…Bloud was an experienced [text is redacted here] officer, in his fifties, whom I had heard much about. 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. I did not have many friends in the office and he seemed like an interesting drinking buddy, so one day after work Bloud and I went to a nearby bar for drinks….
Annie strikes again. Your first introduction to one of the swamp creatures in my series, Mingling in the CIA:
…Her whole career was in limbo and she was going through something called mediation with her former supervisors. This was a process whereby she could contest the citation for bad behavior they had placed in her file. In any other workplace I knew of she would have been fired for not calling in when sick, not to mention dropping the ball on some highly sensitive intelligence during a critical time, but in the Agency there really did not seem to be a way to get rid of people who were bad employees. It was called “passing the trash,” and Annie would just be moved from assignment to assignment for her entire career….
…Annie was another of the many women I encountered at the Agency who made me wonder how on earth she passed the psychological exam to get in. She was a masseuse on the side and she often told me stories about giving married men “happy endings.” Some of the men were Agency employees. She seemed proud of this activity. One day, after I had come back from my TDY medical exam, she loudly proclaimed that I could not possibly be done with my medical travel clearance because I hadn’t met with a psychologist yet. It crossed my mind that maybe she should not be so open about this information. Apparently, if you had red flags in your psychological history, the medical office would have you meet with a psychologist before you were allowed to go on even a brief TDY. I had not met with one, but was granted my travel clearance, so I was set to go. Annie was one of the main people who made me question the Agency’s hiring process…
In anticipation of my newest book’s release and launch, I want to highlight some of the swamp creatures we have met so far in my series, Mingling in the CIA. Having spent most of my career in Washington, DC, I’ve had broad experience with many types of swamp creatures. This experience gives me plenty of material for my books.
…Annie was a twenty-something-year-old, borderline obese girl with the mentality of a twelve-year-old. She had been hired into the Agency by way of the Office of Security, where she was sent to training to become a background investigator. Apparently she had some issues while there, and also did not pass the investigations training class, so she was told to find another job within the Agency. At this point in time, the NCS was pretty desperate for SOOs, and Annie got a job there – the NCS, the directorate most people think of when they think of the CIA and national security – the “tip of the spear.” I noticed this happened a lot – when a newly hired officer was identified as having some issues, instead of documenting it or perhaps even terminating the employee, they were just moved to another position in the Agency. Part of this phenomenon was likely due to the high cost of the CIA’s hiring process and clearing someone for access to classified information – Top Secret clearances did not come cheap, nor did they happen quickly….
It’s time for my annual self-promotion, hopefully just in time for your holiday gift-giving. If you have any book lovers on your list, try out one (or more) of my books this year! I’ve seen some delays in shipments of hardcopy books, but e-books won’t have any delay and are perfect for last minute gift-giving. I have adult-themed books about my time working as an intelligence officer in the CIA, and I have children’s books that have nothing to do with the CIA – both picture books and a new elementary-grade chapter book series, just begun this year! My books are available online anywhere books are sold, and are likely in some brick and mortar stores (authors always love it if you request their books in brick and mortar stores because then the stores will order copies!).
My first book, Single in the CIA, is a comical memoir of my life in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency. It takes you through my adventures as a young, single woman in the intelligence world, and focuses only on my personal relationships while I was there – no work talk! It’s meant to be fun, but it ends up being sort of sad, if you realize that the book is set in the “premier spy agency”. Kind of disturbing, actually. This is the book I am most known for, and it began the series of books that I have now written, and continue to write.
My series, Mingling in the CIA, takes readers into the lives of officers in America’s premier spy agency. These short novelettes each focus on an actual real person I knew at the Agency, and takes the reader on a (hopefully fun) journey into their lives. I am currently working on the latest in this series, where you will meet a new character!
Mission: Stand Down, is a true-to-life spy thriller – my most controversial book yet. This one had the censors up in arms! It is highly redacted, but I still think you can get the gist of the book and it is one of my best.
Mommy Thinks She’s a Monster is a touching children’s picture book about moms and motherhood written from the perspective of a young child, who only wants their mommy to be present in their life. This was my first children’s book, and it was so much fun to do. I worked with a great illustrator, Paul Sewell, on this one – he was a delight to work with and he really brought my idea to life.
The Lemon Seed is a children’s picture book about thriving in adversity and flourishing, even in dismal circumstances and environments. This was my Covid shutdown project. In the very beginning, when we were the first in the country to be shut down and masked (Washington state had us beat on the first shutdown), I decided to challenge myself and see if I could illustrate my own book. It might not be perfect, but it is meant to look “homemade” and I’m really glad I did it.
A Manatee Miracle, the first in The Adventures of Shelly Beach elementary-grade chapter book series, takes young readers on adventures in the Florida Keys with a magical paddle boat. This book kicks off my newest series – this time for young readers. With this series, I hope to introduce kids to the wildlife of the Florida Keys that I was so lucky to grow up surrounded by.
Happy Reading & Happy Gifting!
If you’ve ever had the mistaken belief that the federal government knows what it’s doing, you have got to read my books!
…It was hot, unbearably hot. Sweat dripped off of his forehead as he looked out at a sea of multimillion dollar yachts. He gripped the battered briefcase full of money with his left hand.
It’s too hot for this shit.
He spotted a bar across the docks and made his way over into the dusky shelter of its doorway.
He had gotten the approval to go to the boat show and purchase a yacht suitable for his operation. The finance officer at Station had reluctantly counted out an enormous sum of money and watched as he stuffed it into the old briefcase that had been lying around the storage area, unused for years. He was still a little irritated that they wouldn’t approve his purchase of a super yacht – they would only grant approval for a regular luxury yacht. He had also requested the yacht be fully staffed, but Headquarters did not approve. How was he supposed to manage a yacht without a full staff? The thought of it made his blood boil.
Feeling increasingly disgruntled, he decided to duck into the bar and have a few drinks. He was sweating profusely at this point and was having a hard time breathing in the humid Florida air.
Tossing the briefcase full of cash on the bar, he sat down on a bar stool which barely supported his ample rear end…
This excerpt was taken from Mingling in the CIA: Bloud.
Don’t believe the doubters ….I always have many, many doubters. No matter how many times I prove them wrong, they still doubt me, but it’s almost like it encourages me to prove them wrong yet again…
I had a really great interview with Kerrin Black of Talent Finders – you can check it out here:
After the sometimes agonizing process of inventing/creating and manufacturing a physical product, I needed to get back to writing – it’s much easier!
One of my other former colleagues at the CIA was the perfect inspiration – with his backstabbing and douchebaggery – he stuck out in my mind as the perfect lead character for the next in the Mingling in the CIA series. With that, Bloud was born!
In this installment readers continue to get a disturbing view into the daily life of the officers in America’s premier spy agency. Before the swamp was called the swamp, Bloud personified the cheating and fraud inherent in the bloated bureaucracies of the U.S. government. Don’t worry, it’s a fun ride though!
Annie 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, the reader will never view the CIA the same way again.
And yes, this is based on an actual real person at the Agency!
The first character I featured in the Mingling in the CIA series was Annie…. Yes, the character is based on the very same Annie from Single in the CIA. You may remember her. She turned me into Security for traveling to visit my forbidden boyfriend in a foreign country, without permission to travel.
Though the novelette is fiction, she is a real person out there who worked with me at the Agency. Scary, right? Oh, if only you knew!