Weather, Pandemic Update, Pinterest, On-Line Interviews: Monday Blog Post

My back yard after the storm.

Newest News:

Last week was eventful for my neck of the woods. We received about 2 feet of snow and cold, well below freezing. Not something that usually happens around here. The town managed to get at least one lane of street plowed in most neighborhoods and kept the main arteries in town cleared. A job well done considering that they don’t have many plows. At my house we were prepared and other than the fact my husband wanted to get out and about town to take snow pictures, we were content to stay home. We still have a few inches of unmelted snow, especially in the shady areas, but it will be gone in a couple of days. Temps here have been in the 40’s and it will stay that way, making the snow melt pretty quickly. I do hope any adverse weather you’ve had is now over and everyone is safe and sound.

Coronavirus update. Arizona has divided the population up by age, disability, and essential workers, so, while I am over 65, I have not yet qualified for an immunization. Like many others, I’m still self-isolating and when I go out, I mask up. Also like many others, I’m ready to get back to my normal life: meet up with friends, lunch out, go to conferences. Already a planned conference for June is being discussed as too soon to be held. Since I was already postponed from last year, I was excited to go but we’ll have to see if it will be postponed again. If you’re in the same situation, stay strong. This will be over eventually and we’ll be able to get out and about safely.

I saw an article I wrote for my local paper in the January 26th, edition. It was about the Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service. I took the accompanying picture as well. You can see the article at https://www.paysonroundup.com/events/a-day-of-service-in-payson/article_428f2c99-4264-5ed9-8749-f1fbe379a101.html. Enjoy the article.

A New Start: A Gulliver Station Story

In other writing business I made a Pinterest pin about my Gulliver Station series. This was one of Pinterest’s new options, a story pin. I put together a six-slide pin with a buy link. You can see it here. https://www.pinterest.com/conniecockrell Look on the Pages & Ink board for the new Gulliver Station pin. One thing with this new option, I wasn’t able to add a clickable link, so I apologize for that. Otherwise, it was pretty user friendly to put the pin together. If you are a Pinterest user, give it a try yourself for a group pin, an ad (which is what mine is), a family get together or something else. I can think of a lot of ways to use this option. Have fun!

Please be careful out there. Weather can turn nasty, accidents can happen, illness can overtake us. Till we can meet in person, stay at home when you can and wear a mask when you go out.

Giveaways:

The Christmas giveaway has ended. I’ll post my winners and the Grand Prize winner as soon as they’re drawn.

New, is the Valentine’s Day giveaway. This is a small one with just eight authors so there’s a $24 Grand Prize of Paypal cash and 16 other prizes. Check out the link at https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ to enter.

Where will I Be?

I set up and completed an interview with Linda Thompson of The Authors Show on Thursday. I’m still waiting to see when the interview will air. At this point, it will be after February 7th. As soon as I know, I’ll post it on my Facebook page and announce it here as well. I’ll send out a newsletter too, to catch my readers who aren’t following my Facebook or blog.

I have my interview with Brenda Whiteside on Wednesday March 3rd on her blog, https://brendawhiteside.com/blog

On May 13th at 2pm Arizona time, I’ll be on the podcast with Laurie Fagan on her show, AZ Creates. It’s a lovely podcast and as soon as I have the link for my interview, I’ll put it up. In the meantime, enjoy her show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teajmtQ4-90&feature=youtu.be. Note, Karen Landau is a mystery author right here in my town! How great is that!

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:

Creature in the Night, a short Halloween, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Fantasy story has been published. It is up on Amazon, in Kindle Unlimited or for purchase at $.99. 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.

Tornado: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Tornado by sh4d0wqu33n 
https://www.deviantart.comsh4d0wqu33nartTornado-20808879

Tornado by sh4d0wqu33n
https://www.deviantart.com/sh4d0wqu33n/art/Tornado-20808879

It’s become a thing. Really. It never used to happen my mom said. Never. It was the mid-west, she told me. Kansas, Oklahoma, those kinds of places. Not Arizona. Not Nevada or Utah. But now—now we all have storm shelters.

It’s bad right now. Spring. Right. The worst. The sirens go off nearly daily. We grab our stuff, head down into the shelter. Last month we were down here for three days. One tornado after the other. I don’t complain. I live, well, lived, in a trailer park. There were dugout shelters but not as good as the one here at school. There’s water in this one. And vid. The teachers want to hear the news, but we get to watch the latest stuff too. It’s not so bad.

I haven’t told them mom was lost in the one last month. She was high and didn’t hear the sirens I guess. The whole trailer park was wiped out. I told admin she was in California. They’re lettin’ me stay here. For now. No matter. Graduation is in a month and a half. I’ll be able to do my own thing after that. Momma called me Heidi Bateson. After my dad’s mom, I guess. She never said.

Global warming they called it. I don’t care. That was twenty years ago. What’s that to me now? The planet, they say on the vid, is in a major drought. All of the weather patterns have gone haywire. What’s that to me? I’m a poor kid from a poor area. No one gives a crap about the likes of us. I just need to be smart. Stay in the groove that will keep me in food and shelter. The geeks have it easy. They’re always talking about gettin’ on with the big gloms. I guess. There has to be somethin’ else valuable.

Space is an option. I’m healthy. They need miners. I see the ads all the time. Then there’s the planetary ships. I’m not a geek, but they need healthy women, right? Go somewhere, like they say, the old Earth. Like it used to be.

Acting. I’m acting all the damn time. I could do that. Get rich. They couldn’t do anything to me then. I’d have all the best. A gold-plated shelter. Plenty of food and water. Any vid channel I want.

The teachers all drone on and on about what has to be done next. Like it makes a difference. Like anyone cares. It’s always gonna be like this, right? Desert forever. I’m a red-head, I use my sunblock just like they say. No sunburn for me. Not many red-heads now, I hear. All the better to be an actress, right?

My friend, Bectie, is one of the geeks. Don’t know why she likes to hang with me but she’s cool. She says I should stay away from the boys. There’ll be a big market for a girl like me. Genetics, she called it. I guess cause there’s not a lot of red-heads. Maybe that’ll be a card for the planetary ships. Stay cool, she told me. I believe her. She’s ultra-smart. Her parents work for the gloms. One of the biggest. All into the planetary ships and the food tanks. She’ll have a spot, she says. She’ll take me with her. I play hard to get but she’s right. And she’s cute. I can dig that.

I do have to try and get one thing. My mom had a gold chain. A locket, she called it. Kept it in a secret place in the trailer. I’d like to get that. Gold is valuable. Not much left to be found. So I need that. Had a picture of my granma and granpa. I never met ‘em. Died before I was born. Ma said they died of heart break. I don’t know what that means. She said their ranch died. Not sure what that means either. But no matter. If I get that chain, I’ll have gold. Maybe enough to be an actress.

As soon as the storm ends, I’m headed to the trailer. Some of it must be left, am I right? Some of it?

###

Announcement over the school loudspeakers:

That’s it for todays activities. Now, a roll call of yesterday’s student losses.

Howard Dukelow

Ethel Lipowitz

Miriam Skrownek

Heidi Bateson

Donnie Ford

Steve Barca

Tina Morales

May God take mercy on their souls.

Four Doomsdays – Doomsday Two: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Monsoon River in my Back Yard

I watched from my backyard—luckily a high spot—as a storm cell, a super cell, formed to the south. The fifth one in as many months. Damn! I’d just repaired the roof. I went to the front yard and rang the bell I’d found after the first storm in a local antique shop.

Once, a life-time ago, my sister-in-law used a similar bell to call my niece, Nell, in from her explorations, for dinner. Why didn’t I just call the neighbors? The phones and internet went out with the first storm and were never restored.  Power went out the second storm. That did return but storm three killed it. Apparently forever.

I sighed. My neighbors and friends around town finally stopped claiming climate change was a hoax. Many of them, all over sixty, were dead. Like my husband who had been out looking for supplies, killed by one of the hoard of refugees swarming out of the big cities. Or like our friend, Rick, who was on the roof too long making last second repairs just before a storm hit. Dead. My neighbor to the left, the other side of the drainage ditch, was critically injured as super storm two drove a tree from the empty lot across the street through the front door of his house, right through his chest.

It was a struggle getting him to the hospital, debris littered every flooded road. When we got there injured crowded the emergency room and halls. There were too many injured and not enough staff or medicine. As a 20-year retiree from the Air Force, I could see the doc shake his head at the triage nurse. She made my neighbor as comfortable as they could but he was dead in half and hour. As the neighbor, I told his wife. She went pale. Then tears began to flow but she never made a sound. I sat with her all night, relieved by another neighbor in the morning. kShe died two weeks later. I’m not sure if it was grief or just that she’d run out of her diabetes medicine.

All of us worked together in our immediate neighborhood as best we could but at sixty-five I was the youngest. It was summer but none of us had real fireplaces or even wood stoves. We were cooking over campfires in our front yards with fallen branches and downed trees. There were certainly plenty of those. All of our houses had piped in gas. I’d gone down to the gas company after the first storm and asked how to turn off the gas. Once mine was off, I went to all of the neighbors and got them to turn theirs off. Three days later across town, a house blew, taking a block and a half of neighborhood with it.

Supplies were scarce as the highway up from the major city was blocked by landslides. Without power we were using hand tools to do just about anything. The local hardware stores were major hubs of exchange and advice. The newspaper was also a spot of major importance. They posted messages in their windows and amazingly, they had an antique press in the basement. Probably the only basement in town. They put out a paper a week with news from the state and federal government, what was left of them, information about deaths, where supplies could be located, and food. Food was very important.

My tiny vegetable garden had been ripped to shreds the first storm. The local community garden as well. People with food allergies, like me, were suffering. Many had died, just as those with severe injuries or major issues, like my neighbor’s diabetes. I had gotten some tips from an old-timer about snares. I’d gotten some rabbits. I’d hunt but my husband and I had never had gun. None of my neighbors did either. A small meat market had sprung up in front of the now defunct Walmart from local hunters selling their excess deer, elk, and javalina. Money was gone, it was worthless. Everything was by barter. Civilization as we’d once known it was gone.

How’d this happen? Simple. We’d ignored the climate scientists for too long. I’d demonstrated in front of our state capital for changes to environmental laws but the right in this state and others, was too strong. The arctic and Antarctic ice caps began melting at ever increasing rates. The Pacific current became warmer, as moisture from the melting ice caps not only flooded into the oceans but rose into the air. The heat and the moisture began making storms. Bigger and bigger storms. Then the tundra in Russia, Canada, Alaska and other northern places began to thaw releasing ancient carbon dioxide into the air. It has been a perfect storm, after storm, after storm.

It didn’t matter now, I thought as I went to check my backyard fence. The drainage ditch, twelve feet deep, flooded every super storm. My fence was washing out. There was nothing I could do about it. I worried about my house, at the edge of the ditch. Would this storm wash it out? Like the country and the world, I had to just survive.

The wind was picking up. As I watched the storm come in I realized, Mother Nature was doing what we wouldn’t do, fix the imbalance.

 

Thank You!

891 Words

 

Winter Weather, Tested, Giveaways: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

While the rest of the U.S. has been struggling through a very cold spell, Central Arizona has remained sunny and warmer than normal. That is, until Saturday. On Saturday, I attended our local Women’s March. I’ve never been to a march or demonstration, so I decided I had to come. Anyway, for the first time in months, it was cold and rainy. Of course! Over 50 people came to stand along the sidewalk on the primary street running through town with signs. We had lots of honks for us and a few who decided the middle finger salute was more appropriate. Oh well. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Anyway, it rained on and off all afternoon and in the evening, when the temperature dropped, it snowed. We woke to about an inch on Sunday morning, covering everything in the area. Very pretty. See the above picture.

My second All About Bob story, It’s All About the Game, is in full swing. I have several chapters written already. My main character Roberta Hixon, or Bobbie to her friends, is in trouble up to her neck. She has just days to figure it out! This is a YA contemporary, novelette series that I think everyone will like. The plan, as I discussed last year, is to write all five and release them one right after the other, probably in 2019.

Had a bit of a slump last week as my mom went into the hospital again. She’s doing better now, and my brain has come out of it’s fog and I can get some things accomplished.

I’m finalizing the formatting of Tested, then I’ll put it up for pre-sale. I’m thinking of putting it into my St. Patrick’s Day giveaway, so stay tuned for that.

I’ve made a calendar for 2018. It’s for sale at http://www.lulu.com/shop/connie-cockrell/my-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23462179.html. The photos were taken by my husband of places around Arizona where we live and hike. If you haven’t gotten your 2018 wall calendar, check it out. I hope you like it.

 

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway is over. My prize winners were Sparrow Chaser, Richard Brandt, and Christina Tatt. They all have their prizes. Now, for the Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway there are 32 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $100 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. This is a great way to find new to you authors, but it doesn’t last long. The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway will start after Valentine’s Day. Check out https://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.

My January giveaway, Ring in the New Year with Killer Mysteries, hosted by author Anne R. Tan on BookFunnel.com ran from January 5th to the 21st. Lots of new to you authors were also in the giveaway. For the over 1100 readers who downloaded my book, Mystery at the Fair, thank you. A welcome email will be coming to you shortly.

Shout Out:

I’m reading Connie Willis’s short story collection, The Best of Connie Willis. These are all award-winning science fiction, science fiction/horror stories. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of these appear on the hit show, Black Mirror. They are that good. I attended the 2017 Westercon with her and served on a few panels with her. She has an encyclopedic memory of everything science fiction. I was honored to be sitting next to her.

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m already scheduled to go to the Phoenix Comicon May24th – 28th. I’m putting together at least 2 costumes. Hope to see you there in your costume. I’ll be in Artist’s Alley!

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.

Monsoon Season Is Here

It’s the season of the Arizona year when moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California flows north. We get relief from the ever present sun beating down on us and the sky clouds over.

It’s when we see the first rain in four months. Wildflowers begin to bloom again, as do the cactus. The plants, bushes and trees that had turned dusty grey green in the heat and dust, re-green, providing relief to our sun-burnt eyes.

It usually comes as a thunder storm. Huge piles of clouds begin to boil up over the Mogollon Rim, painfully white against the brilliant blue sky. Then they darken and distant thunder begins to sound. Few at first, the sky soon fills with the moisture heavy clouds, and the thunder begins to roll in earnest. Lightening flashes. We hope it doesn’t hit and set a fire before the rains come.

Finally, it pours down. Thunder booming, lightening flashing. Torrents falling from the sky. The dusty watercourses fill, roaring with the water’s hurry to get down hill.

It doesn’t last long. An hour or two if we’re lucky. In that hour though, two or more inches of rain may have fallen. If we’re lucky, we’ll get that afternoon storm every day. Ponds and lakes will refill. The ground will saturate and the ponderosa pines will have their fill for the year. The Forest Service will re-open the national forests, closed because of the fire danger. Visitors will return to camp and hike and see the wonder of central Arizona.

Monsoon season, a relief for us all.