Advertising, Speaking Engagement, Giveaway: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

My Amazon advertising course officially ends today. Lessons ended last week but the course facebook group and the expert advice ran through today, not only to allow those who entered late or were working more slowly to catch up, but so that we could see how the ads performed. Mine seem to be doing pretty well, with a handful of sales taking place. Not big money at this point but it does show that the ads work and I have enough advice from the host of the training to make the ads better. It was quite an eye-opening course so I’m eager to make ads for my other books and series.

Just a reminder to vote on November 3rd if you haven’t already.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The Halloween giveaway is still up! You can check it out at: https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. As always, each author is giving away at least 2 prizes and there’s a Paypal cash grand prize.

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting is October 26th, at 1pm. This is on! Because cooler weather has arrived in Rim Country, the event has been moved to the Library’s meeting room. If you happen to be in Pine, AZ, on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing. Social distancing and mask wearing will be the fashion. See you there!

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:

Creature in the Night, a short Halloween, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Fantasy story has been published. It is up on Amazon, in Kindle Unlimited or for purchase at $.99. 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.

Published, Health, 5th Cozy Mystery?: Monday Blog Post

Cover designed by J.A. Marlow

Newest News:

Hooray! This week’s big news. I received the Creature in the Night cover from my designer. It’s just lovely. Then, Saturday, I went ahead and published the story. I did something different. I posted it in Kindle Unlimited. So, for those of you who subscribe to that service, there it is. If you don’t, it’s only 0.99 to purchase. The link above will take you right to the sale page. If you do read it, a review would be so helpful. Then, there are links in the story to go to my other fantasy stories or you may want to branch out into my SciFi, my Cozy Mysteries, or something else. I hope you enjoy it.

Last Thursday I had abdominal surgery. To be honest, I’m not moving around very quickly as I recover. Hubby is a gem and is doing the cooking and cleaning and fetching for me as I struggle to get up out of chairs. Recovery should be swift. Even today I feel better which is a good thing. The extra strength Tylenol probably helps. The surgery was out-patient, so don’t worry. More stories are coming.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been working on my 4th cozy mystery, Mystery at the Reunion. I have had to do a lot of chapter shuffling and I don’t think I have it right yet. I’m also adding scenes from Jean’s time in Afghanistan. All of that work has created a large number of continuity errors, all of which must be fixed. At any rate. I am working on it and will get it out as soon as I can. In the meantime, National Novel Writing Month is just over three weeks away. I don’t have any ideas yet for a new story, well, not exactly true, something is percolating in the back of my mind for another Jean Hays story. We’ll see how that goes.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The Halloween giveaway is up! You can check it out at: https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. As always, each author is giving away at least 2 prizes and there’s a Paypal cash grand prize.

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting is October 26th, at 1pm. This is still on! It will be held at the ramada next to the Pine Thrift Store. If you happen to be in Pine, AZ, on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing. Social distancing and mask wearing will be the fashion. See you there!

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:

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.

Creature in the Night, a short Halloween, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Fantasy story has been published. It is up 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.

Critters in the Yard, Hurt Back, Creature in the Night: Monday Blog Post

You can see one branch stripped but the rest of the tree is fine.

Newest News:

I’m reporting more critters in the yard, some nice, some destructive. I have a better picture of the birds in my basil. Turns out they’re gold finches. Cute, and there’s still lots of basil seed for me to gather for next year’s planting.

Goldfinch eating basil seed. There’s one below and to the left, sitting in the dried out arugula stems, probably eating the arugula seed.

The front yard apple tree, attacked last week, was decimated, probably early Sunday morning. Above is the picture from the earlier attack and below, my poor tree when I got up Sunday morning. The elk probably did the damage and they eat the little apple producing buds so again, for another couple of years, no apples for me. I’m also still harvesting the abundance of zucchini and yellow squash. I found a recipe today for zucchini ravioli. No pasta, just zucchini as the shell and stuffed with seasoned ricotta. It will be on the menu in the next few days.

Poor tree. all the branches stripped.

Critters in the Yard, Hurt Back, Creature in the Night: Monday Blog Post

Has it only been a week since I broke my toe? I did see the doc. They took x-rays. It’s fractured. The primary care doc referred me to a podiatrist, but everyone had said there’s not much to do about it but what I did immediately after breaking it. Buddy taping, the primary doc called it. So I declined the referral and am just going on about my days, hobbling around. Then on Thursday, yep, that’s right, just a week after the broken toe, I felt good enough to start a beginning yoga class on a Youtube channel. That morning, I “tweaked” my back by shifting slightly in the bathroom while brushing my teeth. I didn’t think much of it other than the yoga may stretch out the injury. Because of my toe I skipped difficult floor exercises and did mostly chair yoga. Ha! Silly woman. By 11am I was in big pain so laid down and napped for nearly 4 hours. Could barely move by the time I got up. Hubby thinks it was damage from limping around. I don’t know. All I do know is that between my toe and my back, sleeping is mainly an on again off again struggle.

I mentioned last week that I have been coordinating with my cover designer for Creature in the Night. We’ve selected the major art, see above, to provide the feeling of “poor little girl” and “mystery”. Since the story is Halloween, Christmas, Fantasy, we’re trying for a mix of all three between the art and the font choices. This is a semi-final product.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The Summer giveaway has ended! My winner for Prize 1: an ebook copy of Mystery at the Fair, is Mary Preston. She’s already received her book. Prize 2: an Amazon gift card, was sent to Lisa Christoph. She’s already received her gift. I just want to thank everyone who participated. All of us authors truly appreciate it.

The Halloween giveaway is up! You can check it out at: https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. As always, each author is giving away at least 2 prizes and there’s a Paypal cash grand prize.

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting is October 26th, at 1pm. If you happen to be in Pine, AZ, on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing.

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:

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.

Mystery at the Reunion, Gardening, Lifestyle Change: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I had the time over the last week to delete all of the stupid and repetitive chapters in Mystery at the Reunion, and add some sections concerning Jean’s time in Afghanistan. I lost 20K words with the revision. I also introduced a LOT of continuity errors while I was deleting, adding, and shuffling sections of the story around. I changed the beginning of the book from Jean to Dwight (Jean’s ex-husband) because he arrives at the venue for the reunion first. The end of the book needs to be added to, so that loose ends are tied up. I’ll be able to make up some length there. This is not going to be a quick turnaround. I apologize to those of you waiting for the next Jean Hays. It seemed so easy when I first had the idea, but I’ll get it done.

Other writing news, my horror story, Creature in the Night was rejected. One thing I’ve wanted to try, is the option for Kindle Unlimited. This story seems like a good way for me to try out the whole process. It’s not part of a series, it’s already done and ready to publish, and it’s short, less than 3000 words. Since the story is also based on the Winter Solstice, it may be the perfect time for me to put it up on KU for both the Halloween and Christmas seasons. Any of you use KU? Let’s see how it works.

Zucchini madness continues. I gave Sue a second bag of zucchini. I made Italian stuffed zucchini boats the other night for supper. I have 3 small and one medium zucchini in the fridge right now. I don’t know what vitamins or minerals are in summer squash but I’m getting plenty of them this summer.

Dropped to about 214 this last week. I don’t have my glasses with me in the early morning and the tiny lines on the scale are very hard to see, so the reading is approximate. I had an outpatient surgery last Thursday, so that might be why I had a 4-pound drop for the week. I’m fine now, so not to worry. I’m still drinking my green juice morning and lunchtime. Hubby said he’s very impressed at my persistence with that, especially the cleaning of the juicer immediately after doing the juicing. I’ve been upping my steps per day as well. Not a lot, but it’s something. Goal, 6K steps per day. Then we’ll adjust. Maybe some yoga? Weights? Drop a comment below if you’d like to share your story!

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The Summer giveaway is in progress! Check it out here: https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. As always, each author is giving away at least 2 prizes and there’s a Paypal cash grand prize.

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting is Octobr 26th, still at 1pm. So, if you happen to be in Pine, AZ on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing.

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:

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.

Demo2 Space Flight, Author Interview, Horror Fiction Status, CokoCon News: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

SpaceX-Falcon-9-Crew-Dragon-49953827947_b8cf984521_k.jpg from Nasa.gov, Gallery, Image of the Day

I hope everyone has seen the video of the SpaceX Dragon, now named Endeavour, takeoff and flight to the International Space Station. I watched the takeoff with my husband and via phone call with my brother, Don. I get the same thrill for the launches now as I did as a child watching in the 60’s. A real sign of hope and cooperation in a time of pain, frustration, fear, and anger.

Big surprise, a second author contacted me and because she was able to send all of her files immediately, Author Joyita Basak, is today’s Author interview. See below.

On my very short horror story, I have the final edits back for spelling, punctuation, and so on from my editor and I have a bit of work to do. I’m excited to send the story, which I’ve titled, Creature in the Night, to the contest. As a note, and if you’re interested, I do have a short collection of horror stories out that I published years ago. You can find the book at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FCNW4E0.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Author Interview

Author Joyita Basak

Joyita Basak is a final year student of B-Tech. She is the blogger behind itsmycopyright.com. She is currently working for Production Houses in Bollywood and Tollywood industries. Fashion designer, influencer and blogger, she has continued to follow her passion for writing in between her study curriculum. She has her own painting gallery online. Painting is one of her inspirations to stay elated. She has been working as content writer for various magazines, she contributes monthly articles for Art Observer Magazine. Associated with AKLF and ABSU, she continues to follow her dreams gracefully.

1. Tell me about yourself and how many books you have written?

I am Joyita Basak, a writer from Kolkata, India. I am a blogger behind itsmycopyright.com I am a final year student of Engineering, and currently I am working with various productions as content writer. I have started my blogging journey back in 2015 and I have published my debut book “I Still Love You” in August, 2019. I basically try to write in the genre of romantic thriller and something related to realistic plots. I plan to write a few more novels based on detective stories in near future.

2. What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

The name of my latest book is “I Still Love You”. Nicholas Spark’s romantic novels have inspired me to write my book. Whether it be “Notebook” or “ Dear John”, his writing style has always influenced me.

3. What are you working on now?

I am working on a series of short stories based on a plot set in the city of Kolkata. I am also writing a script for a web show and some contents for the films are releasing very soon.

4. What authors, or books, have influenced you?

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, it portrayed a beautiful love story. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho has inspired to write about an endless voyage. I also love the crime thriller and detective stories of Agatha Christie. Being a bookworm since childhood, I have always been a reader of every possible genre. After finishing the books, I always take down few notes about how the eminent writers portray their thoughts within an impactful storyline. That influences me much enough to correct my mistakes.

5. What are you reading now?

I am currently reading “The Spy” by Paulo Coelho. I have been a fan of his books and I get inspiration from him. The way he writes and the way he portrays any simple character is mind-blowing.

6. For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?

My readers should expect a unique content from me each and every time, I don’t wish to repeat my genre or a connection between previous write-ups. I feel to challenge my thoughts to produce new ideas every time.

7. What is your favourite part of being an author?

The most favourite part of being an author is getting love and affection from my readers. After publishing my debut book, when I received praise from readers and fans, I was overwhelmed. Positive reviews inspired me to write better and better in future.

8. Do you have a day job as well?

Yes, I write stories and scripts for films, but I am a final year student by occupation.

9. What are the hardest and easiest part of being an author?

The hardest part of being an author is the way to connect to the reality, for a debut author the hardest part is getting accustomed to the whole procedure of publishing. Being a blogger, it’s easier to write on a daily basis. So, when I started writing a novel, I didn’t face much problem to finish my book within a month.

10. What genre do you place your book in?

My book “I Still Love You” is in romantic fiction.

11. Anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

As a debut author, I received so much affection from my readers, all I want to say I am overwhelmed that you all liked my story.

12. Any links you’d like me to post?

Website: itsmycopyright.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07WZYHTKR

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Author-Joyita-Basak-113167246811735/

Some people are very good at making decisions, Armaan is one of them. Being the only son of a celebrity industrialist, everything was at his doorstep. Still he wanted to pursue his dreams for satisfaction and success. Indu, a common girl from Charanpur village is struggling to create her existence as a doctor in spite of her messed up life. Difficulties have engulfed her situation and being a girl from an under privileged family, she herself needs to modify her decision to be the one outstanding.

The story starts when they meet, when their worlds come closer. What will happen?

I want to thank Ms. Basak for coming onto my blog and letting us know about her book. I’ll be sharing her interview on my newsletter in the near future. Best of luck to her with her future releases!

Giveaways:

The spring giveaway, Spring Flings and Book Things, is now open. You can get to it here, on my Giveaways page.

Where will I Be?

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event has been cancelled. The event is now scheduled for September 2021. My registration has rolled over to the new event and as soon as the dates are finalized, I’ll post them. The organizers will be updating the website with 2021 information over the next few weeks. If you’ve been looking forward to the event, as I have, keep an eye on the website. See you there next year.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, September 25th – 27th. This event has been postponed until the end of September. Note that the event is a day shorter, starting on Friday rather than Thursday. For people who have special Thursday passes and other special tickets, check out the Fan Fusion website for details on how those will be handled.

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, has been officially rescheduled. The new date for my appearance is October 26th, still at 1pm. So if you happen to be in Pine, AZ, on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing.

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:

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.

Super Moon, Self-isolating, Horror Short Fiction, ebook Sale: Monday Blog Post

Super moon, May 2020

Newest News:

The other day was the last supermoon of 2020 and my hubby went out and took some pictures. Above is one. I hope you had a chance to enjoy the view!

Another week of self-isolating. The state of Arizona has been opening things up slowly but at this point, everything is open. People are still supposed to be wearing masks and self-distancing. I haven’t been anywhere in the past 2 weeks, but hubby says only about 50% or less are masking. This is why I’m staying home. I hope you are all well and protecting your family to the best of your ability.

Moon and Clouds by Randy Cockrell

I finished my horror short story and sent it off to the editor. She has gotten back to me with a plan for the edits. I agreed to the plan. So in the next day or so, I’ll get the first, content edits back. I’m feeling good about this story. I may even try and pick up one of my unfinished works and try and get that done. Baby steps, you all. Baby steps.

I should mention here that I have a sale going on over on the Smashwords site. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/conniecockrell This is my author page and as you scroll down, you’ll see all of my books. Since I make my books as inexpensive as possible right from the start, I don’t usually do sales but because of the lockdown, I did put some on sale for 60% off. You’ll see the sale prices listed on the ones on sale. This runs through the end of the month, so hop on board an get some reading in. Prices will return to normal June 1st so don’t delay.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The spring giveaway, Spring Flings and Book Things, is now open. You can get to it here, on my Giveaways page.

Where will I Be?

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, September 25th – 27th. This event has been postponed until the end of September. Note that the event is a day shorter, starting on Friday rather than Thursday. For people who have special Thursday passes and other special tickets, check out the Fan Fusion website for details on how those will be handled.

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, has been officially rescheduled. The new date for my appearance is October 26th, still at 1pm. So if you happen to be in Pine, AZ on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing.

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:

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.

Mother’s Day, Horror Flash Fiction, ebook Sale: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I love the way this red-orange one has only opened the outermost petals. The rest is still a bud!

The tenth was Mother’s Day and like pretty much everyone under stay at home orders, I had a lovely day at home. Hope you had a great one. I lazed half the morning away reading emails, watching Food Network shows and having breakfast. Then I watered the garden, had a shower, and took some time to macerate some strawberries for strawberry shortcake. I found a Paleo Lemon Pound Cake recipe and made that as my shortcake base. Dinner, however, is less elegant. I have a fridge full of leftovers, so we’ll be having left over pork scallopini, Cauliflower rice with asparagus, and the afore mentioned shortcake for dessert. Not bad, right? The rest of my rose bushes are blooming. Above is a picture of one of the red ones. It’s an orangey red. Below is a coral peach color one. I love both of them.

This one is a coral peach color, which in full sun, the camera on my phone didn’t capture very well.

I found a contest for a Horror Christmas/New Year/Solstice short story contest and I’ve been working on a story. I think I’m doing well on the scary part. My ending is a happy one though. Those of you who like to read horror, would a happy ending be disappointing? Comment back if you have an opinion, I’d really like to know.

I should mention here that I have a sale going on over on the Smashwords site. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/conniecockrell This is my author page and as you scroll down, you’ll see all of my books. Since I make my books as inexpensive as possible right from the start, I don’t usually do sales but because of the lockdown, I did put some on sale for 60% off. You’ll see the sale prices listed on the ones on sale. This runs through the end of the month, so hop on board an get some reading in. Prices will return to normal June 1st so don’t delay.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The spring giveaway, Spring Flings and Book Things, is now open. You can get to it here, on my Giveaways page.

Where will I Be?

Payson Book Festival, at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ. This event is now cancelled the next festival is July 17th, 2021. The danger to our authors, volunteers, and guests just seemed too great to hold the event. I’m disappointed, as are the committee, volunteers and authors already scheduled to attend. With luck, next year will be much better.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, September 25th – 27th. This event has been postponed until the end of September. Note that the event is a day shorter, starting on Friday rather than Thursday. For people who have special Thursday passes and other special tickets, check out the Fan Fusion website for details on how those will be handled.

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, has been officially rescheduled. The new date for my appearance is October 26th, still at 1pm. So if you happen to be in Pine, AZ, on that date, come on by. I’ll have some books available for purchase and signing.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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The Home, Part 5: Flash Fiction Friday Post

See Part 4 here.

Morgue__Table_by_anaisroberts in Deposit Photos

The Home, Part 5

At five till two, the staff that was going to the meeting were already in the conference room. The security guard had the door open while Ralph made a big scene getting broom, trashbags, mop, and water-filled bucket through the door into the lobby. Mike was trailing along with the buffer. Edna had a stack of buffer pads. I stood at the door with a clipboard and pen. “Okay,” I said as I made check marks on the paper. I smiled at the guard, who was glaring at the four of us. “That’s everything. Thank you, Austin, for holding the door for us.”

Austin wasn’t happy, and he grunted in what sounded like disgust. “Just get on with it,” he said. “We’re not supposed to have the door open this long.”

“Of course. Just let them put the stuff down. Shall I hold the door while you go with them?” I smiled sweetly, doing my best not to let my excitement show. This was going to work!

He looked with alarm at the other three, steadily marching toward the front door. “Yes. Yes.” He hurried across the lobby. “Hey. Stop right there.”

I slipped out into the lobby and let the door close behind me, holding it so it barely snicked as the lock caught. I rushed across the floor. Ralph put the bucket down, dropped everything but the broom and shoved the handle end of it right into Austin’s chest.

Edna all but threw the buffer pads to the side and Mike let go of the buffer. I really expected a horrendous scream from Austin but he was making little mewing sounds instead, eyes wide in shock. Mike and Edna ran for the front door. I grabbed Ralph by the arm. “Come on.” He was standing, staring at Austin, hands still on the broom handle. “Let’s go!”

He nodded, releasing the broom and took two steps then went back.

“What are you doing?”

“Keys.” He dropped to his knees beside Austin, still making those noises, and searched his pants pockets. Ralph pulled car keys from the left pocket. “Got ‘em.” He rose and ran to the door Mike was holding open.

I don’t know about the others, but outside in the sun I was nearly blind. “This way,” Edna called. We followed her to the parking lot. I had my hand over my eyes, looking through the spaces between my fingers.

Ralph was holding the key fob out, pressing the unlock button until we heard the car horn of a newer model four-door sedan. To say we ran was an understatement. Ralph took the driver’s seat. Edna was front passenger. Mike and I slid into the back seat. “Let’s go!” Mike yelled.

That’s when a klaxon began to sound. “Hurry!” I yelled. I looked out of the car windows. That noise was going to bring the neighbors. But there weren’t any neighbors. There were no other buildings within sight.

The car tires squealed as Ralph floored the gas and pulled out of the parking space. Security was running out of the building.

“They’re going to catch us!” Edna yelled.

“Not if I can help it.” Ralph had both hands on the wheel, white knuckled.

I slid back into the seat and put on my seat belt. We were already going so fast I was scared to death. Mike saw what I was doing and did the same. “Look out!”

One of the security guards was just about at the parking lot. We just had to get past him and we’d be able to drive down the driveway and out of here.

Edna covered her eyes. It looked like we were going to hit the guard. I held my breath. At this speed, Ralph might lose control of the car if we collided with the guard. We brushed by it, it’s hand out. I could hear it thump against the rear window, right in front of Mike’s face.

“Hoo!” Ralph yelled. “We made it!”

We were at the edge of the parking lot, driving onto the access road. That’s when I saw the shimmer. “What’s that?”

“What?” Ralph asked.

Then we hit it.

I woke up in the infirmary, sick to my stomach and fuzzy-headed. Some noise was piercing my brain and I just wanted it to stop.

It was coming from my right. I turned my head to look. It was Ralph. A monitor beside him was screaming, a bright green flat line running across the middle of it. A monster came to Ralph’s bedside, made a note on an electronic pad, then turned the monitor off. He pulled the sheet up over Ralph’s face. He noticed me watching, then left.

Ralph dead? How? Then I remembered the car. We were out! What? I was trying to get my brain to function when Dr. Jenkins appeared at my bed. “Laurie. How are you feeling?”

“What happened?”

“You and your friends tried to escape.” He took a pad from the monster I saw cover Ralph. “You had your seat belt on. That saved you.” Jenkins shook his head. “Your friend Edna died on impact.” He stared into my eyes. “I know you planned this. Now two of your friends are gone.”

“Mike?” I asked.

“He’s been transferred to another facility.”

Sadness and grief came over me like a mountain crashing down on my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I could feel tears leaking from the corners of my eyes and running down my face into my ears. They were all gone?

“I’ve called for your son.”

A small bright spot of hope. “Stan is coming?” It was so hard to focus. What kind of drugs had they given me?

“He’ll be here this evening.” With that he handed the pad back to the other monster and left.

I drifted in and out of sleep. They brought me a tray, but I couldn’t face the glop that they’d served. My stomach rolled and I pushed it away. I fell back to sleep. I woke up to voices in the hall. Was that Stan? I tried to focus on the conversation.

“What happened?”

“She led an escape.”

“Escape? How’d you let that happen?”

That was Stan’s voice. What did he mean by that?

“Your mother is very smart. It was a long-term plan and she and her friends carried it off beautifully. The training said humans were smart. They were right.”

“How is she now?”

Ah, that was my boy.

“She’s fine. She had a seat-belt on. Right now we have her heavily sedated.”

“Can she talk?”

“Yes. I told her you were coming.”

“Fine. Let’s go in.

I tried to wake up more. Of course they’d drugged me. Monsters. I just wanted to see my son. I tried to focus as they entered the bay. There he was. He must have come straight from work. He was still in his suit and tie.

“Stan?”

“Yes, Mother.”

I reached out for his hand. “Stan. Get me out of here.”

“We can’t do that, Mother.”

I looked up at his face. Tears began to flow as I saw at his gray-green skin.

Thank you for reading The Home.

The Home, Part 4: Flash Fiction Friday Post

See Part 3 here.

Morgue__Table_by_anaisroberts from Deposit Photos

The Home, Part 4

The next morning, over the watered-down oatmeal, we put our heads together. “I’ve been awake most of the night, thinking about what we can do to get out of here. We should become trusty’s.”

“What’s that,” Edna asked.

“Trusted inmates,” Ralph said.

Mike nodded. “We become the best inmates ever. No complaining, no causing trouble.”

“Tattling on the others.” Ralph sighed. “I don’t like that part.”

“If we don’t, they aren’t going to trust us.”

“Maybe we can just report minor stuff, that wouldn’t get people in trouble.”

Edna was soft-hearted. I had to sigh. “Sure. Just as long as they buy that we’re now docile as sheep.”

It took us months. Winter came and went. Spring was in full swing. “Time to put this into play.”

“Good,” Mike said. He was much sharper than he had been last summer. He was off of all of the meds they’d been giving him. “What’s the plan?”

I looked around the room. We’d ticked off all of the other inmates. None of them would even look at us anymore. We were safe to talk. “We get outside of the security door. Ralph, you offer to mop the floor out there. We’ll all do something that takes us out there or that puts us near the door. Once we’re there, open the door and we’ll get out.”

“What about the guard?” Edna looked scared.

“We’ll take care of the alien.” I had just about all of the kowtowing I could stand. If I had to run the gray-green skinned monster through with the mop handle, I was going to do it.”

“Does anyone know where we are? How do we get to a town?”

I shrugged. “There has to be a parking lot and cars. We’ll figure something out.”

All three of them nodded. They were as sick of being meek as I was.

After breakfast I went to Dr. Jenkin’s office. I’d become his personal assistant. I’d had to explain the concept to him but once he understood, he latched on to me like a leech. I fetched him coffee, retrieved reports from the printer, did his laundry, and any other menial task he could think up. Once he realized I was a former counsellor, I was even allowed to type up patient notes. I’d found out about every one of the inmates here. Every single one could see that the staff were alien. I’d learned how to make myself so handy, that the staff began to talk in front of me.

They knew we could see them. It was some kind of immunity, the way they talked about it. People who weren’t immune, could only see them as regular humans. I told the others, of course. It made everything so clear. My boy didn’t hate me, he just didn’t realize what was going on. I needed to get out and warn him. Him and his family.

In the meantime, the residents here were being gaslighted into thinking they were crazy, that there were no aliens. I ran into Edna on a trip to fetch coffee for Jenkins. She was washing woodwork in the hall. “Hey.”

She looked around and replied. “Hey. How’s it going?”

“Good. Jenkins is having a staff meeting at two. That’s when we make our move.”

“I’ll pass the word.”

I went on my way. Having Edna in the halls was a life-saver. She could pass messages between us easily. I found Mike in the kitchen. He’d been taken on as kitchen drudge. While he put cups away, I grabbed one and gave him the word.

“I’ll be ready. Maybe take a pot of coffee to Jenkin’s office?”

“Good idea. I’ll be waiting.” I left with the coffee on a tray with some cookies. Jenkins loved cookies. That would put him in a good mood the rest of the day. I still had to figure out how to get Ralph outside the security door.

“Dr. Jenkins, coffee.” I put the tray down on a side table, then poured him a cup. I put that, and a napkin with three cookies on it, on the desk, close to his hand.

“Thank you, Laurie.” He picked up a cookie and munched on it. “Umm, that is so good.”

I swear the monster began to purr. “Um, as I was walking by the outer door, I noticed the floor out there is in a real state. Not a good impression at all when visitors come in.”

He sipped his coffee. “Well. Yes, you’re right. I’ll have someone clean that up.” He started to go back to his reports.

“I can tell Ralph. I swear he’s a genius with that buffer. Did you see the dayroom floor? It’s like glass.”

He looked up. “I don’t…”

“Don’t you worry. I’ll tell him. You don’t have to look after every little detail.” I started to leave the office. “Oh.” I turned around just at the door. “I don’t want him to be in the way of the staff. When would be a good time for him to get cleaning?” Then I waited, all innocence.

I could see him struggle with the decision. I knew he didn’t want Ralph out there. But there were guards. Come on, come on. Say two o’clock.

“Have him do it at two, while I’m having the staff meeting.”

“Good idea.” I had to restrain myself. I didn’t want to look too enthused. “Should I tell Security?”

“No. I’ll do that. You just tell Ralph.”

“Yes, Sir. I’ll do that right now.” I could feel my heart beating against my ribcage as I left the office. This was going to work!

The Home, Part 3: Flash Fiction Friday Post

See Part 2 here.

Morgue__Table_by_anaisroberts from Deposit Photos

The Home, Part 3

Ralph and Mike waved. I waved back.

In the doctor’s office the guard motioned me to sit down.

Jenkins nodded to me. “Mrs. Nathan.”

“Doctor.” He wasn’t too bad as the aliens went. At least he could speak clearly.

“You took a walk this afternoon.”

I waited. Let him ask me a question. I wasn’t going to give up anything I didn’t have to.

He fiddled with his pen.

If he thought I’d be uncomfortable with a long silence, he was wrong. I had been a counsellor and knew all the tricks of the trade. I folded my hands in my lap and waited in the blessed quiet.

The clock on the wall behind him ticked off the seconds. Loud in the quiet room.

“Why did you leave the dayroom, Laurie?”

Score one for me. He spoke first. And now he was trying the friendly familiarity tact. When I entered I was Mrs. Nathan. “What do you mean?” I put on an innocent face. I was having fun for a change.

“The staff tell me they found you in your room.”

I shrugged. “I don’t recall.”

He tapped his pen on the desk top and took a deep breath. “Now, Laurie. Let’s not be difficult. What’s the problem today? It’s not like you to be a trouble-maker.”

“I could use another blanket on my bed.” If I had to be in here, let’s see if I could get something out of it.”

“Perhaps you were confused?”

“I’m not confused. I’m old.”

Jenkins wrote a note in his book, glancing up at me as he wrote. “We’ll see about another blanket.”

Well! I was surprised at the quick capitulation. “Thank you.”

He nodded and checked his file. “You’ve been with us six months now. How are you enjoying your stay?”

I did my best not to grind my teeth. Enjoying my stay? Did he think this was a resort? “I’d rather be home.” Who knows. Maybe he’d listen.

“Hmmm.” He flipped though the file. “It says here you were having difficulty at home alone.”

“No. I wasn’t.”

It was his turn to shrug. “Your son thought so, Laurie. You were falling, unable to keep your home tidy.”

“That’s not a crime, last I knew.”

“But it is a health and safety issue. Your son was very worried about you.”

“So I can check out at any time?”

His head slowly shook. “I’m afraid not. Your son signed you in. Don’t you remember?”

I did remember. I was furious with Stan. I told him it was just a cold. I was fine but he insisted that I needed full-time care. I had been helpless because I’d made him my health proxy after my husband died. For just in case. Now I was here. “There’s nothing wrong with me.”

“You’re seventy-eight, Laurie. It’s time for you to relax and let others take care of you.”

“I can take care of myself.” I clenched my hands into fists. He didn’t answer and that made me even more furious.

“We can’t have you wandering around, Laurie. I think a few micrograms of benzodiazepine would be appropriate. To keep you calm.”

“I’m calm enough.”

Jenkins nodded but pushed a button on his phone. The door opened and the goon who’d dragged me in here came in and stood behind my chair.

“Carl. Please take Mrs. Nathan back to the dayroom. There’ll be a new prescription for her in the file.”

Carl, if that was its real name, put a hand on my shoulder. My skin crawled. The interview did not end the way I had hoped.

“Laurie, we’ll talk again.”

I snorted. Some talk. I stood up as Carl squeezed my shoulder. I jerked it away form him and marched out of the office ahead of the goon. I plopped into my chair. When the goon left, Edna, Ralph, and Mike leaned over to look at me.

“What happened,” Edna whispered just loud enough to be heard over the noise box.

“I lost. The so-called Doctor Jenkins prescribed something to keep me calm.”

Ralph looked horrified. Mike and Edna were concerned. “Oh, no,” Edan cried out.

I had my arms crossed in front of me to control my shaking. I didn’t want to end up like Ralph, drooling and mindless most of the day. “My own fault, walking in there with an attitude.”

Mike asked, “What did he say?”

“He said I can’t sign myself out, for one thing.” My knee started bouncing. “I was sick when my son signed me in. I’m fine now. I could go home.” The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. What was wrong with Stan, signing me into this pit?

Edna put a hand on my arm. “I’m so sorry, Laurie.”

I hated the comfort her hand on my arm gave me. I wanted to be angry. “Can you see that all of the staff are aliens?” I asked it suddenly. I wanted confirmation that they saw what I did.

All three of them looked around in alarm.

“Shh.” Mike put a finger over his lips. “They’ll hear!”

Ralph looked sick. I wondered if he was going to throw up.

“So you see it, too?”

They all nodded but were keeping their eyes down.

“We need to do something,” I said.

If anything, Ralph looked even more sick.

“Do what?” Edna asked. “We’re helpless in here.”

Mike and Ralph nodded.

“Crap!” I put a hand on my knee to keep it from jumping up and down. “The first thing we have to do is stop taking their miserable drugs. They’re making us stupid.”

Ralph brightened. He was always better in the afternoon. “How?”

I grinned at him. “I don’t know. They’re pretty diligent about making us swallow those pills.”

“We’d have to make sure we act as though we took them.” Edna stared at the ceiling.

“Docile.” Mike nodded. “Not too active.”

“But then what?” Ralph asked.

“We get out of here. I’ve had enough.”

All three nodded.

I sat back in my chair. We had a team. Now we needed a plan.

Return next week for Part 4.