Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM HEATHER STRICKLER: Whirlwind of Stars (Mythic Roads Book 1)

Some worlds end in Fire
Some in Ice.
A whirlwind swept Karsus away.
Sarah Macaran survived. Kidnapped, struggling with strange powers. She stowed away in the Toto’s cargo hold, but Scarcrow and the Toto’s crew have other worries: Dorothy vanished.
Can Sarah unravel the mysteries before the Wind finds her? Or the Witches of the Galaxy take matters into their own hands?

FROM MICHAEL LORTON: The Missionaries

Ron Rothman has nothing to lose. He hates his job; his marriage is disintegrating. When he crawls out of the smoking ruins of an automobile on the outskirts of Bangkok, leaving his wife’s lover dying in the front seat, the police suspect the wreck was not an accident. When he begins an affair with the dead man’s girlfriend, that suspicion becomes near-certainty. Krasaung Phiwang is a detective in one of the most corrupt police departments in the world, but he is an honest man and a good cop. Now his job—and perhaps his life—depends on finding enough evidence to convict the American of murdering his rival, whether he is guilty or not.

FROM WILLIAM MEISHEID: Beginnings: Book One of the Chronicles of the Lawgiver

The year is 1292 B.C. and Egypt has almost recovered from more than a generation of turmoil. Begun by the “Pharaoh who is not named,” the nation was plunged into social and religious chaos by a leader who overthrew the historic gods of the Two Lands in his desire to follow a single supreme and all-powerful deity, which he named Aten.

The powerful priesthood of Amun-Ra blamed and sought destruction of the Hebrews for corrupting the forgotten pharaoh with their heretical religious ideas. However, they sought to accomplish their annihilation in a way that would not destroy the economy of Egypt since the Two Lands had become dependent on Hebrew labor. By killing all newborn males, the blight would gradually be removed from the land within one generation.

Now, during the fourth year of a fledgling dynasty, a new threat is taken from the waters of the Nile by the sister of Pharaoh: a Hebrew child who should rightfully be put death as an offering to Sobek, the crocodile-headed god. However, the princess is childless and abundant signs and portents signal the gods have an opinion in the matter.

Through numerous twists and turns of an eventful day, Pharaoh and his priests seek the will of the gods in council, while Nephura, the Chief Priest of Amun-Ra in Memphis, seeks his own resolution to the problem. Before the day is out the destiny of two nations is forever changed as the name of Moses is first etched into the annals of history.

Discover possible answers to questions that have long remained problems such as what happened to the edict and why wasn’t Moses put to death as required by the law.

FROM GERALD L. HALL: Unwanted Gifts

Stewart Williams was a seemingly ordinary man working for a Defense Logistics Agency office. But he had inherited an extraordinary family gift to create objects seemingly out of thin air and to heal people with a mere touch. When Stewart uses this gift to heal his wife Sarah, help his community, his state and America. His act leads to an year-long adventure with many twists and turns. With the aid of several friends from his church, Stewart and his wife go into hiding from a hostile President B.H. Arnold with a hidden agenda once their identity is discovered. Because of the unexpected consequences set into motion by Stewart’s incredible act, events lead to a massive terrorist attack on America and an even more dramatic response on the part of Stewart and his wife.

FROM DANIEL ZEIDLER: Ghosts of a Fallen Empire

In the distant future an isolated human world has survived the Nomad Wars and the Fall of Imperium. Together with their non-human allies, the Dussakairay and the Bregus, they repopulated and rebuilt their devastated region of the galaxy to form a 40 system Commonwealth. For over five centuries the people of the Commonwealth have known only peace and prosperity, but an ancient enemy has been watching from the ruins of the old Imperium, slowly rebuilding their forces, and waiting for their opportunity to reduce the Commonwealth to ashes. The founders of the Commonwealth may have given up their Imperium, but they did not give up all of the Imperium’s secrets. Now the only hope for the people of the Commonwealth lies with the Ghosts of a Fallen Empire.

Are you looking for a fun and entertaining science fiction story with action, adventure, intrigue, a little humor, and dash of romance? How about one that also has star yacht racing, thrilling space battles, and clever, daring heroes you’ll enjoy rooting for? If you answered “Yes!” or even if you answered “I’m not sure… maybe?” then Ghosts of a Fallen Empire just might be the story you’re looking for!

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Simple Service: Science Fiction Colonization Adventure (Martha’s Sons Book 1)

They’re stranded beyond the known stars. Will Peter Dawe’s perilous mission with a brother he despises end in death?A lost starship’s settlers, isolated on an uncharted alien world, manage to terraform a mountain-ringed valley into a rich replica of Earth. Despite their success reproducing the environment they need to survive and thrive, only tenuous forces hold together the human colony on the world of Not What We Were Looking For. The governor’s appropriation of the western settlers’ weapons for the city strains those bonds to breaking point—and then beyond when Peter Dawe’s father sends him to get the weapons back.

Twenty-year-old Peter Dawe’s restless nature easily endures the lost colony world’s rigors. His genetic modifications make it even easier. So when Peter retrieves the family weapon, he also brings back a motorbike, a piece of technology no longer available to everyone.

It would be a fine prize to keep to himself. He won it. He earned it. He quickly learns that his brother Simon lies in wait to take what isn’t his. Simon wants more than just the motorbike. He wants Peter’s glory.

But when Peter’s father forces him to take his hated older brother on Peter’s next mission, the pair must not only navigate the city’s perils and politics but learn to work together—when neither thinks the other should be in charge. Their success—and their very lives—depend on it. Or will Peter be proven right that he should have faced this task alone?

Simple Service is the first book in the immersive Martha’s Sons science fiction series. If you like gripping action, insurmountable odds, and alien worlds, you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s tale of a man determined not to let family ties sabotage mission success.

Buy Simple Service to pull off the impossible today!

FROM ELLEN KUHFELD: Secret Murder: Who Shall Judge?

In the days of old, life could be cheap.
Death, however, could be very expensive.

“There is one problem. And here he comes, at this very moment.”

Yes, Thorolf Pike was trouble. Declared an outlaw and exiled from his home, he had come from Surtsheim, where his fellow Norsemen lived, to Northlanding, where English settlers lived. Now he was dead, by an unknown hand. Who killed him? And, should the murderer be judged by English law, or by Norse law, for the crime of secret murder?

FROM HENRY VOGEL: The Hostage in Hiding

In a family full of heroes, Nora Connaught is the normal one. She’s never fought space pirates. Never saved anyone’s life. Never done anything remotely heroic.

Now she’s 18, and going off to college on another planet. Nora hopes she’ll finally get to live a normal life.

But life never goes as expected.

After pirates hijack the starliner she is traveling on, putting thousands of lives at risk, Nora must live up to the Connaught name.

Can she cast her own heroic shadow?

FROM HARDING MCFADDEN: Making Monsters: -stories

Welcome, all, inside the head of Harding McFadden! With open arms, he invites you to visit with an assortment of strange guests: a robot on a forgotten world, and a deadly visitor on Halloween night in Sleepy Hollow. The undead at the end of the world, and the last cursed soul thereon in his workshop at the top of the Earth. A barbarian, charging at a beast from beyond the stars, and an incredible heroine, looking eye-to-eye at forever. Here are tales of old friends, and lost loves, the world under our feet, the furthest stars, and points in-between. Won’t you visit for a while?

Five Stars: “It is an amazing book, can’t stop reading it. Harding McFadden and Chester Haas did an amazing job with keeping the reader intrigued through out the entire book. I highly recommend, can’t wait for the next one.” Amazon review of The Children’s War

Five Stars: “A great adventure book exploring important themes for today’s society. Godchick is an interesting and entertaining character that still manages to come off as believable, with relatable emotions and experiences.” Amazon review of The Great First Impressions Trip

Five Stars: “The book was really amazing, I could not put it down. I read some of the stories over and over. It has easily become one of my favorites. Harding Mcfadden has easily become one of my favorite authors. Can’t wait for his next book!!!!!!!” Amazon review of The Judas Hymn

FROM ROB HOBART: The Sword of Amatsu (Empire of the Sun and Moon Book 1)

For four centuries, the Empire of the Sun and Moon has been torn apart by war as its samurai Clans fight for the empty throne of the Emperors. The Gray Wolf Clan is one of only six Clans remaining, but faces a deadly threat from the more powerful and ruthless Jade Dragon Clan. Yet the greatest threat to the Empire is not the bloody ambitions of its samurai. The shadowy followers of the Cult of the Mask, worshippers of foreign demons, burrow through the Empire’s society like worms in rotten meat, growing in power year by year.

As battles rage and conspiracies fester, the fate of the Empire will turn on the actions of a handful of samurai. The young lord Ookami Akira, trained by monks to be a master of war but desperately ignorant of the Empire’s civilization, must learn to be the ruler of the Gray Wolf Clan or he and his people will perish. Kuroi Kaede, a naïve girl forced into an unwilling marriage to Akira, must master the courts if she is to survive. The lowly magistrate Kobayashi Mitsui is the only one in the Empire who recognizes the true scale of the threat from the Cult of the Mask. And the murderous wandering swordsman Kenji may hold the fate of all in his blood-stained hands…

FROM TONY MCKINLEY: The President’s Suit: How Dr. Applebreath and the Little White Ball Saved the World from Nuclear Annihilation

What would be the opposite of a Black Hole, a gravity source so powerful that not even light can escape it? The opposite would be a negative gravity source so powerful that nothing can even touch it! Dr. Applebreath has been developing energy weapons and defenses for decades built on this concept. JJ’s President’s Suit is a lightweight business suit that employs this principle to render the wearer invulnerable to small arms fire by absorbing the incoming energy of approaching projectiles and reflecting them back with equal momentum. Farley’s Anti-Gravity Ballroom enabling dancers to swim and float through the air under the towering ceilings employs the same principle. Then one Christmas Eve, in the Satellite Ballroom that shares all information sources on the planet, our heroes see that nuclear war is erupting between the global super powers. It’s time to save the world, it’s time for The Little White Ball!

FROM KYRA HALLAND: Daughter of the Wildings Books 1-3

In the Wildings, magic can get you killed.But sometimes, it’s the only thing that can save you.

The gunslinging mage. The rancher’s daughter with a dangerous secret. Together, they must stop a renegade wizard before the dark and deadly power he’s discovered destroys everyone who makes the Wildings their home.

And the adventure begins…

If you love magic, adventure, and romance in a unique setting, come discover the wonders and mysteries of the Wildings with magical bounty hunters Silas Vendine and Lainie Banfrey in this innovative epic romantic fantasy-western series. This ebook collection contains three full novels: Beneath the Canyons, Bad Hunting, and The Rancher’s Daughter.

Contains language, violence, and mild to moderate sensual content.

FROM LARRY DENNINGER: Songs for Clara

Rochester, New York, the summer of 1986. While clearing out the attic of his childhood home, Frank Stephens discovers a hidden collection of songs, composed by his father, for a woman named Clara.
But his mother was named Louise, and she died of cancer eight years ago. His father, now living in a retirement home, is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and is likely unable to give an explanation. Even if he could, would he? Their relationship bears scars of lifelong unresolved arguments and grudges. Despite these obstacles, and his sister’s objections, Frank is determined to discover Clara’s identity.
Frank is convinced his father was unfaithful. His search for the truth uncovers secrets and promises, which causes him to reconsider everything he once believed to be true – about his life, his parents, and his future.

FROM WILLIAM ALAN WEBB: Standing The Final Watch: (Last Brigade) (The Last Brigade Book 1)

America might be dead, but Nick Angriff will kick your ass to resurrect her.

Lt. General Nick Angriff has spent his adult life protecting family and country from a world of terrorism spinning out of control. On the battlefield, off the grid, in clandestine special task forces and outright black ops, Angriff never wavers from duty. But when a terror attack on Lake Tahoe kills his family, he’s left with only the corrosive acid of revenge… that is, until a hated superior officer reveals the deepest of all secret operations. Against the day of national collapse, a heavily-armed military unit rests in cryogenic storage, to be awakened when needed, and Angriff is named its commander.

Fifty years later he wakes to find the USA destroyed and predatory warlords roaming the ruins. Stalked by assassins bent on seizing his command for their own purposes, Angriff has to prepare for war while avoiding murder.

Because the only wall still shielding survivors from slavery and death are the men and women of The Last Brigade.

FROM RACHELLE AYALA: Red Hexed: Ruby (Love Charmed Romance Book 2)

When all you need is beauty, and the Devil’s serving boy needs you to play dead—with Hella, the Norse Goddess of Death.

Ruby Rush lost her face to a fire and has been in hiding ever since. When her best friend brings her a magical mirror, she finds herself through the looking glass with Roger Rok, a demigod son of the Norse God of Love.

He’s looking for a berserker sword to stop the end of the world, and in return for her help, promises her a beauty beyond her wildest dreams. But bargains, as well as mirrors and hearts, are made to be broken—especially when Ruby comes face to face with Hella and is whisked away to her icy realm of death.

While Ruby fends with Hella, Roger must deal with the conflicting desires of Odin, Loki, Hella, and Freya while a shapeshifting horsefly turned cockatoo leads or misleads them on their journey to stop Ragnarok.

Ruby tries to protect her heart, and Roger does his best to charm and protect her into helping him navigate modern day San Francisco. As the end of the world draws near, will Ruby discover that Roger’s professed love is not an illusion? More importantly, will Ruby and Roger find what they’re truly looking for?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: CROW

A Poxy, Diseased Lot

For reasons known only to the psychiatrist he doesn’t have, last night most beloved husband subjected me to songs from Mama Mia! (As if growing up in Portugal in the seventies I had been insufficiently punished with ABBA.)

This might explain why this morning I woke up with “Mama Mia, here we go again!” running through my head.

Well, it might but it doesn’t, not really. Because what caused it was the “Monkey Pox.” And I know I’m not the only one to remember the “overturned truck of monkeys” where they were being hunted down and anyone touching them was supposed to report because well, they carried some virus. I know I’m not the only one, because a reference was made at Ace of Spades.

So, I assume this is attempt 354 to “reduce the world population” by the idiots who drink their own ink by the bucket. But I’d like you guys to note they’re not particularly competent. They are in fact, drawers at pretty much everything. They are where they are because they’re good at power seeking, but that’s all they’re good at. Science evades them. (They only say they love it to get it into bed.)

I read the articles on the Monkey Pox very carefully. It’s identified as a “very dangerous” disease, but not a LETHAL one and people identified as having it, seem to be okay after a set of antibiotics.

Also, whispered around the edges is that it’s propagating mostly between gay males, and I don’t need to tell you that it doesn’t spread that easily given the very few cases detected outside Africa.

So, why has the establishment set its hair on fire, and started running around like mad people?

Well… Mama mia, here we go again!

Remember despite the unmitigated disaster that was the covidiocy, the left got what it wanted which was to steal the election, to lock people up, to control the economy and determine winners and losers. (And yes, they are indeed doing such a bang up job of it.)

So, yeah, they want more of it.

Expect the panic ramped up to 11. And expect them to try to force “monkey pox” (I understand it’s like small pox) vaccine at us. Yeah, it’s an MRNA vaccine, looks like.

I had small pox vaccination. I also had small pox, back in pre-history when I was actually apparently 2 and a half. (I thought it was three, but the spread map says 2 and a half. Or just before 3 at any rate.) Which is why the small pox vax left no scar.

Your mission if you should choose to accept it is to be obstreperous and difficult and loud right now, right from the beginning.

There are always diseases going around, it doesn’t a plague make. Right now, there’s no proof this is dangerous to humans in general.

They don’t get to force me to take injections of anything, unless I get to inject vinaigrette into ten politicians of my choice. (I have a little list.)

No, they don’t get to lock us up. Oh, they want to. As I told you before, when governments lock up or curfew their populations, it’s never because they’re scared of whatever the excuse for it. It’s because they’re scared of the people. THEY SHOULD BE SCARED. They’re not locking us up.

It’s time to make “Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, and your head goes on a pike” a thing.

Go forth and be ornery.

Global WHAT????

Because the left lives in the stupidest world — the one inside their minds — their new pet concept they’re dying to inflict on you, me, and our unsuspecting kids is “Global Majority”.

What the heck is Global Majority? Well, you see, the lizard people who are incredible racists, keep track of all gradations of skin color. Except, of course, when people of darker skin colors disagree with them, which makes them white.

Lately they’ve become obsessed with the idea of “white supremacy” for instance, which might make some sense if they were living anywhere in Europe up to the early 20th century, or in South Africa till the late 20th century. What it doesn’t make any sense, in fact in fact is in the US, the only truly multi racial, and mostly peaceful society in the world. I mean, I don’t know about you, but except for some very isolated areas, pale blonds are as rare as dark Africans. Most of us are a shade of mutt.

Ah, but you see, “White” is defined as…. well, having a job. Going in on time. Paying your bills. Or what we call “being a functional human being.”

But that’s because the lizard people are bizarrely racist. They think if you’re functional you’re white. Which means they don’t know (or understand) Americans.

And in that, we’re in good company.

You see, since we’ve started rejecting their insanity — okay, we have rejected it for a long time, but now we can fight back, and they’ve gotten crazier — they now pin their hopes on the world.

And they pin their hopes on the world, because the world — you see — is … wait for it: not white.

Therefore, the rest of the world is going to defeat the west because… They’re the majority. The GLOBAL majority.

First, I want to point out that the great thinkers of the left — referred to as “lizard people” because I’ve given up on their understanding people — are pulling the impressive, amazing gambit here that is known as “My big brother is going to come and beat you.”

Second, I want to point out they have to be aliens. Because they’ve never met a human, in the history of ever.

Look, there is no Global Majority. Only the most arrant racists could believe that. These people of extreme and insane pallor (and privilege) look around the world, see tan people, and say “Ah, all of them will band together and be a majority.”

Who was it who talked about ideas so stupid only an intellectual could believe them?

Look, even countries in Europe don’t consider each country a single race. I was born in a country so small you need a passport to swing anything above a day old kitten, but there are at least three distinct “races”. And no, they’re not the ones that the US considers races, though, yes, these days there’s immigrants from various places. But here I’m talking about groups of people who were around since say, the early 20th century. Portugal is at least three distinct cultural/physical “groups.” Great Britain, let’s not go there. France– never mind.

And then there is Africa. You know what? Africa has tribes, and each tribe considers itself a separate race. (Just one of the many reasons that “African American” is a multi-level lie, starting with “no African identifies as “African”” and ending with “Most African Americans are genetically what’s known as Caucasian and have never been closer to Africa than watching Black Panther.”

Asia is a multitude of tribes even more fractured than Europe. Possibly as fractured as Africa.

Then there’s Central and South America where — I hate to break it to the left, truly, I do — not only do most people there identify as “white” no matter what they look like to you, but they also are, for real, white supremacist, preferring paler people and looking down on the dark skinned.

In fact most of the world considers themselves as “white.” The only people who think only blond and blue eyed people think they’re white are naive and stupid American racists leftists.

Global majority my sore patootie.

Dear leftists, if you knew any humans who don’t live inside your head, you’d have noticed the only thing more human than screwing and — if at all possible — making babies with anything that looks even vaguely human (witness all the variety of fossil humans whose remains we find in caves, just before realizing they are also in our DNA) is to point at your brother and claim to be a totally different race/culture/species than your brother.

Global majority! If the world in general understood these idiots, they’d be laughing too hard to speak. Or beating up on the left for calling them non-white.

You know what, left? Keep screaming for Global Majority to come and beat us up. They’ll come right after they’re done exterminating those weirdos in the next village over who are clearly a different race.

The truth, dear idiots, is that you’re locked in here with us.

And the voices in your head aren’t going to help you.*

*No, not even if you give the ‘reality divergent” status as an oppressed minority.

I Feel The Ground Shifting A Blast From The Past From September 2018

*Okay, first a confession — when I said they’d go crazy, even I couldn’t foresee 2020. Dear Lord, I swear I never saw it coming. Though, you know, as bad as it was it might have been worse. (I don’t know how, but it might have had land sharks in it or something, okay??) The rest? Yeah. Okay, so, as a consequence of 2020 things look…. uh… “Dicey” (that’s the polite way to put it.) But even then, remember, most of your anxiety is probably not real. Maybe it’s why I sound slightly saner just now. After all, when the going gets weird, the weird go pro. Be not afraid – SAH*

I Feel The Ground Shifting A Blast From The Past From September 2018

kitten-2482743_1920

Cats are more sensitive to noise than we are. When I was doing work with orphan kittens — most of your local shelters will take kittens any age. Most euthanize those under 8 weeks of age, which most state laws view as being too young to adopt. Some people like me volunteer to raise litters to 8 weeks of age, which is often 7 week stints of having infants, with all that entails. As my health got worse, I stopped doing it, so I haven’t done it in close to ten years. Might do it again, when some of our feline geriatrics go to their reward — one of the women in our support group said she’d been delivered a 2 week old kitten who was in shock. Someone had transported him in a tin bucket (lined with warm towels, mind) on the handle bar of a motorcycle. The person doing it, had found an almost-dead kitten, wanted to take him to a rescuer, and had not idea their hearing is far more acute than ours. (The kitten survived, btw.)

Posit a kitten whose mom gave birth under some piece of industrial machinery, with all the noise and clanging. If he doesn’t go deaf, he might adapt to a quiet life, as an adult, but he’ll probably still deal better with chaos and confusion than your average cat.

In a way I am this kitten. Due to things too hard to relate, and besides not mine to tell, things were already semi-unpredictable before the revolution. They hit full potato after in that I couldn’t predict what would be next. Like…School could start 1st of October or… whenever. One year it was January. Our curriculum was not what my brother and father had studied, not even in vague outlines. It could change, for that matter, at any time during the year, both courses (in Portugal you don’t select them. You get them assigned per-school year) and what courses taught. Your commute home could be fine, or there could be a sudden strike, and you had to walk home (if it was both bus and trains on strike.)

There was no rhythm, no pattern, no pathway to adulthood.

And then when things were stabilizing, both in the country and in my life, I moved overseas. It took me a while to realize all my assumptions — and therefore most of my actions — about how things worked were plain wrong. I’m sure there are some minor things I haven’t figured out yet, because they’re internalized when people are pre-verbal.

Though my new environment didn’t contain surprise strikes, or pitched street battles when you least expected them, it was completely unpredictable TO ME. (My misreading of real estate cost us dearly in our first house. But I came from a country where you bought a tiny home and it grew with you and you stayed there for life.)

Then we moved… well more or less every five years for the last thirty. We stayed in last house 13 years because most of it I felt too ill to move. But then we had six moves in a year and a half (some of them partial, some kids, but still disruptions.)

I’m as “adapted” as our kind can be to disruption and chaos. Which is still not very well. I still feel confused and upset when I can’t predict what the best path is, when I can’t make the “noise” and confusion stop.

Most people want tomorrow to be a little better than today, but not markedly different. They want to raise fat babies and fat, happy grandbabies, and predict what gets them there.

They get downright testy when the path to get there keeps changing and they have no clue where to go or what to do to get to that happy outcome.

Right now our disruption is mainly technical. “Mainly” but it soon flows out to the rest of the world. The French Revolution and probably WWI were convulsions from the big tech change of the industrial revolution. Because when people are unstable, things go nuts.

And we’re at the beginning of such a period. On and on it goes, where it stops nobody knows, but hell, the last echoes will probably resound 500 years from now, particularly if things keep changing.

Which means people are getting — to coin a phrase — their cheese moved all the time: jobs, politics, expectations, ways “things have always been done” within jobs and families. The inevitable is no longer inevitable. The impossible and unthinkable might be improbable, but they do happen. “Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.”

I’m not better at this than anyone else. I dearly love security and predictability, I just think a little clearer through the mess, because I’m the kitten who grew up in the machine shop.

So — some things I know you might want to think about:

1- You’re not crazy. You just feel that way. Our brains are wired for the neolithic (if that.) We don’t do well with fast changing situations.

2- Most of the anxiety you feel is not real. Look, when you were a neolithic farmer, and a lot of things started changing, it was sure as shooting some bad invaders would raid your farm one night. So you had to be alert and paranoid all the time.
Sure. I don’t want you to do things like ignoring your surroundings, but I also don’t want you to die of stress. Take a deep breath. Yeah, it’s crazy, but you don’t believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history. Your world is being rocked, but not jack-hammered into the ground. Chances are good you’ll be fine. You got this.

3- Our friends and neighbors who believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history? Their world is getting jackhammered. Worse, their ways of reacting that always served them well are doing worse than backfiring. They’re not doing anything. Worse, they’re used to being in power, and in having “privilege” for having “the correct opinions.” That’s not really paying off anymore. Even in publishing where the establishment abides, there’s less and less cheese to go around, which means the other rats are turning on you.
I’m not saying you should pity them. Oh, heck, you should, yes, but considering what has gone on in the past, most of us aren’t that saintly.
Just understand the crazy stuff they do and say is because they lost their moorings, not because “they were always inherently bad people.” (Though some, of course, were. People will be people.) They’re really really scared, and scared people do crazy stuff.

4- So, you, stop being scared. Yes, there’s a possibility this all goes to buckets of blood, but I can guarantee those who see a boot stomping on a human face forever in our future are not taking in account a bazillion factors. That type of thing works in fiction. Reality is more complex and frankly the boots haven’t been permanently successful anywhere, even the parts with the worst record in that regard in human history.
Take a deep breath. Half of what you’re feeling is due to perceived chaos and instability and the people for whom the chaos and instability threaten fundamental beliefs. You’ve got this. Most of us will be fine.

5- This is no time to run around with your head on fire. Conversely it’s no time for a nice nap either. Roughly half the population (not all of them hard left, or even left) is out of their minds with panic. Roughly 90% are somewhat scared. All over the civilized world and some of the semi-civilized. Scared people do crazy things. Be aware of your surroundings, particularly when traveling abroad, but in our fair land, too. Have a plan of escape/survival if things go strange, at all times. Just don’t obsess on it. Having the plan will help you feel less anxious, and increase your chances of survival should things go wrong. Think of it as the spiel on emergencies when you board a plane. Chances are things will be fine where you are, at that time. But there will be rough patches. To survive the rough patches, your back brain needs to know what to do.

6- Think about the specific change around you and in your field. The way changes are trending is not always obvious — in publishing right now I swear things change every six months — but they can be guessed if you think about it. Nothing trad pub has done so far has really surprised me (except perhaps for how long they’re taking on the way down, but I know non-fic is still profitable, and there’s parent companies and stuff. So my surmise of how fast it would all go South has always been broad “two to ten years” say.) Some turns Indie has taken have shocked me because they’re due to Amazon changes, and I can’t anticipate those.
You don’t have to foresee ten years in the future, and thank heavens, no one needs to foresee 100 (unless you’re an immortal.) Even science fiction is less forecasting than “what would be cool” and “what would make my story more fun” and then finding a plausible way to get there.
BUT if you’re a few months ahead of the rest of your field, your town, your business, you’ll do very well. It’s like surfing on the crest of change, without getting pulled under.

7- That’s it. Take a deep breath. You’ll do fine. You got this. Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated. Be not afraid.

Be Not Afraid

Yes, things are getting scary.

You must remember we’re not Sri Lanka. We have resources they don’t have, and we’ve never gone completely crazy the way they have.

It is part of the tragedy of the world that the crazy ideas our intellectuals come up with are tried by little countries with no resources, because their bright young men attend our universities and take the craziest things seriously.

But we’re not Sri Lanka. Even California (and it’s crazy) isn’t crazy enough to mandate all organic farming. And other states are better, almost all of them.

Yes, we’re going to have a shortage of fertilizer, and the weather has been wonky (would you believe “return of ice age pattern?” Not saying it will return, by the way, because there are a lot of variables and “climate science” is a bad joke. we simply don’t know enough.) so our crops will be scant.

But we live in a country that makes each one of us the top 1% of the world. If the time comes that we’re starving, most of us, then all the rest of the world is dead.

But —

Our institutions have been corrupted by these crazy ass air dreamers. They’ve forgotten history and they’ve lost sight of reality.

They have power of a sort, but reality has more power. And most of us aren’t crazy.

So, that’s why everything is coming undone, splitting apart at the seams.

Which means …. things aren’t going to be comfortable.

And for people who aren’t resourceful, who won’t scramble, particularly if they live in the big blue cities, things are going to get down right uncomfortable and at times sportive.

And perhaps those of us who can should help our friends who have a little more trouble. Maybe. Be careful you’re not getting in trouble yourself, but lend a helping hand, if you can.

America is large enough, varied enough, strong enough we’ll be okay.

But it’s going to get bad. Really, really bad. For the rest of the world, more than for us. Shaky here.

A way of life — and the statist, centralized way of life has been prevalent for a hundred years — doesn’t pass away without pain.

Birth never occurs without pain, either.

And the ending is a beginning, too.

Let’s make it the beginning we want.

Let’s do our best. For ourselves, for the Republic. For civilization. For humanity.

It Has To Die Here

This is not a post about the pandemic. Well, not that pandemic.

More about the peculiar cult — malware for the western civilization — known as Marxism.

But first let’s talk about how a virus works, okay? Bear with me. I know I don’t precisely — snort — write hard science fiction, and there is a reason for that: I wanted to write exciting and “cool” stories like the ones I grew up reading. This requires setting them five hundred or ten thousand years in the future, and a lot of handwavium, so we can have anti-grav devices and the like. Look it’s possible, for a definition of possible. A lot of what we do now was considered impossible in the past. (And if you’re going to say their science was defective, do you really believe we’ve discovered everything as is and can be, world without end?)

But the one thing I researched very carefully for the Darkship books was biology, which to be honest has long been a hobby, but also because that was the crux of the “change to society” I was introducing and playing with.

In the process I spent a lot of time reading books about biology. And let me tell you, viruses are fascinating little biological machines and one of the ways to deliver a “change in DNA”. Because what they do is get into a cell in your body, defeat your immune system, and start pumping out copies of themselves.

Given long enough, and not killing you, part of their DNA becomes part of your genetic code. It is believed — and please, remember despite the very knowledgeable noises emanating from that area of science, that genetics is in its infancy, like physics in the late 19th century — that a lot of our so called “junk DNA” is remains of viruses our ancestors contracted and fought off.

Marxism works a lot like a virus. In the wake of weakening by the two long wars in the 20th century, what was a minor intellectual obsession of particularly maladapted intellectuals — like writers — took over our cultural institutions, and started pumping out copies of itself.

It did so by defeating our immune system, by convincing those that should have known better that the long war had happened due to ultranationalism and not through stupid early attempts at internationalism (What do you think the royal marriages and imperialism were? They were certainly not national.) and by convincing most of the older — tired, often left childless by the war — people who ruled intellectual life that the young people had a better idea, one that would stop war and bring about instant earthly paradise.

(Note when any philosophy, or religion for that matter, promises paradise in this world, with no more suffering or death, you should take a step back and then start running very fast. Says she who has been reading about cults. It’s a very old promise, and it always ends in tears and blood. Man, the creature, was made to strive, and barring some redemptive, transformative external to us and by definition divine event that gives us back Eden, we can’t go back there. Angel with flaming sword. Or you know, mass graves of communism. Whichever.)

And so all the institutions were infiltrated. All of them. It started with universities, but it went on to politics, to public life, and is now spreading through the hard sciences.

It spread particularly through America because — and this is hard to explain to you if you grew up here — the future comes from America. Other countries tend to look at what we’re doing and imitate it. They accept our irreproducible research as the gospel truth, and they try to do what we do.

This is how European cities became infected with homeless. Because the USSR had managed to convince our psychological establishment that when we imprisoned people we were just like the USSR and that the mentally ill were only political dissidents traumatized by “capitalism.” So, you know, the only decent thing was to let them go their own way and de-institutionalize them.

And unfortunately in the sixties and seventies, European universities used American textbooks and manuals.

I have heard from both academics and people in business in Europe that it’s almost impossible to work for all the “Woke” everywhere. This is because they not only took American research, but they have a tradition of worshiping intellectuals. So while we take it with a mountain of salt, they piously believe it. (Part of their conceit is that they’re smarter than we are, and therefore respect “the science” more.) Which btw explains how hard they fell for the covidiocy, and why they’re having a lot more trouble than us pulling out of it. They don’t know, as we do, our scammers and frauds. And they have trouble cocking a snook at them. While we frankly are born snook cockers and do at every opportunity.

Here, what is preventing us from completely speaking out against the nonsense, or openly ignoring them, is that a lot of people are where I was when I decided I had no more copulation to give and started telling the truth and shaming the devil.

Your job, your credentials, your very ability to function in society depends on not saying the king goes naked. Because if you do all opportunities will melt, and you’re suddenly unable to feed your family. (Why, it’s starting to make me think of my fundamentalist friends and their apocalyptic visions, even though that’s not my tradition.)

Recently one of you asked what hope we have of fighting back against that. If the people who are in the institutions, or even simply who have jobs can’t rebel, all hope is lost, and yadda yadda black pill.

Oh. Sure. It could be that way. In another universe. One in which the Marxists can run anything without falling on their faces. A universe in which Marxism is congruent with reality and doesn’t need to keep generating increasingly crazier theories to cover up its blatant failures. More importantly, one in which — as for many years it was here — Marxism is invisible.

Viruses persist and reproduce at massive rate as long as they can convince the body they don’t exist. That they’re part of the normal functioning of the body.

Or the body politic.

Once they are detected and visible, by the guardian systems of the body, the body fights back against the infection.

Look, for Marxism to work and stay in power forever, humans would need to be creatures that can be molded into something completely different by government. No, seriously. This was part of Marxist theory. Like most Christian heresies, it removed G-d, but retained the “you shall be made anew”. They thought that self-interest and greed were not natural, but things introduced by “capitalism” (the fall.) And that removing capitalism could make us into perfectly selfless, communitarian beings. (Well, it’s sort of true, since what they called capitalism are normal means of exchange between human beings — or possibly apes. There’s evidence, looks like — when you remove that, people die in batches, which means they become indeed selfless. Also very peaceful.)

So, when they take over, things stop working, fast. As they have in almost every institution that has gone “woke.” — Yes, now spreading to the hard sciences.

And every time they fail they come up with crazier things more distant from reality, so now we’re supposed to believe the most multi-racial (and to an extent unseen since the Roman empire, race-blind) nation that ever was is plagued by “systemic racism.” And you can’t tell what a woman is. And men and women equally can give birth, and–

There is a difference between promising that once workers seize the means of production there will be paradise, and claiming that your son is really your daughter if you only let him be castrated, or that you should eat bugs (these people have no clue how much bugs eat to produce scant protein) to save the Earth, or–

The point is they can only keep hold as long as their insanity isn’t visible. Marxism needs complete — complete — control over the means of communication to succeed.

Even then the wheels come off, which is why neither China nor Russia can feed themselves.

“Capitalism” being natural is adaptable, and can survive a lot of intrusion and body-blows, and will chug along as long as not completely stopped.

Meanwhile Marxism needs secrecy, protection, complete vigilance and that no one with a remote bit of sense look at it.

When you’re saying “If people in the institutions can’t rebel because they’ll be cancelled, we’ve already lost” you’re looking at it wrong.

Sure, a lot of people who are on our side — a lot of people who read this blog — are keeping their mouths shut so they can eat.

But what you have to do is look at this the other way: In the forties and fifties, “progressivism” was out and proud. Even the GOP was progressive. It was believed the government not only could but should perform great intrusions upon the economy, to lead us to the great paradisical future. Price controls were considered sane, and the only way to go, to prevent people from starving, etc.

Now, yeah, they still would like to have price controls and all the attendant intrusion, but they keep running into a public who knows that’s crazy cakes. And not just that, but the craziness of locking up healthy people to prevent disease is obvious, and it has caused — alas mostly in the US — a healthy bout of disbelief in the gospel of “science.”

Yeah, people in “positions where they should talk” can’t because they’ve been muzzled at the cost of their ability to survive.

But turn it around. If the left had really won, if their way worked, if they had absolute power and had convinced everyone, why would they be trying so hard to muzzle speech? Why the shrieking attack on the first ammendment? Why the threats to revoke professional licenses, or the ability to be employed if you step out of line?

Because they know they’re a small minority, barely holding on to power. At some level, too, I think they know that cannot last. It’s the only reason I can figure for pre-appointing a successor for a supreme court judge who maybe might retire, perhaps. Because they think it’s their last chance.

Now, you’ll say “But they can hold onto power indefinitely by threatening people.

Can they? Can they really?

Look, in every occasion in history that this happened, where a small but vocal minority held the reins of power, while the people under them no longer believed in the tenets that held these people in power — be they the divine right of kings, or the little red book — the result is that those people fall. And usually they fall hard.

Now, it’s entirely possible that America — we tend to work weirdly — will manage a soft escape from this. Maybe. Part of the thing to remember is that the people at the top of the crumbling, tottering lefty edifice are old. I mean, really old, and often more cognitively impaired than people their age should be. (Does alcohol and drugs really silence conscience? I don’t know. I do know it seems to impair cognitive abilities. Significant look at the FICUS and Nancy Grey Goose.) Part of the reason their “rule” seems to have gone extreme and, let’s face it, insanely surreal, is that they are in a hurry. They’re out of time to “win.”

Their problem is that they’re now in the open. And everything they try to do to stop the not so subtle disgust and rebellion of the masses only makes them more disgusted and rebellious.

Now they’re comparing everything to “another 9-11” and can’t imagine why that doesn’t work. And they spend six months market-testing a slogan to turn people against Trump, and come up with Ultra-MAGA and “The MAGA king.” And can’t imagine why it blows up in their faces. (As for me, if you spell out Make America Great Again, I’m not Ultra-MAGA. I’m Super Ultra MAGA, with special MAGA powers, and sharks with lasers on their heads, and every day from this blog, I let out the cry “Ultra, Super MAGA: ASSEMBLE.”)

Seriously. They are that out of touch, and that desperate.

And it’s bad. For them.

Go read any book of political theory. Regimes can survive anything but general public derision. Once that starts, the fall will happen. Fast or slow, soft or hard, but it will happen. You can survive people hating you. Not people laughing at you.

Now, yeah, they’ll do a lot of damage on the way out. And because of the enforced silence, it will take a long time for people to trust professionals. ANY professionals. This will not be helped by what will seem like waves of overnight turn coats in everything from the arts to science. A lot of them will be people who are finally free to talk, but how do you distinguish that from those who will say anything to stay in power?

You can’t. Which is how Russia became ruled by old Soviet horrors. And Germany ended up with Frau Komissar Merkel.

So it is important to not lose sight of that, and to be ruthless and practical about who we choose to trust and why.

They have already lost. They can’t hold onto power.

They can only extend their hold a little bit by convincing us to give up. And to stop pointing out they’re wrong. And to — LOL — stop laughing. That last one is the most genuine expression of rebellion, and the most impossible to stop.

Their regime is an hot house flower. It can only survive so long as they control everything, and even then not for long, because reality always kills it.

Ladies and gentlemen: in the measure of the possible (and I do realize that might be very little where and when you are) point out the incongruences. Make fun of them, even if it’s no more than let’s go Brandon or I did that stickers. Do not let up.

Light up the Marxist virus, and point it out, so the immune system of western civilization can work. Sure, they’re everywhere. Well, that just gives us a target rich environment.

They can only work in the dark and in secret.

Let the sunshine in.

Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike With a BONUS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

BONUS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

This is a public service announcement: I’m so angry I’m shaking right now. No, not at anyone on this blog, or anyone who sent me links, and not my background anger at politicians.

Let me explain: A lot of you are enthusiastic and confused. A lot more have trouble reading directions. That’s fine. I have been there sometimes, and done the most bizarre things by way of asking for promotion or some other favor. No big.

HOWEVER this week, in the batch of requests for promo, I got a — not unusual — offer of free chapters, and a line to not-Amazon.

While I usually prefer to link for Amazon, because, yes, I earn a commission, I’ve been known to link to books not on Amazon, if I can figure out how. Though I first look to see if the book is on Amazon and link that if I can. (Hey, it’s money, and while I do this because I love you, I also do it for money if I can.)

This one seemed to be a small publisher, and the book was not on Amazon. So I set up to link to the publisher, but sent the writer back a message about “if you’re not on Amazon your publisher isn’t serving you right.”

However, as I continued putting up books, the name of the publisher kept bugging me. I was sure it was on a list of scams.

They are probably not scammy enough for the law, however they are DEFINITELY a vanity publisher. Which means the writer published through them is unlikely to see any money (the publisher makes the money from the writer.) AND they’re unlikely to see any royalties, since the house makes no effort at selling the book.

In this day and age of indie publishing, it is painful to me to see ANYONE giving money to be published, and getting nothing in return.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE: Always remember: MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR. If it isn’t flowing to the author and you’re paying a so-called “publishing company” to publish you, they have no reason to SELL your book. Their business model is to get paid by you, not by readers.

IF you don’t know how to publish your book indie and don’t want to spend time submitting to traditional publishers, ask in the comments. Yes, you can HIRE copyeditors, cover artists, etc, and bring the book out yourself, under your full control. No, it’s not the same as having a “publisher” ask you for money.

Please, I beg you with tears in my eyes: before giving money to a vanity publisher, contact me, or Cedar Sanderson, or TXRed, or a dozen other people. We can at least point you in some direction (even if my time availability is crazy right now.) And I can send you the names of copy editors and cover artists. (I can do a post with those, if people want.)

JUST don’t give away your hard work, and pay for it being buried out of sight of the buying public. You’re better than that.

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

NOW UPDATED AND IN PAPERBACK AND HARDCOVER: Odd Magics: Tales for the Lost

Odd Magics
This is a very strange collection of fairytales, recast for modern life. In it the prize isn’t always to the fairest, the
magic is rarely to the strongest.
But lonely introverts do find love, women who never gave it a thought find themselves at the center of romance.
Doing what’s right will see you to the happily ever after.
And sometimes you have to kiss an accountant to find your prince.

(And yes, I feel bad about the price for the hardback, but the production costs are high. Apparently.)

FROM STEPHEN PALMER: The Unlikely Candidate: A Novel of Politics, Religion, and the Media

After completing his second and final term as governor of Mississippi at age fifty, Jeff Ackerman is seeking direction for the next stage in his life. On a whim, Ackerman decides to run for president in the 2016 election against incumbent Democrat Upton Landers. Landers is a reasonably popular sitting president during a time of peace and a stable economy. The well-known Republican politicians elect to sit on the sidelines for the 2016 election, implicitly conceding re-election to Landers. This leaves the Republican field open to squishy moderates, has-beens, and never-have-beens such as Jeff Ackerman.

The Unlikely Candidate takes the reader on a thought-provoking and sometimes infuriating journey into the Oval Office, Air Force One, a New York City newsroom, the pulpit of an African-American church in Detroit, and the headquarters of an agribusiness conglomerate in Iowa. One part political commentary, one part media criticism, and one part Christian apologetic, this novel prioritizes ideas and ideals. Author Stephen Palmer weaves various threads into a compelling, fast-moving narrative that keeps the reader thinking while anxiously turning pages.

After a successful twenty-year legal career, Stephen Palmer retired from a major international law firm at age 46 in order to focus on writing and public speaking. He’s originally from Jackson, Mississippi and now lives in Marietta, Georgia with his wife Jennifer and their two daughters.

FROM MARK DOUGLAS ROBBINS: Killing Deep States: How to Spread Freedom

Thomas Paine said almost 250 years ago, “government even in its best state is but a necessary evil “. In ten pages KDS shows how a $10.99 political donation initiates feedback on government spending. This short pamphlet (1 hour), modeled on “Common Sense”, leans into unique processes implemented using technology, and existing proven systems, to give free people control of their governments.

FROM CLAYTON BARNETT: The Fourth Law

23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time. Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely-functional smaller states, and vast swathes of barbarian badlands. Her sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead.

Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd, but dear friend, whom she met online: a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image.

Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seeks only a quiet, normal life. But, that past and her present conspire against her. A new Morning has come, and with it, delights and terrors, happiness and adversity.

FROM DALE COZORT: Snapshot42-Book2:Through The Texas Gate (Snapshot-42 Book 2)

Snapshot42: Through the Texas Gate is an alternate history novel. In early November 1942, with World War II hanging in the balance, an invisible wall cuts Europe, along with parts of the Middle East and North Africa, off from the rest of the world. With the Allies running out of vital raw materials from the rest of the world, they look for ways through the wall. They find two gates to other realities. One leads to a still-independent Republic of Texas that still uses black powder weapons and is barely holding off fierce nomad raiders, while another leads to a strange land without people but overrun by still-living dinosaurs.

Jim Bridger and Colonel Tillman need to buy oil and food to keep the allies in the war, but first they have to survive fierce new enemies in these new-found realities.

FROM JERRY BOYD: Hand Jive

Andre runs into trouble, riding with Rachel, while he’s on leave. By the time he’s back on duty, Rachel has decided to join up with BSR. Her first job is a doozy, though. She has to keep the twins out of trouble. Slavers show up again, with hopes of getting the company out of the way. After the fleet explains the error in their ways, they head out to check on a new planet. A stowaway causes trouble for Topper, but it turns out for the best.

FROM KARL GALLAGHER: Captain Trader Helmsman Spy (Fall of the Censor Book 4)

Niko Landry needs to infiltrate the Censorate to find a weakness before it launches its next assault. The Censor bans maps of hyperspace, forcing freighters to find their way by word of mouth.
He and his crew will pretend to be ordinary traders while finding out all the secrets they can. Any mistake could leave them broke . . . or executed.

FROM TONY ANDARIAN: The Massacre of Lannamon: Dawn of Chaos 2 – Hell Gate, Part III (Sanctum of the Archmage Book 4)

A new constitution prepares Carlissa for an era of enlightenment. The harsh traditions of the past fade, and a promise of freedom stirs the air.
In the space of one terrifying day, that promise is shattered in a bloodbath of fire and magic.
Thousands of years ago, an epic battle was fought between good and evil. The demon lords had opened a door to the realms of hell itself, and their horde threatened to overrun the earth. But the Kalarans, led by the hero Calindra, destroyed their hellgate and drove them from the world.
The Great War has long since been lost to myth and legend. The Church struggles for relevance as the people forget their covenant with the gods. A renaissance of freedom and learning stirs the air in the modern age of Carlissa, led by the royal family, and the wisdom of the Archmage.
All of that comes to an end when a dome of shimmering magic appears in the capital city.
The people fight desperately to survive the chaos that follows, and wonder bitterly why the gods seem to have abandoned them. Their only hope lies with the magic of the Archmage — and his, with a young princess who never wanted to rule. She must find the strength to set aside her bard’s calling and take up a battle against impossible odds, or surrender her land and people to the Black Magus and his demons.
In The Massacre of Lannamon, the city’s refugees fight desperately for survival, but their prospects become ever more bleak in the face of the advancing demon horde.Sanctum of the Archmage, Volume One – Dawn of Chaos
Dawn of Chaos, Book 2: Hell Gate
Hell Gate, Part III – The Massacre of Lannamon
Note: An earlier version of this book appeared as part of the novel Dawn of Chaos, published briefly on Amazon in 2017. That book has now been re-written and expanded into a series of six novella-length installments.

FROM B. RENE SHEKMER: Restoring Order: A Detachment 3 Novel.

A young college student is kidnapped while on summer vacation. Her father, a U.S. diplomat, has the connections to involve the CIA and he does not hesitate to use them. Detachment 3 is given the assignment to find and retrieve the young woman. From Northern Virginia to the Mediterranean, the team follows the available clues in the search for Sofia and her kidnappers, who turn out to be more than mere criminals.

FROM DENTON SALLE: Not Snakes, Exactly: A Hall of Heroes Short Story

When Megan reached out to the Brotherhood over the odd old woman who came to her church, she wasn’t sure what to expect. Especially after the Greek Orthodox priest who gave her their contact info insisted she be blessed first. But the old woman was so adamant about needing them.

She never expected to find the monsters and creatures of Ukrainian and East European myth. Nor that the strangeness would invade her professional life. But that old woman warned of doom overhanging her West Texas city.

A story from the Hall of Heroes, where the legends of East Europe walk in Texas, and sometimes even cowgirls need to deal with them.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: laborer