Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, Friday Flash Fiction, Gardening, Payson Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

After the show, I began showing some of the t-shirts from the Phoenix Fan Fusion. Above is one for this week.

If you read my Friday Flash Fiction, you know that last Friday, I began a serial story. I’m calling it The Party. I don’t generally get into politics on my blog, there’s just no reason to upset people with my opinions of things. However, some rhetoric lately has gotten me thinking of ways what’s being discussed can go horribly wrong. I’m not the first author to think about these things. Many authors over the last few generations have done the same. Animal Farm, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, are just three of many stories that have looked at the political arena of their time and turned to “what if”. I’m no Aldous Huxley or George Orwell, but The Party is my take on what I see and hear in the current news. So, I guess, this is a warning. If you don’t care for dystopian stories, give The Party a pass.

As of Sunday, my newest tomato plants are surviving. The zucchini has been chewed but is still hanging in there. We’ve bought a hav-a-hart trap and so far, have caught one chipmunk. We transported him up to a wild stream, where there will be plenty of water for it. There are two more chipmunks to catch but I haven’t seen them since we caught the first one. After we brought the trap back from the stream, we reset it. A couple of hours later, we saw two squirrels standing next to the trap. Laughing at it I suppose, as it’s too small to catch them. They’re next on my list.

Giveaways:

I’m gearing up for the Summer giveaway. I see other authors signing in and getting their prizes ready. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Where will I Be?:

The Payson Book Festival 2019. Mark your calendars for July 20th. Go to www.paysonbookfestival.org for all of the details! We have nearly 90 authors, lots of speakers in both the Fireside and Maple rooms, and again, the silent auction. Want to just make a donation? Go to our Paypal.me page, Payson Book Festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. 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.

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The Party: Bill Brown

From Deviant Art https://www.deviantart.com/mrwicked/art/SWAT-5990228, SWAT_by_mrwicked_d3ke38

I’m exploring possibilities based on things I am seeing on the news and comments made by some people in the government. Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

If you think this is all too much, you’re not paying attention.

Bill Brown

“Best thing to happen.” I had waved my beer to emphasize my point. I knew some of these people didn’t agree, but what the hell. “I know you all think it was wrong for President Master’s to rig the system then declare martial law. But he’s in his fifth year now and the crime rate in the whole country has dropped to nearly zero.”

“But Bill, really, it’s not a democracy anymore.” Dave Apple said. “What have we lost?”

“Not a damn thing,” Bruce Leightner said. He sipped from his beer can. “Everybody has a job. Like Bill said, crime is down, and the criminal class has been rounded up and taken care of.”

The circle of men mostly nodded. Dave was one who shrugged. “Still. Didn’t seem right to me that within a month, all the black people were rounded up and put into the camps. I mean, my doctor was rounded up. I haven’t found as good an orthopedic surgeon since he was taken.”

Bruce laughed. “All the chinks, too. I was so sick of one of the gals at work.” He spat on the ground. “Could do nothing wrong. The boss loved her.” He snorted. “Now the rest of us have a chance to get ahead. What a cunt. I’m glad she’s gone.”

Dave shook his head and wandered off. Bruce laughed again and pointed his chin at the guy and in a low voice said, “Glad he’s gone.”

The rest laughed with him.

Bill Brown looked around his yard. He’d invited everyone over for a watch party. President Masters was going to be on in half an hour and talk about what was next for the country. Bill thought the man had everything lined up just right. He wasn’t a big fan of Bruce, but he had a point. With all the blacks and Asians and Hispanics rounded up, there was a lot more opportunity.

He left the group to make sure his big screen didn’t have any glare on it and that the wifi was working. The tv was already tuned to the right channel, though that didn’t make a difference anymore. Whenever the President spoke, it was televised, live, on every channel.

They were in front of the tv at the end of the speech. They’d all cheered at the president’s promise of a new moon base within the next four years. Jobs for everybody, they all said. Bill looked at his wife, Mara. Aerospace and rocketry had been her career, before the president’s take over. Now, she was a stay at home wife. Unless declared a national security asset, women lost their jobs to men. It wasn’t really fair, he thought. She was excellent at her job. But you had to go with the flow, right?

That’s when the garden gate banged open and SWAT team members came rushing in. Women and children screamed with fright as more men came pouring from the house doors as well. Men, women and children were separated into groups. The commander, the word Immaculata, stenciled on his dark green uniform, stepped forward with a pad.

“The following people are hereby collected for deportation: Dave Apple, Jenna Apple, Anna Apple, Griffin Apple.

Bill was stunned. What was happening? The Apple’s were good people! The list of names went on. Then, his heart nearly stopped. Bill Brown, Devon Brown, Caitlin Brown. Mara began screaming and tried to reach her children. The Macs held her in place while the ones guarding the children pulled Devon and Caitlin forward. He tried to hurry to his children, but the Macs pulled him over to where Dave Apple was standing, pale and shaking.

The commander stopped reading names. “You are all designated racially impure. You will be sent to the camps and put to work for the good of the country.

Bill looked at his friends. Bruce was smirking. That asshole, Bill thought. Standing there with my beer in his hands. But he didn’t have time to think about that anymore. He was shoved along the grass to the gate and into a big, windowless van.

The ride was long and when the door slammed open, he was hurried forward to a warehouse-looking place. It was humiliating. Stripped, showered, dressed in gray canvas with a number stenciled on the back, they were tattooed on the arm with the same number. “Memorize it,” the tattooist said. Then he was moved at a trot to stand in a large open room and wait.

One at a time they were brought to a room with three Immaculata at a table. He was shoved into a chair.

“Do you know why you’re here?” the middle one said, Captain bars were on his shoulders.

“No, I don’t.” Bill was cuffed.

“You’ll address him as Captain, scum.”

“Captain,” Bill said in a hurry. “I don’t know.”

“Records indicate you’re part black.” The Captain was reading from an electronic pad. “Part of your DNA test.”

Bill was confused. “What DNA test?”

“At your last checkup. A sample was sent for purity checking.”

“You can’t do that! It’s against…” He was smacked in the head again.

The Captain sighed. “It’s not against any law. Every person is being checked for purity. Been going on for over a year at any check-up.”

Bill didn’t know what to say. “How can I be…”

“Doesn’t matter,” the Captain said.

“My kids?”

“Black, of course, since you are.”

“We’ll be together, right? Caitlin is only six. She’ll be scared. Devon too.”

“There’s no place where you’re going for children. They’ll be sent to their own camps, educated, cared for.”

“My wife?”

“She isn’t black. She will be fined for marrying outside her race. I suspect your house and property will cover the fine.”

Bill didn’t know what to say. His brain wasn’t working. How could this be happening? “But, I’m a supporter of President Masters. I donated.”

“That’s noted. Your work assignment will reflect that.” He nodded to the guard. “Take him away.”

Thank you for reading.

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Happy Father’s Day, Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, Gardening, Payson Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I hope your Father’s Day went wonderfully, whether you are a father, a single-mother trying to fill the role, an uncle, grand-father, of mentor.

After the show, I began showing some of the t-shirts from the Phoenix Fan Fusion. Above is one for this week.

I mentioned last week that I put in some seeds and two tomato plants. Well, the chipmunks ate both tomatoes, and I think, all of the seeds I’d planted. Most should have been at least poking their little sprouts up by now, but nothing. Nothing but holes in the dirt. Sigh. Sunday I put in more tomatoes, and filled the empty flower pot out front with geraniums. At least both pots look good now.  What’s your biggest gardening pest?

Giveaways:

I’m gearing up for the Summer giveaway. I see other authors signing in and getting their prizes ready. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Where will I Be?:

The Payson Book Festival 2019. Mark your calendars for July 20th. Go to www.paysonbookfestival.org for all of the details! We have nearly 90 authors, lots of speakers in both the Fireside and Maple rooms, and again, the silent auction. Want to just make a donation? Go to our Paypal.me page, Payson Book Festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. 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.

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Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, Post Card Art, Gardening: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

After the show, I began showing some of the t-shirts from the Phoenix Fan Fusion. Above is one for this week.

Art. In grade school we’re always drawing. It’s expected. As we get older, if we’re not “good” at it, we stop, not wanting to be embarrassed or criticized. That’s unfortunate, as drawing is relaxing and enjoyable no matter what your level of expertise. A couple of writer friends of mine began June as Post Card Art month and I joined in. My art isn’t professional. The only art supplies in my house was a coffee mug of colored pencils and a package of postcards. But each day I take a few minutes to draw something. Anything. And no matter how strange they come out, I’ve been posting them on my Facebook page. You’re following that page, right? Anyway. Give it a try yourself. It’s ok if it’s just pencil on lined paper. Enjoy it if all you have are crayons and construction paper. Find the joy if it’s ballpoint pen on the back of your grocery receipts. It’s never too late to start having some fun with art.

Yukon Gold, Red, and Purple Potatoes

It is the season for gardening. I planted my potatoes about 3 months ago, March, I guess that was. Anyway, they were ready to harvest so on June 9th, I dug them all out. That’s the picture above. Not a huge harvest, it’s a small bed, but one that hubby and I will enjoy as long as they last. I cleaned up that bed and planted beets at one end and bush green beans at the other end. Some Swiss Chard may go into the middle. I also put in two more tomato plants, one yellow tomato and one Sungold cherry tomato. I also put in a zucchini as the chipmunks ate the last one. I’m hoping the chipmunks don’t eat the little beet sprouts.

Geraniums and the little pansy that escaped being eaten by javelina.

In the front yard I dug the daffodil bulbs out of the big flowerpot by the sidewalk and put 3 geraniums into the pot by the walk leading to the front door. That’s them, above, with my surviving pansy from the javelina attack. I’ll get three more geraniums for the other pot. I hope your gardening is able to begin and here’s to a bumper crop for you.

Giveaways:

I’m gearing up for the Summer giveaway. I see other authors signing in and getting their prizes ready. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Where will I Be?:

The Payson Book Festival 2019. Mark your calendars for July 20th. Go to www.paysonbookfestival.org for all of the details! We have nearly 90 authors, lots of speakers in both the Fireside and Maple rooms, and again, the silent auction. Want to just make a donation? Go to our Paypal.me page, Payson Book Festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. 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.

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Galactic Convention: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Talk about your hive of scum and villainy. The quadrennial galactic convention was being held on Earth and I was one of the lucky lottery winners for a single, meter-long, third of a meter-wide table in Exhibitor Hall W.

I was staying in the oxy-breathers dorm, a two-meter by three-meter space where I was also storing my stock. Books. I guess I’d lucked out because most aliens found the idea of a book, novels specifically, unusual and quirky. We were only a week and a half into the month-long event, and I was already ordering more stock.

But back to the hive and scum. Nothing at the event was illegal but child-abuse and sentient-selling. If a being was within its species age of consent, it could indulge. In anything.

I’ll admit. There was a lot of cool stuff to buy, but I was on-site to make money, not spend it. Just standing at my table was an education. Several times a creature had sidled up to my table to offer to sell me one drug or another. Jewels. Tech. Tiny animals, even. These roving entrepreneurs were illegal, but they’d bought their entry tickets and smuggled in their goods. Good luck to them.

I’d had several offers, too, by creatures looking for a female human. Companion, they said. Right. I could just see myself locked in some dingy, alien crib, my body being sold for profit while I was starved, drugged, or worse, on some alien planet or spaceship. I declined. I shivered when they each walked, lumbered, or slithered away. I remained vigilant when I moved away from my table.  Like on Earth, I suspected that aliens were no less picky about snatching people if the opportunity presented itself.

Still, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. So many variations on sentient life. I’ll have story fodder for the rest of my life. A news crew came by and interviewed me. My book sales skyrocketed. I was pleased to see my bank account growing. Quite a change from its usual downward plunge.

The problem came about three weeks in. I realized I was being stalked. A creature, one, I realized, that had approached me the first week, looking for human females, was loitering near my booth. I paid more attention. He, or it, had a friend, loitering further away, but always within view. They trailed me when I went to the bathroom, making me apprehensive. Then, when I closed up shop for the night, back to my dorm. As far as I know, they weren’t coming inside, but I was nervous. They followed me closer and closer until the fourth day, when I reported them to security. I watched from my table with more than a little relief when the two were hauled away. A day later, security told me that they’d found a warehouse where several female women, and a few female aliens, were being held prisoner. Apparently, they were filling out their supply just before the show close.

I thanked them for telling me, but I became hyper-vigilant after that. Any creature that looked at me for even a second longer than I thought they should I took a picture of and reported to the cops. They sent a team around my booth more often and reassured me that I was safe but the last few days of the show I didn’t feel safe. I was glad when the show ended. I packed up my remaining stock and left as fast as I could.

On my drive home I constantly checked the cars behind and beside me. I made random turns when I thought a car was following me for any length of time. By the time I got home, I was a wreck, and locked every lock in the house, checking them all every hour. A glass of wine and a chat with my best friend helped bring me down to a saner level. Still, before I went to bed, I checked everything again.

I was at the grocery store, restocking my fridge, taking my supplies to my car when they struck. I’d let my guard down just a second as I moved bags from the cart to my car. They grabbed me from behind, a hand clamped over my mouth as a very strong arm pulled me away from my car. I don’t know which was uppermost, my fear or my rage. I kicked shins, grabbed the door frame, pounded him with my free arm, anything, anything. A van screeched up behind my car and my captor dragged me toward the van’s door which was sliding open. So, three men, I thought. One driving, the guy holding me, and one in the back, masked.

I tried to bite the hand over my mouth as I pulled my feet up to brace against the van. The guy in the van wasn’t having it. He grabbed my feet and began pulling. Then there was yelling from all around me. Police in SWAT gear surrounded us and the guy holding me was pulled one way as an officer pulled me another.

Away from the kidnappers, I vomited next to someone’s car. EMT’s checked me out. I was offered a trip to the hospital which I declined. I called my friend and she came over to stay with me. Turns out there was a whole planetary kidnapping plot, which the cops had discovered when I reported the first two. Hundreds of human women had been kidnapped and were being sold to the aliens.

I testified two years later. The memories had me shaking on the stand as tears ran down my face. I try to live my life, but my trust is gone. Once I thought I’d like to take a trip out into space. No longer. I’m fine. Right where I am.

Words: 973

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Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, KJZZ Book Fest, Interview with January Jones: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Last week I began showing some of the t-shirts from the Phoenix Fan Fusion. Above is one for this week.

My table at KJZZ

I attended the KJZZ Arizona Story Fest and Authors Showcase on June 1st.. It was held at the Mesa Convention Center – Building C, a place I’d never been. So I was a little nervous about driving down by myself and finding the place. I shouldn’t have been. It was very easy to find and the venue was just perfect for the event. Activities at the KJZZ Arizona Storyfest included: Storytellers Main Stage, Authors Showcase & Reading Stage, Children’s Storyteller Stage & Craft Area, Arizona Expo. I had a blast, talking to all of the attendees. There was also time to network with the authors, so that was fun, too.

I have an interview at 7am tomorrow morning with January Jones on her BlogTalkRadio.com show January Jones Sharing Success Stories. I know it’s early, but you should be able to find the recorded show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/januaryjones. Come on over to hear what January and I have to talk about.

Giveaways:

I’m gearing up for the Summer giveaway. I see other authors signing in and getting their prizes ready. I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Where will I Be?:

The Payson Book Festival 2019. Mark your calendars for July 20th. Go to www.paysonbookfestival.org for all of the details! I just saw the book that we’ve been doing with the Payson Community Kids. What a darling project for our little authors and artists. We’re having the book printed and available for sale at the festival. The Payson Middle School, 6th graders made a microzines. We worked with Rosemary Dumbrowski of ASU and Sophia McGovern to make them and the kids were amazing. Many of those microzines will be on display at the festival. We have nearly 90 authors, lots of speakers in both the Fireside and Maple rooms, and again, the silent auction. Want to just make a donation? Go to our Paypal.me page, Payson Book Festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. 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. It’s 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.

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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.

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Happy Memorial Day, Phoenix Fan Fusion, Brown Rain Covers, KJZZ Book Fest: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

It’s Memorial Day. It’s a cold, overcast, blowy day here, and if it’s going to rain, I wish it would just get on with it. A quiet day for me as I came home from the Phoenix Fan Fusion adventure last night. I’m still tired today and with the weather, decided to just stay home. A nap may be in my future.

Phoenix Fan Fusion was an adventure, no doubt.
Since last Thursday I’ve been at the gigantic Phoenix Fan Fusion. As with other years, it was a wild collection of costumes plain and simple, and costumes complex to the nth degree. I was in my booth watching the parade go by for the entire weekend and it was something to see. So. Many. People! So many costumes. But not everyone was in a costume. Many people just had SciFi or Fantasy or just plain funny t-shirts on. By Saturday, I’d decided to get some pictures of those t-shirts. It was hard to do. There were so many people, many were out of range before I noticed their shirt, or they were way over on the other side of the aisle. Whatever. I did get some and I’ll present them one at a time for the next few weeks. Just because they’re fun. Above is one for today. And many thanks to all of the people who agreed to have their picture taken. I appreciate it.

Brown Rain series cover updates. The Brown Rain covers and interiors finally cleared and I received copies just in time for Fan Fusion. The Gold Dreams cover and interior finally cleared also. Those I was not able to get in time, but I will have them for the KJZZ event.

I’ll be at the KJZZ Arizona Story Fest and Authors Showcase on June 1st, which is absolutely free to attend! Here’s the scoop.

Mesa Convention Center – Building C
June 1, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Activities at the KJZZ Arizona Storyfest include: Storytellers Main Stage, Authors Showcase & Reading Stage, Children’s Storyteller Stage & Craft Area, Arizona Expo.

Fun for everyone.

Giveaways:

No giveaways right now.

Where will I Be?:

KJZZ event I just mentioned.

The Payson Book Festival 2019. Mark your calendars for July 20th. Be in Payson for the book festival. Go to www.paysonbookfestival.org for all of the details! I just saw the book that we’ve been doing with the Payson Community Kids. What a darling project for our little authors and artists. We’re having the book printed and available for sale at the festival. Also, I participated in another workshop with the Payson Middle School, 6th graders to make a microzine. We worked with Rosemary Dumbrowski of ASU and Sophia McGovern to make them and the kids were amazing. Many of those microzines will be on display at the festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. 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. It’s 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.

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Reconstruction: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Laptop by Shadd am89 via DeviantArt.com

It’s Friday. The monsoons don’t start for another month and a half and my eyes and nose are so dry it feels like I’m going to have a bloody nose any minute. Staring at this computer screen isn’t helping any either. Eyes feel like they’re rolling in a sandbox.

My boss, Cassandra, sticks her head around the door. “My office. Now.”

Oh joy. I glance at the clock. Really, two thirty on a Friday afternoon? “Sure.” I sigh. If I was in trouble about something, she would have let me have it right there. No, I think as I push away from my desk. It’s something else. Some news she can’t wait to ruin my weekend with. I grab my notebook and wander down the hall.

As I get there, I see the other four department managers arriving. I nod to my friend, Callie, head of database design. Her eyebrow goes up a fraction of an inch. We both grin. It’s definitely going to be a weekend ruiner.

We huddle in her office around a small conference table. I open my spiral notebook to a clean page, noting date, time, and people in the room. These little notes have saved my bacon in the past. Cassandra starts.

“I was glad to see everyone still here. This is news that can’t wait.” She looks at each of us, then nods. “Management has decided that there will be no pay raises this year.”

That wakes up Seth. He’s always bragging about how he gets the biggest raise every year. That’s despite the rule about not talking about salary. I think he’s lying. I’ve been doing half of his work for the last three years. And, the company only gives pay raises to a small percentage. I expect Callie is the one getting the money. I know I get some. What Ellie and Bob get is a mystery.

Cassandra let the murmuring subside. “Budgets have been cut. People are going to be laid off. Least productive departments first. Some of you will be affected. Some of your department’s work will be handled by other parts of the company, either here in the U.S. or overseas. Some work the company is just dropping. They’re not going to brand on that any longer. The uproar in the room grew louder as she walked around her desk and sat in her chair.

I had all I could do not to yawn. I could see this was coming. I’d told Callie so a year ago. Anyone who could read the business journals and had an eye on the company’s investments and closings would have known. I’d already begun sending out resumes and refining my own branding. I did feel bad for Callie, though. She worked hard and had two kids in high school. She’d been hoping to hold on until they were out of college.

Cassandra rapped on her desk. “Let’s keep calm, people.” She turned a sheet of paper over, typed side up. “This is the initial break out.”

She read down the list. I had to cover my grin with my hand as she announced Seth’s department’s work was going to be picked up by the Minneapolis office. “What am I supposed to do,” as an afterthought, “and my team?”

“Offers will be made to allow you to move,” the boss said.

I knew that wasn’t going to happen with Seth. He had a big family here. His wife was executive VP across town at the biggest bank in the area.

Then both Ellie and Bob were told their department’s work was going overseas. Ellie began to cry. Bob went pale.

Cassandra turned to me. The announcements were getting worse and worse. I braced to hear that the company was dropping the work my department did altogether.

“Your department,” I could hear everyone stop breathing, “is going to be expanded. Project management is the coming thing and the company is jumping on that bandwagon.”

The others stared. Cassandra carried on. “You’re being promoted to Division Manager and you’ll be organizing the growth and hiring of additional staff. Congratulations.”

I have to admit, it took me a second to wrap my head around that. Everyone else was essentially getting the axe and I was getting a promotion. Wow! “Um, Thank you, Cassandra. I’m so sorry, everyone else. So sorry.”

“We’ll be making announcements over the intercom at three-thirty. Please keep this news to yourselves until then.” Cassandra turned that paper over again and turned to her computer. A sign we were done. Everyone stood. In the hall I gave Callie a hug. “Your department wasn’t touched.”

She shrugged. “Not yet anyway. I should have believed you last year.”

“Well, you’re good for now. It’s not too late.”

She nodded and wandered away. Cassandra called to me from inside her office.

“Yes, Cassandra.”

“I’ve been told we’re going to build up a real presence here in Phoenix. Lots of big companies moving into the state. The whole southwest, really. You up to the task?”

“Absolutely.” I grinned. “I assume my department doesn’t do the sales. Just the project management work?”

She nodded. “I take over the Sales. VP.” She looked smug. I’d heard that she and the operations manager were close. Maybe that paid off. I don’t know. “Congratulations. We’ll still be working together.” With that she made a quick, little face that let me know she hadn’t thought about that, but she pulled it together quickly. “Yes. Of course.” She turned back to her computer. “The president will see you at 10 on Monday. He wants to talk plans with you.”

“I’ll make a note.” I left the office and went back to my desk. In half an hour, my team was going to be hitting my office door. I poured more chocolates into the bowl on my conference table and got on my computer. Time to pull up notes on how to run a bigger department.

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Social Media: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Security concept. Laptop with exclamation mark on the display

Em dragged herself out of bed, croaking, “I’m up,” at the ever-present home assistant. “Assistant my ass,” she said to herself as she hit the shower. “Arial, extra-hard on the shower, hundred and seventeen.”

“That’s not your usual setting, Em.” The oh so soft and pleasant voice made Em want to scream.

“Well, it’s what I want today.”

“That temperature is not recommended for optimum skin care.”

Em clenched her teeth. “I don’t care. Just turn on the damn shower.”

“Profanity is a sign of maladjustment and social break-down, Em. Should I call your doctor?”

Em bit back a snarky comment. The damn assistant would report her to the local authorities. She didn’t need that sort of hassle. “No. I’m fine.” She stood outside the shower waiting for it to turn on. “I’m ready, Arial.”

The shower turned on. “Thank you. Please start the coffee.”

“Yes, Em.”

Em let the water beat on her back. She shouldn’t have drunk so much last night. The stress was getting to her. Without a job, she had been assigned three extra hours of social media. If she wanted her sub, she had to do it. Wallowing through the kitten pictures and the whining of people she didn’t even know had made her eyes bleed. She needed those drinks. Whose bright idea was it to link subsistence payments with social media? She hoped they choked on it.

Done, she toweled off and dressed. The coffee was ready when she got to the kitchen. “Do I have credits for breakfast, Arial?” Her stomach could use some toast, at least.

“Subsistance allowance provides three hundred calories of food block.”

Em’s stomach rolled. The stuff tasted like paste. “Sure. Food block.” The delivery door opened, and an unappetizing gray block of yeast food awaited her hand. “Yum.” She grabbed it and the cup of coffee and headed to the computer. Might as well start socializing.

With diligence, she stayed at the console all morning, five of her eight hours done. Some of it standing and marching in place, just so she could keep her blood flowing and eyes open. “What’s for lunch, Arial?”

“Spaghetti and meatball yeast bars.”

Em rolled her eyes. “I don’t have any credit left from my last job?”

“It’s slated for your rent payment, Emily. Should I redesignate that credit?”

“No.” She rolled her eyes again. What she did not want to happen was to have to move into subsistence housing. They were eight by ten-meter plas-crete cells. Might as well live in a dog-crate. “Fix the yeast bar.”

“Yes, Em.”

Emily took the bar down to the street. She had to get out into the sunshine and away from the console before her brain fried. “Hey, Lucy.”

“Hey, Em. Looking for a job?”

Em hated the way news got around. Came from everyone having to be on social media all the time. “Yeah. You hear about something?”

Lucy shook her head. “Nah. You’re an architect, right?”

“Yeah. Hook me up, when you hear something.”

“Will do.” Lucy gave her a thumbs up and went back inside.

The more money you made above subsistence, the less time you had to spend on social. She was going nuts. She had to get back to work. She tapped the comms contact in her temple. “Jason Bear,” she said.

The call went through. “Hey, Em. What’s up?”

“Jase, I need a job, man. You know I’m good. I won that award last year for best design in Chicago.” She walked along the sidewalk, nodding to people on their stoops or lounging against the building’s walls.

“What happened?”

“Company went bust. The partners overextended their loans and the government picked them up for fraud. The rest of us were escorted out of the building and told to find new work.”

“Bummer. I’ll check around.”

“Thanks, Jase, You’re the best.” She hung up. No sense annoying him by hanging on too long. With luck, he’d find something in his company. He did antique designs from the 1960s. Rectangular glass boxes were not her favorite but anything to get off of subsistence. She made several more calls then went back to her apartment. She needed three more hours of social to earn today’s meals.

Months went by. She called everyone she knew. All of her saved credits were just about gone on the rent. The miserable diet had caused her to loose thirty pounds. Twelve hundred calories a day didn’t go far. She’d cut everything else. No need for the gym, that was for sure. Though there had been times she’d changed into workout clothes and hung around the door leading into the gym to button-hole people she knew coming out. She kept it light, but she was desperately looking for work. Any work at this point.

“Jase,” she said when she called him. “You hear about anything?”

“No. Not really. How you doin’?”

“It’s getting down to the wire, Jason. Your company have anything at all. Anything?” She heard him draw a deep breath.”

“Well. The job board has second assistant admin position.”

“I’ll take. Just send me the application.”

“It doesn’t pay much.”

“It pays something, though. Right. Then I can work my way back up to architect. Come on, Jase. I’ll owe you a big one.”

“Fine. Fine. I’m sending now.”

“Thanks, Jase. I’ll have this back ASAP.” She clicked off and pulled up the application on her console. The listed pay made her heart sink. Just barely what her rent was. “Fine,” she said to herself. She filled it out and hit send.

It took three days. Half a day before her last rent payment was due.

“We have received your application,” the communique said. “Welcome to the Payvil Company. You’ve been accepted to the second assistant admin position. Your files have been updated to reflect this employment. You start tomorrow.”

Em wept as relief flowed through her. She’d be the best second assistant admin they’d ever seen. Anything to get off social media.

Thank you for reading.

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