Happy Labor Day

BBQ by Amanada Supak via www.deviantart.com

BBQ by Amanada Supak via http://www.deviantart.com

Here’s hoping you have a good Labor Day and a safe and fun weekend. We made no special efforts this year. No travel or special barbeques. It’s been nice to just stay home and take care of things around the house.

The Northern Gila County fair is in five days. The set up work starts today when the tents are set up. Then Tuesday we put up exhibit stands and the livestock people set up corrals, pens and show rings Wednesday people can bring their exhibits. It’s always fun to see what everyone has been working on all year.  Thursday is the exhibit judging. Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the Fair. We have a lot of fun things planned for the weekend: Hotdog eating and watermelon eating contests, a Battle of the Bands, a lip sync contest and a lot more. Check out the Attractions and the Entertainment tabs at www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com. We’re also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Gila-County-Fair/136645043024179.

My novella, First Encounter is with the editing service, SilverJayMedia.com. It should be back soon. Hot! I tried out Amazon’s new Pre-Order feature. It was very easy for me to use and I put First Encounter up on it for pre-order. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8AYOK Release date is scheduled for September 18th.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know if you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here.  Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.

Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday: Copertino Crisis

Spaceship Concepts 3 by peterprime-d53ysxe

Spaceship Concepts 3 by peterprime-d53ysxe via http://www.deviantart.com

Clarissa Monroe left the hospital where her friend, Bectie Weiss, was recovering from a gunshot wound received when they, and their old high school friend, Ariel Holbrook, were meeting for drinks. She followed Ariel at a trot.
Ariel tapped her temple where an implanted communication device was located. “Boss, where’s my ride?” She listened and stopped at the curb.
Clarissa was panting when she stopped beside her friend. “What now?”
“They’re bringing me a car.” She scanned the sky. “What do you see concerning the aliens?”
A vision of massive machines on the Pacific sea bottom flashed through her mind. Light from each machine made the bottom light as day. She blinked at the headache. “The machines have lit up the sea bottom. I don’t see anything about Copertino now.” She looked up as an air car descended in front of them in a whirl of dirt and street debris.
When it landed, a guy in black jumped out of the driver’s seat. Ariel ran around the front of the vehicle. “Get in,” she called to Clarissa. She spoke briefly to the driver as Clarissa climbed into the passenger seat. Ariel jumped in and fastened her harness. She tapped dash buttons and grabbed the yoke. “Hang on.”
The engines screamed as they shot into the air. Clarissa’s stomach felt as though it were still on the street, certain every traffic law in the city had been broken as Ariel banked hard left. The Pacific filled the front windshield. “How did you become an operator for, what was it? The International Protectorate of Earth?
Ariel tapped her temple. “Status?” She listened. “How many? I’m on my way.” She sighed. “This car is armed with the best weapons on Earth. Every country on the planet contributes. I was recruited my senior year of college.” She tapped a button and Clarissa heard a whine from under the floor of the car.
Outside Clarissa’s window she could see small doors on the upper surface of the wing retract and some sort of gun popped up. Her eyebrows rose. “What’s that?”
“Photon ray guns.”
“There’s such a thing?”
“Sure.” Ariel grinned. “They’ve been operational for the last five years.” She pointed. “Look.”
The seaside village of Copertino was in flames. Surface roads were clogged with cars. Overhead, black, crab-shaped aircraft blasted short bursts of rays at the town.
Ariel banked right. “Let’s see what they’re doing offshore.”
Clarissa’s head slammed into the headrest. “How fast does this thing go?” she forced through her teeth.
“Faster,” Ariel replied. She circled a spot three miles off shore.
Clarissa winced as a new vision shot through her brain. Supports were being driven into the sea floor as huge square platforms were maneuvered into place over them. “They’re building something. There’s a line of underwater ships heading for this location.”
“I’ve got to see.” More whining came from under the floor. Ariel tapped her communicator. “Going into aqua mode. Be advised massive underwater construction underway. Request backup.” She frowned. “I know I don’t usually call for help.” She disconnected. “Prepare for dive.”
Clarissa braced her feet against the sloping floor and gripped the arm rests. The ocean’s surface sped up at them, waves twinkling. She held her breath as the car approached the surface, then they were underwater, bubbles flowing over the canopy. She exhaled.
“I know,” Ariel grinned. “It’s some sort of anti-grav. Cracks me up.”
Clarissa didn’t think it was funny but she was glad there was no hard impact. “Where’s the construction?”
“Straight ahead.” Soon they could see light through currents of stirred up mud and sea plants. “I’m going in,” she said to her communicator. “There are hundreds of ships down here. Hurry the backup.” She punched a button. The plain, flat dash in front of Clarissa opened and a second yoke rose up.
“What’s this?”
“You’re going to help. That yoke controls a second set of guns, under the car.” As she spoke a heads-up display appeared on the windshield in front of Clarissa. “Use the yoke to center the crosshairs over a target. The red button on the right side of the yoke is the firing button.”
“Me?” Clarissa was embarrassed that it came out as a squeak.
“You can do it. Practice now.”
Clarissa wiped sweaty hands on her skirt and gripped the yoke. She moved it up and down, left and right watching the crosshairs in front of her. “I think I have it.”
“Good. Here we go.” Ariel accelerated past the slow moving column of crab ships. “Shoot big ships first, then smaller ships unless they look like attack ships — then shoot them first.”
Clarissa gulped. “Got it.”
Ariel swung the car around and began firing beams of light from the wing guns. “Shoot, Clarissa.”
Swallowing, Clarissa focused on the crosshairs. A large ship with a load hanging from it crept into the circle. She re-gripped the yoke, put her thumb on the red button and when the ship was centered, pushed the button. A thump came from under the car and a missile or torpedo; she wasn’t sure what to call it, streaked toward her target. She held her breath. It hit the ship. “Yes!” she screamed as it exploded and the cargo slid sideways through the water to the bottom. “I hit it.”
Ariel gave her a high five. “Good. Now hit some more.”
Soon other ships and cars swarmed the site and shot down the aliens. They surveyed the wreckage.
“They didn’t fight back,” Clarissa said. “Not a single defensive move.”
“I know. Weird. I’m sure that little detail is being discussed at higher levels.”
“Why’d they blast Copertino then?”
“Also don’t know.” Ariel turned to Clarissa. “You did good today.”
“Yeah, I guess I did.” Surprise was in her voice.
Ariel tapped two dash buttons. “Let’s go see Bectie.”

 

The End
974 Words
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here:http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

August is a long Month

Cover for First Encounter by Connie Cockrell

Cover for First Encounter by Connie Cockrell

We’ve had a lovely rain a few days ago, an inch and a half’s worth. Everything plant perked right up. Two of the apples fell from the tree Saturday morning. They aren’t very large but they tasted good. Husband saw them on the ground from the office window and told me they “self-harvested.”
The Northern Gila County fair is in two weeks. The fair book is out, posters have been hung around the area and we’ve kicked off a contest. Take a selfie with one of the posters and after Liking our Facebook page, post the picture. Drawings will be made for prizes. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Gila-County-Fair/136645043024179. I try to post something new on there at least once per day. I continue to update the website, http://www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com, to add information concerning all of the activities, attractions and entertainment.
My novella, The Beginning, has had a title change to First Encounter. I am also trying out a new editing service, SilverJayMedia.com. I sent them a sample and they returned it quickly and with a lot of corrections. Ack! I thought I had edited it better than that. Anyway, I’m going to have them edit the whole thing. They have a very cool estimating tool on their site so you can see how much their different editing services will cost. I really like that feature. With it you can see how much each service costs individually or added all up. You can pick the service or set of services that best meets your needs and wallet. Give it a try you writers out there.
Hot! I tried out Amazon’s new Pre-Order feature. It was very easy for me to use and I put First Encounter up on it for pre-order. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW8AYOK Release date is scheduled for September 18th.

My author friend Selena Laurence is getting ready to release several books over the next two or three months. In celebration of that, she’s promoting two of her previous books, A Lush Betrayal and Camouflaged. She’s an author of Edgy Contemporary Romance, and knows how to make those stories hot and sassy. Both books have been discounted for this promotion. Hurry to take advantage of it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know if you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.
I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here. Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.
Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. Apple (iTunes) and Barnes and Noble now have it up on their sites. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday: Shotgun Curse

Winchester Shotgun by Dionicio via www.DeviantArt.com

Winchester Shotgun by Dionicio via http://www.DeviantArt.com

This is a Chuck Wendig challenge from May 30th for June 6th. The challenge is to randomly choose one word each from 2 lists of 20. I rolled #6 and #14 which came out to be Shotgun Curse. Here is the story I’ve written to fit that title.

Shotgun Curse

Wilson was at the bar in the Oxbow Saloon. It was mid-afternoon and there were four guys at a scarred round wood table at the end of the bar playing five card stud. Two of the ladies that worked upstairs were standing around the table, hoping for a drink or a tip. The bartender wiped glasses as he watched the game.
It had been a bad week for Wilson. His mule had died four days ago leaving him to haul his winter’s catch of furs on a sledge behind his horse. The horse hadn’t appreciated pulling the sledge and had kicked him in the knee which was still swollen and painful to walk on. The mercantile had given him less than he expected for his furs so he couldn’t get the new shotgun he’d hoped to buy. The shotgun he inherited from his father when he died six years ago hadn’t been much but over the winter it had fallen in the half frozen East Verde River and was lost. Wilson had to go the rest of the winter without any protection or way to hunt for food. He needed a new shotgun and now there wasn’t enough money to buy one, not and buy his supplies and a new mule.
He sipped his beer and tried to think of a way to get the extra thirteen dollars he needed to buy the gun. The saloon doors swung open, letting in a blast of sunlight. Wilson turned to see who had come in.
An old man stood there, silhouetted by the light from the street. The bartender walked to Wilson’s end of the bar. “Howdy, Amos. Beer?”
The man walked to the bar and laid a shotgun on it. He looked like he’d been dragged down Main Street, filthy, torn clothes and a hat that had seen better days. “That’d be just the thing, Sam.”
Amos nodded to Wilson. “Afternoon.”
“Afternoon.” Wilson eyed the shotgun. It looked good. Stock was clean and oiled, as was the barrel. The trigger looked well-kept, there was no sign of rust or corrosion anywhere on it.
Amos drank half of his beer down. “The shotgun is for sale, young man.”
“You don’t say.”
“I don’t need it. I’m sellin’ it cheap. Twenty dollars.”
Wilson nodded. He had twenty dollars but he didn’t want to seem too eager. That would leave him with enough money to buy a new mule and his supplies for the summer, too.

The bartender wandered over after Amos stepped out back to the outhouse. “You don’t want that shotgun, son. It’s cursed.” He pulled Wilson another beer.
“How so?”
“Amos bought that gun off of a trapper last summer. The trapper said the gun was bad luck and wanted to get rid of it. Amos didn’t believe it but he’s had nothing but trouble since he got the gun. His woman ran off. His crops got infested with some sorta blight. The Apaches burnt his barn to the ground over the winter and stole all the chickens.” He shook his head. “You don’t want that gun.”
Wilson nodded but he didn’t believe in curses, he’d just had a run of bad luck all on his own. When Amos came back they made a deal and Wilson picked up the gun. Amos left the saloon with half a glass of beer still on the bar.
The next spring, on a fine clear day, Wilson came into the Oxbow. His clothes were in rags, rope was wrapped around his boots to hold them together. His hair was matted and dirty as was his beard. The bartender pulled him a beer. “Looks as though you’ve had a rough winter, son.”
Wilson gulped the beer down in one breath and signaled for another. “Worst year of my life. Wolverines got into my traps and took every animal I caught. The mule took off half way through the winter and not long after that, my horse just keeled over in the stable, dead as a doornail. Mice ate my supplies. I fell in the East Verde, nearly drowned and half froze when a band of Apache chased me half way to Fort Verde and back again.”
The bartender raised an eyebrow. “That does sound like a spell of bad luck. What happened to the shotgun?”
Wilson took another long drink of his beer, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and put the beer on the bar top. “I smashed that shotgun into pieces with a rock and threw it in the river.”

The End
760 Words
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Merry Go Round Tour: August – Protagonists

Heros by agusiak620 via www.deviantart.com

Heros by agusiak620 via http://www.deviantart.com

Protagonist: The story’s main character. The protagonist can be anything, think of Steven King’s Christine, for example. But we generally think of the protagonist as a person, one that you, the reader, can relate to. A character that you’re willing to spend some time with and makes you want to read the book or story you’ve just picked up.

Most of my protagonists have been women. It makes sense. I’m a woman and not surprisingly, I’m kind of familiar with being a woman. I have a feel for what motivates or can motivate a female main character. But as an author, I don’t feel that I should just write female main characters. How limiting that would be. So I try my hand at male main characters, hoping I get their behaviors and motivations correct. I often use my husband for that research, asking him how a man would think in a particular situation. Even asking once, what alcoholic beverage a man would choose in a bar.

I’d like to try my hand at other main characters, perhaps gay, trans or lesbian folk. Maybe persons of color or people of different cultures and religions. After all, they’re people. They love, fear, give birth, have crappy jobs, just like me. The difference is how their situation, their skin color, their religion, colors their perceptions. That would be a good thing to explore, don’t you think? As a writer or a reader, I should be exposed to those different thought processes. If or when creatures from different planets come to visit or we visit them, shouldn’t we be prepared to think outside our own comfort zone? Those different thought processes, customs, courtesies, whether we’re talking to aliens or to people from different parts of this planet, could bring some clarity and understanding about life to us.

So how about you? What do you look for in a protagonist? Are you eager to read about a swashbuckling hero? A super woman? A main character just trying to get through the day? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment box below.

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly twenty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com! Up next: Jean Schara!

Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. Apple (iTunes) and Barnes and Noble now have it up on their sites. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!

Flash Fiction Friday: The Door

 

 

I follow a blog, SethSnap. In May, he posted the above picture and gave us the following prompt. “Your Story is a SethSnap (http://sethsnap.com/2014/05/01/your-story-submerged/) series in which you get to decide the story behind the photos.  You can write a story, a poem or even just one word.  You decide.I spotted this just under the water the other day.  To most it looks like a simple submerged piece of wood.  To you and I it is much more.  Tell me what you see.”  I came up with the following story.

The Door

Haley pushed hard. “What’s wrong with this door?” She gave it another, harder shove and as it flew open, water began to pour in from all four sides. Gasping for air she found herself floating in a river, the water cold as ice. The door floated beside her, snagged on a sandbar next to the river bank.
“That’s what I get,” she mumbled through chattering teeth. Getting out of the water was tough, she was numb with the cold and the bank here was high. By the time she reached the top, she was covered with thick, black river mud and had a foot long scratch from a tree root along the outside of her right arm. Hands full of last year’s fallen leaves scraped most of the mud off but she was shivering so hard her hands trembled. This universe jumping is going to kill me yet but this is better than the fire I found myself in two trips ago, she thought. I need to get dry before I freeze to death.
Haley struggled to her feet and staggered off through the woods. She found a path just a few feet away from the bank. A park then, she thought, maybe I can get some help. With arms wrapped around her to keep warm, she trotted along the path, no idea where it went. The first people she saw were a couple, walking arm in arm along the path, the woman’s head on the man’s shoulder. “Help,” Haley called out. “Can you help me?”
The pair turned around. The door never failed, it took her right to the couple she was here for. “What happened?” the young woman asked.
“I slipped on the river bank and fell in,” Haley responded, teeth chattering.
The guy took off his coat. “Here, put this on.” He helped her pull it on.
“Sorry for the mud, the bank was pretty high.”
“That’s all right,” the woman said. “I’m Ann. This is my boyfriend, Carl.”
“I’m Haley, thanks for helping me out. Sorry about the mud.”
“Come on,” Ann put her arm around Haley. “Let’s get you to your car.”
Haley had to think fast. “Uh, I came with my boyfriend. We had a fight and he left. I don’t have a car.”
Ann made a face that made it clear what she thought of a boyfriend who did that. “Well, we can take you home then. Come on, Carl. Let’s get back to the car.”
That was exactly what Haley was here to stop. “Umm, look, I don’t want to interrupt your nice day. If you’d just walk me to the park ranger station, I’ll call my roommate and she can come and get me.”
Ann was herding Haley to the parking lot. “Nonsense. It won’t be a problem.”
It will if I let you get in the car and drive off, Haley thought. How am I going to keep these two here for another fifteen minutes.
“We were finished with our walk anyway,” Carl told her. “So really, it’s no problem at all to take you home.”
They were at the edge of the lot. She had to think fast. “Uh, you don’t mind if I try and get some more mud off before I get in your car, do you?”
“No, of course not,” Ann said. “The bathrooms are right over there. It must be very uncomfortable being covered with mud.”
Haley nodded. The mud was starting to dry. She didn’t want to think about what kind of bugs might be biting her right now. “Thanks. The dried mud is starting to itch.”
So Ann walked her to the bathroom and Carl went to the car. “I’ll just pull it up near the bathroom, take your time.”
At the bathroom door, Ann told Haley, “There’s a coffee machine inside. I’ll get you something hot to drink to help you warm up.”
“You’re a dear,” Haley smiled at her. “I’ll be right here.”
Haley closed the door and ran her hands and arms under the water. Ann appeared with the coffee. “I put cream and sugar in it, hope that’s OK.”
“Sure,” Haley said. “I’m sorry to be so much trouble.”
“Not at all. We’ll be in the car. Take your time.”
“Thanks, Ann.”
Haley checked her watch, she needed ten more minutes. In five minutes she stuck her head out the door. “Sorry, Ann, Carl. Just another couple of minutes, OK?”
Carl waved and she went back to the bathroom. After three minutes she peeked out the door. Carl and Ann were snuggling in the front seat. Music floated out of the open car window. Haley took off the jacket and hung it on the door knob then slipped out of the door. She walked to the front of the ranger station and around the other side. From a vantage point in the woods, she watched the couple. Soon, Ann got out of the car and went to the bathroom. She called over to Carl. “She’s not here. She left your jacket.” They couple looked all around the station but after a few minutes, gave up and got in the car and drove away.
Haley trotted back to the river. Another couple saved. Their daughter would be born and grow up to be a great author one day. The door was where she left it. Time to go home.
The End
852 Words
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

Time is Flying

Immature Gala Apple

Immature Gala Apple by Connie Cockrell

No rain since the last Monday blog post. It’s been a very disappointing monsoon season to be sure. The lakes and reservoirs are at fifty percent capacity or less, making everyone in Arizona very nervous. I’ve had to water my garden every other day, fruit trees included. I picked my 6 peaches a few days ago. Yummy! I have 5 Gala apples on the tree. The late April frost and snow killed most of the buds on both trees so I only have those few. No pears at all, which makes me sad. Maybe I’ll have more fruit next year. Anyway, I spoke with a farmer at the Farmer’s Market. He told me Gala’s mature mid to late fall. So in the picture above, those apples may actually double in size in the next four to six weeks.
The Northern Gila County fair is in less than a month. The fair book has been proof read and sent to the printer to publish and I continue to update the website, http://www.NorthernGilaCountyFair.com, to add information concerning all of the activities, attractions and entertainment. What’s your favorite event or activity at your county fair?
I am editing the first book in my Brown Rain series. The working title is The Beginning, which to be frank, is sort of lame. Would you like to help me name this novelette? Click on the link below to sign up for my newsletter by the 16th of August and I’ll send you a PDF copy of the rough draft of the story for you to read. Then you can go to my blog and leave a comment on this post with your Title suggestion.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today.
Like any author, my books sell based on reviews. Would you be interested in getting a free copy to review for me? Go to the button on the right side of the blog or go to my Newsletter tab to sign up. Or sign up here. Use Control, Click to access the link. Let me know you’d like to be a reviewer on Goodreads or the e-tailer site of your choice.

I have an in depth interview on my Smashwords Author page. You can read it here. Don’t see information about me you’d like to know? Leave me your question in my comments and I’ll try to answer it.
Revolution: A Gulliver Station Story released August 1st! I’m pretty excited about it. Apple (iTunes) and Barnes and Noble now have it up on their sites. You can buy at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords today!