writing

List of 10, a true crime book release.

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Pre-order giveaway for, “The List of 10” release for two (2) Kindle HD 8 Tablets!
 
Pre-order giveaway #2, two Amazon gift cards, $100.00 and $50.00!
 
All you have to do is pre-order my upcoming book, then email one of us the proof and you’re entered.
 
Our emails:
theclswinney@yahoo.com
agent@rjparkerpublishing.com
 
Here’s the link:
 
Did I mention that NY Times Best Selling Author, Gregg Olsen, reviewed the book and likes it? As did Best Selling Author Peter Vronsky!
 
Chris

Free form poetry.

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The Shallows

I can’t turn away, let my eyes drift with the sea.

The beauty, her complex levels,

her almost letting go completely,

yet close enough to be rescued pulls me deeper.

In the water, on land, wherever my weary heart travels,

she is there. Bubbles mingle with timeless boulders,

intertwined like new lovers, drawing me into the current.

My heart, a ship searching for land, and comfort,

somewhere to throw an anchor, somewhere to finally settle down,

swells. Today, right now, I’ve finally found the courage

to tell her how I feel.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

The Pitfalls of Workman’s Comp.

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The suspect, after robbing a bank and holding an elderly female hostage, sprang to my left almost daring me to chase. I could hear the sirens of my partners coming quickly but a voice inside told me to pursue. We leaped over fences like Gazelle and I caught up with him with ease. We began to wrestle on the ground, it’s then that I realized he was a mountain of a man. He clearly had MMA training, as did I, and we took turns trying to pass each other’s guard- looking for an opportunity to end this. He made a move for my sidearm and that’s when the bell in my head said, “Do something now!” When it was over, I pulled myself up from the ground and instantly felt shooting pain in my back, shoulder, and arm. Uh oh.

Okay, okay. It didn’t quite go that way…

I’d like to say I was doing something great when I injured myself at work, but alas, I was not- in fact, it was as ordinary of a Thursday as one might imagine. The Ford Taurus (at least the law enforcement version) is notoriously narrow in the driver’s seat. For a fella like myself with many tools on my belt and perhaps a few extra pounds, it’s EXTREMELY narrow. In fact, most guys I know have to twist and contort their body to get out without hanging up on  the steering wheel with their gun or radio or some other piece of equipment. And that is what I did. I contorted and twisted and got out of the car near the end of my twelve hour shift and grimaced after something popped in the upper right part of my back. Fearing the fellas would “clown” me, I continued my shift and went home to pop Motrin and chase it with Makers.

Later that evening, I woke up with tremendous pain, but not just in my back, but my shoulder and elbow felt like a jackhammer was repeatedly hitting my bones and muscle. Oddly, my index finger and thumb on my right hand were also tingly and numb. Like most men, I called myself plenty of unspeakable names and sloughed off to the couch “to sleep it off.” I had hoped whatever it was would go away soon as my mom was coming to town for a visit.

I managed to make it to Saturday morning. The pain made my eyes water and took my breath away at times. I went to urgent care, and although I know the doctor meant well, he managed to make the pain almost unbearable. He shewed me out of his office and like the pill junkies I used to chase, I drove as fast as possible to Walgreens to “get my fix.” Unfortunately, the pharmacist reminded me I couldn’t drive if I took two of the medications. I drove a bit too fast and rather rudely home, ripped open the pill bottles, and took them hoping for a miracle. NOTHING HAPPENED.

Fast forward through six weeks, three doctor visits, three physical therapy sessions, two changes in medications, a pending acupuncture session, and STILL, the same pain in the same spots (and no x-ray or MRI). The only change being that instead of sleeping like a posed murder scene on the couch each night, after four weeks, I finally managed to sleep one night in my own bed. I’ve been going through Kaiser because the injury is work-related and being handled through workman’s comp. I originally bad-mouthed some of the staff to my wife, but honestly, it was the pain, lack of sleep, and my own lack of understanding my injury that was talking. Overall, the people there seem knowledgeable and friendly.

However, the pitfalls of workman’s comp is that THERE IS NO ONE TO TELL YOU WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE. Sure you can ask around and put bits and pieces of the puzzle together, but that’s not enough.

I’ve worked most of my life, beginning in high school. I’m known for being a hard worker and helping others- it’s what I do. So sitting at home has taught me a valuable life lesson: You must be about you, and not about your job. Your job cannot define you completely. You must realize that family and friends, coupled with other interests, must remain your focal point, not the job. I’m not saying my job isn’t important and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do your very best every single shift. But, if I don’t ever go back, no one will miss me. The machine will continue to run…and prosper. My employer will actually save money if I’m forced to medically retire. I’ve left no legacy at the office. I’ve built a strong and admirable reputation sure, but some kid coming up through the ranks will meet and eclipse what I’ve already done in a shorter amount of time- making most of what I’ve done obsolete. And, THAT’S OK.

I’m making dinner, even recipes off Pinterest (don’t judge), more these days. I’m reading more, helping more around the house, helping more with the kids, and I actually feel better. Having said that, there’s been moments where I’ve walked the block looking for mischief and my eyes have burned from watching too many shows on television (many of which I had no idea would EVER be on television. I’ve even cracked a few brewskies, helped my buddy with his startup company, and sketched out the outlines of a few more books. This has been an eye-opening event, one that I started out wishing like hell never happened. But now, I’m enjoying the change and looking forward to the future with an open mind.

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At 30000 Feet

The air is clear up there, they said.

Big becomes small, drama left behind, they said.

But what of the terrified child,

the one who’s never done this before?

But what of the foreigner,

the one who needs deodorant, like right now?

But what of the business man,

the one who’s talking over the safety spiel?

But what of the obese man,

the one who’s rattling my brain with his walrus tongue?

But what of the distracted stewardess,

the one who’s hips slam my not-so-funny bone?

And closer to home, what of the two boys, the ones arguing

for technology with rolling eyes like Vegas slot machines?

Charlie Brown’s teacher mumbles something, then we descend.

Wheels search, then grab, pavement. I crave coffee. Its embrace

obliterates the lousy flight, and instantly I’m grounded once again.

C. L. Swinney (c) 2015

WRITING CONTEST!!

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Writing contest for Mystery / Thriller stories “Fated Paradox” Inkitt’s latest contest is open for submissions!

What is Inkitt?

Inkitt is a free writing platform that helps authors reach their full potential. Users collaborate with fellow writers and readers to give each other feedback and improve their work. Inkitt’s vision is to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet, without having to jump through the fiery hoops of traditional publishing or wade in the shark-infested waters of self-publishing. They are opening a new writing contest for entries in June.

Mystery and Thriller – Fated Paradox

The theme for the contest is “Fated Paradox: Tales of gripping suspense”. They want you to keep them on the edge of their seats with your best mystery and thriller stories. Submit accounts of murders and red herrings, or have them biting their nails over stories full of adrenaline and espionage. Leave them breathless with your tales of unmatched suspense.

What are the guidelines?

They accept original fiction stories of any length. Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible. The contest opens on June 4th and closes on July 4th. The contest is completely free to enter, and authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest. The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

What are the prizes?

1st Prize: $50 cash, 5 printed copies of the winning story with custom Typography (created by Inkitt’s designer).

2nd Prize: $40 cash

3rd Prize: $20 cash

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Contest URL: www.inkitt.com/fatedparadox

Twitter Handle: @Inkitt

Hashtag: #FatedParadox

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What I Saw Before It Was Too Late

Normally clear eyes sting then blur.

Pedestrians scamper dodging siren echoes

smashing off buildings. Radio waves disappear,

my head flutters with life’s thoughts:

the dog needs her teeth pulled, my

wife is mad at me, the kids

start school soon, my cover car

is miles away…Calm down, you’ve

got a matter of minutes to save her.

She’s trapped in a burning vehicle

and I’m queasy. I’m there, she is not.

Tiny hair stand up on the back

of my neck. Is someone in

the shadows? What the…boom! It’s

over for me. A second Boom!

It’s over for him. Two

dead bodies, no answers, no purpose.

My first officially published poem!

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Super stoked right now. Chiron Review published my poem, Free Parking. It’s based on a murder I witnessed many years ago. Please check it out 🙂  -Chris

http://www.chironreview.com/current-issue

A Poem

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Nothing Sexy About Dope

No matter how one spins it,

the dope game is dirty, from

every angle, in every state, even internationally.

We pay bad guys, commonly

called “CI’s,” to buy dope off

other bad guys, sometimes their

competition, so we can get paper,

and knock their doors down legally.

The war on drugs, although a

righteous idea, has failed, without

a doubt, for over thirty years.

The cartels have greater resources

than every law enforcement unit combined,

and they profit tens of billions annually,

live like kings with gold-plated rifles,

Siberian Tigers, and mansions built

with walls infused with bundles of cash.

Dead bodies pile up in Mexico, and

that violence seeps into the United States.

Cops, border patrol agents, and other

law enforcement groups take the bait,

get a huge payday to look the other way,

yet they always get caught and tons of

drugs penetrate the US with alarming

magnitude. This stuff consumed me

for six years…but I have the perfect plan.

Choke the borders with money sniffing

canines, intercept every penny of drug money

heading into Mexico, use it to get

Americans off drugs. Death doesn’t

bother them, losing drugs to the police

is expected, but taking their money?

Yeah, it infuriates them to no end,

causes severe grief, forces them to

pop pills pacifying ulcers. Only then

will the real war begin.

-C.L.Swinney © 2015

Joe

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Joe

Blood and other miscreants

struggle to move through capillaries.

A faux-wood kiosk shields

the bevy of people lined up

like candy bars in a vending machine

anxious to be selected.

Lifestyles clustered in a tumbler

seek purpose and motivation to face

the grind stone, rough and unrelenting.

A loud gum-chewer smacks and twirls

surveying tempting pastries.

I grovel with sullied thoughts.

The machine infuriates my needs,

clamors, but not for me.

Finally I reach another like me.

My heart palpitates seeking true weakness.

Caffeine, and whatever I adulterate it with,

is stirred, always clock-wise,

immediately drawing every sense erect.

Cautiously, I cradle the tin cup

up to my lips and tip ever so slightly.

-C.L.Swinney COPYRIGHT 2014 by CLSWINNEY

Far From Routine

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Far From Routine.

Deputy Sheriff Smith arrived to work carrying his work boots and weathered ballistic vest. His damn locker combination didn’t work, and the bastard he couldn’t fathom working with again was standing naked a few lockers down flaunting his steroid-laden physique. Smith slammed his boots and vest on the floor, “Big deal, I’d still scrape the floor with you,” he muttered a little too loud under his breath.

“What was that?” asked “Beefcake” while he strolled over to Smith pounding his chest like a low-land silverback gorilla. He stood mere inches from Smith, invading his personal space cushion, and clenched his fists as if he was trying to squish oranges into juice.  Bustling and murmurs in the locker room slipped away, scurried to the shadows, clinging to the walls anxious for drama.

“I said big deal, I’d still scrape the floor with you,” Smith answered defiantly. He’d had it with Beefcake, his job, he’d just received a text from his wife talking about divorce, and he hadn’t even had his Peet’s coffee yet. To hell with them all. He bladed himself to Beefcake preparing for a physical altercation.

Beefcake kicked Smith’s gear out of the way and stepped even closer. His pride and integrity had been challenged by Smith’s comment, and he couldn’t let it go. The other gorillas would call him out and his place at the top of “Idiot Mountain” would be threatened if he let this comment slide. He telegraphed his next move while winking at Smith just before trying to punch him in the jaw. Smith ducked as Beefcake’s fist rammed into Smith’s locker. The others noticed a sergeant walk into the locker room and grabbed Beefcake and Smith while trying to break up the pissing contest. Some of the remaining men snickered hoping Smith would pummel Beefcake because no one liked a hot-shot.

As the sergeant walked into the gladiator arena between two rows of ancient lockers, he raised an eyebrow after noticing Beefcake was naked. He looked him up and down, pointed at his groin, and chuckled. Beefcake turned red in the face while the others realized they were still hugging a naked man. Just before they let him go, Smith’s locker magically popped open.

Smith grinned and looked at Beefcake. “Thanks ‘Fonzy.’” The room erupted in laughter and the tension exited as quickly as a parolee would after hearing, “Police search warrant!” Smith and Beefcake exchanged glances.

“You good?” Smith asked Beefcake.

He nodded. “Yup, see you out there.” Two grown men, one still naked, shook hands and the force was back to normal.

Now they suited up for the real battle. The one where a punch to the jaw would be much better than what potentially waits for them. A treacherous environment full of guns, dope, gang members, robbers, killers, villains…not to mention the crazies plotting and training every single day to kill a cop or deputy. If only I could get the opportunity, Smith considered as he laced his boots tight and donned his mangy ballistic vest.

After briefing, Smith, Beefcake, and the rest of the team went their separate ways. Some have traffic details, others have meetings, Beefcake’s headed to see one of his lady friends, and Smith rolls to Peet’s coffee. They had twelve more hours to go. If they survived, they’d get to go home…some to happy homes, some to not-so-happy homes. For most of them, work is an escape. It’s an extremely difficult job, but the stress at home, with family, mortgages, kids, bills, and the rest of it was like a pressure cooker for them. Sometimes these guys became ticking-time bombs.

Routine, if there’s such a thing, patrol continued without too much excitement. There was a parking complaint on Middlefield, and a fifteen year old girl was reported missing. The dispatcher sent Smith to the missing child call and he rolled his eyes. He assumed she would be off with her boyfriend and let me guess, her parents don’t like her boyfriend. He chuckled as it seems he’s going to be in the middle of yet another pissing contest. Beefcake was sent to the parking complaint. He didn’t respond. “Imagine that,” Smith said out loud. Hopefully the sergeant tracks him down.

Smith drove to the location of the missing child report. On the way, he stopped at a red light. For some reason he noticed a lowered Cadillac in his side and rear view mirrors. It was occupied by four people, and it was slowly pulling up next to him. A red flag in his head was hoisted, and he went from condition orange to condition red.  He heard and felt hip-hop music and saw the juveniles and young adults in the car were dressed in red. Instantly he classified them as gang members, and wondered why the younger ones weren’t in school.

They inched closer to Smith. There was a lot of discussion and pointing coming from the Cadillac. Smith didn’t like it and he found himself trying to see their hands. He slowly let off the brake to inch forward to use his door panels as cover should a fire fight ensue. The Cadillac also inched forward. They were taunting him. He disengaged the safety measures of his holster and unlocked the rifle holder. If it’s going down, I’m gonna take as many of these bastards I can with me. His pulse accelerated. He wondered how long until the light turned green. What’s my escape route? Where are the third passenger’s hands? Are they reaching under their seats? What’s my backdrop? All these thoughts raced through his mind as a bead of sweat ran from his forehead down into his cumbersome ballistic vest. He wondered if the expiration date was past due on the damn thing. I’ll check the date after my shift.

A loud bang went off behind Smith and he nearly had a heart attack as he spun his head behind him to see where it came from. He saw an old Volkswagen bug and a yuppie grinning sheepishly. Smith whipped around to look for the Cadillac. It was gone. He looked up and the light was green. Jesus, that was wild. He was still in one piece, so he continued to the missing child call.

Smith met with the parents at the front door. The father’s eyes bulged and he started gnawing on his fingernails at the sight of Smith. Smith found it odd that the man was so freaked out by his presence. He tried to be professional, but this was the third time this family had called for service. Each time he responded he found the missing daughter with her seventeen-year-old boyfriend. Smith finally figured out that the missing child’s family wants the Sheriff’s Office to do their job…raise their child. They say their daughter is out of control and won’t listen to them. Smith, during the course of his investigation of said child, had contacted the child’s school. The school felt the same as him…the family wants the school to raise their child. She received stellar grades, was involved with school activities and sports, and she volunteered time to help the homeless-far from incorrigible in Smith’s eyes.

“Can I come in?” Smith asked the father. The man shook his head and kept looking at Smith’s firearm. He didn’t answer. Smith had detected something wasn’t right, but he wasn’t sure what.

He dug further. What’s really going on here? Something about the case and the way the mother looked at him concerned him. The father seemed paranoid and kept looking down the hallway like he was waiting for someone to come from a room. He made a few phone calls and located the missing child…she was at school, where she was supposed to be. The only thing missing is the parents, he thought.

Smith was frustrated because he felt the family was playing him and the Sheriff’s Office. He had two calls for service pending now, and he was stuck dealing with a call that really wasn’t a call.

“Look, I’m not sure what to tell you guys. She’s at school and you knew it. Why’d you report her missing?” Smith was trying to read their faces, get a sense of what the hell was really going on.

The father looked at the mother, she turned away, and he looked back at Smith. He looked down the hall again and back at Smith. He looked at Smith’s firearm and back down the hallway. The hair on the back of Smith’s neck spiked. Uh oh.

“Come on guys. What’s up, and what’s down the hall?” Smith said to them while pointing down the hallway. The mother began to shake and the father looked like he’d seen a ghost.

Smith walked toward the hallway. The mother trembled and the father shuffled in front of him. He towered over the father and physically moved him out of the way.

“There’s nothing! You can’t go down there. You need a search warrant to search my house,” the father said in an almost robotic tone. Smith noticed the man was terrified. He had seen that look before, and now he was asking for a cover unit on the radio.

Smith peeked in the first room, nothing out of the ordinary. The mother was sobbing and the father continued to plead. “Stop, you can’t go down there!” Smith forged on. He checked the bathroom and the closet and saw nothing.

A hysterical scream from the mother caused Smith to shudder and then he heard it…a loud thump that came from the last room. The door was closed and he grabbed the handle. It was locked from the outside. The father was shaking now…he was white like a corpse. He stood near the kitchen with a blank look on his face.

“Give me the key, or I break the door down,” Smith growled. The father didn’t respond, but continued to shake his head. Every fiber in Smith’s body told him something bad was behind the door. He heard a siren close by. It was time to act.

“I called! I called, he’s in there,” the mother whined while fleeing out the front door.

Without hesitation, Smith shouldered the door and barreled into the room. He saw the seventeen-year-old boyfriend gagged and bounded to a chair that had fallen over. The thud! The visual and what it meant registered in Smith’s mind. He spun and pulled his firearm then bang! In the blink of an eye, he lost his hearing and immense pressure pushed him to the floor. Two more loud bangs followed during the confusion.

Smith looked up to see the father standing in front of him. He was holding a gun and time had slowed way down. The gun slipped to the floor and Smith saw bullet holes covered in blood in the father’s chest. The man slumped over and his lifeless body made a sick gurgling sound after hitting the floor revealing Beefcake standing in the doorway- smoke still lingered from his duty weapon. Smith cracked a wry smile. He unbuttoned his shirt and saw the ballistic vest had caught the bullet fired at his chest by the father.

“Damn Beefcake, next time leave her house a little quicker,” he said with a grin and wink after noticing Beefcake’s uniform was un-tucked and lipstick was on his collar.  

Copyright by C.L.Swinney 2014