Payson Book Festival, Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, Book Sale & Giveaway: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Here are just four of the wonderful women of Four Carat Press who attended the Payson Book Festival!

Wow! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this last weekend’s Payson Book Festival. We’re still doing the counts, but I can tell you that there were a LOT of people at the festival. With 93 authors, vendors, and publishers, this was a great event. If you were able to get to Payson and participate, thank you so much. If you didn’t get to come, I’m sorry you missed it. We had the Mogollon Monster, the Storybook monster, puppet shows, presentations, and did I mention the 93 authors? Here’s the secret. Mark your calendar for July 18, 2020. This is free to attendees and we welcome families. Money raised by the festival goes in part to two scholarships. One to a graduating high school student and one to a student at the Payson campus of the Gila Community College. Literacy is one of our missions and we put that in the forefront of our efforts. So! See you in 2020! You won’t be sorry you’ve come to the cool pines of Payson.

After the Phoenix Fan Fusion, I began showing some of the t-shirts from the show. Here is one for this week. I’ll have to admit. I really laughed out loud!

What a deal. For the month of July, I’m still offering many of my books either 50% off or free! That’s right, the entire month of July is Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale and I’m participating. If you decide to pick up one of my books, I hope you enjoy it. If you do, a small review would be greatly appreciated.

One more giveaway if you are a SciFi, Apocalyptic/Dystopian fan. Starting today! I’m with a group of authors offering just that. The giveaway is called World’s End and is through Book Funnel. You’ll be asked to join author’s newsletters. This giveaway is over at the end of July so don’t wait too long or you’ll miss it!

Gardening. What’s your gardening problem this year? Mine is the chipmunks, squirrels, and the rabbit that have taken up residence in my back yard. Sigh. The beautiful stone sided bed my husband built for me is empty. I’ve planted 3 sets of beans. All eaten as soon as they poke their heads up. Also, Swiss Chard, beets, and to be honest, I’ve now forgotten what else I’ve planted in that bed and it’s all been eaten. However, two green shoots are surviving. I suspect they’re tomato seedlings. At this point, whatever. I just am sad that whole bed is just dirt. It makes me sad.

Giveaways:

The Summer Giveaway is open! There are 33 participating authors with 33 book prizes and 33 summer gift prizes. The Grand Prize is $100 in Paypal cash. This is certainly a giveaway to get involved with.

Where will I Be?:

Now that the Payson Book Festival is done, I don’t have anything on my calendar until the December Mesa Book Festival. Dates are still to be determined but I’ll post as soon as the website makes info available.

On the other hand, if something juicy comes up, because it’s a long time between July 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.

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. You can also see all my books on 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 4 – 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 4: Andy McGuire

Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of the Chief of Staff Andy McGuire entered the President Jeff Master’s private office. The Chief of Staff, Duncan Angelson was standing in the middle of the room. The president was on the sofa with a young, blond, woman in his lap. The young woman was wearing a sleeveless, low cut, tight fitting blouse in hot pink and the president had his hand up her tiny skirt, grinning like a small boy with his favorite toy. Andy thought the woman was barely legal but who knew. He moved his eyes to his boss, Duncan.

Duncan read from a folder. “Mr. President. After four years, the internment of undesirables is down. They’ve mostly been sent to internment camps and put to work for the good of the motherland. Dissidents, on the other hand—those numbers are up. But they’re getting harder to catch.”

Out of the corner of his eye Andy could see the president nuzzling the woman’s neck. He focused. “Chief, a message from the Secretary of Homeland Security.” He handed McGuire the sheet of paper and waited while the man read it.

“This is some news, Mr. President. The Immaculata have seized a small group of dissidents right here in Washington. They’re being interrogated as we speak. They expect they’ll get a number of leads on other groups.”

“Good,” the President said into the woman’s neck. “Good.” He moved his hand down her bare leg to her knee and moved it further aside. His hand went back up her skirt. “Keep me apprised. Dismissed.”

The Chief of Staff nodded. “Very good, sir. A reminder that the women’s volleyball team will be here in an hour and a half for a photo op.”

The President raised his head and grinned. “Excellent. Lovely young ladies, those.” He went back to his nuzzling, pushing the woman further back.

The Chief caught Andy’s eye and we left the room. Andy swallowed his bile and wished to go wash his hands, but he followed the Chief to his office. He closed the doors behind them.

“Make sure the President is cleaned up and in the Oval and the woman paid off and escorted out as soon as he’s done. Get the news crew into the office and set up before he gets in there.”

Andy nodded. The whole situation was disgusting but that was the world they were living in now. “The People’s Party leader, Mr. Evans, wants a meeting today.” Evans was the brains behind the president, who Andy was starting to believe was more than a little senile. But as long as he was kept in blonde young women and had time to watch eight hours of news and political commentary a day with his phone in hand to send out tweets, he was controllable. Evans, however, was merciless. Paid off by the top one percent of the one percent, the ultra-rich were now in charge of the country. Mega-corporations pretty much owned everything. The air, water and land was becoming more polluted already as environmental laws were repealed.

“What’s he want?”

“I suspect the little revolt in Congress the other day concerns him. He’s going to want those Senators taken care of.”

McGuire nodded, sighing. “Yeah. I figured as much. Can any of them be bought off?”

“Anyone who would take a payoff has pretty much been in our pocket for two years now. These are the radical hold-outs.” Andy wasn’t sure how the People’s Party had missed taking over those districts but that wouldn’t last much longer. The mid-term elections would see those Senators replaced. If they lived that long.

“See if they’ll be bought off. If not, arrange something.” He turned on his computer. He had work to do.

Andy nodded and left, stomach rolling. He was hoping they’d take a bribe. If not, the party had some people I could call. It would all look like accidents of course. They always did. And, for the sake of the visuals, they wouldn’t happen all at once. But it would happen. Oh yes. It would happen.

Thank you for reading.

Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, Book Sale, Radio Interview, Payson Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

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

What a deal. For the month of July, I’m offering many of my books either 50% off or free! That’s right, the entire month of July is Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale and I’m participating. If you decide to pick up one of my books, I hope you enjoy it. If you do, a small review would be greatly appreciated.

On Tuesday morning, I’ll be on KMOG radio to talk about my books and the upcoming Payson Book Festival. If you’d like to hear me, go to http://www.kmogcountry.com/programs/rim-country-forum-8 to hear the show.

Giveaways:

The Summer Giveaway is just about ready. There are 33 participating authors with 33 book prizes and 33 summer gift prizes. The Grand Prize is $100 in Paypal cash. This is certainly a giveaway to get involved with. I’ll post a Facebook message when it goes live.

Where will I Be?:

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. You can also see all my books on 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 3 Devon Brown, 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 3: Devon Brown

Devon trembled in the backseat of a monstrous black SUV beside his sister, Caitlin. The truck was so big, the officers had had to lift them both up to the back seat.  Both of them had their hands handcuffed behind their backs. Caitlin was crying, calling out, “Mommy, Mommy,” snot running down her face. That bothered him. His mother wouldn’t like it but what could he do?

He didn’t understand. Did Daddy do something wrong? Why’d they take him away? Why did the soldiers take him and Caitlin away? He slid a little closer to his sister so that they were side by side. What was going to happen? Where were they going? He was too short to see out of the windows. When he tried to crane up, all he could see were rooftops. He stopped when the soldier riding up front told him to sit back.

They drove for a long time. He was glad when Caitlin fell asleep, her little blond head against his shoulder. He was too upset to go to sleep. His hands were full of prickles, but he didn’t want to shift around, it would wake his sister. Every few minutes the soldier checked his mirror, watching Devon. It scared him, so he sat very still.

It seemed like a long time but finally the car pulled up to a gate. The driver’s window went down and a soldier stuck his head in to look in the backseat. “Go on,” he said, and the car went in. They came to a big building and the car stopped at the front door. The two soldiers got out and Caitlin woke up as the doors slammed shut.

“Devon?”

“We’re here,” he told her as the passenger doors opened at the same time. The driver pulled him out of the car as the other soldier pulled Caitlin out. Devon’s legs had fallen asleep along with his hands and he collapsed to the sidewalk, skinning his knees.

“Stand up, kid.” He pulled Devon up by the back of his t-shirt.

“My legs are asleep.”

“Great.” The soldier kept hold of Devon’s shirt and joined Caitlin and her guard at the door. They went in and nodded to the soldier at the desk near the door. He nodded back and they went across a lobby and down a hall. There were a lot of halls, Devon thought, and soon, he had no idea where they were of what was going on. They were taken to a place where people in white uniforms, like doctors, took them after the handcuffs were taken off.

The soldiers left and the aides made them undress. Devon had trouble. His hands didn’t want to work. One aide had to undress him. Devon didn’t like that but there was nothing he could do. They were sent into a shower together. Devon helped Caitlin wash her face and when they came out, they were given gray cotton pants and shirts with numbers on them to wear—and picked up and put in barber chairs. Devon didn’t think he needed a haircut, he’d just been a few days ago with his dad. The barber took clippers and ran them over his head. Horrified, he watched as they did the same to Caitlin. She began to cry and fight them. One of the aides grabbed her hands and told her to shut up. It was over in just a moment, her blonde hair scattered all over the floor.

They were escorted to another place and a doctor looked at them. Then another place where there were other kids, standing in lines. Girls in one and boys in another. Caitlin didn’t like that and started crying again, calling for Devon. An aide came down the line and slapped her and told her to shut up.

“No!” Devon yelled and began to go to her. An aide grabbed him by the arm, slapped him, and shoved him back into line so hard he fell. “Get up, kid.” And the aide walked away. Devon, shaking, stood up. He’d never been hit by an adult. Never. He didn’t know what to think. Caitlin cried quietly, watching him, as the line kept moving. She reached the desk first.

“Six years old,” the man said. He waved his hand and an aide led her away. She didn’t want to go and fought the aide, but it did no good. He dragged her, screaming, “Devon,” until they left the room. Then it was his turn.

“Eight years old,” the man said as he checked a tablet. He waved and an aide took Devon away in a different direction than Caitlin had went.

“What about my sister?” he asked.

“Shut up,” was the only answer.

They entered a room where there were other boys sitting at desks. Devon saw that the boys sat, hands folded on their desks, eyes straight ahead. Not one boy turned to see him come in.

The man in the room checked his tablet, then nodded at the aide, who left.

“Boy. Pay attention. I’m Mr. George. You are now called 9280970. Remember that. It’s the number on your shirt. Say it.” He stood, staring at Devon.

“9280970,” Devon said in a voice that cracked.

“Good. There is no talking unless you are asked a direct question. Is that understood?”

Devon nodded.

“Do what you are told and it will go easy on you. If you disobey, or don’t follow directions, you’ll be punished. Do you understand?”

Devon nodded again. He tried to swallow but his mouth was dry. This place was scary.

“Sit over there, Row four, chair six. That is your place.”

Devon nodded and walked over to the seat.

“Hands folded on the desk. Eyes to the front.”

Devon did as he was told. This is not good, he remembered his father always saying. He was right.

Thank you for reading.

Happy 4th of July, Phoenix Fan Fusion T’s, Book Sale, Payson Book Festival: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I know it’s only the 1st of July, but I won’t post again until next Monday so let me say now, Happy Independence Day. Please be careful out there as you go to the lake or the seashore, the woods or the mountains. Even if you stay home. Play with fireworks responsibly. Drive safely. Don’t drink and drive. I want to see you on July 8th!

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

What a deal. For the month of July, I’m offering many of my books either 50% off or free! That’s right, the entire month of July is Smashwords’ Summer/Winter Sale and I’m participating. If you decide to pick up one of my books, I hope you enjoy it. If you do, a small review would be greatly appreciated.

Giveaways:

I’m hearing that the Summer giveaway may go live next week. I’ll make an announcement when it does.

Where will I Be?:

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Gold Dreams released May 13th, 2019. It is only up on Amazon, at the moment. I’ll let everyone know when the print version is up and is up on the other platforms. You can also see all my books on 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 2 Capt Flynn – Flash Fiction Friday Post

Just by happenstance, I recently picked up a copy of Trevayne, written by Robert Ludlum. In his introduction, he mentioned that he wrote the book after the Nixon Watergate scandal. In part he says of Watergate: “Here was the government, the highest of our elected and appointed officials entrusted with the guardianship of our system, not only lying to the people but collecting millions upon millions of dollars to perpetuate their lies and thus the controls they believed were theirs alone to exercise.” He goes on to point out that their meaning was to keep the country theirs. Not yours or mine, or even the neighbors across the street or across town. Only theirs. “The rest of us were somehow neither relevant nor competent. They knew better, therefore the lies had to continue and the coffers of ideological purity kept full so that the impure could be blitzkrieged by money and buried at the starting gates of political contests.”

It was like that during Watergate.In my humble opinion, it is even more so now.

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 2: Captain Flynn

Captain Tyler Flynn closed the electronic notebook after Bill Brown was taken away. On either side of him, Lieutenant Daryll Moss and Lieutenant Lee Woden, stood up. They’d been at the interviews all afternoon.

“Why do they all say the same thing? I want to slap every one of them.” Moss shoved his chair under the table.

“I hear ya.” Woden did the same with his chair and they headed for the door. “You’d think one of them could say something original.”

“Captain Flynn?” Moss stopped a moment at the door. “More of this tomorrow?”

“Yep.” Flynn tucked the notebook into his briefcase. “The round-up are continuing.”

“Jesus Christ.” Woden opened the door. “Who knew so many non-whites were in the country. Like that last guy. Didn’t even know he was black?” Woden shook his head. “No wonder the country’d gone to hell in a hand basket.”

The officers left the room. Flynn headed for his office. “See you tomorrow, guys.”

“See ya,” the two offices said as they went the other direction.

Flynn knew the statistics, a good portion of the country had genetic markers for other races than Caucasian. That poor bastard Brown was turned in by a neighbor for unpatriotic activities. Flynn saw from the report it was bullshit, but the genetics didn’t lie. So he’d been rounded up. Flynn sighed to himself. Cameras were everywhere so there was no show of questions or remorse allowed about carrying out commands from headquarters.

At his office he locked the notebook in the safe, it had records of thousands of people in it, and checked for end of day messages. Nothing important, he was relieved to see, so he headed home.

The next morning, he was in a meeting with the Commander, 43rd Mobilization and Relocation Squadron and other squadron department heads. It was near the end of the meeting and Flynn was feeling thankful nothing strange was relayed today. Since President Master’s had declared marshal law and declared himself President for Life, things had been crazy. Hopefully it would settle down now.

Commander Green cleared his throat. Flynn looked up. That always signaled bad news. “Gentlemen.” The commander took a breath. “Any remaining female officers and enlisted in your departments are hearby issued orders to report to Personnel for honorable discharge.”

All around the table, each department head’s notebook began chiming. “Those are the orders. Share that information with your female subordinates and send them on their way. They’ll have a week to clear base quarters if they reside there. Personnel will take care of everything.”

Flynn was relieved. The Immaculata had been male only from the start, the seventh year of President Master’s legal presidency. He’d hate to face good subordinates with that news. The other people didn’t look happy but said nothing. There was nothing to say.

He wasn’t so relived at the next announcement.

“Lastly, the transport company we’ve been using for prisoner transport has lost their contract. Now we’ll be using Weyland Industries beginning Monday. They’ll also be responsible for prisoner feeding. You’ll find new forms available to you starting Friday. Call Contracting if you have any issues. That will be all. All hail President Marshall.”

“All hail,” each man at the table responded in unison. Then they all rose and left the room.

Outside the command admin, Captain Dean Joyce caught up with Flynn. He checked the hall around them and in a soft voice asked, “Isn’t Weland Industries owned by the President’s sister?”

Flynn gave a short nod. “Yep.”

“Isn’t that nepotism? At the least, conflict of interest?”

Flynn gave Joyce a look, eyebrow raised.

Joyce took the hint. “None of my business, I guess. I just hope they feed these poor bastards better than the last company. I wouldn’t feed that swill to my dad’s pigs.”

A short shake of the head was Flynn’s response. “Seventeen hundred calories is the regulation. Doesn’t say anything about the gourmet level.”

“I guess.” Joyce dropped back and turned right into his corridor.

Flynn agreed with the guy, but he wasn’t going to say so. Too many cameras and out in public spaces especially, microphones too. He was sure his office was bugged. He was also sure his car was too. No matter. He’d joined the Army fifteen years ago. He’d pledged to support and defend the country every four years since then. He’d been chosen to join the Immaculata. An elite force, he’d been told. Part of Homeland Security, helping to combat attacks against the United States.

And so it seemed, the first couple of years. They’d rounded up several groups identified by the FBI and the CIA as fomenting dissent and radicalizing youth, especially in urban areas. He thought he’d been doing some good. Now, this wasn’t what he’d signed up for but there didn’t seem to be any way out. His own wife was Army. While he didn’t have any female members, his wife worked in Communications, the squadron commander, for Pete’s sake. Dinner was going to be unpleasant.

At his office he reviewed the interviews for the day. He was a third of the way through the list when a name popped out at him. Zuri Flynn. His breath caught in his throat. It was his sister-in-law. His heart sank. Her family was Jewish. His brother was going to be crushed. He loved Zuri.

Flynn closed his eyes. Thank God there were no children. That would be too much. Why did they put her in his interview room? A message, he was sure. If it could happen to his family, it could happen to anyone. He leaned over and grabbed his trashcan and vomited. Better to get it out of his system now. He wouldn’t be able to offer any emotion in the room. Zuri would be devastated.

Thank you for reading.

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

Newest News:

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

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

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

Giveaways:

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

Where will I Be?:

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

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

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

Newest News:

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

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

Yukon Gold, Red, and Purple Potatoes

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

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

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

Giveaways:

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

Where will I Be?:

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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Newest Book Release:

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

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Galactic Convention: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words: 973

Reconstruction: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Laptop by Shadd am89 via DeviantArt.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, Cassandra.”

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

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

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

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