End of February: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I totally spaced out doing Monday’s blog post last week. *Rolls my eyes* I have no idea what I was thinking. Apologies for missing it.

Update on the foot braces. I’ve taken short walks around the area. One was at the town’s newest trail, The American Gulch trail. This is a short trail, maybe 1/2 mile, that circles a dry streambed. The town is working to bring the water back to it and make it the centerpiece of a park area. Also planned for it is a heritage apple orchard. I’m excited to see how the new park will look.

Mystery at the Book Festival manuscript was sent off to my editor last week. Looking at the end of March before I can get it back. I also did contact a cover designer and we’ve made a deal. I’ve sent appropriate files, except for the blurb on the back. I won’t have the blurb until the editor is done. Sigh. Can’t wait to see what the cover people do.



My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.


Shout Out:

Gail Kittleson is my featured author this week on Wednesday’s Author Interview. A women’s fiction and memoir writer, her books are focus on World War II. Can’t wait for the whole interview? Check out www.gailkittleson.com to see what she’s up to.


Where Will I Be?

Last week on February 23rd, at 5pm Arizona time, I was interviewed on BackPorchWriter.com. I had a blast with the host, Kori Miller talking about writing, mysteries, and a few of the strangest things we’ve run into while researching. This interview is in preparation for the April B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Both events are open to readers so as I get closer, I’ll give you more details.

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements. I have contracted for a booth at Phoenix ComiCon with some other author friends. The ComiCon is May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall.


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 to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.


Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Author Interviews: S. C. McCole

Author S.C. McCole

Author S.C. McCole

Let’s give a warm round of applause to today’s author, S.C. McCole. McCole is a vagabond tapping tales on his iPad everywhere he travels. When he finally gets back to Peachtree City, GA, it’s nap time with his wonderful wife and two dogs, refresh the bags, then back on the road again! He can often be found hiding out in one of these boxes:  Ghost Writer | Shark Diver | Metal Guitarist | Dog Lover | Runner | Hubby | Dad |.

Thank you S.C. for joining us today. Let’s get right to the questions, shall we?

1. Favorite Hobby?

Oh, so many to choose from! Some people say they can’t retire because they’d be bored out of their skulls. I can’t wait. I have way too many hobbies (and bucket-list-items); I’d never be bored.

Shark-swimmin’, song-playin’, sword-collectin’, spirit-summonin’, Survivor-preppin’ (the TV show not bunker-hoardin’ lol)… but, if you’re making me pick just one, it would have to be story-readin’. I could spend my first year in retirement just page-turnin’ my way through the to-read shelf, starting with the Bhagavad Gita.

2. Who would I spend the afternoon with?

The greatest man that ever lived: My Dad. Fate stole my opportunity for a sit-down in-depth conversation with him and I have so many things I’d want to discuss.

3. Coffee, tea, soda, or something else?

I love this topic. Big fan of imbibing! Depends on the moment:
– I drink Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with half & half religiously every morning. I grind my own beans, and use filtered water—ok, I’m a bit OCD.

– When I’m home, I drink several spots-o-tea with the wife in the evening—mostly bagged herbal, floral, or green, though sometimes we brew from a fresh mix (Champagne Rose is our fave). Also, living in the South, I’m required to drink iced tea—unsweetened, because I’m a northern intruder, heh.

– Alcohol, on occasion, as a social lubricant. My go-to is a Crown & Diet Coke w Lime. Beer: I like anything interesting and not too hoppy. My fave is a Belgian Grimbergen Blonde or a pint of Murphy’s. But, a good margarita is hard to beat when I’m on vacation (rim salted please).

– For all other times I’m a big fan of water. I drink a lot of it. It does the body good!
– One rule for liquids: I never use a sweetener. I’m scared it may spoil my finely-crafted curmudgeoness!

4. What am I working on right now?

Writing: I’m in the draft phase of my first novel—Black Friday, an urban fantasy thriller featuring the heroine Kali Stone. The book begins a series, which is the first in a group of chronological series based in a supernatural, apocalyptic world I’ve been developing the last few years. It’s an ambitious blueprint. I hope my hobbies leave me time to do it justice!

Craft: Lately, much to the chagrin of my novel, I’m spending quite a bit of time launching a new fiction writer’s resource. It’s a newsletter/blog where I put my 25 years as an investigator on the line to crack the code of publishing today. It’s all free, interactive, no-holds-barred info. That project is launching soon.

5. How would I describe my writing style?

My style of writing is: FAST HEAT.

I created this acronym to explain that I strive to be FAST (Fearless;
Authentic, Sexy; True) and deliver the HEAT (a story that is: Hot; Exposed; Adventurous; Thrilling).

6. Advice for a new writer?

“Do or Do Not. There is no TRY.” ~ Yoda.
“Even if it’s crap, just get it on the page.” ~ my coffee mug.

7. Where do my writing ideas come from?

The most fertile breeding grounds for my ideas are Titles. I start by brainstorming an intriguing plot nugget (usually the inciting incident or the final showdown) then I wrack my noggin for a working title before I begin a detailed outline. Once I start writing the title often changes, but I need to start with one that thrills me.

In college, I majored in Architecture, so I’m a planner when it comes to art. Since I have a master blueprint for my fiction, my plot nuggets are usually inspired by the world foundation I’ve built. But, my current novel wasn’t part of that original plan—it was born out of necessity. I was enrolled in James Patterson’s MasterClass and needed to submit a thriller plot, so I extracted a nugget from my current profession (in anti-terrorism) and created the plot of Black Friday. It wasn’t intended to be a series or even part of my world, but I’ve since morphed it to fit into the greater structure.

Last, but certainly not least, one of my bucket-list writing ideas comes from my dad. At bedtime, he would spin a fascinating yarn with some crazy characters he made up. Those memories are very special to me. So, for my future grandchildren, I plan to write a series of bedtime stories based upon my dad’s characters. That will be my tribute to him and my our legacy.

8. Where can I be found online?
Come chat with me on Facebook: fb.com/SCMcCole or Twitter @SCMcCole. I’ll be sharing the release of my upcoming investigative report site in those hangouts. Cheers!
Thank you so much for sharing with us today, S.C. We appreciate your time. Good luck on your release of Black Friday.

So, gentle readers, stop on by S.C.s facebook and say hello.


Hot Stuff: Monday Blog Post


Newest News:

It’s been a crazy week at the Cockrell house. The new patio has been constructed and over the last couple of days, hubby has painted the inside stucco wall to match the stone and is considering an art project to paint Arizona-themed pictures on there. Should be interesting. I’ll take pictures.

I’ve also been working on one author friend’s cover and another author friend’s formatting. Neither is quick to do but both of them want their books for the upcoming Payson Book Festival so I’m going as fast as I can to make it all happen.

My book, Zoe Ohale, is now with the editor. I won’t get it back until mid-July. I’m looking at cover designers because I just can’t do the cover myself this time.

Speaking of covers, my Mystery at the Fair cover has gone live on Amazon. I love the new look, don’t you? http://www.amazon.com/Connie-Cockrell/e/B009O6199C.

I’m also going to promote a new online magazine, www.ArizonaRimCountryOutdoors.com. They talk about all the great things to do here in Rim Country AND they have pages with local art, stories, and more. Check out their site. I have a story up there now.


The Spring Into Reading giveaway closes TODAY. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook, First Encounter, or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. 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:

Author L. H. Whitlock

Author L. H. Whitlock

The Author Interview segment this week is the wonderful L. H. Whitlock. I’m very happy she agreed to be interviewed. She’s a fellow science fiction author and has her series, Galactic Battle, in progress. I think you’re going to like her work. Can’t wait till Wednesday? Check out her author page on Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01F4IG8VW.

Garden News:

The recent heat has made everything in the garden start growing like crazy. I put the string trellis up on the bean bed so they have somewhere to grow up. The butternut squash is still a no show. I suspect the squirrel. I’ll try and plant again. The Swiss Chard has finally popped up and if the squirrel will leave it alone, I should have a nice little patch that will keep us in fresh chard the rest of the summer. The two tiny zucchini were not ready to pick on Saturday. Disappointing but I’ll get over it. How’s your garden doing?

Where Will I Be?:

BookFest Ad 061016July 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! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab. Check us out on Twitter: @PaysonBookFest, and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PaysonBookFestival/.

9th annual Fall Festival in Pine, AZ. October 8th and 9th. http://pinestrawberrybusinesscommunityaz.com/fallapple.html. 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:

I’m in the middle of the Zoe Ohale 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 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.

Author Interview: Chevoque!



I’m so happy to introduce author Chevoque! She writes contemporary, historical, and paranormal stories, among other things. If you’re looking for stories with an international flair, Chevoque may just be what you’ve been searching for. Here’s a little bit about Chevoque.

I was born as Rochelle de Beer on 15 May 1992 in Klerksdorp, South Africa, and as an only child, the world seemed like a lonely place, until I set my mind free and got lost in the worlds I created myself. My writing started at a young age and with numerous stories still waiting to be released from my mind, only time now seems to hold me back. I also have a degree in BSc. Environmental and Biological Sciences, because I’m a tree-hugging animal lover, who hopes to never use my degree to cause cruelty.

Cover Just Like You

Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Writing used to be just a hobby, but now as a full-time author, I have to say photography and photoshop are past-times I can’t get enough of.  Which is likely a good thing, as I have created most of my covers myself and I enjoy doing digital art as well, so all those things combined sure keeps me sane.


If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Sir David Attenborough.

I will shamelessly admit that I envy all the things he has done and all the things he has achieved.  I primarily decided to do a degree in BSc. Botany and Zoology, because of all the amazing TV shows I had watched of him growing up.  So an afternoon with tea and a long conversation with him would be a bucket list tick down I hope to actually one day achieve.


Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I’m a sucker for caffeine! Be it in the form of coffee, I love Nescafé’s Alta Rica and Rosabaya blends the most and when it comes to tea, I love Rooibos and Lager’s is my absolute favourite.  Apart from that, I love a Steelworks when it is hot, so basically in South Africa, that means every day.


What are you working on right now?

The Marked Series, it is a two book series about two different people, who have birthmarks on their faces, and how they deal with being different in a society where looks are everything.


How would you describe your writing style?

Easy with a lot of South African flare…or so I hope.  I use South African slang, as there really is no better way to describe some situations than with a few proudly South African trimmings, but I do keep in mind that most of my readers are international.  Thus, I always keep it descriptive enough so all can enjoy the sarcasm or jokes, because I love adding humour in everything I do, while never forgetting to add a cause/theme to my books.


Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Don’t think you can’t and never aspire.  Only be.

If you take the time; wrote your heart out, sold your soul and nearly lost yourself in your own mind, you’ve proved yourself worthy to be known as an author.


Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

They come to me in whatever I do, I can literally be out to buy some groceries and then I’ll need to rush home to get the idea down, before it slips from my mind.  Or I can even be working on something and then I’ll hear a song (I love music) and then everything will be put on hold, so I can get this new idea down.  Thus I own four notebooks filled with ideas for books and it grows every week!


Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Amazon Author Page: http://goo.gl/ZaDsnM

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChevoquePublic/

Newsletter: http://goo.gl/ME5hsS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Chevoque

Website: http://goo.gl/X9ifYB


Thank you so much, Chevoque! I appreciate you taking time from a busy schedule to tell us about yourself and your books.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please go to Chevoque’s website, facebook or twitter page or sign up for her newsletter. You’ll be glad you did.

Author Interviews: Terra Luft

Terra Luft

Terra Luft

I’ve been having a LOT of fun getting to know authors and chatting with them as we prep to have them on my blog. One of the things I’ve made an effort to do is introduce authors who write as many different genres as possible. We don’t want to get dull, now, do we?

This week I’m introducing Terra Luft. Terra has a terrific sense of humor and a wicked bend in her horror stories.

Terra Luft is a speculative fiction author whose imagination is most often drawn to dark tales. An overachiever by nature, she tackles every project with coffee and sarcasm and believes all rules exist to be broken. She works full time by day and writes by night searching for an elusive work-life balance people tell her exists. She lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters, their naughty dog and a cat who stole her heart. Terra is published with Crimson Edge Press and Griffin Publishers and is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.

The Secret Door Society by Terra Luft

The Secret Door Society by Terra Luft

Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

That’s actually a hard one to answer. In many ways, writing is my favorite hobby but it’s also one of my jobs so I feel like I can’t use that as my answer. Aside from writing, I love yoga and I love reading. I don’t have enough time to do either of them as much as I like.


If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Initial response: my mom, because I lost her a little over a year ago. I’d love to hear her voice again and tell her all the things I didn’t get the chance to before she died. If I’m limited to someone still living: Stephen King, hands down. He’s the one author who had the most influence on who I became as a reader which led to the kind of writer I am. I’d love to meet him and thank him for all his hard work and for sticking with his craft.


Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Coffee. All day. Every day. Long into the evenings on most days. I like to say that I’m fueled by coffee and sarcasm. I’m relying on the coffee a whole lot more often to keep me going.


What are you working on right now?

I’m currently writing a near-future novel exploring some of the most frightening aspects of our current political landscape. I’m in the pre-writing stages working on character development, plot outlining and research. If the year goes as planned, it will be finished and ready to shop it around to publishers in the next six to eight months. I’ve also got two urban fantasy novels in various stages of revision.

I’m also working on marketing and promotion for my latest release. It is a short story called “Baby of the Lake” in the upcoming anthology “It Came From the Great Salt Lake: A Collection of Utah Horror” set to release February 11, 2016 from Griffin Publishers. My story is about a pregnant woman haunted by a ghost who drowns pregnant women – usually in the lake.


How would you describe your writing style?

I’m a pretty dark writer. I love writing speculative fiction because I love speculating on the world either through supernatural, horror or science fiction stories. In every story, I explore the darker sides of people and situations and showcase alternative ways of looking at things. If I can connect with a reader and either show them that they aren’t alone or open their eyes to a different way of looking at the world, I’ve done what I have set out to do.


Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Just write! The best piece of advice I ever got was to finish something and immediately start something new. There are two valuable lessons in that one sentence. First, every project you finish makes you a better writer since each project you finish is better than the last. Finishing a novel for the first time took me five years. But I learned so much in those five years that I was able to write the next one AND revise it in a single year. Secondly, once you get to the professional level, you’ll have to know how to consistently produce both for your agent and/or publisher and for your readers who will demand it. If you already know how to write consistently, you’re ahead of the game.

Just write. There will always be critics and sometimes the stories you have to write will never be read by the masses, or even published, but they are still your stories and you need to write them.


Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m a spontaneous person who does a lot of crazy things in the impulse of a moment so my day-to-day life is full of new situations to fuel my imagination. I’m also a people watcher. Every year my writing group does a weekend retreat – usually to attend a writing conference – and I always come away with loads of inspiration.

The idea that inspired my first published short story came to me at a writing conference listening to a panel on magic. The bulk of another story came to me from a dream. My current novel grew from an interview I heard on NPR last year. I have a notebook (okay, it’s really a file on my phone) and any nugget that sparks my imagination gets written down no matter how small or large. As a writer, I never know which seed will send my imagination into the depths where the next big story will grow from. If I don’t capture them as they happen, I could miss a good one.

It Came From the Great Salt Lake Anthology

It Came From the Great Salt Lake Anthology


Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Website: terraluft.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TerraLuftAuthor

Twitter: @earthandair

Amazon: amazon.com/author/terraluft

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/TerraLuft