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.


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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.

A Friend Visit: Monday Blog Post

Me on the left and friend J.A. Marlow on the right at Montezuma's Castle National Monument

Me on the left and friend J.A. Marlow on the right at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument

Have you had a close friend visit you? One that hasn’t been to your area before? I love it! I get to show off the best stuff in my town and surrounding countryside. All the best tourist stuff. All the best restaurants. Saturday we went to the Montezuma Castle and then the Montezuma Well. Okay, look them up, central Arizona, Verde Valley! Anyway, we felt a nosh coming on and supper with brother-in-law many hours away. So we stopped in the tiny town outside of Montezuma’s Well called Rimrock, AZ, and stopped in this restaurant we’ve never been to before. It’s called Vintage Café on the left side of the road as you drive to Montezuma’s Well. It’s also in a depression, only the sign sticking up. Do not let that deter you. This is a fabulous place. It’s in a new building with a fantastic patio. The interior is hallmarked with black and white checks which the wait staff uniforms reflect. They are knowledgeable and friendly. Even before I tasted the food I could tell from the menu that I wanted that place transported to my town of Payson. The chef is knowledgeable with food allergies, I’m celiac after all. As I expected after just seeing the restaurant and the menu, the food was To. Die. For. Hubby had an appetizer (we were having his brother over in just 4 hours for dinner) of chicken wings. He pronounced them the best he had ever had. My friend and fellow author, J.A. Marlow, http://jamarlow.com/,  had a BBQ sandwich which she absolutely loved. I ordered an appetizer of 3 mini-tacos, filled with barbeque pork topped with a jalepeno slaw and it came with a small side salad of red and green cabbage, sweet dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and a finely chopped green which may have been kale but I’m just guessing. It was delicious! The best little side salad I think I’ve ever had. Best of all it was not drowning in dressing. I love that light touch. The mini taco’s were not too spicy, despite the jalapeno warning. Anyway, I’m totally recommending this place. Drive a long way, it’s worth it.

You all, I was on coolerbs.com site last week and I loved it. He has such a great blog. Did you miss it? Not to worry. Check out http://coolerbs.com/2016/02/17/connie-cockrell-what-it-means-to-be-a-writer/ and read my guest blog. Check out the rest of his site while you’re there. He’s a great guy and a wonderful author. Stay tuned for his guest blog to my site!

Since I’ve had company I haven’t gotten into my final edit and the formatting for Kindred Spirits. I know! I seem like such a powerhouse! Still, I’m only one person and there are only 24 hours in a day. I’ll get it done, I promise. Time is about out for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today! You’ll want to get this in advance of your friends.

Just to let you know, the next Author Interview is Wednesday, the 24th, with the fabulous D’Elen McClain (http://wickedstorytelling.com/). I was so pleased when she agreed to be one of my author interviews. Watch for it on Wednesday!

I’ve not mentioned the Payson Book Festival in awhile. The second year is definitely on and planning is going full throttle. New this year is a pre-event, a poetry slam for the youth of the area to be held sometime in June. Organized by the Arizona Humanities Council, it’s being supported by not only the Payson Book Festival but by the Payson Ministerial Christian Fellowship. They’re publicizing and fully supporting this opportunity for the youth of this area to become involved in the expression of the written and spoken word. Not only that! We’re having a special event for authors arriving early with a workshop on publishing. We’ll have a panel of publishers here to talk about the current state of publishing and answering our author’s questions. These are two wonderful additions to the festival and we couldn’t be more happy to add them to our calendar of events.

It’s still February and even in central Arizona that means a slow growth time. However, those sprouts in the deep garden bed are certainly green onions. I have begun watering since there hasn’t been any precipitation here for at least three weeks. I’ll have to water out in the front yard too as the lavender is growing and the one flower pot out front has hyacinth. But they’ve migrated to the bottom of the pot. What that means is that they expend all of their energy getting shoots to the surface. I get no flowers. A disappointment. Why don’t I dig them up and get them nearer the surface? Because I have marigold seed scattered across the top of the soil. If I disturb the soil, I lose the marigold. If I leave the pot as is, I lose the hyacinth. It’s a difficult decision.

Used my new patio door for Saturday’s dinner with brother-in-law and my friend. I LOVE being able to get in and out of the door with trays without turning sideways. So happy with my decision to have the work done.

Our new giveaway is called Luck O’ The Authors. This is going to end at midnight St. Patrick’s Day. That means a lot fewer contestants. Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. Even if you’ve sighed up for all of the authors, there are daily ways to win. Check it out!

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’m about to send out my February 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 shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on great offers. Sign up now.

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. 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.

Spotlight: Seleana Laurence: Hidden

I’m trying something new this week, a spotlight on another writer’s work. I haven’t done this before so let me know how you like it.

Many thanks to Brianna Soloski for this post info. Check out her blog GirlSeeksPlace at: http://girlseeksplace.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/spotlight-hidden-2/

I’ve personally read this book and it is well done. It’s on sale this week so go ahead and check it out!

HiddenTourButtonHIDDENcoverSynopsis: Nick Carlisle comes to Hawaii to hide—from what happened during his service in Afghanistan, from relationships, from his future. Lyndsey Anderson came to Hawaii to hide too—from the man who abused her, from the sacrifices she made, from her dark past. But when Nick meets Lyndsey, Hawaii gets a whole lot hotter, and they find they can’t hide their hearts. As Nick fights to come to terms with what he’s done, Lyndsey struggles to forgive herself for the choices she’s made. But when the dangerous past threatens the beautiful present, can they survive to learn how to love? And who will finally reveal what’s hidden?
Add Hidden on Goodreads.

SelenaLaurenceAuthor bio: I love to write romantic stuff that helps you get away. Life can be a grind, and things like jobs and school and dirty dishes make Jill a dull girl – and me too! So, I write Contemporary and New Adult romances about hot guys and smart girls and cool places. It’s an Escape from the Everyday.

Find Selena on:

Facebook    Goodreads     Twitter    Blog

Purchase links:


Hidden is on sale for 99c this week only!

Memorial Day

I did a Facebook post this morning specifically acknowledging the immediate members of my family who have or are currently serving in the military. I didn’t mention my husband’s brothers; Steve Cockrell who served in the Navy and Mike Cockrell who served in the Air Force, both in Vietnam.

I also didn’t specifically name my military friends. They number in the hundreds. Some are still serving even though I retired in 1995 after 20 years. Some I just met, retirees like myself who served in all the branches of the service from Merchant Marine to Air Force and those who were police, fire fighters and EMT’s.

While today is to remember those who volunteer and serve in these most dangerous of positions. Let’s remember there are a lot of volunteers who don’t put life on the line but who make our lives immeasurably better by volunteering in every aspect of out lives.

My hat’s off to all of you!