The Party: Chapter 19 – Duncan Angelson

Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

Chapter 19: Duncan Angelson

Duncan stood at the head of the conference table. As President Master’s Chief of Staff, it was his responsibility to lead this meeting. It was an assembly of the movers and shakers of the new party. The People’s Party. More like the oligarch’s party he thought. But that would have been bad branding. Joe Evans sat to his right. The leader of this committee of blood-sucking bastards. Greed was the main goal. The only goal, really. As long as the money flowed into their coffers, they didn’t care what kind of atrocity they perpetrated on the land, air, water and especially the people. He didn’t know what had happened. He’d been a firebrand in his college days. Power to the People. Now. Now he didn’t know what he was. A turncoat. A traitor.

He pulled his thoughts from the self-flagellation and pointed at the screen. He’d just played the video from Collinwood. Two hundred and seventy-four people, men, women, and children were recovered from the town. A few were driving out just moments before the bombing, the rest were refugees from the town edges. They’ve all been interrogated, the children sent to the reeducation centers. They didn’t know anything anyway. The adults have been sent to the factories or in the case of the women, the uneducated sent to the farms or the brothels, the educated to the research centers and computer farms. Low end work, of course.

Heads around the table nodded. This group had decided that women were to be homemakers or low-end admin workers. The move immediately cut the workforce in half. Along with that move, girls had been taken out of school after the sixth grade. They had enough education to read and write but not enough to be a threat. Barefoot and pregnant, they’d laughed after they’d voted on the restrictions. Duncan had heard an earful from his own wife when the bill passed in Congress. A high-end lawyer, she was furious and gave him a complete recitation on all of the laws this new bill broke. It didn’t matter. She was kicked out of her firm and as a partner, received her share of the business but of course it had to go into his account. Hers had been closed. Can’t have the little ladies with their own money now. Could we?

Joe Evans grinned and slapped the table. “That’ll slow down the insurgents, now, won’t it?”

The men around the table laughed. “Now, Duncan, What’s the scoop? Anyone know about the insurrection?”

“A few had been stops on the underground. A place for escapees to stop for rest and food. None of the people we gathered up were of any importance.”

“Damn shame. It would have made some good TV to have a couple of hangings.” Joe looked around the table then back at Duncan. “How are you doing on the releases of the few we gathered up that weren’t really black or chink?”

“We’ve run the criteria through the database. We have about three hundred possible men to release. The first twenty-five have been investigated and proven to be good candidates.”

“What do you mean by that, good candidates?”

Duncan looked to the right end of the conference table. Rory Calhoun asked the question. Calhoun was the CEO of Agraland, a conglomerate of factory farms, genetically modified seed production, and pesticide manufacturing. He profited a great deal from the free female farm labor and the forced servitude of men in the chemistry and manufacturing fields.

“Just as your committee laid out.” Duncan said. “Miniscule racially impure DNA, no problems in their assignments, good conduct at their factories.”

“Submissive, you mean,” the man next to Calhoun said. The men all laughed.

Duncan smiled. “Yes. They have all conformed to the requirements of the factories they were sent to, didn’t cause a fuss, and are all healthy.”

“Should be.” Calhoun made a face of disgust. “My racehorses don’t get treated that well.”

Duncan knew that the man from Kentucky objected strenuously to the agreed upon treatment of the people doing the slave labor. That’s exactly what it was and in his complaints said so himself. His ancestors didn’t treat their slaves with state-of-the-art medical care and well-balanced diets. He didn’t see why he should waste money on it for his own slaves. The rest of the committee, thank all that was decent, disagreed. “Perhaps so, but don’t you have the best productivity ever?”

He grunted. “That’s so. But it costs a fortune.”

“But less than before, right, Rory?” Joe Evans asked.

Cowed, Rory Calhoun agreed. Joe brought them back on track. “So, Duncan. When are they to be released?”

“If you all are good with it, next week. We have a whole media circus lined up for it.” He looked around the room. “What about their wives and kids? It was never brought up.”

Rory Calhoun rolled his eyes. “For Christ’s sake, Duncan. Now you want to release their families?” He shook his head. “Camel’s nose under the tent if you ask me.”

Joe Evans nodded. “Perhaps. But if we release the man, it will look bad on the TV if his wife and kids aren’t with him.” He thought for a moment. “I say, let’s try it with these first twenty-five. Get the wives and kids out of wherever they were sent and have them arrive just after the men are released. It will make great TV.”

“It would make the party look benevolent.” Duncan looked around the table. “Show of hands for releasing in a week with wives and kids?”

Joe Evans was first with his hand up. The rest followed. Last of all was Calhoun. “I still think this is a bad idea. You do for one, we’ll have to do for all.” He raised his hand. “But let’s see.”

“Motion is carried,” Duncan said. “That’s all for today, gentlemen.”

The men around the table began to stand up, chatting with their neighbors. “We haven’t gotten you out to the farm for dinner yet,” Joe said to Duncan. “Emily said Saturday would be perfect. Come out early. She wants to brag about her garden to Monica. We can shoot some skeet before dinner. Casual dress for the afternoon. Formal for dinner. I have some people for you to meet.”

Duncan nodded. “Perfect. I’ll tell Monica. Anything I should prepare for?”

“No.” Joe laughed. “I’m bringing the Eastern Federation Defense Secretary, Illy Romanov. Thought some personal connection would be helpful.”

Duncan inwardly groaned. “Sure. Some of our defense people too?”

Joe slapped him on the back. “Of course. See you there.”

Duncan watched him leave the room with Calhoun. Smarmy bastards, both of them. Really, he thought. Where did I go wrong?

Thank you for reading.

NANOWRIMO, To Do List, Friday Flash The Party, Giveaways News: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So how is National Novel Writing Month going for me? Well, I’ve had a dearth of motivation this last week and skipped writing from Tuesday through Saturday. Well, Saturday I spent on the road. I had a meeting in Tucson so there was about four hours each way on the road, plus the meeting I attended and a lunch and social couple of hours afterward. That has put me behind. Not so far I can’t catch up, but I’ll have to work harder and longer to get the words in that I need to complete the NaNo challenge this year. When I do write, the story seems to be moving along. This is after, It’s All About the Girl, had a particularly slow start. No matter. The words are flowing and I should finish the month strong. I cannot believe the month is already half over with. That’s what happens when you spend so much time in other worlds. LOL!

In between writing sessions I’m like most women, thinking about Thanksgiving, and beyond that Christmas. Planning needs to be done. People invited over. Presents to be acquired. Candy to be made. I also haven’t finished updating everything needed to be done for the Payson Book Festival, so that’s nagging at me in the back of my brain. Lots to do. I’m sure many of you are in the same situation. My plan is to just take one thing at a time and get it all done. Hope your plan works for you!

Oh. And I missed my Friday flash fiction post on my serial, The Party. It fell into that same lack of gumption as It’s All About the Girl. However. I have been thinking about it. It looks like I have about eleven characters. Somehow, before the end of the story, they’re all, or at least most of them, are going to intersect in some way. I have no idea how. I do have a glimmer of how the story could end. I’m really writing this by the seat of my pants so hang on. It’s going to be a ride.

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now over! Twenty-two authors are participated giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

The Christmas giveaway is now open! For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. There are 21 other great prizes available and a $72 Grand Prize in PayPal cash. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize here.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads 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.

Veteran’s Day, NANOWRIMO, Gratefullness: Monday Blog Post

Airman 1st Class Wilcox

Newest News:

Happy Veteran’s Day! The youngster in the above picture is me. Airman 1st class. I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or what the future would bring. Fortunately, mostly good stuff and for that I’m grateful. May the vets in your life have nothing but happiness from now on.

Yay! It’s November and with it, National Novel Writing Month! This is the annual challenge to all writers to put your editing brain in the closet and just write, write, write! As of Sunday morning, I’ve written almost 18,000 words so far. I have transitioned to the next All About Bob story, which right now I’m calling, It’s All About the Girl. This story isn’t flowing as well as the last one but not everything is perfect. I’m slogging along on it and with luck will have it done sooner rather than later and be able to start the last one, It’s All About Home. If you’re writing this month, good for you. Hope you get it finished. If you’re a reader, brace yourself. All of these stories will be out in about a year.

I have been putting my gratefulness posts on my author page. So click on over to my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts/, and check it out. Share what you’re grateful for as well!

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is ending soon! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

The the Christmas giveaway will start very soon! For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. Other great prizes are also available. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads 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.

The Party: Lt Col Flynn – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

Chapter 18: Lt Col Flynn

Tyler Flynn crouched behind a bush on a hillside overlooking a small town in West Virginia. In his earpiece, he heard a single click. Go time. He made a motion with his hand and watched as his troops moved down the hill. He was responsible for surrounding the southeast side of the town. Not too close, though. The plan was to bomb the place.

Two days ago he’d been in a staff meeting with Colonel Marcus and other company commanders. A map of the town, Collinwood, was projected at the front of the conference room. They’d already discussed their individual approaches. Three sides, in all. Now the rest of the plan was being detailed.

When Marcus said the town was going to be bombed, the room fell dead silent. “I know,” Marcus said. The man wasn’t stupid, Flynn thought. “A daylight raid, us surrounding the town, and a full-scale bombing. Yes. There will be elderly, women, and children in there. The order is to kill every person.” He looked around the room. “We’re sending a message, gentlemen. There will be cameras, in the air and with the surrounding men.” He took a deep breath. “This will be televised. Anyone escaping will be captured and eventually interrogated for information on the insurrection. Any questions?”

There weren’t. Later in the day, the men were briefed. They didn’t like it, he could see that clearly on their faces. But like their officers, no one asked any questions. This was no longer an army where questions were welcomed.

So now it was beginning. A few cars had left town, but his team didn’t stop them. There were details further down the road to pick them up. In his earpiece, he heard Marcus’ voice. “Bombing run beginning. Hold your positions.”

Flynn keyed his mic. “Hold your positions. Bombing run initiating.”

From his position he could see his men taking cover. It didn’t take long. Drones came overhead and flew straight for the town. Bombs fell, silently, and Flynn felt as though he were watching a silent movie. The bombs fell, black silhouettes against the bright blue sky. They hit, first at the edges, then moving into the town center. Factories, churches, schools, stores. They all lit up in flame and then smoke. He could hear the screaming from his perch on the hill and his stomach rolled. Another flight of drones followed, hitting buildings untouched by the first pass. People were beginning to straggle out of the town.

“Pick them up,” he said into his mic. As he watched, his men stood and began to move forward. He watched as his men directed the people to the temporary confinement area. Trained since birth to trust their own soldiers, forgetting they didn’t live in that world any longer, and truth be told, more than likely confused from the bombing, the survivors did what they were told.

He knew there was first aid set up there, there hadn’t been any orders to be cruel. The people would be treated and moved into the fenced area. Flynn looked at the town, it was totally on fire. There didn’t seem to be a single building that wasn’t already a pile of ruble or on fire. Immaculata my ass, he thought. More like Satan’s spawn. He spat to the side to try and get the taste of treachery out of his mouth. It didn’t work. He moved down the hill. It was time to join his men.

Thank you for reading.

NANOWRIMO, Gratefulness November: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Yay! It’s November and with it, National Novel Writing Month! This is the annual challenge to all writers to put your editing brain in the closet and just write, write, write! As of Sunday morning, I’ve written 4600 words and am going strong on finishing It’s All About the Music. Then I’ll transition to the next All About Bob story, which right now I’m calling, It’s All About the Girl. I don’t really like that title, so hopefully, when I’m writing it, I’ll come up with something better. The last planned book in that series will be, perhaps titled, It’s All About Home. With luck and nimble fingers, I’ll have all three done by the end of the month. We’ll see how it goes.

Also in November, I practice gratitude and thankfulness. I’ve done this for several years now and find it comforting. I generally post my daily thankful for on my personal facebook page. I should do that on my author page too, don’t you think? Yeah! I’ll do that. So click on over to my author page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts/, and check it out. Share what you’re grateful for as well!

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is ending soon! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. Soon I’ll have the list of winners, which I’ll share with you.

Then the Christmas giveaway will start. For my giveaway I’m featuring a copy of Slave Elf and a $10 Amazon gift card. Other great prizes are also available. I hope you can stop in and try for a prize.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads 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.

The Party: Chapter 17 – Andy McGuire, Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

Chapter 17: Andy McGuire

Andy sat in the row along the wall behind his boss, Duncan Angelson. Andy had a lapful of files, all color tabbed and memorized. He’d read the entire pile, of course. He had no idea what his job, Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of the Chief of Staff, was before the President for Life, but now, it seemed to him, to be nothing but a go-fer for Duncan.

He tried to focus on the current speaker, Joe Evans. Not that he was interested but because if Duncan raised his hand over the top of his leather high-topped chair, Andy had better have the file that pertained to whatever the current blow-hard speaker was talking about.

The meeting had begun half an hour ago and to Andy, it was overkill. Hadn’t The Party already contained any possible interference? Thousands had already been rounded up, killed, detained, children sent to camps. There he caught a breath. Camps. What had some of the World War Two Jewish survivors said about camps? They’d been stunned by the term. “Camps!” They’d said. “You think these were summer camps where we swam and hiked?” They were outraged.

Andy had to agree. He knew entirely too much about camps. This isn’t what his college classes had prepared him for. He managed to check into Joe Evans interminable speech. Nothing yet. The blow-hard was still pontificating on how he and his organization deserved credit for the current state of affairs. As though the Sons of America white supremacy organization was the be all and end all of political high-ground.

Andy wished he had the spine to record this crap. Someday, he thought. Then quashed the idea. No. Not the country he’d grown up with. Damn his father, shoving him into this hell hole. But that’s what it was now. Sons—shoved into opportune positions to further the family fortunes. He tried to clear his throat of the bile, but quietly. No need to draw attention to himself.

He envied his sister, kept at home, though he knew full well that she chafed under the confinement. Safer for her, he thought. At least she’s not in this mess. But he knew she’d disagree.

He focused. What had Evans said? Oh, yes. Duncan had his hand up. Andy pulled the file and passed it up. Numbers on Jews rounded up. Dim wit, Andy thought. Bankers, stockbrokers, docs, lawyers, judges, social workers, it was endless. The Jews were everywhere and were the glue holding the whole country together. What were Joe’s people thinking? It was obvious to him but the rest? Nope. Just shoving their heads in the sand.

It didn’t matter. The whole thing was water under the bridge. There were no more independent judges or lawyers, doctors or social workers. Everything was now about the Party. There would be no dissent. There would be no others. Andy sighed. The numbers were rolling in. Production was down. Mental health issues, as far as the Party tracked them, were up. There weren’t enough people to do the work in farms or factories or even in fast food places.

Joe Evans sat down. The next person, some professor of what and which that Andy didn’t catch, stood. He chanted on about the rebalancing of socio-economic status. As though no one recognized the euphemisms. Andy understood. They were going to start to transition the enslaved population into the subservient roles in society. Slave labor, though he already knew that was happening.

Then, Andy perked up. The sad-sack professor began talking about women. Not just baby-makers, he said. Servants. Nannies, housekeepers, more. Andy’s thoughts flashed to his sister. She’d stab someone’s eyes out with a pencil before she’d submit to this crap. He feared, for the first time in this whole nightmare. CarrieAnn would die before she’d put up with this crap. His hands began to sweat.

The Doctor sat down and Andy tried to breathe. Can’t happen, Andy thought. Cannot happen. Then the Director of Homeland Security stood up. “We’ve found a pocket of dissidents,” he told the room. Andy paid attention even though he didn’t have any files that pertained to that topic.

“It’s been a difficult road,” the Director said. “Here’s the near end. After much surveillance, we’ve found what we think is the center of the resistance.” A map flashed up on the end wall behind the Director. “Look here.” He walked back to the projection and pointed at a map of West Virginia. “A small town, apparently a hot bed. We’ve been slowly extricating the loyalists from the town. We’re now ready to move.”

A new slide appeared on the wall. “We have three divisions of the Army surrounding the town and one company of the Immaculata at strategic points. We’re going to hit in twenty-four hours. The entire town will be obliterated. The resistance will be sorely injured.”

The room erupted in clapping. Andy’s stomach rolled. The town was his sister’s college town. She had friends were there—favorite teachers. Duncan turned and gave Andy a look. Andy’s half effort to rise failed. He sank the two inches back into his chair and Duncan turned back to the table. What would CarrieAnn think of him? He clasped the files to his chest and closed his eyes in an effort not to see the glee on the faces of the people supposedly superior to him.

The meeting finally closed, and Andy followed Duncan from the room. They had to stop every few feet to shake a hand or trade a quip. Nothing to do with him, he thanked his lucky stars. He was in no shape to be social.

Duncan waited until they were back in his office. “What the hell, Andy!”

“Sorry, boss.”

“Don’t be sorry. I don’t want to bring your father into this.”

“No, Sir. Won’t be necessary.”

“Better not be. Get out of here.”

Andy scurried out. It took eighteen minutes in the bathroom to get his emotions under control.

Thank you for reading.

Cold Season, NANOWRIMO: Monday Blog Post

Inner Basin, Flagstaff, by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

My cold is still hanging on. For the first time ever, I have a new symptom. It appears to be swollen lymph nodes. WebMD says it can happen, the pain even moving from the neck up into the jaw and maybe even the ear. Some jaw pain for me though not bad as I’m taking ibuprofen to ease the infection. If it hangs on for too long, I’ll go see my doc.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month and I’m still trying to decide what to write. I mentioned last week an idea for another Jean Hays story. I also have an idea for another western. A couple of days ago I remembered I have an All About Bob series story to finish and two more to write. So there’s that to consider as well. I’ll admit it’s a lot more fun to write a new story that to rewrite and edit old stories. Choices, choices. It would be nice to finish something up over November. More than one something would be fantastic!

Giveaways:

The Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now running! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. It won’t last long.

Where will I Be?:

December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads 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.

The Party: Chapter 15 – Lt Col Flynn, Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.

Chapter 15: Lt Col Flynn

Lt. Col. Tyler Flynn stopped in the hallway at work as someone tapped him on the arm. He turned quickly, startled.

“Uh. Sorry sir. You must not have heard me calling you.”

Flynn felt a little ashamed. He still wasn’t used to people calling him Colonel. “Sorry, Captain Woden.” Flynn just now remembered that Woden had been a lieutenant just a couple of weeks ago. He’d been promoted in the catch up the same as he had. “I guess I’m still not used to my new rank yet. What is it?”

“Yes, sir. I agree. Everybody has a new rank and it’s a bit confusing for sure.” He took a breath. “I just wanted to let you know you’ve been relieved of the Interview room duties. Beneath your pay grade, so to speak.”

Flynn took the paper Captain Woden handed him and skimmed through it. Yes, orders relieving him of that task. “It doesn’t issue any new order.”

Woden shrugged. “Probably something coming through the pipeline, Sir. Congratulations.”

“Thank you, Lee. Appreciate it.” Flynn tucked the order into the covered notebook he carried.

“No problem, Colonel. Hope the next assignment is better.” He stepped back, came to attention and saluted.

Flynn saluted back and went on his way as Woden turned to go back the way he’d come. New assignment, he thought as he walked on. He was glad to drop the interviews. He left that room every day drained, with his soul sucked dry.

A couple of hours later, his electronic pad dinged. A new message had arrived. Flynn opened it up. Here was the new assignment. He was to report to Colonel Marcus, a special operations department, he saw. Marcus reported to a General Billings. Mad Dog Bill, he’d heard the man called. That meant he no longer reported to Colonel Green. Not that it mattered about Green. He didn’t know the Colonel all that well though they’d gotten along well enough. He noted that there was an appointment scheduled for three this afternoon. A meet and greet, Flynn figured. Just an introductory thing. It was for the Officer’s Club. So probably multiple new officers. That was fine with him. He shut the email. Special Ops, he thought to himself. Wonder what kind of Special Ops. Something more in line with why he joined the Army, he hoped.

At the Officer’s Club, Flynn checked his hat at the front lobby and went into the bar. Sure enough, several officers were already there, standing in small groups, drinks in hand. The colonel wasn’t there yet. He got a beer from the bar and joined a group with an acquaintance of his, Major Peter Farland. “Pete. Good to see ya.”

“Good to see you, too, buddy. Long time!” Pete clapped him on the arm. “This is Roger Luton, best comm officer you’ve ever seen.”

Flynn shook Captain Luton’s hand. “Nice to meet you.” He thought Pete’s accolade a little over the top. His wife, now out of the Army, was one of the best in his estimation but that didn’t count any longer, did it.”

Pete went on. “Tyler here is the best behind the lines guy you ever want to work with. He can find his way through the dark, blindfolded and still get the mission done.”

Roger grinned. “Good to know.”

Introductions were cut short as the room was called to attention. A solid looking man, crewcut dark hair and dark blue eyes that looked like they didn’t miss a thing strode to the front of the room. He stood on the slightly raised fireplace edge. “At ease.”

The men relaxed, but not too much. Sloppy wouldn’t cut it. “Welcome. You’re all newly assigned to the 708th Special Operations Group. This afternoon is a chance for you all to meet each other. The rest of the group will be in at four-thirty. In the meantime, I’ll be moving around the room to meet each of you. Dinner will be at six. Make whatever phone calls you need to make, dinner is mandatory. As you were.”

With that, he stepped down and began to make his rounds. Flynn was impressed. Direct and too the point. He liked that.

“What a hard ass,” Luton said.

Pete agreed. “I heard he’s a hard-ass. That kind of proves it right there.”

Flynn checked his watch, Just fifteen oh three. “I’ve gotta make a call. Be right back.” He went out to the lobby where it was quieter, and on his cell called his wife. “Laura,” he said when she picked up. “News. I’ve been transferred to the 708th Special Ops Group. I’m meeting the commander, Colonel Bill Billings.”

“Is that good?” Her voice made it clear she was suspicious.

“Unclear. We’ve got a mandatory dinner at six, so I thought I’d let you know.”

“Not social, then.”

Smart woman, he thought. She’d been in long enough, even in this new Army, to read the signs. “Apparently not. Our old friend Pete Farland is here, too. Major now.”

There was a pause on the line. “Interesting.”

“Right.” She knew not to mention her thoughts on the phone. “So I’ll see you when we’re released.”

“Be careful,” was her response before she hung up.

He sighed. He could remember when she would have said, “have fun.” No longer. Now everything was a test of some sort. Thank god, he thought, he had a smart wife. He tucked the phone in his pocket and went back to the party. Water might be the drink of the evening, he thought. Better safe than sorry.

Thank you for reading.

Cold Season, Jury Duty, APW Meeting, NANOWRIMO: Monday Blog Post

Fall Fern by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

So cold season has hit my house. Hubby was sick all week last week and yesterday (Sunday) I had his cold. Sigh. Not bad yet. Didn’t sleep well Saturday night/Sunday morning, more nose blowing than usual and my eyes feel like they want to fall out of my head. Ugh. Lots of hot tea for me.

Jury duty was cancelled last week. The trial was vacated. So now I’m back into the jury duty rotation. Hope if I get selected the next time it’s an interesting case.

APW Logo

On October 12th, I spoke to the APW Central Chapter in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a small group so we had a good time trading writing experiences and sharing tips. The APW accepts new members all year long so if you’d like to get with a group of like minded people interested in getting words on the page, check us out at https://arizonaprofessionalwriters.org/.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month. I’m trying to decide what to write. I have an idea for another Jean Hays story. I also have an idea for another western. I’ll admit it’s a lot more fun to write a new story that to rewrite and edit old stories. But, both have to be done. The “rules” of November’s Nano are that it should be a new work though not everyone follows that. So we’ll see. Just two weeks to go until the start.

Giveaways:

In the meantime, the Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now running! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. It won’t last long.

Where will I Be?:

I don’t have anything on my calendar until the December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads 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.

October, Mystery at the Reunion, Jury Duty, Speaking Engagement: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

October, I think, may be my favorite month. In upstate New York, this is the leaf changing season and the tree colors change to eye-popping reds, golds, and yellows. Here in Arizona, the color change is more muted but the colors do change. Especially aspens. Their leaves become a brilliant yellow. And since they have white trunks and grow in groves, the scene in stunning. The above picture was taken just north of Flagstaff and the trees hadn’t quite turned color yet, but you can see how stunning they are now. Just think about how gorgeous they’ll be in a week or so. Also, the heat has dropped to perfect temps and the sky is the very best sapphire blue. It’s definitely time to pull out the heartier recipes and unpack the fall and winter wardrobes. I hope your autumn is just as wonderful.

I’ve dug out my story, Mystery at the Reunion, and read over it. It’s not as horrible as I remember. That’s a typical response for me (and to be honest, other authors when they re-read their work after a space of time), but I’m always glad to see my story again. That doesn’t mean it’s ready to release. I’ve duplicated several chapters in some sort of echo chamber between the two main characters and there’s still this other plot line from Jean’s time in Afghanistan that I want to add. Lots of work, in other words, needs to be done. But I’m re-excited about the story and am looking forward to finishing it and getting it out of the door.

Jury duty is back on my calendar. I’m now scheduled to appear on October 9th. As before, I’m looking forward to it. The biggest drawback is that it’s an over 2-hour drive to the county seat and the appearance time is 8am. Ugh. That makes for very early days.

On October 12th, I’m speaking to the APW Central Chapter in Scottsdale, AZ. The topic is writing series stories. So, if you’re in the area, stop on by. It’s free to attend.

Giveaways:

In the meantime, the Ghoulishly Great Reads Halloween Author/Blogger giveaway is now running! Twenty-two authors are participating giving us a $66 Paypal grand prize plus 22 other great prizes and 22 free books. So jump on this giveaway, over on my website Giveaways page. It won’t last long.

Where will I Be?:

I don’t have anything on my calendar until the December Mesa Book Festival. The date is December 14th from 10am – 5pm and the location has changed to 225 E Main St, Mesa. This is the Benedictine University, for those familiar with Mesa. I am sharing a booth space with the wonderful Marsha Ward. The site only promotes the author registering the table, so you’ll only see Marsha’s name, not mine. But I promise, I’ll be there. You can find all the details and a map at https://anthology.org/category/mesa-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 Releases:

My 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, is now available. I love doing these calendars. The beautiful pictures of Arizona wildlife, insects, reptiles, and landscapes relaxes me every time I look at them. The wall calendar has both U.S. and Canadian holidays listed and blocks for keeping track of appointments. You can find the calendar for purchase at: http://www.lulu.com/content/legacy-lulustudio-calendar/arizona-impressions/25183877. Alternatively, you can go to my website, at my Books and Other Products page and it’s the first thing you see. I hope you enjoy it.

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is up on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, (Direct link doesn’t work, copy the URL and paste it into your browser, or go directly to Kobo.com and search for Gold Dreams, Connie Cockrell), and Smashwords. The print version is available on Amazon. You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads 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.