The Garden, Navajo Flatbread, Appearance News: Monday Blog Post

My nectarine tree in full bloom

Newest News:

So, finally cleaned up the 3 backyard raised garden beds. They only had a few stems and dead leaves in them. I have no idea why I kept putting it off since November. It took all of five minutes to clean. Sigh. I also went to the front yard and pruned off the dead stems from the lavender plant. I hate that job and it took me about an hour. Now though, it’s done, and the plant is all ready to put out new flower shoots. The weather here is getting warmer, even though we can still get frosts and maybe even a late snow. No matter. I’m going to put in some lettuces and maybe even the peas. I’m certainly going to put in my Swiss Chard. It’s a mild kind, all green, that substitutes really well for spinach, which I can never grow. With luck, the chipmunks will leave it all alone. The bunny from last year must have moved on when it ran out of my garden veggies to eat. I haven’t seen it in months.

I found this easy bread recipe on-line for Navajo flatbread and I made it for supper last night. https://templehousegallery.com/pioneer-plate-blog/2020/3/18/bread-shortage-easiest-kind-of-bread-you-can-make It was quite easy to do, and I substituted a mix of cassava, tapioca and a general-purpose gluten free flours for general all-purpose flour to make it. Came out wonderfully. It calls for a cast-iron pan but I used my non-stick frying pan and they came out perfectly. Very tasty. I served it with a chicken tikka masala with broccoli and peas. I’ll make it again.

The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway is done. I’ll post my winners as soon as I get them. In the meantime, prepare for the Spring giveaway which will be starting in the next day or two.

See below for cancellations and changed dates for my appearances.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Giveaways:

The St. Patrick Day giveaway is now over but the Spring giveaway hasn’t quite started yet. I’ll post my winners as soon as I get them.

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. This event hasn’t been officially cancelled though the library is closed through April. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th. This event has been postponed until the end of September. Current dates are now September 25th through Sunday the 27th. Note that it’s a day shorter, starting on Friday rather than Saturday. For people who have special Thursday passes and other special tickets, check out the Fan Fusion website for details on how those will be handled.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Self-Distancing, Panic Buying: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

It’s calving season in Central AZ. This is just one of the cuties I saw on a drive about a week ago.

I started staying home last week so I’m about a week and a half into my isolation. Hubby excepted, of course. Most of my friends are doing the same. I saw a friend of mine walking her dog by my house the other day and I ran out to say hi, ten feet apart, of course. Sunday I ate the last of my homemade coconut milk yogurt so I made some more. It will be ready on Monday. Hubby does the shopping for us, and reports the stores still with many empty shelves. To keep busy I found a Youtube site, Lunch Doodles by children’s author Mo Willems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmzjCPQv3y8  The series is set up for children but it thought it was fun and some good practice for me to illustrate my own children’s story. I’m also involved in a Pixar workshop on storytelling. You can find it at https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar/storytelling. I figured that Pixar has a great storytelling set up and is very successful at it so I thought I’d check it out. I’ve done two sections so far and have really enjoyed it. So if you’re looking to strengthen your writing skills, check it out. Both the doodles and the storytelling are free! Final thing, if you aren’t doing Facebook, you might want to come back. Tons of people are posting recipes, (I can’t eat regular bread but the post on cast iron skillet bread looked so good!), games and exercises for you and the kids, fun links to games, movies, art, music, and so much more. Just scroll by any post that you dislike and get to the good stuff.

Stay safe. Stay well.

I don’t often do this but with the store shelves continuing to be empty I thought I’d post this piece by author Angela Chrysler www.angelabchrysler.com. The entire newsletter is full of great advice, but this part of her post seemed especially significant to me.  It’s on panic buying and to be honest, I’ve found myself doing the same things, the last time I was in the store. So, with many thanks to Angela, here’s her post on:

The 5 Stages of Panic Buying.

I first started seeing panic buying two weeks ago in early March. Was 7 March really only that recent ago?
I didn’t panic buy in Stage #1. I stood back, wrinkling my brow and asked, “What? Toilet paper?” I didn’t panic buy in stage #2 when herd mentality kicked in. I knew how to recognize the lemming stage. I did however panic buy in stage 3 with the, “Oooh! I finally found this!”
Here are the multiple stages of panic buying and how to control them as they hit.
 
Stage #1 – “How we feel in control when things are out of control.”
Summary:
I see Olaf in Frozen II sitting in the forest with children who proceed to shove crystals into his face. “This is how we feel in control when things are feeling out of control.” It’s an old instinct that runs deep and, if you can’t recognize it, you most likely will have it. If you’ve ever been without, it will hit you harder than most. Think of those who lived during the First Great Depression.
The problem with it:
This is the stage that sets off the chain reaction to all the other stages. It leads to economic downfall and an imbalance of supply and demand. This Stage is the stage that starts all other stages. It is the catalyst. The cause that creates the effect.
How to recognize and stop it:
Are you buying what is not on your list? Do you need it now? Are you being emotional or logical? First and foremost, are you scared? Every one of these stages is a fear response, but this one more than most because it is the least logical. Nothing more. Be honest with yourself. Be aware of it, and remind yourself that buying that extra gallon (or five) of milk will not solve the issue. You will still have a possibly lethal virus running rampant around you. You may still get sick. You will just have one (or five) more gallons of milk to store in your fridge. Buying that milk will not stop the virus.  
 
Stage #2 – The Lemming Stage.
Summary:
“Everyone was buying the giant balls of butter, so I got on for each of us!” This is one of my favorite lines from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Sally Solomon came home with four turkeys when she experienced her first Thanksgiving in Season 1. We do this because when monkey sees, monkey does. We don’t understand WHY everyone is buying toilet paper, but we assume they have news that we don’t have and stopping to ask for an explanation could result in you losing out while others grab and run. Act first. Ask later.
My husband is an Aries: the one astrological sign that likes to mess with people…because he can.  “Ooh!” My husband said and dramatically snatched up a kitchen sponge, clutching it to his body protectively, then, slunk away as if someone would wrestle it from him. “What’s that?” Shoppers around him instantly zoomed in to the wall of sponges and started stocking up. Seriously people, pay attention to your emotions specifically the impulses driven by fear.
I also call this stage the “lemming” stage as these are the panic buyers who buy because they see everyone else doing it.
The problem with it:
This stage feeds the next lemming beside you. Panic breeds panic. While Stage #1 launches the downfall, the lemming stage builds the momentum and keeps it going until nothing is left. Still largely fear-based, this stage doesn’t have a drop of logical thought around.
How to recognize and stop it:
This one is easy. The ONLY reason why you would panic buy in stage #2 is because you consistently saw the same item in everyone else’s cart OR you went to a store, saw that the shelf was almost bare and you grabbed the last two cans of dog food before remembering that you don’t even own a dog. Or you were one of the ten shoppers who saw my husband clutching the sponges to his chest. Ask yourself, am I buying this because I need it or because I saw what others are doing?
 
 
Stage #3 – The Adrenaline Stage –
“Ooh! I haven’t been able to find this!”

Summary:
Still fear based and still no logic in sight. I did this yesterday at Target. I found THE LAST packs of tissues!! (I didn’t need them). They were travel sized, BUT THEY WERE MINE (I didn’t need them)! “At Last” played in my head. I cried, actually cried, with relief. I wouldn’t even put them in the cart. They were MINE (I didn’t need them).  
The problem with it:
This one is tricky because it has the illusion of logic attached to it…even though it doesn’t. Did you read the part where I said I didn’t need them? Yes. Buying something because you finally found it looks logically, but if you’re buying something for anything other than need, it isn’t logical. It’s emotional. I have $6.00 less in my wallet than I had yesterday for something I don’t need, and I took from someone else who actually may need it. It was this event yesterday that led me to writing this article.
How to recognize and stop it:
Recognizing this stage is simple. Did you ever use the phrase, “I found it!?”Before you buy ask, “Do I need it?” If the answer is no then yes, you are in stage #3. If you DO need it, you’re not panic buying UNLESS…You are buying more than you NEED. Logically determine your need before you buy. Not sure if you need it? Then ask yourself, “Can I do without this?”  
 
Stage #4 – The Stage of Overthinking Foresight –
“I found it NOW, but what if I can’t get it when I need it?”

Summary:
This is the stage that has not happened yet…but it will. This stage will hit alongside Stage #5. You can and probably will have Stage #4 and Stage #5 at the same time. There is one subtle difference: Stage #5 can last for years, even a lifetime. Stage #4 will only last for a month or two after the demand drops and supply can finally recover.
This stage will hit when toilet paper does make its way back on the shelves. This is the one I feel the most. I could easily buy 3 dozen packages of toilet paper when they FINALLY hit the shelves…just because I can’t trust they won’t be there. I know others will have the same feeling. If we don’t keep Stage #4 in check, we could easily start the whole cycle over again, prolonging the supply deficit.  
The problem with it:
This will keep mandatory essentials scarce. It will continue to keep the bare shelves bare. It will start panic buying over again from Stage #2.
How to recognize and stop it:
This is the first stage that is not only emotional, but it is VERY logical. This is why Stage #4 is so dangerous. One could easily convince themselves why they need to buy and will stock up. It is easy to recognize, but not so easy to stop. In fact, it’s downright DIFFICULT to stop. It’s simple. Imagine the paper product aisle in Walmart fully stocked. What would you do? If you answered, “Buy it all” you are probably in Stage #4. What I recommend is the following:
Consult an old grocery list. One you used March 2019.
Buy only what is on that list and ONLY in the quantities you would have purchased in March 2019.
This stage truly is the “it looks easy on paper, but in practice…” I know. I’m right there with you. This stage is going to be hard.
 
Stage #5 – Trauma Induced Stage –
“I missed you! I’m getting you now because I finally can! I finally feel empowered! I will never live without you again!”

Summary:
This stage will arrive alongside stage #4. But, when stage #4 dies out, stage #5 will stick around a little (or a lot) longer. This one is the one that could stick with any one person for the rest of their lives. This is where the trauma of having no toilet paper for 3 months could easily result in keeping a year’s worth of toilet paper for the rest of your life. Do you remember that weird quirk your grandmother had where she always saved every last piece of wrapping paper no matter how mangled it was? Or your grandfather who kept every newspaper because there was always a way he could use it later? Yeah. That is what Stage #5 looks like years later.
In short, Stage #5 is what the trauma of doing without leaves behind.
The problem with it:
It is a trauma that, if left unchecked, could result in a mind or severe case of hoarding. It can lead to storage problems, financial ruin, or, in some cases, severe forms of clutter.  
How to recognize and stop it:
Does the thought of not buying 6 months’ supply of toilet paper renew feelings of panic? Do you literally fight back tears or violently lash out if someone tries to prevent or question the quantity of toilet paper you purchase? If any part of this stage fills you with a massive waves of emotion, you’re probably in stage #5.
If it is a mild case, to stop it, apply the methods of stage #4. Again, easier said than done. If it is an advanced case, a licensed therapist may be in order.

I know that made my blog post longer than normal but I thought it important that we examine our own emotional situation and work together to get the supply lines back to normal.

Giveaways:

Hooray! The St. Patrick Day giveaway still live! This is one of our shortest giveaways and sure to be shut down any day now, so be sure to click on the link right away. As always, we ask that to win, you follow us on one or more of several social media, or our newsletters, or our websites. You don’t have to join all of them, but to find out more about the many wonderful authors, you’ll want to do that. Here’s the link. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ or go to https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f110/  Sign up today!

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Coronavirus, Census: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

The Manzanita are blooming in central AZ

Let’s talk about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 for a bit. Have you been impacted? Maybe went to do your weekly grocery shopping and all of the canned goods, toilet paper, wipes, baby formula and whatever else you use was gone from the grocery shelves? Yep. Same here. Are you staying home more? Perhaps not going to the movies, or a festival of some kind? Yep. Same here. I’m not in a panic. I have food enough in the house for a while. However, I do have lung issues. I don’t need to get a cold, the flu, or the corona, as my husband calls it. He’s had some skin cancer, so is also in a category that indicates he might want to avoid big crowds. Whatever your reason for “social distancing” I appreciate it. It will help slow the spread and give hospitals a chance to keep up and for medications and protocols to catch up to the reality of the situation. So, let’s keep up our at home gardening, our solo or just family hikes, a nice bicycle ride, our closet cleaning, and our binge watching of our fav TV movies and shows. Mine’s Babylon 5 by the way, what’s yours? Stay safe. Stay well.

I just did our census survey. It’s on-line now and you don’t even have to wait for a card or letter from the Census Bureau to fill it out. I just went to mycensus.gov and it popped right up. If you don’t have the number, you can choose the button that takes you through to a page that identifies you and then you can answer the few questions about you, who lives in your house, you gender, your ethnicity, as well as a few other questions, and that’s it! Quick and easy.

Giveaways:

Hooray! The St. Patrick Day giveaway is now live! This is one of our shortest giveaways so be sure to click on the link right away. As always, we ask that to win, you follow us on one or more of several social media, or our newsletters, or our websites. You don’t have to join all of them, but to find out more about the many wonderful authors, you’ll want to do that. Here’s the link. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ or go to https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f110/  Sign up today!

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ. This event hasn’t been cancelled yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Worm Moon, March 2020

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

I’m Literary! Giveaway Opens, Fruit Trees Pruned: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Just after I posted last week, I received news that a story I wrote last August, had been accepted and was just published. The way it happened was that I met a woman, Rosemary Dombrowski, a poet from Arizona State University, who was doing some pre-book festival work with sixth-graders here in Payson for us. She has this literary magazine she and some of her students and other instructors work on, called Writing For Peace. https://writingforpeace.org/gardens-in-the-desert-cultivating-awareness/ It turned out they were accepting short stories and poems and art for the upcoming Winter 2020 edition. The theme was Gardens in the Desert, Cultivating Awareness. Even though my fiction isn’t considered literary, an idea immediately popped into my mind and I wrote it up.  After I sent it in, I just forgot about it. Then a few days ago, I was contacted by the staff to check my story for correctness. A week later, boom, I have a link to the electronic copy. I hear an actual paper version will be published later this year. I’m looking forward to that as there are wonderful stories in there and stunning artwork. Want to check it out while it’s free? Click on the link above and it takes you right to it. My story, A Little Bit of Light, is in the Fiction link. Enjoy it and the other stories, art, and poetry.

Peach tree from 2019

I mentioned last week that it was time to prune my fruit trees. I actually got it done. I managed to sprain my wrist in the process but the two pears, the peach, and the nectarine trees have all been cut back, crosswise branches trimmed and the trees are now ready for spring. The rosebushes and the lavender bush all still to be done but that will get done eventually too. How about you? Are you able to garden yet or do you still need to wait for the snow to leave?

Giveaways:

Hooray! The St. Patrick Day giveaway is now live! This is one of our shortest giveaways so be sure to click on the link right away. As always, we ask that to win, you follow us on one or more of several social media, or our newsletters, or our websites. You don’t have to join all of them, but to find out more about the many wonderful authors, you’ll want to do that. Here’s the link. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ or go to https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f110/  Sign up today!

Where will I Be?

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. More info to follow.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Giveaway, TempeFanCon, Ottoman Empire: Monday Blog Post

TempeFanCon 2020

Newest News:

Saturday the 25th, I had a table at the Tempe Library TempeFanCon. It was an outdoor event, but the weather was absolutely perfect. There were 90 vendor tables with authors, groups like the SCA, the Umbrella Society, and more. A large percentage of attendees came dressed in cosplay costumes and it was a pleasure to see everyone walking around, talking to the vendors and taking pictures of all the great costumes. The above picture is of a particularly good group of Marvel characters. If you get a chance to attend one of these events in your area, you should go. It’s a lot of fun and you get to meet great authors, artists, and cosplayers!  

Last night hubby and I started watching a show on the Ottoman empire. It’s presented as a mix of interviews with expert historians on the empire and dramatizations of the events. The first episode was on the emperor’s attempt to take over Constantinople in the 1400s. At that time the Roman empire was still hanging on by its fingernails. The Eastern Roman Emperor ruled from Constantinople and in actuality, controlled nothing but the city. The Ottomans controlled all the rest of the area, clear up to Eastern Europe. My brain was buzzing with questions. I’d heard of the Ottoman empire but to be honest, know very little about it other than it controlled a huge area of eastern Europe and the middle east, including Egypt, all the way to India. I just finished a history called Edge of Empire, Conquest and Collecting in the East 1750 – 1850. The book talked about, among other things, how the French and British, contending with each other for dominance in the region, had to work with the Ottoman Empire to get permission to dig for antiquities, set up embassies and the like. Now I’m very intrigued. The Ottoman Empire lasted over 400 years. Where did they come from? How’d they rise to power? And of course, ideas for stories began streaming through my head. This was a very exciting time in history and the things that can be discussed are nearly endless. So there you have it. Where do ideas for stories come from? From TV for one, history for another. What are you reading that stirs your imagination?

Giveaways:

The Christmas giveaway grand prize winner was Sara Zielinski. We’re so happy that Sara won the Paypal cash. I had two winners pulled, Richard Robinson and Caitlynn Clevenger. I am signed up for the St. Patrick’s Day giveaway. I’ll post links as soon as I get them.

Where will I Be?:

Pine Library, 6124 W. Randall Place, Pine AZ, Friends of the Library meeting, April 27th at 1pm. More info to follow.

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is still available. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Mom’s Birthday, Martin Luther King Day, Women’s March 2020, The Party: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So, had she lived, mom would be 83 today. Her birthday fell on what used to be Washington’s Birthday, but is now Martin Luther King Day. To my mom, happy birthday. I miss you very much. I have no plans for this three-day weekend, I’m retired after all. I do plan to remember the struggle of our neighbors without white skin and to work so that everyone has the same level of respect and opportunity throughout this nation.  

I attended the local Women’s March on Saturday. We had some great speakers. Did a short march down our main street, and just felt recharged and invigorated after spending the morning with such a wonderful group of compassionate, involved women and men. Were you able to attend a march near you? Leave a comment!

On the writing front. Last week did this blog post, another one for another blog, and did a chapter on The Party for Friday. It felt good to get back in the writing saddle after such a long break. I have some great ideas for The Party. I’m enthusiastic again.

Giveaways:

I missed the Valentine’s Day giveaway. I’m not sure how. However, I am signed up for the St. Patrick’s Day giveaway. I’ll post links as soon as I get them. I’ll post the Christmas winners as soon as I’m notified.

Where will I Be?:

Tempe FanCon. It’s this Saturday! January 25th from 10am to 4pm at the Tempe Public Library. Come in cosplay costume or not. It’s up to you. I’m at table 77 of over 90 author tables. So much variety. Panels, other entertainment, food vendors. Come on out and enjoy the lovely winter weather and find some great books. Check the website for directions, the site plan, and a list of the authors!

Phoenix Fan Fusion, May 21st – 24th.

Payson Book Festival, July 18th at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino, Payson AZ.

CokoCon 2020, September 4 – 7th, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Phoenix Tempe, 2100 S Tempe, AZ

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is still available. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on http://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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Veteran’s Day, NANOWRIMO, Gratefullness: Monday Blog Post

Airman 1st Class Wilcox

Newest News:

Happy Veteran’s Day! The youngster in the above picture is me. Airman 1st class. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or what the future would bring. Fortunately, mostly good stuff and for that I’m grateful. May the vets in your life have nothing but happiness from now on.

Yay! It’s November and with it, National Novel Writing Month! This is the annual challenge to all writers to put your editing brain in the closet and just write, write, write! As of Sunday morning, I’ve written almost 18,000 words so far. I have transitioned to the next All About Bob story, which right now I’m calling, It’s All About the Girl. This story isn’t flowing as well as the last one but not everything is perfect. I’m slogging along on it and with luck will have it done sooner rather than later and be able to start the last one, It’s All About Home. If you’re writing this month, good for you. Hope you get it finished. If you’re a reader, brace yourself. All of these stories will be out in about a year.

I have been putting my gratefulness posts on my author page. So click on over to my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts/, and check it out. Share what you’re grateful for as well!

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is ending soon! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

The the Christmas giveaway will start very soon! For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. Other great prizes are also available. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. 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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

The Party: Lt Col Flynn – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

Chapter 18: Lt Col Flynn

Tyler Flynn crouched behind a bush on a hillside overlooking a small town in West Virginia. In his earpiece, he heard a single click. Go time. He made a motion with his hand and watched as his troops moved down the hill. He was responsible for surrounding the southeast side of the town. Not too close, though. The plan was to bomb the place.

Two days ago he’d been in a staff meeting with Colonel Marcus and other company commanders. A map of the town, Collinwood, was projected at the front of the conference room. They’d already discussed their individual approaches. Three sides, in all. Now the rest of the plan was being detailed.

When Marcus said the town was going to be bombed, the room fell dead silent. “I know,” Marcus said. The man wasn’t stupid, Flynn thought. “A daylight raid, us surrounding the town, and a full-scale bombing. Yes. There will be elderly, women, and children in there. The order is to kill every person.” He looked around the room. “We’re sending a message, gentlemen. There will be cameras, in the air and with the surrounding men.” He took a deep breath. “This will be televised. Anyone escaping will be captured and eventually interrogated for information on the insurrection. Any questions?”

There weren’t. Later in the day, the men were briefed. They didn’t like it, he could see that clearly on their faces. But like their officers, no one asked any questions. This was no longer an army where questions were welcomed.

So now it was beginning. A few cars had left town, but his team didn’t stop them. There were details further down the road to pick them up. In his earpiece, he heard Marcus’ voice. “Bombing run beginning. Hold your positions.”

Flynn keyed his mic. “Hold your positions. Bombing run initiating.”

From his position he could see his men taking cover. It didn’t take long. Drones came overhead and flew straight for the town. Bombs fell, silently, and Flynn felt as though he were watching a silent movie. The bombs fell, black silhouettes against the bright blue sky. They hit, first at the edges, then moving into the town center. Factories, churches, schools, stores. They all lit up in flame and then smoke. He could hear the screaming from his perch on the hill and his stomach rolled. Another flight of drones followed, hitting buildings untouched by the first pass. People were beginning to straggle out of the town.

“Pick them up,” he said into his mic. As he watched, his men stood and began to move forward. He watched as his men directed the people to the temporary confinement area. Trained since birth to trust their own soldiers, forgetting they didn’t live in that world any longer, and truth be told, more than likely confused from the bombing, the survivors did what they were told.

He knew there was first aid set up there, there hadn’t been any orders to be cruel. The people would be treated and moved into the fenced area. Flynn looked at the town, it was totally on fire. There didn’t seem to be a single building that wasn’t already a pile of ruble or on fire. Immaculata my ass, he thought. More like Satan’s spawn. He spat to the side to try and get the taste of treachery out of his mouth. It didn’t work. He moved down the hill. It was time to join his men.

Thank you for reading.

NANOWRIMO, Gratefulness November: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Yay! It’s November and with it, National Novel Writing Month! This is the annual challenge to all writers to put your editing brain in the closet and just write, write, write! As of Sunday morning, I’ve written 4600 words and am going strong on finishing It’s All About the Music. Then I’ll transition to the next All About Bob story, which right now I’m calling, It’s All About the Girl. I don’t really like that title, so hopefully, when I’m writing it, I’ll come up with something better. The last planned book in that series will be, perhaps titled, It’s All About Home. With luck and nimble fingers, I’ll have all three done by the end of the month. We’ll see how it goes.

Also in November, I practice gratitude and thankfulness. I’ve done this for several years now and find it comforting. I generally post my daily thankful for on my personal facebook page. I should do that on my author page too, don’t you think? Yeah! I’ll do that. So click on over to my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts/, and check it out. Share what you’re grateful for as well!

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is ending soon! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

Then the Christmas giveaway will start. For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. Other great prizes are also available. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-book-festival/.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. 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 or BookBub. Your review is 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 https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

The Party: Chapter 17 – Andy McGuire, Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

Chapter 17: Andy McGuire

Andy sat in the row along the wall behind his boss, Duncan Angelson. Andy had a lapful of files, all color tabbed and memorized. He’d read the entire pile, of course. He had no idea what his job, Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of the Chief of Staff, was before the President for Life, but now, it seemed to him, to be nothing but a go-fer for Duncan.

He tried to focus on the current speaker, Joe Evans. Not that he was interested but because if Duncan raised his hand over the top of his leather high-topped chair, Andy had better have the file that pertained to whatever the current blow-hard speaker was talking about.

The meeting had begun half an hour ago and to Andy, it was overkill. Hadn’t The Party already contained any possible interference? Thousands had already been rounded up, killed, detained, children sent to camps. There he caught a breath. Camps. What had some of the World War Two Jewish survivors said about camps? They’d been stunned by the term. “Camps!” They’d said. “You think these were summer camps where we swam and hiked?” They were outraged.

Andy had to agree. He knew entirely too much about camps. This isn’t what his college classes had prepared him for. He managed to check into Joe Evans interminable speech. Nothing yet. The blow-hard was still pontificating on how he and his organization deserved credit for the current state of affairs. As though the Sons of America white supremacy organization was the be all and end all of political high-ground.

Andy wished he had the spine to record this crap. Someday, he thought. Then quashed the idea. No. Not the country he’d grown up with. Damn his father, shoving him into this hell hole. But that’s what it was now. Sons—shoved into opportune positions to further the family fortunes. He tried to clear his throat of the bile, but quietly. No need to draw attention to himself.

He envied his sister, kept at home, though he knew full well that she chafed under the confinement. Safer for her, he thought. At least she’s not in this mess. But he knew she’d disagree.

He focused. What had Evans said? Oh, yes. Duncan had his hand up. Andy pulled the file and passed it up. Numbers on Jews rounded up. Dim wit, Andy thought. Bankers, stockbrokers, docs, lawyers, judges, social workers, it was endless. The Jews were everywhere and were the glue holding the whole country together. What were Joe’s people thinking? It was obvious to him but the rest? Nope. Just shoving their heads in the sand.

It didn’t matter. The whole thing was water under the bridge. There were no more independent judges or lawyers, doctors or social workers. Everything was now about the Party. There would be no dissent. There would be no others. Andy sighed. The numbers were rolling in. Production was down. Mental health issues, as far as the Party tracked them, were up. There weren’t enough people to do the work in farms or factories or even in fast food places.

Joe Evans sat down. The next person, some professor of what and which that Andy didn’t catch, stood. He chanted on about the rebalancing of socio-economic status. As though no one recognized the euphemisms. Andy understood. They were going to start to transition the enslaved population into the subservient roles in society. Slave labor, though he already knew that was happening.

Then, Andy perked up. The sad-sack professor began talking about women. Not just baby-makers, he said. Servants. Nannies, housekeepers, more. Andy’s thoughts flashed to his sister. She’d stab someone’s eyes out with a pencil before she’d submit to this crap. He feared, for the first time in this whole nightmare. CarrieAnn would die before she’d put up with this crap. His hands began to sweat.

The Doctor sat down and Andy tried to breathe. Can’t happen, Andy thought. Cannot happen. Then the Director of Homeland Security stood up. “We’ve found a pocket of dissidents,” he told the room. Andy paid attention even though he didn’t have any files that pertained to that topic.

“It’s been a difficult road,” the Director said. “Here’s the near end. After much surveillance, we’ve found what we think is the center of the resistance.” A map flashed up on the end wall behind the Director. “Look here.” He walked back to the projection and pointed at a map of West Virginia. “A small town, apparently a hot bed. We’ve been slowly extricating the loyalists from the town. We’re now ready to move.”

A new slide appeared on the wall. “We have three divisions of the Army surrounding the town and one company of the Immaculata at strategic points. We’re going to hit in twenty-four hours. The entire town will be obliterated. The resistance will be sorely injured.”

The room erupted in clapping. Andy’s stomach rolled. The town was his sister’s college town. She had friends were there—favorite teachers. Duncan turned and gave Andy a look. Andy’s half effort to rise failed. He sank the two inches back into his chair and Duncan turned back to the table. What would CarrieAnn think of him? He clasped the files to his chest and closed his eyes in an effort not to see the glee on the faces of the people supposedly superior to him.

The meeting finally closed, and Andy followed Duncan from the room. They had to stop every few feet to shake a hand or trade a quip. Nothing to do with him, he thanked his lucky stars. He was in no shape to be social.

Duncan waited until they were back in his office. “What the hell, Andy!”

“Sorry, boss.”

“Don’t be sorry. I don’t want to bring your father into this.”

“No, Sir. Won’t be necessary.”

“Better not be. Get out of here.”

Andy scurried out. It took eighteen minutes in the bathroom to get his emotions under control.

Thank you for reading.