Sunday Vignettes! [On Tuesday]- by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike Promo Post For Tuesday by Free Range Oyster

*Yes, we’re being rebels here at ATH again.  The Sunday promo on Tuesday, imagine that.  The thing is that when I got this I’d already put up a post, because the internet hamsters were exceptionally slow.  But it wouldn’t be fair to the people who sent in promo to just ignore it.  And while we’re at it, we’ll do vignettes too, I think I have a post around here somewhere.  Sorry about the disorganization, a bit is native, but the rest is 2016 trying to go out with bang. Oh, yeah, Sword and blood is on sale for 99c I THINK till tomorrow, when Witchfinder goes on sale.- SAH*

Sunday Vignettes! [On Tuesday]- by Luke, Mary Catelli (whose name gives this dyslexic fits.  I mean, really, which letters do I double?  AHHHHH), 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.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is — jeesh, random word generators have foresight and a nasty sense of humor.

Your writing prompt this week is:

Promo Post For Tuesday by Free Range Oyster

[Insert witty and informative text here] As always, future promo post entries can (and should!) be sent to my email. Happy reading!

Jason Dyck, AKA The Free Range Oyster

Help Hawker, Word Polisher, and Clandestine Fashionisto

Peter Grant

Stoke The Flames Higher

The Maxwell Saga Book 5

Two planets, torn apart by the same fanatics – and Lancastrian forces are caught in the middle!

Major Brooks Shelby must keep the peace, on a world where radical terrorists want submission or death. Lieutenant-Commander Steve Maxwell must trace the source of their fighters and funding, deal with diplomats, and fend off a nosy journalist.

The marines are up against smuggled explosives and suicidal martyrs, while a suborned bureaucracy stymies the investigation. Brooks and Steve must find a way to stop their enemies at all costs, before the fanatics unleash their own version of Armageddon!

Leigh Kimmel

She Dreams Day and Night

Nancy White they called her, a good, solid name for a troubled girl. But she knew her father had called her by another name, before he disappeared through the gate into another world of strange stars and stranger moons. No matter how hard the staff of Hildred House try to force her to forget, she remembers. And longs to reopen the gate, to rejoin her father on that alien shore where cloud-waves break.

The Wonderful Traveling Medicine Show

Surrounded by a family who were happy with life in their West Virginia mining town, Janeen struggled against the pressure to keep her head down and conform. A dreamer, everyone said, Just like her father. And look what that got him, dead in the Turkish war. But Janeen knew she was meant for a wider world, and one day it came to her in the form of a broken-down steamer and its mysterious owner.

Henry Vogel

The Fugitive Pair

Matt & Michelle Book 2

Matt Connaught wants nothing more than to enjoy life with his new wife, Michelle, and to catch up on lost time with his parents, who were held captive for seven years. As a member of one of the wealthiest families in the Terran Federation, this should be easy.

It’s not.

Because Matt is psychic. If anyone outside of his family discovers his secret, he’ll be taken from his family and forced to serve in Psi Corps. When Federation agents come looking for him, Matt and Michelle have only one choice—to go on the run.

But how can they hope to escape from Psi Corps, when the Corps has the full might of the Terran Federation behind it?

The Scout Trilogy: Three Planetary Romances

Return to a future…

Of bold galactic explorers and lost space colonies, where beautiful heroines and brave heroes battle treacherous villains with swords and airships.

Return to a future…

Of planetary romance and high adventure, where action moves at the speed of light and danger lurks around every corner.

Return to the future… of The Scout Trilogy!

Here, for the first time in one volume, are the adventures of David Rice, Terran Scout First Class, who crash-landed on the lost world of Aashla, rescued and befriended Princess Callan, heir to the throne of Mordan, and found himself thrown from the space age to the steam age in the blink of an eye. Marooned without hope of rescue on a world of primitive airships, treacherous air pirates, royal court intrigues, and bloodthirsty monsters, David struggles to learn the ways of his adopted home-world, at the same time as he struggles with his growing feelings for Princess Callan and his iron determination to change just one thing: Aashla will not remain lost!

Includes the three novels Scout’s Honor, Scout’s Oath, and Scout’s Duty.

Scout’s Law

After two thousand years of isolation, the lost colony world of Aashla has reestablished contact with the rest of galactic civilization. Princess Callan of Mordan, and her royal consort, Terran Scout David Rice, were the people who made that happen. Now, they lead the mission to ensure that Aashla’s unique culture is not overwhelmed by the galaxy-spanning Terran Federation.

But on a routine inspection tour of Federation scientific outposts, Callan and David are horrified to find an abandoned camp and a mass grave. When an unnatural storm knocks their airship out of the sky, they’re forced to confront their worst nightmare.

Someone has smuggled forbidden galactic technology onto Aashla—and whoever they are, their trail of murder and destruction has only just begun…

Sword and Blood



The France of the Musketeers has changed. Decades ago, someone opened a tomb in Eastern Europe, and from that tomb crawled an ancient horror, who in turn woke others of its kind.
Now Paris is beset by vampires, the countryside barren and abandoned. The Cardinal has become a vampire, the church is banned, the king too cowed to fight.
Until now, the three Musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis have stood as a bulwark against the encroaching evil, their swords defending the innocent and helpless.
But last night, in a blood mass, Athos was turned into a Vampire. And a young vampire orphan has just arrived from Gascony: Monsieur D’Artagnan.
Things are about to get… complicated.
This book was originally published under the pen name Sarah Marques.

81 thoughts on “Sunday Vignettes! [On Tuesday]- by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike Promo Post For Tuesday by Free Range Oyster

  1. Sunday vignettes? On Tuesday??? The insanity of it! What is this world coming to? This is blasphemy! This is madness! Madness! This is Sparta! I feel light-headed, giddy and somewhat dizzy, I’m so dizzy my head is spinning, like a whirlpool, it never ends … I feel I might …

  2. I moved around the room. It had to be perfect when he arrived. The light from the lamp revealed the port in the decanter a deep blood red, beautiful. I arrived at the couch, fluffing the pillows. I would not play the daisy this time there would be no fainting.

  3. It looked identical to a safe, but was in reality a “honeypot” meant to attract attention and trap would-be thieves. It worked on this particular thief. As he worked the duplicitous dial it gave him false clues as it activated the entrapping security system. He was caught by the feign-tings.

  4. Centaurs are great fun, of course, but one must keep something ever in mind. They have, of course, tremendous body-weight. This means when they drink, they can drink copiously. One must never attempt to match them drink for drink. One will eventually “fall asleep” and, well, centaurs are practical jokers.

  5. The amplification was tremendous. It had to be. The transmitter was light-hours away, and even with a directional antenna on each end, a pittance of Watts sent obeyed the inverse-square law. It was downright miraculous that the signal was detectable, let alone intelligible. Yet, it all worked: they radioed home.

  6. The bipedal mammalian had not been overly receptive despite Cyrg’s best efforts at hospitality upon being awakened from stasis when the being touched one of its threads and sent vibrations throughout the web. When Cyrg descended on one of its steel-cable-strong threads to the cave floor and greeted the guest who was busily shoving the yellow metal discs and shiny stones that littered the cave into a sack, the biped turned its merely-two eyes on Cyrg and immediately fell asleep.

    Since then, Cyrg’s attempts to communicate with the biped invariably resulted in the creature emitting a shrill noise, waving its four limbs and collapsing into short-term quiescence. At first, Cyrg thought this an a form of greeting and attempted to reproduce the ritual by flailing its eight limbs and making a similar call with its mouthparts, but the mammal merely rendered itself senseless once again. Cyrg thus assumed the creature was suffering some sort of illness as evidenced by the involuntary shivering, so it spun a web and suspended the guest within, wrapping the biped thoroughly and tightly in its stickiest webbing for protection and comfort, but the creature only awoke for short periods and fell into its catatonic state whenever Cyrg felt its thrashing and hurried to investigate and engage the visitor in conversation.

    Most frustrating. Perhaps introducing the biped to Cyrg’s grubs would calm it, since they were similarly soft-bodied and lacking an exoskeleton.

        1. Thanks. I overlooked the part about the word count, and I wasn’t sure if somebody had to faint or the word ‘faint’ should figure in.

          1. Whatever works for you! The prompt is just that, a grain of sand for you to spin your web of words around, to be included or not as you see fit. And the word count — some people enjoy trying to fit their words into it, others feel better ignoring it. Don’t fret, it’s alll good. Or as that painter used to say, we have happy little accidents! Yes!

        2. The idea came from Vernor Vinge’s Deepness in the Sky, which includes a race of big spider-like aliens. There’s a funny-sort-of moment where the spider aliens think humans are just cute and adorable because we sort of look like their grubs (all pale and soft before the exoskeletons come) and they don’t understand at first that humans regard them with instinctive horror. It makes for a funny situation.

          It was the first time the idea got put into my head that alien creatures can have completely opposite reactions to each other. It also sort of justifies those old pulp covers of the monster carrying off the scantily clad woman (or possibly man): it is indeed possible that the alien monster would find human’s sexually appealing.

          1. Or not. I kinda liked the way the last King Kong remake had him treat the blonde like a cute little mouse that could do tricks…

  7. The damned goats were upside down again. I briefly wondered, not for the first time, why mad science had produced a species with such great ability to sense predators, and such an complete inability to do anything productive about it. I sighed, grabbed my shotgun, and went outside.
    The sheriff was moseying up my driveway with a shit-eating grin on his face. I was pretty sure he wasn’t here to pay up from Thursday’s poker game.

    … The marines are up against smuggled explosives and suicidal martyrs, while a suborned bureaucracy stymies the investigation.”

    Where do you get such crazy ideas?

    1. Sigh. Drop the second ” preceding ‘STOKE’ to the paragraph beginning ‘… The marines’. Put /B within the angle brackets between HIGHER and …

      I will review edits before posting. I will review edits before posting. I will review edits before posting. I will review edits before posting. I will review edits before posting. (times ten)

    “… No matter how hard the staff of Hildred House try to force her to forget, she remembers.”

    Good luck finding an audience for a story about a teenage girl dreaming she’s from another, greater world than this.

    “Surrounded by a family who were happy with life in their West Virginia mining town.”

    Emphasis added.

    Now this one is obviously fantasy. Nobody is happy eating bituminous-seasoned food morning noon and night.

  11. The fainting couch groaned as the refrigerator collapsed on it. Before its two front legs broke under the strain, it folded them under itself. Not yet settled, the refrigerator tumbled off of the fainting couch and onto the floor.

    The toaster, rushing to check on its frosty friend, found itself under the falling fridge. Poor Toasty’s stubby legs couldn’t move fast enough to get away from the gargantuan appliance. When all was still, the plug sticking out from under the fridge gave mute testimony to Toasty’s fate.

    1. And apparently it’s three books in one…I think I’ll check it out. Looks like its one of those classic style guy-finds-self-in-alien-world-becomes-hero in the style of John Carter. I love those!

      1. No real spoiler, because its clear only a few pages in, but its more like future guy finds himself on lost human colony that’s gone semi-primitive. It is very John Carter in feel, IMHO. I loved all three of them, and now that I saw the fourth in the promo post, I’ll pick that up, too.

        1. I’m glad you loved the first three books! Strangely enough, I never get tired of reading how much others enjoy my books. I had a blast writing the fourth book and hope you find it equally as entertaining.

  12. It hadn’t been the bizarre physiologies of the aliens that had done it—he’d read Ezekiel, and once you got over wheels with eyes on them and four faces on one head you were good to go.

    No, he’d fainted when their first contact started with the aliens saying “Howdy!”

    1. Records from a Texas state mental hospital: …it was then I saw the loathsome unnatural features, jarringly clashing colors, and unsightly horrific visages, smelt the gut wrenchingly noisome odors, felt the nauseatingly unnerving vibrations, and heard the headache inducing discordant racket of the Twelfth Entity, the Noble Ones of Kyle.

  13. The couch suddenly sagged in my grip; as if the wood inside had turned to jelly. A previously firm handhold had suddenly turned into a desperate grab for purchase. The upholstery flopped onto the steps above me, the weight almost pushing my legs off the step.
    “I hate this fainting couch!”

  14. So. It had come to this. The students would not be appeased. Together, they entered the ring. Deep silence lay all around. As one, they drew their blades, flourished, took up the stance. Time froze.

    Then one of them collapsed to the floor. Bewildered, the other stared at the class’s teacher, who grabbed up the manual and hastily perused it. Rage overtook his unflappably serene features, and he rounded on the clerk at his side. “You idiot! It’s e, not a!”

  15. Jamaica Jones, professor of archaeology at the University of Kingston, was out of his element. He had always sought religious artifacts, from the Ark of the Covenant to the Holy Grail.

    “Why be I going after this Crystal Skull, mon? It not from a church like the other fane t’ings.”

  16. He didn’t want to wake her. She’d been fainting, so fatigued and undernourished from the whole ordeal, and he’d have gladly let her sleep her fill – except the train had come to a stop, and . “Wake up, dear,” he said, giving her a gentle squeeze.

    Groggy, she woke up and glanced out the window at the sign that proclaimed they’d finished their ride down the Wabash River valley and reached Lafayette. “We are here?”

  17. With a barely audible gasp, the living room furniture collapsed onto the carpet. Henry stood baffled, holding the chair he’d just accidentally broken.

    “What just happened?”

    Exasperated, Jill rolled her eyes, “Same old.” She glanced at the broken chair and the quivering sofa. “You just triggered the fainting couch.”

    1. Oops. Only about a dozen people here went there. Maybe read first, post later? So, elsewhere:

      Brushstrokes slid like silken feathers across the canvass, guided by her delicate fingers. She worked, her face the image of angelic focus.

      He was rapt. Yet something was wrong – the masterpiece began to shimmer, then fade, then disappear.


      “You misheard me. I didn’t say I was a painter.”


  18. I need to be eating and sleeping better. I just woke from the most wonderful dream. After Trump put the Junta in power, the Aggies took over government. Federal education spending was restricted to ROTC cadets. The nuclear wars were okay, as we won every single one, despite being outscored.

  19. For a moment he caught a glimpse of the mutilated forms beyond. Then the smell rushed out at him, and he staggered back, caught by the fetid horror and the knowledge that bodies lay behind. Even if a route to escape led out of there, he could not risk fainting.

  20. “Do be careful,” said Beornthryth. “Spying on faerie folk often leaves mortal folk weak and fainting. A lot of them faint.”
    “And find themselves back in mortal lands,” said Halley, dryly. “I have nothing to fear there.”
    “Back to mortal lands, no, fainting — there are worse places to find yourself.”

  21. “Let me know if you feel odd,” said Clutterbuck, grimly. “Light headed, nauseated, having of trouble with your vision. We want to catch it before you faint and crack your head.”
    “Vision trouble?” said Tristan. “In this light?”
    “Vision going white,” said Clutterbuck.
    “Or black splotches,” said Rosa. “Had that.”

  22. Ellis sat up on the examination table and lowered his legs. He felt odd, strangely dizzy and lightheaded. “What did you do to me?” he asked the nurse who was standing by, watching him. The room seemed to spin. He didn’t feel himself fall over: he had already blacked out.

  23. She was lying on something warm and soft, with a regular thudding soft in her right ear and strangely indistinctly darkness in her blurred vision. As Katie drew her first deep breath, she realized thickly muscled arms were holding her, and she was lying against a a warm chest, soft desert tan shirt, with a beard tickling her face. A voice rumbled softly, “She’s coming to.”

    “Great.” The voice behind her didn’t think it was great. “Civilians are so much less trouble when they’re asleep.”

    “Hey, I’m not going to argue if women want to fall at my feet.” The man holding her ran a finger down her nose, chuckling as she scrunched up her face in reflex. He tapped the tip of her nose with a thick black claw. “Hey, Sarge. She followed me home, can I keep her?”

      1. “Well, I’m not gonna tell you to put her back where you found her.” That rumble came from the other side of her soldier, and a callused hand brushed her face, then peeled her eyelids back. “Damn. She’s bled her magic so low her eyes are almost white.” Another bearded face swam in her vision, frowning at her even as he let her eyelids go so she could desperately blink. “How many fingers am I holding up?”

        She licked dry lips, tasting sharp stone dust and brimstone, and swallowed. “Two, honored soldier?”

        “That lilt…” Her soldier stiffened under her. When she flinched, he relaxed, and one hand petted her hair without a care for the mud-colored blood still sticky and drying . “What’s your name, little one? And where are you from?”

        “I am Katriona, of Raven Lodge.” She struggled, then, to lift her head and look at him. “I am of Tanana.”

        The waspish voice chimed in, then. “Yep, one international incident, coming right up.”

        “Who cares? It’s already infernal.” Her soldier smiled. “A pleasure to meet you, my Lady.”

        “Higher will most definitely care.” The sergeant sighed. “Joss, smuggle her in to our barracks. I don’t care how, and I didn’t see it. Raff, grab a medic. Power drain on a mage is nasty business, and we’ll want her checked out. And my Lady? who do we need to notify you survived?”

        “My patron is Silver Leaves Falling, of the House of Turning Stars.” She flinched at the Sarge’s expression, even as he hastily smothered the reflexive exclamation.

        “Sarge? We’re gonna be passing less than two blocks from their compound. Why don’t we just detour and drop her off? Let them handle her.” The waspish voice wavered a little. “I know you want to keep her, Joss, but I don’t want to be downhill of that avalanche when it starts rolling.”

        Katie finally turned her head enough to locate the voice, and was surprised at how young the man who was talking seemed. He had fine golden hair all down his muzzle, and big brown eyes that looked utterly innocent, despite the acid tone. His ears were as drooped as his whiskers, in misery. “What avalanche?”

        “We’re not exactly favored with highly placed patrons, my Lady. More like a bunch of miscreant E-4’s, and the sergeant barely keeps us out of trouble at the best of times.” Now that she was looking at him, he softened the acid, looking even more miserably innocent. “We, ah, weren’t even supposed to be there.”

        “Oh.” She closed her eyes, and then opened them, with a deeper breath. “Well, then, I must introduce you to Falling. He will want to know what happened, anyway, after I… after.” She reached up, then, to gingerly feel the swelling and broken skin. “Oh, my head hurts.”

        “Um. Sarge, if he summons our Lieutenant, then we can get two debriefs done at once.” Joss rumbled in her ear, while cradling her closer. “And he probably has better care on staff. Give her something other than willow bark and go walk it off.”

        “And the Lieutenant won’t dare stick us with charges if we get a chance to look good in front of a House.” The blond wheedled, now.

        “I bet we can spin this so we come out looking good.” Joss chimed in. “Cause we are big damn heroes, you know.”

        Katie snuggled into the warmth and safety of Joss’s chest, and murmured, “You saved the princess. Of course you’re heroes.”

        “Right. Fine. We’ll detour.” The sergeant said, and then sucked in a sharp breath. “Wait. Princess?

        She smiled, and didn’t look up. “S’ok. I’ll just tell him you followed me home, and I’m keeping you.”

  24. I never imagined that having to use artificial aural enhancers would make me a hero. But when the rest of the team collapsed after hearing the incoming alien transmission, that left me in charge and I knew what to do: lock the ports and turn on the auto-defenses. You see, I’d read sci-fi about the dangers of faint signals.

  25. Apparently my life was getting boring so this morning, in the shower, it seemed a good idea to have a cardiac episode.

    I had planned to work today, d*mn it.

    My husband insisted on driving me to emergency.

    So. That’s where I am. More when I can type.

    1. We can call this piece “I am Alive!”. Slightly excerpted to meet the 50 word count, so don’t worry if it feels vaguely familiar somehow…

        1. Sorry, was all that came to mind when “prompted” with fainting. Actually cut down to 50 very nicely, for using mostly exact quotes with one partial to make up the difference.

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