News and Announcement From Sarah, Pomp and Promo by Free Range Oyster, & Winsome Sunday Vignettes- by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli

 News and Announcement From Sarah

The good news, at least for me, is that I took the last dose of Prednisone this morning.  Well, at least last for the foreseeable future.  However since my doctor doesn’t believe in tapering, the next couple of days MIGHT be rough.  All the same, glad to be done with this.  Large portions of the last few days have been devoted to trying to get my brain from jumping all over. I might have added three books to the TBW cue, too.

Announcement: I don’t know if it was the pred, but kind of doubt it, as I have had this problem before, and Dan has had this problem while trying to help me: You know how you guys ask me if I can do this or that and I say “I’d love to, but WordPress is not letting me?”  Because of this site being hosted by wordpress (which is great as it has survived three attempts at hacking that took other sites down in the same wave, one because of some uncomfortable stuff about the publishing industry, who, unable to hack us, just kept denouncing this and MGC as malware [some of you might remember that], one quite personal by a crazy person who decided he was having a blog war with me, while I was busy with something else, and one recently in a “let’s hack blogs that defended Milo” spree) it limits what links it can have.  Took me forever to figure out how to link zazzle.  Patreon is a no go (I need to redesign mine, anyway, to give away commensurate compensation.  Health getting no worse than this — yes, I’m used to skating at the edge of disaster; done it for 54 years, it’s dropping into the well of hell that stops me — look for something around summer.

One of the things this site won’t work with is Mailchimp (or other mail list [UPDATE: FOR EMAILS.  SORRY NOT TO EXPLAIN, BUT IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME ANYONE WOULD THINK I WANTED TO MAIL OUT A PHYSICAL NEWSLETTER] programs, really.)  I can establish them, I just can’t create a link that will work here.  In fact, on my last attempt, I found that I already had something like three widget links, none of which worked. It reminded me of the last house when five years after my failure to establish a rose garden, I tried again and kept running into the sad remains of previous attempts which I’d forgotten.

There is a way to fix it, sort of, by bouncing it off another site (what I did with zazzle) but until this book (delayed by stupid prednisone) is in I don’t have time to design other sites (or redo this one and MGC which desperately NEED it.)

Until then I’m collecting whoever wants to be in the mailing list (which will, AT MOST, probably send out two newsletters a month, if it’s an exceptional month, with lots of sales and releases, but which MOST LIKELY will be lucky to have one a month, because I’m still me, and will forget to give news even to my mailing list manager.  It will probably also have personal stuff that doesn’t go on my blog, stories behind the books, maybe deleted chapters.  We’ll see.) by asking that if you want in, you send an email to the following address, with your name, email, and a clear statement that you want these mailings.  Needless to say it won’t be sold or shared (though I reserve the right to promo ONE friend’s book now and then if I wish to.) For those looking to send stupid/spam messages to the address, don’t strain.  The list will be culled by my newsletter manager, so even if you send the usual and amiable threats, I won’t ever see them.  Also, frankly, you’re not that original.  Though some of you are amusingly a-grammatical and delusional.sarahsmailinglist at gmail dot com

 Pomp and Promo by Free Range Oyster

Amanda S. Green

Dagger of Elanna

Sword of the Gods Book 2

Plots form, betrayals are planned and war nears.

Cait Hawkener has come to accept she might never remember her life before that terrible morning almost two years ago when she woke in the slavers’ camp. That life is now behind her, thanks to Fallon Mevarel and the Order of Arelion. Now a member of the Order, Cait has pledged her life to making sure no one else falls victim as she did.

But danger once more grows, not only for Cait but to those she calls friends. Evil no longer hides in the shadows and conspirators grow bold as they move against the Order and those who look to it for protection. When Cait accepts the call to go to the aid of one of the Order’s allies, she does not know she is walking into the middle of conspiracy and betrayal, the roots of which might help answer some of the questions about her own past.


Freedom’s Light

From the members and associates of the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA) comes Freedom’s Light, a collection of short fiction that celebrates the human yearning for liberty. These stories will extol the value of human rights and the sacrifices of those who defend those rights. This collection features works from a wide variety of genres and a diverse set of authors, including Hugo Award nominee Brad R. Torgersen and 2016 Dragon Award winner Nick Cole. Freedom’s Light will entertain us and elevate the humanity we all share.

Nitay Arbel

Winter Into Spring: A Romance Novella

Veronica “Ronnie” Zielinski, a librarian in the Chicago suburbs, has always dreamed of writing but never dared pursue her dream since the needs of others have always seemed to come first… until one winter, when a mysterious new library patron opens her eyes and changes her life, with some help from the romantic sci-fi classic “Komarr” by Lois McMaster Bujold…

Allene R. Lowrey

Advent of Ruin

The Qaehl Cycle Book 1

An Age ends in blood and darkness…

For untold generations, the peoples of the Qaehl have prospered—trading and warring as they expanded across the great desert. Mighty city-states rise unassailable above the sands, centers of commerce in a great web of humanity. Messengers and nomads, tradesmen and bandits, cross the burning wastes with each rising of the sun.

A change is coming. Strange creatures have been sighted in the deep desert. Rumors whisper of horrors begotten out of legend. But there is yet hope: a brave courier, an innocent young dancer, a compassionate warrior – each holding a fragment of the truth, each seeking the future. Each adrift in the desert, trying to survive the advent of ruin.

Mary Catelli

Madeleine and the Mists

Enchanted pools, shadowy dragons, wolves that spring from the mists and vanish into them again, paths that are longer, or shorter, than they should be, given where they went… the Misty Hills were filled with marvels. Madeleine still left the hills, years ago, to marry against her father’s will. If her husband’s family is less than welcoming, she still is glad she married him, and they have a son, two years old. But her husband’s overlord has fallen afoul of the king. And all his men fall with him, including her husband. She sets out, to seek the queen and try to bypass the king – and the Misty Hills. Some things are not so easily evaded.

A Diabolical Bargain

Growing up between the Wizards’ Wood and its marvels, and the finest university of wizardry in the world, Nick Briarwood always thought that he wanted to learn wizardry. When his father attempts to offer him to a demon in a deal, the deal rebounded on him, and Nick survives – but all the evidence points to his having made the deal. Now he really wants to learn wizardry. Even though the university, the best place to master it, is also the place where he is most likely to be discovered.

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.

Winsome 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:

79 thoughts on “News and Announcement From Sarah, Pomp and Promo by Free Range Oyster, & Winsome Sunday Vignettes- by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli

  1. “Hear what happened to Sam?”

    “No, what happened?”

    “He found a magic lamp and his wish was to be attractive”.

    “So, I’d wish that.”

    “Oh, it worked. Every skunk for miles around is attracted to him.”

    1. “Oh, it worked. Like to beat himself to death when he walked past the scrapyard.”

  2. Freedom’s Light is a good one! And glad you’re getting off Prednisone! WP for all it’s faults does have some good features, and the anti-hack is one of them.

  3. She had to admit that some of the powers sounded attractive. They could have been used to protect against frost, or drought, or hail. She would not have risked the rapid growth, not with the danger that it might weaken the plants, but flight could get her places with ease.

  4. “That does not sound attractive,” said Halley, her voice brittle even in her own ears. And all that work, getting through college, finding the job, locating her apartment, all of it, gone utterly to waste. She was trapped here and utterly dependent. How could she find a job in Faerie?

  5. Even the prospect of trudging onward through the forest seemed attractive, with that at the end.
    “Genevieve,” said Belsante. “you will have to see to it first. Ensure that it is what it seems.”
    I nodded. Of course. Though it raised the dreadful prospect that the safety was a lie.

  6. He stopped. They had spoken of a boy showing promise. He could hope that the man in the truck meant him, and perhaps the boy turned out as well. An ally sounded like a most attractive prospect. Even if his powers were strange to the boy as his to him.

  7. Restin woke to an empty bed. Padding toward the kitchen, he found the sound of muffled sobs and smell of burnt food. “Hey.” First priority: a hug.

    She sniffled, and clung. “I can’t even make you breakfast!”

    “I married you for your heart and mind. Not your cooking skills.” He kissed her head, and imitated a rock in the emotional storm.

  8. As he passed another burnt out ceramite tank hull, the words of his great grandfather passed down came to mind. “Infantry may be a tough job, at least it isn’t as attractive a target to the big guns”. Thanks to that advice he just might survive to share it.

  9. “It’s an attractive nuisance, it’ll have to be filled in.”
    She eyed her deep pond.
    “What if a child fell in?”
    She thought of all the bodies she’d disposed of–but with all the people around, the goblin raids had stopped. She no longer needed the piranhas. “Right. Do it.”

    1. I think I like the way you think, but it makes me wonder about the way I think, it does. It’s a good thing I’m not evil. Well, mostly not.

      1. what? should she have just left bodies about to rot? truly it’s more humane to give them water burial.

  10. Roger watched in wry amusement as the hostile spacecraft circled inexorably closer to the black hole’s event horizon. The crew had made a beginner’s mistake, and it had cost them their opportunity to escape. Although gravity was an attractive force, it was not a suction, and the intuitive responses were the wrong ones.

  11. The farmer’s new neighbor glanced around, then pointed at an undeveloped field and raised an eyebrow. “What’s that being held for? It looks like fine soil, good drainage, nice light. How is it not under cultivation?”

    “That?” said the farmer. “That’s for special projects. It’s a tract I’ve been saving.”

    Fifty, give or take an apostrophe.

  12. Anna picked up the book from a small table. A sign read a dollar for each book. The book seemed to wiggle in her hand. She held it firm and read the title, “The Powers of Attraction.”

    “Ummm,” she set the book down to get a better hold on it when it flipped to a well-creased page. She began to read.

    If only she had read the introduction first and the red flashing danger sign, then she might have survived her first foray into magic.

  13. “Judge Slapwrist, you deny the idea of natural law.”
    “Yes. All laws come from the will of the people as determined by the judiciary..”
    Wrong. There is no paper or ruling establishing the law of gravity. Yet the Earth will attract you. Like this.”
    And with a shove, the notorious Slapwrist was delivered to Natural Law…200 feet above the pavement.

  14. I’m glad you’re off the prednisone. I know it has its uses, but the last few times I’ve been on oral steroids, I’ve never been so hungry in my life. I figure I can be hungry and cranky and put on lots of weight, or less hungry, less cranky, and put on lots of weight. I opt for the latter; maybe I’ll lose the 40+ pounds sometime before I die. I’ve told my docs that they can only put me on oral steroids again if the alternative is death.

    Which reminds me, I need to go stock up on benedryl for the injection in a week and a half. Last time my face flushed for two days straight, but at least the pain in my hand has eased up.

    I looked askance at my eldest, heading towards the car clutching something small, spiky, and an unnatural shade of blue. As she put her portfolio in the backseat, “Isn’t it just the cutest?”

    It winked at me from under some greenish fluff.

    “For somebody else’s definition of “attractive”.Maybe.”

    1. I put on 30 lbs in the last two years, due to pred. My mom meanwhile yelled at me for gaining weight and told me medicines and being sick don’t make you gain weight.
      My issue was NOT hunger, but hot flashes and ADHD.
      My problem is that my entire upper body becomes raw flesh and I might be in the early stages of CPD because of chronic asthma. It might or might not be needed to save my life, but it’s needed to make WRITE. I need oxygen and not to be in pain everywhere.

      1. That is what I would personally consider death (or close enough!) as the alternative. In my case they were giving it to me for shoulder impingement issues which injected prednisone hadn’t helped (and neither did the oral version), but which improved dramatically when I changed physical therapists. I probably should have specified that for me there were no beneficial effects to make the weight gain and crankyness worth it.

        And yes, medicines can make you gain weight. Not that your family will really want to believe it (I know my parents don’t), but prednisone acts like insulin, and tells your body to store all that lovely blood glucose as fat rather than letting you use it as fuel. Prednisone is a wonderful, incredibly useful drug, but the side effects can be awful enough that each individual has to decide what they’re willing to trade for. I think most of us would consider weight gain a good trade off for breathing and intact skin. My problem was that my docs kept trying to put me on it for relatively minor pain relief (of course I also consider minor pain to be “I haven’t passed out or thrown up” so YMMV) so the answer for that was a resounding “no”.

          1. Stress is easy to handle — just deny its existence! Or try watching an ‘Allo ‘Allo marathon … or audiobooking some cherce Terry Pratchett.

            Laughing is a recognized stress-reducing therapy.

      2. Oh God– my parents don’t believe it either. But I talk to other chronic illness patients every day who take prednisone for years and weight gain is one of the first side-effects of prednisone. I even put a picture of me on my book about being ill so that other sufferers would see that they were not alone. I find it negligence on the doctor’s part when they don’t know the side-effects–

        1. My mom told me it was just an excuse for eating what I like and not exercising. I am on a permanent diet, and I walk every day, besides looking after the house, etc. It’s…. interesting, really. we’ve come to equate fat with sinful and no excuse will do.

          1. He joined Weight Watchers because he was tired of his joints hurting every time he climbed the stairs. He disliked having to take blood pressure medications. He certainly didn’t want to have to take Type II diabetes medications at some point, and the thought of cardiac surgery was extremely un-attractive.

            Ha! 50 on the nose.

        2. Yep. I’ve had two overnight hospital stays for possible angina, complete with tons of testing and at the end of each stay I was informed “Ma’am, you’re stressed. Here’s a script for some Xanax. You should probably find a therapist.”

          It turns out that the arrhythmia which was a not insignificant part of the problem (I’ve been told both PVCs and PACs, not sure which they actually mean) and which was waking me up, was because I was magnesium deficient, which is a very common side effect of Prilosec and the other PPIs. It’s all there in the literature, but none of my docs, including the dang cardiologist, seemed to know about it. My naturopath did though. (I love that woman, just wish my current insurance covered her or that I get a job soon so I have the cash.) Within two weeks of starting the magnesium supplement the arrhythmia disappeared.

          1. No experience with naturopaths (I’m a pathologist and didn’t prescribe when I was practicing) but kudos to yours. There are many well-known drug-drug interactions, fewer known three-drug interactions, and rare for beyond that number; what’s probably needed is a clinical pharmacologist who, in his own right, is a pretty rare beast, most likely to be found in a university medical center. I have no idea if any try to do an out-patient consultation practice.

            I’ll close with a favorite quotation from one of my earlier lecturers in medicine, “All drugs are poisonous; some drugs are more poisonous than others.”

        3. Most of the steroidal-induced weight gain I have observed might best be described as “water retention.” It is not entirely accurate but frames the issue more properly.

          “It causes me to retain water and thus put on weight something terrible.”

  15. The notion that y’all and MGC are malware sites is just stupid. EVERYone who’s ANYone knows you’re really the letter drops for Trump’s Russian handlers.

      1. What would happen if I asked Sarah to say “Moose & Squirrel”? [Nervous Grin]

        1. NO. Nay. Never.
          You would regret it forever.
          This would be far and away worse.
          You would be under a curse.
          So before you think it attractive
          Let your mind become active
          Think on what you truly fear
          Forever and a year.

  16. “Where does Lord Ashton come from, and what is he here for?” asked Maid of Small Things Cutler. “He completed his advanced studies in viscosity of ionized surfactants at Sorbonnes on Platea. His latest filings with boards of investigations include interactions with the newer esoteric particles. ” said the butler.

  17. “She is a very attractive woman.”

    “No, she’s a very good-looking woman.”

    “Again with your weird insistence on vocabularic precision.”

    “Calling things by what they are serves to clarify what you mean.” She took another pull from her beer. “Since I don’t like girls or jerks, that’s what I mean.”

    1. “And I say she is an attractive woman. Watch what happens to the path of every man who walks past her. Their paths bend as they pass, like a spaceship passing a planet.”

  18. I’ve seen a couple of other authors do the mailing list thing lately. Along with Facebook, Twitter, and a blog.

    Since most people use webmail these days, it seems like a needless waste of an author’s resources.

    1. As Sarah said, it’s an email list. It’s necessary because FB and some of the other social media platforms don’t show everything and too many announcements, etc., an author might want to share with fans are never seen. An e-mail list makes sure that info is sent out to those interested.

        1. And that assumes that Fakebook isn’t playing SJW games. Far better to default that they are.

          1. They may also be doing that, but this happens even to people who would be their political cohorts. They’re trying to drive revenue – you can pay a fee to push the notification to more of your followers.

        2. You might want to put an incrementing counter on that e-mail list to detect if your provider or anyone’s ISPs are employing filters or even some form of censorship on content. Anyone starts seeing missing increments; you’ll know there’s skullduggery afoot in Cyberland.

  19. I need to do a mailing list as well… I just found out that most people that I was hoping to see my new release didn’t see it. *sigh We are being forced to do our own marketing now … I see

    1. Yep, same thing here. And you feel stupid if you keep posting it over and over again. Weird thing is even with really old releases, if I post them on FB I get ten sales, or so. I just dont’ want to do that ALL THE TIME.

  20. “The prompt is ‘attractive.’ Got anything?”

    “Why ask me?”

    “Because you’re my muse.”

    “I’ve got nothing.”

    “Big help, as usual.”

    “Hey, you’re not so hot yourself, bub.”

    “Then do your job.”

    “No-names don’t rate top muses.”

    “But how can I earn a name without a better muse?”

    “Sucks, don’t it.”

  21. “Do you find me attractive?” Arakyn didn’t look up from her sword; the whetstone’s rhythm didn’t change. Sshhrk — sshhrk — sshhrk.

    Caught off guard, Ryan answered honestly. “Of course I do. Any man would,” he added, which had the virtue of being true; he had no illusions that she returned his feelings, or even thought enough of him to realize he might have any, but he supposed that even God-blessed Paragons might doubt their own appeal from time to time. “If the Order permitted its Knights to wed, you would have your pick of husbands, milady.”

    At that, the whetstone stopped, though Arakyn still didn’t look up. “You might be surprised, Ryan. More men than you would think find nothing appealing in a woman who can outfight them. Or in one not inclined to submit without agreeing.” Her voice was low and flat.

    Ryan tried to make a joke of it. “Well, clearly that’s your own fault for being born a Paragon. You could always marry an arcanist,” he went on, when she didn’t smile. “Most of us are such strangers to women we’d be grateful enough to play the doormat, so long as we had a place in the house.”

    Arakyn snorted. “You are many things, Ryan. A doormat you are not. Nor would I wish one.” She paused, then sighed. “It is all a moot point, regardless. But . . . know that your kindness is — not unappreciated.”

    At last, her head rose. The moment of eye contact caught Ryan by surprise, and lasted far longer than he’d expected. Finally Arakyn shook herself, almost as if waking, and pushed herself to her feet, striding rapidly away. Ryan sat still and stared at the fire, thinking about impossibilities.

      1. Thanks — I honestly did start out trying to keep it short; I just realized I couldn’t get all the emotional dynamics I wanted into it that way.

  22. He looked in the mirror.
    “Not very attractive if you ask me.”
    “I didn’t ask you,” she responded. “I married you.”
    “You should ask for your money back. I’m the ugliest guy on the planet.”
    “Your looks aren’t what give me that feeling of completeness.”
    He snorted, “Love is weird.”

  23. “The hull is coming apart!” Panic added a whine to the proclamation.
    “Can’t we just magnetize it, or something?”
    “Please, Mister Ambassador, leave the science to the Science Officer.” Captain Slocum tried, and failed, to keep the derision out of his voice.
    “Magnetizing would only improve their lock on us.”

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