Merry Christmas! Monday Blog Post

My Tree

My Tree

Last week I talked about the 21st and 22nd being busy days for me. It’s true. I’ve mentioned before that I’m on the board of the Northern Gila County Fair. I love the fair and it’s very exciting for me to be on a team that puts on this great event every year. There are drawbacks. One of them is the every third year audit required by the state of Arizona. Like every volunteer, I dread these audits.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re necessary but no one likes to be put under a microscope. At any rate, it starts at 8am today and will run through the end of the day. It may bleed into tomorrow, too, more than likely, actually. Cross your fingers for us. We have to produce paper trails for everything. Let’s hope we have everything they need.

Want to wish my hubby a very happy birthday. He’s such a sweetie and I want everyone to know.

I have everything ready for Christmas. Presents are under the tree, food is on hand, brother-in-law and daughter are invited to participate. It’s a big day. We’re having duck and ham. I love duck and ever since we were stationed in England, I fell in love with goose for Christmas dinner. It’s too expensive for goose here but duck is doable as I only buy it once a year. I’m looking forward to it, actually. Some people don’t like duck, they feel it’s too fatty or too strongly flavored. I love it. How about you? What is your Christmas dinner plan?

I’ve been having fun with my new Instagram account. This week I posted pictures of the snow coming down on Monday and our Tuesday hike on the south end of town high up on a ridge. It was just stunning. Here’s a pic.

Bike Trail to Mogollon Rim in Snow by Randy Cockrell

Bike Trail to Mogollon Rim in Snow by Randy Cockrell

You can find me on Instagram at ConniesRandomThoughts. What a fun way to share pictures. I hope you stop by my page and follow.

We’re down to the last week of Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway. Here’s the link through my website:  https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the supporting author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. I’ve put up the two signed paperback books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book (signed, of course) as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I hope you had a chance to sign up for the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel, offer. It ended Tuesday (the 15th!) at mid-night. I’ve used this course myself and found it to be just the thing to get me from a hot mess of an initial draft manuscript to a real story. It’s been revised and is better than ever. If you missed out, I know it will be out again, probably the end of 2016 but it may come out sooner. Even so, Holly has a lot of other classes, including the free, How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck. You’re coming onto her site at the end of a massive six month overhaul. Click on this link to take a look around the site and join up. It’s free. Then you’ll be in on the next classes opening back up. https://hollyswritingclasses.com/?home&aid=10009

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you’re having a marvelous December. Do you have family Christmas stories? Kitchen disasters to share? Fun in the snow pictures? I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments below.

I published my December newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The January newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Gar’dyne’s Revelation: Flash Fiction Story, Christmas

Young Mage by hokunin at DeviantArt.com

Young Mage by hokunin at DeviantArt.com

Prince Gar’dyne pulled off his battle helmet and wiped the sweat. From just after sunrise until now, just before sunset, he’d wielded his battle sword in a bloody swath across the hell hounds and gremlins of the evil wizard, Anrak. They were victorious; he and his battle-scarred battalion, but he had no joy. The wizard had escaped and his battalion was cut to a third of its previous power.

His lieutenant, Yawo, his first cousin from his mother’s side, rode up beside him. “The wizard vanished into a cloud, sire, taking a guard with him. The evilest of the lot, as far as our scouts can tell.”

Gar’dyne pulled his canteen from his hip and drained the last of the well-watered wine. Every muscle in his body screamed but he only had a few cuts, so he hid his exhaustion. “The conjuror has caused great havoc, cousin. Have the seers a destination for the craven?”

“No, Lord. Their cauldrons provide only smoke and confusion.”

Gar’dyne grunted. That was usual in his experience. He’d have the whole lot of seers beheaded and start over. The wizard had power, the seer’s not as much. But his mother favored them so he held his tongue. “Find the damned wizard. Someone must be able to track the stench of his magical passing.”

After his tour of the wounded and prayers over the dead, Gar’dyne retired to his command tent where his servants had prepared a bath and a simple supper. He was scooping the soldier’s portion of grits and bacon with a square of corn bread when his staff entered the tent.

“Sire,” Yawo dipped his head. “We have a seer with news.”

Gar’dyne scraped the last of the gruel from the wooden bowl with the cornbread and chewed while he thought. “A seer actually saw something?”

Yawo dipped his head. The rest of the staff shifted uneasily. Gar’dyne had made his feelings about seers well known. The prince leaned back in his camp chair. Time to put the staff at ease. If the seer knew something, well and good. Best to keep the staff open minded. “Bring the seer.”

Yawo snapped his fingers and the tent flap opened. A young woman entered. Dressed as a peasant, an un-dyed woolen gown reached to her ankles with an apron of un-dyed linen, she caught his attention with a curtain of glossy blond hair that fell to her waist. Her eyes were downcast.

Gar’dyne had to catch his breath. “Speak, maiden seer, what have you for your prince.”

He watched her swallow. She’s nervous! “Tell, maiden,” he said in a softer tone. “Tell your prince your vision.”

She glanced up through thick lashes. “A babe, highness. The evil one has tracked a babe, destined to save the world.”

Gar’dyne blinked. He was so tired and now a riddle. His wrath against the seers was renewed. “That’s it? A baby?” He scrubbed a hand across his bearded face. “What’s that to my king?’

The girl slipped to her knees and he saw that she quivered as she dropped her head to the carpets strewn across the floor of his tent. He did his best to control his anger at the stupid wench. “Rise, girl. Explain.”

Tears glistened in her eyes making him feel even more a callous clod.

“Sire. Rescue the babe and win freedom from the wizard and his minions for the rest of time.”

And in front of the entire staff. Damn Yawo for not dealing with this slip of a girl in private. “Where is this babe?”

“A day’s march, Sire. The wizard is already there. The family resists.”

Gar’dyne wanted more than anything to sleep. “Yawo, Generals, form up. We march on this mud-hole of a town.”

The staff hustled out. Yawo took the girl by the elbow.

“Hold, cousin.”

The girl turned back to him.

“If you are wrong, I’ll have you flayed in the town square.”

She paled but nodded. Gar’dyne signaled for them to leave.

At dawn they arrived at the mud-walled village the girl had seen. The wizard’s soldiers surrounded the town. Gar’dyne wondered how the peasants had held off the wizard when his own troops had been mowed down the day before. He deployed his troops and had the wench brought up beside him.

“Girl, how do we win?”

“The babe will win, Sire. You will press the attack.”

He glared at her and she shrank into the saddle of the pony she rode. He felt both an ogre and a fool. “Yawo, deploy the men. Attack at each gate. Beat the evil scum back whatever the cost.”

Yawo nodded and spurred his horse. The girl hung her head.

“Have you always had visions?”

“Yes, Sire.” Eyes on the ground she patted the pony she rode and it ceased it’s stamping.

He sighed. From his hilltop vantage he could watch his troops. A horn blew and his troops attacked. He ground his teeth at the first contact. The gremlins and hell hounds savaged what was left of his battalion. Then, sun beams broke through the sullen clouds. Puffs of smoke arose whenever the beams hit the wizard’s army. Gar’dyne blinked. His soldiers were winning!

He and his guard raced down the hillside. Sword swinging, he cleared a path through the town to the stable where the girl directed him. He dismounted his foam-flecked horse and strode inside.

There, a baby lay in a horse manger. Mages surrounded the babe and the parents. They knelt. “Sire. We’ve been waiting.”

Gar’dyne approached the manger. The baby, wrapped in homespun wool, smiled up at him. The girl beside him dropped to her knees. Exhaustion and worry melted from him. Gar’dyne knelt on one knee, his sword point to the ground in front of him and bowed his head. His father would want to know his seer’s predictions had come true. The savior was born.

 

 

The End

983 Words

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Flash Fiction Friday Story: Melt at your own Risk

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

“No,” Roxanna shouted at her daughter. “Never, ever, give in. No melting.”

Little Pam gave her mother an eye roll.

“No! Oh, it seems fun at the beginning but then, it’s harder and harder to pull away.” Roxanna grasped her daughter’s shoulders with both hands and looked her eye to eye.

At twelve, Pam was in full parental defiance mode. Melting was delicious. All of the edges blurred. Her muscles relaxed and everything became soft and flowy. “I can control it.”

“You can’t.” Roxanna gave her daughter a little shake. “You’ve just started coming into your powers. It’s unfortunate that melting was the first one. You should have had more time to learn the proper techniques and controls. Melting is easy. It feels good. But the danger is that you go too far and won’t be able to or perhaps won’t want to come back. Is that what you want? For me to keep you in a jar on the mantle?”

That got Pam’s attention. Spending her life in a jar sounded horrible. “No. I’ll hold off melting.” The girl scuffed her sneakered toe into the carpet.

Roxanna clapped her daughter on the shoulders with a sigh. “Good. Soon your other powers will develop and we’ll work with those. Be patient.”

Pam nodded and left for her room. She flopped on the bed. Being a witch had seemed so exciting. Her mother was a powerful witch. Pam had been eager to get her own powers. Now it seemed as though everything was a no. ‘No, you can’t melt.’ ‘Be careful, that power needs years of practice.’ ‘Stop, that’s dangerous.’ Pam flung her arms out across the bed.

Especially today. It was All Hallows Eve and the witches party was tonight. Pam wanted to show off her melting to her friends. Now it would be another year before she could be a full participant.

By the time it was full dark everyone was assembled. The bonfire was blazing, and the dancing had started. Despite the chill in the air, many of the witches danced naked. Pam thought nothing of it. She’d been attending the coven gatherings since she was a baby.

“Pam!”

Pam turned to see her two best friends, Agatha, and Emily, running to greet her.

“Look!” Agatha opened her hand. Dancing on her palm was a tiny flame. “It came to me over the weekend. Mom helped me learn to control it.” The girl raised her index finger and the flame move to its tip. “See! Isn’t this the greatest?” Agatha and Emily grinned and giggled.

Pam’s heart sank and a red wash of jealousy coursed through her. Her face grew hot. “I can melt. That’s my first power.”

“Melt?” Emily’s eyes grew big. “No one in my family can melt.”

“My mom can and now, so can I.”

“Show us,” Agatha demanded.

Pam looked around the clearing. Her mother danced in the circle. Her long red hair swung with abandon, glinting in the firelight. “My mom says it’s dangerous. I may never come back.”

Agatha, always competitive with Pam, snorted. “You can’t do it, can you?”

“I can, too!” Pam checked her mother again. Roxanna danced with her friends. “Well, just a little melting won’t hurt.” She let herself relax. Pam could feel her edges soften. The warmth of the change accelerated the process. Her mother was right, she thought. This does feel good.

Dimly she could hear Agatha and Emily gasp. “You can melt,” Emily exclaimed.

Pam didn’t nod. That would pull her out of the melt. Just a little more so Agatha would know she could really do it. Her body continued to soften. Pam could feel herself flowing. The moon began to pull at her and a low thrumming echoed in her mind. Just a little more. This was so peaceful and the thrumming, first loud, then soft, relaxed her. She could feel it ebbing and flowing within her.

She could barely hear Emily screaming for her to stop. A little more. How far can I go? She could no longer see when Agatha dragged Roxanna to the remains of Pam’s body. Roxanna held her hands over Pam’s soggy clothing and began to chant. Several witches joined her, adding their power to hers.

Agatha and Emily held each other and sobbed.

After an hour, the witches gave up. Roxanna, pale and shaking, lay sobbing on the cold ground. One of the witches covered her with her clothes. Pam was gone, soaked into the ground. The witches went home. Roxanna and a handful of friends built a fence around the spot where Pam had melted. No one would walk on it. Roxanna hoped that the child would reform and come back.

Three witches stayed behind as two friends led Roxanna away. “Think the girl will come back?”

“Nope. She’s part of the earth now. Glad my family doesn’t have melting in our lineage. I’ve heard of this happening. The melters never come back.”

The three stood around the fence. “Melt at your own risk, I guess,” the third witch said.

They all nodded.

 

The End

847 Words

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Monday Blog Post: Vacation Part 3 of 3

Lake, Fog, Sunrise, Sacandaga, Northville, NY,

The Great Sacandaga Lake, Northville, NY, Sunrise through the Fog

We began the third and final part of our vacation last Thursday. The morning we left Northville (N.Y.), the temperature was 35 degrees F. As we drove by the lake, I saw that the water was steaming, creating a huge fog bank over the warmer water.  The sun was just coming up and shone through the fog. You can see a picture of it above. It was just a magical and lovely farewell to the area.

Thursday was a short driving day as we stopped just outside of Harrisburg, PA to visit my hiking friend, trail name, Sherpa.  We originally met years ago as part of a group getting together to hike the Appalachian Trail (the AT!). We hit it off immediately and became instant friends. We had many hiking adventures on the AT and still get together, despite now living on opposite sides of the country. We talked and talked Thursday night. It was so nice to reconnect.

The rest of the trip back to Arizona has been relatively uneventful. It was generally an interstate highway slog but Sunday we crossed the western half of Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle and made it about 650 miles to Santa Rosa, New Mexico to spend the night. Here’s my serendipitous story. I used Santa Rosa, NM as the home place of a character in a short story I just sent off  to a magazine. It was wonderful to see the actual area, the Pecos River, which I mentioned in my story and unknown to me, something called the Blue Hole. In my research, I never heard of the Blue Hole. So, since we arrived about 4:30pm, we decided to find this Blue Hole and check it out. It’s pretty cool. A deep, spring fed hole, about 50 feet in diameter and according to the sign, the outflow is several thousand gallons of water per minute of crystal clear water. It’s an amazing thing to find in the middle of a desert area.  The town allows diving in the hole, about 80 feet deep, with the proper permits.

Anyway, I love driving cross country. The landscape between upstate N.Y. and Payson A.Z. is so varied. Farms and fields, cities and villages, cattle, deer, antelope, mountains, rivers and lakes, it is so beautiful and better than TV!

I loved travelling in October–the fall colors in the north-country made it worth the trip.We expect to be home tomorrow afternoon. I’m posting this early, before I get there, so you have your regular Monday post from me.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I published my September newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, too. Don’t delay. The October newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. I am also now on GumRoads.com/conniecockrell where you can buy my books directly from me. (Note: I’m still loading that site. Right now there are two books listed there.)Thanks in advance.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Fair is Done and In’D’Tale Conference is Coming

Draft horse logging demo 2015 by Randy Cockrell

Draft horse logging demo 2015 by Randy Cockrell

The Northern Gila County Fair is over! If you’ve never been involved in the administration of a fair, here’s a short explanation.

Since our event center has no buildings, everything that needs to be under cover must have a tent. So on Tuesday, after a pleasant Labor Day, I was at the event center at 7am to meet with the company that puts up our tents, and with the town Street Department Director, who was going to help us get our exhibit stands to the event center grounds. The day was spent moving those stands, cleaning them, and making sure the tent company brought the tables and chairs we’d ordered, too. Several of the Exhibit Tent departments brought in volunteers to set up on Tuesday night.

Wednesday. All departments had to finish setting up so that at 1pm, exhibitors could drop off their exhibits. The tent company set up the livestock tents. Lots of details like, the lighting didn’t work, or the air conditioning had to be brought and turned on, exhibitor questions and more all had to be handled.

Thursday. The tent company put up the entertainment tent. All departments have brought in judges to judge the exhibits. Each department has to complete a report on the number of exhibits, broken down by the age group the exhibitor belongs to, how many exhibits we have, and what awards were given. This report goes to the state. After that is the arranging of the exhibits so that everything can be seen and appreciated by the fair attendees. Livestock begins arriving on Thursday afternoon. Vendors set up starting at noon.

Friday. The fair opens. We have Kids Day on Friday morning. All of the elementary school children are bused to the fair and they get first look at everything. Lots of extra activities are scheduled for the kids. After that, it’s a regular fair day; music, draft horses, livestock judging, and more are scheduled. Added bonus, every third year  a state inspection occurs. This is an audit of the way the fair is run and how we spend the tax dollars that are sent to us. I felt we did very well. Of course there are always a few things that we can tighten. We’ll address those in the upcoming year.

Saturday. Fair opens at 8am and closes at 9pm. Horse shows, livestock auction, music, a dance and more happen on Saturday.

Sunday. Last day of the fair. Opens at 8am. Livestock sold on Saturday are loaded up for processing and gone by noon. The Exhibit tent closes at 4pm so that we can sort the exhibits by exhibitor, making it easy for them to pick up at 5pm. By 6pm, all of the exhibits are gone. The grounds are closed.

Monday (today). Back to the event center to make sure all trash is picked up and dealt with. Tents are removed. Portajohns retrieved. We all collapse.

If you’re thinking of volunteering for your fair, good for you. This is a wonderful community event that highlights the best of local talent, and whether that is growing tomatoes or woodworking, what a fantastic resource for your community. Good for you.

Author Friend Boost! Selena Laurence. Her newest book is the last in her Lush series, a lush reunion.  Here’s a description.

Ten years ago Lush bassist Colin Douglas met the love of his life. Then she broke his heart. Now, in a small Texas town, in the midst of the breakup of his band, Colin has found Marsha, and he has no idea what to do with her.

 Marsha O’Neill hasn’t had it easy. Since losing Colin, nothing’s gone right for this east Texas waitress—except for Sean, her six-year-old son. She’s worked hard to give Sean what he needs—the best of her. Then a hot bass player walks into her bar and she knows the world isn’t done screwing with her yet.

What happens when life gives you a second chance? Can you learn to trust again, live again, love again? Colin and Marsha are about to find out that second chances don’t come easy.

You can find more at http://selenalaurence.com/

Writing progress. Nothing on Mystery in the Woods. Instead I spent my time leading up to the fair writing flash stories for scheduling for the rest of September since three days after the fair, I’m headed to the In’D’Tale conference, http://indtale.com/indscribe-con-information, held the 17th, 18th and 19th. Hope to see you there. When I get back from the conference, it’s time to get ready for October. I plan on having all of the Friday Flash stories for October written and scheduled by the end of September. It’s a lot of writing and I’ve decided to write all horror/Halloween type stories for October. I already have six title prompts to work from.  We’ll see how this goes.

On September 24th, I’ll be in Strawberry, AZ, speaking to the writing group there about CreateSpace. I’d love to see you there.

I’m totally up on conniesrandomthoughts.com.  I’ve put a notice up on my WordPress blog so my readers can find me. Be sure to follow me at my new website. I stopped posting to the WordPress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday, August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blogs. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, too. Don’t delay. The September newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com, Books tab. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Monday Blog Post: New Month – June 2015

Rufus-sided towhee, Bird bath, Randy Cockrell

Rufus-sided towhee taking a bath by Randy Cockrell

Hooray! It’s June. Here in Arizona school is already out but for many other places in the U.S.A. it’s the last few weeks of finals and then, graduation. June is also a wedding month. I have no graduations or weddings to attend but for you that do, have fun and congratulations.

May Story A Day, or May SAD as I call it, is now over. I committed to write 10 stories for the month and actually shoot for 12. I didn’t make even the official goal, I have 9 and a half stories written, most of them are flashes but there are a couple of short stories in the mix, too. In my other writing group I kept up with my 5 minutes per day writing challenge missing a day or two here or there. I like these sort of challenges. They keep me moving.

I now have a basic site up and running at www.conniesrandomthoughts.com. Notice there is no more wordpress in the URL. I’ll be closing down www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll notice at the top of the web page the notice. Please do transfer over to the website. I’d hate to lose you all.

Eavesdroppers came back from the editors and I made the final corrections to it. Then I sent it out to the Acorn Press, Apocalypse Chronicles contest. The contest doesn’t close until July 15th and then those people have to read all of those entries. It will be awhile before I hear anything back. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s less than two months now until the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. Check out the site, especially the Meet the Authors tab. Is your favorite author listed? If not, come and find a new favorite author. Mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

The hot weather has finally hit. It was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday. Time to get watering and put in my tomatos, peppers and such. I pulled out a giant red-leaved bush from our front yard next to the garage and front walk. It was growing out of control, had developed some rot in the branches and well, hubby has never liked it. I’m sorry to pull it out. It turned a bright red in the fall after a few hard frosts and in the spring had tiny pink flowers that smelled good and the bees loved. I’m going to replace it with lavender. Lavender does really well in this climate and after it’s established, hardly needs any watering. Plus, when it blooms, I’ll be able to pick a lot of those wonderful blossoms. Bees and butterflies will love it too. Win-win for everyone.

If you follow me on Chicklets in the Kitchen, this month’s recipe will be crockpot pulled pork. I love crockpot cooking in the summer and who doesn’t like pulled pork. That post will be out on the 25th of June.

Today’s picture is of our birdbath. The Rufus-sided towhee is again featured enjoying a bath.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

If you’re interested, click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today! If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote their books. Thanks in advance.

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Monday Blog Post: Month’s End

Apple Blossoms, Connie Cockrell

Apple Blossoms by Connie Cockrell

It’s been a hectic quarter for me, and I can hardly believe it’s over.

The yard and garden continue to be worked. I have trimmed 3 more of the 12 rosebushes and did yet another run of pulling mint out of my deepest square foot garden bed. The peach tree seedling I transplanted into a small container is doing well. So are the mystery tomatoes. I think I’ll just buy hot peppers and sweet peppers and a few of the other things I put in the garden. I really should put the peas and beans in now. It’s already a hot spring for us. A neighbor gave me a lot of ancient flower seeds. I’m going to set up some pots and see if anything will sprout. Who knows, I may end up with a lot of flowers this year.

Sunday I made a new batch of soap. The last batch was made fifteen months ago. This time I made half the batch a rosemary scent, leaving the other half unscented. The unscented stuff I’ll use to make my own shampoo. Since I’ve been making my own shampoo I think my hair is much softer and not all dried out. I poured the liquid soap into a 2 qt glass measuring cup and poured out the unscented soap into silicon muffin cups. Then I mixed the ground rosemary (from my own rosemary bush that I dried and ground myself) and a half ounce of rosemary essential oil into the remainder and stirred it all through. I poured that into a second silicon muffin pan. Twenty-four 4oz bars of soap are now curing in my dining room.

I finalized the editing on After Math and sent it to Clarkesworld, who rejected it after two days. I immediately sent it back out to EscapePod. No, the two day turn around wasn’t particularly fast. I once had a submission rejected in 3 hours.  So, we’ll see how EscapePod likes it.

I’m excited that a new month starts Wednesday, along with the April Camp National Novel Writing Month. I’m all ready to go on that. While waiting for that I used some time to update my web site a little bit. I’ve added a Media page where you can find my contact information, a sub-page with information about me, and another sub-page where I point out I’m available for speaking events. I tried to load an audio file of my February presentation to the Arizona Professional Writers, Rim Country Division but the site requires me to upgrade to a premium service. That’s the big push now. Since I have to upgrade, I’m going to go full website. I will retain the site as Connie’s Random Thoughts but it won’t be a blog only anymore. I also bought my name as a domain. I now own conniecockrell.com, along with 2ndWindPress.com and ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Authors, there’s still time to sign up for a table. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Flash Fiction Friday Story: An Easter Gift

Easter, Eggs, Randy Cockrell

Easter Eggs by Randy Cockrell

Moira gently dropped the last hard-boiled egg into the dye bath. This one was purple that she’d made from red onion-skin. The other dyes were made from fruits and vegetables also, turmeric for a bright yellow, beet for pink, Chili powder for orange and red cabbage for blue. It was something her grandmother had taught her when she was a little girl.

She again regretted she didn’t have any children to teach the art to. Her husband, Dan, and her had tried for years and finally given up. These eggs were for her niece, Pam and nephew, Scott, her brother, Rick’s kids. The eggs would go in the baskets she was making for them.

After the dyed eggs were put in the refrigerator she got her gardening gloves, bucket and trowel and went out to her front flower beds. Even with the ground still cold, she had to weed around her daffodils. The sun was warm on her back as she knelt in the grass at the bed’s edge. Moira paused to watch a robin search the lawn and stab the ground, pulling up a worm. It flew off, worm dangling from its beak.

While she weeded she thought about Easter dinner. It was at her house this year. The family’s traditional ham was already in the fridge for Sunday but she wanted to do something a little less traditional. Maybe a lamb roast, she thought. We never do lamb. And grilled asparagus instead of green beans. Moira briefly thought about making something other than mashed potatoes but rejected that idea. The entire family would riot if there were no mashed potatoes.

She enjoyed the bird mating calls coming from every tree in the neighborhood. It reminded her that she hadn’t had her monthly cycle in three months. That wasn’t unusual for her. She clapped her gloved hands together to get rid of the dirt and stood up. One of the neighbors began mowing her lawn, the smell of fresh cut grass wafted to her on the soft breeze. It was one of her favorite smells, right after fresh baked bread.

As Moira dumped the bucket of weeds into the trash she considered the pregnancy test kit she still had in the master bath. She’d stopped testing three years ago, her heart broken by the continuous series of negative results. Now, though, she thought, one last time? Nah, it’ll just be negative again. She went into the house and went on about her day.

Two days later, on Sunday, Moira had everything in the oven or on the stove cooking. Dan was in the kitchen, preparing the bar. She went up to her bedroom to take a shower and dress before her parents and brother and his family came over. She got a new bottle of shower gel out of the sink cabinet, the pregnancy test right next to it, and stopped. After a deep breath, she pulled it out and reread the directions. She couldn’t resist. After using the kit, she left it on her sink and took her shower.

Moira resisted the urge to check it when she toweled off. It’ll be negative again, she told herself. There’s no need to get your hopes up. After she wrapped her shoulder length brown hair in a towel and put her robe on she went to the sink and studied her reflection in the mirror. Gold-flecked blue eyes stared back at her. “Don’t get excited, Moira. It’ll be the same this time as all the times before.” With a deep breath, she looked down at the test stick. She blinked, then picked up the box to read the instructions again.

“Dan!” Moira picked up the stick and ran down the stairs to the kitchen. “Dan!”

He looked up from the counter where he was putting ice into an ice bucket. “Yeah, hon?”

She held out the stick.

His eyebrow arched. “I thought you weren’t going to do that anymore?”

Moira grinned. “Take a look.”

Dan looked at the stick then, eyes wide, back at her. “It’s…”

Her face crinkled with a huge smile. “Yes. It’s positive. I’m pregnant.”

 

The End

688 Words

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

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Monday Blog Post: Things are Moving Fast

Peach, Tomato, Seedlings, Connie Cockrell

Peach (very top) and tomato seedlings by Connie Cockrell

We’re trimming up around the yard. Last week hubby trimmed some diseased branches from a tree in the back yard and took out a tree that was growing too close to another and leaning over the house. The fact that it was a juniper with a pollen pod on the end of each needle and spewing pollen all over the place was an added bonus. I have managed to get 4 of the 12 rosebushes trimmed and did another run of pulling mint out of my deepest square foot garden bed. Onion and parsley I planted last November are coming up. A bonus, a peach pit that had been composted, sprouted in another of my garden beds. I thought it was a weed at first until I realized the pit was still attached. It has transplanted nicely into a small container where I will try and keep it alive. A friend gave me a small container of mystery tomato seedlings, just getting their first set of new leaves. She had no idea which seedlings were which and at this stage they’re pretty hard to differentiate. However, I selected six seedlings at random spots in the container, hoping I get six different tomato plants. I’ve passed the seedlings on to another friend. There’s no sense in us buying seedlings when we have free ones available.

My book signing on March 21st at the Scoops Ice Cream store here in Payson was slightly disappointing. However, I did sell 3 books and garnered 3 sign-ups for my newsletter. My mom came with me and we had a chance for a nice chat.

The month has progressed quickly. I can’t believe it’s already the 23rd. I’ve prepped my scene cards for April’s Camp NaNo. I’m starting it with the 3rd book in my Brown Rain series. Then I’ll move on to cleaning up random stories I have started but not finished.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Kick-off pricing on author tables is now over. There’s still time to sign up for a table, though. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

I submitted my short story, After Math, for line editing. I’m looking forward to getting it out to emagazines.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Monday Blog Post: Spring is here

Daffodils, Connie Cockrell

Daffodils by Connie Cockrell

Above is a picture of some of my daffodils. The really early ones, the miniatures have been up for two weeks. The tall ones, with the orange centers, just started blooming. I have a few late bloomers in the beds as well so I’ll have daffodils well into April. I also began my gardening. Saturday I pruned the dead wood out of my blackberries. I have let them run amok all over the ground. I really should trellis them and prune them back. I suspect they’d produce better if I reined them in. I still have to trim my rosebushes, they still have dead blooms on them from last fall. I had really wonderful roses last year after pruning them back very hard.

My book signing for March 21st at the Scoops Ice Cream store here in Payson is just a handful of days away. If you’re in town on the 21st between 1 and 3pm, stop by to grab an ice cream and chat. You can find both of these events and the July Book Festival on the Where Will I Be? tab on this website. I’m featuring my latest book, Lost Rainbows, but I’ll have my other books there to buy as well.

The month has been so full of Fair planning and Festival planning that I haven’t written or edited as much as I should have. However, I wrote two flash fiction stories last week but only posted Sixty-Four. The other one became a long telling instead of showing and needs a lot of editing to become presentable.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Kick-off pricing on author tables is now over. There’s still time to sign up for a table, though. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

My short story, After Math, came back from my content editor. It has a few more comments but I haven’t had a chance to take a close look at it. I’m hoping to get that polished up and off to a magazine soon.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Lost Rainbows released January 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr
Share this:
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr