Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: April – On Line Communities for Readers

Books, Connie Cockrell

Books by Connie Cockrell

Uh oh, you caught me. I’ll have to confess that I don’t know about online reader communities. I should, as an author, have a whole list of reader communities that read my genre’s books but I don’t.

I do use Goodreads. I have an author page there, https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7033046.Connie_Cockrell but don’t use it much. I do make sure that I have my books listed there. I opened the Ask the Author function but only one person has sent me a question. My site blog post is woefully old and I had nothing in my Upcoming Events section. I just changed that to reflect the local Book Festival in July.

One other reader site I do use is Wattpad. http://www.wattpad.com/user/conniecockrell And by use, I mean I post there. I have a story, Lost Rainbows, currently being posted as a serial, one chapter per week. Unfortunately, I don’t join any discussions and have little time to read posted work, despite the fact it appears interesting.

You’ll note a pattern here, of course. As an author, I get the most value out of a reader site if I’m an active participant. Posting what I’m doing on my page and disappearing isn’t very helpful if my true goal is to get readers to find me and my work. And I’m missing out on wonderful stories and the chance to meet other people who love to read.

OK, I promise to do better. Really.
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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Almost Christmas

Tuba, Lights, Christmas, Parade

Lights on Tuba, Christmas Parade 2013

Merry Christmas to you and your families. It’s the season of merry-making. Sunday we attended a pot-luck at a neighbor’s house. This week my daughter and her boy-friend will be in town. Christmas dinner will be Tuesday night at my house, Wednesday afternoon at his family’s house. Christmas day a couple we hike with is opening their home up in the afternoon for a get together, chili being the main offering, with the rest of us bringing something to share. There are a great many retirees in my town and most often the children and grandchildren are far away. So for those of us not travelling, this is a way to make the day merry and bright.

I have finally finished cleaning up the garden beds. I spent a lot of time pulling mint roots out of the bed. I most certainly did not get them all. It will be a multi-year fight to remove it all. But I’ve got green onions up. They don’t mind the cold or hard frosts at all. I also had 5 potatoes left in the ground. I tucked them in. Next spring I’ll have 5 potato plants. Yay! I still need to get bags of compost and layer that on top of each bed. If I sprinkle a few parsley seeds in one square of my square-foot garden, I’ll have parsley first thing in the spring.

My Mom arrived last Tuesday. She’s spent the week settling in. There are already a few pictures scattered around her room. This week we’ll continue the process of getting her set up with doctors, supplemental health insurance and other necessities of life.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

The Downtrodden: a Brown Rain Story released November 22nd! 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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Weekend at the Craft Fair: Author Signings

The Drawing Prize Basket by Connie Cockrell

The Drawing Prize Basket by Connie Cockrell

I organized a book signing for this weekend’s craft fair. http://pinestrawberrybusinesscommunityaz.com/fallapple.html I started a couple weeks ago, contacting the fair people and it happened a fellow author volunteers for the event. We teamed up and were hoping to get an outdoors 10X10 ft. space for a discount. It turns out they had space inside and the other authors (3 of them) that we were going to shoehorn into the space, sharing the cost, would get tables inside too, all for the fact the one author volunteers. Yay! So five 8 ft tables indoors. Here’s the low down on all of them.

Me:

Me at my table by Connie Cockrell

Me at my table by Connie Cockrell

I sold the entire Gulliver Station series at the craft fair. I sold 4 complete sets and 2 of the first novel of the series. I also had 11 people sign up for my newsletter. I’m calling that a win. You can find links to locations were you can find all of my books on the Books tab on this blog site. I also have an Author Page on Amazon where you can find a list of my books.

Nancy Lee Burns:

Nancy Lee Burns at her Table by Connie Cockrell

Nancy Lee Burns at her Table by Connie Cockrell

This is the wonderful volunteer. Many thanks Nancy. She had two books at the signing, her first book: Retirement: Sacred or Scared and her newest book, Enjoy the Apple: You Picked It. Click on the titles to go to the Amazon links. She calls these Spiritual Adventure books.

Ken Crump:

Ken Crump and his book by Connie Cockrell

Ken Crump and his book by Connie Cockrell

Ken brought his children’s book, The Last Moment, to sell and sign. Click on the book title to get to the Amazon page. He had a wonderful illustrator for the book, Amy Abney, also local to my area. Her art work is amazing. His blog is www.brickhousepiggy.com and can be reached at KenCrumpAuthor@gmail.com.

Carole Emma Mathewson:

Carole Emma Mathewson and her Book by Connie Cockrell

Carole Emma Mathewson and her Book by Connie Cockrell

Carole has two books out, The Hostess of Providence, a one woman play, and her newest book, The Waste of War, a Civil War era Historical Fiction that is about her great-grandparents, a Union surgeon and his wife, who served as his nurse through some of the most horrendous parts of the Civil War.

Finally but not least, AnneMarie Eveland:

AnneMarie Eveland doing a Face Reading by Connie Cockrell

AnneMarie Eveland doing a Face Reading by Connie Cockrell

She brought her Self Help/Psychology book, At First Glance: What Faces Reveal. She spent much of Saturday doing readings for people. It was quite well accepted. Her site is www.HurrahForHumans.com and can be reached at Annemarie@HurrahForHumans.com.

We all had a great time chatting with craft fair goers, trading writing tips and enjoying a wonderful camaraderie. The basket drawing was won by Tara Fuller of Chandler who has donated the basket back to us. We’ll have to decide what to do with it now. I threw all the rest of the tickets away in Pine so have no way to draw a new winner.

I for one, learned a few things.

– Many people saw my SciFi books and assumed they were for kids. I had to gently tell them they had adult themes.

– People visiting a craft fair tend to walk as far from the tables as they can get and do their best not to make eye contact.

– Having a drawing, which we did, brings people in close enough to chat. Our drawing was a basket with one book donated by each author and a big mug with 5 different ways to make hot chocolate. If the word free didn’t bring them in to make out a ticket to drop in the jar, the word chocolate seemed to do the trick.

– Once you have them in to chat, we had great conversations and some people even took our business cards. A few even bought a book.

– Catchy book titles will bring passing visitors in for a look. Nancy’s book, Retirement: Sacred or Scared generated quite a few conversations.

– Don’t throw the drawing tickets away until we actually get the prize to someone.

Overall, we had a great time and hope we can get together again sometime.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know if you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.

First Encounter: a Brown Rain Story released September 18th! 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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July Camp NaNo Prep

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station Cover Reveal by Connie Cockrell

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station Cover Reveal by Connie Cockrell

Not much going on in the garden right now. The blackberries are starting to ripen; I picked a handful Sunday morning. I also picked 2 Sungold cherry tomatoes.   The tomato plants have put their energy into growing bigger but there are little green tomatoes on the vines so it won’t be too long. The hot pepper plants have one pepper ready to pick. I’ll use it when I make something that needs a spicy pepper. I’ve been trimming my rose bushes of their spent blooms; the plants will rebloom in a month or so once the monsoon starts.

Another busy weekend for me. Friday was a trip to see a writer friend in Prescott. We had a great lunch and talked about a little bit of everything.  Saturday was the Farmer’s Market, a wine party and the concert in the park. Sunday is my brother-in-law’s birthday. We invited him over for a birthday supper with cole slaw, and a fish fry. The fryer is going outside. I don’t want to clean grease off of everything in the kitchen.

I have one more copy of Revolution to come back and I can continue the edits. I’ve tweaked the cover to make the military ships more visible. They were black, now they’re partially blue. The cover is the blog picture today. What do you think?

I’m getting ready for the July Camp NaNo (https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in) and JulNo (http://julnowrimo.com/). I like to participate in both sites so I’m registered for both. I’m going to write the novelettes for my Holly Lisle’s How to Write a Series, Expanded Session classes. So I guess I’m ready for my 50K word July challenge.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Please sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get first dibs on any promotions, book announcements, and other information. Want to know how to get a free copy of each new book? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Want to be a beta reader? Sign up for the newsletter! I’ll give you a free copy. All I ask is a review on the e-tailer or Goodreads site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here.  Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Hard Choices: A Gulliver Station Story released May17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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It’s Officially Summer!

Glow Stick Fun by Randy Cockrell 2013

Glow Stick Fun by Randy Cockrell 2013

It’s not a surprise. Here in central Arizona the days reach the ninety degree mark. Hot, hot, hot!

As you can imagine, the garden is taking off. The potatoes are ready to be dug up. The hot pepper plants are producing, the tomatoes are all in bloom. I have to keep an eye out now for hornworms. The buggers look exactly like a tomato leaf so they’re hard to see, until they’ve eaten half a plant, that is. I have some volunteer vines growing. At first I thought they were butternut squash, like last year, but the blossoms are too small. So these could be cantaloupe or cucumber. I have to wait to see.

Summer weekends in Payson are lively, to say the least. Friday night was a wine tasting at the local liquor store. We see a lot of our friends there each week. Saturday morning is the Farmer’s Market. It’s not just vegetables, though produce is there in abundance. There’s also canned goods, crafts, music and food. My favorite? The tamale’s. Yummy. Saturday evening’s are for the concert in the park. Hundreds of people come to these. The music is good. Kids get to run around on the grass playing Frisbee, tossing softballs, and having fun with glow sticks. Adults chat with friends. Fun for all and the local ice cream store and a hot dog vendor set up in the park, just in case you missed dinner.

Revolution was sent out to beta readers over a week ago and copies are coming back. So far so good, the readers seem to like the book. Once they’re all back, I’ll make the edits and turn it over to hubby for a final copy edit. The cover is nearly finished, too. I’m tweaking the front cover picture, then I’ll do a reveal.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Please sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get first dibs on any promotions, book announcements, and other information. Want to know how to get a free copy of each new book? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Want to be a beta reader? Sign up for the newsletter! I’ll give you a free copy. All I ask is a review on the e-tailer or Goodreads site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here.  Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Hard Choices: A Gulliver Station Story released May17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

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Cover Reveal for A Lush Betrayed Novel by Selena Laurence

All you romance readers out there!

Selena is doing it again. She’s kicking off the first of her Lush series with a pre-read.

Join Selena Laurence and lots of friends for an exclusive pre-read of A Lush Betrayal from February 17-23. Sign up by commenting with your email address on the below Facebook page before Feb. 17th and you will receive a free advance copy of the book. Then join us online on Facebook, as we read, discuss and win prizes. There will be guest authors stopping by, blogger hostesses and lots of mancandy, so make sure to be here!
Here’s the location of that FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/580223195403003/
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Thanks so much everyone!
xoxo,
Selena Laurence
As Lush As It Gets (Lush #1) | February 2014
Buried (Hiding From Love #3) | April 2014

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get first dibs on any promotions, book announcements, and other information. Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up.

So, now to my newest release, A New Start, A Gulliver Station novel.

Several other e-tailers now have it out. It’s the first of a 4 book series about life on a space station. Hope you like it.
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Part 3 of the Chuck Wendig Writing Challenge

Written for the 3rd part of Chuck Wendig’s 5 week flash fiction challenge on Terrible Minds.( http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/12/06/flash-fiction-challenge-200-words-at-a-time-part-3/)  Basically, one picks 200 words written by someone else for the first week’s challenge, this one by Fatma Alici, (http://naharavensari.wordpress.com/) then adds their own 200 words to the mix.  Then someone, in this case, Athena, (http://devereauxcourt.blogspot.ca/2013/11/terrible-minds-flash-fiction-challenge_29.html) adds a second 200 words. Below, the story third 200 I added. The story is still untitled.

Next week I’ll give you the current iterations of the story I started and the one I continued last week. I’m finding this writing exercise a lot of fun and am delighted with the way the stories are turning out.



Another shot glass slammed down as Toops flashed her big, black eyes at me.  “Are you going to black out.”  Her tone as dry as the desert planet we had left.

“I never black out. “  I grinned motioning for another shot.  “I’m only resting my eyes.”

Toops rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.   “Yeah, I believe you, Lancer.  I really do.”  Her scarred fingers pushed her still full glass back and forth across the metal bar top.  “Didn’t you say we have a man coming in to offer us a job?

“You handle all the contracts.  I’m your simple minded muscle.”  I winked at her.  “Me big man.  Me hit things hard.”  The burning fire scalded my throat as I took another shot.

Her hand snapped out faster than my eye could follow.  Those strong fingers crushed mine into my palm.  “Do not call for another shot.  I swear I will break your fingers right now.”

A hearty chuckle rumbled up my throat.  “Alright, alright boss lady.”

My fingers were released.  “We are partners.”

“You say that now, but once the client gets here you’ll change your tune.”  She couldn’t deny it.  It was true.

The mark joined us not too long after that. I know they’re supposed to be clients, but I can’t help thinking of them as marks. Lancer likes to think of us as noble ruffians, taking on jobs to help the weak and disenfranchised. Truth is, we take on the jobs that pay the most. Sometimes that means we take the client for a bit of a ride.

Lancer was right about one thing: when the client arrives, I play boss. Pretty much have to; no one would buy me as the hired muscle – at least no one with all their bits in tact. Marks are always weary of a girl without a purpose. They’ll buy me as the brains, but not the brawn.

Lancer brought this one in. I let him do that once in a while because it makes him feel like we’re equal partners. More importantly, it makes the marks think that I’m hot stuff. They’re so lucky to get me, I send one of my peons first to see if they’re worthwhile instead of going myself. Doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s a much bigger payday.

___

Lancer stood up when the client approached the table. I was surprised he could stand after all those shots.

“Master Valmetti.” Lancer performed a miniscule bow. “May I present my partner, Sword Master Toops.”

I stayed seated, if we were going to play me as the boss, I needed to act like it. Master Valmetti swept his linen robes back in an elaborate bow. I nodded my acknowledgement. The robes looked new but not unusual in this climate or part of town. Smart move, not to come to this bar looking rich.

“Pleasure to meet you Master Valmetti,” I said. “What can we do for you?”

He waved the bar keep over. “Three of whatever they’re having,” Valmetti told him. He waited until the drinks came and the bar keep left.

“I need an errand run,” he said in a low voice. “A package needs to be delivered.”

I arched an eyebrow. There were companies who did that for a living. What was the package that he needed the likes of us? “And this package,” I leaned forward, elbows on the table. “It needs ‘special handling’?”

“You’re man told me you were quick.”

Lancer scowled at the ‘your man’ comment.

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Special Encore

I don’t know if you know this but I spent 20 years in the United States Air Force. Many people have asked how I could do that. Here is one of the ways.

http://videos.komando.com/watch/4592/kims-christmas-music-usaf-band-christmas-flash-mob

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Merry Go Round Blog Tour: November 2013 – Looking Back

Looking back. We all start to do that this time of year.

The year isn’t quite over for me yet. It’s National Novel Writing Month, after all. (see www.nanowrimo.org for more information and how to get in on the fun.) I also have a Christmas collection to get out by the end of November too.

Aside from that, 2013 has been a whirlwind for me. If you’re really interested in getting the exact details, go though my blog and pick out the posts where I talk about how I’ve met my goals by the month. Here’s the link to the first goal report of the year, it looks like I didn’t do one for January 2013: http://wp.me/p2AyuM-1o. I don’t want to talk about that here.

So I set goals for 2013. So what? Like most people, I get caught up in the minutia of getting through the day or at most, the week. The end of the year is for looking back at the big picture. What have I accomplished with my time and effort?

I’ve learned a lot about writing. Anyone who looks at my January flash fiction Friday stories and the ones in November, can tell that. There’s a lot to know about putting words on paper so that a reader will become engaged in the story. I think I picked up a little. There’s so much more to learn about the craft.

I learned about marketing and the publishing business as a whole. Am I an expert? By no means. But at least now I have a dim glimmer of what’s going on and how to navigate around the whole process. I’ve begun to treat what I’m doing as a business instead of a hobby. And no, it doesn’t take the fun out of it. It makes it easier for readers to find me and enjoy what I’m writing for them. What is the fun of keeping my writing to myself? I want others to enjoy it too.

Best of all, I’ve made friends; writing friends that I’ve actually gone to meet in person. What a treat. It’s like an atomic level convention. How cool is that!

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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Spotlight: Selena Laurence’s New Book – Camouflaged

I don’t do book reviews very often and I’ve never done a spotlight. But Selena’s part of my writing group, Power Writing Hour, and we like to give each other a hand when our books come out. I’ve read both this book and it’s follow on book, Hidden. They’re both page turners to say the least. Here’s some info about the author and the book. For fun, I’ve posted an excerpt and a picture of the book cover at the end. If you’re ready to buy, there’s a link at the bottom that will take you directly to Amazon. Enjoy!

To celebrate the release of Camouflaged Selena is having a great giveaway, go to this rafflecopter link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef955d0/

The Book

 Camouflaged (Hiding From Love Novella #0.5)

Gabe Thompson enlisted to help out his buddy, but three years later he’s 100% US military bad boy, serving in the desert of Afghanistan where the days are hot, but the nights are hotter.

Alexis Garcia is out to save the world. The University of Texas freshman has come to Afghanistan to do aid work with the United Nations. She’s all about the peace, and she has no use for the camp’s biggest, baddest, gun toting player.

But, sometimes camouflage is more than a color, and people aren’t what they seem. When conflict develops not only between Gabe and Alexis, but also all around them, they’re forced to look deeper, and what they find will rock their worlds and change their hearts forever.

Camouflaged is the prequel novella to Top 100 bestselling Military Romance, Hidden.

The Author

 Selena Laurence lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and spends a hell of a lot of time at soccer games, on her laptop, and reading. She requires a Mocha Latte every day to function, keeps a goldendoodle at her feet most of the time, and has more kids than she knows what to do with. Her husband, Mr. Laurence, spends as much time as he can at the office and the gym in order to avoid the kids, the dog, the laptop and the reading, but he always shows up for the soccer games, and he makes a mean Mocha Latte.

Selena can help you Escape the Everyday at these online locations: www.selenalaurence.com

Twitter: @selenalaurence

Facebook: SelenaLaurenceRomanceAuthor

The Reviews

 5 STARS: “absolutely amazing. Definitely another book that is going on my perfect romance shelf.” – Heather, Not Everyone’s Mama Book Reviews

4 STARS: “Selena does a fantastic job building the characters and the story line so that you’re sucked in from page one.” – Michele, Goodreads

5 STARS: “well written beautiful storyline and characters” – Caryn, Goodreads

5 STARS: “This is a perfect love story” – Mary, Goodreads

4 STARS: “Selena Laurence grabs you from the first paragraph and pulls you into Gabe and Alexis’ story which keeps you interested until the very end.” – Mary, Goodreads

The Excerpt

             I slowly looked down, meeting up with a tight t-shirt stretched across full breasts and a tiny waist that was followed by low-riding cargo pants which fell from narrow hips down long legs. The top of her head barely reached my chin, so I put her at about five foot four. Her crazy mess of hair was half hanging alongside her face in loose waves and I thought it would feel really good if I dug my hands into it while I yanked her in for a hard, hot kiss on those lips slick with some kind of girly lip crap.

“Sorry,” she said, looking at me like I was the enemy. Her voice was low and rough, like a great torch singer. I wondered if she was musical, because looking at her made my head spin like there was a song ricocheting around in it. I grinned at her a little to see what her reaction would be.

“No problem, babe. Can I do something for you . . . or even to you, if you’d prefer?” She scowled more and her eyes narrowed. “My name’s Alexis, not ‘babe,’ and I really doubt there’s anything you could do that I’d be interested in,” she snapped.

The book is now available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.  Here is the buylink for Amazon: http://amzn.to/1duopGr

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