Happy President’s Day, Cozy Mystery Bundle, Painting: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy President’s Day to all. I hope you have the chance to hang out with family and friends and have a fun, relaxing day.

Painting by Connie Cockrell

Last week I mentioned that I was going to a painting class. Well, I did. I had a wonderful time with 11 other artists and the scope, breadth and quality of the work being produced was just wonderful. Now I will admit it’s been nearly 40 years since I’ve picked up a paint brush, but you can see my picture, while not perfect, came out pretty well. I now have it hanging in my living room. I encourage each of you to give something new a try.

I’m still working on It’s All About the Odds but I’m nearly done. This series won’t get published until I have the entire thing written and edited. That way readers won’t have to wait so long to get them.

Big news for those of you who love my cozy mystery series, Jean Hays. I’ve been selected to participate in a cozy mystery bundle over on the Bundle Rabbit site. The book is going to be called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. I think you’ll enjoy it. I’ll post the link to it when it’s published. We’re working on selecting a cover right now. In the meantime, check out BundleRabbit.com for other stories, mysteries or whatever genre you enjoy.

Giveaways:

The Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway now over.  Winners will be chosen soon and notified. Then, check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the next contest, the 2018 Authors/Bloggers St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

I want to give a shout out to author P.D. Workman who is the driving force behind the cozy mystery bundle I’m in.

Author P.D. Workman

For as long as she can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure for Workman.  She has samples of stories and booklets that go back to her early childhood.  Workman collected notebooks of all shapes and sizes with plans to fill them with words and stories.  By grade four, she discovered that inventing a story in her head could rival the joy of reading one from a book.  She wrote and bound a series stories about a rabbit, painstakingly typed on her dad’s Selectric typewriter and illustrated by tracing pictures.

In grade five, Workman spent a lot of leisure time creating a Narnia-like world of her own.  She drew pictures of it… unicorns, rainbows, forests, mountains in the distance.  There were six meals a day (probably influenced by The Hobbit,) with names like nibble and munch.  She didn’t write a word of the story, though she imagined the plot line, which included her arrival in the land via a pair of magical red tennis shoes.

In grade six, Workman had a language arts teacher who had a box full of pictures to use as story prompts, and the class would write a creative writing story every Friday.  Workman loved it.  She wrote a number of stories about a pair of magical black dogs with glowing eyes.  In grade seven she continued to enjoy creative writing at school, much of it about horses, her new obsession as she read every book in the Black Stallion series.  She started to write her first full-length novel, a classic plot line about a class of school children who get marooned on a deserted tropical island.  No, no Lord of the Flies.  It was all about survival. She went to a young writer’s conference and talked about it.  She read it to the kids she babysat.  But she never finished it.

At the age of twelve, Workman finally did it, she wrote her first complete novel.  It was full of fantastic ideas.  It was the spring board for many other stories and books over the next few years.

Over the years, family and friends had encouraged her publish.  But she wrote for herself, for the joy of creating characters and experiencing their lives.   Most people didn’t even have any idea that Workman wrote. A few times, she took up the pen and dabbled with contacting publishers, submitting to contests, etc., but each time, the joy disappeared, and the creative juices dried up.  So, Workman went back to her hermit-like writing existence, proclaiming that her estate could publish her work after her death. Not until 2013 did Workman finally decide to publish her work, and she has been enjoying the process very much.

When not writing, Workman is a devout wife and a mother of one.  She was born and raised in Alberta, Canada.  She is a homeschooler and an executive assistant.  She has a passion for art and nature, creative cooking for special diets, and running.  She loves to read, to listen to audio books, and to share books out loud with her family.  She is an acknowledged technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools to make her writing and work easier and more fun.  In person, she is far less well-spoken than on the written page. She tends to be shy and reserved with all but those closest to her and prefers communicating by e-mail and text rather than phone calls or face-to-face visits. Her sociable husband and son help keep her from becoming a complete recluse!

You can find her at https://pdworkman.com/ where you can find more of her works.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

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:

Tested released January 31st and 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Merry Christmas : Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I want to wish everyone Merry Christmas. May today and everyday be peaceful and joyful. Hubby and I are going over to a friend’s house with others for a Christmas day brunch. Later, I’ll cook a duck and have a cozy meal with my spouse. What are you doing today?

The little bit of rain we had last week was it. It’s been sunny and dry, and chilly, ever since. Birds flock to our bird bath. Since it freezes overnight, we go out and pour water on top of the ice so the poor things can get a drink.

On my writing, I sent a story off to Pilcrow & Dagger. www.PilcrowDagger.com. It’s a great little magazine. Check it out!

I’ve just made a calendar for 2018. It’s for sale at http://www.lulu.com/shop/connie-cockrell/my-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23462179.html. The photos were taken by my husband of places around Arizona where we live and hike. I hope you like it.

I did take a tour of the facility I told you about last week. It’s perfect for my Vision Board workshop. Now to gather all of my supplies. Thank goodness for internet shopping!

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

I have a January giveaway, Ring in the New Year with Killer Mysteries, hosted by author Anne R. Tan. http://annertan.com/ It will run from January 5th to the 21st. Lots of new to you authors are also in the giveaway. I’ll post the link in January.

Shout Out:

Today it seems appropriate to give a shout out to our military, police, fire fighters, hospital workers and all of the others who are at work today supporting, protecting and defending us. May your day be peaceful.

Where Will I Be?

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

My book events for the year are now completed. Enjoy your holidays and come back in January to see the 2018 line-up.

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 at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Fire! Christmas Gifts, Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

By Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

Fire! By now everyone knows that California is in severe distress from fire. My daughter lives in Oxnard, right next to Ventura where the Thomas fire is creating havoc and devastation. She and her roommate are under a prepare to evacuate notice. The air is too thick with smoke to breathe and as a mother, I’d just as soon she come here until the danger is over. But, she’s volunteering at the Ventura Fair Grounds where the county has set up an emergency animal shelter, despite the fact that a section of the city was burned. I know many of you also have friends and/or family in southern California that you are worried about. We send prayers of hope that the courageous firefighters can get these fires under control and that no one else has to perish.

Photo by Randy Cockrell

I don’t know where the year has gone but I was not prepared for December and Christmas. Anyone? Anyone? I had no idea what to get my husband. He’s the sort that when he wants something, if we can afford it, he just gets it. Frustrating. Anyway, I have thought of a few things for him and have gotten them and wrapped them and put them under the tree. All the decorating I’m going to do is done. All the holiday baking and candy-making is done, and packages have been mailed to family. Now it’s time for the party rounds to start. I love this time of year and can’t wait to hang with friends over bring-a-dish buffets and the New Year’s Eve party my friend Karen always has.  I hope you’re preparations are going well.

On my Vision Board business, I’ve been locating supplies, gathering magazines and think I’ve found a venue where I can hold it for not a lot of money. I still need to call the place but unless they’re booked, I should be booked this week. Women I’ve talked to about getting their magazines have expressed interest in the workshop. I’ve priced materials like poster board, glue, glue brushes, scissors, and other materials I’ll need to conduct the workshop. So, I’m moving forward and eager to do my own vision board.

Me, Story Monster and Marsha at the Mesa Book Festival

I attended the Mesa Book Festival Saturday with my friend Marsha Ward. I found out when I was there that it was their first one! It was well organized, and the weather cooperated with us. A lovely 75 degrees or so and no wind. Several of the Payson Book Festival authors were there and many from Marsha’s ANWA (Arizona Night Writers Association) member were there as well. Also there was Story Monster, a regular attendee at the Payson Book Festival. We talked with so many readers! It was a great day.

Giveaways:

Starting December 1st, the Roses and Dreams Christmas 2017 Facebook event began. This is a combo event. FIRST EVENT will be a featured author each day. 23 authors in total (1 each day) who will introduce themselves and their books. Competitions and giveaways at their discretion. 45 minutes with any winners notified the next day. I was scheduled for Sunday December 3rd at 1:30PM Arizona time (8:30pm London time) on www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034, for 45 minutes with games and book talk.

The SECOND EVENT will be our showcase and we are very excited to announce it. You’ve heard of the Eurovision song contest well now (drumroll please) we’d like to present World Bookovision (#WorldBookovision).

How does it work?

Two weeks starting Monday 4th December (Monday to Friday)

Week one a poll will be pinned with that week’s participating authors. Each day three authors will have a thousand words of one of their books posted (We will post it in the morning) and people get to vote on which ones they like. You can vote more than once. At the end of the week, the two people with the highest votes will go through to the final.

Week two follows the same pattern and the two with the highest votes will go through to the final.

On the week commencing 18th December, the four finalists will showcase the next thousand words of the same book and a new poll will be posted. At the end of the week, the poll will close and one author will win. The author will receive two weeks’ worth of social media advertising from Su and Maria. The winner will provide a copy of that book as a prize (print or e-book) and this will be presented to the person who has participated most in voting. If there are more than one, then we will put them into a draw and the winner will be picked randomly. I’m in this WorldBookovision on Thursday the 14th with 1000 words of one of my stories and I’d appreciate a vote! www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034

Throughout the day we will also post lots of Christmas fun. Come and join us as a reader or a participating author.

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

Author Kebba Buckley Button

Kebba Buckley Button was a 2017 Payson Book Festival author and was also at the Mesa Book Festival with me on the 9th. She is an ordained minister and former engineering manager, a Masters’ Degree scientist, award-winning author and corporate stress management trainer. Rev. Kebba Buckley Button creates books and programs that help people live with both the vitality and inner peace they have been seeking.  For spiritual people who ache for self-calming, Kebba wrote Peace Within. For those who want an easy how-to for meditation, she created Sacred Meditation. For anyone who wants to trade in their stress for energy and joy, the answers are in Discover the Secret Energized You.  Yes, you can enjoy life!  You can find out more at www.kebba.com.

to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

My book events for the year are now completed. Enjoy your holidays and come back in January to see the 2018 line-up.

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 at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Christmas Lights, Tested, Giveaways: Monday Blog Post

Photo by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

Last week we put up the Christmas Tree and on Saturday, the outdoor lights. They look good. Instead of lighting the big pine in our front yard, I decided to dress up the little tree beside the driveway. Hubby took a picture of it. It’s only about 4 feet high. The other tree just got too tall for me to deal with.

NaNo is over and I won! Not too excited though as I ended up doing a lot of experimentation in the manuscript and there’s a lot to clean up. I’ll let that rest through the holidays though and let my brain rest.

Not Using This One

Tested is waiting for the cover. I’ve decided not to use the covers I bought. Instead, I’ve contracted with a cover artist I know, and a writer in her own right, J.A. Marlow. (http://jamarlow.com/) Use the link to check out her books. I know she’ll do a wonderful job and it will be worth the wait.

On my new class on Vision Boards, I’ve completed the fourth and final module. Now, I need to do my own vision board, create a logo, call around to venues to find a place to hold the workshop, and then email possible attendees. This is going to be fun!

I’m in three separate giveaways this month. If you look below, you’ll see them. They are going on for a long time. I had a time slot on the 12 Slays of Christmas last Friday. I was on the Roses and Dreams event yesterday. If you aren’t attending these Facebook events, you’re missing out. There is talk about the author’s books but also contests, giveaways, and fun. Next time you see one, come on by!

Giveaways:

arting on November 28th, I was part of the 12 Slays of Christmas promotion. It runs through December 4th. A lot of authors are participating in this Facebook event at www.facebook.com/events/122185258461170. I was up on Friday December 1st at 1pm Arizona time. This event will continue through today. I’d love to have you join in the fun and win prizes.

Starting on December 1st, I’m part of the Roses and Dreams Christmas 2017 Facebook event. This is a combo event. FIRST EVENT will be a featured author each day. 23 authors in total (1 each day) who will introduce themselves and their books. Competitions and giveaways at their discretion. 45 minutes with any winners notified the next day. I was scheduled for Sunday December 3rd at 1:30PM Arizona time (8:30pm London time) on www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034, for 45 minutes with games and book talk. This

SECOND EVENT will be our showcase and we are very excited to announce it. You’ve heard of the Eurovision song contest well now (drumroll please) we’d like to present World Bookovision (#WorldBookovision).

How does it work?

Two weeks starting Monday 4th December (Monday to Friday)

Week one a poll will be pinned with that week’s participating authors. Each day three authors will have a thousand words of one of their books posted (We will post it in the morning) and people get to vote on which ones they like. You can vote more than once. At the end of the week, the two people with the highest votes will go through to the final.

Week two follows the same pattern and the two with the highest votes will go through to the final.

On the week commencing 18th December, the four finalists will showcase the next thousand words of the same book and a new poll will be posted. At the end of the week, the poll will close and one author will win. The author will receive two weeks’ worth of social media advertising from Su and Maria. The winner will provide a copy of that book as a prize (print or e-book) and this will be presented to the person who has participated most in voting. If there are more than one, then we will put them into a draw and the winner will be picked randomly.

Throughout the day we will also post lots of Christmas fun. Come and join us as a reader or a participating author. I’m in this WorldBookovision and I’d appreciate a vote! www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to my friend, Holly S. Roberts. She’s a fantastic author and working hard to create new stories. You can find her at http://wickedstorytelling.com/ She has several complete series and calls herself the Princess of Wicked Kissing Books! Really! Check her out.

Where Will I Be?

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

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend, Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

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 at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

So last month I posted about my new Paleo diet lifestyle and mentioned avocado chocolate mousse. This is a wonderful dessert that you can enjoy yourself or make for a nice dinner with friends and/or family. It’s so delicious I cannot even say. It’s rich, decadent and chocolaty, everything you want in your chocolate dessert. And no, you don’t taste the avocado at all. Even better, it’s no cook!

Serves 4.

Hardware

Blender

Knife

1 cup glass measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Rubber spatula

4 half-cup ramekins

 

Ingredients

2 large or 3 small ripe avocados

3 T cocoa

4 oz dark chocolate

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla (Pictured is a bottle of homemade vanilla my friend Dee gave me for Christmas. It’s almost gone. ☹)

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave (pictured) or in a hot water bath. If using the microwave, use just short heating times, 15 seconds, until the mixture melts by stirring.

Read the rest here!

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve 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.

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NaNo, Vision Boards. Tested: Monday Blog Post

Turkey from Upstate NY

 

Newest News:

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States and I want to wish everyone a wonderful day with friends and family.

So today is day 20 of the National Novel Writing Month. I mentioned last week that I ran into trouble with my book being too short. What I finally decided to do was add a second point of view, Jean’s ex-husband, Dwight. I’ve never tried this before so I’m not sure how duplicative it will be. Maybe too much, but I thought I’d give it a try. So, as of Sunday, I’m at 36K words. I’m still going to come in short, I can already tell. I’ll worry about that later this week.

On my new class on Vision Boards, I’ve completed the second module. This week I learned about contacting people to join the workshop, what kind of emails to send and how to keep everyone interested before the class happens. I’m still very excited about this. Have you ever done a vision board? Tell me about it in the comments!

The cover for Tested has finally come back to me. I’m working in the formatting now and will be publishing in December. I know, months later than I had anticipated but it will be out soon. Thank you so much for waiting so patiently. I’m have a few copies ready for review if you’d like. It’s always good to start a new release with some reviews already on Amazon. Let me know if you’re interested.

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

Author Marge Cutter

Today I’d like to give a shout out to author Margaret Cutter, author of a fantasy you can find on her website, margecutter.wordpress.com. Marge is currently an aspiring author who has completed one children’s picture book under her pen name, Pearl Meadows, and the first two books of a YA Fantasy series under her pen name Marge Cutter, all currently unpublished. But check out her website. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend, Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

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 at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Poached Pears: A Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Poached Pears with Frozen Custard and Orange Slice Garnish Picture by Connie Cockrell

Lots has happened to me since my last post in June. July held the Payson Book Festival for which I am the director, then August is prep for the Northern Gila County Fair which is the weekend after Labor Day. Then, well, I was just tired.

But, news! In August I began eating the Paleo Diet. I love it! I lost 15 pounds in August alone. If you don’t know what the Paleo Diet is, a quick explanation is that you stop eating grains and dairy. You can Google it for a more complete explanation. I have Celiac Disease which is closely related to Hashimoto’s disease. With that, you should also stop eating sugar (well, we all should anyway), caffeine (which I gave up years ago), and raw cruciferous veg (cooked is ok). So that’s what I’ve done.

I don’t feel deprived at all, despite my strong love of anything pasta. But it was making me feel bad so, while I may make the very seldom choice to go gluten-free pasta, it’s gone! Now I eat as clean as possible (meaning organic, grass-fed meat, organic veg, organic fruit. It helps that I have my own pear, apple, and peach trees, and grow a lot of veg in my small garden.

The pears are where this blog comes in. My Bartlett pears became ripe the end of September. They’re not a soft pear. I was having my brother-in-law and his girl for supper and was thinking about dessert. At first, I thought about an avocado-chocolate mousse, (more on that next month), but then I was looking at all of my lovely ripe pears and decided poached pears would be a better choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really missing anything on my new diet, but a girl does like the occasional sweet, am I right?

Serves 4 – 6.

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Saucepan

Ingredients

4 pears, peeled, cored, cut into quarters or sixths

3 navel oranges, 2 juiced (1/2 cup or more if extra juicy), 1 sliced into rounds

See the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve 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.

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Cons, Holiday, Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I came back from the Westercon70 on the 4th of July. The con was in the heart of Tempe, Arizona and I did not want to get stuck in the middle of town with no way out so I left a little early. I was afraid all of the valley highways and especially highway 87 which leads to Payson would be jammed. Nope. Clear sailing all the way home. I was glad. I had a great time at the con and when it comes back near I’ll certainly go again. I met some great authors, fascinating scientists, and wonderful readers. If you’ve never been to a small conference before, you should try it.

On the garden front, my garden survived the heat wave while I was gone and I have my first yellow squash. It’s not the straight neck yellow squash the plant tag said at the store but it will do. I suspect the zucchini I bought is actually another yellow squash. We’ll see.

I’m still waiting for the editor to get Tested back to me. I haven’t made any decisions on the cover yet. I really need to get that done.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway is the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Did you see the author interview with Devorah Fox? We had fun chatting and she has some great books. Check out the post at https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/author-interview-devorah-fox/

 

Where Will I Be?

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

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 over 80 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 at the Book Festival released June 1st and 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Taxes and Camp NaNo: Monday Blog Post

Pansies

Newest News:

If you didn’t see it from me on Twitter or Facebook, I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

April is tax month and no doubt it’s as stressful a time for you as it is for me. I finally filed my taxes at the end of March. I decided I needed to withhold more money every month so I don’t have such a big tax bill to pay at the end of the year. Sigh. Adulting is hard.

April’s Camp NaNo is over halfway done. I passed 25k on the 14th so I’m doing well as far as word count goes. I’m also doing well in totally pantsing this new story. (book 2 of the Zoe Ohale series) I was a little fearful about going into a novel with little to no plan but it seems to be working out so far. I guess, at least for me, Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing into the Dark does work.

In other writing news, my editor sent Mystery at the Book Festival back and it looks like it will only need a few rewrites, nothing major. Oh my gosh I’m so pleased. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this writing thing.

http://magikstock.deviantart.com/art/Camel-1-319794644

My Elf Slave serial story began last Friday. Like all of the stories I put up on Fridays, it’s a little rough. I have three parts written and have no idea how long it will be. I found a lovely picture to illustrate part 3 and have received permission of the photographer to use it. You’ll love it. Part 3 will post on the 28th. That gets me through April and in May I can start writing the story again. Maybe Troubled Campus will be done, maybe not. That remains to be seen.

Part of being a writer is taking classes to help get better. I was taking a class on how to write a series with Holly Lisle when she became quite ill. The class stopped two years ago, unfinished. However, she’s re-written the class and started it back up again with better than ever lessons. I’m going to restart that class and apply a new Christmas series to it. I’ve been wanting to do a Christmas series for a long time and I’ve been brainstorming ideas. This is the perfect opportunity for me to get this project off of the ground. I’m very excited. Perhaps I can get the first book out in November! We’ll see.

Gardening: The roses are beginning to bloom. I’ve planted parsley, onion seed and chives (in a pot). I should dig out my bean seeds and get them in. They’re plenty hardy enough to deal with the cool nights here in central Arizona. I received a bonzai seed kit from my mom for my birthday last year. I’ve been keeping the seeds cold all this time. Last week I bought seed starter pods and planted one seed in each pod. I’m checking them daily to see if anything sprouts.

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:

I think this week I’ll give author and speaker Joshua Robertson a shout out. He can be found at  http://www.robertsonwrites.com/ and he writes dark fantasy. His most recent series is the Kaelandur series and he has a deal going on them right now. https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Robertson/e/B00RHAMPHM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1. Check him out!

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://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 in the Four Carat Press booth number 1795.

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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Mars Wings Part 4: Flash Fiction Friday Post

This image shows the floor of Suzhi Crater, an approximately 25-kilometer diameter impact crater located northeast of Hellas Planitia.

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/images/index.html

Part 4 of 5

You can find Part 1 here:

I met Kayla mid-morning the next day in the concourse outside of Glenna’s Gifts. The concourse was busy, Christmas was only a day away. I had my eye on a bracelet made from gold found right here on Mars with a red Martian stone set in the middle for my mom. She lounged on the bench until Tommie and Albert showed up, then the rest of the gang. Amber showed up last, Tayln getting up to give her his spot on the bench.

“What’s the news?” Amber asked.

I shrugged. “Just Christmas.”

Tayln laughed. “Oh. It’s going to be a good one, all right.”

Amber gave him a look that was plainly meant to mean shut up.

“Something going on?” I didn’t like the way Tayln was grinning. He was up to something.

Amber sighed. “Nothing important.” She changed the subject and it was an hour before we all began to drift away.

“Don’t be on the concourse on Christmas Day,” Amber said to us before we left.

Again, Tayln smirked.

“Why not?” I liked to come down to hear the Choral Society sing. It was something my family always did. I’d even sent a message to the Korians about it.

Amber shook her head. “Just don’t.” She turned and left, Tayln on her heels.

Everyone else was gone, even Kayla so I couldn’t ask her what she thought about Amber’s comment. Did she mean something was planned? Something bad? I didn’t like it. I went to the Security office at the end of the concourse. At the desk I asked for my dad then sat down to wait. He came a few minutes later and took me back to his console.

“What’s up, pumpkin?” He drew up a chair for me and sat in his spot.

“I don’t know for sure, Dad.” I took a breath. “Something Amber said a few minutes ago.”

“What’s that?”

“Not to come to the concourse on Christmas. But we always go, to hear the music. Why would she say that?” I twisted my hands in my lap.

He turned to his console. “What’s her last name?”

“Novak.”

He typed a few strokes. I could see her file come up. The picture was from last year. Her hair was longer now. His fingers tapped on the desk as he read. “Anyone else?”

“Tayln Roose. They both talk about separating from Earth.”

He typed and Tayln’s file came up. Dad read and sighed, then typed some more. Other reports came up, which I was too far away to read. “She talk about a time?”

I shook my head.

His fingers twitched on the keyboard. “Could be nothing.” He spun his chair around to face me. “Thanks for bringing it in.” He stood up. “I’ll check it out.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

He walked me out and I wandered down the concourse. What if it was something? Something bad. I hoped not.

The next morning was Christmas. Mom loved the bracelet and Dad loved the new shirt I’d bought them. They gave me three new games, just up from Earth, a new tunic top and a bracelet. The bracelet had a tiny button and when I pushed it, a tiny hologram of mom and dad appeared over the bracelet. I couldn’t wait to show Kayla.

Mid-afternoon we went to the main concourse. I was a little worried. “But what about Amber?” I asked dad in a soft voice so mom couldn’t hear.

“We rounded up some agitators yesterday.” He wagged an eyebrow at me. “It’s all taken care of.”

That made me feel better. I took his hand as we walked along. “Good.” I saw the Korians at the concert spot and introduced my parents to them. We sat together and enjoyed the music. Afterward, we were all walking together back to our berths, when from behind us, at the end of the tunnel where the Security office was, there was an explosion. The blast knocked me and Ali off of our feet. People were screaming and smoke filled the air. I could hear the blast doors slam shut, trapping us in the tunnel.

Idai was yelling, “What do we do? What do we do?”

Dad pulled me and mom together. “Get them,” he pointed with his chin, “Somewhere safe. I’ve got to go.”

Mom nodded. “Be safe.”

Dad ran toward the blast site and disappeared into the smoke and crowd. I grabbed Ali’s hand. “Stay with us.”

Mom got Idai and David together and pushed David to take Zane’s hand. “Follow me.”

She led us to the other end of the concourse. Many of the shops already had their blast doors shut. She hustled us into Frank’s Grocery, just as Frank was closing the blast doors. “Come on,” he said as he waved us in. “Hurry.”

We hustled in and joined the small crowd at the back of the store. The blast door clanged shut. Frank came to the back. “We don’t know how long this is going to be so everyone get comfortable. I let go of Ali’s hand and she went to her mother. All of us had smoke streaked faces. We sat down, backs against the shelves and I leaned my head on mom’s shoulder, her arm around me. The Korians sat across from us.

“It’ll be fine,” Mom told them. “I’m just sorry this happened so soon after you’ve arrived.”

David nodded, his arm around Idai. “What do you think happened, the separatists?”

“We won’t know until it’s over.” Mom shook her head. “Sorry.”

He gripped his wife tighter and with his other arm, hugged his son. Idai had her arm around Ali. “So be it.”

 

 

 

Thank You!

943 Words

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

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