Tornado: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Tornado by sh4d0wqu33n 
https://www.deviantart.comsh4d0wqu33nartTornado-20808879

Tornado by sh4d0wqu33n
https://www.deviantart.com/sh4d0wqu33n/art/Tornado-20808879

It’s become a thing. Really. It never used to happen my mom said. Never. It was the mid-west, she told me. Kansas, Oklahoma, those kinds of places. Not Arizona. Not Nevada or Utah. But now—now we all have storm shelters.

It’s bad right now. Spring. Right. The worst. The sirens go off nearly daily. We grab our stuff, head down into the shelter. Last month we were down here for three days. One tornado after the other. I don’t complain. I live, well, lived, in a trailer park. There were dugout shelters but not as good as the one here at school. There’s water in this one. And vid. The teachers want to hear the news, but we get to watch the latest stuff too. It’s not so bad.

I haven’t told them mom was lost in the one last month. She was high and didn’t hear the sirens I guess. The whole trailer park was wiped out. I told admin she was in California. They’re lettin’ me stay here. For now. No matter. Graduation is in a month and a half. I’ll be able to do my own thing after that. Momma called me Heidi Bateson. After my dad’s mom, I guess. She never said.

Global warming they called it. I don’t care. That was twenty years ago. What’s that to me now? The planet, they say on the vid, is in a major drought. All of the weather patterns have gone haywire. What’s that to me? I’m a poor kid from a poor area. No one gives a crap about the likes of us. I just need to be smart. Stay in the groove that will keep me in food and shelter. The geeks have it easy. They’re always talking about gettin’ on with the big gloms. I guess. There has to be somethin’ else valuable.

Space is an option. I’m healthy. They need miners. I see the ads all the time. Then there’s the planetary ships. I’m not a geek, but they need healthy women, right? Go somewhere, like they say, the old Earth. Like it used to be.

Acting. I’m acting all the damn time. I could do that. Get rich. They couldn’t do anything to me then. I’d have all the best. A gold-plated shelter. Plenty of food and water. Any vid channel I want.

The teachers all drone on and on about what has to be done next. Like it makes a difference. Like anyone cares. It’s always gonna be like this, right? Desert forever. I’m a red-head, I use my sunblock just like they say. No sunburn for me. Not many red-heads now, I hear. All the better to be an actress, right?

My friend, Bectie, is one of the geeks. Don’t know why she likes to hang with me but she’s cool. She says I should stay away from the boys. There’ll be a big market for a girl like me. Genetics, she called it. I guess cause there’s not a lot of red-heads. Maybe that’ll be a card for the planetary ships. Stay cool, she told me. I believe her. She’s ultra-smart. Her parents work for the gloms. One of the biggest. All into the planetary ships and the food tanks. She’ll have a spot, she says. She’ll take me with her. I play hard to get but she’s right. And she’s cute. I can dig that.

I do have to try and get one thing. My mom had a gold chain. A locket, she called it. Kept it in a secret place in the trailer. I’d like to get that. Gold is valuable. Not much left to be found. So I need that. Had a picture of my granma and granpa. I never met ‘em. Died before I was born. Ma said they died of heart break. I don’t know what that means. She said their ranch died. Not sure what that means either. But no matter. If I get that chain, I’ll have gold. Maybe enough to be an actress.

As soon as the storm ends, I’m headed to the trailer. Some of it must be left, am I right? Some of it?

###

Announcement over the school loudspeakers:

That’s it for todays activities. Now, a roll call of yesterday’s student losses.

Howard Dukelow

Ethel Lipowitz

Miriam Skrownek

Heidi Bateson

Donnie Ford

Steve Barca

Tina Morales

May God take mercy on their souls.

More OWSCyCon, Story Time, KJZZ, Brown Rain Series Updates: Monday Blog Post

Butterfly by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

A reminder. I’m going to be taking over the Facebook Fantasy and SciFi Reader’s Lounge on Thursday, May 16th at 5pm Eastern. That’s just 4 days away, and I just want you to know about it and mark your calendars. See details in the Where Will I Be section below.

Also, if you’d like to take a look, check out the pages at https://owscycon.ourwriteside.com/about-ows-cycon/ I have what is being called our book store open. I’m at the Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller, and SciFi tabs. Not all of my books are listed, but there is a link back to my website where everything I have is posted with buy links. Enjoy!

#OWSCyCon2019 

In other OWSCyCon news, the wonderful Timothy Bateson, an administrator of the OWSCyCon and a SciFi/Fantasy author in his own right, has been doing what he’s calling Story Times. He took a section of my newest book, Slave Elf, and did a YouTube and a YourListen audio recording of it. I’m so stoked. It’s kind of weird hearing someone else read it aloud. As the author, I had my own version of it playing in my head, but Timothy has done a great job. This Story Time is a new offering for OWSCyCon and I have to tell you, I’m loving it. So, go on over to either site and have a listen. It’s about seven minutes long. Note, if you use YourListen, a popup ad appears. Just go to the little X in the upper right-hand corner, click on it to make it disappear. The audio page is right underneath it. #OWSCyCon2019 

Brown Rain series cover updates. So far I’m having trouble getting the First Encounter books out. Some sort of ISBN issue that’s making me crazy. However, The Downtrodden is out. Also, I’ve done my edits on both Kindred Spirits and Tested, so they’re ready to go into Vellum, then onto KDP. Cross your fingers for me.

Oh, yes. I’ll be at the KJZZ Arizona Story Fest and Authors Showcase on June 1st, which is absolutely free to attend! I know, May and June 1st is a busy time for me but if you love stories, you’ll want to be at this event.

Mesa Convention Center – Building C
June 1, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Activities at the KJZZ Arizona Storyfest include: Storytellers Main Stage, Authors Showcase & Reading Stage, Children’s Storyteller Stage & Craft Area, Arizona Expo.

Fun for everyone.

Giveaways:

If you’ve looked at my “Where Am I” page on my website, you’ll have noticed that I’m going to be at the Phoenix Fan Fusion over Memorial Day weekend. (May 23rd – 26th) I had a contest up, a giveaway actually of a free exhibitor pass for one of those days. No one entered. So, sorry, no one wins the pass.

Where will I Be?:

If you are a fan of most any genre, I’m participating in an on-line cyber conference here: http://owscycon.ourwriteside.com/about-ows-cycon/. The event is May 17th through May 19th.  But there’s more! We’re starting the festivities early. I’ll be doing a blog hop takeover, May 16th  at 5pm Eastern time of the Fantasy and SciFi Readers Lounge. #OWSCyCon2019  #SciFi  #StoryTime

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

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Slave Elf released February 19th, 2019. It is finally up on all of my other retailers in ebook format. You can buy it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords today. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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

The Last Spin: Flash Fiction Friday Post

By Randy Cockrell

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m not cutting this into 1000 word or less parts. You have the entire story, right here. All 1754 words of it. Enjoy, and Happy Mother’s Day this weekend.

Ruby Ray tapped the button again and adjusted herself in the chair. The electronic spinning wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the old-fashioned slots but what could she do? The spinning stopped as she tapped the button again. Win! She smiled in satisfaction. Not a big win, but substantial.

She tapped again to start the spin and returned to her previous thoughts. Maybe less chance of the casino cheating? But, then again, they could get the tech to set the computer payouts as tight or as loose as they wanted. She shrugged. If they were going to rip off the customers, they were going to do it, Gambling Commission or not.

The spin stopped. A win, but not much. She sighed and bet again. A look around showed the usual regulars with a scattering of occasional people she’d seen before. Plus, there was a bus in today. She shook her head. She didn’t like the bus visitors. They clogged everything up and screed up the machine’s patterns. Ruby shifted again. She’d been in the chair for three hours. The spin was a bust.

“Dang it,” she muttered under her breath. She hit the call button and the little light on top of her machine blinked red. A last swallow of her now warm iced tea and the woman cruising the aisles stopped by.

“Hey, Ruby.”

“Hey, Gina.” Ruby and Gina knew each other’s names. Ruby was here every day, so she knew all of the attendant’s names. “I need a bathroom break. Can you hold my machine for me?”

“Sure, Ruby. Shall I lock it?”

Ruby knew they could do that. “No. I’m just going to the bathroom. A sign should do it till I get back. I just don’t want the bus people to take my machine.”

Gina nodded. “Okay. I’ll just hang around here till you get back.”

“Appreciate that.” Ruby slid out of the chair, waiting a moment while her legs adjusted to actually doing their job. It was getting harder and harder, she thought, over the last few months. She waddled off as her legs protested. Getting’ old ain’t for sissies.

In the stall, she checked her cash. She didn’t like flashing her money on the casino floor. Her kids, knowing she liked to casino, has sent her money for Mother’s Day. All told, six hundred dollars. There was four hundred left. She tucked it back into her wallet and left to wash her hands.

The walk back to the machine was better than the walk away. The blood was flowing and the muscles had loosened up.

Gina saw her and just as Ruby reached the slot machine, took the “Reserved” sign down. “Here ya go, hon.”

“Thanks, Gina.”

“Good luck.” Gina continued her rounds as Ruby settled back in.

She checked the totals on the screen. Good. Just as she’d left it. She hit the Bet button. The spin began. A big win. She grinned. Her months-long research into the best paying machines was paying off. Ruby upped the bet to maximum and spun again. Again, it payed off. She was up to six hundred and fifty dollars from her starting two hundred-dollar start. Not a bad haul but she figured that this machine was due to pay big. She was staying here, hell or high water, till it did.

The afternoon wore on. The cocktail waitress brought her a burger and fries. Ruby was still doing well so she gave her a fiver as a tip. She tipped Gina as well, when she took another trip to the bathroom. Her legs didn’t really recover on that trip, but Ruby just cursed her old age, eighty-one this year, and climbed back into her chair.

Later, Gina stopped by to tell Ruby she was going off shift. “Andy will be around to help if you need it.”

Ruby nodded. “Have a good night.”

Her mind wasn’t really on the good-bye, though. Half an hour ago she’d started losing. Half of the money she’d gained was gone. She changed the patter she’d been using to stop the spin. It didn’t help. Ruby put another two hundred dollars into the machine. “You’re supposed to pay off today.”

The machine responded by ending on a combo that didn’t pay off at all.

Ruby ordered a glass of beer. Relax, she told herself. It will come around again.

Fifteen minutes later, she dropped two hundred and fifty into the machine. The last of her Mother’s Day money and fifty of her own. She spun but it only paid the bare minimum. Come on, sucker, she thought as she punched that Bet button again. The pictures rotated, around and around. Ruby hit the stop. Nothing.

She clenched her jaws together, her false teeth grinding. Ruby rubbed her left arm. Thank God they got rid of the old pull handles. The buttons are so much easier. She spun and spun. The payouts crept up a little, then down to nothing. She put her grocery money into the machine. Well, she thought, the pint total for today is looking good. She spun. It went poorly. Ruby called Andy over.

“I’m on a roll, Andy. Can I get a little loan here?”

Andy looked around. “It’s your money, Ruby, but why don’t you just head home? You’ve been here nine hours.”

Ruby gave it a quick thought. One more night in that tiny, cold, room at the retirement center was going to make her scream. She shook her head. Despite the pain in her leg, she was staying. The jackpot on this machine was going to pay. She just knew it. “No. Ask, please.”

She gambled as she waited. She was down to her last fifty dollars when the manager came over. “Hi, Mrs. Ray. I’m John Sweetwater. I hear you’re interested in a loan.”

“Yes. I’ve been a good customer. I’d like to keep playing.”

He stroked his face, his long braid swinging along his back as he thought it over.

Ruby could see that he was reluctant. “I’m sure you’ve seen my file. I’m good for it. I’m in here all the time.”

“Of course. We just…” he paused. “Well, you are a good customer. We just hate to put people in this position.”

“I’m good for it. Really.”

Other patrons were now turning to stare.

“You’re right. You are. So.” He stared at the non-descript drop ceiling for a moment. “Are you sure I can’t talk you out of this? We can give you a ride home in our courtesy car.”

Ruby wondered what kind of casino this was that they didn’t want to keep a gamble in her seat. “I’m sure.” She knew. She KNEW! This machine was going to pay off tonight.

The manager sighed. “All right.” He waved Andy over. “Reserve Mrs. Ray’s machine.” He turned to her. “I’ll need you to come to the office to sign some paperwork.”

Relief flooded through her. “Of course.” She slid from the chair. Again, her legs protested. “You don’t mind if I stop at the ladies?”

“Of course not. Con on back to the office when you’re ready.” He signaled another floor attendant. “Bring her when she’s ready. The young woman nodded, and he left.

“Come on, Ruby. We’ll take care of everything.”

“You’re so sweet, Ann.” Ruby threaded her thin arm through Ann’s. “How’s that chubby little cherub of yours?”

In the office, Ann led Ruby to the chair in front of John’s desk. “Good luck, Ruby.”

“Night, Ann.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?” John studied her with concern on his face.

“Yes!” She was so sure of it. It had to be tonight.

He put a paper in front of her. “The contract.”

Ruby scanned it as she absently rubbed her arm. She was disappointed to see it was just five hundred dollars. She sighed. “This looks fine.” Ruby picked up the pen john had slid over with the contract. She signed and pushed it back. “Is that it?”

He examined the contract. “That’s it.” John handed her five hundred in hundred-dollar bills.

Ruby fanned them out. It wasn’t often she got such a windfall. “Thank you.”

“Good luck.”

Her lower back hurt on the walk back but she was so happy about the loan, she didn’t care.

Andy removed the sign for her. “Good luck, Ruby.”

“Thank you, Andy.” She sat down, made herself comfortable and hit the Bet button. It was a little disappointing to see the spin come up empty. No worries, she told herself. It will come.

After fifteen minutes, she added the five hundred dollars she’d received from the manager. Her stomach was upset. It was going to take a lot of time to repay the money, but she didn’t care. This machine was going to pay off.

Around and around. Ruby stopped the spin in every combo she could. The total kept dropping. What is wrong with this? she thought. It should pay! She stabbed the buttons, frustration and annoyance making her angry. The dollar total kept dropping as spin after spin at maximum bet kept dragging it down. It was hard to breathe, but she stabbed the button again. The last time, her hand on her bosum.

The pretty pictures spun and Ruby let them spin without interference. Her head hurt. Her legs hurt. Her chest hurt. “Com on,” she whispered.

The spinning drew to a stop. Nothing.

Ruby leaned back in the chair. It felt as though all of the air in the room was gone. It seemed like the light had dimmed. It was all gone. She looked around. The night people were there, staring at their machines. Intense. Not like the day gamblers at all, she thought.

Her arms dropped to her sides. The cheery sounds of the different machines sounded far away. The flashing of lights softened. It felt kind of nice. Here with her friends. A few minutes later she began to lean, more, then more to her left until she tumbled from the chair to the floor.

The staff moved quickly. The ambulance was called and she was picked up. Her now still face covered with a sheet.

“That’s a shame,” Andy told another attendant after they watched the ambulance crew take her out. “So much time on that single machine.”

“Yeah,” the other guy said. “It had just paid off last night. Some old guy. He’d been nursing that machine for days.”

“Is that so?” Andy shook his head. “What a shame.”

Thank you for reading.

OWSCyCon, Story Time, KJZZ, Brown Rain Series Updates: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Hey you all. I’ve been mentioning the OWSCyCon below, for over a month now. Well. Things are heating up. I’m going to be taking over the Facebook Fantasy and SciFi Reader’s Lounge on May 16th at 5pm Eastern. I know it’s still 8 days away, but I just want you to know about it and mark your calendars. See details in the Where Will I Be section below. #OWSCyCon2019  

In other OWSCyCon news, the wonderful Timothy Bateson, an administrator of the OWSCyCon and a SciFi/Fantasy author in his own right, has been doing what he’s calling Story Times. He took a section of my newest book, Slave Elf, and did a YouTube and a YourListen audio recording of it. I’m so stoked. It’s kind of weird hearing someone else read it aloud. As the author, I had my own version of it playing in my head, but Timothy has done a great job. This Story Time is a new offering for OWSCyCon and I have to tell you, I’m loving it. So, go on over to either site and have a listen. It’s about seven minutes long. Note, if you use YourListen, a popup ad appears. Just go to the little X in the upper right-hand corner, click on it to make it disappear. The audio page is right underneath it. #OWSCyCon2019  

Brown Rain series cover updates. I’ve been plugging along all last week and even with the Vellum, it takes me a lot of time to update the interior of each book. Part of the issue is learning Vellum. Another part is learning to use this Apple laptop. Third, is getting everything updated correctly on KDP publishing. At any rate, you’ll start seeing the new covers and spiffy new interiors popping up in the Amazon store soon, if not already. I’m going to revise the interior of Tested, as well, just so it matches, exactly, the other three books. It’s been a struggle but it’s getting done.

Oh, yes. I’ll be at the KJZZ Arizona Story Fest and Authors Showcase on June 1st, which is absolutely free to attend! I know, May and June 1st is a busy time for me but if you love stories, you’ll want to be at this event.

Mesa Convention Center – Building C
June 1, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Activities at the KJZZ Arizona Storyfest include: Storytellers Main Stage, Authors Showcase & Reading Stage, Children’s Storyteller Stage & Craft Area, Arizona Expo.

Fun for everyone.

Giveaways:

Only 4 days left!!! If you’ve looked at my “Where Am I” page on my website, you’ll have noticed that I’m going to be at the Phoenix Fan Fusion over Memorial Day weekend. (May 23rd – 26th) I’ve decided that I should do a giveaway. A free exhibitor pass for one of those days. I know that not everyone can take off for Phoenix at the drop of the hat. But if you’re in the area, and you’d like to come see me at my booth and spend the day at the event, sign up by emailing me at connie.cockrell@conniesrandomthoughts.com. Post a picture of you with one of my books. Use the subject, PFF Ticket. I’ll draw a name on May 10th and contact the winner with directions for picking up the pass.

Where will I Be?:

If you are a fan of most any genre, I’m participating in an on-line cyber conference here: http://owscycon.ourwriteside.com/about-ows-cycon/. The event is May 17th through May 19th.  But there’s more! We’re starting the festivities early. I’ll be doing a blog hop takeover, May 16th  at 5pm Eastern time of the Fantasy and SciFi Readers Lounge. #OWSCyCon2019  #SciFi  #StoryTime

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

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Slave Elf released February 19th, 2019. It is finally up on all of my other retailers in ebook format. You can buy it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords today. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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

Blue Light: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Blue Light by Randy Cockrell

Neville picked furiously at a bit of cuticle, not really noticing he was doing it until he’d picked so hard the bit of skin peeled away and left a sore, bloody mess on his fingernail. He swore mentally at himself as he stuck the offending digit into his mouth. Now that was going to be sore for days. Then corrected himself. He didn’t really know, now, did he, what might hurt and what might not.

He glanced around the waiting room. No one seemed to notice his mishap. Matter of fact, they all looked, men and women, as nervous and pre-occupied as he felt. Neville took a deep breath and wiped the now, not bleeding finger on the side of his pants, then folded his hands in his lap to keep from further picking. The raw wound stung, which actually helped him keep his mind off of why he was in the waiting room.

It had all started weeks ago in the company cafeteria. He sat with his co-worker Jim. “Hey, buddy. Have a seat. We’re talking about the alien’s new offer.”

Neville greeted the others. “Hey Sam, Bill.” He put his tray down and sat. “What new offer?”

“It was in this morning’s news feed. They’re offering to cure diseases. All kinds.” Sam made a circle, pointing at all of them. “Anything you can think of. Arthritis, heart disease, lung trouble.”

Bill piped in. “I saw that too. Migraines. Can you imagine? My wife’s been fighting migraines her whole life. She said she’s contacting them as soon as they opened for an appointment.”

Neville scratched his chin. “Really? Anything? Is it safe?”

Jim picked up his sandwich. “Must be, right? Otherwise would the government allow them to do it?”

“Hard to say.” Neville speared a bite of his salad. “Who knows what kind of deal was made when they landed ten years ago.”

Since then, of course, he’d thought it over and obtained an appointment for himself. He’d been suffering from neurological problems for years. All kinds of steroids, physical therapy, he’d been through it all without much relief. If he could get rid of the pain, it would be worth it, he’d finally decided with his wife, Joi. So here he was. Finally, it was his turn.

He followed the human nurse into the back. “Seems like a lot of people are taking advantage of the offer,” he said to her back.

“Oh yes. A great many,” she responded as she stopped at a door. Go on in. The doctor will be with you shortly.”

Neville went into the little exam room. There was a chair for him. A stool for the doctor, a standard medical scale, blood pressure machine and cuff on the wall, and a couple of nature scene pictures facing him as he sat down. In a few minutes a human doctor came in. “Mr. Kirchner?”

“Yes. That’s me.”

The doctor checked his electronic pad. “I see from your records you’ve been suffering from this for years.”

“Yeah. No one’s ever really fully identified the problem or fixed it.”

The doctor tapped the screen a couple of times. “This is just what you’re looking for then. We’ll get you in right away.”

“Um,” Neville glanced at the blood pressure cuff. “No weight check? Blood pressure?”

“Not necessary.” The doctor tapped the screen and smiled at him. “We’re going to sit you in a chair, facing panels of lights. They’re hot, I’m not going to fool you. But not to the point of burns. Then, after a few minutes under the lights, you’ll find that the pain will be gone.”

Neville’s hands twisted in his lap. “Will an alien be there?”

“No. No. It’s all set up for us to run. Simple, really.”

Neville sighed with relief. He didn’t really want to meet an alien. The pictures were scary enough. “Okay then. Sure.”

“I’ll go see if the last patient is finished. The nurse will bring you in.” He left the tiny room.

Neville started picking his cuticles but stopped when the already injured finger flared up in pain. Hot, he thought, but not too hot. Wonder what that means?

He was interrupted by the nurses knock on the door. “We’re ready for you, Mr. Kirchner.”

He followed her down the hall to a room with banks of lights on a wall, a small counter under them, and a chair in front of the counter. “Please have a seat, Mr. Kirchner. Put your hands on the counter, and face the lights.”

“That’s it?” he said as he sat.

“That’s it,” she said as she left the room. “We’ll call over the intercom when we’re ready to start.”

He nodded and waited. Soon, a voice came through the ceiling speakers. “We’re ready to start. Please remain still, close your eyes, the light is very bright. We’ll let you know when we’re done.”

“Okay,” he said, though he didn’t know if the speakers went both ways.

The lights flashed on and he snapped his eyes shut. Boy, they weren’t kidding about them being bright. A minute later, he started feeling the heat. He cracked an eye open but it was too bright. The heat was making his skin prickle. It got hotter. Neville began to wonder when this would be over. His skin felt very tight and uncomfortable. He made himself think of cool swimming pools and lost track of time.

The lights snapped off. “You can open your eyes, Mr. Kirchner.”

He did, and blinked. Neville examined his hands, flexing them, turning them over and back again.

The door opened. “It’s complete. How do you feel?” the doctor asked.

“Different. But I like the way the hands move.” Neville looked at the doctor. The process is really very efficient, isn’t it?”

“Very. We’ve taken over half a million humans already. Best idea the council has had in centuries.”

They shook hands. “Nurse will lead you out the back. Good luck with your new life.”

“Thanks.”

Poetry: Flash Fiction Friday Post

The Grand Canyon

Three poems today. The first one titled, the others, not. Three different poetic forms. If you’ve never tried poetry, give my friend Susan’s site a look. Just pick one that looks like fun and give it a try. You can play with these all year, not just in April.

Self

I believe in the power of self,

The right to find one’s own path,

The need to be alone,

The necessity of failure,

The power of success,

travel, good food, and fine wine.

But not in soul-sucking meaningless work, just to keep body and soul together.

I believe in the joy of a task well-done.

I believe in equal measures of work and play.

I believe in education,

spirituality, love, and sheer kindness,

And I believe that everyone deserves more than one chance.

Rain.

It can

Help plants grow,

Wash them away,

Or bring sweet relief from a sunny day.

The clouds fill the sky, all black, ominous,

Then fat drops fall,

Plop in dust,

Muddy,

Wet.

Forty Years

It’s been over forty years since we met.

It’s been a lot of miles, too.

Our wedding, of course, friends gathered round us.

Then to Germany, A daughter born,

then Virginia, Italy, and South Carolina.

On to England where our little girl became a young woman.

Arguments, travel for fun, rotating shifts, being so tired.

It’s all been part and parcel of our lives.

Retirement, staying in one place for over a decade.

Moving once more to a place warm and bright,

Where nearly another decade has come and gone.

It’s been worth it. Every hard day. Every good one.

All worth it. With you.

Poetry: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Hello to all. It’s still April and that means National Poetry Writing Month. I’ve been following along with author and poet Stephanie Peterson Abney as she leads several of us along a path of getting to know many poetry forms. Following are a few of the poems I’ve written since the last post.

The pine is much, much, much, larger now.

Rhyme Royal Poem

“The Pine”

It stands sentinel in front of my house.

The shade it does cast helps keep my home cool,

Tall and green, it makes pinecones, so I grouse,

In the spring, pollen collects on my tools,

In my nose and eyes, I feel like a fool.

I could cut it down, no pollen around,

But then where’s the shade, none would be around.

Grassy hills from this year’s wet spring.

Next is a gogyohka form of a Quintain poem

Green grass

covers the rocky hills

making them look soft

rounding their shapes

in the morning sun.

This is a Poiku, a Haiku based on a popular song.

“When I’m Sixty-Four”

When I get older,

Sincerely wasting away.

Will you still need me?

From the Beatles, When I’m Sixty-Four

So you can see I’ve been having a lot of fun with poetry this month. Why don’t you check out Stephanie’s website and try your hand at a few?

Stephen King, Gold Dreams, Family Visit, Giveaway: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

A friend introduced me to a new Stephen King book, Elevation, last week. It’s a very quick read and not scary at all. Kind of SciFi, kind of literary, it’s still a good story and heart-warming, in a way. Don’t want to tell you too much and ruin the book for you. But take a look at it. I put up reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub. If you use those sites, take a moment to follow me as well.

I’ve finished revisions on Gold Dreams. My book cover designer, J.A. Marlow, has come up with an initial cover. There’s some tweaking to be done but this is close. I like the old-fashioned, kind of dime novel western look it has. What are your thoughts?

Kyaker Memorial

I’m prepping for my brother’s visit on Thursday. Spare room has been cleaned. Getting food in for us to prepare. Thinking about what fun things to show him. A hike is most certainly in the line-up.

Giveaways:

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

The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway is now over. I’ll be contacting the winners as soon as they’re drawn. There are 38 prizes and 38 books to be given away and $114 in Paypal cash as the grand prize. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/

In the meantime, I’m in a promotion with 19 other women writers on Book Funnel. You can check out the books here. There are romances, mysteries, shifter stories and even a non-fiction. Don’t miss out. These are all free for a short time.

Where will I Be?:

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

Phoenix Fan Fusion! Oh My Gosh! If you haven’t ever been to this event you need to check it out. The prices for entry are so reasonable! Three days is $75 at this point but that goes up April 12th! The catalog of things to do is humongous! I’ll be down in Artists Alley, Four Carat Press, booths AA930 and AA932. Come check it out. If you’ve never been, it will blow your minds. It’s May 23 – 26th. Come see me!

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Slave Elf released February 19th, 2019. It is finally up on all of my other retailers in ebook format. You can buy it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords today. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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

Poetry: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Daffodils in a pot in my front yard.

Well, here it is, Saturday, and I forgot to post on Friday. If you read my Monday blog posts, you’ll know that I’m participating in April’s poetry month. I’ve posted some of my poems on my Facebook page but here are some others.

My Mom came to stay awhile.

She traveled, dined, and visited,

while settling into her lavender-colored room,

All through the autumn, So I could hold her hand when she passed.

Hike

A walk

Moving through woods

In peace and quiet

Movement

Tree

Green and tall

Standing in my yard, quietly

Like a quiet sentinel

If only it could speak

Pasta.

Food of the Gods.

Each bite fills my mouth with joy.

No matter the sauce, at my seat,

It brings comfort and warmth.

Woods in the morning

Mist rises between the trees

Sunlight filters down

Morning birdsong cheers me up

My heart rejoices with glee

That’s it for today. Enjoy your weekend.

April Fools Day, Gold Dreams, New Giveaway: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

It’s April Fools Day. We don’t do this holiday at our house. Neither the hubby nor I think scaring each other, or getting them to eat nasty food, is very funny. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pranking if that’s what your family likes. Have fun but be safe!

Last week I mentioned that I had a writing to do list. There was a lot of stuff on that list. Over the course of last week, I made it even longer. Sigh. One of the things on the list was to get Gold Dreams moving. I finished going over it, printed it out and handed it off to a proof-reader. They’ll go through it and point out strange turns of phrase, do a fair job of catching spelling/grammar/punctuation errors, and give it back. Once I have a draft final, I can tell my cover designer how many pages this book is and she can finish my cover. So many steps to getting a book out. But, it’s lovely at the end to hold a new book in my hands.

Yesterday was the last day of my ebook, Slave Elf, at .99. The price is now $4.99.

Giveaways:

Me at last year’s Phoenix Fan Fusion

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

The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway is now over. I’ll be contacting the winners as soon as they’re drawn. There are 38 prizes and 38 books to be given away and $114 in Paypal cash as the grand prize. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/

In the meantime, I’m in a promotion with 19 other women writers on Book Funnel. You can check out the books here. There are romances, mysteries, shifter stories and even a non-fiction. Don’t miss out. These are all free for a short time.

Where will I Be?:

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

Phoenix Fan Fusion! Oh My Gosh! If you haven’t ever been to this event you need to check it out. The prices for entry are so reasonable! Three days is $75 at this point but that goes up April 12th! The catalog of things to do is humongous! I’ll be down in Artists Alley, Four Carat Press, booths AA930 and AA932. Come check it out. If you’ve never been, it will blow your minds. It’s May 23 – 26th. Come see me!

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

The Slave Elf story released February 19th, 2019. It is finally up on all of my retailers in ebook format. You can buy it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords today. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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