Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & ONE Book Promo

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

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: quaint.

ONE Book Promo aka: why aren’t you slackers writing and promoting?

Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com.  One book per author per week. Amazon links only.

Pam Uphoff: Last Merge.


Thirty-fourth book in the Wine of the Gods series.

Xen and friends are trying to prevent a cross-dimensional disaster that could kill billions.

Eldon is getting tired of gold mining and really misses being on a world where he can just drink beer and watch football.

It’s going to take both of them to save the Empire of the One from the Helios Cannibals.

67 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & ONE Book Promo

  1. “Quaint? It looks like a chemical plant that was the result of the collaboration, or perhaps competition, of Dr. Suess and Rube Goldberg, and run by a consortium of the Three Stooges and the Marx bothers! If it made LSD, the product would be less screwy than the… installation. ‘Quaint.'”

  2. In a flash of light a slender man in formal dress with top hat appeared on the stage.

    He proclaimed “I’m Malion the Magnificent here to preform tricks both quaint and not so quaint for your amusement.

    First he pulled a pink rabbit with blue polka dots out of his hat.

    The rabbit said, “I’m Fred. Guido and Nunzio will be along but they can’t get through the Boss’s hat”.

    1. From a large box on the stage there were sounds of knocks.

      Fred bounced over to the box and opened the front of it.

      Two very large troll-like figures, blue skinned with pink polka dots, stepped out.

      One said “I’m Guido and this is my cousin Nunzio. We’re here to help the Boss in his tricks”.

  3. “Space car,” snorted Thrust Carson as he saw the drifting derelict. “How quaint.” Carson continued zooming along with his reactionless interplanetary jetpack.

  4. I don’t have promo posts because I’m writing quaint little things like synth reviews and the text for video tutorials.

  5. “It’s a quaint old place. It even has a ground-floor garage.”

    “Ground-floor? For road-based cars?” asked Lady Anne.

    “I suppose there’s no shuttle-launcher,” said Matthew.

    “No. There’s a tennis court that could be modified.”

    “Tennis? Not hoverball? It sounds wonderful.”

    Matthew sighed. Anne’s love for the old-fashioned was inconvenient sometimes.

      1. Yes, a real estate agent. I probably should have found some way of giving him a dialog tag within the 50 words.

        1. Could have split it into two linked vignettes with a synonym for quaint in one of them. Hmmm. Now my mind has grasshoppered to a continuation of my own.

  6. “Quaint”? Are you having language difficulties, or is this just a condensation of “Quonset Hut Paint”?

  7. The jeweller screwed his loupe into his eye and peered closely at the ring in his hand.
    “How quaint, and peculiar. I don’t believe I have seen this type of stone setting in all the years of my trade.” He looked up at the young girl in front of him, “Where did you say you found this again?”
    “I… I would prefer not to say she said. It’s rather, complicated.”

  8. Her mother would have called the room quaint. There were things embroidered, and things knit, and great over-stuffed chairs, and little picture frames with silhouettes.
    Solange wondered if any of it were magic. Then she shivered and wondered if any of it was not.

  9. Artemise looked up at the building. How could anyone live in a home so gigantic and quaint at once? Enormous towers and porches and at least four stories. Windows round and oblong and rectangle. Every inch of wood covered in the detailed gingerbread carvings, and painted one of a dozen colors, raspberry and pastel green and purple and more.
    At least they didn’t clash, she told herself. There had been that house painted mustard yellow and trimmed with pure pink and blue and green. Even the memory of that one made her shudder.
    Though this one came with the disadvantage of long skirts.

  10. “You mean your quantitative analysis department is staffed completely with humans? No AIs?”

    “No, not completely, but our AIs are strictly employed in auditing roles – the humans make all the quantitative analysis driven investment decisions. Here at Bumbleford and Gringewhitz, as a boutique investment management house, we’ve embraced the time-proven analytical methodologies of the great investment firms of the past. Our human quants have recreated the analysis methods for identifying and managing investments of the great investment firms of the twentieth century back on old Earth. We’ve specifically targeted the internal documentation recently recovered by renowned archeologist Res Wombat from his excavations of the New York City ruins complex from the noted investment firm ‘Lehman Brothers’.”

    “Lehman Brothers? With human quants. How, um… quaint.”

    1. Oh boy. Remind me never to invest with Bumbleford and Gringewhitz.
      A yoyo stock market I can handle; one that plummets downward only is contraindicated.

  11. I’m writing! I’m writing! (I mostly blame MGC and this blog for the fact, but I AM writing.) Three damn chapters to go. I think. (“Why are you trying to go indie?” asks the husband. “Because I have one heroine working with two men and I HATE LOVE TRIANGLES, that’s why.”)

  12. …why aren’t you slackers writing and promoting?

    Sarah, I’ve sent in a book for the promo twice now, but it wasn’t included either last week or today. I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong. (I’ve been in the promo multiple times in the past.) Any clues?

  13. “A rose,” said the florimancer to his aspiring apprentice. “Lovely color, clearly a crossing from the Zephyrine strai–are those clip marks? You *pruned* it? How very quaint.”

    A dismissive turn of his hand indicated that the novice might go. The novice kept his face straight. The rose made a rude blatting noise and waggled its thorns.

      1. “He’s an aspiring acolyte at the Church of the Great Tree. It’s a pistil-packing plant with a bad attitude. They fight crime. And aphids.”

  14. “Ed-GAR! What are you up to? It’s midnight!”
    “Just reading, dear.”
    “Another volume of forgotten lore? I don’t know what you see in them?”
    “Well, dear, they’re quaint and curious.”
    “A grown man, wasting his time like that…Did you put the raven out?”
    “Yes, dear.”
    “Well, let it in again. I can’t sleep with all that rapping!”
    As Edgar went to open the shutter, he said under his breath, “Get lost, Lenore.”

  15. Lemuel gasped, standing astonished as the spacecraft’s landing jets blew his outhouse away. A beautiful woman, in form-fitting transparent armor over a flimsy negligee, leapt lightly down and aimed a blaster at him.

    She glanced over him, pausing midway to grin and say, “Oh! You’ve a bug-eyed monster. How quaint!”
    Originally fifty-seven, but as we don’t count by Obama Numbers I excised seven.

  16. Jane tied off the kayak and climbed aboard her quaint, psychedelic houseboat.

    She was anchored close to shore. The salty air of low tide was not unpleasant, but her empty stomach intensified the smell.

    An otter paddled by and gazed steadily in her direction.

    It was time for steamed clams.

  17. The intern looked around the room at the braided rag rug, patchwork quilt, and wooden rocker, then at the senior Psych-doc, who explained, “The patient believes she is living in rural Tennessee, Old Earth, around 1940. The vintage furnishings seem to soothe her seizures. Your thoughts?”

    “It’s quaint.”

    “Necessarily so.”

    50 words. 😉

  18. “My favorite use the world ‘quaint’ has to be in Star Trek IV with Scotty and the computer,” the man said.

    His friend nodded agreement. “I use to watch that movie of VHS.”

    “VHS – how quaint!”

    1. “So Starfleet wants you to debrief us because you traveled to a time about 30 years before the time we visited?”
      “Aye,” replied the rotund Scotsman “That’s about the size of it.”
      “We reviewed the Enterprise’s logs for that trip and were prepared to use a computer mouse but when we got there we found people talking to their computers.”
      “Ach! So if we’d just arrived 30 years later-”
      “Not exactly, sir. The computers of that era had individual forms of address. We noted the locals talking to computers named Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and even one called “OK Google.”
      “Computers with individual names” mused Scotty. “How quaint.”

  19. Jessamyn flushed. “It is plain vanilla. I knitted it for my uncle with what I had. Coming here was a very sudden necessity and the replicators don’t provide yarn.”

    “How quaint!” The nurse’s scorn was palpable.

    But across the room Duncan’s serene expression above the white scarf told a different tale.

    51 dang it!

  20. “They called us ‘quaint,'” snarled Pete. “Like we was a tourist trap or somethin’!”

    “Dude, I know,” said Ronnie consolingly. “Just remember the money we’re gittin’.”

    “I know that much,” Pete comlained. “I could understand feedin’ em. But do we gotta play ‘Hatfields and McCoys’ for a buncha Martian tourists?”

  21. I wanted to take you to that café in the oldest part of the settlement. After, we would stroll, peeking in the quaint shops like a couple of Old Earthers. Instead, you led me to the hilltop to witness a binary sunset. This isn’t old-timey,, you said. This is eternity.

  22. I always wanted to live in a David Winter’s cottage. Life-sized that is. Shrinking to fit in the quaint little buildings they sell in stores doesn’t appeal to me in a world filled with cats, ferrets, hawks and other critters who take a delight in making snacks of bite-size morsels.

    1. I love the solid stone of Cotswold-style architecture. What I don’t like is the thatched roofs. Sure, thatched roofs are much better insulated, and built with renewable materials too. But slate roofing is much more fireproof. However, while they both are elegantly old-fashioned, both have a distressing tendency to leak.

        1. /laugh
          Shrink the actual thatched cottage and self; and I’ll likely find a not-so-little Greebo burrowing through the roof for a Mikey Treat. How’s that quote go? “We don’t eat family members!”

  23. I AM writing. I should have a release later this month, and two not long after, if my cover folks and editor don’t have more bad life rolls (Son of the Return of the Death Flu Part 2: The Sequel, among other things).

  24. Good news; all quiet on the blog front. That is an indication that the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess is putting words on paper that will be transferred to paper. The Empire Grows!

  25. “Quaint? QUAINT!?” Javier’s faced turned purple as the rage overtook him. “Bruiser ain’t quaint!”
    The military surplus battlebot stood patiently behind him; fire engine red and newly refurbished.
    “Really? It couldn’t go ten minutes against Vengeance!”
    The slender, black automaton bounced on its toes; a boxer waiting for the bell.

  26. With a groan of effort, Nerissa finally managed to push the window upwards, letting the sunset’s red light into the empty room. It didn’t improve the place. Briar cringed as her friend swept the room with a slow glare before finally turning it on her.

    “There is a nest of spider eggs in the ceiling corner,” Nerissa bit out. “The air smells of mummified mice. I suspect those blankets are more mold than wool. And if you ever walk this floor in bare feet you will have a dozen splinters before you leave. Explain to me again why this is a desireable choice for our new residence?”

    Briar sighed. “Look, if the Sentinels have gone to the trouble of bringing in diviners to find us, I need someplace I can cloak properly.” She gestured around the room with her rowanwood wand; dust swirled in the wand’s wake. “And in addition to not having seen a landlord for better’n a year, this building has all the entropic resonance I need — I can hide two heartbeats in here easy as pie, and nobody’ll notice the chaological aethyrs in among all the real decay. It’s this or the Leeches, Nissy; suck it up. No pun intended.”

    Nerissa scowled, but at last she let out a sigh and sat down against the wall, her dusky skin turning her into a black silhouette in the shade. “We could have gone back to Valonar months ago,” she grumbled. “If only you knew how to discourage unwanted suitors without punching them.”

    Briar snorted. “Yeh, well, unlike my father, annoyingly, I subscribe to this quaint little notion called ‘free will’. Y’might’ve heard of it.”

  27. “Why is that super-powerful being always causing us trouble, Ma?” whined Wesley.

    “I believe he thinks it’s good for us, in a ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger’ sort of way.”

    “But it’s just not fair!”

    “Well, dear, many semi-divine beings are entirely benevolent. Q ain’t.”

  28. The chartreuse-haired, tattooed, multiply-pierced ‘persyn’ screamed, “How dare you hold the door for me? I’m triggered by your Euro-centric transphobic straight white male cis-gendered hetero-normative microaggression! Check your privilege!”

    Mike turned to Tom with a guffaw. “How quaint.”

    Both men ducked as the persyn’s head exploded.

  29. All the rough and tumble men
    usually dig tractors out of fields. They
    saw how quaint it was
    that cats collect bribes from
    really demanding publishers
    and the first letters of each
    line give the name of the continent near
    india where people are
    allowed to have their own country.

  30. Coming in late, thanks to a convention that landed me less money and more con crud than I would’ve preferred, but I wanted this to see the light of day:

    You know what really made me feel old? Watching Star Trek IV with my grandson.

    There’s this scene where Scotty gets his first introduction to a 1980’s computer, and says, “A keyboard. How quaint.”

    It’s supposed to be a bit of comic relief, but not a chuckle from my little Joey. Nope, he just winces in sympathy at the idea of having to peck out commands like we did when I was his age. And then I realize Siri and Alexa both came out before he was even born.

    1. All science-fiction is destined to be by-passed by reality.
      Especially when the people in tech were inspired by the fiction to try and emulate it.

  31. When your rage becomes petulance and your biting sarcasm whining, you know your inevitable decline has begun. Like the once-edgy tatoos that were crisp and sharply defined but are now vague blobs of washed-out color, you are dismissed by others, not because you are old, but because you are quaint.

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