Book Pimping by Sarah and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike


Book Pimping by Sarah and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

*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*

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Fractured Loyalties


Ra’d knew the main reason he was being assigned to the Embassy World was to get him away from headquarters. But since this was where his girlfriend and her father lived he was far from reluctant.

And if the ministry intel section didn’t want him, he’d just have to be a simple security guard.

But few things are simple for a Warrior of the One.

FROM C. TAYLOR:  Prepare for the STAAR Test in One Weekend: Mathematics, Reading, and Science Test Preparation for Grades 3 – 5 (LOL, but some of you might need it for kids.)


If you are in Texas, then STAAR Testing is almost here! How do you prepare your child to do well on the STAAR Test? This book has the answer.

The material in this book will dramatically improve your elementary school child’s performance on the STAAR test in a short period of time. It includes easy to follow steps and advice for teaching your child the particular skills of taking the STAAR test, including how to answer griddable questions, use of permitted resource materials, and effective use of the test time. It also includes an exclusive system for improving performance on questions where your child does not know the answer, based on a statistical analysis of the patterns consistently used by the testmakers in previous STAAR tests.

This book covers preparation for the mathematics, reading, and science State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness for grades 3 to 5 for the standard (not alternate) paper test without accommodations.

FROM A. C. EXTARIAN AND R. K. MODENA:  Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope


Nestled deep in the forest, all is as it should be in the village of Blessed Hope – and that’s how chief hunter Dari Finbarr likes it. Then one stormy night the embodiment of death for Humans stumbles into their home: a Szari girl. The Szari! A race of powerful beings who sought the extinction of Humankind, and were only stopped by the Tzaro people in a brutal war that is still whispered about in hushed voices. A sole Szari warrior is capable of wiping out entire Human settlements by themselves. The strange, silent Szari is nothing like how the tales describe however; and though it risks his life, Dari is given the task of guarding her until the wise Tzaro are brought to decide her fate. Until then many questions arise, but no answers can be found in the girl’s sad green eyes. Without knowing it, the Humans of Blessed Hope have found themselves on a path that will change the future of all the races on their world…

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: Ruthless.

58 thoughts on “Book Pimping by Sarah and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. “What’s wrong Jaxom?”

    “My dragon decided to fly off somewhere and didn’t tell me when he’ll be back”.

    “You mean?”

    “Yes, I currently Ruthless.”


  2. A perfect pair, he, the will and the power and she, his compass.

    The horror infected millions.

    Ruth , before she succumbed: “Reduce the infection , save 10%. or destroy the virus and them.

    Now, for him, a simple choice, he destroyed the virus because without her

    he was ruthless.

  3. Ere Naomi returned Elimelech’s widow, a prospering fellow waxed widely in the land of Judah. He was a known good man, fields yielding freely to all, and naught was said of cruelty or harshness on his account, yet, truly, before she sought the cover of his blanket, Boaz was Ruthless.

  4. Barry Bonds is the Major League home run record holder at seven hundred sixty-two. Only two other players have hit more than seven hundred. The previous record holder, Hank Aaron, with seven hundred fifty-five, and long-time record holder George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth less with seven hundred fourteen.

  5. Having powers doesn’t make a Superhero.

    Take her hometown, settled by extraterrestrials. Her powers are common there, as is her original gentle and pacifistic nature.

    She found an artifact, and was nearly eaten mind and soul by the spirit of an unorthodox cultivator. She ate him and thus became Ruth-Lass.

  6. The huge reptilian foot stomped down on the street, crushing the brand new bright red pickup truck. My friend Jim and I huddled in the coffee shop, trying to not get stomped ourselves as the giant monsters fought out whatever they were fighting out in our town.
    “Whose new truck was that?” I asked, trying to keep the dust and debris out of my coffee.
    The second monster, some kind of giant bug, was thrown into city hall, caving in the west side.
    “Bob Farrel or The New Bob?”
    “New Bob – his last name is Ruthles.”
    The reptile monster was hit in the head with a stream of glowing bug juice, and he staggered back into the Social Security Office, throwing up a new cloud of dust.
    “Well it’s too bad – Ruthles’s truck was a nice one.”

  7. ” Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.”

  8. They formed up into two teams, one calling themselves the Nevers and the other calling themselves the Ruths. While they attempted an even division of the work, in the end that proved to not be the case. By the very slightest of differences it worked out Ruth less, Never more.

  9. ” Is that the new girl? ”
    ” Yes. ”
    ” Job doesn’t suit her, does it? ”
    ” Doesn’t matter. Boss’s son’s wife. ”
    ” Oh, so that’s Ruthless Ismore. “

  10. Brady could tolerate fiction for the sake of art, as long as it was presented as fiction, but he had no patience with lies. He treated cunning malicious rumors, ignorant gossip, cover-ups, calculated political stances, and even white social lies as enemies. When it came to searching out the truth, he was ruthless.

  11. “So you’re telling me your smallest ferret was instrumental in capturing the bandit?”
    “Aye, he’s tiny, but fierce. And he loves candy bars.”
    “And ..”
    “We had the bad ‘un cornered. And the wee one, there, ‘e hunted ‘im down, when the man opened his last chocolate bar.”
    “By the smell? You’re kidding me!”
    “Oh, no. When it comes to treats, the babe-‘e ruthless!”

  12. She had to be ruthless. No longer could she afford to ignore the waste of time, of energy, of creative potential. At stake was her life, her future, her fulfillment as an artist and a maker. “No!” she told herself firmly. “No, you may NOT play another game of solitaire!”


    1. She had to be ruthless. This once seemingly harmless addiction was insidiously sapping her time and energy, destroying her creative potential. At stake was her life, her future, her fulfillment as an artist and a maker. “No!” she told herself firmly. “No, you may NOT play another game of solitaire!”

      Also 50, but I think more powerful, and the twist more unexpected?

  13. Silence fell. “They didn’t tell us,” said Mrs. Smith, finally. “They can be ruthless about shutting such — people out. And refusing to talk about them. They think it gives them undue weight.”
    “Not even when they set you here?” said Astra, a little anger showing beneath her cold tone.

  14. He hadn’t been Seth for three planets; it was a safe enough cover. Akrep leaned back into the seat, and hoped the driver wasn’t too spooked to take the corners with more care than he was showing for potholes on the straightaway. Every jounce shifted the lady against his side and made his self-defense twitch – if it had been another man, he’d have throttled the oxythief before they got halfway around the peninsula.

    She smelled like flowers – not the cloying ones, but something light and pretty, faint enough he wouldn’t have noticed if her hat brim weren’t practically bashing his cheekbone. No flowers in the hatband, at least, so it had to be her. And she was soft. Not weak; she had a grip strength that made him wonder if she was from Upstation. Downworlder clothes or no, that was a grip strong enough to be used to hauling mass around in null gee. But the muscles were all underneath soft, sleek skin, streamlined and aerodynamic, all curves.

    The last man Akrep’d met who was that soft had been so weak it had been easy to snap his neck. Her neck, he was sure, would be a greater challenge, and the way her long hair was neatly pinned up under her hat gave no easy leverage. Better to just punch the knife in the side and run it out the front… If it came to that. He hoped it wouldn’t. He wanted a nice, quiet trip for once. But as they came around the point and the city came into sight with its massive, crumbling statues guarding the entrance to the bay, and the great spires and walls of the alien ruins sticking up through the glitter and sprawl of the human city, Akrep doubted quiet was in the cards. It never was, when dealing with the Hym’ree and their endless schemes, even if these ruins proved not to be theirs. Especially if they proved not to be theirs.

    The tour guide was rattling off a preset blather about the first artifact, the Sun Chime, that they were about to drive through. Akrep was more interested in looking out the window, making sure not to lean his chin on top of the little miss’s hat. At least she was distracted enough by the sight she’d stopped flinching every time he shifted. He knew he was a monster, but it was… unfortunate that she thought so, too. Or maybe she was scared of all men; it happened to women who didn’t know any closely. And to some women who knew the worst of men all too well. That thought made him want to apologize to her again, for taking half her seat and all her personal space.

    The sunlight flashed on the Sun Chime, and as the van lurched forward, they drove through its waves of color. The little miss gasped in delight, and the movement did interesting, and very distracting things to her bosom. He almost missed the scanners and the passive sensor wall embedded in the rock, for noticing the way the wash of color played over her faint hint of cleavage. His shield must have held, because they drove on past the security pullover, and headed on toward the city. And the little miss, fortunately, hadn’t noticed the ogling. Or the sensors – she was definitely not security, which left her a puzzle.

    Akrep liked puzzles.

      1. We’re wrestling, the story and I. It’s all Sarah’s fault (at least, the bits sparked by writing prompts), and some other people’s faults besides. Mostly mine. If it gets finished, it’s going to be all my fault, for committing story.

        But beyond the writing prompts, I also found Akrep glaring at me from up against a wall with a clear eye on the exits, complaining that the last few books I’ve read were completely unrealistic, and the ‘big dangerous tough guy’, or ‘alpha male’ acts nothing at all like real men act. Having been blessed with friends that include several interesting gentlemen with varied, but relatively unpeaceful backgrounds… let’s just say when three of my alpha readers have been in bombings, and start swapping stories of doing interesting deals at various souks, and opining about the way that there is, indeed, almost always a handy piece of lumber in an Istanbul alley to kneecap your pursuers as they come around a corner…

        *facepalm* If I get this thing finished, any romance subplot may be completely improbable, but by G-d, the calibers and the where to stomp on someone who’s down will be correct! And how many cups of tea before the deal vs. after the deal, varying by whether the arms dealer is Turkish, Albanian, Arabian, or… yeah.

        1. It sounds fascinating, Dorothy — both the gentlemen of your acquaintance and the use you are making of their stories, Please keep us apprised of your progress.

  15. Her heart hammered as she took them up. But she had to keep them. Disaster beyond belief was possible if she let them seal the keys and lantern away.
    She scurried down the corridor. Running to the countryside would be wisest. They would be ruthless about getting them off her. Especially since they would not believe she could be ruthless about keeping them.

  16. The flood beat down on them ruthlessly.
    Queenie stood, making the boat rock, and shouted a spell. A wall of water stopped before them.
    A make-shift stopgap, thought Jonnet. As Queenie knew, as Nina, edging back toward her, knew.
    Nina whispered, “Look for hollows to store all the water in.”

  17. (Missed last week’s vignettes, so am using both prompts this week.)

    Equally capricious and ruthless, the Zamboni were unreliable as allies and dangerous as enemies. Yet, occupying as they did a sector in which twelve wormholes converged and where, as nowhere else, native tritium occurred in quantity, they could not be ignored.
    From time to time mid-level diplomats from the Pyrrhonian Empire, the Confederation of the Hyloi, and the Amphiarchy of Rigel tentatively mooted among themselves the idea of dispossessing the Zamboni of their sector and declaring it neutral; but fear of the cataclysmic reaction should such talks become known prevented the idea from taking root.
    The outbreak of factional strife among the Zamboni presented a not-to-be-missed opportunity and plans slowly began to take shape. But others planned also. Among them was Colonel Philopolemos — Zamboni exile, rogue, mercenary, and sometime pirate — who seized upon the chance for return and revenge.

    1. The Zamboni military – dedicated to rendering their enemies optically flat, smooth, and slippery as ice . . .

      1. All while their portable electric field organ units play various spritely historic tunes…

  18. This is a vignette (a bit longer than 50) from a short, short story I wrote about “Hubrin’s End”. Inspired by the vampire RPG Vampire: The Masquerade.

    “So, you see, I bested the enemy by going into his most holy place and eating and drinking and I’m still here! Even better, the Thirst is gone. Can you believe it?” Hubrin stood there looking at Duquesne with his hands on his hips daring his sire to doubt him.
    Duquesne just said, sadly, “Yes, yes I believe it.” Hubrin should have been able to see, and dodge, the ruthless blow as it came towards him. Instead, he barely caught the blur of motion as he was backhanded across the room to smash into the opposite wall. In shock, he slid into a heap on the floor and realized that one side of his face was badly broken. He called on the vampire blood to heal the injury. Nothing happened. Lifting his hands, he formed a Gesture to hurl a curse at Duquesne. Again nothing.

  19. The Progressive Party ruthlessly destroyed much of the English Language in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. No gentle pruning of hedges here. They savagely eradicated nearly a 3rd of the Oxford English Dictionary in a period of 100 years; worse than a brush hog through a lettuce patch.

    1. Sure would not want to clean that brush hog. You’d have to be ruthless about getting moisture out of the works.

      1. Cleaning is not that hard. Raise the 3-point hitch, flip up the mower bed, and hose it down with a pressure washer. You can do the same thing to protesting Progressives, but you need a fire truck with a good inch and a half line. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

        Ooo. 50 words on the reply. LOL.

        1. My favorite part is when I find a coil of steel wire and have to untangle it. Our place used to be a lumber mill/box factory/company town, and we have some of the most fascinating crap around, most of it 50-100 years old.

  20. Lukas knew the Duke had no enemies. The Duke had allies, or he had victims. He didn’t get where he was by allowing rivals to survive. Yet here Lukas was, languishing in a dungeon to be sure, but alive. And with every hour he lived, the Duke grew more vulnerable.

  21. “Jenkins, you’re back!” said Nigel Slim-Howland. “Did you complete the shopping list?”

    “For the most part, sir,” said Jenkins.

    Nigel realized his butler’s programming precluded careless omission. “Did you find those chocolate, caramel, and peanut candy bars I love?”

    “Terribly sorry, sir,” said Jenkins. “I’m afraid the supermarket was Ruthless.”

  22. “Look, Marcus, I know you said you wanted a roof on this building that would withstand anything, but what you’re designing is far too heavy. The foundation, the walls, the whole structure would just collapse under that kind of a load.”

    “So, what are you suggesting we do?”

    “Roof less.”

  23. I had thought she was good because she was so flawlessly serene. Now I saw she was dangerous; she cared for no-one except herself; other people were to be used solely for her comfort. Those around her she controlled for her own purposes, including me. So why should she ever frown? She was heartless, and she was ruthless.

  24. This is why they are constantly re-writing history!

    The Left Learned the Wrong Lessons From History
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Last week we observed the memorial of the Holocaust and the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

    Even without the incomprehension of Trayon White, the DC Council member who seems determined to misinterpret the real history of the Jewish people and substitute for it, instead, vicious lore, there is a lot to think about in the conjunction of the two remembrances.

    What is most obvious to me is that we took the wrong lesson from both of the World Wars. Partly, I think, this was influenced by our intelligentsia, in the form of our artists and the press, who perhaps unintentionally, preferred to re-orient the blame for those two disasters to something less harmful to themselves.

    So, from World War I, we took the lesson that patriotism is bad, military might is wrong, and that the nation-state needs to be destroyed, instead of the lesson that blind following of any self-proclaimed elite, particularly one that hasn’t adapted to modern times is wrong.

    This is a problem because it left the field wide open for a philosophy which claimed to be supra national – it wasn’t it was just Russian Nationalism disguised as international socialism – to destroy the cultures and nations of the West from within.

    You see, there is in humans, at the most basic level, a space for “tribe.” That’s because, whatever else we are, we are at heart great apes. (Okay, we’re at least mildly decent apes, or perhaps good enough apes, okay?) That means we are social animals, creatures of the band, creatures who need to identify with a tribe.

    Possibly the greatest achievement of Western civilization was the conquering of the tribe, the destruction of the inherent tribalism of man, the substitution, instead, of a nation-state. This super-tribe is not always ethical or rational in protecting its interests or defending from or attacking other tribes, sure, but it is larger than a tribe and better at organizing for the economic success and safety of its members.

    The problem is that you can’t take away the nation state without filling its space with something else. The something else we filled the space with was another form of tribal identification. It was the tribe of race and gender and class and other Marxist identifications.

    Which brings us to the wrong lesson of World War II. …

    1. They insulate themselves of repeating the evils of the past by proclaiming their tolerance and claiming they want exclusivity: all races, all genders, all cultures all sexual orientations are supposed to be given not just equality before the law but equality of results.
      I think you meant inclusivity?

      But, an excellent post, Sarah.

  25. Sylvie didn’t know how she’d managed to draw the most boring lecturer in all of Redbird University for a critical history class. But it was definitely more interesting to watch the capuchin monkeys playing in the crabapple trees outside the classroom.

    According to the stories she’d heard, they were the descendants of a colony that had escaped from a zoo during the Crossing. Clever creatures, they had adapted to urban living here on a world where the madwinds made the surface dangerous to any Terran organism with a central nervous system.

    One of them shrieked an alarm cry, and in moments all the adults were screeching as they swarmed through the tree, throwing fruit and other, less mentionable, things. From the leaves burst the stout gray form of a raccoon, running as fast as it could manage across the grass of the Quadrangle.

    A raccoon might be as smart as a monkey, and its paws almost as nimble, not to mention its much sharper nose. But as social creatures, the monkeys had one definite advantage over the solitary raccoon — teamwork. For all a raccoon would happily snatch any young monkey, it rarely got the chance under the watchful eyes of an entire monkey family. And troops of monkeys who’d once fallen victim to a raccoon taught their young to strike first and hard.

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