Happy Easter, B2BCyCon, Cozy Winter Reads: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy Easter to all. I hope you had a wonderful day. I went to my brother-in-law’s house with my husband. We had a nice meal, played some games. A good evening out.

Coming April 6th, I’m in an on-line Brains to Books Cyber-Con. There are all sorts of authors in just about every genre participating. The link is www.b2bcycon.com for contests, author panels, and yes, areas for shopping for books. There is also a GoodReads component at  https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/154267-brain-to-books-cyber-convention-fairgrounds.   I have a showcase at (https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/19253368-connie-cockrell-scifi-author) if you’d like to take a look. The con runs from Friday through Sunday and I know it’ll be fun because I participated last year. See you there!

Just a reminder, Mystery at the Fair is in a book bundle called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. The Bundle Rabbit link is:   https://bundlerabbit.com/b/cozy-winter-reads and you can get the bundle in whatever format you’d like. I can hardly wait to read all of these new to me other authors. Hope you enjoy it. Just $7.99 for six books!

If you’d like an Advance Reader Copy of Tested and to write a review for me, go to https://booksprout.co/arc/1639/tested. There are only 18 copies left so hurry. You’ll have to join but it’s free. You can follow me there, so you get updated on every new release!

Giveaways:

The March Fantasy and Mystery giveaways are now closed. I hope you had a chance to get some new to you authors’ books.

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ has started. I’ll announce winners from the St. Patrick’s giveaway as soon as they’re drawn.

Shout Out:

To Phoenix Comic Fest. They have an incredible line up of artists, actors, vendors and more. https://phoenixcomicfest.com/ Tickets are on sale now.  I’ll be there the entire weekend. I’m going to be in Artist’s Alley booths 928 and 930. Hope to see you there.

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

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 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. 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 paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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New Release! Cozy Winter Reads

I mentioned Monday that I’m part of a cozy mystery bundle with Mystery at the Fair. It’s been released!

A bundle of six cozy mystery books to read by the fire while the storm rages outside! The perfect way to spend cold winter nights.

You can find it here, on Bundle Rabbit. Or at any of the other links on the page (scroll down to see them all!) Just $7.99 for all six books!

I think you’re going to like them!

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Happy President’s Day, Cozy Mystery Bundle, Painting: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy President’s Day to all. I hope you have the chance to hang out with family and friends and have a fun, relaxing day.

Painting by Connie Cockrell

Last week I mentioned that I was going to a painting class. Well, I did. I had a wonderful time with 11 other artists and the scope, breadth and quality of the work being produced was just wonderful. Now I will admit it’s been nearly 40 years since I’ve picked up a paint brush, but you can see my picture, while not perfect, came out pretty well. I now have it hanging in my living room. I encourage each of you to give something new a try.

I’m still working on It’s All About the Odds but I’m nearly done. This series won’t get published until I have the entire thing written and edited. That way readers won’t have to wait so long to get them.

Big news for those of you who love my cozy mystery series, Jean Hays. I’ve been selected to participate in a cozy mystery bundle over on the Bundle Rabbit site. The book is going to be called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. I think you’ll enjoy it. I’ll post the link to it when it’s published. We’re working on selecting a cover right now. In the meantime, check out BundleRabbit.com for other stories, mysteries or whatever genre you enjoy.

Giveaways:

The Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway now over.  Winners will be chosen soon and notified. Then, check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the next contest, the 2018 Authors/Bloggers St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

I want to give a shout out to author P.D. Workman who is the driving force behind the cozy mystery bundle I’m in.

Author P.D. Workman

For as long as she can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure for Workman.  She has samples of stories and booklets that go back to her early childhood.  Workman collected notebooks of all shapes and sizes with plans to fill them with words and stories.  By grade four, she discovered that inventing a story in her head could rival the joy of reading one from a book.  She wrote and bound a series stories about a rabbit, painstakingly typed on her dad’s Selectric typewriter and illustrated by tracing pictures.

In grade five, Workman spent a lot of leisure time creating a Narnia-like world of her own.  She drew pictures of it… unicorns, rainbows, forests, mountains in the distance.  There were six meals a day (probably influenced by The Hobbit,) with names like nibble and munch.  She didn’t write a word of the story, though she imagined the plot line, which included her arrival in the land via a pair of magical red tennis shoes.

In grade six, Workman had a language arts teacher who had a box full of pictures to use as story prompts, and the class would write a creative writing story every Friday.  Workman loved it.  She wrote a number of stories about a pair of magical black dogs with glowing eyes.  In grade seven she continued to enjoy creative writing at school, much of it about horses, her new obsession as she read every book in the Black Stallion series.  She started to write her first full-length novel, a classic plot line about a class of school children who get marooned on a deserted tropical island.  No, no Lord of the Flies.  It was all about survival. She went to a young writer’s conference and talked about it.  She read it to the kids she babysat.  But she never finished it.

At the age of twelve, Workman finally did it, she wrote her first complete novel.  It was full of fantastic ideas.  It was the spring board for many other stories and books over the next few years.

Over the years, family and friends had encouraged her publish.  But she wrote for herself, for the joy of creating characters and experiencing their lives.   Most people didn’t even have any idea that Workman wrote. A few times, she took up the pen and dabbled with contacting publishers, submitting to contests, etc., but each time, the joy disappeared, and the creative juices dried up.  So, Workman went back to her hermit-like writing existence, proclaiming that her estate could publish her work after her death. Not until 2013 did Workman finally decide to publish her work, and she has been enjoying the process very much.

When not writing, Workman is a devout wife and a mother of one.  She was born and raised in Alberta, Canada.  She is a homeschooler and an executive assistant.  She has a passion for art and nature, creative cooking for special diets, and running.  She loves to read, to listen to audio books, and to share books out loud with her family.  She is an acknowledged technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools to make her writing and work easier and more fun.  In person, she is far less well-spoken than on the written page. She tends to be shy and reserved with all but those closest to her and prefers communicating by e-mail and text rather than phone calls or face-to-face visits. Her sociable husband and son help keep her from becoming a complete recluse!

You can find her at https://pdworkman.com/ where you can find more of her works.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts 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.

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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Author Interviews: Anna Payne

Author Anna Payne

I’m very pleased to bring Anna Payne, Christian Cozy Mystery author to the website today. Anna K Payne loves a mystery. Her favorite movies include one-liners and things that explode. Her relationship with her Savior is her number one priority and her family come second. Her passion and vision is to inspire hope, encourage others, love richly, and listen well through the strength of Jesus Christ. She seeks to inspire and encourage through her devotionals and cozy mysteries as well as aiding her family of writers publish their own books.

Anna, let’s get started!

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

I love my kids, my cats, and I love reading. I love keeping up with extended family throughout the world.

Because of my food allergies and a constant struggle with digestive issues I have developed a keen interest in a healthy diet, supplements, and essential oils.

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

So many bible characters come to mind, Jesus, the Father, but I think my grandfathers would be interesting. Both of my grandfathers have a sense of humor and they loved telling stories. And I enjoyed listening. If I could spend an afternoon with them and hear them speak of the glories of heaven, it would be fun. I’d like to joke with them and laugh with them again.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I drink a glass of Masala tea every morning, then I can have decaf tea. But mostly I drink water with essential oils.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m still in editing mode right now. I’m finishing my latest novella, Rose, Book 6 of Planted Flowers Christian cozy mystery series. I’m creating a bible study workbook to use with the series.

In the next few months, I will edit and reissue on of my grandmother’s book of family history, help my mom publish her first book on the fruit of the Spirit, and edit several books I’ve written in another series, Matthew’s Matchmakers. Before the end of the year I hope to work on a Santa Clarita valley time travel suspense novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style is a fast paced Christian suspense with surprising twists. I tell stories of faith, hopeless humanity, and how they discover hope.

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

Write down your ideas and start putting words on paper (or screen). Be bold, learn how to edit a book, and write what thrills you.

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

Most of my ideas come from off-hand remarks people make. For some reason, I see a story behind most conversations. And I can hear the sinister overtones where everyone else sees a peaceful vista.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

My main website is www.apayne.com and you can find the other sites from there. You can download free books at https://www.instafreebie.com/author/AnnaKPayne

Thank you so much Anna, for visiting with us today.

And gentle readers, check out Anna’s site, social media and free books. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Author Interviews: Maggie West

Author Maggie West

Author Maggie West

We have with us today the wonderful author, Maggie West. Maggie is a woman after my own heart writing several series in different genres. West is the author of the Antique Pickers in Paradise cozy mystery series and the Lily Thistle cozy mystery series, the Doorways to the Past time travel series, and several romance books. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to craft and sew, keep her kitten out of trouble (oh boy, good luck with that!), and take walks where she dreams up new stories.

I certainly appreciate your time, Maggie. Let’s get started!

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

I love looking for treasures at yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. I particularly love to find vintage items, like linens, kitchenware, and just anything that strikes my fancy.

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

I’d love to spend 10 minutes with Martin Short. A whole afternoon? Yeah! He’s a hoot and a half! I know it would be a fun afternoon since I’d spend it laughing.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Coffee. Definitely coffee. I sometimes drink warm herbal tea on cold nights. I gave up soda several years ago and now the stuff tastes awful to me!

picked-to-death-cover

4. What are you working on right now?

The third book in my antique pickers cozy mystery series. It’s tentatively called Picked On.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Straightforward with a touch of humor.

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

Keep writing. Like with anything else, the more you practice, the better you get.

7. 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 get lots of good ideas from watching people and listening in on conversations. So in a sense I find new ideas by being out and about, but I don’t purposely seek out experiences so I can write about them. They seem to come about from my own experiences and being observant.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

My website is MaggieWestBooks.com, and I can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MaggieWestAuthor.

Well I certainly appreciate finding new cozy mystery and time travel stories. Thank you so much, Maggie.

Readers, I hope you take the time to visit Maggie’s lovely pages and give her a lot of support. Thank you so much for being with us today.

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Author Interviews: J.B. Hawker

 

Author J.B. Hawker

Author J.B. Hawker

I’m very pleased to bring to you today Author J.B. Hawker. J.B. is a fellow cozy mystery author, currently living in the wilds of Northern California. J.B. is a woman of a certain age with a lot of living behind her, who looks forward to all the great adventures ahead.

J.B. mines the richness of her history as a pastor’s wife in small communities all over the Western United States to people her not-quite-cozy mystery/thrillers. (If you’ve ever attended a small town church, you may even recognize some of the characters.)

Writing from a Christian perspective, her stories include men and women at all stages in their faith walk, along with some truly scary villains.

I’m ready to get to know, J.B., aren’t you? Let’s get to it.

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

Gardening. I love to dig in the dirt and then enjoy the fruits (and veg and flowers!) of my labors. There is something so elemental about growing things. It is the perfect antidote for a high-tech lifestyle.

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

This is easy: my three granddaughters, ages 15, 6 and 5. They live in northern Italy, so I don’t see them in person often enough. Skype just isn’t the same.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Strong black tea with milk in the morning gets my engine started, then I take a cup of latte to my desk to begin writing. I almost never drink soda, but I like minty lemonade on a hot summer day.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m unwisely juggling three projects: a non-fiction resource for women’s ministry leaders, a collection of Christmas-themed short-stories, and the first book of my new Mrs. Thistlethwaite series, Mrs. Thistlethwaite and the Magpie, coming out in 2017.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I write from my own heart and experience. I try to create authentic characters I would like to spend time with. I try not to take myself too seriously, so there are bits of gentle humor in all my stories. I can be a bit dark, on occasion, but only when the story calls for it. I do write mysteries, after all, and that means bad guys.

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

Fear not. That’s the first thing. It’s both easier and harder than you think, but don’t let the enormity of the task paralyze you. Learn as much as you can about your craft, then just write, proof, edit and rewrite, but don’t wait for perfection before publishing or you’ll never think your work is ready for prime time.

7. 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’ve been around the block quite a few times, so I’ve got enough stored experiences for a library of books. Occasionally, it will be a new adventure, like a trip to Italy, say, which sparks the writing ideas, but most often it is simple, day-to-day events which recall past experiences to mind.  I frequently write about pastors, their wives, and church life because I was a pastor’s wife for twenty-five years. I’ve lived all over, so those locations also find their way into my writing.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Website: http://jbhawker.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JBHawker.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HawkerJB

Blogs: Power Walking with Jonna (Inspirational): https://jonnaturek.wordpress.com/

Author Blog: http://jbhawker.com/category/author-blog/

And special news. 

kindle-christmas-325-dpi

I just released a collection of cozy short stories for Christmas (along with recipes). I’m attaching the cover and this is the link. It’s only 99 cents through Christmas Eve. Here’s the link

Thank you so much J.B. for taking the time to be with us today.

Fellow readers, I invite you to visit J.B. on any of her pages. I’m sure there’s a cozy mystery just waiting for you there. And what a bargain on her new Christmas book! Get that today while it’s on sale.

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Author Interviews: Nikki Haverstock

Author Nikki Haverstock

Author Nikki Haverstock

I’m so happy to introduce fellow cozy mystery author, Nikki Haverstock to Author interviews, today.

Nikki Haverstock is a writer who lives on a cattle ranch high in the Rocky Mountains. She has studied comedy writing at Second City and has published 6 cozy mysteries that are heavy on the humor.

Before fleeing the city, she hosted a competitive archery reality show, traveled the world to study volcanoes, taught archery and computer science at a university and now works on her family’s ranch herding cattle. Nikki has more college degrees than she has sense and hopefully one day she will put one to work.

Nikki likes to write comedy pieces that focus on the everyday humor of one-uppers, annoying humans and the strange behavior of the ultra-rich. She tried stand up but the cattle weren’t impressed.

Welcome Nikki and thank you so much for coming on Author Interviews. Let’s start dishing!

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

I would say archery. I have been competing in recurve target archery (like what you see in the Summer Olympics) for 16 years. I have coached most of that time but since I am not coaching right now, I suppose it is mostly a hobby.

Additionally, I have a ton of crafty hobbies.  I’ve quilted since high school (with the fabric stash to prove it), I take pictures of everything and I melt glass with a torch to make glass beads.

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

Tina Fey. I have a great deal of respect for how she has carried herself while not only being a comedy writer but also a performer. If you haven’t read her memoir, go grab it.

Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling are also top contenders, notice a pattern?

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I am 7 months pregnant so right now it’s lots and lots of water with small glasses of juice here and there and one precious cup of coffee that I savor.  Before I was pregnant, I was drinking a lot of coffee. A big part of coffee drinking was the ritual of getting up from the desk, getting a cup (with a very generous helping of cream) and letting my mind wander while I sipped.

lights-camera-murder-ebook-web-size

4. What are you working on right now?

Being pregnant is taking up a lot of my energy but I am thankful that I can still work.  The second book of my Reality TV Cozy mysteries is in edits while I am writing the rough draft of my Target Practice Mysteries sixth book.  Plus I have two co-writing secret project for 2017 that I am plotting with fellow authors.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Wholesome and Funny.  I want my books to be safe, fun little adventures that make you smile.

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

Read, write, revise and repeat.

7. 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 am naturally curious so I am learning new things all the time (mostly when I am avoiding real work) but most of my ideas come not from deliberate research but from stumbling across something that sparks an idea.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RancherNikki

Website: http://nikkihaverstock.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RancherNikki

Instagram: https://www.youtube.com/user/RancherNikki

I love it! Especially the tiny chihuahua peeking out from around the woman on your cover! Thank you so much, Nikki, for stopping by my blog today and telling us a little bit about yourself. Good luck on all of your “new releases”!

And so, gentle reader, stop by one of Nikki’s pages and say hi! There will have to be a baby picture posted somewhere. LOL.

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Cover Art Inspirations: Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour

Mystery at the Fair New Cover2

Mystery at the Fair, New Cover!

Cover art is such a personal thing, isn’t it? For me, cover art that screams SciFi will draw me in any time. Spaceships seeming to scream through space, exploding planets, people adrift in space in space suits. Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. But what about other genre’s. I read widely, what attracts me to those other stories?

I’m not sure I can answer that. I’d off-handedly say the covers have nothing to do with it but marketers will statistically prove me wrong. I like adventure, spy stories, mysteries, even the odd western will catch my eye. Was it the cover or the back cover blurb? Many will say I was drawn in by the cover art.

But cover art, now that’s an arcane wizardry. Last year I wrote my first cozy mystery. I mostly do my own covers so I did a search on Amazon for cozy mysteries and found a mix of cartoon characters and English cottage gardens as covers. I shrugged. Neither of those were what I wanted for a cover that evoked Arizona, serious, or murder. The book was called Mystery at the Fair.

Not surprisingly, I decided on a fair ride picture hubby had taken years ago. I cut it out of the picture, pixilated it a bit to make it “cartoonish” and placed it, stand alone, against an Arizona yellow background. This year I hear from a trusted author friend, that the cover is killing me. While I trust this friend’s judgment, she is a much better author than I am, I reached out to another author, even more powerful.

Now this second author isn’t a personal friend. I frequent her blog site. I’ve been responding to her posts for a few years now. I did not expect an answer but this author is so nice, she actually responded to my question (and with associated links so she could see what I was talking about). Yep, you guessed it. She confirmed my first friend’s assessment. My cover sucked for the genre.

Now I hate those cutsie cartoon covers for cozy mysteries. No matter it’s a cozy, it’s a mystery. A death is involved. I think the cover should be more serious but I will defer to those smarter and savvier than I am.

Here’s the best part. My first author friend, out of the kindness of her heart, found some time in her overwhelming schedule and made me not only one cover for my existing book but one for my upcoming follow-on book as well. Am I blessed or what!?!?

The new covers rock! She even sent me all of the elements so I can recreate the ebook covers she made into wrap-around covers for my print books. I have everything I need to create a branded series because I’ve already started outlining the third book in the series. I’m not even going to address how she turned what I already in the way of blurbs and log lines into a fantastic tag line for the whole series.

I’m excited to recover/rebrand my first book and the subsequent books. You can tell me covers don’t matter but I’ve been up close and personal with my covers and I’m a new convert. Yes, covers DO matter.

How about you? Do you remember a cover that just sucked you right into the book? Please share!

Kindred Spirits released March 14th! I’m so 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. 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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Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: What have I learned from other story-telling genres?

Fair Ride

Fair Ride

I’m an eclectic writer. While I love SciFi and write in that genre often, I don’t limit myself to just that form. What that means is, I need to be consciously aware of the tropes, the expectations, if you will, of every genre I write in.

A good example is my latest book, Mystery at the Fair. I’ve been reading mysteries and thrillers since I was a teen, right along with my SciFi and Fantasy. But I was never conscious of what it was about those stories that made them a mystery, rather than a SciFi or a Fantasy.

Of course, there’s the mystery. That much is obvious. But what makes it a mystery? Readers expect one thing from a mystery and something else from a SciFi. In my case I’ve written a cozy mystery, so the person doing the sleuthing is not a police officer or detective. I had to work to tease those expectations from my memory. There needs to be danger for my main character, she needs to have a self-interest in finding out who committed the murder. The mystery has to hold all the way through the book and there has to be a twist. The murderer cannot be the first person the reader expects, or even the second or third. Who are the other suspects? Why are they suspects, what are they hiding?

I had a lot of help from my editor. He kept making me go back and ramp up the tension, the mystery, and make sure everything tied together at the end.

So my major take-away from this last book is to be more aware of the reader’s expectations for the genre I’m writing.

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, travelling 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: Jean Schara

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Flash Fiction Friday: Fall Hike

See Canyon Fall Hike by Randy Cockrell October 2014

See Canyon Fall Hike by Randy Cockrell October 2014

Jean Hays was doing what she came to Arizona for, hiking. The fall colors here were muted, for the most part. Yellow dominated the central mountains fall color scheme unless you hiked down into a canyon. Then, the hiker saw all the colors of an Eastern fall day. Fallen leaves rustled underfoot and the smell was pure autumn, dusty, leafy, and woodsy. The sky was cloudless and she didn’t have a name for the color, but only was seen in October.

Her hiking partner was her friend, Karen Carver. They’d first met when Jean joined the Hise County Fair board. Karen was a Superintendent at the fair in charge of Homemaking Arts. They’d hit it off right away. The Fair was over for the year. It was time to enjoy the countryside.

The stream bed they’d been following had a trickle of water in it. It caught the sky above and reflected that glorious blue. Red and yellow maple leaves floated along with the water. When they came to a small pool, Jean called a break. Karen slipped her pack from her back and pulled out a well used Girl Scout sit-upon.

“Looks like you’ve had that awhile,” Jean said when she saw Karen spread it on a fallen tree trunk.

“I have.” She sat down and pulled a granola bar from her pocket. “It was my daughter, Peggy’s. It’s still good, so I use it. I don’t know if she even remembers I still have it.” She looked at what Jean was pulling out of her pack. “What’s that?”

“I cut up a foam floating mat to fit in the back of my pack. It’s the perfect size, good protection from wet, cold,” she examined a snag on the trunk and moved down a few inches, “and sharp things.” She pulled a baggie of Sungold cherry tomatoes out of the pack. “The last of the garden cherrys, want some?” Jean held out the bag.

Karen took four and popped one in her mouth. “Oh my, those are so good.”

Jean pulled a water bottle from the pack outside pocket and drank. Her eyes focused on something on the opposite side of the pool. “That doesn’t look natural.”

She walked around the pool and scrambled part way up the canyon’s side to a tree. “It’s a duffle bag,” she called down to Karen. “It’s a big duffle.”

“Who’d carry a duffle bag on a hike?” Karen wondered.

Jean tugged at it. It came loose from where it had lodged against the tree and rolled down the slope. The rotten canvas, discolored and moldy, split open when it hit a rock. Jean slipped down the hill and looked inside. “Oh my, God.” She danced away from the bag, back around the pool and stood panting beside Karen, now standing.

“What’s wrong?”

Jean stared at the bag. “It’s a body.”

#

Two hours later Greyson Chief of Police Nick White was standing with the women while police officers, EMT’s and Search and Rescue people milled around the area. “Two bodies in two months, Ms. Hays. I think that’s a record.”

Jean shrugged, annoyed with him. She’d found a body at the fair in September and stirred the whole town up. What could she say? It wasn’t her fault.

“In fairness, Chief,” Karen interceded for her friend. “We were just enjoying the day.”

“Huh,” he grunted. He pointed up the side of the canyon were police officers were taking pictures and measurements. “So you just pulled on it, it rolled down hill, hit the rock and split open?”

“Yeah.” She looked up at the sky, still blue but now spoiled somehow. “I grabbed the left end of the bag, where it’s cleaner than the rest. My feet were slipping on the leaves so I didn’t have a lot of control over it.” Jean still wasn’t over how he’d treated her during the Fair murder. It was as though he thought she was a bubble head or something. His tone of voice irked her now.

The coroner called out. “We have ID in the bag, Chief.”

“What’s the name?”

“Anson Prentiss. License is from 2003, 42 years of age, 5 ft 11 inches. Address is in Greyson.”

Nick White sighed. “Not going to look good on our stats, two murders in one year.”

Jean’s right eyebrow raised. Karen whispered, “I’ll explain later.”

“OK, get him to the morgue. Give the address to Boles, he can go check it out.” He turned to Jean and Karen. “You’re free to go. We have your statements.”

The women pulled on their packs and hiked out the way they came in. “What do you think?” Jean asked her friend.

“Anson Prentiss doesn’t ring a bell. But you know Greyson has a lot of new people move in each year. Or he could have been a summer person. Who knows?”

“Do you know the address?” Jean asked.

Karen stopped in the middle of the trail and turned around to stare at her friend. “Seriously? After the last time? You want to get involved?”

“Sure, why not?” Jean’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “If only to annoy Chief White. The guy’s attitude bugs me.”

Karen rolled her eyes and turned to continue hiking. “Yeah, I know the address, well, sort of. It’s in the old part of town, on the northeast side. You really want to go there?”

“Why not? We can just drive by; we don’t have to knock on the door or anything.” She grinned even though Karen couldn’t see her. We solved the last murder, didn’t we? We’ll just look, I promise.”

That statement made Karen snort. Jean could see her shake her head. “OK, we’ll drive by. That’s it.”

“Hoo!” Jean whooped. “We can stop for ice cream afterward.”

 

The End

962 Words

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

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