Last Phoenix Fan Fusion T, Social Media, Were You a Female in Afghanistan, Gardening: Monday Blog Post

This is it. The last picture I took of tee-shirts. Hope you’ve enjoyed them!

Newest News:

After the Phoenix Fan Fusion, I began showing some of the t-shirts from the show. Here is the last one I took. Many thanks to all of the very nice fans who stopped at my table so I could take their pictures. You made my day.

Let’s talk social media for a moment. I belong to several sites, and on a couple, I’m really building a following. For example, I’ve passed 700 followers on Bookbub. If you aren’t a follower there, and you love books, you should be. Lots of giveaways there, lots of announcements of free books by your favorite authors. Lots of reviews so you can check out a book before you buy. Then there’s my YouTube channel. I passed 1000 followers on there. I don’t post a lot on there, but there are some amusing things to see. And finally, not really social media, but I do post the occasional newsletter when I have some book news to share. You can find that below. I’d appreciate it if you’d follow me on all three of these places.

I’ve been poking at my next book in the Jean Hays series, Mystery at the Reunion. I know it’s been taking forever but I’ve finally figured out how to fix the draft book. I’m looking for a female military person who has been stationed in Afghanistan. I have some questions about your time in country, so that I can get details correct for a sub-plot in the book. If you did serve, or know someone who did, would you allow me to do an interview? It can be via email, phone, Skype, whatever works. Contact me and we can work out the details.

Gardening. The peaches are small, and some are now ripe. I picked one, because I thought it was a little hard and bit into it. Perfection. Fuzzy, warm from the sun, delicious without being too soft. Of course, some are already being picked at by the birds but that’s all right. There’s plenty for all of us.


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. 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

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 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 I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

Social Media: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Security concept. Laptop with exclamation mark on the display

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

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

“Well, it’s what I want today.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, Em.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Spaghetti and meatball yeast bars.”

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

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

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

“Yes, Em.”

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

“Hey, Em. Looking for a job?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened?”

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

“Bummer. I’ll check around.”

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

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

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

“No. Not really. How you doin’?”

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

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

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

“It doesn’t pay much.”

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

“Fine. Fine. I’m sending now.”

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

Flash Fiction Friday: Sucked In

Texting by delight style via

Texting by delight style via

I’m participating in the Forward Motion writer’s site’s May Story A Day challenge. I’m not writing a story every day but I have committed to writing at least 10 stories this month. This is one of them. Enjoy.

Brittany’s thumbs flew over the keyboard on her Nova 238 touch screen phone as she walked to the coffee shop. Have you heard? she texted.

What? Her best friend Candy typed back.

Another 150 people missing.

OMG! What’s happening?

Don’t know. Hang on, text from Danny. Brittany pulled up her friend Danny’s text.

Brent is missing.

Brittany’s hand flew up and covered her mouth. OMG! When?

His mother called the police this morning.

She entered the coffee shop and stood in line at the counter. Everyone in line was on their phones, typing. Know anything?

No. Cops are searching.

Tks. Gotta get back to Candy. CU. The line moved forward as she tapped the screen keys. Brent is missing, she texted Candy. I’m gonna get on Flutter. She got out of the text app and signed into her Flutter account. She scanned the first few posts. It was all about missing people. Brent is missing, she tapped onto the page.

The barrista asked, “How can I help you today?”

Brittany never looked up from her typing. “Frappachino, whip, half caf.” His poor mom and dad, she typed as she moved to the end of the counter to wait for her drink.

OMG! Candy replied to her post. What are the cops doing?

Don’t know but so many people R missing.

Somebody shud do something.

The barrista placed the drink in front of Brittany who nodded absently as she picked it up. She went to sit at a table. Everyone in the place was on a phone, typing. Word, she typed in reply.

In a new post Candy asked, Seen Betty?

Not since yesterday. Brittany took a sip of her frappachino.

Hope she’s not missing too.

Brittany took a quick look around the coffee shop. Betty came here too. She’s not at the coffee shop, she replied.

The only sounds in the shop were the barristas making coffee and the music coming over the sound system. Brittany shook her phone.

Bad reception, screen is going all wonky.

Mine too, Candy replied.

A noise to her left made Brittany look. The table was empty, except for a paper cup and a phone. She could see the screen, on the person’s Flutter page, still on. She looked around the room. Everyone’s heads were down, focused on the screen in front of them. Weird, she thought. Maybe he went to the bathroom. She sipped her drink and returned to the screen.

Everything is weird lately, she typed.

Danny responded. Tell me about it.

The phone screen fluttered again. Damn. What’s wrong with Flutter today? Candy posted.

Don’t know. Brittany replied. It’s been going on for weeks.

They should fix it. Candy answered.

Dan, is your Flutter acting strange? Brittany posted.

Mine is, Candy responded.

Dan? Brittany posted.

Maybe he got off?

The phone screen fluttered again. Brittany shook her phone again and looked around the room. Half the tables were empty, phones lying on them. Something strange is going on at the coffee shop, Brittany posted.

She sipped her frappachino while she waited for Candy’s response. A minute went by, Candy? Another minute went by. Brittany was looking out the window of the coffee shop, when she saw a woman at the window table turn to smoke and get sucked into her phone. It fell, clattering, to the table. She blinked. “That did not happen.” She called over to the barrista’s. “Did you see that?”

One of the girls behind the counter stopped making coffee and looked at her. “See what?”

Brittany pointed. “There was a woman at the window table. Her phone is still there.”

The barrista shook her head. “People have been leaving their phones behind for weeks. We have a box full of them in the back.”

“No, she was sucked into her phone!”

The barrista’s eyebrow’s raised. “Sucked into her phone?”

Brittany looked around the shop. “Anyone else see that?”

Only two people looked up. They stared at her, then shook their heads and went back to their phones.

The barrista shook her head and went back to work.

Brittany picked up her phone, Candy still hadn’t responded. That wasn’t like her friend at all. They talked all day on Flutter. She typed, Candy? Danny? You still on?

The screen fluttered again. She waited until her frappachino was gone. I’m going to her house, Brittany decided.

Outside she flagged a taxi and gave Candy’s address. When she got there, no one answered the door. She tapped her foot. Candy worked from home. Where could she be? Brittany pulled out her phone and tried to text her friend. She could hear the text notification signal from inside the apartment. She pounded on the door. “Candy? It’s Brittany. Are you OK?”

No answer. She dialed 911.

“Hi,” she said when the operator answered.

“I’m at my friend’s door. I can hear her phone but she’s not answering the door. I’m afraid something might be wrong. Can you send someone?”

The operator took some convincing but she agreed to send a patrol car.

Brittany waited. When the cops arrived she told them about her fears. They called the Super to unlock the door. Inside, everything was in order, no signs of struggle. The phone was on Candy’s desk. The officers took her report and locked up.

Brittany signed into Flutter. My friend Candy is missing, she typed into a post. The screen fluttered again. Condolences from other friends poured into her feed.

A week later, the Flutter site crashed permanently. Bugs in the software, the news reported. Brittany stopped using social media. Her friends Candy, Danny, Betty and Brent were never found.


The End

939 Words

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