Camp NaNo Status and Book Signing: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

April’s Camp NaNo is in its last week. I passed 43k on Sunday so I don’t anticipate any trouble reaching my goal of 50,000 words. I’m still doing well in totally pantsing this new story. (book 2 of the Zoe Ohale series, currently titled Troubled Campus.) I have to get Zoe into the final conflict then tie up all the loose ends. Perhaps another 5 – 8 chapters. We’ll see how that goes. I still have no idea how to make that happen.

I’ve been working on the edits of Mystery at the Book Festival. I’ve finished 16 chapters so far. This editing and rewriting is a totally different skill set. I have to stay focused tightly, on what has happened so far, on every question I ask that has to have an answer and continuity. It’s a lot of work and slow going. Totally unlike writing the first draft of a story. Some authors say the editing is their favorite part of producing a book. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that but it’s not too bad if I don’t hold too tight to things that need to be cut or at least, rewritten.

Malaysia Mosque with Muslim pray in Malaysia – Depositphotos_108130076_original

I went into my Elf Slave story to post part three and it’s gone. The draft has only parts 1 and 2. Ugh. Now I have to write both my Zoe story and at least part 3 of this one. Thank goodness they’re different genre’s. I don’t think I’ll get too confused.

Gardening: The roses are Blooming. Last week I talked about everything I planted. So far the only thing coming up are the flower seeds I forgot to mention. Everything else is taking it’s time popping up. I’m nervous about the bonzai seeds. Nothing seems to be happening. I’m being impatient, I know. This last week I trimmed the dead apple tree, reserving the tiny tree that’s popped up from the root stock. It’s an experiment that will take at least five years to see what kind of apple I’m going to get. I also trimmed the root stock sprouts on my D’anjou pear tree and the peach tree. One large branch seems to have bent over, the top touching the ground, in the last big storm. I’ve decided to leave it. I’ve been picking peach buds off of the tree leaving just one at intervals so they will get large. Leaving all the clusters together means the peaches stay small. Also, it thins them out so the branches don’t break under the weight of all that fruit. There are a lot of buds remaining after the thinning. I’m looking forward to having a bumper crop this year.

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:

I know so many great authors, it’s always hard to choose who to feature. I think this time I’ll brag up the Phoenix Comicon. You can see their link below. But what’s great is that the conference features authors, writers, and creators of all kinds. SciFi, Fantasy, TV shows, Graphic Novels, Costume designers, it’s a free-for all, you people. Really! I took a look at the schedule with the fancy new PhoenixComiCon app (Google Play Store). It is just packed, every day, with presentations, demos, panels, it’s mind boggling. If you can come, you should. It’s going to be fantastic.

Where Will I Be?

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

Big news! I have received a half table at the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum next Saturday, April 29th. I’ll bring a good variety of books to sell and sign. If you’re in the area, come by. I’d love to talk to you. http://www.mhafoundation.com/

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 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 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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Slave Elf Part 2: Flash Fiction Friday Post

http://magikstock.deviantart.com/art/Camel-1-319794644

Part 2

 

As the camels followed the wagon ahead of them, I sat, half-conscious on the wagon seat. How did this happen to me? I’d asked around over the years, humans staring at the slave brand on my hand. Elves were never slaves, it seemed, but me. What was wrong with me that the elves left me with these slavers? Were elf children so plentiful that one could be snatched away and no one cared?

 

I’d seen elves in the caravan’s travels. Aloof, regal, I longed to shout out to them but Master Corpet, and his father and grandfather, made sure I was chained in my wagon when elves were about. I didn’t even really know anything about elves. Their culture, who they worshipped, favorite foods. The darkness came over me, as had for years. Snippets of memories surfaced of me as a toddler, my parents, laughing, singing, making music. I could almost hear it.

 

The snap of a quirt on my thigh brought me out of my dream. Tears flowed unbidden at the sudden pain. When I blinked, Emil was on horseback beside the wagon, laughing. An evil laugh that reminded me he didn’t care if I hurt or not.

 

“Master Corpet bids you read this and write a response.” He handed me the paper. He didn’t want to throw it in case it blew away. He’d be the one chasing it down.

 

I took it and nodded. “Right away.”

 

Emil snorted then wheeled his horse around and galloped off to the rear of the caravan where the horses were being herded.

I opened the paper and read.

 

Master Corpet,

 

Greetings and well met. Lord Verden passed away last winter. A great loss to his family, friends, and the city, Katzin, as well. As his nephew and heir, I will greet you at the palace at your earliest convenience. Send word on your arrival and an audience will be arranged.

 

As to your business, Uncle left clear direction. I will continue to support you in your endeavors. We will speak of it in person.

 

Lord Trayford

 

Nothing unusual. Much of Master Corpet’s work was done in person, so I wasn’t concerned about that part of the letter. That the old Lord was dead, again, humans have so short a life, I wasn’t surprised by that either. I’d never met the man. I puzzled a bit over …your endeavors. As the master’s book-keeper I was sure I knew all the master’s business. Some of it less than legal, but there seemed nothing Lord Trayford could help with, unless it was protecting the caravan routes from competitors.  I folded the letter and tucked it in my sleeve pocket. No response could be written until the wagons stopped and we neared Katzin.

 

After we camped and I had fetched water for my wagon, I went to see Master Corpet. I stood silently at the back of his wagon as he gave direction to the camel drover leader, the slave minder, and Emil. Emil spit in the sand at my feet as he left the master to take care of his tasks.

 

Corpet grinned at me. “And you, little Delia. What do you have?”

 

I swallowed my gall at the diminutive. I was forty years older than he was. “Other than announcement of our arrival in Katzin, do you want anything else included in the letter to Lord Trayford?”

 

He shook his head; his turban ends swinging gently. “No. That will be all. We will arrive tomorrow. Give me the letter in the morning and I’ll send it from the gate. The lord won’t be ready for me until well after we get to the caravanserai and I have a chance to bathe and refresh myself.”

 

“Yes, master.” I bowed and turned to go.

 

“Delia.”

 

I turned back to him. “Master.”

 

He studied me a long moment. I could feel myself begin to tremble. What was he thinking?

 

“When did you come to us?”

 

I bit my tongue at his choice of words. Come to us? As though it were my idea and I was an honored guest? “I was six, Master. Sixty-three years, eight months, eleven days.”

 

He nodded. “My grandfather. Papa told me. That’s a long time to be a slave.”

 

I shivered, clasping my hands so that he couldn’t see them shake. “I think so, Master. That’s three human generations. A whole human lifetime.” I lifted my chin as I spoke then fearing I’d gone too far, ducked my head and shifted my gaze to the sand.

 

He grunted. “Indeed. That’s all.” He turned and went into his wagon, calling for his personal slave, Sam, to bring him wine.

 

That’s it? I thought. That’s all he wanted? Still trembling I hurried back to my wagon. I put the kettle on for tea and sat at my table, waiting for it to boil. What was that about? What is Corpet thinking? One more day until we arrived at Katzin. We went there every year, twice a year. Out and back on the Corpet trade route. The far end being Midton, the end we just came from, Kitgate. Over a thousand miles, back and forth for the last sixty-three years. Sandstorms, raiders, famine, drought, I’d seen it all, over and over. The water boiled. Half I poured into my mug and dropped in a few tea leaves. The rest I poured into the basin and added cold water.

 

I washed away the dust of the day as best I could and tossed the dirty water out the back of the wagon. I watched it disappear into the sand. Like me, I thought. I was tossed into the mass of humanity, never to be seen again. My chest grew tight at the thought. Lost. Lost.

 

 

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 3.

961 Words

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

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Taxes and Camp NaNo: Monday Blog Post

Pansies

Newest News:

If you didn’t see it from me on Twitter or Facebook, I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

April is tax month and no doubt it’s as stressful a time for you as it is for me. I finally filed my taxes at the end of March. I decided I needed to withhold more money every month so I don’t have such a big tax bill to pay at the end of the year. Sigh. Adulting is hard.

April’s Camp NaNo is over halfway done. I passed 25k on the 14th so I’m doing well as far as word count goes. I’m also doing well in totally pantsing this new story. (book 2 of the Zoe Ohale series) I was a little fearful about going into a novel with little to no plan but it seems to be working out so far. I guess, at least for me, Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing into the Dark does work.

In other writing news, my editor sent Mystery at the Book Festival back and it looks like it will only need a few rewrites, nothing major. Oh my gosh I’m so pleased. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this writing thing.

http://magikstock.deviantart.com/art/Camel-1-319794644

My Elf Slave serial story began last Friday. Like all of the stories I put up on Fridays, it’s a little rough. I have three parts written and have no idea how long it will be. I found a lovely picture to illustrate part 3 and have received permission of the photographer to use it. You’ll love it. Part 3 will post on the 28th. That gets me through April and in May I can start writing the story again. Maybe Troubled Campus will be done, maybe not. That remains to be seen.

Part of being a writer is taking classes to help get better. I was taking a class on how to write a series with Holly Lisle when she became quite ill. The class stopped two years ago, unfinished. However, she’s re-written the class and started it back up again with better than ever lessons. I’m going to restart that class and apply a new Christmas series to it. I’ve been wanting to do a Christmas series for a long time and I’ve been brainstorming ideas. This is the perfect opportunity for me to get this project off of the ground. I’m very excited. Perhaps I can get the first book out in November! We’ll see.

Gardening: The roses are beginning to bloom. I’ve planted parsley, onion seed and chives (in a pot). I should dig out my bean seeds and get them in. They’re plenty hardy enough to deal with the cool nights here in central Arizona. I received a bonzai seed kit from my mom for my birthday last year. I’ve been keeping the seeds cold all this time. Last week I bought seed starter pods and planted one seed in each pod. I’m checking them daily to see if anything sprouts.

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:

I think this week I’ll give author and speaker Joshua Robertson a shout out. He can be found at  http://www.robertsonwrites.com/ and he writes dark fantasy. His most recent series is the Kaelandur series and he has a deal going on them right now. https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Robertson/e/B00RHAMPHM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1. Check him out!

Where Will I Be?

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

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 in the Four Carat Press booth number 1795.

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 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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Slave Elf Part 1: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Malaysia Mosque with Muslim pray in Malaysia – Depositphotos_108130076_original

This story was derived from a Chuck Wendig prompt. Chuck does a lot of these for his fellow authors and I enjoy the wackiness of his prompts. Here’s the prompt:

DEMURE ELF CLERIC FROM A SLAVE CARAVAN WHO LOST THEIR MARBLES A LONG TIME AGO

You’ll notice when you read the story that I didn’t stick strictly to the prompt but the idea of an elf, and a slave caravan are certainly there. Enjoy.

Also, when I started posting these parts, I hadn’t finished the story, so I have no idea right now how long this will be.

 

Part 1

I huddled in my wagon, the laughter and drumming, the shouts of the caravanner men to the dancing slaves, rolled in the small open windows of the wagon. It was too hot to shut them. I pulled the collar of my night gown closer to my neck and shuddered. I knew what was going to happen, probably already happening to those dancing girls.

 

I rolled out of bed and lit the tiny brazier, putting the teapot over the flame. If I couldn’t sleep, I might as well finish the caravan master’s letter to the next city’s Lord. I lit the lamp and sat down, the unfinished letter on the small table in front of me. The current master was the third I’d been held by. All sons of my original owner. I sharpened the quill. In elf-years I was still quite young, stolen from some elf encampment as a very young child. Even so, I could already read and write in elvish, dwarf and in multiple languages of men. That, at least came easy to me.

 

The master made sure I was left alone and I was grateful for that bit of courtesy. Caravanners are not the most genteel of men. I made my tea and opened the ink pot. In a careful hand, with graceful loops and delicate swirls, I finished the letter. As I put the materials away in my writing chest, I could tell the night was winding down. I could hear the crying from the slave wagons. It was sixty years of listening to that crying every night. I’d stopped crying after twenty. There was no point to it. I lay down in my bunk and closed my eyes. Dawn would come soon.

 

“Delia! Delia!” A pounding on my wagon door accompanied the shouting. I jumped from my bunk. “Yes! Yes! What is it?”

 

“Master Corpet wants that letter. He’s sending a rider ahead.”

 

“I’ll take it to him right away.”

 

“Hurry up.”

 

“Yes, yes.”

 

I was already stripping off my night gown. Master Corpet would be impatient to get the caravan moving. I could hear the camels squalling already and the sun was barely peeking over the horizon.

 

In moments, I had drawn on my dress, pulled my black hair back and tied it with a black ribbon and pulled on my boots. I took the finished letter from the writing chest and opened the door. Men were swarming around the wagons, dust rising from their booted feet in the sand. Bowls of food and water were being given the slaves, eight wagons full. A good trip for master Corpet if they all arrived at the next town. I did his books as well.

 

I stepped down the short ladder and hurried to the master’s wagon. He was sitting at a table, meat and mead, bread and cheese in front of him, at the back of the wagon. A human slave girl was being hustled out and back to her own place. Her face was tear stained and she sent me a glance of desperation. I looked at the sand at my feet. I was in no position to even offer sympathy.

 

“Your letter, Master Corpet.”

 

He held out his hand while drinking with the other. I passed it over and kept my eyes on my boots.

 

He read it quickly and nodded. “Good.” He handed it back. “Seal it up and give it to Emil. Tell him into the Lord’s hands only.”

 

I nodded and turned. Emil would be with the horses. “We leave in a hand, Delia.”

 

“Yes, Master.”

 

Emil was saddling his horse when I arrived. “About time,” he snarled at me. “Corpet gives you too much consideration.”

 

Emil hated me. Hated that I had my own wagon. Hated that I was forbidden to him. I handed him the letter. “Master says just into the Lord’s hand.” I kept my head down.

 

“Do I look stupid?” He jerked the saddle band tight. His face a scowl as he glared at me.

 

I didn’t answer. Anything I said would be a reason for him to hit me.

 

“Bitch,” he growled.

 

I handed him the paper. He snatched it out of my hand and stuffed it in his saddlebag. Emil leapt onto his horse and pulled the reins. The horse reared, nearly missing my head with his hooves. Emil laughed as I flinched then kicked the animal into a run, kicking my shoulder with his stirrup as he passed.

 

The men nearby laughed as I spun around. I refused to rub the spot until I got back to my wagon. It was already bruising. I made tea, ate some bread and cheese, while standing in my wagon door. Two men were already leading camels to my wagon. Time to pack everything away and get ready to leave. I sighed and finished my bread. Time to fill the water bladder for the day. It was going to be another hot one.

 

Thank You! Return next week for part 2.

834 Words

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

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Camp NaNo 2017: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

April’s Camp NaNo has run ten days as of today. I seemed to have taken Sunday off but still, I’m at over 13,000 words. That’s behind, by the way. I should be at 25K on the 15th! No matter. The upcoming week is less busy for me so I can spend some time on words. How’s it going, you may ask? As usual, I’m hating everything I’m writing. Not having a plan seems to matter little. So far I get words on the page but I’m too close to determine how good or bad those words might be. That’s what my cooling off period is for after I get the draft. It has been in the past that when I come back to the manuscript fresh, I like what I wrote much better.

Sunday, while I wasn’t getting words, I was getting a bit of gardening done. I’ve prepped a small bed where my new thyme will go. I also put the lovely large blue pot my husband got me for Christmas in the front yard, filled it with dirt, and planted left over daffodil bulbs in it. They’re all sprouting so I think in a week or so, I may have daffodils in late April or early May. Late arrivals for this area but they’ll be a welcome, happy sight in my front yard. I also repotted my jade plant in another lovely pot hubby got me for Christmas. A picture is above. It looks pretty nice, right?

This week starts the Elf Slave story (on Friday). Like all of the stories I put up on Fridays, it’s a little rough.

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:

This last weekend, I was part of B2BCyCon, an on-line conference that ran from Friday April 7th to Sunday the 10th. Here’s a link to my Science Fiction Author Showcase: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/18367091-2017-connie-cockrell-science-fiction-author-showcase. There were chats with other readers and new to me authors. I made some friends and participated on a few events at https://www.facebook.com/events/1466110423422872/. I think they’re still up so you can still check out the fun. Same over on http://b2bcycon.com/. Our panel discussions on multiple topics are still up on http://b2bcycon.com/panels/.

Where Will I Be?

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

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 in the Four Carat Press booth.

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.

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 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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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 7 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Sadie – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
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“Because They Matter”

Part 7 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here. Part 5 here. Part 6 here.

 

They hurried back to the tree line and sat down in the forest duff. “I can’t believe it.” Karen’s voice quavered. “What the hell?”

Jean, sitting next to her shoulder to shoulder, nodded. “I’ve never seen anything like it. My hands are still shaking.”

“Did you get pictures?”

“Yeah. Not that I ever want to see that again.”

“I know. We should get pictures of the license plates. I recognize that announcer from the diner.”

“Good idea.” Jean put her hands over her eyes. “I just need a minute.”

The announcer came on again, introducing the first fight of the night.

Jean closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Let’s get this done and get out of here. I don’t want to see a fight.”

“Good.” Karen stood up and gave Jean a hand. “Get the announcer guy’s truck first.”

“Yep. But it will be hard with the tailgate down.”

“Do what you can. A picture of him would be good too.”

“Agreed.”

They crept back out of the woods working their way around the parked vehicles, staying to the shadows, as Jean tried to get a position on the announcer and the truck. She got pictures of men taking bets and a good bit of the crowd, as she moved into place. Finally, staying low, she managed a shot through the fence of the truck plate. Then more of the guy himself, standing in the bed of the truck, narrating the fight. Jean did her best not to look but the sound of the dogs screaming and the people shouting was overwhelming.

She led Karen out of the crowd. They edged around the outside, taking pictures of all the plates until they were nearly back to the woods. That’s when the world lit up. Car headlights came on. Cruisers with their light bars flashed red and blue. A high-volume PA system came on and a male voice was shouting for everyone to stand still, they were all under arrest. Jean and Karen broke for the woods but three guys stood up and pointing assault rifles, yelled at them to halt. Jean put up her hands, Karen right beside her, did the same.

It was an hour and a half later when Chief of Police Nick White came over to the group of prisoners and picked them out. “Come with me.”

Jean’s stomach, already knotted with dread, did flip-flops. She glanced at Karen who gave her head a shake. Nick didn’t look like he was going to be happy.

Next to his cruiser, he turned on them. “What in the name of all that’s holy are you two doing here?” His hands went to his hips and he was glaring at them so hard Jean thought lasers would shoot from his eyes.

She held up her camera. “We took pictures. To bring to you.”

Jean saw Nick shudder as he drew in a slow breath. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that was?”

Karen nodded. “We do. Did. Well, they didn’t see us.”

He glared at her and she wilted.

“I should arrest you and take you with the rest of these…” he waved a hand. “Where’s your car?”

“Back up the road. Hidden.” Karen replied in a near whisper.

“Then get to it. Don’t let me see you for many days.”

Jean and Karen turned to hurry off.

“Wait.”

Jean’s heart froze along with the rest of her muscles. She turned around. “Yes?”

“Send me those pictures.”

She nodded, turned and scurried away with Karen.

When Karen arrived at Jean’s, Jean invited her in. “Come in. We’ll have a glass of wine and download these pictures. Get them off to Nick.”

Karen nodded. “Might need some of that scotch tonight.”

“Agreed.”

They poured their drinks and went upstairs to Jean’s computer. She quickly downloaded them, put them in a file, and copied it to a thumb drive.”

“You aren’t going to look at them?”

Jean shook her head. Karen looked white as the computer paper. “Nope. I’ll take this over to the station in the morning. I don’t want to see these pictures.”

“Good idea.” Karen slammed back the scotch. “I’ll go with you.”

#

At the Police Department in the morning, Jean and Karen asked for Lieutenant Oliver. When Paul came to the window, he glared at them. “Didn’t I tell you to stay out of it? Nick was incoherent. I’ve known him since grade school. I’ve never seen him so mad. He should have dragged you two in here to spend the night.”

Jean and Karen nodded together. “I know. I’m sorry.” Jean slid the thumb drive through the small slot at the bottom of the window. “We brought the pictures.”

Paul snatched them up out of the bin. “Good.” He took a breath and shook his head. “Why’d you do it?”

Jean shrugged as Karen shook her head. “We hoped to get pictures. For evidence.”

Paul scrubbed his face with his right hand. “I’d tell you not to do it again but I know that’s a waste of breath. Go on now before Nick sees you.”

The two women hurried off.

“Dang, Paul was mad too,” Jean said as she held the door for Karen. “I thought he was going to drag us in and put us in jail.”

“I’ve known Paul and Nick back as far as grade school, too. They’re usually so calm. I guess that’s what makes them good cops.” Karen got in the car when Jean popped the locks. “Let’s go take some dogs for a walk.”

Jean nodded.

A week later the woman from the dog park hurried up to them as they turned loose their temporary charges. “Thank you, thank you.” She gave them each a bear hug. “The police found Sandy.”

Jean and Karen both grinned. “How nice!” Jean said.

“Where was she?” Karen asked.

“Someone took her.” The woman said. “She was going to be used as a bait dog, they called it. Some horrible dog-fighting ring.”

Jean felt her stomach roll. Karen’s face went white. “What?”

The woman nodded. “They did a raid a couple of Saturday’s ago, and picked up a whole lot of little dogs. Poor Sandy was in the group. They just called me yesterday. I can get Sandy today from the Animal Control Office.”

“Good for you.” Jean said. “But we didn’t have anything to do with that.”

“Yes, you did. You went around town and asked about Sandy. The police told me.”

Jean and Karen exchanged glances. “Well. I’m glad we could be of some small help.”

The woman hugged them each again and hurried back to her friends at the picnic table. Jean chuckled. “So Nick and Paul gave us the credit.”

Karen grinned. “I guess so. I always knew they were great guys.”

The two of them followed their charges out into the yard. “Here Arthur. Here Arthur.” She wagged a brand-new tennis ball at him and he came charging over. “Get the ball,” she yelled and threw it. Every dog in the park went after it. She grinned. It felt good to help.

 

Thank You!

1186 Words

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

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Last Week of March Already: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I have four authors I need files from and the authors are set up. Hooray! We have 72 authors, a publisher, historical society, literacy organizations, it’s going to be great. We have booked the duo Windstrum. We have two separate rooms where we’ll have children’s story times, entertainment and author presentations. We’re also looking for sponsors. Putting on a festival of this size costs money and if you can support us, we’d love it. You can find an on-line fillable form on http://www.paysonbookfestival.org/sponsor-levels/.

April’s Camp NaNo starts Saturday and my plotting for the next Zoe Ohale story isn’t going any better than last week. I’m going to have to plot heavily this week or write “Into the Dark” as Dean Wesley Smith, says. Have you read the first Zoe Ohale book, Troubled Streets? Where do you think Zoe should go next?

Apple Blossoms and Bee by Randy Cockrell

Not much on the gardening front. A cold snap came in and for the last week we’ve been getting cold, frosty nights and two days ago it was hailing. However, the local stores have been getting in tiny plants and I’m eager to put something in the ground. I just found out about the flower, borage. It helps keep hornworms off of your tomatoes. I’m going to get at least a couple of borage plants to put in the tomato bed. I also learned about pruning my tomato plants of the suckers. I’m going to try it out and see if it helps. My tomatoes are usually running amok and taking over every square inch of space for two feet around the outside of the bed. Hopefully, this will help.

Sadie – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The last episode is coming up this Friday. 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.

I’m prepping the April flash stories so I can focus on the Camp NaNo story. The first one is a riff off my Gulliver Station series. The rest is a fantasy serial I started two days ago. I have no idea where I’m going with it right now but there’s an elf princess, so it has that going for it.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Luck O’the Readers, St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway is now over. I’ll be contacting the winners soon. In a few days I’ll have the spring giveaway up. If you missed out on the last one, the next will be your chance to win.

 

Shout Out:

I don’t have an Author Interview scheduled this week. So let me give a shout out to Anita Stewart. A speculative fiction (SciFi and Horror) author, she’s a major mover and shaker in the below noted B2BCyCon. You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/afstewart, to learn more.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://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. I’ve added some content. Please feel free to comment on the posts. Are you a Goodreads user? Love to see you there. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, here’s your chance to find a ton of books, chats with other readers and even ask an author a question. Me included!

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 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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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 6 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Dos – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

 

Part 6 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here. Part 5 here.

Trigger warning: Dog violence.

 

Jean was in her black jeans, a black t-shirt and a black sweatshirt, which she’d just bought today. It could be chilly out in the woods and she wanted it with her. She’d spent Saturday afternoon reacquainting herself with her big camera. Usually she used her little hiking camera or just her cell phone to take pictures. She made the house as dark as she could to practice shooting without a flash. Frustrated, Jean had to download a YouVid how-to video to get it right. She had a sandwich for supper and fidgeted as she stared out of her patio window watching the sun go down.

It was after six when Karen pulled up in her Jeep. “Ready?” she asked as Jean hopped into the car.

“Yes. I thought this afternoon would never end.” Jean buckled her seat belt. “I have everything. We just need to get there and not get caught.”

Karen pulled away from the curb. “That’s the trick. Isn’t it?”

They rode in silence, even after turning onto Forest Road 222. Jean watched behind them. “I see lights two switchbacks back.”

Karen nodded. “We’re almost down.”

Jean twisted in her seat to watch more comfortably. “Hurry, but don’t crash.”

Karen snorted. “Thanks.”

A minute later, “We’re down, now to find that spot.” Karen crept along, not wanting to miss the turn off. “Got it.” She pulled in and around the bushes and turned off the car and lights.

Jean spun around in her seat and watched out to the road. “They’ll be right along.”

They sat, hardly breathing, staring through the bushes. Even in the Jeep, they could hear the roar of a diesel truck engine. A moment later, they watched the lights pass, engine loud enough to make the Jeep shake. They sighed at the same time, then giggled with nerves. “Okay. Let’s get out and do some sneaking.” Jean gathered the camera and her sweatshirt. “Ready? Open doors, get out, close doors so as little light as possible shows.”

Karen nodded.

“One, two, three.” Jean opened her door, slid out and closed it as fast and as quietly as she could. “You there?” she asked into the dark.

“Yep. I’ve got my flashlight and a hiking stick.”

“I’ve got my camera and my flashlight.” Jean pulled the camera strap over her head. “I guess we’re ready.”

“We should cross the road here. Then keep to the woods along the way. If we turn off our flashlights when we hear a car, they’ll never see us.” Karen came around the end of the Jeep and waited for Jean.

“Sounds like a plan. I’m ready.”

The two women picked their way to the road and hearing nothing, crossed it, moving as far away from the forest road as seemed prudent. They kept their flashlights pointed down. It meant that they could only see a couple of feet in front of them but better than making themselves a target.

Jean’s heart pounded. Every step they made sounded like it could be heard in Greyson but without being able to see too far ahead, there wasn’t much they could do about it. As they moved forward, more and more cars passed on their left. Each time they shut off the light and hunkered down. With every car that passed, they grew more comfortable. “They can’t see us.” Karen whispered.

“They’re not looking.” Jean whispered back as a pick-up truck, every external light known to man lit up on the truck, passed by. It’s very hard for the human eye to pick out shapes in the dark unless they’re looking for them, are lit up in some way or are moving. It’s when we get to the ring that we’ll have to be careful.”

By the time they made the third of a mile, festivities were in full swing. From the edge of the woods they could see trucks surrounded the ring, lights on. At the moment, it was empty. One guy was selling beers from coolers off of his tailgate. Men and women were standing around the fence, laughing and joking, while others sat on the truck hoods, able to see over the heads of those standing.

Men and dogs were at the poles Jean and Karen had noted earlier, one dog tied per pole. People wandered among the tied dogs, as men debated the merits of the dog or the dog in relation to some other dogs. Jean took pictures of the dogs and their owners as best she could without a flash.

Karen pointed out that the men were giving their dogs rubdowns and checking their paws. “They’re treating them like boxers.”

“Yeah, but a boxer has a choice.”

She saw a number of smaller dogs, ones that didn’t look like fighting dogs at all. “I wonder why the little dogs?”

“No idea,” Karen whispered back.

They were interrupted by an announcement. They looked at the ring. From the back of a huge white pickup, a man stood with a microphone. “To start the evening, a demonstration by Bill Munson on training your fighting dog.

The gate farthest from them opened. Jean moved to get shots of the man in the ring. He led a German Shepherd. Behind him another man led a small terrier on a leash. Jean moved closer, standing on a fallen pine to get higher. Karen followed.

The man in the ring spoke without a microphone. He slipped the leash off the shepherd and began to talk. She was too far away to hear. Jean could see Karen straining to hear. The second man let the terrier loose. The first man called a command. Before she knew what was happening the shepherd ran straight for the little dog. She began snapping. The dog grabbed the terrier by the neck and with only a small squeal, the shepherd shook its head and tossed the small dog in the air.

The man called the dog back and snapped the leash in place. Jean stopped snapping and got off the log. Her hands were shaking so hard she was glad she had the strap around her neck. Karen was bent over, retching.

 

Thank You!

1025 Words

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

 

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Book Festival, Brain To Books Cycon, Gardening: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I’m finalizing the author registrations for the Payson Book Festival. That involves tracking down the authors who owe me files and getting them up on the website. We have a wonderful group of authors lined up covering every genre in fiction and non-fiction that you can think of. We’re also looking for sponsors. Putting on a festival of this size costs money and if you can support us, we’d love it. You can find an on-line fillable form on http://www.paysonbookfestival.org/sponsor-levels/.

There’s only a couple of weeks left before April’s Camp NaNo and my plotting for the next Zoe Ohale story isn’t going well. I’m just writing scene cards and it all seems trite and done before. Sigh. I’ll keep working at it. Have you read the first Zoe Ohale book, Troubled Streets? Where do you think Zoe should go next?

All the roses are trimmed and the canes disposed of. The oregano and lavender dead stems were trimmed. Compost has been restarted. I dug out the broccoli stems and planted potatoes. The apple tree I thought I’d lost last spring has a shoot coming up from the root stock. That’s pretty exciting! I’m going to let it grow and see what it is. I failed to trim the peach tree and now it’s in full bloom. I guess I’m going to have to do it now. The nectarine tree is also in bloom and between them, my rosemary is blooming. The pink and blue flowers look so nice together. The garden is looking good!

This is Dos. He’s ready to be adopted.

Annie Bamber

Outreach Programs Coordinator

(928) 474-5590 ext. 100

annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org

www.humanesocietycentralaz.org

  Like us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/

“Because They Matter”

Have you been reading my serial, Mystery at the Dog Park? The episode is coming up this Friday. 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 now over. I’ll be contacting the winners soon. In a few days I’ll have the spring giveaway up. If you missed out on the last one, the next will be your chance to win.

 

Shout Out:

A shout out this week to my poet friend Carena del Uno. She’s releasing a book of poetry this week, Echoes Within the Wondrous. Carena’s Amazon author page is https://www.amazon.com/Carena-del-Uno/e/B00JHZ4XH0 where you can find her other books, too.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://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. I’ve added some content. Please feel free to comment on the posts. Are you a Goodreads user? Love to see you there. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, here’s your chance to find a ton of books, chats with other readers and even ask an author a question. Me included!

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? This webinar will be conducted 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 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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Mystery at the Dog Park Part 5 of 7: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Captain – Available for adoption now from:
Annie Bamber
Outreach Programs Coordinator
(928) 474-5590 ext. 100
annie@humanesocietycentralaz.org
www.humanesocietycentralaz.org
Like us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietycentralaz/
“Because They Matter”

Part 5 of 7. You can find Part 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here.

 

It was Friday after school before Summer had something to report. Jean and Karen had continued to search for Sandy without luck but they became more observant of all the handyman and other contractor trucks parked in neighborhoods. They were especially suspicious of a truck just parked and the contractor sitting inside. Sometimes he was on the phone. Sometimes eating. None of them looked like they were casing the neighborhood where they were parked but who could tell?

Karen called Jean with the information. “It’s outside of town, to the south, down Forest Road 222 about three miles.”

“We should check it out.”

“Now?”

“Yeah.” Jean switched the handset to her left hand. “This is a chance to check out the place while it’s daylight.”

Karen took a deep breath. “What if somebody is there?”

“Put your hiking stuff on. We’ll just say we’re looking for new hikes?”

“I don’t know, Jean.”

“Better to go prepared, right? We don’t want to go tomorrow and not know what we’re up against. In the dark!”

“I guess. I’ll drive. Your Prius won’t like a dirt road.”

“Okay. See you in a few.” Jean hung up and hurried upstairs. This is perfect. We’ll scope the place out when it’s deserted and be ready for tomorrow night. She put on jeans and a tee-shirt. Then kicked off her flip-flops and put on hiking socks and her boots. Karen’s car horn sounded as she reached the bottom of the stairs. She grabbed her purse and keys and headed out the door.

“You were quick.” Jean put on her seat belt.

“I already had jeans and a tee on.” Karen backed out of the driveway and headed down the street. Just had to put my boots on.

“This is great.” Jean tapped a tattoo on her thighs with both hands. “We’ve gotten dull since summer.”

“We’ve not gotten into a fight with a crazy woman, you mean.” Karen shook her head. “I’m starting to think you’re an adrenaline junkie.”

“Nah. I just like things to be interesting.” She watched out of the window as Karen drove them south, out of town. “This is nice. I get to look around. Why is it I always drive?”

“Because you’re a control freak.” Karen laughed. “But I do drive sometimes.”

“True.” She watched another three blocks pass. “Do you know this forest road?”

“No. There are so many leaving the highway, unless it’s for something specific, I don’t try them all.”

Jean nodded. “So we’ll just cruise down the road, try to spot the place, take a look around.”

“Sure. Let’s say that.” Karen licked her lips. “I just hope no one is there.”

“Me, too.” Jean watched the scenery go by as Karen drove. It was six miles south of town where Karen slowed down and put on her turn signal. Jean perked up. “Alright.”

Karen waited for northbound traffic to pass, then pulled across the highway and onto the dirt road. “So far, so good.”

“It’s going to be hard to spot in the dark.”

“Yep. Probably a good thing we’re checking it today. Even if I am being a worry-wart.”

Jean grabbed the hand hold over the window as Karen’s Jeep hit a pothole. “Glad I didn’t bring my car.”

Karen nodded. “Sometimes the dirt roads are in really good shape, sometimes, like this one, not so much. Anyway, I set the trip odometer to zero so we can tell when we’re close.”

“Good idea.”

They traveled along the road without too many bumps until the odometer read 2.8. “We’re almost there. Keep an eye peeled.” Karen slowed down.

“That must be it.” Jean pointed to the right. The road had dipped down into a canyon about a mile from the spot. The landscape changed from high desert to wooded in the protected canyon. The spot didn’t have much to recommend it. There were no buildings. A chain-link fence circled the ring with a gate on opposite sides. Karen stopped the car and they got out. “Well, it’s secluded.”

Jean nodded. They walked around the fence. “What are these?” Away from the fence was rebar or pipes sticking up out of the ground, each one separated from the others by several feet. She crouched down to look as Karen walked up to her. She studied the dirt. It was rocky and pitted with small holes. She lightly touched a spot. “This is a chain mark. I think this is where they tie the dogs.”

Karen had her arms around herself. “I can’t help but think about these poor dogs.”

“Me, too.” Jean stood up and brushed the dirt off her hands. “Makes my stomach roll.” She looked around the barren area. “So we can’t drive up and park and come in. They’re going to know we aren’t fans. Did Summer say if they charged admission?”

“No. Just where it is. And you’re right. We can’t just walk in. We’ll have to park up the road and hike in. Then come around the back in the trees.” Karen pointed to the forest edge away from the road.

“That’s going to be tricky, the drive into the canyon was kind of narrow. We’d have to park at the top.” She turned to look down the road. “You know what’s that way?”

“Nope. But I brought the maps. Let’s see.” They went back to the car and Karen pulled USGS maps out of the cargo compartment. “Here’s the one.” She put the rest down and opened the map on the cargo compartment floor. She traced a line from Greyson to the forest road then along the thin line of the forest road. “We’re about here.” She pointed at a spot on the map. “If we keep going,” her finger traced the road, “we end up…nowhere. The road just ends. Probably at a canyon.”

“Darn it.” Jean leaned over the map. “Look, as the road reaches the canyon bottom, it opens up. We could park here.”

Karen studied the map. “Maybe. We’ll check it out on the way out.” She folded the map. “I know I’d rather not have to hike down that narrow road with traffic coming up behind us.”

“Or hike back up it. Let’s check it out.”

They closed the cargo door and got in. Karen drove slowly so they could check out possible hiding places along the way. “Look here.” Jean pointed to her right. We could pull the Jeep in behind that stand of trees. The shrub oak would hide it, especially at night.”

Karen pulled off and drove the Jeep into the spot. “Let’s look.” They got out and walked back to the forest road and then back at the Jeep. “Not hidden well for daylight but at night, no one is going to be looking over there.”

“I think it will work and it’s only a third of a mile back to the ring.” Jean stuck her hands in her jean pockets. “We’ll want pictures. Of the people, of license plates.”

“The dogs?”

Jean sighed. “I don’t know if I want to see that. Or get too close. I’ll bring my camera. It will be better than our cell phones.”

Karen nodded. “Yeah. Makes sense.” She scrubbed her face with both hands. “We’re going to regret this.”

“No we won’t. We’ll be helping to shut down this horror.” Jean pulled her hands out of her pockets. Her voice grew hard. “And send these jackwipes to jail.”

“True.” She headed back to the Jeep. “Let’s get out of here.”

 

Thank You!

1254 Words

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

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