Saying Hello: Daily Post

Picture of the crowd.

Hey there!

So you may have gathered from previous posts, and my facebook and twitter feeds, that the Payson Book Festival was yesterday.

As the founder and director of the festival, last week and especially Friday and Saturday, were full. Some of Friday was consumed with a workshop the festival puts on for our signed up authors. A little bit of extra value for the price of thier table. We had Richard Draude from Mystic Publishers come and talk to those of us assembled about how to pitch a book to a publisher or an agent.

Mind you, this isn’t a submission process, most publishers/agents have submission guidelines right on thier websites. A pitch is a face to face, probably at a conference or other event, where the author in 30 seconds or less, lets the person they’re talking to know about thier book. Then there’s some conversation as the publisher/agent finds out more. After the workshop, Mr. Draude was kind enough to take a few pitches. Four authors were brave enough to do it.

Author and Blogger, Sharon Day

Later that evening, we had a meet and greet where authors, mostly confined to their tables on Saturday, have a chance to mingle and meet each other. Sponsors and town officials are also invited. I sat and talked with author Sharon Day. She’s a fantastic blogger over on I was asking her how to increase the followers on my blog and one answer was to blog every day.

My mind boggles. But she said it doesn’t have to be a huge post. It can be short and funny, even.

So. Here I am. Recuperating from getting the book festival off of the ground for another year, starting my daily blogging habit. I email 75 people my blog. Let’s see if the number goes up. Can you help? Share my blog with interested friends and family. I’d like to get my reader number up into the thousands. Think big or go home, right?

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, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on 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 this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Merry-Go-Round Post for May: In Memoriam or My Favorite Stories

Books, Library, Connie Cockrell

Books in my Library by Connie Cockrell

I was a pre-teen when I discovered science fiction. I was a reader before then and not the easy stuff either. I read Gone With the Wind when I was twelve. I wonder now what the librarian who checked out the book for me thought but she never said a word about the appropriateness of that title for a 12-year-old.

My first SciFi authors? E.E. “Doc” Smith, Robert Heinlein, Issac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, all sadly gone now. No one told me that those books were for boys. I read through them avidly and reread them over and over. If you haven’t read Doc Smith’s the Lensman, it can be kind of dated but the last book in the series really shows women in a strong light and the ultimate conclusion must have been controversial at the time. Probably still is. No spoilers, read the series.

Then I found Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey, who is thankfully still with us. As a retired USAF Master Sergeant, military SciFi really appeals to me and Elizabeth Moon’s books are a delight to read as are C.J. Cherryh’s. You can tell from the author list that I’m as comfortable with the hard SciFi as with the softer SciFi and fantasy. I love them all.

But it’s not just SciFi, mystery is also a favorite. Who hasn’t read Miss Marple by Agatha Christie, or Ellery Queen or Dashielle Hammett or Raymond Chandler, even Issac Asimov wrote mysteries. Modern mystery authors range from Dan Brown and Steven King to Mary Higgins Clark and Robin Cook. So many delicious tales from cosy’s to hard-boiled detective stories.

There are so many books out there and really, so very little time. I hope I’ve mentioned an author or a book that piques your interest. Go to your library and pick up something you haven’t tried before. I think you’ll like it.
The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion ( 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!  Up next: Jean Schara

Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour for February: What Would Be My Dream Writing Retreat?

New York City, Dusk, Lights

The big city by Randy Cockrell

A dream writing retreat? I don’t know. I’m new to writing, as many of you know from reading these posts. I started writing in late 2011. I have a nice set-up in the third bedroom of our house with a main computer, a small TV as a monitor, and a glass-topped desk. But I have been known to hand-write stories in the back seat of our car when we’re on a road trip, in the local coffee shop and even in a tiny notebook in the waiting area of the local tire shop when my car’s tires were being changed out.

But where would I love to be when writing? I would say a busy city street. It could be a café in Paris, a bus stop in New York City, the park in San Francisco. Any of those places would let me see life passing by in front of me. Isn’t that what writing is about? It’s a microcosm of what we see every day but turned, twisted, even. It’s a chance for us to say, What if? What about? How would that turn out?

I love living in the country but with so much space between people it’s harder to see the interactions. In the city though, people rub up against each other like sandpaper. The veneer is rubbed off fast and what’s underneath is the real story. So yeah, I’d say the city, where life is compressed and the action is right at the surface.
The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion ( 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!  Up next: Jean Schara

Monday Blog Post: Freedom of Speech

Pen, Pencil, Newsprint, Charlie Hebdo

Pen and Pencil on Local Newsprint in support of Charlie Hebdo by Connie Cockrell

A more serious blog post for me today than I usually write. I refer to the terrorist attack on the French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. My blog picture today is a reference to the French demonstrators using a pencil to make their point. An old saw goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. This is the truth, I think, at least in the long run. In the meantime, blood flows in the streets.  I wasn’t going to comment on the attack; it was days ago, after all, and so not very timely for today’s blog post. However, Sunday I see in my internet news feeds, that there were demonstrations in Pakistan against the French demonstrations. They feel Charlie Hebdo’s satire is a direct attack on them.

I can sort of understand. If someone says something bad about one of my family, I’m offended. How much more so if someone says or draws something unflattering about my prophet? However, hurt feelings aren’t an excuse to go around shooting people. You feel insulted, go ahead and draw a caricature of God, or Jesus, or Budda, or Krisha. My feelings might be hurt, but no one dies.

So in my own little protest, I’ll be using the above picture of pen and pencil on a page of my local newspaper to support the freedom of speech. It’s not much of a protest in the larger scheme of things but I want people to know that even if I disagree with someone’s spoken comment, written statement, or drawing, that person has every right to say, write or draw it. I spent 20 years in the Air Force defending that constitutional right. I’m not going to stop now.

I’ll update my writing, gardening, and hiking next week.

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!

Merry Go Round Blog Tour: December and Where Are My Goals for 2014?

Hit the Target, Grunge, Digital Art,

Hit the Target by ns-dante via

My list of goals for 2014, by the month, was extensive. Last year this time I went through the list as though I were reporting accomplishments to my commanding officer. This year, I’m going to be a little less obsessive-compulsive.

What’s been most important? I put six books up for sale. One every other month. This is the 2nd year in a row I’ve done that. Pretty good stat considering I just started writing in 2011.

I’ve been studying the craft. I have a world building class, still in progress and a class on how to write a series, extended version that I have been taking from Holly Lisle.  I signed up to take the World Building class then the Series Extended class opened. I’ve been doing the latter and the poor world building class has suffered. I’ll correct it soon, I promise. I also am still struggling through the 2013 Two Year Novel course. I’m tracking the lessons as they come in but I’m woefully behind the curve. The story still isn’t written and most of this year’s lessons are about editing and publishing. I’m not throwing my hands up. My story isn’t bad, it’s just not what I envisioned. I add words to it whenever I get a free writing day and the need to get words on screen is too much to bear. I need to finish it as it’s planned then wait and let it rest. Somewhere out there is the story I actually wanted to tell. It’ll come to me.

I’ve been working on my social media program. Since I publish independently I must work my own advertising/marketing program. Some people think this is a sacrilege. I can only say this. If it isn’t a sacrilege for Stephen King, James Patterson, or Nora Roberts to use the full weight of their publishing houses to advertise their work, why is it a sacrilege for me to use Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to advertise my work? Anyway. I keep plugging away at making my marketing effective. I’ve taken 2 classes in the last 2 years. This year’s class offered some more detailed instruction. Some of it has been interesting, some seems like spam, some may be useful. I plan on turning my wordpress blog into an actual website in 2015. So beware, there are changes coming.

I am working hard at writing. This is the most important thing to me since my marriage and my daughter’s birth. I want this to work and I want this to be professional. I’m making this claim publicly for the first time since I started writing. I don’t consider this to be a hobby. I’m serious. I’m working hard to improve my writing skills. I hope my followers will help me by participating when I offer chances to interact with me. I’m serious when I ask for your opinion. When I make an offer, take me up on it. It’s real. My goals? I want to be a professional author. Help me make it happen.
The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion ( 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!  Up next: Jean Schara

Merry Go Round Blog Tour – September: Publishing

Books by Randy Cockrell

Books by Randy Cockrell

Publishing is in a state of free-for-all right now. It might be that readers don’t notice it. They may notice that their favorite author is only available as a Kindle down-load, never found on their local bookstore’s shelves. Perhaps they notice that they cannot get any of the stories their favorite author wrote years ago or that finally, their favorite author has made their backlist available on Amazon.

Writers, though, are all too aware of what’s going on in publishing. I’m a new author, having put my first book out in August of 2012. I went indie, that is, independently published, or self-published. It was still relatively new in 2012 and many of my mentors on Forward Motion were already well into the process. They had a wealth of information on self-publishing and with their help it was pretty easy to do. As a new author, I wasn’t aware that there was a “stigma” attached to self-publishing. If I had, I wonder if I would have jumped on the bandwagon so quickly?

Sure, I was afraid when I hit the submit button back then. I mean, I put a lot of my heart and soul into that book. All of the usual fears crept into my mind. Did I catch all of the errors when I did my multiple rounds of edits? Will people like it? Will it sell? Am I just embarrassing myself? Oh yeah, the self-doubts are there.

I’ve been through the process several times now. I still get the same wave fear with every book I put up. There’s no validation in indie publishing as there is in traditional publishing. I submit stories to various magazines and publishing houses. Same waves of fear but so far, I haven’t had any takers on the traditional side of publishing. It’s understandable. They get thousands of manuscripts a year and can only publish a few. But I can imagine how gratifying it must be to have someone in the business say, “Hey, I love it. Let’s talk about getting this published.” That’s validation that your work is good enough to sell.

Sure, on the indie side, validation comes from sales numbers but getting discovered by the reading public is tough. There are hundreds of new books published every day. How do I know if my books aren’t selling because of bad writing or poor marketing? There’s no way to know. There again, fear and doubt raise their ugly heads.

All I know is that I’m going to keep writing. I’m going to keep indie publishing. I’m going to keep submitting stories to magazines. I’m going to ignore those nagging fears and doubts.

Speaking of those fears, my newest novella, First Encounter: A Brown Rain series book releases today September 18th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: AppleAmazonBarnes and NobleKobo, or Smashwords today!

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion ( . 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!  Up next: Jean Schara!

Before Christmas Chaos

It’s been crazy at my house, as I’m suspecting it’s been crazy at yours.  December is a month full of expectations. Some of my own expectations have been met, but not exactly as I envisioned. First, let me say, I make my own greeting cards. Christmas cards especially. This year, I just could not get it together. My idea for this year’s cards started well and went downhill in a hurry. I still have the snowflake cutouts, but it will take a long time and an exacto knife to make them come out right. Back-up plan, use the Christmas cards I’ve been stashing for years. I had just enough. Whew.

Next, making candy. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac my life went upside down. What? No Queen Anne Chocolate Covered Cordials? Pretty much any candy on the market at that time was totally forbidden. Too filled with gluten for me to eat. I started making my own, candy that is. Truffles, peanut butter cups, peppermint patties and toffee. For awhile I made chocolate covered cherries but you need a mold for that and the off the shelf molds at the candy stores broke on me so often that I just gave up. It doesn’t matter. I get my candy fix at Christmas and it’s delicious. So, I managed to get my candy making done and boxed up with other gifts and sent to recipients not only on time but early. The project manager part of me loves that.

Outside of the house is decorated, inside is decorated, gifts mailed, gifts under the tree. So what’s to stress about? My hubby’s birthday is the 21st. The house needs to be cleaned and the back yard does too. Part of the celebration is a fire in the fire pit. Yay! Worse, that was my idea. Sigh. Luckily we have a stretch of nice weather starting today and I’ll be able to get those square foot garden beds cleaned up and the back yard looking good for Saturday’s festivities.

So, I’ve got a lot to do this week. That includes writing, of course. On the 18th my turn at December’s Merry Go Round Blog tour comes up. I have a Chuck Wendig challenge, number four of five to complete, and on Friday, there will be a Friday Flash Fiction. I’m behind on my 2 Year Novel Course. I’m hoping after the 21st, I’ll have time to catch up on that. I’m also slaving away on my novel, A New Start. This is the first of my four novel series about Gulliver Station, a SciFi series about a space station. I’m working toward an end of January release for the first book. Stay tuned. Will I make it?

If you’re still looking for a Christmas gift, check out my Christmas Tales. Links are below. In each of those markets you can find my other books as well. Hope you enjoy.


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.

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.

Christmas Tales released November 17th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple (iTunes), Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon or Smashwords today!




Barnes and Noble:



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 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: 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 ( 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!  Up next: Jean Schara!

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:

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:

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: