Flashes from the Rock is a prequel story to the psychological thriller, Gunnysack Hell.
What sends a man into the empty desert, away from everything he thought he wanted? For some, it’s the specter of past mistakes. For some, it’s the lure of gold. For Rand O’Brien, it began with a simple request: “Will you write an article for my newsletter, Flashes from the Rock?"
Accolades for Nancy Brashear’s latest seamless fusion of truth and imagination, situated earlier in the 60s amid the popular space convention/time travel trend of that time. A SoCal native herself, Nancy’s authentic voice brings alive the desert, the automotive industry, and how it felt when a family man lost his job in that era. Can’t wait to read what she writes next!
—Alison Araujo, Discriminating Reader
This quick dip into mid-twentieth century America introduces Rand O’Brien. Anyone who has read Gunnysack Hell will understand a little better the character of a man who would take his family from the comforts of their suburban home to a homestead cabin in the California desert. Anyone who hasn’t read it will find themselves heading straight to their bookseller to read more about Rand and his family in Gunnysack Hell.
—Cathleen Armstrong, A Place to Call Home Series
In “Flashes from the Rock,” Rand and Nick make a short flight to the Mojave Desert. In the 1960s, Giant Rock, which is close to Landers and the Joshua Tree Monument, was a hub of activity for people interested in UFOs and humans claiming to have been abducted by space aliens. George Van Tassel ran his Space Conventions out there from 1954-1978, with the highest attendance in 1959 estimated close to 10,000 people.
Events leading to the family’s relocation begin when Van Tassel makes Rand an offer that he can’t refuse. While “Flashes” is fictional, it is set within the context of some true (and imaginary) events that occurred in Giant Rock during the time frame of this short story. The bonus content explains some of the strange phenomena that affected Rand’s narrative.
Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, and textbook chapters. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child.