An APW Chapter Meeting, Book Reviews: Monday Blog Post

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Last week was a whirlwind but everything was accomplished! This week I have only one meeting. That’s our Rim Country Chapter of the Arizona Professional Writers. We have a lot of fun and learn interesting things about the writing and publishing world at these monthly meetings. This month is what I like to call a sharing month. We give our members and guests a chance to talk about what they’re working on. Everyone always has such interesting stories and they work on such a wide variety of projects from poetry, scripts, plays, inspirational work, general fiction, mysteries, romance, westerns, scifi, fantasy and so much more. This includes peoples non-fiction work like newspaper and magazine articles and memoirs. If you’re in
Rim Country, we’d love to see you at the meeting on Wednesday at 1pm. If you’re not in Rim Country, find a writer’s group near you and join in. It’s good to come out of our heads for a little while.

Since I’ve become an author, I know how important it is to give authors a review of their books. So, I have been doing that with every book I read. Right now, I have 3 books read that I need to write quick reviews for. Two of the books are James Patterson, Alex Cross novels. One is Sweet Confections by Danyelle Ferguson. I post these reviews on Amazon, BookBub, and on Goodreads. After I write them it’s easy to copy and paste the reviews on each platform. How about you? Do you write reviews for the books you’ve read? I know I appreciate every review. Hinty, hint!

Giveaways:

Hooray! The St. Patrick Day giveaway is now live! This is one of our shortest giveaways so be sure to click on the link right away. As always, we ask that to win, you follow us on one or more of several social media, or our newsletters, or our websites. You don’t have to join all of them, but to find out more about the many wonderful authors, you’ll want to do that. Here’s the link. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ or go to https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f110/  Sign up today!

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. More info to follow.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Releases:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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

Monsoon Season Is Here

It’s the season of the Arizona year when moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California flows north. We get relief from the ever present sun beating down on us and the sky clouds over.

It’s when we see the first rain in four months. Wildflowers begin to bloom again, as do the cactus. The plants, bushes and trees that had turned dusty grey green in the heat and dust, re-green, providing relief to our sun-burnt eyes.

It usually comes as a thunder storm. Huge piles of clouds begin to boil up over the Mogollon Rim, painfully white against the brilliant blue sky. Then they darken and distant thunder begins to sound. Few at first, the sky soon fills with the moisture heavy clouds, and the thunder begins to roll in earnest. Lightening flashes. We hope it doesn’t hit and set a fire before the rains come.

Finally, it pours down. Thunder booming, lightening flashing. Torrents falling from the sky. The dusty watercourses fill, roaring with the water’s hurry to get down hill.

It doesn’t last long. An hour or two if we’re lucky. In that hour though, two or more inches of rain may have fallen. If we’re lucky, we’ll get that afternoon storm every day. Ponds and lakes will refill. The ground will saturate and the ponderosa pines will have their fill for the year. The Forest Service will re-open the national forests, closed because of the fire danger. Visitors will return to camp and hike and see the wonder of central Arizona.

Monsoon season, a relief for us all.

Flash Fiction Friday: Wall of Flame

I went to a site that generates ideas and found one about a character standing face to face with an on coming wildfire.  Since I live in an area where fire is a very real threat, this is what I came up with.

Wall of Flame

I was enjoying the late spring ride home from my friend’s Elizabeth’s family’s ranch.  It was good to visit with her; we’re both seventeen and looking forward to starting our own families and ranches.  She joshed me a little about a young cowboy we’d seen at the last rodeo, down the rim in Payson.

“Anna Haught, you’d better watch out.  That Jimmy Young had his eye on you.”

“Don’t be silly, Elizabeth, he hardly spoke a word to me.”

“Even so,” she poked me in the shoulder.  “He watched you the whole dance.  Next rodeo I expect he’ll get his courage up.”

We both laughed.

Now, I was daydreaming my way across prime cattle grasslands, the chaparral of mid-Arizona with the occasional Juniper tree dotting the landscape.   My horse, Coal, was keeping her nose pointed toward home and a breeze was keeping me cool even though the sun was blasting down out of a clear blue sky.  Coal stopped so suddenly I slid sideways in the saddle, her head held high and ears pricked forward.  She blew and tossed her head, and then I could smell it too, smoke.

We were too far away from our ranch for it to be smoke from the stove.  I looked around; the grass was so dry it was crisp, the summer monsoons still a month away but that didn’t stop dry lightning from striking.  The breeze was picking up and on the horizon, right in front of me, there was a line of smoke stretching as far north to south as I could see.

I kicked Coal’s sides, urging her forward.  Riding to the top of a hill, I looked west, toward home.  In front of me, about two miles away, a line of fire was stretching across my path.  Coal tossed her head, stamping her feet.

I could feel the breeze picking up and pushing the fire toward me, it was coming fast.  I looked back the way I had come; it was too far to get back to Elizabeth’s.  I turned Coal back to the west.  The fire was moving quickly, the smoke was thicker.

The only thing I could see was one of the hundreds of gullies that cross the grasslands, off to my right.  Dry water courses, they were mostly stone, if I could get there, maybe we’d be safe in the bottom of it.  I kicked Coals’ sides with my heels, “Come on Coal, we’ve got to get to that gully.”

She didn’t want to go, wheeling around and trying to run away.  I pulled her head around, and she finally obeyed.  There was little time.  The fire was advancing; I could see sparks from the dry grass being blown around me.  “Come on Coal, run!”  I kicked her again. We raced to the gully, now just half a mile ahead.  I leaned low over Coal’s neck, “faster, girl, faster.”  She was beginning to lather up, her mane flying in the wind.

Now it was a race, the air was hot and smoky, the fire getting closer, the breeze whipping by me.  I could see the flames ahead.  The smoke was burning my throat and my eyes were tearing.  Coal was struggling to breathe, “Come on girl.  You can do it.”

I pulled up at the edge of the gully, throwing poor Coal onto her haunches.  I needed a way down, the sides too steep here to reach the bottom, I pulled her head around to my right, where I could see where the side had collapsed.  It was steep but she could do it.   Across the gully, I could see the fire, not more than a quarter mile away.  I kicked her in her sides, raced to the collapse and made her go down.  It was a scramble, her hooves sliding in the gravel and rocks bouncing around us, at the bottom we stopped, her sides heaving.

I leapt out of my saddle and grabbing my canteen I soaked my bandana and tied it around my face.  Poor Coal, her eyes were weeping and her sides heaving.  We could hear the fire now, roaring; ash raining down on us, sparks flying everywhere.  Coal began to panic, eyes rolling wildly and she kept trying to pull away, rearing up in the air, screaming.

It took all of my strength to hold onto the reins.  I tried to pull her down, tried to get her to lie down but the heat and smoke made her wild, bucking and lunging, I couldn’t help her, she pulled the reins out of my hands and ran up the gully into the smoke.

There was nothing left to do.  I laid down, in the middle of some boulders, my mouth to the ground where the air was a little less smoky.  I tossed gravel over me, anything to stop the sparks from catching my dress on fire.  I could hear the fire roaring, the hot air blasting over me.  I pulled my bandana up over my whole face and waited.

I laid there, praying, trying to breathe.  It seemed like a very long time but soon, I realized that the roaring of the fire was far away.  I lifted my head, pulled down my bandana and took a peak.  Ash was still falling, even a few sparks, but it looked like the fire had passed over me.  I stood up.  There were some burns on my arms, where I hadn’t had any gravel over me.  I tried to beat some of the dust off, choking and coughing in the smoke smelling, ashy air then took a drink from my canteen and re-wet my bandana.

Climbing up the west side of the gully, all I could see was burnt grass.  A few trees were still on fire.  I looked east, and could see the line of fire moving away from me.  There was no sign of Coal.  I sighed.  It was going to be a long walk home.

The End

994 Words

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