Sunday Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli and an Itsy Bitsy Promo Post by Freerange Oyster With Bonus Horrendous Self Promo by Sarah

Sunday Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli

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:

Itsy Bitsy Promo Post by Freerange Oyster

Elise Hyatt (one of Sarah A. Hoyt’s pen names.)

Dipped, Stripped and Dead

Daring Finds Book 1

When she was six, Dyce Dare wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t stop tripping over her own feet. Then she wanted to be a lion tamer, but Fluffy, the cat, would not obey her. Which is why at the age of twenty nine she’s dumpster diving, kind of. She’s looking for furniture to keep her refinishing business going, because she would someday like to feed herself and her young son something better than pancakes.

Unfortunately, as has come to be her expectation, things go disastrously wrong. She finds a half melted corpse in a dumpster. This will force her to do what she never wanted to do: solve a crime.

Dorothy Grant

Scaling The Rim

When Annika Danilova arrived at the edge of the colony’s crater to install a weather station, she knew the mission had been sabotaged from the start. The powers that be sent the wrong people, underequipped, and antagonized their supporting sometimes-allies. The mission was already slated for unmarked graves and an excuse for war…

But they hadn’t counted on Annika allying with the support staff, or the sheer determination of their leader, Captain Restin, to accomplish the mission. Together, they will overcome killing weather above and traitors within to fight for the control of the planet itself!

Bernadette Durbin


When Lydia flees an attempt on her life, her only thought is to get to her brother in the far-off capital. Rebellion in the land forces her to disguise herself, and when she is hired on as minstrel to the new king, William, she has to learn all she can, and quickly, so that she can unravel the treachery at the heart of the failed rebellion before her identity is revealed. Much to her amazement, along the way she becomes advisor to the king… and his friend, should she learn to accept it.

Bonus Horrendous Self Promo by Sarah

To date this is the best book I’ve written.

Darkship Revenge E-arc.


128 thoughts on “Sunday Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli and an Itsy Bitsy Promo Post by Freerange Oyster With Bonus Horrendous Self Promo by Sarah

  1. “Ha! The moat around the castle is filled with acid! You can’t cross it–any raft you make will just dissolve.”

    “Okay, I have a Create Food And Water spell that will produce up to a cubic foot of food per level, and I’m sixth level, so I’m going to make six cubic feet of baking soda.”

    “What? You can’t do that!”

    “Sure I can. ‘Any foodstuff or ingredient.’ It says so right in the spell description.”

    “I hate you guys.”

    1. Not *quite* as amusing, but…

      When TSR was developing BattleSystem (a mass combat system for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons; Chainmail – the mass combat system that had originally inspired D&D – was long out of print by this time), there was an article in Dragon magazine that talked about some of the playtesting that went into it. At one point, the author of the article was bragging about one particular fight in which his orcs on warboars were about to crash into the line of human defenders backed up by one puny level 5 magic-user. The author figured that, at worst, the defending magic-user would throw something like a fireball at him. And as the author put it in the article, “Orcs on warboars are tough!”

      The very next sentence read, “You would not believe how big of an area a Rock to Mud spell covers.” That was followed by mention of retrieving the dice from wherever they’d been flung.


  2. If this ain’t fifty I ain’t a wallaby:

    Hobart stumbled in the moonlight, avoiding scrub, rocks and cacti as best possible. Two days since his horse played out had left scarce enough in his canteen to whistle. He smelled the water before he could see it and prayed that it would not, like the last pool, be alkaline.

  3. Horrendous self-promo? That ain’t horrendous! Mighty weak, yep, but to be horrendous would have to be more like “To date this is the worst book I’ve written.”

    Or possibly “I wrote a really really good book and what the editors have done to it is a crime.”

    1. “I wrote a really really good book and what the editors have done to it is a crime.”


        1. A few quotation marks are AWOL, but not bad for an E-ARC editingwise.
          Can I blame that for the joy of getting a kidney stone last night?
          I feel for anyone who gets these (well, most anyone. I can thunk of a few I’d enjoy seeing pain meds withheld). Feel pain coming back, so more meds to take.
          Egad. Haven’t had this much fun since my upper back went out (worse pain for me, but lasted less time at that level).

          1. Speaking of “stones inside the body”, an individual was told that a liver ultrasound also showed that there was a danger of developing gall stones.

            The response was “everybody has told me that I have a lot of gall”. 😉

            1. A friend of mine almost died last year when her gall bladder surgery wasn’t put on the emergency list because a *receptionist* didn’t think it was critical. The surgical doctor removed a stone that was almost an inch across with the dying gall bladder. He told my friend that the receptionist would be “dealt with”, and according to her, the look on his face when he said it boded ill for that person’s job.

              One hopes that the stone itself made an appearance in the dressing down.

    2. “I wrote a really really good book and what the editors have done to it is a crime.”

      Or an alternative version: “I wrote a really good book, but you guys are getting this one.” That would be fairly horrendous as a promo.

    3. About 15 years ago, I wrote parody lyrics to “Look what they’ve done to my song, Ma.” My version was, “Look what they’ve done to my book, Ma.” IIRC, the inspiration came from hearing a performance of, “There’s a bimbo on the cover of my book.”

  4. Herman tried to keep calm. He failed. “Fluoro-oxy-fluoro-hydroxide?! That shouldn’t. No, that CAN’T exist. Or not for very long. It’d be hydrofluoric acid in a nasty flash!”

    “Yet all tests we’ve run say that’s what it is, and the F-O-F acts metallic. Insane, yes.” replied Eddie.

    “It’s just so… OFF-base.”

        1. I play with a family of items that in a fire can outgass Hydrogen Fluoride or Hydrogen Hexafluoride gas. Fun.
          “Look. If you see a fire over in this area, just leave, look at the wind socks, and go up wind. A long way. Then enjoy the show.”

  5. That could burn up just about anything, so finely that the smoke would not come out in billows. Cal bit his lip. If they wanted to hide the base so well, and needed to, he could hope that escape would lead to help; they could not be hidden by distance.

  6. The woman faltered. “What is the meaning of this?” Her eyes turned fiery red. “A base-born ordinary mortal, and you gave her the fairy ointment already? Let her see?”
    “We haven’t,” said Artos.
    “It would explain much,” said Corridon, thoughtfully.
    “Oh, no,” said the woman. “She has not the Sight.”

  7. “There’s a pool about here,” said a page boy, hesitantly, whose name I did not recall Very young, with gray eyes that he peeked at Belsante with. “A magical one. Perhaps we could find it. And find the roses with it. Or some citadel where we could live in safety.”

    1. Nonsense, Imperator. Senility seems to be encroaching on you. Such a cow is exceedingly rare; you make steak tartare.

          1. Edwin: “How now brown cow?”

            Julian: “’tis not a cow, ’tis a bull most fine.”

            Edwin: “Eh? Art though sure?”

            Julian: “I’m sure he’s a blue ribbon bull. Look at how well he be hung!”

            Edwin: “Dolt! That be not a bull’s member; that be his tail!”

  8. Smith struggled to connect auxiliary generators to the shields before the Kzinti ship’s next run. Without additional power Terra’s last redoubt in the system would fall. Lights surged as the Kzinti face appeared on his screen, snarling. Defeated, he read the translated text: “All your base are belong to us.”

    50 – count ’em – 50

        1. It ain’t hard to do, it just requires you to decide what route to take to get there.

          It was the third time in the game that Slidin’ Billy had gotten on base – two singles and a walk – then stolen his way around the base paths to cross home. As he dusted himself off Billy smiled at the glowering catcher and murmured, “All your base belong to me.”

          Fifty on the button.

  9. He looked carefully at the plans. Trenches there, gun emplacements over that way. Barbed wire, razor wire, mine fields, guard towers, etc. Carefully he nodded and started planning his entry. After all, it was all about the base.

  10. It was time for the talk and Gary was excited and scared. This one talk would give him all the information needed to become a man. Dad banged his back, “well son, are you ready?”

    “Yes, Dad.” A drop of sweat rolled down his face. He wiped it with his sleeve.

    Dad rolled out the map that showed a diagram of a nude female. Gary took a long look. He swallowed nervously. Then his dad tapped his wooden pointer at different spots. “That is first base, second base, and third base. Now son, go out and make us proud.”

  11. “You didn’t ask for a bass fiddle?”

    “No. I have one. I need the base for my bass fiddle.”

    “All I have left is this one.”

    “It looks like a fish.”

    “Yes, it’s a bass bass fiddle base.”

    “Can’t get much more base than that.”

    “Perhaps. It’s gold-plated after all.”

    1. Short memory: In college, I knew someone who had gotten an “indestructible” bottom peg (base) for his bass. He got rear-ended with his bass in the trunk. Sure enough, the stand peg survived. The bass didn’t.

        1. It wasn’t meant to do anything other than hold up the weight of a double bass without bending. If it had been the CASE for the bass, that would have been a different story.

          1. Ah, true.

            Fellow I once knew had a handheld VHF(/UHF?) radio transceiver with a decent soft case. He drove a dump truck and one drove off with the radio on the fender rather than clipped to his belt. He found it a few minutes after realizing, on the street, in an intersection. Case was “beat to h*ell and back” but the radio was utterly unscratched. Conclusion: good case.

  12. “I know we thought that once we’d developed antigravity propulsion, all of our problems with building location would have been solved. Turns out, we still need aerodynamic surfaces for attitudinal and directional control.”

    “So, what’s that little winglet sticking out at the very bottom?”

    “Well, Fred, that’s the base Canard.”

        1. “Why are there ducks?” asked the recruit, trying to kick away the large, nasty looking mallard attacking his ankle.

          “Noiser than dogs, cheaper to feed,” said the grizzled old sergeant. “Damn things are almost as good as a mine field. Haven’t had a single slider come under the wire. And we can eat ’em.”

          “Can we eat this one, Sergeant?” asked the recruit, fending off another pass. “This is one vile base canard.”

  13. We’ve all seen a sorceress let herself go for jealousy of a younger woman. Instead of embracing the gray hair, wrinkles, and caustic tongue of an old crone, they end up as something vile, venomous, with acid blood and hissing tongue. Beware! Don’t become debased!

  14. As he plunged toward the ground, which appeared far firmer than terra firma generally looks, Daryl decided that, if he survived, he would have a word with one, the individual who had packed his parachute and two, the sign-maker who converted B.A.S.E. into base. Daryl hated heights.

  15. Terry’s date tried to set him at ease. “Try to relax. You’re doing fine. Once -screech!”, her voice broke off, torso twisting into an impossible position and smoke trickled from her ears.
    Head in hands, Terry sighed. It figured. He couldn’t even get to first base with a sex robot.

  16. Blackart arched his fingers. “I always pander to their base nature.”
    But Grenbotle was beside himself ”You helped her charity!”
    “Pull yourself together. It’s now truly her charity.”
    Both Grenbotles grabbed the other and merged. “ You mean-”
    “Pride. They’ll do anything for it. We only have to nudge.”

  17. “None of the math works.”
    “No wonder. Didn’t any of you notice that in all the figures, there’s not a single eight or nine?”
    “Ah, coincidence?”
    “Nope. Base-8.”
    “Why? It was a robot. If it’s not binary, I would expect hexadecimal.”
    “Crack the code and maybe we can learn why.”

  18. “Bring me the bass.”
    “He’s kind of big. I can’t carry him.”
    “Not the singer. I want the bass.”
    “I can’t haul ten acres of land over here!”
    “Not the base. The bass.”
    “Oh. You mean this guitar-looking thing?”
    “Yes…Was that on purpose?”
    “I always liked Abbott and Costello, sir.”

  19. Norman looked at the message, flipping through them one page at a time. It was plans for the huge installation currently under construction. The description from M.A.M.A., however, said not to worry about the size. When his commander asked what it was about, he said, “It’s all about that base.”

    (Ducking and running)

        1. So there’s another one? I’m honestly out of touch, and don’t know what the reference is. This popped up when I did a google search, and seemed likely?

          1. Yes, the embedded video just a few paragraphs up-page, depicting the young lady on the bass and two gentlemen playing, respectively, piano and drums.

  20. Is this the appropriate place to say I read **Dipped, Stripped, and Dead** this weekend, and I enjoyed it very much? Thank you for a good read, Sarah.

  21. I was temporarily assigned to Sierra Army Depot; an obscure base in NW Nevada. Thursdays were the most entertaining part of the week when the military blew up old, unsafe explosives. The shockwaves flowing like a wall across the desert from when the 10,000 pound bombs blew were simply awesome.

  22. Caught in an act of lese majeste, Abdul the Blind threw himself on the mercy of the sultan.

    “I abase myself, Effendi! I did not mean to imply your wife was a dog.”

    “All dogs are not the same the dark. Now hang him!” commanded the King of the Gnolls.

  23. …something better than pancakes.

    There are those who would argue that there are few things better than a good pancake, a stack, hot from the griddle, a dab of butter and some maple syrup, preferably real, yum. But, however good, they really are not something upon which to base your long term diet upon.

      1. Thank you, subsequent edited version:

        There are those who would argue that there are few things better than a good pancake, hot from the griddle, a dab of butter with maple syrup, preferably real. But, however good, they really are not something upon which to base your long term diet, side of bacon or no.

  24. “It’s a beautiful sculpture, John. A bit macabre’ though. Kind of like the Execution of Michelangelo’s David. Why did you make it hang with a rope around the neck?”

    “Thank you’, said John with a grimace. “The thing kept falling over because I forgot to mount it on a base.”

      1. Obviously, Goliath was a member of an endangered species (ie Giants). 😉

  25. The last of the creature’s bones disintegrated with a noxious bubbling. It had taken time, and picked locks, but the monster would not regenerate again.
    “I thought they said acid wouldn’t work on it?”
    “Hah! Shows what they know. This vat is at the opposite end of the ph spectrum.”

  26. Question on DIPPED, STRIPPED AND DEAD – any particular reason why a preview is not available on Amazon? I, for one, love reading those prior to buying.

    1. I have NO idea. They didn’t give me an option to opt out of it or anything like that. I JUST looked at it again to make sure. This is like the 30th thing I’ve published, if you include short stories, and I have NO idea why they’re not allowing preview. I just sent them a query.

      1. Some belated good news – I went to the Amazon site today for this and it now has a “look inside” preview. So, I think your inquiry bore fruit. May the result be profitable for you. (Now, I’m off to read said snippet… 😉

    2. Because previews are taking several days post-publication to show up, lately. When I published Scaling the Rim two weeks ago, the preview came in on, if I recall correctly, day #4 after pushing the “publish” button. Why it’s taking longer for Sarah, I dunno, but it’s a known problem.

  27. “Why? Why does my degree have to be B. Lit, too?”

    The I.U. ombudsman held up his hands. “You didn’t read the EULA before signing the matriculation papers, did you? You came in via the congruent program: You were supposed to negotiate this with your partner.”

    As the newly fledged Virtue flapped off in dismay, the Dominion sighed. “It’s always the same with those base angels.”

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