A Spring of Books! Also Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike


*Sorry this is so late.  I have all symptoms of a sudden cold, but I think it might be allergies.  At any rate, I just feel I’d like to sleep a lot and took time getting organized enough to do this.

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.-SAH*


GRAY RINEHEARTWalking on the Sea of Clouds

Before permanent lunar encampments such as Clarke’s Clavius Base (in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or Heinlein’s Luna City (in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) could be built, there would have to be the first settlers–the first people to set up shop and try to eke out an existence on the Moon. Walking On the Sea of Clouds is the story of such lunar pioneers: two couples, Stormie and Frank Pastorelli and Van and Barbara Richards, determined to survive and succeed in this near-future technological drama about the risks people will take, the emergencies they’ll face, and the sacrifices they’ll make as members of the first commercial lunar colony. In the end, one will decide to leave, one will decide to stay, one will put off deciding … and one will decide to die so another can live.


FRANCES DECHANTALMarguerite: A Novel with a Little Murder

What should a loving relative do to help her family? Can Marguerite Wilmington protect her cancer-stricken nephew from a killer at large in the hospital? Can she help her widowed sister and not lose herself in the process? Can she finance her own next cup of coffee?

Marguerite is a journey through a child’s cancer treatment with added stress from a mysterious extra threat to the child’s life.


L.A. MAYNiko and the Shades

Monsters lurk in the streets of Aldemyr …

Fifteen-year-old Niko secretly longs for magic spells, crystal balls, maybe even a hero’s sword. Instead, he can see the scarpies, sinister little shadow creatures who live in darkness and feed on black magic. Most people can see one or two, here or there, but Niko sees them everywhere, scuttling along the streets, hiding in shadows.

No one takes the scarpies seriously. Niko’s cousin calls them spectral rats. But when a powerful figure at the royal court is murdered by black sorcery, Niko begins to think the scarpies are involved. While court factions scheme for power, Niko may be the only one who can stop a magical assassin before someone else is murdered, and a killer takes control of the kingdom.

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: follow

47 thoughts on “A Spring of Books! Also Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. She follows a strict and rigid schedule, twice each and every day, from six to eight, sitting at her word processor. Feeding in penny dreadfuls, pot boilers, blank verse and dime novels.

    From eight to six the processor grinds away, pouring out Operating and Maintenance manuals for the psychotic world.

  2. The humanoid Bloodhound paced around the woman in the wheelchair and said “I got the scent Boss and I’m ready to follow it. Ches, Mary-Ann are you ready to follow me”?

    The grey cat replied “Ruff, you couldn’t lose me if you tried”.

    Mary-Ann smile and replied “I’m ready”.

    Maleon said to his three companions “Good Hunting”.

    1. As the three companions disappeared from the hospital room, Sister-Healer Elizabeth of the Order of Saint Raphael said “Fascinating the way they travel. It’s not true teleportation. Could you follow them?”

      Maleon replied “Sadly no, I could teleport to where they come out of the NoWhere but not travel through the NoWhere like they do.”

      “In any case, I may be needed here and it’s better that Mary-Ann is the person who attempts to convince your patient’s lost persona to return. She is a victim of rape and I likely would remind her of the rapist.”

  3. Another story bit-

    My first week was not just being hit with a riding crop over and over again.

    I almost wish it was.

    “This isn’t history,” I groan, looking through my first two recommended books for learning what appears to be the new history of the United States, “this is pure Marxist ontology. Worse, it’s poorly written and boring Marxist ontology.”

    Kim Jee, aka Jee, look at me over the rim of her frameless glasses, peering into my soul as if to determine exactly what sin I have committed this time. “You are very fortunate, you realize,” she says, a perfect Oxford English accent coming from her very red lips, “to be learning the high school version. The college version is pure Marxist and Leninist and Gramscian theory, of the inevitable historical victory of perfect socialism over the evils of capitalism, democracy, and Western culture.”

    What was it with my female teachers dressing as if they were in an extremely well-written hentai manga? Kim Jee sits to my right at the kitchen table, wearing a heartbreakingly plain white silk blouse, a perfect tight black skirt that reaches to her knees, black silk stockings, and stunning patent black heels that make me have embarrassingly warm thoughts on my cheeks and between my legs whenever she walks around to do anything. “Of course, this is the realm of academics and literary writers and media people,” her voice drops with the sort of scorn you would expect from someone who’s cover story had her escape from North Korea when she was nine, when the choice for her was to either spread her legs for someone senior in the Party or risk death to a land where she thought it was full of devils.

    She told me one day what it took for her to get across the border to South Korea, and I occasionally feel that you’ve failed the human race if you haven’t done half of what she did to find freedom. And to fight tyrants in any form.

    Jee taps her right cheek with one perfectly done fingernail, and considers what to say next. “But, this is unfortunately the history that we will have to learn…initially,” and her lips twitch as she suppresses a smile. “I think we can make it more interesting when you finally learn what is required.”

    I groan and rest my head on the table. “And, we don’t have access to a time machine, correct?” I mutter, shaking my head in frustration.

    “No, we do not,” Jee sighs, and runs a finger through her perfect black hair. “Why would you need one.”

    “Karl Marx would be somewhere on the high end of the list of ‘people that I want to see crushed to death by a frozen turkey falling out of a clear blue sky,’” I mutter, and sit back up in my chair. “Followed by Friedrich Engels and every single philosopher that ever believed in the idea of the Noble Savage.”

    Jee pauses for a moment. “That’s a lot of turkey.”

    “And, hopefully, with the one falling on Malthus’ head, we can save many people from starvation,” I note cheerfully, and sit back up. “Let’s get back to figuring out how many of these authors were paid by the word, shall we?”

    Jee smiles a brilliant white smile of someone with very expensive dental implants. “Oh, they all were-and cheaply, which is why they wrote so much to say so little.”

    I look at the books again, and shrug. “So, could we just distill all of this linguistic mastrubation into something that is actually coherent?”

    “But, if we did,” Jee chuckles, “everybody would know exactly what they wanted, and having people know exactly what they wanted makes you a very bad Marxist.”

    “Damn,” I smile weakly. “Foiled again by some kind of logic.”

          1. Hum, I had no problem stretching “…run back .. and wait for things to pass.” as an abdication. BTW: ‘Third Wish’ is around a thousand pages circling around a labyrinth.

    1. Shoo, get out of my textbook cabinet! There’s a reason we do “teacher edits and corrections” in class.

  4. “Strange names for those bots.”

    “They’re tracer bots.”


    “So give me the files for those two. Ah, thanks.”

    He fed the information into the bot’s systems.

    “Cathode, follow her. Emitter, follow her.”

    From across the lab, one of the techs who was putting the final touches on ‘Source’ groaned.

  5. He: Try to remember the kind of September
    When you were a young and a callow fellow
    Try to remember and if you remember
    Then follow–follow, follow, follow, follow, fol-low.

    She: Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road
    Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow-brick road

    1. The four year old boy let go of their hands.  He ran zig-zaging ahead of them, singing very loudly and rather off key:

      Mud, mud, glorious mud
      Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
      So follow me follow, down to the hollow
      And there let me wallow in glorious mud

  6. “Just follow the directions, she says. The instructions are even printed out on real paper, she says. We are so screwed.”
    “Oh, stop it – it’s just flipped in the bracket – see, the optical cable is supposed to go through the housing to match up to the mounting bracket right here.”
    “Right. But when I get that back together we’re still stuck in a decaying orbit, and we have to fix about twelve more systems just to get maneuvering thrusters back online, let alone the main drive.”
    “What, you have something better to do?”
    “Fine. Hand me that torx-driver.”
    “Yes, dear.”

  7. “Number 374!” The clerk’s voice rang out.

    That’s me. I got up and went to the desk. He opened up the door next to his desk and said “Follow me.” We went down the short hallway, past some cubicles and to an office that had “Director: Vital Records” on the outside. At last. I was going to find out and the wait would be over.

    “Mr. Johnson?” I nodded.

    “I’ve reviewed your records. I’m sorry. But you missed submitting form 884/C-2 by two weeks. You are still officially deceased.”

    1. “Ah. Thank you for giving that to me in writing. I’d say that means I cannot be incarcerated for any crimes, being deceased and all.”
      A sudden doubt crossed the face of the bureaucrat behind the desk. “What do you mean?”
      “Well, there’s no post-mortem criminal penalty in this country’s jurisprudence. We don’t dig up dead criminals to lock their bodies up if they die before their sentence is fully served. And being dead is pretty much a rock-solid alibi for any new crimes.”
      More doubt, and now a frown. “Um, generally, yes.”
      “So with this official federal determination you have provided me with an all-purpose get-out-of-jail-free card. Thanks for clarifying that. I’ll be going now. Have a nice day.”

      1. Yes. A Romanian was working outside the country for a few years, and his restless wife had him declared dead so she could legally(ish) remarry without the nicety of divorce. When he got home, he discovered he was officially dead, and is trying to correct the situation. I suspect he doesn’t have the appropriate level of bribe money donations to let the court correct the “error”.

        1. I have vague memories that this possibility is actually a provision in Philippine law, to deal with somewhat specific circumstances. Spouse leaves to work away from family, either in country or overseas, and after a while is not heard from again. There is a very narrow – and burden of proof heavy – means of the surviving spouse being able to declare the one who left dead. There has to be a very long period too, of non-communication.

  8. His gaze moved between the two of them. After a moment, Leon grabbed her hand.
    “Follow me,” he said, and turned.
    Lenore stood for a moment. But Leon went on, and tugged on her hand. She followed. She had been warned that after a portal things were never the same.

    Note: in context, it’s clear that Leon and the man who tells them to follow are two different people 0:)

  9. ” Fallow is outside. ”

    ” So? ”

    ” You are fond of her. I thought you might want to follow Fallow friskily toward the fronds, perhaps foregoing flrtation and forsaking forbearance. Both of you are adults, you know. ”

    He sighed. ” Following my inclination to get you a thesaurus was not my best idea. “

  10. Sarah, one little confusion in the book promo: You have put L.A. May’s name in front of the description for the book Marguerite instead of Frances Dechantal. Most people probably wouldn’t notice, but it whacked me in the eyeballs when I got to it.

  11. “Follow, follow, rise up shepherds and fol—”
    Mrs. McCutchon stopped playing the piano. The varsity choir’s singing faded away and they all listened.
    “Terry, were you doing spell-folding behind that music folder?”
    The junior baritone gulped and started to shake his head, then ducked. “Um, yes, ma’am.”
    “Well, send the sheep back where they belong before I make you explain the mess to the Headmaster AND the senior custodian.”

  12. “I don’t have time to read your paper,” she said. “I’m trying to get tenure.”
    I was flabbergasted. If she didn’t have time to even read a paper which seemed to break genuinely new ground in her field of expertise, who would?
    I left, muttering to myself about gatekeepers and a moribund priestly caste. To hell with the academic establishment. They could lead, follow, or get out of the way.

  13. A loose-living fellow named Rollo
    Said, “Who needs that stuffed shirt, Apollo?
    I much prefer Bacchus,
    Whose followers caucus
    For boozing – it’s Bacchus I’ll follow!

    1. Backus Uppus should have been on the list of Car Talk’s roster of employees (as the God of Reverse).

  14. He did not like suggestions. That was one piece of advice that Minette thought even Maude would follow. She tried not to wring her hands.
    After a minute, he reached under the desk and pulled out two things to put on the desk. No sword, of course. Not a mirror.

  15. This one, thought Lenore, will be trouble. A dragon perched on the books, ready to prevent anyone from using them as portals. . . .
    Then she blinked, and laughed. And walked on.
    “How are we going to get at them?” whispered Leon.
    “We aren’t,” she whispered. “That dragon’s not real, it’s made of concrete, and the books aren’t portals.”

  16. “Come on!” cried Skidoo. “The world’s waiting! Do you want to be house mice forever?”

    “Please, no,” countered Chiseltooth. “You’ll lead everyone to oblivion!”

    “Oblivion? I call it freedom!” Skidoo dashed through the crack in the wall; three mice followed him into the night.

    Far above, an owl circled, watching.

  17. Many many years ago, on a late evening in early March, clear and maybe 50º, I headed north up I-17 from Phoenix to visit a friend in Colorado. The driving was easy with almost no traffic, and I had crossed the Verde River and started up the other side, when suddenly it began to snow, a heavy wet snow that quickly covered the pavement and obliterated the lines.

    I struggled on for a few miles, guided only by the reflective markers along the shoulder, but as the road climbed I reluctantly admitted that my traction was iffy, I could barely see 20 feet in front of me, and it would be stupidly dangerous to continue. I parked on the shoulder as far right as I dared, with my emergency blinkers on. There were chains in the trunk, but I had no way to put them on by myself.

    It was past 1:00 a.m. as I sat there alone contemplating the very real possibility that I might well freeze to death in my car. In a snowstorm. In March. In the damn desert! I was close to despair, when suddenly I felt a great calm come over me, a sense that everything would be fine.

    So I waited quietly, and after a few minutes a huge semi-truck roared past on my left, and then another and another. A convoy of six altogether, in a single line, the drivers up high enough to see the road markers and the huge tires packing down the snow.

    As soon as they had passed, a voice in my mind said, “Follow them.” I carefully eased the car into the tracks, and followed the truckers’ path all the way up to Kachina Village, where the snow had ceased and the wind had cleared the road. I stopped there to rest and whispered a quiet “Thank you!” to the voice.

    True story.

  18. When Spruance del Curtin left Chelsea’s office, she was surprised the tension didn’t leave with him. Then she realized that Shepardsport Pirate Radio was playing Bruce Hornsby’s “The Valley Road.”

    It had originally come out when she was in grade school, and she’d thought it was nothing more than a song about a follow-the-leader game like they played at school. Chelsea still remembered when she’d gotten off the bus still singing a child’s mangled version of the lyrics, only to get hauled straight to the bathroom to have her mouth washed out with soap.

    Her six-year-old self had been bewildered, but scared to ask why, lest she get a worse punishment for backtalk. Only when she was in high school and listened to it with a teenager’s knowledge of the world did she realize what it was really about.

    Now, as a professional planetary geologist here on the Moon, she wondered what differences there might be between the version recorded here in the Grissom timeline and the one she’d heard as a child in the Armstrong timeline.

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