Excerpt Contest: The Housewife Assassin's Antisocial Media Tips

Updated: Nov 21

Launches Friday, February 18, 2022

Amazon / Apple / BN / Kobo



Donna and Jack are ready for their close-ups as fake-famous overnight sensations in order to expose who among several very popular social media influencers is passing U.S. state secrets to foreign agents.


Chapter 1

Social Media

How social is social media?

Well, that depends on who you are—and why you’re on it.

For example: if you want to show off the cake you’ve just baked, post it on Instagram.

(Word of caution: before posting, take a quick tour of the platform using such hashtags as #cake or #dessert or #sweets to make sure your culinary gem is staged and lit as appetizingly as Insta’s usual eye candy. Otherwise, no comment literally means “No comment.”)

Want to humble-brag on your children? Then Facebook is the platform for you! There, you can show off to your heart’s content. (Reality check: are your friends’ offspring even more accomplished? Whether the answer is a grudging “Yes” or a relieved “Hell, no...” be prepared to thumb-up the photos of their kids as well. Otherwise, they make give tit for tat. (Again, in this case, silence is not golden.)

Now, if you want to rant about the lousy disservice you received at some chain store, Twitter is where you post it. The store will certainly see it and reach out to you publicly—

But then follow up with nothing that resolves the problem. Why should it? Its one measly tweet was proof it feels your pain, right?


Which shows you just how antisocial media really is. Tweeting or posting—even creating a silly TikTok video—may give you a few seconds of satisfaction, but it tallies up to nothing of real worth, let alone satisfying actions.

Instead, get out on the street and wave at someone. Or knock on a neighbor’s door with that cake. Better yet, write a letter: to an old friend, enclosing those photos of your children.

The ripple effect may take your message much further, and the response you get back will mean much more to you.

Especially if it’s accompanied with a smile.


It’s two-thirty in the morning and I’d rather be anywhere but behind the counter at Grannydoo’s Pie Diner on the desolate, godforsaken corner of US-395 and Searles Station Road.

In other words, I’m out in the middle of nowhere: the Mojave Desert to be exact, and fifteen miles as the crow flies to the Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, California.

Frankly, you won’t see any crows in this neck of the desert. They know better than to fly over the base, and for good reason: they’d get wiped out by an air fleet of F-16s programmed with Artificial Intelligence. Now, every maneuver—be it air combat, reconnaissance, mission planning, or logistics—is foolproof.

It’s DARPA tech wizardry at its finest.

And no other country has anything similar—

Which is why one of the base’s mechanics—a guy named Winston Pettigrew—put out feelers to the Chinese to see if they’d want an SD card containing our swarm warfare technology. Winston’s job is to load it onto the fleet’s cockpit computers. At some point, he downloaded the software.

Of course, China leaped at the chance to get its hands on it.

Luckily, our pals, the South Koreans, intercepted Winston’s coded negotiations. They handed it off to an asset who works for my employer—the US government-sanctioned black ops organization, Acme Industries—so that both South Korea and the US can claim no knowledge of foiling China’s scheme.

That’s where I come in. Winston arranged for the hand-off to take place here, at Grannydoo’s. When the time comes—tonight, in fact—I’ll be conducting some sleight of hand: swapping Winston’s card for one of our own, which is embedded with a trojan that will release faulty algorithms when the US deems fit, and crash China’s air fleet.

After Winston’s contacts go on their merry way with the wrong SD card, Jack and I will arrest the seller and destroy the card holding the stolen intel.

Rest her soul, Grannydoo is long gone—but not far off. Just to Palm Springs. With the payout of a seven-million-dollar Lotto ticket, she bought a mansion built in the middle of a whole lot of sand, and a few cabana boys to boot. She gifted the diner to her nephew, Bucky Doolittle, who is the diner’s short-order cook. When I applied for the waitressing job, Bucky—a sunburned sixty-something desert rat—looked me up and down (breast to thigh,

anyway) and candidly declared, “You’ll do just fine as the overnight counter cutie. The shift begins at midnight and runs for eight hours. You’ll make ten bucks per, plus whatever tips you can wangle out of the tight-assed truckers who stop in here.”

“No, sir,” I said. “You’ll pay me minimum wage, just as the state mandates.”

To make my point, I smacked my bubble gum so hard that Bucky ducked. I suppose he thought one of the sixteen-wheelers rumbling down the road had popped a tire.

He must have liked my giggle—more than likely, he liked the way my breasts jiggled when I guffawed—because he grudgingly told me I had the gig.

Lucky me.

He had no choice. No one else had applied. Acme made sure of that by scrubbing the job notice from the closest Craig’s List feed.

Since setting the date, Winston has shown up a couple of times. Frankly, I think he chose the place because its lousy food ensures that he and his contact will be left the only ones in the joint. The first time he came in, he nursed a cup of coffee and took a bite of his pie and almost gagged.

My boss, Ryan Clancy, was so worried that Bucky’s rancid cardboard-crust pies would give Winston a case of the runs and that the traitor would choose another drop location that he begged me to bake homemade pies for the diner. At first, Bucky was reticent to take me up on my offer. But after I whipped up one of my apple pies and served it to him, he quickly changed his mind.


“It’s like heaven with a golden-brown crust,” he sighed.

“Is that a tear in your eye?” I asked.

He nodded, then honked his nose into a paper napkin. “What can I say? I’m sentimental.”

“Do you mean to tell me that Grannydoo’s pies were once this good?”

He snorted at that. “Nope. She always bought’em at Costco.”

I didn’t have the nerve to ask Bucky where he gets his pies.

The next time Winston showed up, I gave him a large wedge of my chocolate pecan on the house, just to assure him it was edible. I could tell by his shit-eating grin that he liked it.

Or maybe he appreciated the way my breasts peeked out from my push-up bra when I bent down to refill his coffee. Does it matter what keeps him coming back for more? Nah. Not when our national security is at risk.

Winston is here now. He walked in just an hour ago, scanned the diner, then took his usual seat: the third counter stool on the left. It’s the furthest away from the big screen TV hanging over the grill: a suggestion I made to Bucky on my second day at work. “It’ll keep the patrons in their stools,” I predicted.

He now grudgingly agreed I was right again.

The cheapskate jerry-rigged the TV with a rope that runs from the wall to a couple of unanchored ceiling hooks, so that it is tilted. “That way, the bar customers don’t get a crick in their necks,” Bucky explained.

“You’re asking for trouble with that set-up,” I countered. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the vibrations from one of the big rigs flying by this rickety shack send it crashing down on your head one of these days.”

Some twenty minutes ago, two truckers sauntered in before Winston. They’re sitting at the counter a few stools away, directly under the TV. They seem transfixed by a replay of the Giants pummeling the Dodgers.