Unexpected Death, Camp National Novel Writing Month, Petrified Forest: Monday Blog Post

California Poppies Bloom Along the Streets

Newest News:

A women’s group I belong to had an unexpected shock last Sunday. A member of our group died unexpectedly, and she was only found as her family called the police to do a welfare check, as no one could reach her. She was found, deceased, in her home. The majority of the women in that group are over 60, a couple are over 80. The friend’s death has hit us all pretty hard. First of all the member who passed was a bundle of energy, joy, and willing to share everything she had with others. Hers is a great loss to not only our group but to the community as a whole as she was a very active volunteer. On the other side of that has been a hard look at our own mortality. While most of us have husbands and partners, a few of our group live alone. What to do if something happens? We’re mulling that over. Perhaps a quick check in spot to let everyone know we’re still up and moving. We don’t know and the shock of our friend’s passing makes it difficult to think about our own “what if” scenario. I ask you to look at your lifestyle. Are you proudly independent? Good. But what will happen if you fall in the shower, or, like another friend of mine, trip over your dog going down the stairs? Will someone come calling or looking for you that day? The next? Have a plan. “Help. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” isn’t funny any longer. It could and has happened in my own social circle more than once. Like a good scout or 4H’er, Be Prepared!

My story and my poetry suffered last week. I did nothing. Ambition had fled. However, I’m more encouraged for this week to come. Several thousand words on my story, and catching up on my poems a day are on my list of things to accomplish.

Petrified Wood from April 2019

Thursday the husband and I will travel to the Petrified Forest, here in Arizona. We’re caravanning with other local hikers. I’ve been to the forest a few times now, but several in the group have never been. It will be our first trip away from home since March 2020. I’m looking forward to it. Do you have travel plans for the summer? Let us know in the comments.

Please be careful out there. Weather can turn nasty, accidents can happen, illness can overtake us. Till we can meet in person, stay at home when you can and wear a mask when you go out.


The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway over. As soon as the administrator pulls the winners, I’ll let you know who won.

Our Spring giveaway is now live. New with this giveaway is a video graphic to show the books and prizes. How cool is this! Big thanks to Lynn Lamb, one of our administrators, for this lovely graphic. Check out the link at https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ to enter.


Where will I Be?

On May 13th at 2pm Arizona time, I’ll be on the podcast with Laurie Fagan on her show, AZ Creates. It’s a lovely podcast and as soon as I have the link for my interview, I’ll put it up. In the meantime, enjoy her show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teajmtQ4-90&feature=youtu.be. Note, Karen Landau is a mystery author right here in my town! How great is that!

On July 17th, I’ll be at the Payson Book Festival! Yes!! That’s correct! The Payson Book Festival is now a GO! Details are being resolved, but you’ll be able to visit us, in person, meet authors, and have some fun picking out your next books to read. See more at http://www.PaysonBookFestival.org.


Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming. Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!


Newest Releases:

Creature in the Night, a short Halloween, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Fantasy story has been published. It is up on Amazon, in Kindle Unlimited or for purchase at $.99. 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 or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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

Death in the Desert: Friday Flash Fiction Post



I shook my water bladder, empty. How could it be empty? It had three liters of water in it. I felt my pack. Wet. The bladder leaked, obviously. With no water to put in it I couldn’t tell where it was leaking from. A pinhole of some sort probably. That didn’t help me now. I was about eight miles out from the nearest trailhead and the sun was beating down. The tiny thermometer on the back of my pack read ninety-six degrees. Just looking at that empty bladder made me thirsty.

I put the bladder back in my pack and pulled out my map. Maybe there was a water source nearby. After careful scrutiny the answer was no. I was going to have to hike out to that nearest trailhead and hope for help. The trailhead was twenty-six miles from nowhere. I sighed, folded the map and put it back in the map pocket. I hoped people were there.

Pack back on my back, I trudge off along the trail. Thinking about all the survival shows I’ve seen I wonder if there is something I can do to increase my chances. First, people do know where I am. That’s the first positive thing. Second, I’m an experience backpacker. Another point in my favor. A point against, I’m hiking alone. If I had another person, odds would be likely that their water supply was just fine and we could share. Too bad for me. No one was free to backpack with me this week so I came alone.

I stumble on the rocky path and nearly skewer myself on an agave. Pay attention, klutz. Anyway, I get around that and continue my inventory of possible tactics. No drinking cactus water, that will kill a person. All of those old movies just made that up. This is a popular trail—someone or someones may happen along and give me a hand. Unfortunately, it’s a weekday, so less likely of any traffic.

Crossing a dry wash I remember a popular TV survival show and the host digging in a curve for water. I look around. The wash runs straight across the landscape like someone dug it on purpose. No curves for water to pool in or sink down. I climb back out and keep going.

At noon I find a lone mesquite tree and settle in its meager shade. Two miles down, six to go to the trailhead. I dig out a food bar and stare at it. Do I want to eat this dry? Isn’t there some sort of requirement that the stomach needs water to process anything I eat? I don’t know. Food is fuel but if my body needs water to process the food, am I just hurting myself? I put the bar back in the pack. I’ll die of dehydration long before I die of hunger. I could stand to lose a little weight anyway.

While I rest I try and remember other tips. Maybe I shouldn’t be walking in the sun in the daytime. Don’t the border jumpers travel at night? Stupid. I should hang out here and wait till sundown to travel. Encouraged by this thought I dig my space blanket out of my emergency bag and rig it to the tree for shade. I unroll my sleeping pad and lie down. I could use a nap anyway.

Hours later I wake. The sun is going to set soon. The thermometer reads one-hundred and three degrees. I pack everything up and start hiking, headlamp handy in a side pocket of my pack. This should work, right? Just hike on out to the trailhead. Simple.

Even with the headlamp, three hours after sunset, I stumble over the rocks. Twice I’ve run into cactus spines overhanging the trail. My pants are torn and both legs now have long, bloody scratches. Slow down, missy. Don’t make mistakes. I stop to rest, my knees sore from jolting along the trail. I find a small pebble and wipe as much dirt off of it as I can and pop it in my mouth to suck. It’ll keep the saliva flowing at any rate. I check my scratches. They’ve stopped bleeding.

Break over, I get going again. I find it hard to estimate my mileage. Still, it’s been five hours since sunset. Estimating a mile an hour in the dark, I should be close to the trailhead. At least the night is cooler, about eighty degrees. I thank my lucky stars and keep going.

After another hour, I stop to assess. Where’s the trailhead? I’m on the trail, I’ve seen the markers and cairns. A butterfly of panic begins to move in my stomach. Stop it. Take a breath. Maybe you’re going slower than you think. Keep going. The map says it’s on this trail.

Trudging on, stomach growling, I keep alert. I don’t want to miss any directional sign. I tuck the pebble into my cheek. I’m thirsty, the pebble isn’t fooling my body. It wants water. Now. The panic butterfly, I imagine it black with scarlet markings, is still stirring. I resist the urge to cry. Don’t be a baby. Keep walking.

When the sun comes up, I reassess. I’m on the trail, but there’s no sign of the trailhead. I pull out my phone. If I’m close, maybe there’s a cell signal. No bars. I swallow and put the phone away. The landscape is flat but I can see what has to be the Superstitions in the distance. Desert birds are singing the sun up but I don’t see anything to be happy about. I’m lost while on the trail. Not good.

Should I back track? Maybe I missed the sign? Go on? The map says the next trailhead is sixteen miles away. I’ll never make it.


The recovery team covered the body on the stretcher. “Too bad, really. She was just a mile from the trailhead.”




Thank You!

987 Words

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