Four Doomsdays – Doom Three: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Mushrooms, Otherwise known as Fungus by Randy Cockrell

“And in other news…”

I half-listened as I changed my three-month-old daughter, Becca. It was always bad news on the TV and I was too engaged with my first-born to care about whatever was troubling the rest of the world. My world was perfect.

Still on maternity leave, I took Becca down to the kitchen and poured my husband, Ron, his coffee and put it on the table at his place. This was his first day back to work from paternity leave. We’d had such a nice time this last three weeks. I was sorry that he had to go back to work already.

He came into the kitchen, adjusting his tie. “I’m sorry I have to put this thing on again.” He sat down at his place as I put a bowl of cereal in front of him.

“Then don’t. You don’t have to wear it.”

He shook his head. “No. If you want to get ahead, dress for two levels above where you are. That’s the CEO. He wears a tie, I wear a tie.” He scooped cereal into his mouth.
I shrugged. Ron was ambitious and I couldn’t blame him, so was I. But my system was still swimming in maternal hormones. At the moment, I couldn’t generate any sympathy. “Your call.”

I pulled Becca to me and pulled up my shirt. One of the best parts of the day was nursing time. I could feel her little mouth clamp onto my breast and begin to suck. I still couldn’t believe that I had a baby and I was feeding her. Me. Out of my own body. The wonder of it was still overwhelming. When I looked up, Ron was smiling at me. “I’m going to miss this.”

“I’m going to miss you.”

He took a deep breath. “Yeah. Oh. Did you see the news? Some sort of infection is sweeping through India. Killing babies.” He studied Becca, still going strong on my breast. “That sucks.”

I nodded but didn’t answer. What must those parents be feeling? I’d be frantic.

Ron scooped up the rest of his cereal and gulped down his coffee. “Home by six.” He got up, grabbed his brief case and kissed each of us on the head.

“Drive safe.” I was talking to his back as he headed out the door to the garage. He waved and was gone.

After Becca ate, she had a bath, clean clothes, and was down for a nap. Time for me to shower and dress. Then it was into the kitchen, the baby monitor on the counter, as I washed up the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. The TV cycled through to another news cast. I listened this time as the story about India came back on. “Just in,” the newscaster looked into the camera, face concerned. “It seems China has had a similar outbreak as India. The government there has been keeping it quiet but refugees coming over the border of Nepal have reported children dying by the thousands.
I shook my head as I dried my hands. Poor parents. How awful.

“The Indian government has called on the United Nations for medical support.” The newscaster went on to the next story and I turned off the TV. I was glad I didn’t live over there.

That afternoon, I met some other mothers at the park. Of course, Becca was too young to run and play but it was good to get her out into the fresh air. “Did you hear about India and China?” I asked as I sat down.

“Yes. What a nightmare.” Carol’s baby was the same age as mine. We were in the same room at the hospital. “I cannot even imagine.”

“It’s the conditions,” Margery said with a sniff. “The sanitation over there is non-existent. No wonder there’s disease running rampant.

“What if it get’s here?” Joan stopped talking to wipe her three-year-old’s nose. “I mean, with air travel, disease can spread around the world in no time.”

Margery shook her head as she watched her four-year-old son go down the slide. “The people with the illness are not rich enough to travel. We’re safe enough.”

We all nodded but I wondered. I took pre-med in college before transferring into computer science. Disease was no respecter of socio-economic classes. Look at the plague back in medieval Europe or the flu back in the 1900’s. Millions of dead. Europe lost so many people modern historians marvel that the continent recovered.

I mentioned it at dinner that night.

Ron nodded. “It’s all everyone was talking about at work. Apparently, there is something going around in the bigger cities.”

It felt like my heart was in my throat. “What kind of something?”

He shrugged. “Don’t know. Lot’s of kids sick. But it’s all a rumor. There’s nothing on TV about it.”

After dinner was cleaned up and Ron was watching a recorded game, I got on the internet and did a search. Pictures put up by private individuals showed grieving parents. YouTube videos showed anguished parents pleading with everyone to stay home and not go out in public. A fungus they said. Some kind of deadly fungus.
I told Ron.

“Can’t be. It would be public by now if there were that many cases.” He went back to the game.

I could hear Becca begin to cry over the baby monitor.

I went upstairs. The poor thing was screaming as I went into the bedroom. “That’s okay, sweetheart. Momma’s here.” I picked her up. Out of the spot where her skull met her neck, something white sprang out.

I screamed, holding Becca out from me face down in the crook of my arm, something long and white. Blood seeped from around the base of it.

Ron came racing in.

“Call 911. Something’s wrong!” I sobbed as Becca kept screaming.

Cordyceps, the doctor said. A new, virulent strain of fungus. By the end of two years, every child under the age of five was dead.

Words: 1000

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Monsoon, Payson Book Festival, Gardening : Monday Blog Post

Monsoon by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

It’s rained everyday since last blog post. We’re all enjoying the moisture and we’ve had enough that the Forest Service has reopened out local forests for camping, hiking and other recreation. Only one small fire was started because of lightning and put out right away so everyone in the area is happy. Except for the humidity. We’re just not used to it. But overall, we’re happy the rains have come.

The Payson Book Festival is Saturday, July 21st, and those of us on the committee are ready for it to be here. So much is planned for the day. If you’re in the area, please do come to the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino and say hello to all of the authors. You can find the speakers schedules and info on all of the authors at www.PaysonBookFestival.org.

Cantaloupe

Some garden news. The garden really likes the rain. It was doing okay with my watering but since last Monday, it has just exploded. Above is a picture of my cantaloupe bed. That’s just one plant, filled up the 4 square foot bed and is now escaping across the back yard. Behind it you can see my zucchini. That’s also just one plant. The tiny zukes grew to 18-24 inches in no time. Thank goodness I have a spiralizer. The pears and the peaches are doing well. My peaches usually ripen by the end of July. These look pretty green yet, so I don’t know if they’ll be on schedule but no matter. There are a lot of them, that’s all I care about.

I spent most of Sunday writing my new newsletter, creating a YouTube video to include in it, and in writing this blog post. You have to sign up for the newsletter (see below) but you can see the video on my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2rN2MWxDPLrI0bMv3vTKvg. Check it out!

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ has ended. The winners are BN100 and Sherry and I’ve emailed them their gifts.

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Summer Giveaway has started. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s $80 as a Grand Prize Paypal Cash and 27 books and 27 prizes available to win.

Also, July is the Smashwords’ site’s Summer/Winter Giveaway. I have books ranging from free to 25% or even 75% off. I don’t usually do this so if you’re interested in some discounts, this is your month! You can find a list of all of my books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/conniecockrell with the discounts already marked. Enjoy!

Shout Out:

I don’t know who to shout out for this month. So let’s shout out all of the authors at the Payson Book Festival. They’d love your support and you can see who they are and go to their websites and/or Facebook pages to learn more when you go to http://www.paysonbookfestival.org/who-is-coming/.

Where Will I Be?

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

Payson Book Festival 2017

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. I’ll be at table, 53 and hope to see you there.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter.  I just published a new one on Sunday. 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:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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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Four Doomsdays – Doomsday Two: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Monsoon River in my Back Yard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thank You!

891 Words

 

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Fourth of July, Giveaways, Writing : Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Fourth of July already! Did you take several days off or are you starting today and taking off through Wednesday? Since I’m retired, I don’t have to take time off from work but hubby and I decided to just stay home and chill out. We’ll do our usual Tuesday hike with the local hiking group for our excitement and I’ll be at my town’s 4th of July festival in a booth to promote the upcoming Northern Gila County Fair. I’m excited about that. It should be fun. Whatever you’ve decided or decide to do, stay safe and come home healthy.

See below for two new giveaways!

Connie Promoting the Payson Book Festival and talking to a customre about her books.

I had a blast at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. Lots of people were interested in hearing about the book festival and many stopped to chat about my books. All in all it was a great visit but hot and breezy!

meteor_by_brandonstricker-d6ai470 via DeviantArt.com

I’ve decided to do the next three Friday flash fiction stories on Doomsday. I did one last Friday and I’m still thinking about what to do for story number 2. What do you consider doomsday?

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ has ended. As soon as the admin generates the winners, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, here’s the 2018 Authors/Bloggers Summer Giveaway. https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. There’s $80 as a Grand Prize Paypal Cash and 27 books and 27 prizes available to win.

Also, July is the Smashwords site’s Summer/Winter Giveaway. I have books ranging from free to 25% or even 75% off. I don’t usually do this so if you’re interested in some discounts, this is your month! You can find a list of all of my books at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/conniecockrell with the discounts already marked. Enjoy!

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to Marsha Ward, an Amazon best-selling author who writes authentic historical fiction set in 19th Century America. She is a multi-published writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, and consultant. Marsha has written five novels in The Owen Family Saga, another that begins the Promised Valley series; and many other works. A former journalist, Marsha is the recipient of the 2015 Whitney Lifetime Achievement Award and President of Rim Country Chapter of APW.

Marsha’s latest work is Lies and Secrets. This is a 3-story collection filling in more of the Owen Family saga.

Scandalous: An Owen Family Story

Young Julianna Owen didn’t think flirting with Parley Morgan at the barn raising would lead him to put his hands where they ought not to be. But even worse, her sister discovers them, and Parley abandons her, running off into the woods.

Julianna’s strict father has found where she is hiding, and her world on the Colorado frontier is crashing down around her ears. She thought love and romance was only about going on picnics and holding hands, not rough kisses and hurtful pawing.

Now the consequences of her actions might be beyond what she can bear.

In the 1866 Owen Family universe, Scandalous shines a light on teen hormones run amok during a trying time in the family’s story, as it ties up a loose thread from the novel, Spinster’s Folly.

Review: “Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it. I love the Owen Family stories. The love of family and the adventures are made so real in Mrs. Ward’s writings. Details are so vivid a reader can feel themselves there.”

Broken: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story

Rida Owen didn’t know married life on the Colorado frontier could be so difficult. Nothing in her Catholic upbringing prepared her for long, lonely nights when her husband, Bert, goes drinking. And womanizing. And then comes home to beat her.

Her mother-in-law thinks she’s stuck up when she doesn’t participate in homestead washday. Rida only wants to hide her bruises and preserve her marriage.

Then a neighbor from her past stops to say hello and reveals a secret of his own.

Broken is a Shenandoah Neighbors story that illuminates a dark corner of the Owen Family universe in 1875.

Review: “Marsha Ward writes a compelling story of strength and endurance, beautifully worded and detailed to the post Civil War era.”

Bloodied Leather: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story

Isabelle Gilbert chafes against the restrictions that Victorian life puts on a young lady.

Forced to accept a betrothal to Percival Egmont, an English ex-patriot like her father, she is disturbed by his passion for prize-fighting—and other pursuits. And what if Mama spots the bruise on her cheek?

Then shared secrets perplex Isabelle even more.

A Shenandoah Neighbor story, Bloodied Leather extends the Owen Family universe into 1886.

Review: “An interesting short story with good characterization and dialogue that says more than the words alone. So worth the read.”
~~~

Read the stories free on KindleUnlimited, or get your copy today before the price goes up. Link to Amazon

Learn more at http://marshaward.com The Facebook author page link is

https://www.facebook.com/authormarshaward/

https://www.amazon.com/Marsha-Ward/e/B003RB9P9Q/

 

Where Will I Be?

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

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’re completing the final touches and now heavily promoting the festival. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. Hope to see you there.

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:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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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Four Doomsdays – Doom One: Flash Fiction Friday Post

meteor_by_brandonstricker-d6ai470 via DeviantArt.com

The social media feeds and the news outlets and the television and the radio had been blasting for weeks. Everybody had an opinion, but no one really knew anything. I know I’d been hearing about a nuclear attack since I was a child, hiding under our school desks, arms over our heads at the sound of the alarm.

I thought our leadership was nuts. The president, especially. Ranting one minute, friends with all the foreign leaders the next. The Congress was nearly as bad. It was all or nothing all the time. No one wanted to compromise. If a person tuned into foreign news broadcasts, they were calling us out of control.

I kept my head down and took care of my farm. What else was I going to do? I didn’t travel to a whole other planet to stand around whining. People needed to eat and I was good at farming, so I stuck to that.

This is, until the bombs fell. Well, not bombs, actually, just asteroids. I knew that they could be just as destructive, but, my brain, at least, never grasped it fully. Made sense, after all. Why contaminate the environment? The blast from the rocks hitting pretty much was the same as with nukes. Each one wiped out what it hit. Each one also threw so much dirt and dust into the air, the land was cut off from the sun. It got cold. The crops died in the fields. Survivors scavenged across the countryside like a cloud of locusts, stealing anything they could get their hands on.

Me and other farmers, we tried. Bert Spark lost his wife Ann when a mad pack of survivors attacked their farm. Ann was trying to keep them from stealing everything in the cupboards, she had kids to feed, too. But they overwhelmed her and took everything, including her life.

Bert was hurt trying to keep them from stealing the chickens. After that, we consolidated on my farm as it was the most defensible. Everyone brought their stock, any feed they had, food supplies, bedding, the whole lot. We were sleeping in every room of my house but the kitchen and the baths. It worked for a while. That is until the survivors banded together and raided police and army weapons caches.

We had shotguns, some hunting rifles, and were totally out-matched. They shot the livestock and took the carcasses. They surrounded us and wouldn’t let us leave the house. They had trucks and took all the animals they didn’t shoot. Then they raided the barns. There went all the small stock and the feed stores. We lost six farmers in all, four men and two women. I was surprised to see them all drive off without raiding the house. I guess they figured they didn’t need to. We were beat.

Winter came early and we struggled through that. We set traps and caught rabbits and game birds. There was a lot of thin soup. Spring was cold and wet, no good at all for growing crops with the seed we’d saved. We did forage but not much vegetation on this new world was good for humans to eat. We lost the oldest among us. I think she just gave up as we found her in her bed, dead. We lost a couple of the toddlers, too. They caught cold, then pneumonia, and there just wasn’t any medicine to give them. We had a nice spot on a hill, overlooking the farm, where they were all buried.

It never really did get to be summer. The dust in the air kept the planet from warming. The second winter was bad. We lost three more. I’m not sure if it was starvation or disease. Either one had the same outcome. When the calendar said it should be spring, we started getting messages from Earth. Surrender, the messages said, and there would be help coming.

We sent a message out surrendering. Hell, if someone would come and bring food, that was good enough for us. We kept a person on the monitors all the time. Some fool on the coast decided to put up a fight. Moron. That kept help from arriving. We still didn’t have enough warmth to plant. None of us thought we could make it another year.

Then a jet flew over the farm. Those of us outside just stood and stared, mouths open. Days later, military trucks came driving up the road. By the time they parked, we were all outside. Some young Captain got out and soldiers poured out of the back in full fighting gear. I sighed as they surrounded us. There was no point, really. We didn’t have enough strength left to fight them.

He read a long announcement about how we were conquered and were now citizens of Earth. A local planetary government would be established and we’d be taxed to pay for the war. We had to sign a surrender, then they gave us rations. I asked for seed and livestock for us all. We were ready to get back to farming. He said that would all be coming. LeAnn asked for more rations as we were starving. A couple of soldiers took a couple of cases from the last truck and handed them over. LeAnn started crying. The Captain signaled and the soldiers got back on the truck. We were reminded to keep listening to the broadcasts as he got into his seat. We all nodded and he and the convoy drove off.

I heard that there were pockets of resistance. No matter to me. When the seed and livestock arrived, everyone divided evenly and went back to their own farms. It was tough. The weather didn’t really get back to normal for three more years. It was tough to pay the taxes, but whatever. Life is just tough, isn’t it?

Words: 981

Next week, Doom Two

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The Doomsday Vault: Flash Fiction Friday Post

burned_out_building_by_chisatowatanabe-d8mdbcd via DeviantArt.com

I opened the Doomsday vault with shaky hands. Newly promoted to manager, it was my responsibility now to open the vault everyday and check expiration dates, and other things that were located inside. Then to replace as necessary.
Standing inside the massive door, I looked around. A hundred and thirty-two years, this vault had been in existence. Books lined the shelves in front of me. How-to manuals mostly as the planners assumed that there wouldn’t be power available for computers. I sighed. Those wouldn’t ever need replacing. But, the food would have to be replaced on a regular basis. Those shelves were clearly marked and I stepped over to them to check the dates.
As I pulled the expired boxes from the shelves I thought about the current world situation. Everything seemed good. After the Korean situation had been resolved, most countries became peaceful. There was the middle east, of course, there were still a couple of groups that demanded everyone convert to Muslim, but they were on the fringe, even in their own countries. Our group monitored them, of course, but in my morning briefing, they weren’t even mentioned.
I stacked the expired material outside the door and brought in the new foodstuffs. I marked the expiration date on them and stacked them neatly on their shelves. I made note on the inventory what I brought in, then walked over to the weapons rack. Someone had decided a long time ago that there would be some weapons in the vault, just in case of trouble. I wondered for a moment who the designers thought would be around to cause trouble, then put it out of my mind. I knew that most every country had some sort of doomsday vault. I’d been to a meeting last year as I was being prepped to take on the roll. There I met the other managers. As conventions go, it was pretty small, there were only two hundred and three attendees. Not every country had a vault.
It was fun, and I’d made some acquaintances. The British manager was an Irish woman and she’d been manager of her vault for twenty-seven years. If there was a doo-dad that helped with survival, she knew of it and had an opinion on the usefulness of it as well. I took another look around the vault. Everything was in order and I was reaching up to turn off the light when my assistant ran up to the door.
“Karen. Come quick. Terrorists have bombed the capital! It’s on the news!”
I hesitated. There had been no warning this morning of any unrest anywhere on the planet. What had happened? “Call security. We’re going to get a lot of people here in a hurry.”
She nodded and ran off. I pulled the emergency checklist out and began the initiation phase. Three hundred and twenty-two people were going to start arriving any time now. If they’d escaped the bombing. I had a lot to do to get ready.
All in all, two hundred and sixty people arrived. Tales of government buildings destroyed or on fire circulated around the arrival hall. The din was deafening. We weren’t supposed to but since there were empty spaces, I allowed my assistant and her children in. Then we closed the door. There was no telling how long we’d have to stay. The noise died down as everyone moved to their assigned rooms. The monitor in the lounge was on. Newscasters were giving reactions to the attack and showing pictures of the capital in flames.
A commotion in the hall pulled me away from the monitor. Two security officers were facing a man yelling obscenities.
“What’s going on?” I came out into the hall.
“I demand to know why my wife couldn’t come in. I had to leave her home.” He shouted the question at me, all red in the face and sweating.
I recognized him. He was the chief of staff for the vice president. New to the job. “You didn’t have your wife listed, Mr. Fairchild.” If he’d had brought her, I would have let her in. Like I did for my assistant.
“I was going to list her, but there’s just so much.” He looked around at the security guards, then made his case to the people who were gathering around, watching the drama. A few nodded. “I was going to get to it.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Fairchild. I truly am.”
“Open the door and let me out. I’ll go and get her.”
I shook my head. “We can’t do that until we get the all clear or we know it’s safe out there. Why don’t you go to the clinic and get the doctor to give you something to help you relax?”
“I don’t want drugs.” He was beginning to look wild eyed. “I want my wife!” He charged the security officers and the bystanders hurried off.
“Take him to the clinic.”
They dragged him off, him still screaming obscenities. I took a breath. The procedures mentioned that some number of people would not handle the emergency well. I wondered how many more there’d be. That was when I saw Mr. Fairchild running toward me. He had a gun in his hand. Where’d he get that? The security officers were running after him.
Fairchild pointed the gun at me. “Let me out!”
I held up my hand as I shook my head. “I can’t do that, Mr. Fairchild.”
“Yes, you can!” He fired.
I fell backward, hitting my head on the tile floor. It was hard to breathe, then he was standing over me.
“I told you! I told you!” He shook the gun at me.
I could see the officers take him down, wrestling the gun away from him and zip tying his hands behind him. I didn’t feel anything and I wondered about that. Shouldn’t I hurt? I closed my eyes and relaxed into a warm feeling of well-being. Let someone else work it out.
Words: 998

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Health, Garden, Writing: Monday Blog Post

Cactus Flower from my front yard.

Newest News:

The juice fast I began last Sunday was ended on Friday. I just never reached that point in the fast where I wasn’t hungry and on Friday at dinnertime, I went ahead and ate. Over all, I was 6 days on the fast and lost 6 pounds. The weight wasn’t the point, the fast’s de-tox was more important. Did the de-tox kick in? I have no idea. I never felt any different so I don’t know. Have you ever done a de-tox fast? How did it work for you?

The garden is doing well. I watered on Sunday. It hasn’t rained here in weeks and everything is so dry. Everything is now taking off and looking fabulous. Do you garden? What are your favorite things to grow?

Writing has been slow. I did go through my file of stories I’m shopping out to magazines. I have two that are still out. The rest have all been rejected. It sounds harsh to put it like that, but I don’t mind. On my story, Slave Elf, reader L.L. was the only person to send in an alternative title: To Catch an Elf. I’m not sure I like that one either but as the only contestant, I’m going to send her a copy of my book, Lost Rainbows. Thank you, L.L., for participating!

If you’re one of my mystery readers, I’ll remind you that I’m in a cozy mystery book bundle, Cozy Winter Reads.  The Bundle Rabbit link is:   https://bundlerabbit.com/b/cozy-winter-reads and you can get the bundle in whatever format you’d like. Just $7.99 for six books!

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ is still running but just for a few more days. So many free books and prizes, you’ll be amazed. Click the link to get to the Rafflecopter.

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to my friend, A.F. Stewart. She’s one of those people who write horror and does a darn good job of it, too. One of her books is Ghosts, Gods and Sea Monsters. Here’s a bit:

In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean.

Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed.

His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts.

What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns…

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

You can find her at https://afallonblog.wordpress.com/.

Where Will I Be?

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

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’re completing the final touches and now heavily promoting the festival. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. Hope to see you there.

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:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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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Out of Touch: Flash Fiction Friday Story

https://www.deviantart.com/art/A-Lineage-of-Flip-Top-Communicators-Grids-Opened-419088744 by Galaxy1701d via DeviantArt.com

“But I’m waiting for a call back!”

“I’m sorry Miz An. You’re on the twenty-hour plan.” He looked at me archly. “Unless, of course, you want to upgrade to the twenty-four-hour plan.”

I closed my eyes so he couldn’t see me roll them. “No. I can’t afford that.” I sucked in a deep breath, trying to think. I really needed this job or I’d be on the ten-hour plan. “Look. Why can’t I just pay for four hours.”

I thought his eyes were going to pop out. “Miz An! That is not possible. I mean,” he rolled his eyes, “the cost!” Then he looked at me, assessing whether I was lying about my financial status. “You can afford the hourly rate?”

I couldn’t afford the hourly rate. But I could borrow credits from my mom. The recruiter was in Japan. I needed to be available for the call as soon as they decided, which was supposed to be o-dark-thirty my time. “I can handle the cost of four hours.” I put on my confident face.

He took another breath. “Very well. That will be one-hundred and twenty credits. Will that be hard credits or your swipe?”

Crap. I didn’t have the hard credits or nearly enough on my swipe. “Uh.” I dug my comm out of my pocket and looked at the screen. “Look. I have to take this call. It’s about work.” I hurried out of the store but in the door reflection I could see him shaking his head. I held the comm up to my ear to make the ruse real and left. Out of sight, I stuffed the comm back in my pocket and leaned back onto the building.

Mom would still be at work and her company did not allow people to use their comm while on duty. Back in the day there was too much data trading so now, people had to give up their comms at the security desk and pick them up at break, lunch, or after work. Who else could I get the credits from. I called my sister.

“Hey, Kari. What’s going on?”

“Lynn.” I could hear the baby screaming in the background. “Nothin’ much. Little Johnny has an ear infection.”

“Sounds rough.”

“Yeah.”

I could see her run a hand through her failed pony tail. Hair was hanging loose all around her face. “He’s been screaming for five hours straight. The clinic said the meds would kick in soon.”

That didn’t bode well for me. “Uh. I need a favor.”

She looked me square in the screen. “No. Didn’t you just hear me say I had to buy meds?” Kari shook her head. “Unbelievable.”

“I had to try. It’s getting late and I need four hours on my comm plan for a job notification.”

“How do you know they’re going to call you.”

I sighed. Big sister jabs always hurt. “I’ll admit I haven’t always been the most reliable, Kari, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get this job. But not if I don’t have a comm for them to call me on.”

“Where’s the job?”

“Tokyo.”

Her eyes went wide. “Japan?”

“Yep.”

A look of surprise, then an impressed look crossed her face. Finally. I did something she approved of. “Good for you. Get out of this dying excuse for a city.” Her face fell. “How much do you need?”

“Hundred twenty.”

“Holy crap, Lynn! We don’t have that kind of spread.” I watched her rub an eye. I knew this was going to be a tough sell. “I don’t have a spare credit, Lynn.” She looked so sad as she pulled out a kitchen chair and sat down. Her shoulders slumped and she rested her elbow on the table. She looked totally defeated.

“Sorry, Kari. I am. I’ll find the credits somewhere.”

She bit her bottom lip. “You know John just got that new job. He doesn’t get paid till the end of the month.”

I held up my hand. “Don’t worry about it. Mom get’s off at midnight. I’ll try her.”

“That’s cutting it close.”

“Sure.” I nodded but put on a happy face for her. She and John had been struggling even before little Johnny came along. “It’ll work out.” We traded good-bye’s and I clicked off.

I shoved off of the wall and began to walk. At a little park, well lit, I sat on a bench. There were lots of people out and about. It was a twenty-four-hour world after all. I called several friends, watching the time click closer and closer to midnight. Everyone was in the same boat as me. At midnight I had no choice. I called mom. The comm went to voice-mail. I waited ten minutes and called again.

“Lynn.”

“Hey, mom. How are you?”

“Tired. It’s after midnight, what do you need?”

That was my mom, right to the point. I explained the situation.

“You think you’re going to get the job?”

“I do.”

“Well. I guess. What do you need?”

“Just send me the credits. I’ll pay you back. Really.”

She gave me the stink eye. I’d been lax about that before. “You’d better.” I watched her punch the screen. “Okay. It’s done. Get your time.”

“Thanks, Mom. You’re the best.” I clicked off and hurried to the comm store. The clerk I’d dealt with was gone. A girl was at the counter. “I’d like to buy four hours, please. Added to my current plan.”

She looked at me like I’d grown a second head. “That can’t be done.”

“Yes. It can. I talked to the guy you replaced. It costs a hundred twenty for four hours.”

It was obvious she didn’t believe me. She checked her comm. “I guess.” She took her time punching in the order but eventually she asked for my swipe. I held the comm to hers. They both beeped. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had the time. Now, if I could just get the job.

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Garden, Health, Writing: Monday Blog Post

Early Girl Tomatoes from 2017

Newest News:

The apple tree that the elk ate has re-leafed and is looking pretty good. Tomatoes are blooming and the potatoes are doing well also. The squirrel ate one of my zucchini plants so I planted some seed. I planted yellow squash seed too so we’ll see how good they do against the squirrels. I planted a cantalope and a cucumber plant that I bought at the Garden Club sale but neither of them seem to be prospering. The sage I bought has also died though the thyme and the mint are thriving. I’m hoping to harvest the potatoes around the fourth of July and replace them in that bed with beets. I love both beet greens and the beets. How about you? What’s your favorite garden veggie?

 

Healthwise, I struggled all last week, Friday, finally giving in to some “con crud” that made me feel like I had the flu. I got up about six in the morning and stared mindlessly at the morning TV shows, then took a two-hour nap. I got up, did a couple of chores and then tried to do some work on the computer. That was a no go. I could hardly stay awake, so I took another two-hour nap. That seemed to do the trick. I felt much better and on Saturday, was right as rain. I guess I was just tired. But I decided to do a detox green juice fast. So Saturday I went to GNC and bought a juicer and went to the store to buy the ingredients. On Sunday, I made my first batch of juice and the juicer died. No overheating smell, no clunking or clanking. It just wouldn’t start again. So off to Walmart to buy a juicer. This one worked like a champ. Today, we’re on the road to the Grand Canyon. I have my green juice with me. Tuesday is hiking day, and I’ll take some juice on that as well. I’m so sick of being tired and achy and out of shape. Time to take charge of my own health. How do you manage your health?

Cold

I did get a story written for the blog last Friday. Another is due this week. Since I was beat all last week, not much else got done. But I’m hoping that with the juice fast, I’ll have more energy and the brain fog will go away. I have lots of things pending and it’s time to get to work!

Here’s a reminder that privacy policies are being strengthened and updated all over the internet. My site is no exception. I have updated my privacy policy on my Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Contest Guidelines page. As always, for both this site and my newsletter, you are always able to unsubscribe at any time. For more information on what I collect or don’t collect or use, check out the Privacy Policy page.

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ is still running but just for a few more days. So many free books and prizes, you’ll be amazed. Click the link to get to the Rafflecopter.

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to my friend, Bonnie Bahn. She’s just released a new book, Fire Below Mystery Mountain. https://www.amazon.com/FIRE-Below-Mystery-Mountain-Bonnie/dp/1718615221.

Fire Below Mystery Mountain is a story of a family living in an isolated setting near Payson, Arizona. It’s perfect for children 8-12 years-old. Zach (12) and Cassie (8) move from Phoenix to an old ranch house. The mountain above their house is big and mysterious. Zach calls it Mystery Mountain. A series of events test the entire family. They include a hungry golden eagle, a wildfire, a broken leg, and a car that gets stuck. When things look hopeless miracles happen. First miracle is the dog, Brewer. The second miracle is the eagle. The third miracle is a pair of orange pajamas.

You can find her at https://www.facebook.com/bonnie.bahn.

Where Will I Be?

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

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’re completing the final touches and now heavily promoting the festival. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with, I cannot say. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. Hope to see you there.

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:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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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Memorial Day, Phoenix Comic Fest, Writing: Monday Blog Post

 

Newest News:

Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day. It’s traditional for our American summer season to begin with this weekend. However, let’s take a moment to honor our fallen heroes. After all, they paid for it.

 

Love this woman!

Phoenix Comic Fest is over. I got home last night, exhausted. Today, I feel worn out so after I put all of my expenses and book sales in my financial spreadsheet, I’m writing this post. There may be a nap in my future. I had a great time at the fest. I’ve already bought my table spaces for 2019. Put it on your calendar now but make note, because of legal issues over the word, “comicon” they’ve changed the name to Phoenix Fan Fusion so look for that on-line.

2018 Planner

What are my writing tasks? I have to write a flash fiction story for Friday’s post. I need to continue to clean up my newsletter email list. I need to finish formatting the ebook version of my Gulliver Station book bundle. I need to get the poems I wrote in April, formatted and edited and put into a slim volume. I need to rewrite Mystery at the Reunion. My Jean Hays series fans are begging for the next book. I need to finalize my contest for renaming my serial Slave Elf and get that edited and out of the door. I have a few scifi stories picked from my flash fiction collection that I need to sort, re-edit, and put out as a collection. I’ll probably call it Science Fiction Tales, to go with my Christmas Tales and Halloween Tales books. There’s a lot more but I’ll leave it at that.

Here’s a reminder that privacy policies are being strengthened and updated all over the internet. My site is no exception. I have updated my privacy policy on my Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Contest Guidelines page. As always, for both this site and my newsletter, you are always able to unsubscribe at any time. For more information on what I collect or don’t collect or use, check out the Privacy Policy page.

Giveaways:

The 2018 Authors/Bloggers Spring Giveaway at http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ is still running but just for a few more days. So many free books and prizes, you’ll be amazed. Click the link to get to the Rafflecopter.

Shout Out:

A shout out to three of the authors I met at the Phoenix Comic Fest. First was Chuck Wendig. terribleminds.com. I saw him on Thursday afternoon, just before the Exhibits hall opened. He was strolling by, just checking things out. I called him over and we had a nice little chat. Also in the Exhibit Hall with their own tables were Michael A. Stackpole, http://www.stormwolf.com/. A few tables away was Tom Leveen, www.tomleveen.com. Both were really great guys—friendly and personable. I invited both of them to my 2019 Payson Book Festival. We’ll see how things work out.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

My next event adventure is the Payson Book Festival. www.PaysonBookFestival.org. We’re completing the final touches and now heavily promoting the festival. It’s again at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino ballroom. The organizer there is so wonderful to work with, I cannot say. At any rate, we’ll have 80 authors, entertainment, children’s story times (yep, more than one!) and of course the casino has great food in it’s restaurants. Hope to see you there.

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:

Tested released January 31st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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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