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 http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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 http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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.

Autumn has Arrived, NANOWRIMO, Best Website News: Monday Blog Post

Stirling Pass, Sedona, by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

Cooler weather has arrived in Central Arizona. I have broken out my jeans and started making casseroles again. Sunday was scalloped potatoes and pork chops. An old favorite of mine that my mom used to make. Even better, the fall color has arrived in the moister places—canyons, stream sides, and so on. The above picture was taken in Sedona on a hike there by my husband.

My cold is much better, as are the swollen lymph in my neck and the ear infection. A couple more days and I’m back to the doc for a follow-up.

We’re just days from the start of National Novel Writing Month and I’ve decided to work on more of my All About Bob series. Since these are shorter books, novelettes/novellas, that makes me a NaNo Rebel this year. I’ll still be writing to that 50,000 word goal. I’ll just spread it out over 3 books. One book. All about the Music, was started last year and I never finished it. So I’ll wrap that up and then move on to two more. Neither of which I have titles for or even plots. Well, maybe a plot for one. The other, well, I’ll figure that out when I get there. So, wish me luck. Nano starts November 1st.

It’s Fixed!

BEST NEWS! After much futzing around with my website, I have finally figured out my blog sign up issue. It’s back, now located at the top right of my blog page. It has taken me hours and hours of spelunking around the back end of the website to figure it out. But now it’s back and I’m so happy. If you’ve wanted to share the website but haven’t, now’s the time. I’d love to get my subscriber numbers back up.

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 http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

The Party: Chapter 16 – Bill Brown, Friday Flash Fiction

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 16: Bill Brown #9645990

Bill, rose stiffly from bed at the chimes. It had been two weeks since he’d asked Officer Fernald about writing to his family. Before he knew what was happening, Fernald, someone Bill had thought was pretty nice, given the circumstances, was zapping him with the cattle prod. The officer, while Bill was still writhing on the hall floor, blew a whistle. Three other guards ran up and Fernald began beating him with the prod. The others joined in with their prods and with boots to the back, stomach, anywhere they could reach.

Bill had woken in the infirmary, hands and feet strapped to the bed. A tube was in his mouth, he couldn’t breathe through his nose, and an IV was hooked to his arm. A headache felt like the top of his head was going to blow off. A white-coated doctor came in.

He glanced at the monitor beside the bed, turned so Bill couldn’t see it. “Well, 9645990, you’re a lucky guy.”

Bill didn’t feel lucky. Every part of him hurt.

“I would suggest, in the future, you not ask for anything. You have four broken ribs, a broken arm, kidney damage, and your left femur has a fracture. Your nose is broken, that’s why you can’t breathe through it. I’ll get the nurse to unhook the ventilator. It looks like you’re breathing on your own now.”

Bill grunted. It was all he could do with the ventilator in his mouth.

“I’ll see you get some water. Your mouth is probably very dry.”

Bill managed a small nod.

“Headache?”

Bill nodded again, though the movement made his eyes water.

“We’ll get you something for the pain.” He looked at the monitor again. “Trust me on this. The next time you’ll be headed to the morgue.” With that he turned and was gone.

After the nurse came in and unhooked the ventilator, given him some water and took a few minutes to wipe his face. Bill felt somewhat better. The male nurse had been gentle, but all of the activity had ramped up the pain levels. He was happy when the nurse came back and shot something into his IV bag.

“Pain meds. Doc says you can have them for the next twenty-four hours. After that, you’ll have to suck it up.” With that the guy was gone.

A day later, despite the kidney pain, and casts on arm and leg, he was sent, with a crutch, back to his dorm. No one spoke to him.

It was two days before one of his dorm mates told him, they’d all been hit with the cattle prods for his indiscretion. The whole thing was a huge lesson for him. And, he realized, for everyone. They really were nothing but farm animals. Slaves, he finally recognized. And anything any one of them did was going to result in punishment for the whole group. Bill went into a slump, emotionally. It was too much to take in.

After a week, the other men began to talk to him again. George, from his work room, walked with him a moment on the track. “You okay?”

Bill shrugged. “Yeah. I can hobble along, after a fashion. Try and get my strength back.” The crutch hurt him under his arm. Especially since he couldn’t change sides with it. But he’d learned his lesson. He didn’t ask the guards for anything.

“Happens to at least one person in every group. They make an example. Sorry it had to be you.”

“Me too.” Bill nodded to George, then George moved off before one of the guards blew his whistle.

Bill hobbled on. It took him the whole thirty minutes to get around the track once. He was breathless and light-headed as they went back into work. He’d learned his lesson. Now, he watched everything around him. What he’d thought was kindness on the part of any of the guards was simply a strict adherence to their rules. Mostly it was that they weren’t sadistic assholes. And some of the guards were sadistic. They’d cattle prod a man for no reason, then snigger when the man fell to the floor, flopping like a fish out of water.

He noticed they didn’t laugh, though. They eyed the cameras; then would kick the guy they’d just zapped to stand up with a slur matched to the man. Nigger, Spic, Kike—Bill thought those names had been long forgotten, but apparently not. He also realized the guards were under as much scrutiny as the workers were. Perhaps just not punished as much. Though after a month and a half, he recognized that guards were replaced. Especially the sadistic ones. Just one day, someone else would be in the old guard’s place. That was something, he thought to himself. But it didn’t make it much better. He was still a slave. And that stuck in his craw.

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 http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to https://www.paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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.

The Party – Chapter 14: Stacy Zimmer – 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 14: Stacy Zimmer

“What’s your name?” Stacy decided to ask.

“Dressel. Daryl. You?”

She told him. “When’d ya get out?”

“Twenty oh seven.” He eyed her, waiting.

“Thirteen years. Long time. Been on the street the whole time?”

Dressel shook his head. “Nah. I had a family. But the PTSD was too much. I left.”

Stacy understood. The comment about doing something though. That was hanging like a ball of fire in the middle of the alley between them. “I got a place. Not much. If you want a hot an a cot.” She watched him think it over, his tongue running around the inside of his mouth, visible in his sunken cheeks.

“If it ain’t too much.”

“Nah. We can talk.”

He nodded and rose, gathering together the cardboard he’d been sitting on and bundling it into his backpack.

She could see his slow rise. Probably arthritis from living on the cold streets, she thought. She was kind of stiff herself as she stood. The thought crossed her mind that she could have been seriously hurt while she was out of it. That gave her a bit of comfort and security at her rash, impromptu invitation to dinner and a bed. No matter. She still had her knife on the bed stand, and a nine mill under her pillow. She could put a chair under the doorknob. It would be all right.

At her apartment she fixed a pound of spaghetti and threw a jar of sauce over top of it and put it on the table with the usual green can of cheese on the side. She poured some cheap red wine in water glasses. It was too sweet for spaghetti, really, but she didn’t have anything else. They ate in silence after he thanked her for the food and wine.

She didn’t mind the silence. Just having someone else at the kitchen table was enough. It kept the memories in check. After dinner she did the dishes while he used the shower. She was surprised to see him come out of the bathroom in different clothes.

“I have a washer,” she told him. He nodded. “I’d appreciate that.” So she showed him how to use it and he put everything cloth he had in there and did his laundry. She poured the last of the wine between them and sat in what passed for a living room. Stacy sat in her favorite chair. He sat on the loveseat.

“You made a suggestion, in the alley,” she said.

He nodded. “I know some people.”

While she rubbed her forehead, she thought this sounded just like back in the sandbox, talking to the natives. They always knew someone. Someone bad, or someone they could trust, or just someone with information. There were always some people. “You know they round up dissidents.” She said it as a statement, not a question. It was a fact, after all.

“Yeah. But when was the last time someone took a look at either of us? We’re invisible.”

Stacy drummed her fingers on the greasy arm of her chair. She’d gotten it at a thrift store for seven bucks. Good enough for her. A sip of wine allowed her to think a little longer. “So why aren’t you already involved?”

“Who said I’m not?” He sipped his wine and watching her, waited.

That’s how they’d worked in Afghanistan. A local did the recruiting. Always. Then if the local thought the recruit was trust-worthy, set up a meet. Stacy didn’t think much of being on this side of the equation. But, if she didn’t like the idea, she only had to say so. This guy, if Dressel really was his name, would just disappear and she’d never see him again. Even if she went to the authorities, and why the hell would she? She didn’t have a damn thing to give them that they didn’t already know.

She drank some more. The kitchen wall clock ticking could be heard, counting off the seconds as she pondered the suggestion. Did she miss the action? Is that why she was even considering this dumb ass idea? More like she missed the purpose, as her therapist kept telling her. Did she miss it enough to be executed by firing squad after a long painful session with interrogators if she was caught? Stacy could feel her heart rate pick up. That was excitement, she realized. Not fear. And weren’t the bastards taking her pay? That definitely deserved a poke in the eye with a sharp stick as far as she was concerned. “It’s a dumb idea.”

Dressel nodded. “Most likely.”

Stacy shook her head and closed her eyes. “I’m gonna regret this. Yes.”

He grinned and held out his glass in a toast. “More than likely. Hoo Ra!”

She saw his toast after she’d said yes and held up her glass. “Hoo Ra!” They drank what was left of the wine.

“Welcome to the revolution.”

“Fuck you.”

They both laughed.

The next morning, when she finally rolled out of bed, he was gone. There were forty dollars on the table and a short note.

            Someone will contact you. Code word, Sybil Ludington.

Response, Great ride.

That was the end of the note. She burned it in her stove’s gas flame after memorizing the code and response. While she made coffee, she considered her tipsy decision from the previous night. There was some regret, and to be honest, a little fear this morning. But also, she felt better than she’d felt for a long time. Purpose, she thought. Is that all it takes? She shrugged as she poured some dollar store knock-off off, too-sugary cereal into a bowl. Must be. As she ate, she considered how to prepare. Lists of supplies, weapons, and other details came flooding through her mind. She was grinning, she realized as she washed cup, bowl, and spoon. Oh yeah. This was going to be fun.

Thank you for reading.

Last Day of September, Jury Duty, Speaking Engagement, Summer Giveaway Prize Winners: Monday Blog Post

Aspens on the Abineau Trail, Flagstaff, 2019, Picture by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

It’s the last day of September! I can’t believe how fast this month has flown by. My husband took a hike up by Flagstaff on Saturday. The above picture is from there. At the same time I was in Phoenix at an annual conference for the Arizona Professional Writers. I know he had fun with some other hikers trudging up the trail on the back side of Arizona’s tallest peak, Mount Humphrey’s. But I also had a good time talking with fellow authors/bloggers/reporters and others about the state of writing and publishing today. I also met a lot of great new people that I’m happy to add to my contacts list. I hope your month has finished on a high note, too.

Jury duty is back on my calendar. I received the notice Friday. 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.

From May’s Phoenix Fan Fusion appearance

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:

The Summer Giveaway is now closed. My winners are Wanita Tonn, from Canada, who won the ebook Gold Dreams, and Terri Quick, from the U.S. who won a $10 Amazon Gift card. The giveaway’s grand prize winner was Robin Davis, also from the U.S. Many congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy your prizes.

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/.

On the other hand, if something juicy comes up, because it’s a long time between now and December, I’ll let you know. Do you know of an event where you’d like to see me? I’d love to know about it. Contact me here and say the word.

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.

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Newest Releases:

Reminder. I have the 2020 Calendar, which I’ve titled Arizona Reflections, now available for sale. 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 http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads or BookBub. Your review is critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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