EXECUTIVE ORDER #17,342

EXECUTIVE ORDER #17,342 By Chuck Waldron   FAKE? IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE, RIGHT?       Stuart, Florida “Zup, Billy? “Did you see all those cool army trucks?” “No. Where?” “At the fairgrounds. I’m on my bike. There must be a hundred. They’re still coming.” “No way.” “Way. You gotta get down here and see for yourself.”   ɸ ɸ ɸ ɸ ɸ   Cedar Rapids, Iowa Sitting in his office, Dan was daydreaming, woolgathering his grandmother would have said. The smartphone on his desk began to vibrate, keeping the sound off, a courtesy to his cubical mates. Yawning, he picked up the phone. There was a text notification. SARAH: “Military trucks driving past.” DAN: “What? How many?” SARAH: “I quit counting. WTF?” DAN: “What kind?” SARAH: Mostly big ones. DAN: “What direction?” SARAH: “Just looked. Somebody got out of one of the trucks. OMG, looking up at me. They are all turning in at …” DAN: “What?” Trying several times, Dan turned off his phone. It didn’t make any sense. Finally, he took a jacket off the hanger. Trying not to be concerned, Dan knew Sarah wasn’t given to speculation. Something about the text ending the way it…

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TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN WORD

With military-straight backs, guardians of words march back and forth at the tomb of the unknown word. You may have seen it, the tomb that is, not the unknown word. It may be hard to locate . In an area rarely visited, the tomb stands at the gate of a graveyard where words go to die. Words are like people. Words are born, live productive middle years (if they survive adolescence), and fade away in the last chapter of their life. On life support, words are sometimes rescued by crossword puzzles and other word games. In their dotage, however, they are often ridiculed by young words, eager to push old, weary words aside.  They do have their own struggle. Meh was born in 1992 and took almost twenty-five years to reach adulthood. I enjoy walking through the graveyard of words. The tombstones are monuments to expressions full of richness. One day I stopped at one that said, “here lies (or was it lays) Gobsmacked.” I took a deep breath, feeling amazed, astounded even. There were adscititious headstones. Some of the words on the gravestones were even sesquipedalian. I walked up and down rows feeling quite vagarious. Sad, too. You may…

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BUILD THAT WALL! BUILD THAT WALL! BUILD THAT WALL!

A loud chant, or a quiet poem? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” In those few precious, well-chosen words Emma Lazarus captured the essence of what I like to think of as the ‘heart’ of my country. I’ve always thought it ironic, that the woman who wrote those words, a woman born into a large Sephardic-Ashkenazi Jewish family, would likely have been turned away trying to escape the horrors of Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s. At the same time a plaque with her words was being placed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the Immigration Act of 1903 was being passed, sometimes called the Alien Enemies Act. It was intended to keep out Anarchists, revolutionaries, and radical labor unionists. The lamp beside the golden door that was a welcoming beacon was now used to show the way out. That applied to foreign-born troublemakers, and the act allowed the use of administrative procedures without that pesky due process detail. We can go all the way back to 1798 and thank the men…

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A GOOD WRITING/WINE PAIRING

Wine Paring for writers?Countless times, Authors are asked what wine makes an excellent pairing with writing. After all, a master of the craft, Ernest Hemingway, said to write drunk and edit sober. Okay, writing and wine is a pairing rarely explored. So, let’s start. Some robust reds pair well while writing action. I suggest one of Italian Big B wines, Barolo, Brunello & Barbaresco. The flavors of the juicy ripe black and red fruit blended with savory herbs are complex, just what we want in an action scene. A problem for many struggling writers is cost. The Big B wines can be a tad on the pricey side. White wines? And yes, real men also drink white wine. They pair well with the contemplative writing moments. This is the time when a writer steps back from the keyboard, thinking about the next chapter or scene. Is Chardonnay to your taste? I personally lean to the dry whites like that, my fav being a Pinot Grigio. Romance writers may want some sweetness in their pairing. A Riesling or Moscato might serve you well. For the writers who just can’t kick into gear, you might try chugging a bottle of Old Swill…

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OUR UNRAVELLING MORAL FABRIC

One way to describe Moral Fabric is to view us, as a society, sharing a standard dignity through high principles making the moral fabric a keystone; keeping the social order maintained and the standards it holds high-together. Now think about ours as a sweater, woven by that great moral fabric, now three hundred and forty-one years old now. In the time since it was knitted by our founders, there have been loose threads, even rips, some people even attempting to tear it apart. Still, the sweater has remained intact. Now, I wonder if that sweater knitted with moral fabric is finally beginning to unravel, along with it, our democracy as we know it. Little did I realize that when I started The CleanSweep Conspiracy, gathering my thoughts, and notes that would eventually lead to the novel, that it was a cautionary tale. When the canary in a coal mine died from deadly gasses and stopped singing, the miners knew it was a warning. Today, with the emergence of an American oligarch tweeting us into a coma, complete with Alt Right support, can we still hear the canary of our democracy? Growing up, my parents and teachers stressed the high value…

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Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

  Is an apology in order? For all the Facebook post, all the tweets marketing The CleanSweep Conspiracy as a holiday gift? I know it comes under the heading for shameless self-promotion, but — hey — why not fill someone’s need for a 99 cent ebook. The clock is ticking, there may be a second book in the series coming out this next summer. Matt Tremain and his friends once again have their hands full. And, once again they are having a hard time convincing those in charge. So, don’t wait. Order the ebook now for only 99 cents (until December 31). Kindle version  Oh, there’s a great print edition for only $14.99. Amazon print edition So, no apology, But I do want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and winter solstice. Chuck

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TERROR, TREPIDATION, TURMOIL, TURBULENCE, TORONTO

Shameless alliteration, I know. Those aren’t words often associated with the setting for The CleanSweep Conspiracy I could never wish harm to the city, but my devious side led me to write a story where Toronto felt terror, trepidation, turmoil, and turbulence. Bombs explode. Rioting becomes commonplace, and something like martial law is implemented. It gets worse when a ruthless billionaire intends to shape a city to his viewpoint.   In my story, ordinary people try to make things right again. Matt Tremain is a blogger wondering if anyone even notices. Carling is a career cop who avoids headlines. A reporter is well-respected, but facing a conspiracy? Those ordinary people finally decide to act, knowing consequence may be deadly. I don’t apologize for the destruction of Toronto. It’s only a story, right? This can’t happen in a city like Toronto. Indeed, no billionaires are plotting to erode our society in Toronto, Canada or the United States. Privacy? The next time you’re shopping look up for any dark glass camera pods. Confidentiality? The next time you do an online search. Smartphone? What about information our sim cards are transmitting? Government listening in? The CleanSweep Conspiracy is just a story. Nothing like…

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Sharing imaginary friends since 1985

My name is Chuck Waldron, and I’m a writer. I love to write. Previously, a professional mountain climber, if you view work as climbing mountains, I now spend most of my time trying to make sense of what to do when the plot bunny bites. Having so many imaginary, yours truly is not afraid to use them. They allow me to use their voice, on occasion even demand it. Who can ignore the shouting? That leads me to write thrillers mixed with mystery and action, character-driven stories spiced with plot twists. Besides shameless self-promotion, the intent of this blog is to share the baffling task of writing. And, to find readers. I’m in awe of readers. They have the power to give a story “thumbs up” and what writer doesn’t want that? But what about thumbs down, oh no! Well, smart writers learn a lot from that too. The reader is the ultimate judge. Credentials? Does one need a license to get creative? When I found out I didn’t need a permit to write a story, it was simple. I simply started. Reading a story in the local newspaper, I signed up for a class in writing short stories. It…

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A SCARY STORY: when imagination becomes reality

A Scary story about reality and imagination, or what does a Texas sheriff and The CleanSweep Conspiracy have in common? Okay, writers just make stuff up, right? We use our imagination, sometimes straying into some rather unique cerebral neighborhoods. I’ll admit there are times I like to paraphrase that Las Vegas adage, what happens in my imagination stays in my imagination. I do understand there is often a bleeding between fantasy and reality. I don’t worry so much about reality bleeding into imagination, but when it’s the other way around . . . I think we have enough on our hands dealing with the real. It’s when we have to deal with someone’s imagination it gets scary for me. It seems to happen a lot during this current U.S. presidential campaign. But I digress from my original thought for this blog. I began my notes for The CleanSweep Conspiracy almost ten years ago. I read and heard all the speculation about the rioting that took place in Toronto during the 2010 G20 conference. Millions went into security, hoping to prevent rioting that occurred in previous G20 conferences in other cities. Intense police presence and citizens needing identity cards to go…

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A PERFECT PLACE FOR WRITING

I sometimes wonder, do most writers have a favorite place to write? A time? Should a writing place be free of distractions, soft music playing in the background? 6 am is the sweet time for me. The sun is trying to make an appearance. It’s quiet and soft sounds of jazz make the mood complete.  Sitting at my desk, I have the perfect setting to enjoy my coffee while engaging in all the delaying tactics I can think of. Sharpen pencils, check. Although I haven’t used sharpened pencils in years, if not decades. And I just have to dust and clean the desk. Organize files, check. Hah, like that will ever happen. The list of delaying tactics can get quite lengthy. I doubt if there’s a perfect time or place for writing. Just saying. If the words are coming it doesn’t matter the time or place. Computer, typewrite or pencil to paper, it’s magic when the character(s) come to life. Sometimes it helps to change, to get out of my comfort zone. That’s what I decided to do for July and August. Off to Jetty Park campground in Port Canaveral. I can write in an RV just as well as…

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