…He remembered his life in suburban Ohio and how his wife, a nurse, had loved to garden. His life had seemed so full of light back then. Life had been so simple as an insurance salesman, returning home at noon to have lunch with his wife before her shift at the hospital. Taking drives around the neighborhood at Christmas time to see the lights, dreaming of starting a family. When had he decided that that wasn’t enough for him? When had things changed so dramatically?
He knew the answer to that question. It was a progression. A slow dissatisfaction had crept over him year by year until he knew he had to make a change. Of course, there were triggers along the way. For instance, after many trips to fertility doctors, the realization that they could not have their own children had sunk in. He had watched the light in his wife’s eyes dim day by day. He had at first assumed it was his wife who was infertile; certainly his organs all worked properly. He would never forget the day that her tests came back and all eyes turned to him as the culprit. That was how he felt, he was The Culprit…
…Dodging a puddle of mysterious liquid on the floor, he slipped out the back door into the brilliant daylight of a Fort Lauderdale afternoon. The ocean crashed to his left as he walked down the sidewalk filled with joggers and bikini-clad women. Despite the bright surroundings, he felt a sense of dread creeping over him, hastened by the many shots of tequila he had downed at the last bar in which he had spent his afternoon. He glanced with disdain at a very botoxed older woman with a small white dog on a pink leash who almost bumped into him as she fumbled for a cigarette in her purse. He hated women. No, he didn’t just hate women, he hated the entire human race. He suddenly felt the urge for a very strong drink…
We first met Bloud in my book, Single in the CIA. You may remember some of the more memorable moments, included below:
…Apparently he had done some pretty exciting things years ago and he loved talking about his experiences, holding a captive audience in the young officers surrounding him. He delighted in telling tales of encounters with tigers and serving time in a hole in the ground somewhere in the Middle East. It was hard to imagine this slovenly, obese man doing anything besides eating pork rinds and drinking beer, but the stories were entertaining. He was given the Chief of Operations or third-in-charge position in the office…
…Bloud painted a somewhat pathetic picture of himself, explaining that without his career he would have nothing. He was nearing the mandatory retirement age, and he did not know what to do with himself once he was forced to retire. He described a haunting image he had of himself as a janitor somewhere, sweeping the floor, living out his retirement. He seemed like a sad and lost soul. That evening, when we both left to go our separate ways, we agreed that anything we talked about was just between the two of us…
…Bloud was in charge while Lawrence was gone, but that was not saying much. He had taken to throwing hissy fits and closing himself in his office any time he received news from Headquarters that he did not like. He would leave the young officers who needed his guidance out in the cold while he sulked behind a closed door. He had also begun a weekly ritual of cooking a slab of meat in a crock pot for the whole office and we were all expected to eat it and listen to him blabber on while the young officers kissed his butt. I dreaded being herded into the office kitchen for these little get-togethers…
…One day when Henningway was out of the office and Bloud was Acting Chief, Bloud spent the day locked in his office and refused to release any cable traffic while he was there. Even the youngest most impressionable officers saw the immaturity in this almost sixty-year-old man…
…I sat down across from him and he explained that Bloud had been telling Vicky a lot about me. He said that upon her arrival Bloud had met with Vicky to discuss the office and had only discussed two people for the entire meeting – me and Jon, a more senior officer who always seemed to be in the middle of a controversy. Among the crazy lies that Bloud had told Vicky was that I had told him I was sleeping with Barry and that I had bragged about….
Want to get to know more about this charming personality, Bloud? Check out the newest installment in the Mingling in the CIA series!
One of the reasons I went to work for the CIA was September 11th. I’ll never forget seeing the Pentagon burning on the horizon that day. I had just been in New York City looking at the Twin Towers a couple of weeks before. Typically, the Washington DC area was such a cutthroat, grouchy area, but after the attacks everyone came together, regardless of beliefs, and people were actually nice and respectful to each other – even while driving in the miserable traffic of the area.
I was recently on the show Politics & Profits with Rick Amato to talk about my first book, Single in the CIA. I was pretty nervous, but it was a great experience. I’ve never been a good speaker, and you’ll see what I mean when you watch this. Also, please forgive my recording – my internet froze for a moment while I was taping it.
You can check out my very first media appearance here.
I am so glad August is over. I’m not a fan. No offense to those of you with August birthdays, it’s nothing personal, I just find August to be terribly long and boring. It’s still super hot where we live and school starts in early August these days (at least in the last couple of places we have been), so summer vacation comes to an end. With the average temperature where we live ranging from 99 to 108 (sometimes 115!) degrees every day the weather is not conducive to outside activities with small children.
In my mom life I’ve come to look forward to fall, with its cooler temperatures and string of birthdays leading into the holiday season. I used to hate the holiday season – back when I lived on my own so far from my family. I spent many a Thanksgiving and Christmas alone, wishing for the time to pass, first in the D.C. area and later in South Florida. Of course in South Florida that loneliness was accompanied by a beautiful beach view from every window of my condo, and the constant sound of crashing waves, and maybe a bottle of scotch…. But I digress….
How times have changed. I look forward to the holiday season now – I guess having young children does that for you.
Anyway, I have a few projects that should be wrapping up before the end of this year. One is the release of my first full-length book since Single in the CIA. This latest book, a spy thriller full of humor, is set to release in October. Mission: Stand Down is the result of a compromise with the CIA. Apparently it is very controversial. After many appeals, I am very excited to have the green light to publish this one.
Many of you know that I have a page on this site where I post book reviews. Lately I’ve had some authors and publishers send me free books to review, and I’m very flattered by the attention. I only wish I had more time to read – but rest assured, I will get to reading all of them. Soon I will be adding children’s books to my reviews to go along with my CIA officer-turned-Mom brand. Most likely I will stick to “vintage” children’s books – ones I read as a child or were out when I was a kid.
All in all it has been a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of year for me. I have a couple more surprises up my sleeve that I was hoping to reveal before the end of 2017. Due to the constant roadblocks I’ve encountered this year I’m not so sure they will all be realized by December 31st, but I’ll keep trying.
I hope everyone is having a great summer so far and has a very happy 4th of July!
Just a quick summer update…
As most of you know, my books are available on Smashwords as well as Amazon and many other book retailers. Smashwords is having their 9th annual Summer/Winter Sale beginning July 1st and running through the month of July. All of my books will be 50% off for the entire month of July!
You can’t beat this deal, so check it out on Smashwords.
Lately I have been expanding my own personal brand as a former CIA officer-turned-Mom. This means lots of surprises to come during the next few months. In response to finding myself getting a lot of questions about how to go about self-publishing a book I decided to create a short instructional eBook on how to self-publish on Amazon. It was a little experiment, to see if I could create my own PDF eBook, all by myself. Created for busy moms (or anyone who doesn’t have much free time) who have always wanted to be published authors!
Check out the result on the eBooks page.
Stay tuned in the months ahead! I have lots of surprises in store for you!
From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series – Annie Goes Overseas:
…Andrej poured a glass of wine as he attempted to explain the Basque-French menu to Annie.
Basque? Where is that? Is that some kind of fish?
She tried to disguise her confusion and appear enthralled with every word coming out of Andrej’s mouth. It actually wasn’t difficult; his accent made her feel like she was enveloped in a fluffy pink cloud. She grabbed the wine glass and took a large gulp of the very expensive French wine he had just poured for her. He was so elegant, so charming, so European…
From the latest in the Mingling in the CIA series – Annie Goes Overseas:
“But I live on the west coast of Florida,” Rick wrote. The message on her computer screen baffled her.
The west coast? Where is that? I didn’t know there were different coasts in Florida? Isn’t it all one state?
Annie was interrupted by the vibration of her phone. She picked it up to greet the exotic purr of Andrej’s voice on the other end…
Join CIA officer Annie as she continues on her blundering path, dragging national security along with her. From inappropriate relationships with foreign intelligence services to entitled use of government money to fund her love life, you will never view the CIA the same way again! Annie Goes Overseas is now available almost everywhere books are sold!
As I just had my second baby, I haven’t had much time for writing lately and will likely be absent from this blog for a little while. But, I want to thank all of the people who have been supportive of my books so far. It means a lot to me to hear that someone has taken the time to read something I have written, whether they like it or not.
I have a new book in the Mingling in the CIA series ready to go, but am still waiting on the CIA’s Publication Review Board to grant its approval for me to publish the latest in Annie’s adventures. I had fully intended to have the book out prior to my daughter’s birth, but that was not meant to be (sigh). I hope to hear some good news in the near future, and get on with the business of publishing in the few spare minutes I have each day.
Again, thank you to all of you who have been supportive, and stay tuned for more soon.