A Little Bit of Promo in your Life & Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli

A Little Bit of Promo in your Life by Free Range Oyster

Pam Uphoff

First Posting

The Directorate Book 4

That difficult first job! Sometimes it’s what you wanted, sometimes it’s not. But with a willing attitude maybe it won’t be disastrous… maybe.

Ra’d, Ebsa, and Paer have graduated, and they are determined to get Across, to explore new parallel worlds, just a step through a transdimensional gate away. Unfortunately they’ve pissed off just about everyone, so they’ll have to take what they are offered.


The Directorate Book 5

Paer is assigned to a secret project as the camp medic. But everyone is healthy so why not help the Helios Surveillance Mission?

David L. Burkhead

Rainy Days and Moon Days

FutureTech Industries

Jeff Bannock, while working his after school job at a construction outpost on the moon, merely wants to graduate and head to college. But a casual find of an obsolete memory chip leads to more danger than he ever bargained for.

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:

63 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Promo in your Life & Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli

  1. As an eight foot tall BigUgly, Hank was used to looming over most people, but this ten foot tall being was larger than him with blue skin.

    “What the heck are you?”

    The response “I’m a BlueMeany”.

  2. “Blast it,” fumed Alex. “My books still sell well but no publisher is willing to buy them and now no agent wants to talk to me.”

    Murphy indolently stretched, then smirked, “Your politics bad. Publishers screw. Necessary not, not these days. You publish.”

    “Publish them myself? Directly?”

    “Yes. Indie go.”

      1. ?! I’m being rooked?

        Speaking of respecting an author’s craftsmanship (as we recently were) Brian Aldiss was always a writer I could take or leave ad would just as soon leave, but I really liked his short story “Let’s Be Frank.”

          1. Castle in chess is a rook.

            I bought Fantastic Four #4 and Amazing Spiderman #2 off the newsstand and kept buying until around 2000, so “I vas dere, Cholli” for Frank Castle’s introduction.

  3. She looked around the room. It was rather a mess, but the main thing was the man on the floor.
    “Is he alive?”
    “Just barely. Seems sedated, to excess. Oddly cool, but not- Hey, what’s the label on that pill bottle say?”
    “Ah, not good to overdo the blue.”

    1. because VERY WEIRDLY covers are not works of art. They’re advertisements. most of us do what the big guys are doing, and yep, it goes through some really ugly phases. That’s life.

      1. They’re advertisements.

        And while I know now that that is the case, it annoyed me greatly when younger to read a detailed description of a scene or craft… and find the cover didn’t match it. Not “matched imperfectly” but “Did the artist even read any of the description?” And now I know, “Probably not.”

        1. Sometimes the sacrifice must be made because the accurate cover would not work well. I made my own cover for Madeleine and the Mists, but as you can see here,

          I made the dragon blue instead of the actual black, which would not have been as effective.

          There is a tower involved in the scenes with the dragon, though.

        2. A still more impressive case:

          As those who have read it know, it’s a smooth pyramid, which is kinda moot because the scene as depicted should have been completely black.

          Kinda defeats the point of a cover.

    2. Because they aren’t blue.

      Well, that and they’re amateur efforts for short stories that don’t earn enough money to pay for professional covers.

  4. Artos and Corridon were gone, of course, when she opened the door. The window to the right showed that was the way they had brought her. She stood for a moment before walking left. The sunlight lessened, but the light did not, though its hue turned more blue and green.

  5. She slung her pack back on. She had to keep her eyes open. And read the book with more care. Her grandmother’s drawings were distinctive enough that she would recognize the plants.
    She should watch for blue. The heaven-falls appeared often enough that she should find them for her garden.

  6. The clattering and clanking faded to silence as the last of the debris came to rest. He stood up and a small Avalanche of dirt and stones fell off him. Brushing off his now tattered coat, he thought about how black and blue he would be on the next morning.

  7. Speaking of promo, some of you might like to take a look at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tjic/powers-of-the-earth-sf-with-spaceships-dogs-and-bi , now in its final days. There’s an author statement of intent and there are sample chapters.

    Full disclosure: I do have involvement with this project, as its copy editor. You can get the history at http://whswhs.livejournal.com/300447.html. I enjoyed reading the series and I think some of you might as well—but judge for yourselves, if you care to.

      1. All those cries of “He has Risen” and “He has Risen indeed!” have me picturing the Saviour Doughboy.

        Isn’t that treyf for another day or two?

  8. Atmo was harsher than space, in its own way; violent buffeting, crushing pressure on the outside of the hull, massive winds and the circulation of water they called weather. It dragged the hull, burned against the nose and belly, even accumulated as ice on sensors.

    Diving into the blue, though – there was nothing like it to make the ship come alive.

  9. Tangent Continued: home from con (it was here in Atlanta so no big trip physically) and the Huns bad influence continues: I went to panels in all but two time slots and the only time I went to a panel that wasn’t on the writing track it was because I was a panelist and had to be there (and I have been asked to be on the same panel next year).

    I also wound up with an associate membership in RWA by the end. Pretty much every panelist recommended it to new authors for their various education program and heavily emphasized it in the indie panel while no one had kind words for SFWA, MWA, or HWA (the last, specifically was crapped on).

    @TxRed’s re: your comment “Just wait until you get an Author Reads Own Work slot.” Given I’m friends with the woman who runs this writer’s track and she does an interesting variant on reads own work at this con I think now that she knows what I’m writing if I finish it I’m doomed.

    All of the above is the fault of regular commenters here…at this rate I’m going to owe a lot of Huns a lot of beers 🙂

    1. You’re welcome 🙂

      By the way, I second the RWA recommendation. They’re a good group, pretty well organized on not only the writing end, but also the marketing. They were the first to cheerfully open up to indies in their awards as well as their memberships, and have embraced the new indie publishing world.

      I’m not a member myself, not writing romance, but I hear nothing but good stuff from the romance authors.

      1. Actually, it was recommended to all new fiction writers, not just romance. And their openness to indie was a big thing mentioned on the indie panel.

        Some of what I’m writing, especially that I focused on at con (given it’s adult nature, you had to be over 21 to attend) is probably romance (given it is erotica) even though the main one is also detective (RWA even has an online SIG for romantic mystery…who knew).

          1. Is it good for writing just erotic scenes?

            Nothing I have on the plate is the genre, per se – but I’m thinking that I might need an erotic scene here and there in a couple of books.

            The single time I tackled one, I had to quit. I can’t concentrate when I’m giggling (and I scared the cat, besides).

            1. yes. I just couldn’t do it, so for me it helped with immediate writing. (Well, I can do it, but then the hero turns into a spider and eats the other characters…)

              1. Just for the lessening of ignorance what is immediate writing?

                And I have trouble writing sex scenes and since what has finally turned out to be the thing that gets “butt in chair” reliably is erotic detective with F/m flavoring instead of regular detective (with an arson investigator background instead of the classic cop) or urban fantasy detective (set among the Indian casinos of New England) I want to run with it…maybe just getting one done will help me write the others and the weird “Starlost done right” and “Bondsman Amendment” world ideas in the notebook.

    2. Mwahaha! *rubs paws in fiendish glee*

      Seriously, congrats if you do get a slot. Tip from doing conferences and such: if you have a hard time limit, practice in advance and time your rehearsal. You might be surprised how much longer it takes than you’d think. Granted, you probably won’t be saying “next slide, please” at regular intervals, but it’s usually better to have a minute left over than to go over time.

  10. “I thought it was blue, like the song Big Blue Marble.”

    “That’s a nursery rhyme. It’s white as snow, and that’s why we’re here.”

    “Decreasing albedo will certainly help, but they aren’t going to like 130 cubic kilometers of material coming down all at once.”

    “That’s marketing’s problem. We’re engineering.”

  11. Ivar pointed to the north.
    “Looks like a storm coming.”
    Zinj looked at him as if he had two heads.
    “Storms don’t come from the north.”
    “Then what’s that lightning coming from?”
    “That’s not lightning you fool! That’s a blue dragon! To Arms!” shouted Zinj, as he started kicking bedrolls.

      1. It is to be hoped that tthe sergeant remembers that when he calms down. Useful thing to know…

  12. “Who was that who just ran by us?”

    “I don’t know – he went by so fast all I could see was that he must be freezing.”


    Yeah, didn’t you notice how blue he was?”

    “I don’t know about freezing; looked like that Blue Streaker had a third leg!”

  13. Inside the temple was perhaps the most boring tapestry the young woman had ever seen: a cloudless sky surmounting a calm sea. “It represents calmness and constancy,” the Sister explained, “virtues we strive for.” I suppose so, the young woman thought, but couldn’t they have added a bird or something?

  14. In the depths of the star-strewn dark, beyond the space station’s curving outer hull, a blazing white spear of light ignited, stretching out across the viewport in a contrail of ionized plasma. “No!” Nicholas screamed, and pounded helplessly on the plexicrys. “Dammit, Jack, do something!”

    In his pilot’s chair, Jack grabbed desperately for the com-mike. “Give me her code!” he demanded; Nicholas reeled off the string of digits, and Jack punched them in with one hand, holding the shuttle steady with the other. “Here’s hoping you’re right and she never remembers to shut off her com-tab in flight prep — ” His jaw dropped as the chirruping tone of an establishing connection came through. “Holy crap. Nick, get up here!”

    Nicholas fell into the other chair, seizing the com-mike from Jack as a heads-up holo blinked into existence over the panel. Sara’s face gaped out at him, suddenly coming alive with everything he’d prayed to see: shock, joy, sorrow. “Nick?!” she gasped, beginning to cry. “Oh my God, Nick, I’m so sorry — “

    “No, I’m sorry, look, it doesn’t matter, just — stop, OK? Tell them they have to stop!”

    Sara’s face screwed up in misery; over her shoulder, a uniformed security steward appeared, face thunderous. Nick realized that beneath her sobs,
    he could hear an AI’s toneless voice counting down, and a rumbling roar mounting to a crescendo. “I can’t, Nick, I can’t, it’s too late, they’ve already — no, just let me finish!” The steward grabbed for the com-tab; the picture gyrated wildly. “Nick, can you hear me?! I lov — “

    The holo vanished like a popped soap bubble. In the same instant, the white streak ahead of them flared out in an electric blue butterfly-wing flash of Cerenkov radiation, then stopped growing and began to fade away. Nick stared at the empty void, mouth open. The stars blurred.

    “Shit,” said Jack, his voice flat. “Lightspeed jump. They’re gone.” He looked at his friend. “I’m sorry, man. I’m so sorry.”

    Nick shook his head slowly. “No,” he husked. “No, it’s my fault. I just — I never thought she’d get on that ship.” He sank back into the chair and put his hands over his face. Muffled: “I really thought she’d stay.”

    1. Some have written 100-200 words for the “vignettes” and haven’t been killed. 😉

      While I haven’t done much serious posting of “vignettes”, I think of them not as “complete stories” but more the opening paragraphs of a story with the idea of “This Will Get The Reader’s Attention” so the reader will want to read more.

  15. Russel looked at the blood. It was red like anyone else’s. Not that he had expected anything different. Still, he had secretly hoped “blue blood” would turn out to be more than an expression if only to keep up with the weirdness this case had been from the beginning.

    “Why is it the weird ones always get complicated?” he said to no one in particular. That was good as the Little Lord Fauntleroy look-alike know as Brandon Stockton, Seventh Baron of Neebish, was in no condition to answer.

    “Maybe your blood isn’t blue as your title was purchased with your IPO money and no inherited from actual inbreed English ancestors,” Russel mused, this time directly at his charge. Who was still dead.

    That part wasn’t going to look good on his body guard resume.

  16. “Exspectate!”
    The javelin shook slightly in his hands, the bellowed order barely heard.
    The oncoming picts screamed in rage, covering the intervening ground at a lope. The javelin jolted as the wave broke over the phalanx, bodies dragging the weapon points down.
    Eyes widening in shock, the pict pulled itself up his weapon, dragging the shaft through his own body.
    The blue of the woad was the last thing he saw.

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