn’t flowing as well as the last one but not everything is perfect. I’m slogging along on it and with luck will have it done sooner rather than later and be able to start the last one, It’s All About Home. If you’re writing this month, good for you. Hope you get it finished. If you’re a reader, brace yourself. All of these stories will be out in about a year.

I have been putting my gratefulness posts on my author page. So click on over to my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts/, and check it out. Share what you’re grateful for as well!

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is ending soon! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

The the Christmas giveaway will start very soon! For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. Other great prizes are also available. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Autumn has Arrived, NANOWRIMO, Best Website News: Monday Blog Post

Stirling Pass, Sedona, by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

Cooler weather has arrived in Central Arizona. I have broken out my jeans and started making casseroles again. Sunday was scalloped potatoes and pork chops. An old favorite of mine that my mom used to make. Even better, the fall color has arrived in the moister places—canyons, stream sides, and so on. The above picture was taken in Sedona on a hike there by my husband.

My cold is much better, as are the swollen lymph in my neck and the ear infection. A couple more days and I’m back to the doc for a follow-up.

We’re just days from the start of National Novel Writing Month and I’ve decided to work on more of my All About Bob series. Since these are shorter books, novelettes/novellas, that makes me a NaNo Rebel this year. I’ll still be writing to that 50,000 word goal. I’ll just spread it out over 3 books. One book. All about the Music, was started last year and I never finished it. So I’ll wrap that up and then move on to two more. Neither of which I have titles for or even plots. Well, maybe a plot for one. The other, well, I’ll figure that out when I get there. So, wish me luck. Nano starts November 1st.

It’s Fixed!

BEST NEWS! After much futzing around with my website, I have finally figured out my blog sign up issue. It’s back, now located at the top right of my blog page. It has taken me hours and hours of spelunking around the back end of the website to figure it out. But now it’s back and I’m so happy. If you’ve wanted to share the website but haven’t, now’s the time. I’d love to get my subscriber numbers back up.

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now running! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. It won’t last long.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Cold Season, Jury Duty, APW Meeting, NANOWRIMO: Monday Blog Post

Fall Fern by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

So cold season has hit my house. Hubby was sick all week last week and yesterday (Sunday) I had his cold. Sigh. Not bad yet. Didn’t sleep well Saturday night/Sunday morning, more nose blowing than usual and my eyes feel like they want to fall out of my head. Ugh. Lots of hot tea for me.

Jury duty was cancelled last week. The trial was vacated. So now I’m back into the jury duty rotation. Hope if I get selected the next time it’s an interesting case.

APW Logo

On October 12th, I spoke to the APW Central Chapter in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a small group so we had a good time trading writing experiences and sharing tips. The APW accepts new members all year long so if you’d like to get with a group of like minded people interested in getting words on the page, check us out at https://arizonaprofessionalwriters.org/.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month. I’m trying to decide what to write. I have an idea for another Jean Hays story. I also have an idea for another western. I’ll admit it’s a lot more fun to write a new story that to rewrite and edit old stories. But, both have to be done. The “rules” of November’s Nano are that it should be a new work though not everyone follows that. So we’ll see. Just two weeks to go until the start.

Giveaways:

In the meantime, the Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now running! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. It won’t last long.

Where will I Be?:

I don’t have anything on my calendar until the December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

On My Writing, Jury Duty, Next Project, Lizard Tails: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

This was supposed to go out last week and I just realized it was sitting in my drafts folder. Ugh. So, this week you get two posts! Enjoy.

Writing. I am. Really, I am. I’m working on my serial, The Party. I post a new chapter every Friday. The news is so frightening I don’t think I’ll ever run out of material. I also wrote a short story for Writing for Peace’s next compilation magazine, DoveTales Online. I submitted that on the 15th and am crossing my fingers that it is accepted. I’ll know, perhaps in November. The magazine comes out in February. If you’re interested in what they’re doing over there, check it out on WritingForPeace.org. They have a Facebook Page as well and I’m getting some very interesting posts from them.

I’m also starting to think about my November National Novel Writing Month project. I need the next installment in the Brown Rain series, book 5, so I may do that. I’m also toying with a follow-on book to Gold Dreams. Have you read it? Would you be interested in hearing about Zeke and Mary in California?

In other news, I’ve been summoned to jury duty next month, September 10th. It’s at the county seat which is 2 hours away. As an author, I’m very excited to be called. I find the whole process fascinating. I also hope it’s an interesting trial. I can always use these kinds of experiences for my writing.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the lizard in our front yard was missing his tail. My husband spotted him yesterday and took this picture. You can clearly see where his tail has regrown. Yay little lizard!

Giveaways:

The Summer Giveaway is open! There are 33 participating authors with 33 book prizes and 33 summer gift prizes. The Grand Prize is $100 in Paypal cash. This is certainly a giveaway to get involved with.

Where will I Be?:

I don’t have anything on my calendar until the December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

On the other hand, if something juicy comes up, because it’s a long time between July and December, I’ll let you know. Do you know of an event where you’d like to see me? I’d love to know about it. Contact me here and say the word.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. The print version is available on Amazon. I just haven’t reformatted the book for the other platforms yet. I’ll do it. Really I will. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Loss, The Party, Critters in the Garage: Monday Blog Post

Mom and her Flowers

Newest News:

Loss. Since December 31st when I lost my mom, four other friends and friends of the family passed away. The last on May 31st. I mention this as a memorial for the friend who passed away on May 31st, was held Saturday. It was a lovely service and many nice things were said. It hits me especially hard since my moms passing. I’m more sensitive now to the loss. It still affects me at different times, especially at last Saturday’s memorial, even during the reading of the Lord’s Prayer. Tears flowed several times. There’s still a hole where my mom was. There are still times when I think, “oh, I have to tell mom about this.” Then, of course, I remember, she’s gone. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I can get away with a deep breath. If you’ve lost someone recently, I feel your pain. I do. Here’s hoping you remember the good times, the laughter, the quiet moments. And, as I’m being told, take your time with your grief. Each of us is different and has to process this loss in our own way. Hugs to you all.

I think because I’m thinking about what to write for November’s National Novel Writing Month, a new Jean Hays is popping herself into my mind. I still haven’t found a military woman who has been stationed in Afghanistan, so book 4 is still in holding. But even so, little glimmers of a new Jean story is letting itself be known. Believe it or not, the next story may require a trip to the local, and only, strip club! Hmm.

It’s now 15 days until I go to jury duty.

Not in my garage. At least I don’t think so.

Have I mentioned the critter or critters in my garage? They are smart. They’re totally eating the bait off of the traps and leaving them unsprung. Clever little beasties. They started moving into my car. We thought one had crawled into a vent space and died but no. Hubby went to replace an air vent filter and found a big nest in the process of being built. They’d also incorporated the blocks of critter poison we’d put out, in the nest. All four of the blocks. I’m thinking the entire garage needs to be emptied to dislodge the trespassers. Not something either I or hubby are excited about doing but it may be the step before we call the exterminators. What’s your best critter story?

Giveaways:

The Summer Giveaway is open! There are 33 participating authors with 33 book prizes and 33 summer gift prizes. The Grand Prize is $100 in Paypal cash. This is certainly a giveaway to get involved with.

Where will I Be?:

I don’t have anything on my calendar until the December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

On the other hand, if something juicy comes up, because it’s a long time between July and December, I’ll let you know. Do you know of an event where you’d like to see me? I’d love to know about it. Contact me here and say the word.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. The print version is available on Amazon. I just haven’t reformatted the book for the other platforms yet. I’ll do it. Really I will. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Reconstruction: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Laptop by Shadd am89 via DeviantArt.com

It’s Friday. The monsoons don’t start for another month and a half and my eyes and nose are so dry it feels like I’m going to have a bloody nose any minute. Staring at this computer screen isn’t helping any either. Eyes feel like they’re rolling in a sandbox.

My boss, Cassandra, sticks her head around the door. “My office. Now.”

Oh joy. I glance at the clock. Really, two thirty on a Friday afternoon? “Sure.” I sigh. If I was in trouble about something, she would have let me have it right there. No, I think as I push away from my desk. It’s something else. Some news she can’t wait to ruin my weekend with. I grab my notebook and wander down the hall.

As I get there, I see the other four department managers arriving. I nod to my friend, Callie, head of database design. Her eyebrow goes up a fraction of an inch. We both grin. It’s definitely going to be a weekend ruiner.

We huddle in her office around a small conference table. I open my spiral notebook to a clean page, noting date, time, and people in the room. These little notes have saved my bacon in the past. Cassandra starts.

“I was glad to see everyone still here. This is news that can’t wait.” She looks at each of us, then nods. “Management has decided that there will be no pay raises this year.”

That wakes up Seth. He’s always bragging about how he gets the biggest raise every year. That’s despite the rule about not talking about salary. I think he’s lying. I’ve been doing half of his work for the last three years. And, the company only gives pay raises to a small percentage. I expect Callie is the one getting the money. I know I get some. What Ellie and Bob get is a mystery.

Cassandra let the murmuring subside. “Budgets have been cut. People are going to be laid off. Least productive departments first. Some of you will be affected. Some of your department’s work will be handled by other parts of the company, either here in the U.S. or overseas. Some work the company is just dropping. They’re not going to brand on that any longer. The uproar in the room grew louder as she walked around her desk and sat in her chair.

I had all I could do not to yawn. I could see this was coming. I’d told Callie so a year ago. Anyone who could read the business journals and had an eye on the company’s investments and closings would have known. I’d already begun sending out resumes and refining my own branding. I did feel bad for Callie, though. She worked hard and had two kids in high school. She’d been hoping to hold on until they were out of college.

Cassandra rapped on her desk. “Let’s keep calm, people.” She turned a sheet of paper over, typed side up. “This is the initial break out.”

She read down the list. I had to cover my grin with my hand as she announced Seth’s department’s work was going to be picked up by the Minneapolis office. “What am I supposed to do,” as an afterthought, “and my team?”

“Offers will be made to allow you to move,” the boss said.

I knew that wasn’t going to happen with Seth. He had a big family here. His wife was executive VP across town at the biggest bank in the area.

Then both Ellie and Bob were told their department’s work was going overseas. Ellie began to cry. Bob went pale.

Cassandra turned to me. The announcements were getting worse and worse. I braced to hear that the company was dropping the work my department did altogether.

“Your department,” I could hear everyone stop breathing, “is going to be expanded. Project management is the coming thing and the company is jumping on that bandwagon.”

The others stared. Cassandra carried on. “You’re being promoted to Division Manager and you’ll be organizing the growth and hiring of additional staff. Congratulations.”

I have to admit, it took me a second to wrap my head around that. Everyone else was essentially getting the axe and I was getting a promotion. Wow! “Um, Thank you, Cassandra. I’m so sorry, everyone else. So sorry.”

“We’ll be making announcements over the intercom at three-thirty. Please keep this news to yourselves until then.” Cassandra turned that paper over again and turned to her computer. A sign we were done. Everyone stood. In the hall I gave Callie a hug. “Your department wasn’t touched.”

She shrugged. “Not yet anyway. I should have believed you last year.”

“Well, you’re good for now. It’s not too late.”

She nodded and wandered away. Cassandra called to me from inside her office.

“Yes, Cassandra.”

“I’ve been told we’re going to build up a real presence here in Phoenix. Lots of big companies moving into the state. The whole southwest, really. You up to the task?”

“Absolutely.” I grinned. “I assume my department doesn’t do the sales. Just the project management work?”

She nodded. “I take over the Sales. VP.” She looked smug. I’d heard that she and the operations manager were close. Maybe that paid off. I don’t know. “Congratulations. We’ll still be working together.” With that she made a quick, little face that let me know she hadn’t thought about that, but she pulled it together quickly. “Yes. Of course.” She turned back to her computer. “The president will see you at 10 on Monday. He wants to talk plans with you.”

“I’ll make a note.” I left the office and went back to my desk. In half an hour, my team was going to be hitting my office door. I poured more chocolates into the bowl on my conference table and got on my computer. Time to pull up notes on how to run a bigger department.

Happy Easter, Family Visit, Giveaway Winners: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Easter. The weather in my neck of the woods was just super—low to mid-seventies, clear sky and just too wonderful not to spend at least some of the days outside.

Andrew and me at Montezuma’s Castle

My brother left last Tuesday and my nephew, Andrew, came on Friday afternoon. We had a good time seeing Jerome, Cottonwood, the Tonto Natural Bridge and some American Indian pictographs. He had to leave us on Sunday afternoon to drive back to Ft. Huachuca to finish his E6 training.  

Giveaways:

Still up for grabs! If you’ve looked at my “Where Am I” page on my website, you’ll have noticed that I’m going to be at the Phoenix Fan Fusion over Memorial Day weekend. (May 23rd – 26th) I’ve decided that I should do a giveaway. A free exhibitor pass for one of those days. I know that not everyone can take off for Phoenix at the drop of the hat. But if you’re in the area, and you’d like to come see me at my booth and spend the day at the event, sign up by emailing me at connie.cockrell@conniesrandomthoughts.com. Post a picture of you with one of my books. Use the subject, PFF Ticket. I’ll draw a name on May 10th and contact the winner with directions for picking up the pass.

The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway winners have been drawn. I’ve contacted my winners already. They are Judy Thomas from New Zealand and Sarah Mayer from the USA. Congratulations to both of them. I’m not in the Spring giveaway, time just got away from me, but I will be in the Summer giveaway. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/

Where will I Be?:

If you are a fan of most any genre, I’m participating in an on-line cyber conference here: http://owscycon.ourwriteside.com/about-ows-cycon/. The event is May 17th through May 19th. There are discussion forums, author giveaways, and so much more. Check out the link and sign up to participate. Sign up also gets you news on what’s happening and when. So sign up today. You might just be the person we want to have in our panel discussion!

Phoenix Fan Fusion! Oh My Gosh! If you haven’t ever been to this event you need to check it out. The catalog of things to do is humongous! I’ll be down in Artists Alley, Four Carat Press, booths AA930 and AA932. Come check it out. If you’ve never been, it will blow your minds. It’s May 23 – 26th. Come see me!

The Payson Book Festival this year is going to be more exciting than last year. Mark your calendars for July 20th. Be in Payson for the book festival. Go to www.paysonbookfestival.org for all of the details!

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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:

Slave Elf released February 19th, 2019. It is finally up on all of my other retailers in ebook format. You can buy it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords today. You can also see all my books on https://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 or BookBub. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Sweet and Sticky Orange Ginger Wings

from Joanna Smith of www.fedandfulfiled.com/sweet-sticky-orange-ginger-wings/

A big, Happy New Year, to everyone. If you’re like most people you are now 25 days into whatever diet you decided to do after the excesses of the holiday season. I have renewed my plan to eat paleo but also, it’s near the end of the month and the Super Bowl is coming so I was looking around for something I could make or serve, that didn’t seem like diet food.

These wings really hit the spot. As the title suggests, they’re sweet and sticky with just a hint of heat from the ginger, so perfect for kids as well as adults. This recipe is already Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) ready but I changed some things up to make it paleo as well.

Sweet and Sticky Orange Ginger Wings serves 4 – 6

Hardware

Cutting Board

Medium Mixing Bowl

1 cookie sheet

1 – 2 wire racks (like for cooling cookies)

Small saucepan

Zester

Large Knife

1 Cup Measuring cup

Measuring Spoons

Large Spoon

Ingredients

For the Chicken Wings

2 lbs of chicken wings, thawed (I used a bag of wings from Walmart which was 4 pounds, so double what this recipe makes.)

2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch (Optional)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

½ teaspoon sea salt

For the Orange Ginger Garlic Sauce

¾ cup orange juice (use whatever you have but here in Arizona it’s orange season and I was able to juice some lovely totally ripe oranges from a friend’s tree. It took about 4 oranges.)

½ cup coconut aminos (a substitute is soy sauce, but if you’re going for gluten free, use the gluten free kind.)

¼ cup apricot preserves (again, to keep it paleo and gluten free I made my own by finely chopping dried apricots, covering with water, and simmering until the water was just about gone. The result isn’t really jam, but the liquid is thick and sticky and acts enough like the preserves to use as a substitute. No sugar or honey needed, the fruit is plenty sweet enough.)

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon orange zest (removed from one of the oranges before juicing. It will need the whole orange.)

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon raw honey

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon arrowroot starch, to thicken

¼ cup chopped scallions, plus extra for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Grease a wire, oven-safe rack and place it over a baking sheet.

Put chicken wings on a plate and dry with a paper towel.

Mix together arrowroot starch, ginger, garlic, and sea salt and lightly dust the chicken wings. Toss to coat. Place wings in a single layer on wire rack.

Bake wings for 45 minutes, or until cooked through. I flipped my wings once part way through cooking. Turn oven broiler on and broil for 5 more minutes, until skin is crispy.

While wings are baking, whisk sauce ingredients together (except for arrowroot and scallions) in a saucepan and ring to a low boil over medium heat.

Turn down to low and simmer sauce for 8 – 10 minutes, then whisk in the arrowroot starch and allow to thicken for an additional 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in scallions.

In a bowl, toss baked wings in the orange sauce and top with extra chopped scallions. Note: I thought only half of the sauce was needed. I stored the rest for later use.

It’s a lot of steps but each one is very easy. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite chicken dish to serve family or guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.