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:
Books, I’ve Read A Few (and Shameless Promo) by Sarah
Right then. Hopefully not dull, but we’ll get the predictable out of the way. Buy my book, okay? It’s lighter than air and sillier than a rat in a tuxedo, but it won’t disappoint you. (Hopefully.) As for rats in tuxedos, just read the sample. (Bats eyelashes.)
The cover, by the magnificent Jack Wilder, is a link to the book. Which reminds me I need to pay Jack, since I intend to have him do the cover for the next one, A Well Inlaid Death coming sometime towards the end of May. (Hopefully. Unless something untoward happens to my health again. Don’t let something untoward happen, okay?) That is the book in which Dyce finally gets married, acquires a dog, and makes a grisly discovery in her newly-acquired basement.
Now, since we don’t have a promo post (I think the Oyster didn’t get any books to promo! Come on, you slackers, write up) I thought I’d list some books I’ve enjoyed recently. Keep in mind they’re all mysteries and range from the extremely interesting to “popcorn.” Most are, in fact, popcorn, but since I’ve been running 6 books a day give or take (no, not WHILE writing, goofy people. While eating, cleaning the kitchen and such things where one can’t actually write. At least not till one gets better at dictating. Right now, as is to be expected of a libertarian, I suck as a dictator) and these are the ones I remember from the last couple of months, well, they can’t be all bad, right?
The first one is a book I’ve been waiting for for about a year, because I fell in love with this series while I was recovering from surgery two years ago. If you haven’t tried them start at the beginning. If you loved Terry Pratchett’s Mac Nac Feegle, you’ll love the Scottish Border in the time of good queen Bess. I like them so much I’ve been avoiding the author’s political posts like poison. (To be fair, I think she’s avoiding mine too.) No, she’s not one of us, but Good Heavens, can she write.
I feel a little uncomfortable when she writes about Elizabethan London, because it’s so different from mine, but I’ll be honest, my Porto is different from everyone else’s too (and now largely gone since I have a gravitational field towards low dives) and my Denver is very different from any sane person’s. So that’s all right. It’s still a lot of fun.
It’s late August, 1592.
Sir Robert Carey, cousin to Queen Elizabeth from the wrong side of Henry VIII’s blanket, remains at his post on the Borders at Carlisle. He has at last been confirmed by his monarch as Deputy Warden, is still deeply in love with Lady Elizabeth Widdrington while despising her elderly, abusive husband (will the man never die?). And he remains estranged from his dour but lethal henchman, Henry Dodd, Land-Sergeant of Gilsland, who is currently serving as one of the sergeants of the Carlisle Castle guard. Dodd can’t forgive Carey for taking the high road at the conclusion of the incident at Dick of Dryhope’s tower, when Sir Robert called out the Carlisle garrison, but “honourably and skillfully avoided the bloody-pitched battle” that seemed inevitable. Dodd is old-school and would have preferred to exterminate as many under Wee Colin Elliott, and also Grahams, as he could. Not for him, but for peace to the Debatable Land.
Sir Robert Cecil, Privy Councillor to the Queen, warns of a new challenge: the King of Spain’s “intentions in Scotland.” Will Cecil be sending a pursuivant to the Borders to suss out, and possibly interrupt, whatever plots are in progress against England?
Now it’s Autumn. We meet Marguerite, an over-sexed and unhappy wife. Father Crichton, a Jesuit, formerly of Spain. A man who says his name is Jonathan Hepburn but, curiously, thinks in Deutsch. Marguerite’s elderly husband Sir David, a Groom of King James’ VI’s Bedchamber, a jealous man. Various disloyal Scottish Earls. Janet Dodd, wife to Henry, who learns an interesting thing from Mrs. Hogg, the midwife. Hughie Tyndale, a would-be-assassin. Mr. John Napier, a philosopher and mathematician with a revolutionary theory of how the solar system works. Mr. Simon Anricks, a toothdrawer (and philosopher, too) bearing a secret letter from England, who becomes delighted with Mr. Napier. Queen Anne (of Denmark), not yet a mother. And King James, not your usual monarch, plus his court, sycophants, and (former) lover Lord Spynie, who is still plotting revenge. So many spheres of influence or disruption in play.
Events come to a head at the King’s court in Edinburgh where a great Disputation on the differences between the Ptolemaic and the Copernican systems, and a demonstration of the planets will be staged, a clash of spheres mirroring the same at the human level. buy
The next one is at a completely different level. I have a gut feeling the author got her history from watching Downton Abbey, and got some things upside down and sideways. For instance she seems to think being called by your last name meant you were a servant. Despite the dents on my wall and desk, I read all six books though. Popcorn, but interesting. (Probably the most annoying thing is that the author thinks using “jolly” is a neat trick to British-it-up. Everyone uses it, and in the most unlikely circumstances, to the point I had to make up my mind to ignore it, or track the author down and drown her in a vat of ink. But if you can ignore that, you’re okay.)
The first book in the Rose Simpson mysteries.
When Sir William and Lady Withers invite friends and family to a weekend house party at their country home, Ashgrove House, they are faced with the arrival of both invited and uninvited guests, the consequence of which is murder. Set in 1930, “Murder at Ashgrove House” is full of intrigue, clues and red herrings, with nearly everyone having a motive for wishing the victim dead. This is a classic country house murder mystery set during the golden age of crime and will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie and Downton Abbey.
The second book in the Rose Simpson Mysteries series, “Murder at Dareswick Hall”, is now available on Kindle and will shortly be available in paperback. buy
This is again more serious, and in fact, though I read it months ago, it remains with me. I CARE about these characters.
Oxford, Spring 1353. When young bookseller Nicholas Elyot discovers the body of student William Farringdon floating in the river Cherwell, it looks like a drowning. Soon, however, Nicholas finds evidence of murder. Who could have wanted to kill this promising student? As Nicholas and his scholar friend Jordain try to unravel what lies behind William’s death, they learn that he was innocently caught up in a criminal plot. When their investigations begin to involve town, university, and abbey, Nicholas takes a risky gamble – and puts his family in terrible danger. buy
Popcorn again, and you really must ignore some historical nonsense. Not major, just enough to make you roll your eyes and sigh a bit. But maybe all historicals make people sigh a bit. It just depends how much 😉
A mansion, a title and marriage to a wealthy Lord – Lady Eveline Cartwright has it all. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to prevent her being bludgeoned to death one night in the study of Merisham Lodge, the family’s country estate in Derbyshire.
Suspicion quickly falls on her ne’er-do-well son, Peter, but not everyone in the household is convinced of his guilt. Head kitchen maid Joan Hart and lady’s maid, Verity Hunter, know that when it comes to a crime, all is not always as it seems.
With suspicions and motives thick on the ground, Joan and Verity must use all the wit and courage they possess to expose a deadly murderer who will stop at nothing to achieve their aim…
Murder at Merisham Lodge is the first in a new series of historical mysteries, Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate, set in the 1930s. The author, Celina Grace, is the creator of the bestselling The Kate Redman Mysteries and The Asharton Manor Mysteries, as well as several standalone thrillers. buy
This book should have annoyed heck out of me. In many ways, its … tricks are the ones I despise in mysteries. But this isn’t a mystery, it’s PULP. Pulpy, pulp, glorious pulp. Let your mind go back to childhood and the thrilling adventures against larger than life villains, and you too will enjoy this! Oh, the writer or whoever wrote the description is off his/her rocker. There is NO resemblance to Christie whatsoever. There is a resemblance to Patricia Wentworth’s Maud Simpson’s cycle, but it’s so over the top it’s not as tiresome as THAT got. (Also the author seems to believe there was prohibition in England. (rolls eyes.) Rocker, clean out of.
ike your mysteries cozy and set during the Golden Age of Crime? This is the first book in the Posie Parker mysteries, although this novel can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story in its own right. Set in London in 1921, ‘Murder Offstage’ is full of intrigue and red herrings. This is a classic murder mystery which will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie and Downton Abbey.
When Posie Parker’s childhood friend is robbed of a priceless jewel and becomes a suspect in a cold-blooded murder case, budding detective Posie vows she will clear his name. Aided by her seriously gorgeous assistant Len, Posie soon realizes things are not quite as they seem, and the darkly-glamorous world of London’s theatre and glittering nightclubs prove far more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.
Just who exactly is the dangerous Lucky Lucy Gibson? And who is it she has killed in the lobby of the Ritz Hotel? And more importantly, what on earth has happened to Mr Minks, the much-loved office cat? buy
This is a good bitter-sweet series which portrays with virtuosity growing up in a family touched by mental illness.
Her best friend is a smart-mouthed genius girl named Drew Levinson. But Drew is gone. Nowhere to be found. Everybody insists Drew ran away. But Raleigh suspects something worse.
Armed with one rock hammer, an encyclopedic knowledge of city criminal codes, and a stubborn streak wide as the Chesapeake Bay, Raleigh searches for clues.
- Did Drew secretly meet somebody?
- Did her loony parents finally push her over the edge?
- Or is Raleigh’s hunch dead-on: Drew didn’t choose to leave….
The first book in the best-selling Raleigh Harmon mystery series, Stone and Spark introduces the girl who will grow up to become a forensic geologist and FBI agent—provided she survives her high school years. buy
So, Sarah, when will you recommend Science fiction and fantasy to us?
Ah, when I’m writing mystery. Seems to be how it works. For now, well, some of those almost FEEL like sf/f. Chisholm’s for sure, since it’s a different world after all.
Now go have fun, I have a story to finish.