Monday Blog Post: Payson Book Festival Report

Main Room, Payson Book Festival, by Randy Cockrell

Main Room, Payson Book Festival, by Randy Cockrell

The first ever Payson Book Festival (www.PaysonBookFestival.org) is over and we’re calling it a success. Authors made sales and met new readers. Visitors found new authors and old favorites. There was music, presentations, workshops, Story Monster, food and books. Lots and lots of books. We are only estimating at this point but we think we had 500 visitors at the festival. We’re very happy of course, but very tired. It turned into a bigger event that we had initially anticipated but the wide variety of authors and things to do, including breakfast and lunch, made the festival a place where many people lingered for quite awhile. Soon we’ll have some festival pictures available to post on the above website. Take a look!

J.A. Marlow and Connie Cockrell talking to Readers photo by Randy Cockrell

J.A. Marlow and Connie Cockrell talking to Readers photo by Randy Cockrell

My personal day statistics? I sold 11 books and passed out my card to many people and chatted with even more. I also had the opportunity to speak with a great many of my fellow authors. I even received an offer of a speaking engagement. I also was able to spend the day with four author friends. Two of them J.A.Marlow (http://jamarlow.com/) and Sunny Lewis shared my table and my friend D’Elen McClain (www.wickedstorytelling.com) was right next door on my right and another, Sharon Langdale, (http://sharonlangdale.com) on my left. It was a fantastic opportunity. Here’s my Amazon Author page link. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009O6199C

Mystery at the Fair is released on Amazon. I’m working on the formatting for Smashwords so I can put it up on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes. See the link at the end to Amazon’s Mystery at the Fair page.

Camp NaNo progresses but after I reached 30K words and with the Book Festival and the Meet and Greet looming, I just couldn’t get any words last week. So, I gave myself permission to take the rest of the week off and got out from under all of the stress I was self-creating. I felt better for it and on Sunday, sat down and wrote. Yay! I won’t make my goal of 50,000 but I may make 40K. Not half bad and Mystery in the Woods will be half done.

I also need to edit my entry in the Forward Motion anthology. I titled it Betrayal Moon. The anthology prompt was rogues and reprobates and I think I found a good protagonist for this prompt. The anthology is due out in October so I need to hurry!

The garden is looking wonderful. I’ve picked more zucchini though the straight neck yellow squash has produced nothing this year. It flowers but I’m getting no fruit. Perhaps I needed two of them? I’m in the process of not watering the bed where the mint has run amok. Letting that bed go until I can dig out all of the mint roots. Sunday I cut a bunch of it out, prepping for the digging. The tomatoes are looking good even though none are ripe yet. So far I’ve picked six hornworms out of the tomatoes. The cantaloupe is looking good though the little pillbugs like to eat it from underneath. I’ll have to take drastic measures. Also on Sunday, I picked a basketful of peaches. The apples must also be ripe because Sunday morning a herd of javalina were in the yard eating all of the low hanging apples. Hubby caught a picture of them.

Javalina eating my Apples. Photo by Randy Cockrell

Javalina eating my Apples. Photo by Randy Cockrell

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I have a special offer going up in my newsletter so sign up today! 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! 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.

Monday Blog Post: Memorial Day Weekend

Hummingbirds, Bees, Feeder, Randy Cockrell

Hummingbirds vs Bees by Randy Cockrell

So how was your Memorial Day weekend? Do anything fun? Go camping? Have the whole family over for a BBQ? My town’s Farmer’s market opened for the first time this season on Saturday. Mom and I went early, saw all the stalls, some new, many returning again. She bought a huge cinnamon bun from the local bakery and we both bought tamales from the tamale lady to eat for breakfast. I had the green pork and she had the red pork tamale. Yummy in my tummy. On Sunday, hubby, me and my mom went to the Pine Craft Fair. Randy had the Navajo Taco to eat. One of our hiking friends was a volunteer making them. So that was fun. Then we had what hubby and his brother call a Taco Feast on Sunday evening. The two brothers had fun reminiscing about taco night when they were boys.

This month’s challenge is called May Story A Day, May SAD, and I committed to write 10 stories for the month and actually shoot for 12. As of the 23rd, I have 9 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’m still keeping up with my 5 minutes per day writing challenge. I have missed a day or two but I’ve been diligent about putting something on the screen every day.

Last week I mentioned that I’ve upgraded my my website. 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. Last week I asked you to go check up the new site and follow that before you lose out on weekly stories and my writing updates! Unfortunately, the site subscribe button was missing. I’ve spent many hours this week putting a subscribe button on there as well as social media follow and share buttons. I’m not a web site developer or a programmer but I’ve got things operational. Take a look.

My editors at Silver Jay Media helped me cut the final 600 words in my short story, Eavesdroppers, and it’s now in their capable hands for the final line and copy editing. If you’re thinking that it’s quite a process, you’re correct. At any rate, soon the story will be as good as I can make it and I’ll send it off to a contest. I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress.

The Payson Book Festival is at 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.

Today’s picture is of our hummingbird feeder. Somehow tiny cracks developed in the bottom of the feeder. The leaking nectar attracted the bees. It went on like this for several days and the hummingbirds were not happy. Anyway, Friday, hubby took the feeder down and repaired the cracks. No more nectar for the bees. The hummingbirds are happy. The bees got a head start on their honey making.

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!

Monday Blog Post: Updates for May

Bird, Rufous-sided Towhee, Randy Cockrell

Rufous-sided Towhee by Randy Cockrell

This month’s challenge is called May Story A Day, May SAD and I committed to write 10 stories for the month and actually shoot for 12. As of the 16th, I have 6 stories written, 5 flashes and a short story. In my other writing group I’m in a 5 minutes per day writing challenge. I’m supposed to write at least 5 minutes per day. I’m keeping up with the 5 minutes of writing per day pretty well. I have missed a day or two but I’ve been diligent about putting something on the screen every day.

Our illness appears to be over. There is still some coughing but we felt well enough to go hiking last Tuesday. Probably not our best move. We hadn’t fully recovered yet and the hike wiped us both out. We’ll be better on this Tuesday, really, we will.

Last week I mentioned that I’ve upgraded my newsletter. I’m also upgrading my website. 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. Go check up the new site and follow that before you lose out on weekly stories and my writing updates!

I have finished content editing Eavesdroppers  but the problem is the story ended up 600 words too long. I’ve been cutting words without cutting the changes however I still have 150 or so words to go. The editors at Silver Jay Media have offered to help me with it and I think I will. Then I’ll go to the line edits.

The Payson Book Festival is now hot and heavy into finalizing author lists and starting up the production of a print program for the event. We have so many great authors, sponsors, and vendors; we hope to get a great program that attendees will treasure for a long time to come. Want to help the book festival this year? Buy an ad! Mark your calendar to come to Payson for July 25th to meet us. We’d love to chat with you.

Today’s picture is a rufous-sided towhee sitting on top of the metal hook that holds the hummingbird feeder. A handsome bird.

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!

Monday Blog Post: March is Here!

InD'Scribe Conference

InD’Scribe Conference

Big news, I’ve signed up to attend my first ever writer’s conference. It’s called InD’tale Con and is being held in Palm Springs, CA on September 17 – 20, 2015. I’m pretty excited. I’m catching a ride with another author from Payson and I expect we’re going to have a lot of fun. If you’re around Palm Springs at that time, stop by my signing table and say hi!

I’ve also arranged a book signing for March 21st at the Scoops Ice Cream store here in Payson. I put info out on the radio, the newspaper and put up posters all around Rim Country. If you’re in town on the 21st between 1 and 3pm, stop by to grab an ice cream and chat. You can find both of these events and the July Book Festival on the Where Will I Be? tab on this website.

I’ve managed to create a couple more chapters in my All About Bob story. Poor Bob. I’m being pretty mean to him. I’ve also begun the planning and outlining for my next Brown Rain book, not sure what I’m calling it yet. Rest Stop, has come to mind. Anyway, in this book Alyssa will be the main character though Kyra will have a lot to do as well. I’m planning to write it during April’s Camp NaNo. I still need to edit Mystery at the Fair. I’d like to release that in May, and have it ready for the summer reading season and for the July Book Festival and the September conference.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. You can see the information on www.PaysonBookFestival.org if you’d like. Kick-off pricing on author tables, half price now ends March 15th. Hurry, sign up for a table, you can share a table, too, to make your costs even less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. They’re going fast at this great price.

I’ve sent my short story, After Math, to my content editor. I hope I’ve rewritten it enough to change the feel of it and make my main character the girl I had in my head. I’d like to get it circulating, maybe even sold.

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!

Monday Blog Post: Big News February 18th

Connie Cockrell, speaking, Soroptimist meeting.

Connie Cockrell speaking at the December Soroptimist meeting.

I’m speaking on Wednesday at the Arizona Professional Writers monthly meeting. It’s held at the Payson Public Library Community room at noon. I’ll be talking about my adventures as an Indie author and will bring some books for signing. I hope to see you there.

Lost Rainbows is up on both Smashwords and CreateSpace so you should be able to find the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and other sites, see the final paragraph, below. But I’m also experimenting with making the book a serial. I’ve set up the 18th as the first installment of the book. It’ll be posted on my blog and on Wattpad (www.Wattpad.com). Wattpad is a Reader/Author connection website, not social media but a place for readers to find great new authors. Since Lost Rainbows is a novelette for younger readers and Wattpad has the same demographic, I thought this site would be the best place to serialize the book. A new chapter will be released each Wednesday for 16 weeks. Enjoy.

The Payson Book Festival planning is moving right along. We’ve begun the Sponsorship drive and you can find a form on www.PaysonBookFestival.org to contribute if you’d like. We have a Kick-off pricing on author tables, too. Half price now through mid-March. Hurry, sign up for a table, you can share a table, too, to make your costs even less. Fill out the Author Registration and get that in to us so we can reserve you a table. They’re going fast at this great price.

I released February’s newsletter yesterday and it was chock full of great information. I put a coupon in there, too, for newsletter recipients only. Don’t miss out on these great values, sign up for the newsletter on my blog, www.conniesrandomthoughts.wordpress.com. You’ll get the scoop on what I’m writing much earlier than I post it here.

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!

Monday Blog Post: Busy January

Bridge, Roosevelt Lake, Dam, Hike

From a hike to Roosevelt Lake. The bridge near the dam from a different POV than most people get.

I’m sitting down to write this blog and all of the things I had thought to write about have flown out of my head. That’s what I get for not jotting them down as I think of them. No matter, there’s so much going on in January, I have plenty to talk about.

First of all, my leprechaun story, Lost Rainbows is proceeding along my editing path. All of the copies are back from my readers and I’m busy looking through the comments and making changes. Next, I’ll send it off to my editors, Silver Jay Media. They are marvelous people and are working very hard to make my work shine. I have contracted out my cover this time. JA Marlow, jamarlow.com, is a wonderful author in her own right and uses her graphic arts background to make great covers. I haven’t seen the first draft yet but she told me it’s almost done. I can’t wait to see it. I’m still hoping to make my self-imposed deadline of the end of January. We’ll see how that goes. It may slip into February.

Also on writing, I just started a new novel. I call it my All About Bob series for New Adults. That’s the 15 – 20 year age group. I thought of this series over a year ago when I was taking a writing class. I developed the first story a little bit and wrote a tiny bit about each of four other stories to go with it. Here’s my series blurb:

This is a series of novelettes about five Bobs, from different towns and circumstances, but they each dream of a different life.

The first story is about one Bob who dreams of college. The second story looks at another Bob, still in high school and desperate to date the cute girl in Social Studies. The third Bob dreams of leaving home for more excitement. Bob number four would love some economic security, self-respect and a way out of the dead end life his parents live. The fifth Bob wants to see the world and the wonders it holds. See how each Bob confronts the obstacles that are denying him his dreams and how each young man forges his own path to adulthood.

I have no idea why I wrote about a young man instead of a young woman. It just seemed the way it should go. Anyway, I’m excited about the first story; It’s a Question of College, and have been writing it fairly steadily. No plans yet on when it will be published.

On the volunteering front, I’m hip deep in planning for the first ever Book Festival in my town. It’s a lot more complicated than you would think. However, we do have a website: www.paysonbookfestival.org and a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PaysonBookFestival. The committee is very excited about putting this together.

I’m also on the Northern Gila County Fair board. Our first meeting of the year is coming up at the end of the month. We need volunteers, like any other non-profit organization. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Gila-County-Fair/136645043024179 and our website there is www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com

Since it’s January there’s not a lot of gardening going on. My Meyer lemon tree bloomed over Christmas and as I do every year, I took a small watercolor paintbrush and moved pollen from one flower to the next. I have several teeny tiny lemon buds which I hope will grow to fantastic lemons.  My orchid is also sending out a new flower shoot. My daughter gave me the plant a couple of years ago as a Mother’s Day gift. I’m surprised I’ve kept it alive for so long. The dry Arizona air isn’t exactly ideal for a tropical rainforest flower.

Also on the agenda for this week is a hike on Tuesday, and a massage. My daughter gave me a gift certificate and on Thursday I’m going to indulge. It’d be nice if I could give myself a whole spa day but that is not going to happen. There’s too much writing to do for me to skip a day.

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!