Fourth of July, Giveaways, Writing : Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Fourth of July already! Did you take several days off or are you starting today and taking off through Wednesday? Since I’m retired, I don’t have to take time off from work but hubby and I decided to just stay home and chill out. We’ll do our usual Tuesday hike with the local hiking group for our excitement and I’ll be at my town’s 4th of July festival in a booth to promote the upcoming Northern Gila County Fair. I’m excited about that. It should be fun. Whatever you’ve decided or decide to do, stay safe and come home healthy.

See below for two new giveaways!

Connie Promoting the Payson Book Festival and talking to a customre about her books.

I had a blast at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. Lots of people were interested in hearing about the book festival and many stopped to chat about my books. All in all it was a great visit but hot and breezy!

meteor_by_brandonstricker-d6ai470 via

I’ve decided to do the next three Friday flash fiction stories on Doomsday. I did one last Friday and I’m still thinking about what to do for story number 2. What do you consider doomsday?


The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at has ended. As soon as the admin generates the winners, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, here’s the 2018 Authors/Bloggers Summer Giveaway. There’s $80 as a Grand Prize Paypal Cash and 27 books and 27 prizes available to win.

Also, July is the Smashwords site’s Summer/Winter Giveaway. I have books ranging from free to 25% or even 75% off. I don’t usually do this so if you’re interested in some discounts, this is your month! You can find a list of all of my books at with the discounts already marked. Enjoy!

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to Marsha Ward, an Amazon best-selling author who writes authentic historical fiction set in 19th Century America. She is a multi-published writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, and consultant. Marsha has written five novels in The Owen Family Saga, another that begins the Promised Valley series; and many other works. A former journalist, Marsha is the recipient of the 2015 Whitney Lifetime Achievement Award and President of Rim Country Chapter of APW.

Marsha’s latest work is Lies and Secrets. This is a 3-story collection filling in more of the Owen Family saga.

Scandalous: An Owen Family Story

Young Julianna Owen didn’t think flirting with Parley Morgan at the barn raising would lead him to put his hands where they ought not to be. But even worse, her sister discovers them, and Parley abandons her, running off into the woods.

Julianna’s strict father has found where she is hiding, and her world on the Colorado frontier is crashing down around her ears. She thought love and romance was only about going on picnics and holding hands, not rough kisses and hurtful pawing.

Now the consequences of her actions might be beyond what she can bear.

In the 1866 Owen Family universe, Scandalous shines a light on teen hormones run amok during a trying time in the family’s story, as it ties up a loose thread from the novel, Spinster’s Folly.

Review: “Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it. I love the Owen Family stories. The love of family and the adventures are made so real in Mrs. Ward’s writings. Details are so vivid a reader can feel themselves there.”

Broken: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story

Rida Owen didn’t know married life on the Colorado frontier could be so difficult. Nothing in her Catholic upbringing prepared her for long, lonely nights when her husband, Bert, goes drinking. And womanizing. And then comes home to beat her.

Her mother-in-law thinks she’s stuck up when she doesn’t participate in homestead washday. Rida only wants to hide her bruises and preserve her marriage.

Then a neighbor from her past stops to say hello and reveals a secret of his own.

Broken is a Shenandoah Neighbors story that illuminates a dark corner of the Owen Family universe in 1875.

Review: “Marsha Ward writes a compelling story of strength and endurance, beautifully worded and detailed to the post Civil War era.”

Bloodied Leather: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story

Isabelle Gilbert chafes against the restrictions that Victorian life puts on a young lady.

Forced to accept a betrothal to Percival Egmont, an English ex-patriot like her father, she is disturbed by his passion for prize-fighting—and other pursuits. And what if Mama spots the bruise on her cheek?

Then shared secrets perplex Isabelle even more.

A Shenandoah Neighbor story, Bloodied Leather extends the Owen Family universe into 1886.

Review: “An interesting short story with good characterization and dialogue that says more than the words alone. So worth the read.”

Read the stories free on KindleUnlimited, or get your copy today before the price goes up. Link to Amazon

Learn more at The Facebook author page link is


Where Will I Be?

Check my website, for my future engagements.

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. We’re completing the final touches and now heavily promoting the festival. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. Hope to 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 Book Release:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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 I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Happy Fourth of July: Monday Blog Post

Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

Happy Fourth of July everyone. I hope your weekend has been both wonderful and safe. We’re heading over to a friend’s house this evening. It’s situated on a hill overlooking the park where the fireworks are set off. Forecast is for a clear night. Better than last year’s thunderstorm.

My friend, Carole Emma Mathewson is releasing her book World War II: On the Home Front. The cover is just about done. When it is we can get it all loaded into CreateSpace and have it out, perhaps by the end of the week!

Have you visited the website, It’s a fantastic resource for readers to find their next favorite author. I’ll be promoting my book, Kindred Spirits, on the site for the month of July. Take a look around the site. I think you’ll find something you’ll like.



Only for the month of July, I’m participating in’s Summer/Winter Sale. Four of my books, Mystery at the Fair, A New Start, First Encounter, and Lost Rainbows, are free on the site. Log in, get an account if you don’t already have one, and search on my book titles. Use the coupon code SFREE, when you check out and those books are free!

Summer Giveaway

The Red Hot Summer is now open. Just click on the Rafflecopter link. You do have to sign up to Rafflecopter but after that, you’re free to click away. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, Mystery at the Fair, or for second prize, a $10 Amazon card. Over a hundred prizes from over 50 authors plus a grand prize of $150 Paypal Cash. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, please enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

A heads-up. Author Elizabeth Hein is my Author Interview next week. Author of snarky women’s fiction, she’s currently working on a mystery series. Want to know more and can’t wait for the interview? Check her out at

Garden News:

Peaches by Connie Cockrell

Peaches by Connie Cockrell

The heat and the moisture since the monsoons began has turned on the grow switch in my garden. The pole beans are racing up the trellis. Tiny green tomatoes are popping out all over and the plants are growing all over the tomato bed. The chipmunks are eating my zucchini! The peaches are going strong. I love how fuzzy they are. They’re already getting that blush on them. In my area they ripen the end of July, depending on weather. How’s your garden doing?

Where Will I Be?:

Book Festival flier 2016 FINAL Front Pg

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival, partly funded by the Arizona Humanities. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! and click on the Meet the Authors tab. Check us out on Twitter: @PaysonBookFest, and Facebook at

9th annual Fall Festival in Pine, AZ. October 8th and 9th. I’ll be there all weekend as part of the local author book signing. My hubby will be there as part of the chili cook-off at noon on Saturday. There are also crafters and a very excellent antique show scheduled, not to mention music and food!

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team! I’d love to see you there.

Newest Book Release:

Zoe Ohale is out for editing. If you’re a Brown Rain Series fan, I think you’ll like Zoe Ohale. You may remember a short story I published on my blog on 8/20/15, Extra Baggage. That was the second story about Zoe. The first, Betrayal Moon, is in the Forward Motion anthology, due out in the next couple of weeks. Just 17, Zoe has been an orphan living on the streets of Baia Mare since she was 12. Street smart and fiercely independent, Zoe has been offered the chance to move back into legal society by the police officer that arrested her a few months ago. But first, she has to help protect the little kids in her group, help her friend save her father from assassination, and find a criminal ring that just stole all of the physical credits being delivered to the Planetary Bank of Baia Mare. The book, the first of a series, should be out in August, if I can find time to work on it between the Book Festival and the Fair.

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! 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 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.

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Monday Blog Post: July Starts with a Bang!

Mayor Evans, Connie Cockrell, Payson Book Festival Day Proclamation. Photo, Marie Fasano

Mayor Evans and Connie Cockrell with the Payson Book Festival Day Proclamation. Photo by Marie Fasano

On July 2nd, as the Chair for the Payson Book Fesitval, I received a Proclamation from the Town of Payson Mayor, Kenny Evans. The proclamation declares July 25th, the day of our book festival to be Payson Book Festival Day! You can see me and the Mayor in the above picture, shaking hands.

There’s only 19 more days until the festival and we’re hot and heavy into the marketing part of the event. Our Media committee member, Marie Fasano, has sent small articles to all of the major magazines in Arizona for their Calendar sections. She’s set up all of these interviews on radio and TV I’ve been posting about and she’s sent articles about our participating authors to their hometown newspapers to run. Marie has been doing a fantastic job. I hope you can make it to Payson on July 25th, 9am – 4pm, and stop by the festival to say hello!

If you missed any of the interviews or media releases or want to read the proclamation, click here to find everything.

It having been the 4th of July weekend I feel obligated to share that hubby and I went to a friend’s house and watched the fireworks from there. One of hubby’s pictures of the show is below. Our town does a great 4th of July festival in Green Valley park: children’s games and contests, food vendors, live music and then, a thirty-minute fireworks display.

Payson, Fireworks, Randy Cockrell

Payson Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

I’m still working on my Mystery at the Fair edits. After that will be the CreateSpace and Smashwords formatting and the release. I’m still shooting for the end of this week to finish the edits and then spend next weekend formatting and releasing. Cross your fingers for me, every one.

July is also a Camp NaNo month. As of today I have over 10,000 words. I completed the first draft of my short story for the Forward Motion anthology. Now I’m working on the second Jean Hays series book, Mystery in the Woods. When will it be out, you ask? No idea. I have two other books, that I wrote in April, waiting for editing. Maybe you can tell I’m not as enthusiastic about the editing and rewriting part as I am about writing the first draft.

My tomatoes have finally begun a serious growth spurt. I put the trellis for them up a few days ago and already they’re growing through the loops. The Sungold cherry tomato has tomatoes on it but still green. The rest of the plants are blossoming. Two of the six plants were volunteers that I dug up and put in the tomato bed. I can’t wait to see what they are!

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.

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: 4th of July

Fireworks, 4th of July, Randy Cockrell

Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

“OK, people, listen up!”

We were in the cafeteria. The troopers all left off their conversations and turned to the front of the room. Unwashed, wearing rags, they broke my heart these young men and women were so brave. I swallowed the lump that wanted to form in my throat and sniffed back incipient tears of pride.

“We’re as ready as we’re going to get. Everything is coordinated all up and down the eastern seaboard. We strike tonight at 10pm.”

The troopers broke into cheers. They deserved a little celebration. I smiled and nodded and let them cheer. Many of my troopers were orphans, separated from parents when the aliens invaded. They’d been gathered up by what were left of the adult survivors and hidden, fed, clothed, educated as best we could in the twenty years since the invasion. Now we were ready to strike back.

I held up my hands. “Who knows what today is?”

“Wednesday!” Jay Gonzales was my comedian, always had a smart remark. The room erupted in laughter.

“Good one, Jay.” I looked around. “Anyone else?”

“July 4th.” Kim Deming was the cool one and one of my oldest. She was six when we found her hidden in the basement of a bombed out house, a piece of rebar in her hands ready to defend her 4-year-old sister. I understood. At the time I was fifteen and had only just been found myself.

“Correct. Significance?”

“It’s the holiday commemorating the founding of the United States. Our independence from another country’s rule.”

The room had quieted at her calm, steady answer. Her gray eyes burned with intensity. She was driven and the rest of the troopers respected her for it. “Right. And tonight, we do it again.”

“Freedom!” Kim leapt to her feet, fist raised.

“Freedom!” The rest of the troopers did the same. I joined in.

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”


It took us five hours to get into place. The aliens didn’t spread out, they lived in enclaves, walled and secured. Their nasty crops grew around their city, circles of peace and prosperity in a land still littered with the blasted human cities and towns and farms they’d destroyed. Sure, they were slowly clearing the ruins, but only so their enclaves could expand. I’d watched over the years. Their cities grew like snails, ever circling outward. Clear the blasted areas, create farm land, inch the city out another circle. They were efficient, I’ll give them that.

Tonight the moon rise wasn’t until after midnight so it was dark. All the better for us. Camouflage was the toughest. They had heat detectors that helped kill off a good number of us before we figured out how to hide. The plan was simple. It had to be given our deprived state.

Weapons had been slowly gathered over the years. Assault rifles, ammunition, mortars, high explosives and in some cases, we even had nukes. That wasn’t my troop though. The enclave we were assigned was too small to require nukes. We did have a few HE weapons though that would blow holes in the walls. After that, we were going to have to go in and duke it out.

My hands were sweaty on my rifle. I was 35 and arthritis was kicking in. The medic said it was from living in the cold and damp all these years. Nothing could be done about it. I nodded and left the tiny clinic. As I waited for the signal I thought about what life would have been like if the aliens hadn’t come. I would have gone to college, I think, gotten married, had a kid or two. I swallowed. None of that was mine now. It was enough I had my troopers, fifty of them, as good as having my own.

We all waited in the damp as the minutes ticked with excruciating slowness. Waiting was always the hardest. A low whump and the ground rumbling told me it was time. Fifty miles away another group had just nuked the alien military garrison. An ugly purple glow blotted out the stars.

We charged forward from our hiding spots in the crop land. Kim had one of the HE weapons. She was in front of the gate and firing before the aliens could react. Almost before the smoke cleared and the debris stopped falling she and her squad were running into the breach. My troopers were screaming as the night sky erupted in flashes of gunfire and explosions. No wonder fireworks were used to celebrate when I was a kid. I pushed that thought aside as I led my squad into the enclave behind Kim’s.

It was brutal. The enemy had night patrols inside the enclave but they’d responded too late. My troopers went nest to nest and killed every alien they could find. After years of hiding, they knew all the right spots to look.

By daybreak the enclave was a ruin, alien bodies, adult and young, lying in the streets and buildings. We had planned for outside alien retaliation but it seemed our coordinated attack prevented that. I called my reserves in to help our wounded out of the town. Those still whole, I sent to gather up whatever tech and weapons they could carry. As we retreated back to our hiding places I had a team burn the enclave and those damn alien crops.

Now we had to wait. Aliens were planet wide. They weren’t going to like what we’d just accomplished. Too bad. We were all headed for the mid-west where we were planning to do the same thing all over again. With luck other humans would be encouraged and do the same. We just might get our planet back. Happy 4th of July!

The End

957 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:

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