Tag Archives: Body Rentals

04 – Tyrant

Adan Ramie’s word-a-week prompt wraps up this Body Rentals prologue. I worked in both the word and the photo she posted. These 684 words bring the total of the Tyrant up to 3,088.

* * *

“I, James Colin Hudson, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

John waved to the gathered faithful and smiled to boisterous cheers. He had done it; he had successfully stolen the presidency of the United States. He made appropriate dismissals of staff members and appointed enough to keep up the appearance of cleaning house and set into the motions of being president.

* * *

Several months after the inauguration, Teresa attended a private dinner with former president John Michaels. She was writing a story about what retired presidents did with their time. It was a puff piece, and she knew it, but John made sure she was at the top of the list of press invitees, and he was happy to have her around.

“Tim’s gonna be so upset that he didn’t get invited to shoot some video.”

John chuckled, “You and Tim can be there for my next great adventure, whatever President Hudson wants me to do.”

Something clicked in the back of Teresa’s mind. She viewed the whirlwind campaign with a detached perspective that she was unable to do when she was close to the story. It was the diaspora of a dandelion – each seed fluttering in the wind was a piece of the puzzle. She excused herself and went into the hall to make a phone call.

Her call was answered on the second ring; her brother was nothing if not predictable. “Tim,” she whispered after he got his greeting out of the way.

“What is it?”

“Do you have any video of any of the candidates together or with President Michaels?”

“I can look, but other than election night, nothing comes to mind.”

“Right,” she hissed, her voice getting louder with excitement. “There weren’t any Vice presidential candidate debates, either! Something doesn’t add up!”

She couldn’t have known John was listening at the door. She was comfortable with John and in her excitement made a rookie mistake: Talking about a sensitive story where others could hear her.
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03 – Stolen Seat

Tyrant (Prologues)

Here’s part three of the Tyrant prologue. The #3WW prompt is hidden in these 874 words. Can you find it?

* * *

“I would like to thank presidential candidate Parsons for being with us today, stay tuned for more right after this…”

John stood, shook hands, said a few pleasantries, and was on his way to limo number three. Since Ron Parsons was from the same political party as the sitting president, he only needed to emphasize his willingness to do what was in the best interest of the country and an eagerness to improve the people’s perception of the party and the presidency.

It was all trite and boring, but he had to play the part. He was eager to get back into his own body and a few hours sleep before the farce stared again. He managed to make it to the street entrance of the studio without incident. The long hours were tiring, but after the election, the missed sleep would be worth it.

“Mister Parsons, a word before you head off?” John paused and looked in the direction of the voice. It was coming from an attractive woman, brown hair and eyes, in her early – to mid twenties. John started to smile, but his eyes focused on her press badge. Her cameraman followed behind her and kept the camera pointing toward the ground. It was a maneuver to keep him relaxed, but he knew the press had power.

Normally he wouldn’t have stopped for an unscheduled interview, and he was about to say so when he caught a whiff of her perfume. It wasn’t anything special, some sort of vanilla scent. John’s wife had worn vanilla. His pause was enough to allow her to catch up with him.

“My name is Teresa.” She pronounced it ‘Tur-ESS-a’ with all of the emphasis on the ‘ess.’ “This guy with the camera,” she jerked the hand holding the wireless microphone over her shoulder, “is my brother, Tim.”

John gave her his most practiced politician smile, “I’m pretty busy Teresa.” He handed her a business card. “Call to set up something a little more,” he paused and his eyes roved over her professional pantsuit, “intimate,” he concluded before stepping into the waiting limo. If Teresa responded, he hadn’t heard it.

* * *

Election day had finally arrived.

John continued shuffling interviews, appearances, and speeches with all three bodies. He continued the diatribe playing all three roles: James Hudson as the frustrated outsider demanding change, Ron Parsons as the fast track candidate trying to distance himself from the current administration, and President John Michaels as the incumbent striving to ensure a smooth transition and secretly hoping his party stayed in power.
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02 – Circuit Freaks

This one is for Stephanie’s Inspiration Monday. Here’s the continuation of the Tyrant storyline. 914 more words for you:

* * *

John woke up on a gurney. He could smell the sterile environment, and he knew it would take a moment or two to regain control. He sighed. That’s part of the process, the thought wasn’t new. He could hear movement around him, and he knew from countless times before: Eyes closed is always better. When he felt his control return, he turned and saw his body lying on the gurney next to him. Everything was going according to plan. The sights, sounds and feelings were coming into focus. He knew he would be ready to perform his next task within minutes.

John sat up, and Chris came up to his gurney.

“Sir,” he whispered, “shall I get the limo ready?”

John opened his eyes and made a shooing motion with his hands. “Let’s get this thing done.” As he made his way to the limo, he stopped and stared at his still body lying on the gurney. His focus shifted up to a glass observation window above. He could see the brilliant inventor of the swapping technology studying readouts and computer screens. He had never seen Dr. Terrance Mann sleep, but assumed Mann found the time. As long as Dr. Mann was available for the switch, it really didn’t matter to John when the doctor slept. For the amount of cash he’s being paid, John thought as his lips morphed into a smile, Mann can sleep after the election.

* * *

The limo drove to a television station with a pundit that openly disliked the President. John knew he would enjoy the interview. Getting through the studio was much easier without the Secret Service tagging along.

Secret Service, he thought. They were all fools. Had he not chosen his own staff, his plan would’ve never worked. For this interview he was the president’s opposition, determined to make sure President John Michael’s cronies didn’t stay in office. The charade would’ve been ineffectual with Secret Service fools lurking about. Donning the microphone and earpiece was different; there seemed to be a slight absence of care than when he was the president.

“Mister Hudson,” the host intoned, “you heard the President’s interview today, would you care to comment or respond?”

“Thank you, I would. The President thinks pleasant words and rhetoric will win this election for his party, but I am here today to tell the American people that we cannot continue with business as usual. Drastic changes need to happen to get this country moving forward again. His administration of corrupt crooks cannot be allowed to continue for four more years.”

“Now hold on there a minute, Mister Hudson.” The host’s voice rose to an effeminate falsetto. “There has been no confirmation of any wrong-doing in the Michaels’ administration.”
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01 – The Secret in the Game

It’s been a while since the Body Rentals universe has seen any action. Chuck’s post over at terribleminds was to generate a random title and write. I finished at 616 words, so enjoy!

* * *

“Thank you for appearing on our program Mister President, I know our viewers are very interested in what you have to say.”

“It is my only hope that this transition from my administration to the next will be a smooth one – without partisan politics or infighting.”

“That is a very genial statement, considering your administration will continue business as usual if your party’s candidate is elected. There are many people out there who believe this country will not move forward unless the current administration is removed.”

“I have heard these rumblings as well, and I can only believe in the sacred institution that is the electoral process.

I suspect we will be revisiting these same issues in four or eight years, regardless of the outcome this November.”

“Well I sincerely hope your optimism of a potential changeover translates to those working in your administration.

Anyway, I know your time here is short, and I appreciate you taking the time to visit us in person.”

The president nodded sharply and smiled as the cameraperson indicated they were no longer live. The producer’s aides rushed to assist President Michaels remove his earpiece and microphone.

Secret Service monitored all actions made by these aides, ready to move if there was a threat. No threat was anticipated, but anticipation was what this business was all about.

President John Alexander Michaels turned to his press liaison and raised his eyebrows. “How was that Chris?”

“John, great segment. We will see what news bytes we get from this one.” Chris Farnze had been with John as his press liaison for many years before his presidency, even before John had been Vice President.

John served as President for ten years. He assumed the role of President after his predecessor had a fatal aneurysm at the end of her second year. There had been conspiracy theorists claiming John had been involved with her death, but, after exhaustive investigation, a congressional oversight committee cleared him and his staff of any wrongdoing. There were those in both parties who felt he should not be president, and had moved over the years to thwart his political agenda.

The fact he was affiliated with a different political party than the late president only fueled the rumors and speculation.
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Free Anthology and Other Happenings.

Stories on the Go

I’ll start out with the free anthology. Stories on the Go is an anthology of 101 flash fiction stories by 101 authors. Although I don’t rank top billing, my story is number ten on the list and some of the other authors include Hugh Howey & Lisa Grace. Andrew Ashling and the rest of the volunteer crew did an amazing job editing and producing this anthology. Go get it now!

* * *


Champion Standing will be out in 14 days. The electronic book will be an Amazon exclusive for at least the first 90 days. The paperback will be available on launch day, January 2nd. There will be different covers for the electronic and the dead tree versions. This weekend I plan to redo the book trailer with larger text. Depending on the popularity of Champion Standing, I may look into doing some sort of audiobook, but that’s further along the pipeline. You can preorder Champion Standing now.


16Sunsets has already reached the 30k point. I expect you all to see another 10k or so of the vomit draft on this blog before the end of the first quarter of 2015. I’ll figure out some sort of schedule and if the stars align, I hope to have it done before February. When the blog version is done, there will be a very limited printing available to select fans and contributors of the entire story from the blog before the rewrite gets it above the magic 50k and the long editing process begins.

The Afflicted

For the rest of 2015, I expect to finish The Afflicted and if Saturn is in retrograde, Soul Smith. I also hope to put a serious dent in the Body Rentals sequel and/or Champion Rising. Victorious Maiden, Technophobia, Eve’s Story and a sequel to Escape won’t even be close to completion until 2016.

03 – Candice


#FFC52 #3WW Let’s see, Eilidh’s 50th TiV prompt, the 405th 3WW prompt, and this week’s Wednesday and Thursday prompts from The Victorious Writer. Hey Jason, how about numbering your prompts by the day of the year? Be sure to check out Jason’s site for daily writing prompts. Here’s another 523 words for the Body Rentals sequel:

* * *

Everything about Candice was fake. The blunt nose she sported when she was younger had been tweaked to look the same as a popular actress. She had other augmentation so she would fill out the Escada Goldny Gown correctly. That is, if the Escada wasn’t also a fake. The nude tulle and silk lining perfectly elongated her figure. The slightest train was stunning, but sadly it was the wrong color. The Gianvito Rossi Rose embellished Court was a fine skyscraper stiletto, and the crystals glittered in the low light, but the heel tip was the wrong color. The Wallace Crocodile was a perfect match for the rest of the outfit, but Nancy Gonzalez would’ve voluntarily exiled herself if the stitching on the strap had come from her own line.

Even the lethargic swagger Candice adopted was purchased from the internet. She played the drunk Aristocrat, but she had been nursing the same daiquiri for the last four hours. She flipped her dyed, permed hair as she laughed at a presumably funny comment. She slapped her paramour’s shoulder. The lingering contact and Botox smile were straight out of a romantic comedy. Even the person inside the body wasn’t real.

The only thing real about Candice was her purpose for attending the party. Teresa made eye contact with Candice about an hour ago, but there was no recognition in her eyes. Teresa was only supposed to observe and report back, but she hadn’t seen or heard from Colonel Lance Bishop for more than a week. Teresa was resolute in her desire to ‘take down’ Candice, but she wasn’t authorized to do so. Only the Colonel held any authority in their organization.

“You’ve been busy since we last met Teresa.”

Teresa spun and saw a man in a suit and tie. There wasn’t anything special or even noteworthy about the man other than a lapel pin shaped like a chess piece. Teresa paused for a minute to recall the name of the piece and to ascertain if she new the man. “I’m sorry,” she replied, “I don’t recognize you.”

The man smiled. “Oh, I wasn’t wearing this body when we first met.”
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02 – Memento Mori


#FFC52 Last night I got a great email from Adan. She was reporting she really liked Body Rentals. I’ll quote her review on amazon: “I read the whole thing in a sitting, riveted to my chair as the tale unfolded.” Since a glitch or houseguests delayed the prompt until this morning, I decided to write a little taste from the Body Rentals universe. Here are 561 words:

* * *

Colonel Lance Bishop worked his wrists back and forth trying to loosen the rope binding his hands. Well, my hands for now, he thought sourly.

Danny Peterson watched from the next room. She was bound the same – tied to an exquisite wooden chair, secured to a radiator under a window. The foyer of the mansion separated the two.

The man in the suit descended an ornate staircase. He turned his back to Danny. “Marilynn is resting comfortably,” he called out to Bishop.

“I’ve taken down bigger fish that you, mister…?”

The man fingered the knight chess piece adorning his tie, walked to just inside the door and replied, “You may call me Mister Knight.”

“Afraid to give me your real name?”

The man took a step towards Bishop. “In war knowledge is power.” He straightened his tie with his hands. “In case you are unaware, Colonel Bishop, this is war.”

“I’ve crushed Doctor Mann’s organization.” Bishop smiled. “Only a few stragglers remain.”

“And remain we do. It’s a shame you won’t be around to see what we accomplish.”

“You aim to kill me?”

Another step forward. “My dear Colonel, you’ve killed yourself. I only need to keep you away from your own body until the tech kills you.”

Bishop shrugged. “Memento mori.”

Knight smiled and leaned forward. “’Remember that you’ll die?’ I think not, Colonel. Allow me to respond in kind. ‘Senza dolore, abbiamo potuto non apprezzare le gioie della nostra vita.’”

“That’s not Latin.”

“Latin is a dead. Italiano is a proper language.”

Bishop stared blankly.
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16Sunsets is up to 8575 words written. Pretty soon, I’ll hit 20% of the minimum word count to be considered a novel (that’s 50k for those of you who need to know.) There’s so much stuff I need to fit into the story. Now that the cover is done, I’m itching to write this thing. Click on the “16Sunsets” tag to read the nine installments so far.

I was toying with the idea of producing some very limited edition compilations of some of my digital-only stuff and other short stories. I may select some flash fiction items so let me know in the comments which ones I should include. There’s a “flash fiction” category for those.

For those of you who have access to a local library, head over there when you have a spare moment and request Forlorn Hope or Body Rentals. The paperbacks of both those books are offered at severely discounted prices to libraries.

Champion Standing has been finalized and proofs are in the mail. Preorders will start on October 15th with a release date of Friday, January 2nd, 2015. Champion Rising is still planned, but as I’ve said before, it’s on hiatus while I work on 16Sunsets.

Finally, for those of you looking for flash fiction prompts, here is a list of sites to check out:
Sunday: Sunday Photo Fiction
Wednesday: Thain in Vain #FFC52
Thursday: Woegman’s Tropetastic Thursday
Friday: Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds
If you know of any writing prompts on Monday, Tuesday or Saturday, mention it in the comments.

Rambling Pen


I received a shipment of my books to be distributed to a local indie bookstore. If you are in Prescott, Arizona, drop by Peregrine Books and pick up a dead tree version of Forlorn Hope or Body Rentals. Arranging a book signing there for Champion Standing is on my “to do” list, but I’m just so busy with everything. I also autographed a few books for people who have supported various projects I’m working on. The progress on The Afflicted and Champion Rising has stalled so I can work on 16Sunsets. I had originally planned on writing sixteen 1,600-word chapters, but I suspect it’ll end up being longer. I haven’t talked to Telly lately about Soulsmith, so I can’t let you know much on that project. Champion Standing is off for the final edit. I’m expecting it to be published in January instead of February, with advance reading copies available in October or November. I’d like to launch with a bunch of reviews, so those of you interested in an ARC for a review, let me know. I expect inks from Joel for 16Sunsets by the end of the week, perhaps the following week. I’m lazily working on the Paradox audiobook. I’m finding it difficult to maintain focus on it. It’ll still get done, I’m just not sure when. Technophobia is super difficult to work on since I’m chained to antique technology to produce it. It’s much easier to pull my phone out of my pocket and tap out a few sentences. Finally, updated print versions of Forlorn Hope and Body Rentals will hit the distribution channels on Monday. Electronic versions will be up on Amazon sometime tonight. Kobo and B&N have been the worst for purchases – I’m not sure if those platforms are even viable any more.

Enough rambling for today, so I’ll just close the post with this: B.J., I got pages for you to look at tomorrow and welcome to the blog.

Now Available on Libiro


Body Rentals and Forlorn Hope are now available on Libiro, the “Truly Independent eBook Store.” Same prices as everywhere else and since they are in the United Kingdom, readers there can support a “local” business. ePub, mobi and PDFs are available from Libiro. Other than purchasing your eBook directly from me, Libiro has the best author royalty.

The cover images below are clickable to the Libiro store:

Body Rentals Forlorn Hope