Happy April: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Last Friday and Saturday hubby and I drove up to Nellis AFB to celebrate the promotion of my nephew to Chief Master Sergeant. We were very proud of his accomplishment and it was nice to see so many of the family. We’re spread all over the U.S. and don’t get together very often. He’s a handsome young man, isn’t he?

April’s Camp NaNo started Saturday and I was on the road all day. So I hand wrote four pages of the next Zoe Ohale story in the car. I’m not sure how many words that is, I still need to type them up. At least I got a few words in. After I finish drafting this blog post (written on Sunday), I’ll have to do that and see what my first day’s shortfall is and work extra hard to catch up.

I bought nine dollars worth of pansies at Walmart last week and put some in my front planter, and the rest in two pots I had in the back yard. Aside from watering, not much gardening though the Swiss Chard was big enough to cut and have with dinner one night last week. I just love going out to the garden and picking my food, bringing it in and cooking it up. Talk about convenience food!

Last week I talked about my Elf Slave story. I have 3 episodes written and it’s not done yet. So that story is going to run into May, at least. I’m not fond of Elf Slave as a title, what else can I call it?

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading, Easter Giveaway is now on. Grand Prize is $100 in Paypal cash and lots of other prizes from 48 authors. My prize winners of the St. Patrick’s Day giveaway are Ashley Nichole Poteet and Zarah Robinson. Congratulations ladies. Check your emails for a message from me about your prizes.

 

Shout Out:

Author Marsha Ward

I have an interview this week with Marsha Ward. An author local to me, she is just putting out a historical fiction cook book with recipes from one of her characters. I love the cover on this cook book and it not only has recipes, but also tiny stories. I think you’ll love it. Can’t wait till Wednesday? Check her out at http://marshaward.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

This coming weekend, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from Friday April 7th to Sunday the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. I’ve added some content. Please feel free to comment on the posts. Are you a Goodreads user? Love to see you there. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, here’s your chance to find a ton of books, chats with other readers and even ask an author a question. Me included! If you’re a Facebook user, I’ll be part of a Science Fiction event on that platform at  https://www.facebook.com/events/1466110423422872/. It will run Saturday, from 5pm Eastern time until midnight Eastern. So if you’re on Pacific time (or Arizona time like me) that’s 2pm – 9pm. Other fun stuff is happening on http://b2bcycon.com/ so be sure to check it all out. Our panel discussions on multiple topics are being posted as we speak. Check those out on http://b2bcycon.com/panels/.

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.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

 

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.

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NaNo Week 1: Monday Blog Post

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month

Newest News:

This is the end of week one of the 2016 National Novel Writing Month. As of the end of the day, Sunday, I have over 15k written in my fourth Brown Rain series novelette, Tested. I say novelette because that’s what it’s supposed to be. But it’s already running long and I have to say, has a lot of extra baggage that needs to be tossed. But I’m not doing it now. I’ll wait for the rewrites.

Suffice it to say Kyra and Alyssa are in hot water up to their necks. There may be a love interest and as always, they’re looking for clues as well as helping people.

mystery-in-the-woods-cover2

On the Mystery in the Woods front, no progress. I’m writing and that means my brain isn’t in editing/rewriting mode. I’ll keep trying because I really do want to have that book out by the 1st of 2017. I find I’ve neglected my story bible and that hampers me when I want to use the name of a highway or a character, I’m having to go back to the published book to get the answers. Not good. I need to build a good reference series bible where I can go look up pertinent info when I need to. Author problems, right?

Giveaways:

2016-christmas-giveaway-my-meme

The Halloween Author Group Giveaway has closed. I’m still trying to contact my 1st prize winner but the 2nd prize winner, Lori Neal Brockman, was contacted. If you didn’t win this time, a new giveaway, Rudolph’s Holiday Giveaway is starting in a day or so. This time, a $120 main prize, lots of author prizes, what’s not to like. And you get the opportunity to find new to you authors. You’ll see my posts on my Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as in these posts and my newsletter. Don’t miss out this time.

writers-colony-press

I’m also going to be on Facebook for an event called Writers Colony Press Holiday Indie Extravaganza. The event runs December 3rd and 4th. Writers Colony Press publishes anthologies for charity. The Longest Night Watch Volumes 1 and 2 are to raise money for Alzheimers. We dedicated them to Terry Pratchett, and Gene Wilder. The other Anthology out is “Stardust Alway’s” for Cancer research, and dedicated to Alan Rickman and David Bowie. And also, to our very dear friend Stacy Whitemire who passed away recently. She will be greatly missed. Find some new to you authors today and do a good deed for charity. Come join our extravaganza. Lots of authors will be on the event page sharing books, contests and fun. You could win a prize, or two! https://www.facebook.com/events/364089737264705/ Click on the Discussion tab.

Shout Out:

nikki_square

On Wednesday, I’ll have my interview with Nikki Haverstock up on this blog. If you’re a cozy mystery fan, you’ll love Nikki and her stories. Can’t wait for the interview? Check out http://nikkihaverstock.com/ to get an introduction and a taste of what she’s writing. You won’t be sorry.

Garden News:

The broccoli is recovering from being critter chewed. New leaves are out and light frosts, though we haven’t had any yet, will not bother the plants. I may get a broccoli spear or two out of these yet. The rest of the garden looks sad though the cherry tomato plants continue to produce. I do have to clean up though. I actually invited people over for Thanksgiving and I’d like the back yard to look presentable, if not pristine. Gumption. Where are you?

Where Will I Be?

Imzy Stickers

Imzy Stickers

Do you follow me on Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other sites? You can find all my links here. I’m also on a new social media site, Imzy.com. The site is now out of beta testing and has opened its doors to everyone. You can follow me there at https://www.imzy.com/connies_random_thoughts. I’ve been posting daily updates on my NaNo progress there including snippets and random pictures. Enjoy.

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:

troubled-streets

Troubled Streets released on October 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! I’m still getting it loaded onto Gumroad and Chatebooks. You can also see all my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. 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.

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My Writing Origin: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour

Owl_using_Computer_by_RedPigeon via DeviantArt.com

Owl_using_Computer_by_RedPigeon via DeviantArt.com

This month’s topic is an origin story. How did I start writing? I’ve always written. Stories for school, a play when I was 13 that the school actually let me produce, fits and starts at books as an adult. The problem was I never knew how to get past the first couple of chapters.

That all changed in 2011. My daughter Elizabeth had moved in with us while she re-evaluated her life, and made friends with a lovely young woman, Jaime Raintree. Jamie is an author and she told Elizabeth about this writing challenge called National Novel Writing Month. She was going to participate and encouraged Elizabeth to do so as well.

Elizabeth told us about this challenge. “Write every day, 1667 words a day, and you’ll win the challenge. I’m going to do it.”

“How hard can that be,” I asked. I should have realized right then that karma was about to give me a boot.

“Hard, mom. If you think it’s so easy you should do it.”

Well, challenge issued and accepted.

I knew I needed a plan. The problem was still that I had no idea how to go about it. Not a problem. Elizabeth had a book, Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I sped read the book as it was already the middle of October and following his suggestions, used the back of the closet door and a lot of sticky notes to plot out my first book, The Bad Seed.

It was hard as those of you who write could have told me back in October. Some days I was completely at a loss. Some days I knew exactly what I wanted to say. By the end of November I had my 50,000 words!

That NaNo was where I found the wonderful people of the Forward Motion writing group and a whole new world of writing. They suggested the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel class. One that I was hesitant to spend the money on but was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Since that November of 2011 I’ve gone on to write and publish 13 books, another, Kindred Spirits, due out soon, and numerous short stories. I post a free flash story every week on my blog, ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

So that’s it! That’s how I got started. Do you write? How did you get started?

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.

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, traveling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com! Up next: L.C. Aisling.

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NaNo Break: Monday Blog Post

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Thankful that Mom will stop in the middle of the road to let me eat. Oatman, AZ by Randy Cockrell

Since my last Monday blog post, it’s been crazy. I managed to get a few words written this week but for the most part, the week, at least concerning NaNo, has been a loss. I’ve only written two days out of the seven. Since today is the 23rd, that means I have only seven days left to get to 50,000 words. On Saturday I had 35.3k finished. That means I need over 2k per day to finish NaNo. I think I can do it. The rest of my month, except for Thanksgiving Day, is appointment free.

I attended for my first time, the Arizona Fair Commission Conference. I’m so glad I went. We’ve not attended, by we, I mean the fair board in general, this conference in years. It was way past time to do so. Several nearby fair managers, have all volunteered to help us out. It was so nice to be among such passionate people. I learned a lot about fairs, entertainment, management and organizational skills specific to fairs. I can’t wait to share it all with the rest of my board.

I taught a writers workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. What a wonderful group of writers. Everyone, no matter their skill level or time as a writer, had excellent points to offer on the topic. I think we all learned a lot! I know I did. I enjoyed meeting a whole new group of writers. They all have such unique points of view. I can’t wait to read more of their work.

I’m compiling a new feature on the site, author interviews. I don’t know about you but as a reader, I’m always on the lookout for authors new to me to read. I think I’ll start the new feature in January. Perhaps one article every other week to start. If you like the feature, please be sure to comment. I have to assume that no comments means that you’re not interested and I’ll drop the feature after a time. So, be sure to let me know what you think of the posts!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway started 1 November. I have a link to the giveaway on my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s also a Youtube video at the bottom of the page to watch. You will love this. 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 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. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I finished getting all of my books but my first (The Bad Seed) up on Chatebooks.com. You can find my books by searching on my name or here’s a direct link. https://www.chatebooks.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=Connie%20Cockrell  I’m very excited to be able to provide multiple platforms for readers to find my work. Chatebooks, as the name implies, is only for ebooks. To get a paperback copy of my books, go to Gumroad.com/ConnieCockrell or to Amazon.com. Both of these platforms can sell both ebooks and paperbacks.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving full of family and friend love and good food.

I published my October 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 November 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, Books tab. 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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Sharing November! A Monday Blog Post

Bookshelf

Bookshelf By Connie Cockrell

I love sharing what’s going on with my writing and my life.

November is an exciting month. As always it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo. I began yesterday with a nice word count of 2200 words, equally two chapters. I think I have a good start, now to keep it going. On Facebook, it’s thankfulness month. I and several other friends of mine post daily things we are thankful for. I suppose I should be mindfully aware everyday of what I’m thankful for but well, life happens. And I’m thankful for that too.

Special this month, the fair (Northern Gila County Fair), has asked me to go to the Arizona Fair Conference. That will be a first for me and it will suck up four days in the middle of November when I should be writing for NaNo! I think I can get writing in even while I’m gone. But more exciting is that this conference is where fairs can book carnivals and other acts and events for their fairs. I’m really looking forward to that.

I’m also teaching a workshop on November 20th, in Camp Verde, AZ on critiquing. I have an entry for that on my Where Will I Be tab on my website. Also where will I be, I’ll be in Avondale November 14th to sell and sign my books. That’s also on the Where I Will Be tab. It’s a full month for me but I think I’m up to the task.

Thanksgiving will be spent at our friends house. Every year they invite friends over for a big pot-luck style feast. It’s always a lot of fun.

My garden needs to be cleaned for the winter but as you can see from above, I’m busy. However, if I can get out there and just do a little each day, I should be done before we get a hard frost or even snow.

Author Friend Boost! Jamie Raintree She has a web fiction story, The Stretch Mark Club. Here’s a description.

Three women, four babies, one week apart. Shea, married just a few months, is still learning about life as a wife when Zoe is born, and hopes that her husband didn’t marry her just because of the two pink lines. Riley’s ex-boyfriend disappeared as soon as he found out she was pregnant, leaving Riley to raise Alexis on her own. Jasmine, the mother of twins, Xavier and Andrea, has been married to Hector for years but despite his initial excitement to have a baby, he refuses to change a single diaper. Follow Shea, Riley and Jasmine as they navigate the world of new motherhood.

Want a free ereader copy of The Stretch Mark Club? Sign up to my newsletter and send me an email at author(at)jamieraintree(dot)com to request it.

She can be also found at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and YouTube.

Writing progress: The Zoe Ohale outline for NaNo is done and I wrote two chapters of it yesterday. There is no progress on Mystery in the Woods but if I finish Zoe Ohale early, I’ll pick this up to work on.

Marketing: In addition to my new Gumroads.com/conniecockrell site where you can buy my work directly from me, I’ve been considering adding a blog post a couple of times a month with author interviews. Would that be of interest to you?

Don’t forget Indie Books Direct at http://indiebooksdirect.com/. The site, free to readers, has a tab that lists all of the authors on the site. The reader just clicks on the author’s name and a link takes them directly to the author’s website or sale page. If you want to find authors in a particular genre, click on one of the several genre pages to find authors that have stories in that genre. It makes things so easy for readers! The site is still under construction but we’d love to have you come browse. Let us know how you like the site. Official grand opening is November 1st!

Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway started 1 November. I’ll give everyone the details for signing up to win free books and prizes as soon as I have them. Better yet, follow me on Facebook at conniesrandomthoughts, or Twitter at ConnieCockrell, and you’ll get the details even faster. Mark your calendar because you won’t want to miss out on this.

Writing news. My story After Math, was rejected by Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show magazine a few days ago. That’s the sixth rejection. I’ve sent it out to Asimov’s Science Fiction. We’ll see how long a reply takes. Cross your fingers for me, everyone.

Other writing news. I’ve been working on an on-line challenge on WritersDigest.com. It’s called the October Platform Challenge. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules. Robert Lee Brewer is the host of this challenge and I started it before I went on vacation. That set me back a long way on completing the daily work but I’ve been catching up. The nice thing is that it’s helping me check my social media platform and I’ve picked up a few things that I should be doing that I haven’t been. One thing is the interviews I mentioned above. Anyway, if you’re running a business, you might want to take this challenge yourself to help you build your social media platform. Robert gives you not only the how, but the why, for each step. I can’t say enough good words about this. It’s really helping me up my game on social media.

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 published my October 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, too. Don’t delay.  You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The November 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 or Gumroads 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.

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Monday Blog Post: Payson Book Festival Report

Main Room, Payson Book Festival, by Randy Cockrell

Main Room, Payson Book Festival, by Randy Cockrell

The first ever Payson Book Festival (www.PaysonBookFestival.org) is over and we’re calling it a success. Authors made sales and met new readers. Visitors found new authors and old favorites. There was music, presentations, workshops, Story Monster, food and books. Lots and lots of books. We are only estimating at this point but we think we had 500 visitors at the festival. We’re very happy of course, but very tired. It turned into a bigger event that we had initially anticipated but the wide variety of authors and things to do, including breakfast and lunch, made the festival a place where many people lingered for quite awhile. Soon we’ll have some festival pictures available to post on the above website. Take a look!

J.A. Marlow and Connie Cockrell talking to Readers photo by Randy Cockrell

J.A. Marlow and Connie Cockrell talking to Readers photo by Randy Cockrell

My personal day statistics? I sold 11 books and passed out my card to many people and chatted with even more. I also had the opportunity to speak with a great many of my fellow authors. I even received an offer of a speaking engagement. I also was able to spend the day with four author friends. Two of them J.A.Marlow (http://jamarlow.com/) and Sunny Lewis shared my table and my friend D’Elen McClain (www.wickedstorytelling.com) was right next door on my right and another, Sharon Langdale, (http://sharonlangdale.com) on my left. It was a fantastic opportunity. Here’s my Amazon Author page link. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009O6199C

Mystery at the Fair is released on Amazon. I’m working on the formatting for Smashwords so I can put it up on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes. See the link at the end to Amazon’s Mystery at the Fair page.

Camp NaNo progresses but after I reached 30K words and with the Book Festival and the Meet and Greet looming, I just couldn’t get any words last week. So, I gave myself permission to take the rest of the week off and got out from under all of the stress I was self-creating. I felt better for it and on Sunday, sat down and wrote. Yay! I won’t make my goal of 50,000 but I may make 40K. Not half bad and Mystery in the Woods will be half done.

I also need to edit my entry in the Forward Motion anthology. I titled it Betrayal Moon. The anthology prompt was rogues and reprobates and I think I found a good protagonist for this prompt. The anthology is due out in October so I need to hurry!

The garden is looking wonderful. I’ve picked more zucchini though the straight neck yellow squash has produced nothing this year. It flowers but I’m getting no fruit. Perhaps I needed two of them? I’m in the process of not watering the bed where the mint has run amok. Letting that bed go until I can dig out all of the mint roots. Sunday I cut a bunch of it out, prepping for the digging. The tomatoes are looking good even though none are ripe yet. So far I’ve picked six hornworms out of the tomatoes. The cantaloupe is looking good though the little pillbugs like to eat it from underneath. I’ll have to take drastic measures. Also on Sunday, I picked a basketful of peaches. The apples must also be ripe because Sunday morning a herd of javalina were in the yard eating all of the low hanging apples. Hubby caught a picture of them.

Javalina eating my Apples. Photo by Randy Cockrell

Javalina eating my Apples. Photo by Randy Cockrell

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I have a special offer going up in my newsletter so sign up today! 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.

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! 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.

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Monday Blog Post: Birthday News

Payson Book Festival, Banner,  Chamber of Commerce

Payson Book Festival Banner at the Chamber of Commerce

There’s only 7 more days until the festival and we’re finalizing all of the tiny details required to be completed before we have our author Meet and Greet on Friday and the Festival on Saturday. Banners have been hung around town. TV, Radio, Blog and Newspaper interviews have been conducted all over Arizona. Posters are up. We’re ready!  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.

So Friday was my birthday. A hiking friend of mine had her birthday a week earlier. We’re the same age. Twins! So we had a joint birthday party on Saturday.  We belong to many of the same groups so we sent out an email to all of our friends to join us. We had a blast. Burgers and dogs, salads, cake, cookies, watermelon and oh, way too much food! Below is a picture from the party.

Birthday Cake, Connie, Ruth

Birthday Cake for Connie and Ruth

Mystery at the Fair is released! I’m happy that I have it done and was able to buy copies to have for the Book Festival. So far it’s only up on Amazon. Soon I’ll have it up on other sites: Apple, Barnes and Noble, and a few others.

Camp NaNo progresses. I’m not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to hold two major functions, release a book, and write 50K in a month but there you go, certifiably crazy. As of today I have over 30,000 words.  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.

The garden is looking wonderful. I’ve picked four zuchinni already and harvested the potatoes. Now I’m in the process of not water the bed where the mint has run amok. I’m going to have to let that bed go until I can dig out all of the mint. The tomatoes are looking good even though none are ripe yet. This is Tomato Hornworm season so I have to carefully examine the plants. The damage a tomato hornworm can do is incredible.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I have a special offer going up in my newsletter, sign up today! Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website.

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! 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 Post: Meet and Greet

Locust, Dark-Raptor

Hello Miss Big Eyes by Dark-Raptor via www.DeviantArt.com

Prompt: Photo of Raphidia mediterranea (a grasshopper looking bug) by andrea hallgass, copywrited photo seen on Flickr Photo Sharing for a writing prompt challenge on Chuck Wendig’s blog, TerribleMinds.com.

 

First Officer Bergid Svensdotter studied her reflection. This was her first official function on her new ship, the Federation of Sentient Species diplomatic ship Asimov and she wanted to appear perfect. Ribbons were aligned on her dress white jacket; no stray hair out of place.

There would be twenty different sentient species at the cocktail party in the ship’s ballroom. All oxygen breathers, thank goodness, Bergid thought. The problems with communicating with methane breathers would be left to another day.

In the ballroom she found Chief Engineer, Rob Busey, a scotch in hand. “Bergid.” He held up his glass. “You ready?”

“A glass of water with lemon, please,” she told the crewwoman behind the bar. “I guess I am.”

“Water! You don’t want something stronger?”

“I do,” Bergid admitted. “But if I drank anything now I’d vomit all over the guest’s shoes.”

“Oh, yeah, you’ve been on battleships your whole career. Not used to the diplomatic thing.” He sipped his scotch. “You’ll get used to it. You had aliens on your ships.”

“We did, but not the more,” she groped for the right word, “exotic ones.”

“You’ll be fine.”

Bergid sipped the water. She didn’t want to screw up.

As the guests arrived, escorted from the teleporter by FSS Asimov crew members, the Captain greeted each one. Then they moved into the room, some for the bar, others greeting guests they knew. Bergid’s job was to mingle. She’d been briefed on the hot button topics for each species and had been supplied with appropriate responses. She was expected to deal with hard line questions and belligerence in a way that maintained the peace.

The first aliens she greeted were from the Koa system. Humanoid in appearance, they were covered in a fine blue fur. She’d served with Koans on her previous ships and found them to be easy to work with.

She placed her empty glass on a passing drinks tray; they hovered all around the room for the convenience of the guests, and moved on to the next group feeling more confident. These were the Einess, humanoid with a definite porcine cast. They were half again the size of a human, aggressive and quick to anger. Incredible fighters, Einess served on FSS battleships but they had a hard time getting along. She spoke a greeting in their language and was treated to what passed for a smile. The Showan, their ambassador, asked her opinion of Einess being granted sole rights to the Aamaz system. This was one of the touchy topics. “I’m sure the FSS council will consider all sides of the proposal, Showan.”

He snorted. “That’s what your Captain said.”

Bergid bowed a fraction. “It is a decision considerably above my rank, Sir.” She knew the Einess were sticklers for rank.

“Fair enough.” He moved with his entourage to the next group.

She breathed a sigh of relief. At least she wasn’t causing a planetary incident. Thinking she’d get a glass of wine, Bergid turned to her left. A foot from her face was the delicate form of a basil iridescent green insectoid species, the Raphidia ambassador.

Bergid flashed back to her childhood. She was outside in the middle of a locust swarm screaming, arms waving as the locusts flew into her hair, ears, eyes, mouth. Shaking, she pulled herself out of that memory and back into the ballroom, stumbling backward two steps. She could feel the sweat start on her forehead. “Um, I beg your pardon, Ambassador.”

She could hear the Ambassador’s chitters but her implanted translator gave her, “My apologies.” It used it’s forelegs to wipe its eyes, all eighteen inches of each of them, from top to bottom in a sign of apology.

“My fault entirely, Ambassador.” She cast around in her panicked brain for a new topic. “Your trip has been productive?”

He signaled to one of his followers. It was a small bronze Raphidia, a quarter the size of the ambassador. “We have secured several trading contracts. One with your own Earth.”

The small creature moved in front of the ambassador. Bergid wondered if the ambassador thought she was a threat. “I’m pleased our two species have found mutual points of agreement, Sir.”

That’s when the ambassador ripped the head from the smaller creature. Ichor spurt from the bronze neck. The ambassador turned the head neck up and with a thin tongue, sucked up the inside as two other bronze Raphidia took the remains away.

Bergid swallowed as her stomach rolled. She could feel her blood pressure drop and she began feel dizzy. “Ah,” she wasn’t going to make it. She vomited on the ambassador’s tiny middle feet.

She could hear the guests gasp. Two crewmen rushed over, grabbed her by the arms and hurried her out of the ballroom. The Captain came into the med bay half an hour later. Bergid leapt to attention. “I’m so sorry, Captain.” She focused on the bulkhead behind him.

Hands on his hips, he scowled. “Damn, Svensdotter, you made quite the show.”

A blush started at her neck and raced up her face.

“What do you have to say?”

“I was traumatized by locusts as a child. When the Ambassador ripped the head off of that little one and started sucking the brains out,” she began to gag again.

The Captain stepped back. When she recovered, he nodded. “Well, that must have been a trial. You knew they eat that sub-species live, right.”

“Yes, Sir. But to actually see it.” She struggled not to gag.

“Yeah, the old bastard does it to all of the new human crew. Thinks it’s funny.”

Relief flooded through her. “I didn’t cause an incident?”

He laughed. “No, but you’re going to have to live with that story.”

“Great.”

The Captain clapped her on the shoulder. “Go back to your cabin. You’ve had enough excitement for the night.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Wish I’d seen it,” he opened the door. “I would have loved to see his feet covered in vomit.”

 

The End

999 Words

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

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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.

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Monday Blog Post: Updates for May

Bird, Rufous-sided Towhee, Randy Cockrell

Rufous-sided Towhee by Randy Cockrell

This month’s challenge is called May Story A Day, May SAD and I committed to write 10 stories for the month and actually shoot for 12. As of the 16th, I have 6 stories written, 5 flashes and a short story. In my other writing group I’m in a 5 minutes per day writing challenge. I’m supposed to write at least 5 minutes per day. I’m keeping up with the 5 minutes of writing per day pretty well. I have missed a day or two but I’ve been diligent about putting something on the screen every day.

Our illness appears to be over. There is still some coughing but we felt well enough to go hiking last Tuesday. Probably not our best move. We hadn’t fully recovered yet and the hike wiped us both out. We’ll be better on this Tuesday, really, we will.

Last week I mentioned that I’ve upgraded my newsletter. I’m also upgrading my website. 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. Go check up the new site and follow that before you lose out on weekly stories and my writing updates!

I have finished content editing Eavesdroppers  but the problem is the story ended up 600 words too long. I’ve been cutting words without cutting the changes however I still have 150 or so words to go. The editors at Silver Jay Media have offered to help me with it and I think I will. Then I’ll go to the line edits.

The Payson Book Festival is now hot and heavy into finalizing author lists and starting up the production of a print program for the event. We have so many great authors, sponsors, and vendors; we hope to get a great program that attendees will treasure for a long time to come. Want to help the book festival this year? Buy an ad! Mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Today’s picture is a rufous-sided towhee sitting on top of the metal hook that holds the hummingbird feeder. A handsome bird.

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!

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