Fire! Christmas Gifts, Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

By Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

Fire! By now everyone knows that California is in severe distress from fire. My daughter lives in Oxnard, right next to Ventura where the Thomas fire is creating havoc and devastation. She and her roommate are under a prepare to evacuate notice. The air is too thick with smoke to breathe and as a mother, I’d just as soon she come here until the danger is over. But, she’s volunteering at the Ventura Fair Grounds where the county has set up an emergency animal shelter, despite the fact that a section of the city was burned. I know many of you also have friends and/or family in southern California that you are worried about. We send prayers of hope that the courageous firefighters can get these fires under control and that no one else has to perish.

Photo by Randy Cockrell

I don’t know where the year has gone but I was not prepared for December and Christmas. Anyone? Anyone? I had no idea what to get my husband. He’s the sort that when he wants something, if we can afford it, he just gets it. Frustrating. Anyway, I have thought of a few things for him and have gotten them and wrapped them and put them under the tree. All the decorating I’m going to do is done. All the holiday baking and candy-making is done, and packages have been mailed to family. Now it’s time for the party rounds to start. I love this time of year and can’t wait to hang with friends over bring-a-dish buffets and the New Year’s Eve party my friend Karen always has.  I hope you’re preparations are going well.

On my Vision Board business, I’ve been locating supplies, gathering magazines and think I’ve found a venue where I can hold it for not a lot of money. I still need to call the place but unless they’re booked, I should be booked this week. Women I’ve talked to about getting their magazines have expressed interest in the workshop. I’ve priced materials like poster board, glue, glue brushes, scissors, and other materials I’ll need to conduct the workshop. So, I’m moving forward and eager to do my own vision board.

Me, Story Monster and Marsha at the Mesa Book Festival

I attended the Mesa Book Festival Saturday with my friend Marsha Ward. I found out when I was there that it was their first one! It was well organized, and the weather cooperated with us. A lovely 75 degrees or so and no wind. Several of the Payson Book Festival authors were there and many from Marsha’s ANWA (Arizona Night Writers Association) member were there as well. Also there was Story Monster, a regular attendee at the Payson Book Festival. We talked with so many readers! It was a great day.

Giveaways:

Starting December 1st, the Roses and Dreams Christmas 2017 Facebook event began. This is a combo event. FIRST EVENT will be a featured author each day. 23 authors in total (1 each day) who will introduce themselves and their books. Competitions and giveaways at their discretion. 45 minutes with any winners notified the next day. I was scheduled for Sunday December 3rd at 1:30PM Arizona time (8:30pm London time) on www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034, for 45 minutes with games and book talk.

The SECOND EVENT will be our showcase and we are very excited to announce it. You’ve heard of the Eurovision song contest well now (drumroll please) we’d like to present World Bookovision (#WorldBookovision).

How does it work?

Two weeks starting Monday 4th December (Monday to Friday)

Week one a poll will be pinned with that week’s participating authors. Each day three authors will have a thousand words of one of their books posted (We will post it in the morning) and people get to vote on which ones they like. You can vote more than once. At the end of the week, the two people with the highest votes will go through to the final.

Week two follows the same pattern and the two with the highest votes will go through to the final.

On the week commencing 18th December, the four finalists will showcase the next thousand words of the same book and a new poll will be posted. At the end of the week, the poll will close and one author will win. The author will receive two weeks’ worth of social media advertising from Su and Maria. The winner will provide a copy of that book as a prize (print or e-book) and this will be presented to the person who has participated most in voting. If there are more than one, then we will put them into a draw and the winner will be picked randomly. I’m in this WorldBookovision on Thursday the 14th with 1000 words of one of my stories and I’d appreciate a vote! www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034

Throughout the day we will also post lots of Christmas fun. Come and join us as a reader or a participating author.

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

Author Kebba Buckley Button

Kebba Buckley Button was a 2017 Payson Book Festival author and was also at the Mesa Book Festival with me on the 9th. She is an ordained minister and former engineering manager, a Masters’ Degree scientist, award-winning author and corporate stress management trainer. Rev. Kebba Buckley Button creates books and programs that help people live with both the vitality and inner peace they have been seeking.  For spiritual people who ache for self-calming, Kebba wrote Peace Within. For those who want an easy how-to for meditation, she created Sacred Meditation. For anyone who wants to trade in their stress for energy and joy, the answers are in Discover the Secret Energized You.  Yes, you can enjoy life!  You can find out more at www.kebba.com.

to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

My book events for the year are now completed. Enjoy your holidays and come back in January to see the 2018 line-up.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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NaNo, Vision Boards. Tested: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So today is day 27 of the National Novel Writing Month. I mentioned last week that I ran into trouble with my book being too short. What I finally decided to do was add a second point of view, Jean’s ex-husband, Dwight. I did that, and the book was still 12K too short. What I have done is start a new section, still with Dwight, but adding two problems for him. One is that he’s broke paying two alimonies and second, after his second divorce, he has been drinking too much and gambling with the local Irish Mob bookie. How I’m going to meld these three separate stories is something to worry about later. The plan for now is to make poor Dwight miserable.

On my new class on Vision Boards, I’ve completed the third module. I learned about the lesson plan and how to manage my own energy as well as the participants. Once the fourth module is done, this week, I’ll be doing my own vision board, gathering supplies and prepping to do a class in January. I’m still very excited about this.

I’m just about done with the formatting of Tested now and will be publishing in December. I know, months later than I had anticipated but it will be out soon. Thank you so much for waiting so patiently. I have a few copies ready for review if you’d like. It’s always good to start a new release with some reviews already on Amazon. Let me know if you’re interested.

Giveaways:

Starting on November 28th, I’m part of the below mentioned 12 Slays of Christmas promotion. It runs through December 4th. A lot of authors are participating in this Facebook event at www.facebook.com/events/122185258461170. I’m up on Saturday December 2nd at 1pm Arizona time. I’ll have games, talk about my books and maybe even have a contest to giveaway a copy of my newest book, Tested. Like all of the other authors participating, I’d love to have you join in the fun and win prizes.

Starting on December 1st, I’m part of the Roses and Dreams Christmas 2017 Facebook event. This is a combo event. FIRST EVENT will be a featured author each day. 23 authors in total (1 each day) who will intorduce themselves and their books. Competitions and giveaways at their discretion. 45 minutes with any winners notified the next day.  I’m scheduled for Sunday December 3rd at 1:30PM Arizona time (8:30pm London time). I’ll be on www.Facebook.com/events/1990733174542034, for 45 minutes with games and book talk.

SECOND EVENT will be our showcase and we are very excited to announce it. You’ve heard of the Eurovision song contest well now (drumroll please) we’d like to present World Bookovision (#WorldBookovision).

How does it work?

Two weeks starting Monday 4th December (Monday to Friday)

Week one a poll will be pinned with that week’s participating authors. Each day three authors will have a thousand words of one of their books posted (We will post it in the morning) and people get to vote on which ones they like. You can vote more than once. At the end of the week, the two people with the highest votes will go through to the final.

Week two follows the same pattern and the two with the highest votes will go through to the final.

On the week commencing 18th December, the four finalists will showcase the next thousand words of the same book and a new poll will be posted. At the end of the week, the poll will close and one author will win. The author will receive two weeks’ worth of social media advertising from Su and Maria. The winner will provide a copy of that book as a prize (print or e-book) and this will be presented to the person who has participated most in voting. If there are more than one, then we will put them into a draw and the winner will be picked randomly.

Throughout the day we will also post lots of Christmas fun. Come and join us as a reader or a participating author.

 

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

 

Shout Out:

Claudette Melanson, https://www.claudettemelanson.com/, writes and edits in Kitchener, Ontario with her four bunny babies: Tegan, Pepper, Butters and Beckett. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five has left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. Her most recent book is Teggie Wants a Hippo for Christmas, a delightful children’s book, and she has a story in The 12 Slays of Christmas anthology that is donating all of it’s royalties to an animal rescue shelter. You can find The 12 Slays of Christmas at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075FGNTG4 and Claudette’s books at https://www.amazon.com/Claudette-Melanson/e/B00IHS7GBI. Enjoy!

to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend, Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st 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 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. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Tested, Mystery at the Fair: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I spent last week finishing up my synopsis and query letter for Mystery at the Fair and have submitted it to the Hallmark Channel for consideration on Saturday. I expect there have been thousands of submissions. Who knows how long it will take for them to review them all. In the meantime, cross your fingers for me.

A pic I was considering for the Tested cover until I went in an entirely different direction.

I have the fourth Brown Rain story, Tested, edited. I am now formatting the manuscript for both print and ebook. I’ve contacted the cover designer. I should have all four covers, including Tested, back this week. Release will be early November if all goes well.

Mystery at the Reunion is set in Vegas, Baby!

I’m still brainstorming elements of my next Jean Hays story, Mystery at the Reunion. November’s National Novel Writing Month is just eight days away!

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. Sunday, I wrote two more episodes. Delia is in deep trouble. We’ll have to see how she gets out of it. You can find the first episode here.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or $150 in Paypal cash? Drop by https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. There are 8 days left so get it now!

2018 Planner

I have started a contest over on my newsletter. What? You don’t get my newsletter? That’s a shame. But see below on how you can join in on the fun. I already have several people writing in to enter it. It runs to the end of October, just 8 days away, when I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner. Let me know you’ve joined the newsletter and I’ll send you the information to enter.

P.S. By the way, you can get the pictured mug at: https://www.gearbubble.com/gbstore/conniesrandomthoughts

Shout Out:

One of the Arizona authors that helps with the Payson book festival is Jan Cleere. She says, “I write about the people, legends and tales of the Old West that I have uncovered among tattered documents, tear-stained journals and diaries, and the accounts told by old-timers.” An award-winning author, a historian, and speaker, Jan will next be at the Tucson Corral of Westerners, 4855 Eat Broadway Blvd, Tucson, on November 6th at 6pm. Her topic is “The Woman Who Shot Cowboys” a biography of rodeo photographer Louise Serpa. If you can’t see Jan in person, you can find her books and calendar at https://www.jancleere.com/.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

The Payson library’s first ever mini-comicon has been post-poned from November 2017 until perhaps March of 2018. I’m committed to being on a panel so I’ll keep you posted on all of the details.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend, Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Craft Fair, Tested, Mystery at the Fair: Monday Blog Post

Connie Cockrell, Susan Haught, and Bonnie Bahn at the Pine-Strawberry Fall Festival 2017

Newest News:

I spent the weekend at the Pine-Strawberry October Fall Festival and had a blast. I was with three other authors selling and signing our books. We met so many nice people who stopped to talk to us about our books and writing, it was very, very heart-warming. The above picture is of me, just before the festival opened. Below is a picture of my hubby who entered the Saturday chili cook-off. He had a good time but sadly, didn’t win.

Randy and Mark at the Pine-Strawberry Fall Festival Chili Cook-off

I have the fourth Brown Rain story, Tested back from the editor. I need to make a few tweaks and finalize the cover then get the book out into the public. It will be November. Stay tuned!

One of the things I spent time doing while at the weekend’s festival, was brainstorm elements of my next Jean Hays story, Mystery at the Reunion. I’ve finalized some details concerning the story that I hadn’t previously considered and made notes about things that I have to do some research on. This is going to be a very fast paced story. Jean has to solve the murder in just 3 days! I’ll be writing this during November’s National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve decided to submit Mystery at the Fair to the Hallmark Channel. I’m in the middle of writing a synopsis and query. Once those are done and I polish up the manuscript a little more, I’ll submit. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Jean Hays on the screen?!?! I think so!

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. I’ve left my girl, Delia in quite a pickle. We’ll have to see how she gets out of it. You can find the first episode here.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or $150 in Paypal cash? Drop by https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. This ends after Halloween! Get it now!

I have started a contest over on my newsletter. What? You don’t get my newsletter? That’s a shame. But see below on how you can join in on the fun. I already have several people writing in to enter it. It runs to the end of October when I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner. Let me know you’ve joined the newsletter and I’ll send you the information to enter.

P.S. By the way, you can get the pictured mug at: https://www.gearbubble.com/gbstore/conniesrandomthoughts

Shout Out:

One of the authors at the festival over the weekend was Mark Plets. A native Arizonan, Mark has written a historical fiction, Kelly, A Tale of Ould Ireland, set in the 16th century. His passion for words has led him to speak fluent Japanese! You can find the book at https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Plets/e/B00OM45KWS. You can find his professional writing services at www.markplets.com.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

In November the Payson library is having it first ever mini-comicon. SciFi and Fantasy fans, get ready to head to central Arizona. There’ll be costumes, SciFi and Fantasy panels. I’m excited! I’ll post the date as soon as I have it.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend, Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

 

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Author Interviews: Sherry Knowlton

Author Sherry Knowlton

I’m so happy, today, to present author Sherry Knowlton. Sherry is the author of the successful Alexa Williams series of suspense novels: Dead of Autumn, Dead of Summer and Dead of Spring.  When not writing the next Alexa Williams thriller, Knowlton works on her health care consulting business or travels around the world. She and her husband live in the mountains of South Central Pennsylvania.

Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Sherry.

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

Reading, of course. I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. My other interests include travel, photography, yoga and Pilates.  My husband and I do a lot of traveling.  In the past six years or so, we’ve been trying to visit remote and exotic places, recognizing that we aren’t getting any younger.  We’ve been to a number of countries in Africa, India, Indonesia, most of the Southeast Asian countries, Chile and Peru – with a few more sedate visits to Europe thrown into the mix.  We both also enjoy travel photography and exhibit many of our photos locally in Southcentral Pennsylvania where we live.  When I’m home, I attend yoga and Pilates classes at local studios.

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

I miss my mother so much that she’s the obvious answer.  But, if I’m choosing someone among the living, I’d like to spend an afternoon with Bill Gates. Obviously, his major accomplishments are co-founding Microsoft  and growing the company to a huge, profitable corporation. But, I would like to talk to him about his post-Microsoft efforts.  I really admire the way that he and his wife, Melinda, have spent so much of their fortune in philanthropy, especially in projects to eradicate malaria, bolster family planning, and address other health issues prevalent in African nations and elsewhere.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tea first thing in the morning.  Cherry Coke Zero during the day.  I’d really like to kick my Coke habit.  Everything I read says drinking soda is bad for me.  But, so far, haven’t been able to do it.

4. What are you working on right now?

My third novel, Dead of Spring, was just released on April 22. Now, I’m in the early stages of working on my next novel in the Alexa Williams, which will be titled Dead of Winter.  Although I’ve written a draft of the first few chapters, I’m about to begin my research which should take a month or so.  Also, as always, I’ll write a fairly detailed chapter by chapter outline of the book before I plunge into the serious writing.  My outlines are never hard and fast; they often evolve as I write.  But, I like to have a roadmap to follow during the first draft phase.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I write suspense with an element of mystery and a little romance.  Each of my novels also includes a historical subplot that intersects with the main, contemporary story.  My protagonist, Alexa Williams, is a strong character who has a propensity for stumbling into danger. All the books deal with hot-button social issues that you read about in the headlines and are important to me, personally.

I’m probably not my most insightful critic, so I’m not sure that I can describe my actual writing style.  I can say that I emphasize description, sense of place, and have been told that some of my romance scenes can be a little steamy,  The suspense is action-packed because my goal is to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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

Go for it.  I hope you enjoy writing as much as I do.  But, go into it with a willingness to learn.  I’ve done a huge amount of professional writing in my job – and before that high school and college journalism.  But, writing fiction required me to learn a whole different structure and style.  Don’t be afraid to take writing courses or seminars and benefit from expert advice.  A writing critique group and beta readers can also be helpful to obtain honest feedback on your work in process. And, above all, don’t become discouraged.  Writing requires inspiration, skill, and a huge amount of willpower.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

A little of both.  I’m in my sixties, so I’ve had quite a bit of life experience that I draw upon in my books. For example, I’ve used my travels, my work in government, and my participation in the Woodstock Festival of 1969 as fodder for my novels to date.  But, I also expand my knowledge with research, talking to experts and more.  My most recent book, Dead of Spring, deals with fracking, so I talked to a number of experts and did a tour of actual fracking sites in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

A lot of my ideas for imagery and plot points come from my everyday life. Things that I observe or experience can easily become the inspiration for something you’ll find in one of my novels.  An experience my husband and I had with Somali refugees in Kenya provided me with the springboard to an important scene in my second novel, Dead of Summer.  My frequent visits to the Pennsylvania State Capitol inspired me to set key events in my latest, Dead of Spring, in that historic building.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

www.sherryknowlton.com

www.facebook.com/sherry.knowltonbooks/

www.twitter.com/KnowltonSBooks

And you can buy my books at:

https://www.amazon.com/Spring-Alexa-Williams-Sherry-Knowlton/dp/1620068435

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dead-of-spring-sherry-knowlton/1125457948

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Dead-of-Spring-9781620068434.htm

Sherry I really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk with us today. Looking forward to the next book!

Gentle readers, don’t be afraid to check out Sherry’s sites. You’ll be glad you did.

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Author Interviews: Linda Berry

Author Linda Berry

Today I’d like to present author Linda Berry, a new to me police thriller author. Linda, let’s talk about your book first!

Your latest mystery, Pretty Corpse, was recently released. Tell us about the story.

The year is 1999. A serial rapist is targeting teen girls in San Francisco. While on patrol, Officer Lauren Starkley discovers one of the victims, and she’s shocked to find out the girl is a close friend of her daughter. The case instantly becomes intensely personal. Because she isn’t a detective, Lauren is restricted from investigating, but she does so nonetheless on her own time. Lauren has an uncanny ability to find obscure clues and link them together. Her relentless pursuit of the rapist draws her deeper into his world. He in turn, starts getting closer to Lauren and her daughter. Lauren needs to lure him out of hiding, fast, before her daughter becomes his next victim.

 

You populate your novels with an interesting mix of characters. Tell us about that.

My stories reflect the range of characters each of us knows in real life. We all have people we admire, people who threaten us or are just plain luny. I like to keep a reader alert and surprised by creating several interrelated stories that and ebb and flow through the main story. We are all multi-dimensional, and have many stories happening simultaneously in our lives, and sometimes conflict erupts on many fronts. I like to get into those emotional tsunamis and explore a person’s breaking point, and how they deal with the challenge. Complex characters that are bitterly wounded or pathologically twisted are interesting to me. I like to contrast the most vile and repugnant aspects of human nature to the most heroic and noble, and throw some quirky characters in for good measure.

 

How did you research this police thriller?

To write authentically, I do extensive research. That doesn’t mean I let my fingers do the walking. I have to give a big thank you to the police officers at Mission Station in San Francisco in 2001, when I wrote this first draft. My research for Pretty Corpse came in the form of dozens of ride-alongs I did with various female patrol officers. I chose the night shift when the city was rife with criminal activity, and I got to see these courageous women in action. Several of my characters were inspired by the female cops I came to know, and also by the captain of the station, who gave generously of his time to help me authenticate my writing. Many of the side stories in Pretty Corpse are based on actual events relayed to me by police officers from Mission Station.

 

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Central Oregon, a resort town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

 

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. Did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

Absolutely. I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my entire life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted.

 

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative process itself—the challenge of developing and constructing plots that continually surprise the reader and hold them in a state of suspense. Writing is both a passion and a compulsion—a truly satisfying form of escape. My reward comes when a reader tells me they couldn’t put my book down and they talk about my characters as though they’re real people. Then I know I did my job well.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes to me in many forms. Appreciation of life itself is the foundation of happiness. I find this planet miraculous, from subatomic matter to the galaxies in space. I enjoy the beauty of ecosystems, how so many forms of life—plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects—the smallest creature to the largest, are dependent on each other for survival. My idea of perfect happiness is living on a healthy planet where people live together in peace and are trusted guardians of nature.

 

What is your greatest fear?

Being impoverished, homeless, or mentally or physically impaired and dependent on others. I did undergo some terrible threats to my health six years ago. I had a bout of debilitating pain for about 8 months, which diminished my ability to enjoy life. I’m now completely recovered, and feel I’ve been given a second chance at life. The experience sharpened my awareness of how fragile life is, how it can be taken away in an instant, and how one might be forced to languish in pain for a period of time. It heightened my appreciation for the quality of life I have now, for every precious moment I’m healthy and independent.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Sometimes I get caught up in the every day demands of life, and the illusion that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to remind myself at times to live in the moment, address what is happening right in front of me, and listen to people, even when I feel I’m short on time. Giving another human being a few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference in that person’s life. Kindness goes a long way.

 
Who in your profession do you most admire?

I read everything, and admire countless writers, from journalists to screen writers to poets to authors. I especially love mysteries, and I read an average of two books a week. If the writing is solid, and the story is well-constructed, I’ll read it regardless of genre.
What is your greatest extravagance?

Disconnecting from the world. Getting out in nature with my husband and our dog in our motorhome. I love being on a lazy schedule and disconnecting from social media, where the only decision I have to make is when to eat and what hikes to takey. I can write in uninterrupted peace for hours at a time, surrounded by nature, sometimes listening to the gentle patter of rain, watching water drip off leaves. I love going to national parks, off season. We went to Bryce and Zion and Arches and the Grand Canyon two years ago. Last year we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and this year we may be going to Yosemite.
On what occasion would you lie?

I don’t tell big extravagant lies, but I do tell baby lies frequently, mostly when complimenting people. For example: “no, your ass doesn’t look big in those jeans” or “you look marvelous” when in actuality, you look hungover, and you have stains on your shirt.
What do you dislike most in your work?

When I hit a brick wall and I have to stop writing, sometimes for days, while I process my story and play out different scenarios in my head. I never force the creative process. What generally helps me break through the logjam is reading. I’ll bury my nose in a good book, and before long, ideas start percolating to the surface. I also have a muse. My nail goddess, who’s held captive doing my mani/pedi for 2 hours, and I bounce ideas off her. She has a creative mind and has been a wonderful contributor to my stories for years.
When and where were you happiest in your work?

This current period in my life is the happiest. Now that I’m retired, I have the luxury of writing every day. I wake up eager to get to work. I take my coffee up to my sunny office and dig in. I believe I’m at my most happiest when my husband and I are traveling and we’re parked in a beautiful wilderness area and the peace of the place seeps into my bones. I can write with no interruption.
If you could, what would you change about myself?

I would take twenty years of physical wear and tear off my body. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I would change nothing. If I had to lose twenty years of life experience to be in a younger body, I would say no. I’m more at peace with myself at this stage of life than I have ever been.
What is your greatest achievement in work?

Having three novels completed and coming out this year, 2017. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment to see the culmination of years of work and endless rewrites in a physical book. Hidden Part One and Pretty Corpse are out, and Hidden Part Two comes out in September. I’m expecting my fourth mystery, Quiet Scream, to be out in December or January.

 

What is your most marked characteristic?

My friendliness, and my sense of humor. I have always had a keen interest in people and I’m a good observer, passionately interested in humans and the world around me. I’m an optimist at heart, and I’ve been blessed with a jolly spirit. I enjoy socializing but the greater part of my waking life is spent in solitude, writing, reading, and doing projects.


What is your most inspirational location in your city?

I like to get out on the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. We have a beautiful river, the Deschutes, that meanders through town and its character changes every foot of the way. There are many meadows, sagebrush flats, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Range. The look of a wild river, the various sounds of water rushing, falling, cascading over boulders, is invigorating and soothing. Hiking clears my head of thoughts and worries and puts me in a state of peacefulness.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love and then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

 

Thank you so much for talking with us today, Linda. I’ve already read Pretty Corpse and it was fantastic!

So, gentle readers, you can pick up Linda’s book on Kindle Unlimited for free right now or wait until the release, June 10th! You can find our more about Linda and her books at:

Linda’s Youtube trailers:

Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-bNoFgaD9U&t=7s

Pretty Corpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be

 

You can also find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/linda.berry.94617

www.lindaberry.net

@LindaBerry7272

lindaberrywriter@gmail.com

 

 

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Memorial Day 2017: Monday Blog Post

A character holds my book, Troubled Streets!

Newest News:

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope you’re having a great day, family and friends present, and being safe!

I spent the weekend (last Thursday through Sunday) at the Phoenix ComiCon. What an event. Multiple buildings, four floors, thousands of people, a huge percentage of them in costume. It was fantastic. I was there in booth 1797 with authors Holly S. Roberts, Marsha Ward and Alyssa Louttit and we had a blast. I’ve already signed up for next year. Mark your calendars.

Mystery at the Book Festival is still on pre-order and will be released on June 1st. Both the paperback and ebook will be available. You can find it at Amazon on (https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Book-Festival-J…/…/B072LKF3DM) and on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725756). I’d love it if you could help me with my rankings and buy that book on presale, then leave an honest review.

Gardening: Peas, beans, and squashes are up and doing well. One of my cherry tomato plants was eaten by something but I haven’t replaced it yet. The other cherry I found lying limp on the ground this morning. Perhaps lack of water. Hubby didn’t water while I was gone. All of the fruit trees are full of fruit. Except the nectarine. That only has a few nectarines on it.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

Author Linda Berry is promoting her book Pretty Corpse by having it free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited until its release on June 10th. If you’re a police thriller fan, you will want to take a look at her book. I’ve already read it and loved it. See it at https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Corpse-Linda-Berry/dp/1941058655. Check out her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be.  As always, an honest review will go a long way to helping her out. I have a full interview with her coming up on Wednesday, the 31st. You can find out more about Linda at www.lindaberry.net.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 25th! 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Phoenix Comicon!: Monday Blog Post

Better late than never. I at least have it out on the right day!

Newest News:

Oh my gosh! This is the week! I’ll be at Phoenix Comicon (www.phoenixcomicon.com) starting Thursday! I’m so excited. I’ll be in the Four Carat Press booth (1797) with three other authors all weekend. If you’re in the area, come on in and say hello. It’s going to be just wonderful!

I’m also releasing Mystery at the Book Festival. I have the book up on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Book-Festival-J…/…/B072LKF3DM) and on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725756) for pre-sale. The book, ebook and paperback, will release on June 1st. I’d love it if you could help me with my rankings and buy that book on presale, then leave an honest review.

Gardening: Peas, beans, and squashes are up. One of my tomato plants was eaten by something so I’ll have to replace it. My apple tree branches are bending to the ground. This is worrisome. I’m afraid the branches are going to break.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

Author Joanie Chevalier is promoting her book Heads Will Roll by having it free on Amazon from the 23rd until the 25th. If you’re a mystery/thriller/suspense fan, you will want to take a look at her book. See it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711X9XLN. As always, an honest review will go a long way to helping her out.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

The Phoenix ComiCon is this week, May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall in the Four Carat Press booth number 1797.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Happy Mother’s Day: Monday Blog Post

Yellow roses from my garden.

Newest News:

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone I didn’t greet yesterday. It was a busy day for me because I put out my newsletter.

The letter announced that my book, Mystery at the Book Festival has been put up on Amazon, ebook only, for pre-sale. I’ve only done this once before and it didn’t go well so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping everything goes well this time. So, hop on over to Amazon and sign up for the pre-sale. The cover on there now is a place holder while I wait for my actual cover to be finished.  Also in the newsletter, a video from me, and other things that I don’t post here. There are instructions for signing up for my newsletter below.

For some authors, May is Story a Day Month. I had fully planned on participating this year but was so caught up in editing Mystery at the Book Festival, that I haven’t done any additional writing. There’s still half a month left. Let me see what I can do!

Gardening: The red onion seed I planted so long ago I was thinking they’d never sprout, showed tiny little leaves peeking up out of the ground. Yay! The peas, beans and squash seeds I planted have not shown their faces yet. I’m hopeful anyway.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

Author Abbey Pen Baker is promoting her book Dance of the Spider Monkey. If you’re a mystery/thriller/suspense fan, you will want to take a look at her book. See it at https://www.amazon.com/Dance-Spider-Monkey-Monograph-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06XTYKQT7

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

The Phoenix ComiCon is coming up the end of this month, May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall in the Four Carat Press booth number 1797.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Gardening, Conferences and More!: Monday Blog Post

Connie vs Horton Creek taken by Randy Cockrell

While the mid-west and east coast are taking a major weather beating, here in central Arizona the weather couldn’t be more perfect. Yesterday hubby and I took a short hike on the very popular Horton Creek trail. The creek was running high and the above picture is me, trying to get across. I made it that time but when we came back my left leg didn’t want to be the first on that skinny log and I ended up crossing through the water a few feet downstream. Since we were heading home, I didn’t mind my pant legs being wet. Today my feet are a putting up a bit of a fuss about having to had to go on a 2 mile hike but it’s not too bad. A little stretching will take care of it.

The organizer for a Nook promo I mentioned last week is sending a list of authors and books for the promo. I sent in for Mystery at the Book Festival. I imagine we’ll here soon if Nook agrees to run the promo with us. Stay tuned for that.

Peach Blossoms

The roses did get trimmed, all but one. I have to get to it this week. I haven’t stopped at the hardware store yet for the potatoes.  I see my nectarine tree is already starting to bloom. The peach and pear and apples won’t be far behind. This is a picture from last year.

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The last two episodes are coming up this Friday and next. I’m using pictures of dogs up for adoption from the Payson Humane Society to illustrate each section. Links to each section are at the top of each post so it’s easy to go back to the first episodes and catch up. Enjoy.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is going strong. The link is https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Click on the Rafflecopter link. Get in on the opportunity to win $100 in Paypal cash plus prizes from over 35 authors, that’s over 70 prizes! Hurry! This giveaway ends at midnight March 17th.

 

Shout Out:

Author Anna Payne

This week’s shout out goes to Anna Payne. She’s an author of Christian Cozy Mysteries, the Planted Flowers series. If you can’t wait until Wednesday’s Author Interview, check out her website at apayne.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

In April, I’ll be part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that runs from April 7th to the 10th. Events are open to readers and here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. On this link I’ll be talking about the whole Brown Rain series and my other books in general. I may even offer up a prize. The link was just established so I don’t have anything in there yet. But I will!

I’m also on a scifi webinar panel discussion on March 22nd at 1pm Eastern time titled The new age with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Star Wars? Are we looking at a new audience? And another panel on March 25th at 7pm eastern titled Science Fiction doesn’t need to be factural! It’s Fiction! Vs Science Fiction must have accurate science! These last two webinars occur early and recorded then replayed during the con so you have two chances to listen in! How cool is that! I’ll publish more info as I get it.

I have contracted for a booth at Phoenix ComiCon with some other author friends. The ComiCon is May 25 – 28th and you can find details for tickets, events, special guests, at http://phoenixcomicon.com/. I would be so excited to see you in the Exhibits Hall.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

 

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

 

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 24th! 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 https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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