Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli & Hurray for Promo Sunday by Freerange Oyster

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:

Hurray for Promo Sunday by Freerange Oyster

Cedar Sanderson

Tanager’s Fledglings

The Tanager Book 1

When the starship’s captain died midway through a run with a cargo of exotic animals, the owner gave first mate Jem one chance, and one choice. The chance: if he successfully runs the trade route solo, he’ll become the new captain. If he fails, he’ll lose the only home he’s ever known.

And the choice? He’s now raising an old earth animal called a basset hound. Between station officials, housebreaking, pirates, and drool, Jem’s got his hands full!

J. M. Anjewierden

The Long Black

The Black Chronicles Book 1

Morgan always assumed that if she could survive growing up in the mines of Planet Hillman – feared for its brutal conditions and gravity twice that of Earth – she could survive anything.

That was before she became a starship mechanic. Now she has to contend with hostile bosses, faulty equipment, and even taking care of her friend’s little girl. Once pirates show up, it’s a wonder she can get any work done at all.

Hans G. Schantz

The Hidden Truth

They subverted science, rewrote history, and corrupted society. Now he knows. And he’ll prove it, if they don’t kill him first.

Read the amazing new science fiction techno-thriller about the conspiracy corrupting the world and the young man who rallies his friends and family to fight back.

J.L. Curtis

Into the Green


After a chance encounter with Dragoons and Traders turns a routine planet exploration into a rout that kills his team and his career, Lieutenant Ethan Fargo, medically retired, wants nothing more than to hole up in the backwater Rimworld he’d explored and enjoy a quiet retirement far from people or problems.

Unfortunately, he’s about to find out that he’s not as retired as he wants to be, and that his new home system comes with dangers, politics, and Dragoon sightings of its own. What promised to be a boring retirement will turn out to be anything but.

Henry Vogel

The Fugitive Snare

Matt & Michelle Book 3

Psi Corps wants Matt, the most powerful psychic in generations. He slipped through their fingers twice and escaped beyond the borders of the Terran Federation. But mere laws won’t stop Psi Corps from coming after Matt.

Psi Corps wants Michelle, Matt’s wife and the key to controlling him. Trained as a bodyguard since birth, Michelle is the only reason Matt is still free. But no bodyguard can stop the full might of the most powerful government in known space.

When a surprise attack almost catches them, Matt and Michelle realize they have nowhere to hide. They must take the fight to Psi Corps. To live free they must find Psi Corps’ weakness and exploit it. They must be David to Psi Corps’ Goliath. They must slay the giant or serve it.

Slayer or slavery—there are no other options.

Karen Myers

Monsters, And More

There’s a Sword for That

MONSTERS – Xenoarchaeologist Vartan has promised his young daughter Liza one of the many enigmatic lamedh objects that litter the site of a vanished alien civilization.

No one can figure out what they’re good for, but Liza finds a use for one.

ADAPTABILITY – The Webster Marble Deluxe Woodsman, Model 820-E, has been offline for quite some time. Quite some time indeed.

Good thing Webster has a manual to consult, and a great many special functions.

The Visitor, And More

There’s a Sword for That

THE VISITOR – Felockati is anchored to his permanent location underwater and misses the days of roaming his ocean world freely.

But something new drops out of the sky and widens his horizons – all the way to the stars.

YOUR EVERY WISH – Stealing the alien ambassador’s dagger is a sure thing for Pete – just what he needs to pay off his debts.

Until he starts talking to it. There has to be a way to get something for himself out of the deal. Has to be.

J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Tally Master

A Lodestone Tale

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord – haunt of the desperate and violent – proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Now master of the metals that flow to the citadel’s weapon forges, Gael rules his tally room unchallenged, until he discovers a theft within its vaults.

Gael loves the quiet certainty of black ink tally marks on smooth parchment, but his search for the thief leads to a maze of unexpected answers, putting his hard-won sanctuary – and his life – at risk.

Set in the Bronze Age of J.M. Ney-Grimm’s North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

Blake Smith

A Kingdom of Glass

Garia Cycle, Book 1


Zara hasn’t seen her family in eleven years, but she doesn’t mind. They sent her to live in a neighboring kingdom when she was small, and she’s adopted her foster parents in their place. She lives the life of an aristocratic Garian girl- riding her horse, shooting her bow, exploring the castle with her friends- and she has nothing to wish for.
Until she’s summoned home, to a prospective marriage she doesn’t want, family she doesn’t remember, and a poisonous royal court that threatens everything she’s ever known. The East Morlans are nothing like Garia, and Zara struggles to find her place among the scheming Morlander aristocrats. Along the way, she makes new friends, meets enemies, and falls in love. But secrets abound in the glittering palace, and Zara must discover who she can trust as she fights for her life and freedom in a fragile, beautiful, kingdom of glass.

Sarah A. Hoyt

Darkship Revenge


The popular Darkship series returns!

After winning the civil war in Eden, Athena returns to her calling, collecting powerpods with her husband Kit. Now weeks away from Earth, she goes into labor. To make matters worse, a strange ship attacks Athena and Kit’s Cathouse and kidnaps Athena’s husband. That ship is called Je Reviens. It’s a named steeped in history—and not the good kind of history.

Hot on Kit’s trail, Athena discovers that you shouldn’t name a ship Je Reviens unless you intend it to return. The genetically modified Mules are back, and they have a plan to prevent themselves from being exiled ever again. And if the Mules win, the best thing humanity can hope for is slavery.

The worst is death.

While a bio-engineered plague wreaks havoc on the forces of liberty, Athena must risk herself, her husband, and her child for the survival of humanity.

The Mules may be about to find out what revenge truly is: one angry mother.

Elise Hyatt

A Fatal Stain

Daring Finds Book 3


When Dyce Dare buys a table to refinish, the last thing she expects is to find a human blood stain under the amateurish finish. Whose blood is it? What happened to the person who bled on the table?
Helped and hindered by her fiance, Cas Wolfe, her friend Ben, her son E and an imaginary llama named Ccelly, Dyce must find the killer and the victim, before the killer finds her.

36 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, ‘Nother Mike and Mary Catelli & Hurray for Promo Sunday by Freerange Oyster

  1. We sat in my office. Me in my desk chair, Mason in one of the interview chairs. The phone sat in the middle of the desk between the two of us. Just in case, our cellphones bracketed it. This was the hardest part of any of his experiments, the waiting.
    50 bang on! Only had to edit out 3 words to hit the target. 🙂

  2. “Are we there yet?”
    “No sweetie. It’s another two hours.”
    Twenty minutes later.
    “Are we there yet?”
    “No dear. We’ve only gone 20 miles.”
    Fifteen minutes later.
    “Mom. Are we there yet?”
    “No! We’ve at least another hour to go.”
    “But Mom, I can’t wait to go to the bathroom.”

  3. “Two cocktails, please, then we’ll order.”

    “Very good, sir. Your usual?”

    “Yes, Scotch on the rocks and Bourbon, straight.””

    “Your wish, sir.”

    While the servobot glided away, I turned to Longe-Johnson and told him frankly, “Time travel simply isn’t possible, old chap. It can’t be done”

    “Not yet,” he replied.

  4. Thousand and one; thousand and two. Get to sixty and start again. Sixty in a minute; three thousand six hundred in an hour. Something to do in the wait. Everyone dreams in cold sleep. Too bad he was a lucid dreamer.

    Thousand and sixty. Three years down, eighty-nine to go.

  5. He followed Nanny’s directions explicitly. Accessing the database was a little tricky. It, no she, had told him that this would help him get out of the trap he was living in. He paused and activated the final icon. A cold sweat came over him as he waited for acknowledgement.

  6. Don’t wait for me to finish this vignette, I’ve got too much going on here.

  7. “Heyyyyyyy, Abbott! Do we have today’s prompt yet?”

    “Yes, Lou. ‘Wait.’ “


    “Yes, Lou. ‘Wait.’ “

    “How long, Lou?”

    “How long what?”

    “How long do I gotta wait, Lou?”

    “How long do you have to wait? How long do you have to wait for what?”

    How long do I gotta wait for you to tell me today’s prompt, Lou?”

    “I’ve already told you, Bud. ‘Wait.’ “

    “Okay, Lou. Wait.”

    “That’s right, Bud. ‘Wait.’ “

    “Wait for today’s prompt?”

    “That’s right, ‘Wait’ for today’s prompt.

    “How long do I gotta wait, Lou?”

    “What on Earth are you waiting for, Bud!”

    100 – because some things deserve double the effort.

    1. I think some of your “Lou”s should be “Bud”s. Lou’s the one who gets confused.

      1. By George, You’re Right! Bud Abbott, Lou Costello. That’s what comes of concentrating on getting the exchange dynamics to the detriment of the details of character.

      1. Thank-you. In our youth, Beloved Spouse & I had learned to do a pretty good ex tempore improvisation of “Who’s On First” and were wont to do so while sauntering down city* sidewalks. It is comforting to be visited in my dotage by reminders of competencies past.

        *Legend has it that Philadelphia was once a city.

        1. Legend has it that Philadelphia was also the City of Brotherly Love. Unfortunately, I doubt even the brothers love each other very much there nowadays.

  8. “He’s supposed to roll out at eight, right?”
    “That’s what they said.”
    “What time is it?”
    “Five ’till.”
    Iverson snuggled down into the sniper rifle again, twitched his leg and started his breathing cycle, “Just in case…”
    Four minutes later, Snow said softly, “Movement. Standby.”
    “Wait, it’s his double.”

    And thanks for the promo on the book!

  9. This vision could only make us yearn for our home. I wondered how long we would have to wait before it shifted to a scene more useful, or revealed knowledge we did not have. Then the door opened, revealing salt-white people in the hall, and Augusta. Behind her was Carrigiana.

  10. This was no time to wait and see whether his impression was true. He had no hope from any other source. “Do you know anything of any way out?”
    The boy blinked, as if the idea of escape, or perhaps the idea of an outside, was an alien concept to him. Then he brightened, and looked a bit more human.

  11. ‘Three gunmen enter, two pistols and a shotgun in hand.’ said the referee. ‘When their attention wavers, Jeff will speed to shotgun, grapple, and ready the forcesword to engage pistols.’ ‘When they aren’t covering Paul, he gets into cover.’ ‘Jeff and Paul are crushed by falling objects. It’s cascading weights.’

  12. “Whatchya readin’ there, Beanpole?”
    “Article on weight control.”
    “You don’t need that. You’re a beanpole, Beanpole.”
    “Not that kind of weight.”
    “What, some bizarre goofy-matter physics version of weight?”
    “No. Wait. W-A-I-T. Queuing theory. Wait control.”
    “Damn right I am. Now would you kindly let me read in peace?”

  13. “I shall have the book. If you keep me from it, you must die,” said the afrit, nerving himself up for another attack.
    “Oh well, if you insist,” said spider, clashing its cutting blades suggestively. “Other leg this time? Perhaps an arm instead? For variety, you know.”
    A word echoed in the combat nexus. “Wait.” It was Nike’s voice, but it seemed bigger than usual to the spiders. Different, as if more than one person was speaking.
    “Hold that thought a moment if you would, Mr. Demon,” said the spider holding up a forelimb. “I’m getting instructions.”
    “Bring him to us,” said Nike, and then went silent again.
    “Oh, how timely!” exclaimed the spider. “You are reprieved, demon. My dread master requires your presence. Come along.” The spider turned to run back to the clearing where Nike and the others waited.
    “What?” said the afrit uncertainly. He crouched in case it might be a trap of some kind. He was used to that, demons tried to trick each other all the time.
    “You are coming with us to speak with our maker,” said the spider patiently. “You can come peacefully under your own power, or we can chop you up and bring you along in pieces. Which would you prefer? I’m in favor of the chopping, myself.” It snicked its blades as punctuation.

    -These are some lippy spiders, am I right?-

  14. “Wait and watch.” That’s what his mistress had told him. Wait and watch, but only for a full turn of the moon. He made another circuit of the house, glancing up at the moon in the window. Half a cycle left. After that, if she had not returned, he would go to the other. Meanwhile he waited, wondering if he dared leave to hunt. He was growing hungry.

  15. “So when’s NASA going to name a new commandant for Shepardsport?”

    “I told you, Waite.”

    “Yeah, that’s what you said the last time. How long are they going to expect us to wait?”

    “Not wait, Waite. W-A-I-T-E. It’s a common name in New England, enough that Lovecraft used it for several of his characters. I thought you’d heard about the flamewar Reggie got mixed up in, considering it was enough to make Congress take note.”

    “So they’re kicking him upstairs and figuring Farside’s far enough away to keep him out of trouble. Lovely.”

    (For anyone who doesn’t know the story, The Angry Astronaut Affair is up free at Liberty Island. It’s one of the first Gus on the Moon stories that I got published).

    1. Wait, is that Helen Waite? So if you have a problem that needs solving, you go to . . .

        1. Yup. He’s got more stories, if I can ever get them written. Only right now Ixilon (my big fantasy universe) has taken over my headspace, and I’m having major trouble getting back into the Gus on the Moon universe, at least for any sustained projects.

  16. Monitors beeped.

    “How ya doin’, pal?”

    “Not good, Boss. Left forearm fractured in three places, eight broken ribs, shattered pelvis, bruised -.”

    “Not gonna be useful to the crew for a while. Forgot the first rule of workin’ up here: Though somethin’ no longer has weight, it still has considerable mass.”

  17. “He’s been waitin’ for weeks, pining.” Earl scratched Lucky’s ear. “Good dog.”
    Jessop nodded. “He knows Sally’s gone. They ain’t suited, but love’s blind.”

    “True that. She’s a wandering spirit; he ain’t. . . Well I’ll be damned. Sally!”
    She hesitatingly stepped onto the porch. “I reckon I need Billy.”

  18. I motored past the island, turned south at Point Retreat, and headed across the channel, battling heavy seas. I thought about sheltering inside the Cove where I could wait out the incoming storm. But that was not an option because I had a gig that night and couldn’t be late.

  19. The team was assembled in front of the pane. Still cameras and video. Primo Shaw type slowglass. It had happened in front of the glass twentyfive years ago. Like…now.

    1. I remember reading a story about slow glass in ANALOG, lo, those many years ago.

  20. The young woman knew to place herself down wind. Let the wolf come to me, she thought. I’ll spot the beast in the moonlight before it smells me. She checked her bow and arrows again, and dried her left hand on her tunic. There was nothing to do but wait.

  21. The gore he’d smeared in his empty eyes socket attracted flies into the cavity; tickling him something fierce.
    But it was no worse than the corpses jumbled about him, the stiff bodies sucking the heat from his own naked flesh.
    But when the Duke arrived, sans bodyguards, it was worth it.

  22. “The future is here!” The salesman said. Then I looked at his wares. Nope, all yesterday’s technology.

    I couldn’t really blame him. The universe moves at such a vigorous pace. The “new hotness” today, is “yesterday’s news” tomorrow.

    The new “new hotness”… now that’s what I want. Only the salesman informs me that won’t be available until some time next week.

    “Next week?! It will be outdated next week!” I cry.

    One day I’ll catch up. I’m just sure of it. But every day I look and the future is there… off in the untouchable beyond, teasing like a beautiful scantally clad woman, dancing away in the sure knowledge that a portly shlub like me will never catch her. That’s ok, I can wait.

  23. “Torpedoes acquired.” The scan officer’s voice held that peculiar flatness civilians sometimes mistook for calm. Red dots appeared in the master holotank, accompanied by a steady, low chirruping sound. “Acceleration measured at … 92 delta. Point defense range in forty minutes, detonation proximity in forty-five if they’re straight nukes, forty-one if they’re BPLs. Time to jump threshold, fifty-four minutes.”

    Captain Brooks sighed; it took effort under the three-delta thrust, but sometimes nothing else sufficed. “Helm: can we max out our delta and make the jump threshold first?”

    The helmsman closed his eyes, running calculations through his implant node, then shook his head. “Negative, Skip. The engines’ll take us to five delta max with this load. That’ll cut the best-case under-fire time from nine minutes to five point five, but five and a half minutes at five Gs is a lot less surviveable than nine minutes at three Gs.”

    Brooks let out a breath. “All right, hold course, get the defense crews prepped, and start the warning count.” She hoped her crew didn’t notice the whiteness of her knuckles. This was the worst part of space combat: the wait. “Think of it this way, folks. In an hour, this’ll all be over, either way.”

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