Water: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Water

I checked the temperature on my phone as I wiped the sweat dripping down my temple. Eighty-six. Not really that hot. But the morning weather report said the humidity was supposed to be at nearly ninety today. It felt like it. I walked on.  I was thirsty. My map listed the next water source as twelve miles away. I had a liter and a half of water left. I took a swallow to moisten my mouth and thought about all of the advice about what to do when you were short of water.

As a hiker it wouldn’t be the first time I’d face a lack of water on this through-hike, but this was the first time since I’d started my trip. One school of thought was to drink sparingly until the next water source was reached. Wetting my mouth was in this vein. On the other hand, some people thought it was better to drink my fill, store the water in my body where it was needed anyway. Camel up, some called it.

I hitched my pack and adjusted the right strap. It was another two miles before I took another drink. Ten miles to go to the spring. Time to make a decision. I took a deep breath, then drank my fill. Cameling up it is, I thought. I just hope this isn’t a mistake. I trudged on, three-quarters of a liter of water left.

The next part of the trail was uphill. Olive Mountain it was called on the map. Halfway up, I was on the south side of the mountain, shadeless, and the trail was a rock scramble. My breathing was heavy and my mouth was dry but I resisted taking another drink. At the top, I told myself as I struggled over the rocks. The trail switchbacked up the mountainside. I never understood why a mile going uphill seemed longer than a mile on the level. I reached the top and took a moment to look around. This mountain was bald and the view was three hundred and sixty degrees of awesome. That was one of the best things about back-packing. It felt like the whole world was mine alone. A breeze helped cool me and I rewarded myself with another big drink. My water bladder was about a quarter full when I finished.

Eight more miles. The trail down the mountain went fast and the next part of the trail meandered through a swamp. The mosquitos were fierce and once past the swamp I stopped in the shade of a tree to dig some hydrocortisone cream out of my pack. The bug bites were already itching. While putting the lotion on, I wished for the breeze that was at the top of Olive Mountain. The sweat ran down my back. I flapped the back of my shirt, trying to dry off. That was a waste of time. There were five miles to go.

I eyed my water bladder. Drink the rest of the water now or wait another mile or two? I reached over and grabbed the bladder. Then drank it all. I was sweating so much, I really needed to drink. It would have been nice if the water was cold but beggars couldn’t be choosers. I packed everything up and pulled on my pack. Five miles would be about two hours. I started hiking. Two hours without water. In this heat. I was going to be thirsty.

As I hiked I started thinking about the water source at my destination. It had been a dry summer. Some of the trail’s water sources had dried up. I sincerely hoped that this one was still good or I was going to be in big trouble. I didn’t even want to think about having to hike without water. Just thinking about it made me thirsty. The trail wound out of the woods and into a wide-open grassland. The mid-afternoon sun beat down and I took off my hat, wiped my face and put the hat back on. Trudging on, the grassland lasted about a mile, then back into the woods. My shirt was soaked and I wanted water but it was gone. I cleared my mind. Forget about the water, I told myself. I hummed a tune, then took notice of all the flowers I passed and birds flying by. Another mile went by. Three to go.

It had been just an hour since my last drink, but I was thirsty. I dug a piece of hard candy out of my pack and popped that into my mouth. That helped. Anything I could do to trick my body into thinking it had water. The next mile went pretty fast. Then the next section was another climb. A deep breath and on I trudged. Up, up, up, a rocky trail that threatened my ankles.

I didn’t have enough spit in my mouth to swallow and my tongue was sticking to the roof of my mouth as I gasped for breath. I sure hoped the water source wasn’t dried up. The next water was six more miles away and I really didn’t want to have to hike six thirsty miles in the dark and try to find the water once I got there.

The sun was setting, and I was going slower. One more mile I told myself. Then you’ll get your drink. I went down the other side of the mountain, glad for the downhill. The sign post for the camp site was on my left, pointing out the trail. Four hundred feet. I straggled into the site. There were three other hikers already there. “Water?”

“Over there,” a young woman pointed.

I hurried over. A small spring trickled out of the side of the hill. Someone had dug out small pool lined with rocks. I dug out my cup and scooped water into my bladder and added the water treatment. Half an hour to wait for it to work and a nice cool drink.

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Hiking: Daily Blog Post

Hey!

In my Jean Hays series, Jean and her friend Karen like to go hiking. They even found a body on a hike in Mystery in the Woods. I love to go hiking. I like being out in the woods, or because I live in Arizona, the desert, and listen to the quiet. Tuesday is a regularly scheduled hiking day. I go out with the C Group of the Payson Packers. This hiking group has been around over 25 years and grown to the size such that we break up into groups based on hiking ability, desire for hard or easy hikes and length of hike. My group, led by my hubby, does easy-moderate hikes of 4 – 6 miles in length over easy to moderate, occasionally hard, terrain.

Yesterday we went to a spot called Jones Crossing. This was a 6.5-mile hike on level terrain through a ravine with a streambed. No water in the stream this year as we’re in a drought though there were a couple of pools that had polywogs in them. And, it was hot! Probably about 95 degrees as it was 99 in Payson. At any rate, the turn around point has a slot cave where many sat and had their snack as it was quite cool in there.

There was no writing on Tuesday. I was just too worn out from the heat. I’ll pick it up today.

That’s it for today!

The Gulliver Station ebook box set released July 30th, 2018. You can buy it at Amazon 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.

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 my 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.

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February – It’s a Hoot!: Monday Blog Post

 

Newest News:

I spent a lot of time this last week working on the Payson Book Festival and the Northern Gila County Fair. For the book festival, I completed the grant application and sent it in then talked with the director of the grant and received some tips on tweaking the grant application. I did that and sent it back. Authors are signing up for the book festival like gang-busters. I feel certain that the new on-line application and PayPal credit card process is making it so much easier for authors to sign up. I know I enjoyed it when I put my application in. For the fair, I contacted a local new shop owner that sells bath and body stuff made by local artisans. It’s a lovely little shop and she agreed to work with me to set up criteria for judging homemade soaps, lotions and other things in our fair’s Homemaking Arts department. I’m looking forward to seeing what our local crafters are doing in this area.

Hubby and I spent the day at home on Sunday and watched the Super Bowl with just the two of us. We had snacks and while hubby was interested in the game, I was more interested in the commercials. That didn’t stop us from picking opposite sides with him cheering on Atlanta and me the Patriots. It’s hardly any fun if there’s no opposition, right?

I broke down and bought two foot-torture devices. They have a hard plastic top that goes on top of the foot. Then there are straps to Velcro around the leg above the ankle and then around the ball of the foot to keep your foot in a 45-degree positon. I use one on each foot and sleep with them on my feet. You’re right, they catch in the blankets and wake me up when I turn in my sleep. On the other hand, after three nights using them, my feet do feel better. I’ll keep using them then try another walk at the end of the week. I’m missing out on great hiking and want to get back to it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Good progress was made on Mystery at the Book Festival. I finished my paper edits and have started on the research edits. Those are places in the manuscript where I need to do more research on what a real police department or ambulance drivers would do. There are the notes, also, where I realized I changed names in the middle of the book, mention something from book 1 that I need to look up to be sure I have the details right, and spots where I mention the characters saying they’d do something but I have to make sure it happened or at least is mentioned again to tie up all of the loose ends and questions I brought up. It’s a lot of detail to keep straight but I don’t want to send it to my editor with a bunch of stupid errors in it.

 

Giveaways:

My science fiction giveaway ends today over on BookSweeps, https://www.booksweeps.com/enter-win-45-science-fiction-adventure-books/. This is your last chance to enter to win my book or 44 others and a grand prize of a Kindle Fire! Click on the link and enter now. Come back and leave a message when you do.

My multi-author giveaway called For the Love of Books, Valentines Giveaway is in full swing. The link is https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. This is a short giveaway because we’re lining up one for St. Patrick’s Day. So get in on the opportunity to win $135 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 40 authors, that’s over 80 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight the 14th.

 

Shout Out:

Are you figuring out your travel plans for summer yet? Consider coming to beautiful central Arizona. The Payson Book Festival is July 22nd this year. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/ for details about authors at the event and the tab labled Area Information, in the area. Camping, hiking, natural wonders and more await the savvy traveler.

 

Where Will I Be?

On February 23rd, at 5pm Arizona time, I’ll be interviewed on BackPorchWriter.com. This interview is in preparation for the April B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Both events are open to readers so as I get closer, I’ll give you more details.

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements. I have contacted both the Phoenix ComiCon (http://www.phoenixcomicon.com/) and the Tucson ComiCon (https://www.facebook.com/TucsonComicCon/) for information about attending their events. It’s still early, they’re not working yet. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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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Pestilence! Monday Blog Post

The Hi Jolly Memorial, Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

The Hi Jolly Memorial, Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

You may have noticed that this post is up later in the day than usual. I have a reason. Hubby and I were in Quartzite over the weekend. If you know anything at all about traveling, you know that checking into a hotel wifi is a certain recipe for getting your accounts hacked. So, no logging in for me. It wouldn’t have mattered. I was also sick. I have an appointment this afternoon to see my doc but I’m pretty sure she’s going to say I have bronchitis. This is the second time in nine months. Ugh. Just about half of the people I know locally have this ‘creeping crud’ so I’m in good company. I just wish I could breathe. Cherry on top, hubby’s now getting sick. Yeah!
Some news, what’s in my brain enough to mention it. The 2016 Payson Book Festival is opening author registration today. The seats are already going fast. If you are an author and would like to attend this festival of books, go to www.paysonbookfestival.org/Authorregistration. Review the criteria and download and send in your application. NOTE! This is only open to Arizona authors.
I managed to get some words in last week on my Friday Flash Fiction (see https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/2016/01/jaguar-tale-flash-fiction-friday-post/) I wrote a flash before Jaguar Tales, called Bell Ring and liked it so much that instead of posting on my blog I decided to do some polishing on it and send it on the rounds. I sent it out to three authors whose advice I respect and they all agreed it had a shot. I’ll keep you posted on its progress. Thankfully, I also managed about 4k words on the Zoe Ohale story. I’m nearly done, perhaps even this week if I can work through my bronchitis fog. In the meantime, Kindred Spirits is in the editor’s hands. I should be hearing back from EJ (SilverJayMedia.com) in a week or two. I nearly have the cover completed for Kindred Spirits. I’m polishing up the back of the cover blurb. I’m also looking for reviewers to send 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.
Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway is now over. Over one hundred thousand people entered! Wow! Anyway, drawings for winners are on-going. I’ll let you know who won my two Brown Rain Series books and the Christmas Tales book. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who signed up for my website, newsletter, Google Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.
You didn’t get to participate in the Christmas Giveaway? Good news. We’re starting a new giveaway in a few days. It’s called the Lovestruck Authors Giveaway and runs from a TBD date in January through Valentine’s Day. Here’s a picture. I’ll post the links as soon as they’re ready.

The Next Giveaway

The Next Giveaway

I mentioned earlier that hubby and I went to Quartzite AZ over the weekend. Despite my non-stop coughing, I managed to see one or two things. First, we were driving around the neighborhoods and found a yard with both roadrunners and quail. Here’s a picture.

Roadrunner Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

Roadrunner Quartzite AZ by Randy Cockrell

At the top of this post is a picture of the Hey Jolly memorial. If you like rocks, Quartzite is the place to be in January. One rock show after another runs until late March.

One of the many Malachite tables at the Rock Show, Quartzite, AZ by Randy Cockrell

One of the many Malachite tables at the Rock Show, Quartzite, AZ by Randy Cockrell

The weather is warm, or, at least, warmer, and the people are friendly. If you haven’t been, you should schedule it. Quartzite is a mecca for winter RV’ing. There is a Super 8 hotel in town, though, if you don’t have an RV.
I published my December 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 January 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. 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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Chicklets in the Kitchen: Making Soap

Lavender, Soap,

Lavender Soap by Connie Cockrell

The kitchen isn’t just for making breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t know about you, but a lot of crafts get done in my kitchen. Not long ago I showed you how to make butter. Here is another craft that is fairly easy to do at home and the result is great for gift giving. Hoo! Anyone thinking about Christmas?

So, here’s how you do it.

Some hardware and ingredients for making soap

Some hardware and ingredients for making soap

Hardware

2 quart glass measuring cup

1 quart glass measuring cup

2 cup glass measuring cup

2 silicone muffin sheets (optional. 2 4X8 inch bread pans, lined with parchment)

1 cookie sheet

2 wire racks

1 large stainless steel spoon to still lye and water mixture

Stick Blender

4 quart stainless steel pot

Rubber Gloves and Eye Protection

Soap ingredients

40 ounces olive oil (not extra virgin)

10 ounces of coconut oil

16 ounces of warm water (from the tap is fine)

6.9 ounces of lye

1.5 to 2.2 ounces of essential oil, any scent (optional)

1/4 cup of crushed flower petals, chopped herb, whatever matches with your essential oil

Directions

Things move quickly when you’re assembling this so make sure you have all of the ingredients measured out, open and ready to add to the pot. Use glass and stainless steel so there won’t be any adverse reactions. Aluminum is not suitable for the measuring cups or pot.

To see the rest go here.

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Monday Blog Post: Website Update

Garden, Produce, Connie Cockrell

Garden Produce by Connie Cockrell

Update on the new website: managed to get a follow button posted so you all can receive the blog posts. That has been a major headache for me but I’ve finally figured it out. It’s now the top thing on the right-hand side of the home page. After that is the follow buttons for other social media. Don’t be shy! Go ahead, follow me on those as well!

I picked peaches from my tree on Saturday. There are some left, hard to get to. I’ve decided the birds can have those. Also on Saturday I picked a good number of cherry tomatoes, several cantaloupe, two zucchini which have gotten too big, and one New Mexico chili still green. The chili received full sun and had some sun scald so I decided not to wait for it to turn red but to pick and use it on tonight’s dinner. I put the cherry tomatoes in a bowl on the counter. We all love to go over there when we’re trolling the kitchen and grab a handful to snack on. Yummy.

Author Friend Boost! D’Elen McClain. She has just released her newest book, Dragons Live for Ever. Here’s a description.

It’s Tahr, my silver dragon’s turn to find happiness. And of course it doesn’t come without him growing up and changing his perspective. It seems like I’ve been waiting so long to tell his story. I also hope I answer many of the questions readers have had about my world building.

 

Just a little secret… I take you on a quick trip back to Bastian, Laryn, Sarn and Tahr’s youth and also relive the day the curse began. The story has been in my head and it was so nice to have it come alive.

 

I’m going to miss these characters so much. Eventually I’ll need to drop in and see how they’re doing and I promise to share the experience with you.

 

I humbly ask my readers to leave a review where you purchased the book. It’s the nicest thing besides buying my work that you can do for me. Thank you and enjoy Tahr and his adventure as he discovers his mate in his own back yard.

 

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z2QH7H6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Z2QH7H6
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/qxt58hc
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/nck4lju

 

I have been checking out the indie publishing site Draft 2 Digital. A site that helps put an author’s manuscript up on electronic book sales sites. I may try it for my next book. It looks helpful and a good many other authors have recommended it highly. As a reader, you probably won’t notice anything different but for me, the reduction of formatting time will be a tremendous thing.

Betrayal Moon for the Forward Motion anthology is at the editors. I should hear from them this week.  The deadline for that story is September 1st and I’m close to that now.  I finished turning Gold Dream into a short story. I’ve been letting it simmer for a week to give myself some perspective before I start my first edit/rewrite pass. I have a limited number of words to work with, 8,000, and the story is nearly at the limit so I’ll have to be careful with my edits. That deadline is September 15th so I need to get in gear on this one too. This week I’ve gone back to writing Mystery in the Woods, the second book in the Jean Hays series that I started in July. I managed nearly 4,000 words on it this week and have enjoyed getting back into that story.

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’ve stopped posting to the wordpress site (www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com) after Friday August 7th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I put a special offer up in my July 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 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! 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: Spotlight on Selena Laurance’s New Book: Lush Reunion

Book, Release, a lush reunion, Selena Laurencea lush reunion by Selena Laurence

Every once in awhile I like to point out a friend’s new release. Today is release day for Best Selling Author, Selena Laurence’s newest book, Lush Reunion. I received this contemporary romance book as an ARC, a sample copy. The final book in the Lush series ties up the saga with a gigantic bow.

This story revolves around Colin, bass player for the band, Lush, and his long, lost high-school sweetheart, Marsha. The opening prologue sets the scene perfectly and introduces us to Marsha Lynn, Colin’s lost love. After that, the love, the hurt, and the pain ebb and flow in a way that Ms. Laurence has mastered. Sparks fly and tears flow in a fast paced book that I defy you to put down.

There were a number of twists and turns, that to be honest, I never saw coming. If you’re looking for your next beach read, this is the story for you. All of the characters were as real as the people in my own life. Grab this book as soon as you can.

On June 23rd I was happy to be interviewed by January Jones on her web radio broadcast. Talk4 Media,  Talk4Media.com , w4cy.com/radio-shows/january-jones-sharing-success-stories/  This is a first for me and I’m very excited about it. We talked about my books but also about the Payson Book Festival scheduled for July 25th. I was on the show at 5pm Eastern time and 2pm Arizona time. Here’s the list of who else was interviewed.

Connie Cockrell– Her books, The Gulliver Station Series, and more run the gamut from SciFi and Fantasy to Contemporary.

D’Elen McClain- Under her pen name, Holly S. Roberts, she is the USA Today Best-Selling author and writes “romance with wicked intentions.”

Then at 6pm Florida time and 3pm Arizona time, three more authors were interviewed.

Steven Andrew Cole– enjoys leading his readers down dark alleys, through crawl spaces and anywhere they dare not to venture with thrillers

Sherry Engler– reveals the unusual, quirky behaviors a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) may display

Annemarie Eveland writes about challenges in life and the insights gained from them.

If you missed them go here to get the links.

It’s 26 days until the first ever Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’ve organized several radio interviews with festival authors. Check out the web site or our Facebook page (Payson Book Festival) or our Twitter feed at @PaysonBookFest for information about the next interview. At the Festival we’ll have authors speaking, authors signing their books, music, live radio broadcast, entertainment, workshops and food. Make plans now to come up to Rim Country and enjoy the festival.

Mystery at the Fair edits are in their final rounds. All that’s about left is to do the book formatting for both print and e-book. I’m still shooting for an early July release.

Squash, Melon, Garden, Connie Cockrell

Squash and Melon by Connie Cockrell

In the garden I have acquired zucchini and yellow squash and planted butternut squash and Swiss Chard. Saturday the butternut squash poked its first leaves up. The Swiss Chard still must be thinking about it. The plant next to the butternut squash is a self-seeding melon. It produces little, one-person cantaloupes. It seems to be doing very well, yay!

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: 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: Month’s End

Apple Blossoms, Connie Cockrell

Apple Blossoms by Connie Cockrell

It’s been a hectic quarter for me, and I can hardly believe it’s over.

The yard and garden continue to be worked. I have trimmed 3 more of the 12 rosebushes and did yet another run of pulling mint out of my deepest square foot garden bed. The peach tree seedling I transplanted into a small container is doing well. So are the mystery tomatoes. I think I’ll just buy hot peppers and sweet peppers and a few of the other things I put in the garden. I really should put the peas and beans in now. It’s already a hot spring for us. A neighbor gave me a lot of ancient flower seeds. I’m going to set up some pots and see if anything will sprout. Who knows, I may end up with a lot of flowers this year.

Sunday I made a new batch of soap. The last batch was made fifteen months ago. This time I made half the batch a rosemary scent, leaving the other half unscented. The unscented stuff I’ll use to make my own shampoo. Since I’ve been making my own shampoo I think my hair is much softer and not all dried out. I poured the liquid soap into a 2 qt glass measuring cup and poured out the unscented soap into silicon muffin cups. Then I mixed the ground rosemary (from my own rosemary bush that I dried and ground myself) and a half ounce of rosemary essential oil into the remainder and stirred it all through. I poured that into a second silicon muffin pan. Twenty-four 4oz bars of soap are now curing in my dining room.

I finalized the editing on After Math and sent it to Clarkesworld, who rejected it after two days. I immediately sent it back out to EscapePod. No, the two day turn around wasn’t particularly fast. I once had a submission rejected in 3 hours.  So, we’ll see how EscapePod likes it.

I’m excited that a new month starts Wednesday, along with the April Camp National Novel Writing Month. I’m all ready to go on that. While waiting for that I used some time to update my web site a little bit. I’ve added a Media page where you can find my contact information, a sub-page with information about me, and another sub-page where I point out I’m available for speaking events. I tried to load an audio file of my February presentation to the Arizona Professional Writers, Rim Country Division but the site requires me to upgrade to a premium service. That’s the big push now. Since I have to upgrade, I’m going to go full website. I will retain the site as Connie’s Random Thoughts but it won’t be a blog only anymore. I also bought my name as a domain. I now own conniecockrell.com, along with 2ndWindPress.com and ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Authors, there’s still time to sign up for a table. You can share a table, too, to make your costs less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. Author registration closes at the end of April so we can put the program together. You’re not an author? Then mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

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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Merry Go Round Blog Post for March

Me,Long Distance BackPacking on the AT/Long Trail, Vermont

Me,Long Distance BackPacking on the AT/Long Trail, Vermont

I have and have had a lot of hobbies in the past. I love to try new things, explore different aspects of my creative ability. Just after high school I took up oil painting. I liked it, but somehow it wasn’t for me.

Then I tried the flute. I hired a music teacher, bought an actual silver, not silver-plated, flute, and dropped it after a couple of years. Decades later, I’m still in love with that flute and have carried it around with me through several moves. I still have it, in a bin, on the top shelf of my closet. I’m just not ready to let go of it.

Other hobbies and handicrafts have come and gone. Crocheting for example. I crocheted a number of river pattern Afghans for myself and my brothers upon their weddings. I still have mine, in shades of brown and when I’m cold on a winter’s night, it keeps me cozy and warm.

There were other hobbies: spoon collecting from tourist spots, cheese making, soap making, leaf pressing, hiking, basket weaving, the list goes on.

How does all of this relate to writing? I’ve tried writing on and off for decades. I’d get just so far and halt, not knowing what to do next. It was another hobby, tried and forgotten, but not. I kept poking at it until in 2011 when I found the internet bonanza of writing: an on-line writing group, Forward Motion.

So what do those other hobbies have to do with it? They’re an exploration. They’re an experience that I can draw on when I’m writing about soap making or weaving or hiking or trekking along hard country for long distances. I know how to dehydrate food to keep it for long travel. I know how hard it is to make good music. I’m a mother, daughter, wife, sister, military person, all of these experiences help me when I’m trying to get into my character’s head.

So, you don’t want to risk climbing that mountain? Trying that new cooking course at the community college? Go for it. The experience will help you in ways you never expected.
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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