Tested Release, Calendar, Interview and More : Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Tested is released! It should be up everywhere by now so go to your favorite book retailer and get your copy! I did a little fancy formatting on the interior and I’m very pleased with the resulting look in the paperback version. As I put new covers on the other three in the series, I’ll do that with them as well.

I’ve made a calendar for 2018. It’s for sale at http://www.lulu.com/shop/connie-cockrell/my-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23462179.html. The photos were taken by my husband of places around Arizona where we live and hike. If you haven’t gotten your 2018 wall calendar, check it out. I hope you like it.

Last Friday I was interviewed on Mistral Dawn’s blog. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, here’s the link. https://mistralkdawn.blogspot.com/2018/02/interview-with-connie-cockrell.html  Another SciFi author, you may enjoy her books as well as mine.

Did you know I have a Pinterest page? It’s here: https://www.pinterest.com/conniecockrell/. I have a board for my books and stories and just Saturday, learned how to link my book pin to the Amazon buy page. I’m so excited about that! I don’t have all of them linked yet, but soon. Anyway, I have lots of other boards on there, including one for Paleo recipes, so I hope you stop by.


The Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway has 32 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $100 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. This is a great way to find new to you authors, but it doesn’t last long. The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway will start after Valentine’s Day. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

Be ready to greet Joshua Robertson. I decided to put up his info next week to match his release date. He’s a wonderful author with a new release, Heshayol. If you’re a SciFan lover, you’ll want to see this.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://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, 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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Author Interviews: Terra Luft

Terra Luft

Terra Luft

I’ve been having a LOT of fun getting to know authors and chatting with them as we prep to have them on my blog. One of the things I’ve made an effort to do is introduce authors who write as many different genres as possible. We don’t want to get dull, now, do we?

This week I’m introducing Terra Luft. Terra has a terrific sense of humor and a wicked bend in her horror stories.

Terra Luft is a speculative fiction author whose imagination is most often drawn to dark tales. An overachiever by nature, she tackles every project with coffee and sarcasm and believes all rules exist to be broken. She works full time by day and writes by night searching for an elusive work-life balance people tell her exists. She lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters, their naughty dog and a cat who stole her heart. Terra is published with Crimson Edge Press and Griffin Publishers and is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.

The Secret Door Society by Terra Luft

The Secret Door Society by Terra Luft

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

That’s actually a hard one to answer. In many ways, writing is my favorite hobby but it’s also one of my jobs so I feel like I can’t use that as my answer. Aside from writing, I love yoga and I love reading. I don’t have enough time to do either of them as much as I like.


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

Initial response: my mom, because I lost her a little over a year ago. I’d love to hear her voice again and tell her all the things I didn’t get the chance to before she died. If I’m limited to someone still living: Stephen King, hands down. He’s the one author who had the most influence on who I became as a reader which led to the kind of writer I am. I’d love to meet him and thank him for all his hard work and for sticking with his craft.


Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Coffee. All day. Every day. Long into the evenings on most days. I like to say that I’m fueled by coffee and sarcasm. I’m relying on the coffee a whole lot more often to keep me going.


What are you working on right now?

I’m currently writing a near-future novel exploring some of the most frightening aspects of our current political landscape. I’m in the pre-writing stages working on character development, plot outlining and research. If the year goes as planned, it will be finished and ready to shop it around to publishers in the next six to eight months. I’ve also got two urban fantasy novels in various stages of revision.

I’m also working on marketing and promotion for my latest release. It is a short story called “Baby of the Lake” in the upcoming anthology “It Came From the Great Salt Lake: A Collection of Utah Horror” set to release February 11, 2016 from Griffin Publishers. My story is about a pregnant woman haunted by a ghost who drowns pregnant women – usually in the lake.


How would you describe your writing style?

I’m a pretty dark writer. I love writing speculative fiction because I love speculating on the world either through supernatural, horror or science fiction stories. In every story, I explore the darker sides of people and situations and showcase alternative ways of looking at things. If I can connect with a reader and either show them that they aren’t alone or open their eyes to a different way of looking at the world, I’ve done what I have set out to do.


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

Just write! The best piece of advice I ever got was to finish something and immediately start something new. There are two valuable lessons in that one sentence. First, every project you finish makes you a better writer since each project you finish is better than the last. Finishing a novel for the first time took me five years. But I learned so much in those five years that I was able to write the next one AND revise it in a single year. Secondly, once you get to the professional level, you’ll have to know how to consistently produce both for your agent and/or publisher and for your readers who will demand it. If you already know how to write consistently, you’re ahead of the game.

Just write. There will always be critics and sometimes the stories you have to write will never be read by the masses, or even published, but they are still your stories and you need to write them.


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 fall somewhere in the middle. I’m a spontaneous person who does a lot of crazy things in the impulse of a moment so my day-to-day life is full of new situations to fuel my imagination. I’m also a people watcher. Every year my writing group does a weekend retreat – usually to attend a writing conference – and I always come away with loads of inspiration.

The idea that inspired my first published short story came to me at a writing conference listening to a panel on magic. The bulk of another story came to me from a dream. My current novel grew from an interview I heard on NPR last year. I have a notebook (okay, it’s really a file on my phone) and any nugget that sparks my imagination gets written down no matter how small or large. As a writer, I never know which seed will send my imagination into the depths where the next big story will grow from. If I don’t capture them as they happen, I could miss a good one.

It Came From the Great Salt Lake Anthology

It Came From the Great Salt Lake Anthology


Where can we find you on the interwebs?

Website: terraluft.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TerraLuftAuthor

Twitter: @earthandair

Amazon: amazon.com/author/terraluft

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/TerraLuft


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Author Interviews: Susan Haught

Susie Haught

Susie Haught

I think this author interview thing is off to a fine start already. Don’t you? Let’s keep it going. Next up is Susan Haught.

At home in a small town in the mountains, Susan Haught lives in Arizona’s Rim Country with her husband and Shih Tzu, Mercedes, who believes her princess status earns her the right to sleep on pillows, ride shotgun, and sit at the table. Thankfully, her husband isn’t quite as spoiled, and Susan will share her Australian black liquorice with him. On special occasions.

When Susan isn’t creating quaint settings with captivating characters, you’ll find her tackling an overgrown garden, engrossed in a movie, glued to a craft project, or curled up with a good book—Mercedes and a stash of Australian black liquorice close at hand. She and her husband have one son.

Susan writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance with the belief that love is ageless and has the power to change lives–one step, one touch, one kiss at a time. She is the author of Shall We Dance?, Under the Mistletoe, and Paper Hearts, which will soon become the heart of a full-length novel, Seasons of the Heart.

Look for new releases from Susan in 2016, and you can stay connected at:


Twitter: @srhaught

Facebook, Google+, Pinterest & Goodreads as Susan Haught, Author

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

That’s a great question, Connie. My favorite hobby is eating Australian black liquorice (yes, that’s spelled correctly) because I’m secretly addicted. I limit buying it, or I’d seriously need a “liquorice eaters anonymous” group therapy intervention. Other than my passion for Australian black liquorice, I enjoy all kinds of crafts and recently discovered scrapbooking. What fun! In the spring, summer and autumn, you’ll find me tinkering with our flower garden—although nature and I share a love/hate relationship. I love to grow things. Nature hates me. I tend to kill flowers I want to grow, and weeds thrive. Hobbies are a great way to escape writing for a bit and let my mind wander.

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

Another great question. I’m going outside the box here because there are actually three I’d love to chat with. The first is Stephen King. The way his mind works fascinates me, and he’s deliriously funny in interviews. He’s a master with the written word and an afternoon wouldn’t be enough time, but I’d take it in a heartbeat. The next is Mark Twain. One of my characters in A Promise of Fireflies (coming January 2016) resembles him in looks (quite by accident) and when I saw his picture one day in the newspaper, I said, “That’s him! That’s Ambrose!” While doing research on Mr. Twain, I became quite intrigued with him, and I think it would be delightful to chat with him. He’s also quite humorous. And the last is my mother. She always told me I could do anything I wanted to do, but she passed away before I’d become an author. I keep her picture above my desk and I know she’s encouraging me with her heavenly smile.

Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Oh, coffee, no doubt! Unless it’s the occasional Diet Coke with a splash of Jack Daniels. And did I mention Chocolate Shop wine? Red wine infused with a hint of chocolate. Oh my! Coffee gets the day revved and keeps me going through the afternoon, and a glass of wine or mixed drink occasionally end the day either with a celebratory salute or if it’s been “one of those days”. The latter seems to outweigh the former quite a bit.

What are you working on right now?

A Promise of Fireflies (women’s fiction with romantic elements) is in the hands of my editor and I’m working with a graphic designer on the cover. It’s scheduled for a January 2016 release and I’m very excited about sharing this story. My focus now is on Seasons of the Heart, a heartwarming story of a young nurse who chooses to start her career in a nursing home. Rachel has a soft heart and risks her job to help the elderly realize their dreams and in some cases, their last wishes. Three of the stories were traditionally published as separate novellas, but I’ve received the rights back and I’m adding to the stories, elaborating on Rachel’s relationship with Ben (the nursing home’s resident psychiatrist) and Nico (an orderly) and combining them into a novel. I’m also working on several novellas to be published after Fireflies that either add to or elaborate on the storyline.

How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve been told my writing is emotional, lyrical, and with dialogue that creates banter and intimacy between characters. I dig deeply into the emotional side of the characters I write about, and I love creating vivid secondary characters. Actually, I don’t create them—they usually just show up unannounced, knock loudly inside my head and demand their page time. (No, I haven’t had a Jack n Coke today) I also try to create settings that have a character of their own—many times the setting can be as emotionally tantalizing as a person, and have as much impact. I hope it shows in my stories. I’m a slow writer—I tend to agonize over sentence structure, rhythm, and the overall “feel” of the scene. So it takes me longer than most writers to finish a novel.

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

LEARN the craft. Write your story, but learn HOW to put your story on the page. I learned this the hard way. My manuscript was complete, but I didn’t have a clue about point of view, scene, setting, plot, emotional writing, dialogue, sentence structure, etc. I joined writer’s groups and attended workshops, online classes, read books on craft, entered contests, and I realized I knew nothing about the craft of putting a novel together. I’d learn a new skill and revise. Then another and revise again. It took forever until I was comfortable with it. I still have a lot to learn, but I love it when a new aha! moment pops up and I can incorporate it into my work. I’m always learning and becoming a better writer for it. Start with learning the craft, and if writing is your dream, never, ever give up.

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 think both. I recently visited Butterfly Wonderland (amazing place) in Scottsdale, AZ not far from my hometown, and I knew instantly that this experience or at least the setting would someday end up in one of my novels. I never would have thought of this had I not visited. As an older person, I’ve been through a lot in my life and I take from those experiences quite often. But as a young writer, I’m like a kid in a candy story—itching to get my hands on a new and exciting treat. You won’t find me bungee jumping, or scaling a rock cliff (back. away. from. the. edge) or anything remotely life threatening or scary. I’m too big a chicken and an extreme introvert. But when I do discover something new and fun, you’ll see me jotting notes like a fiend.

Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me at www.susanhaught.com @srhaught on Twitter; on Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads and Google+ as Susan Haught, Author. I also have an author page on Amazon.

I want to thank you, Connie, for inviting me to this interview today. It’s been a blast answering these great questions, and to you and all the readers out there—I wish you rainbows of happiness and wishes come true. Hugs!

Many thanks, Susan, for taking time out of a busy day to chat with us.

If you liked Susan’s interview, please check out any of her sites.

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Monday Blog Post: Working, Working

Orange, Flowers, Hike, Arizona

Orange flowers from a recent hike.

It’s hot! Well, it is Arizona. Temperature today is 95 degrees. Hope the weather in your area is wonderful.

In the events calendar, I’m being interviewed by January Jones on her web radio broadcast. The Station is W4CY on Talk4 Media, Talk4Media.com , w4cy.com/radio-shows/january-jones-sharing-success-stories/ . The interview is June 22nd, 5pm Eastern and 2pm Arizona time. I’d love it if you could tune in.

It’s 40 days until the first ever Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. 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.

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.

Mystery at the Fair edits are in progress. Actually, it’s a re-write. I’m cutting chapters, re-writing and hopefully strengthening the story all for your enjoyment. I’m still shooting for an early July release.

In the garden I have my tomatoes and pepper plants. I still need to go and get some zucchini and yellow squash and maybe a couple other things. The heat is making the whole garden grow like crazy.

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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The Next Big Thing – 10 Interview Questions

One of my writing sisters, Arlene Hittle, asked me to take part in a chain blog called the “next big thing” where I answer 10 questions about my Work In Progress (WIP) and tag 5 other authors to participate in the week following.

At first I didn’t think I could answer those questions.  But I took my time and gave them all some thought and these are my answers.

Also, I couldn’t hold it to just 5 other authors.  Some of the below addresses participated in the exercise, some did not.  However, I think you’ll enjoy all of their blogs.

Connie Cockrell

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

It’s currently called TriPoint Station.  That’s too overused so I’ll have to come up with something better later.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I pulled a prompt from a writers’ web site I belong to, Forward Motion.  It was a random pull and the idea just clicked for me.

What genre does your book fall under?

Mine is SciFi but the idea could have been anything: SteamPunk, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, I just went with SciFi.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I haven’t written the novel yet so it’s kind of hard to say.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Caught in a TriPoint Station criminal feud while on 24 hour leave, Jolene Harris must free herself from the entanglement and sign onto her new ship on time.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I have self-published a book but haven’t yet tried sending a novel out to an agency.  It’s a toss-up really.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I expect to get it done in 30 days, during the National Novel Writing Month, November 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Just off the top of my head perhaps, C.J. Cherryh’s Chanur Series.  Not that I write as well as C.J. Cherryh, but the story is about people who are minding their own business then get sucked into serious trouble through no real fault of their own.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I haven’t been writing long, so it’s hard to tell.  I’ve always wanted to write a book and now I have one on Amazon.com, one in draft and now, the one I’m writing.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s about an innocent, caught up in things she never viscerally understood.  It’s always one thing to read about it on the news or hear about it in a classroom.  It becomes more real when it’s happening to you.

Other Blogs:
http://arlenehittle.com  Arlene, as well as several others asked me to do this interview.  Some of the rest are below.








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