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


Sunday Book Promo!

*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 at outlook dot com.  One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

FROM ALMA BOYKIN: Vaguely Familiar (Familiar Tales Book 3).


When stone calls to stone, Familiars and mages must answer.

Lelia Chan’s and Tay’s chance discovery of a fragment of a blood-soaked knife leads them deeper into what it means to be a shadow mage and her Familiar. Meanwhile, Morgana Lorraine heads west, looking for answers (and really good bacon), leaving Officer Jamie Macbeth to deal with the Off Ramp of Doom and his mother-in-law’s ongoing displeasure. But the stone won’t stay quiet.

Could the Off Ramp and the stone be connected? As the stone’s call grows stronger, Lelia and friends race to find an answer to an evil that won’t go quietly.

A short novel. 56,000 words.

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER: Been there, Done That


*as cover artist, I want to point out this man asked me for a horrible outfit.  Described it exactly.  What’s a cover person to do? – SAH*
April and her partners Jeff and Heather have a secret. They’ve been to another star, and are sending a crew to a couple more close-by stars. The Earthies have tried to do this already, and failed. The Three have just a hair better technology, and with a little luck and April’s good sense, managed not to kill themselves right away.
Any normal person would be hot to bask in the glory and grasp a place in the history books with the likes of Columbus, de Gama, and Neil Armstrong. Jeff just wants to go grab as much of the prime real estate as they can find before the Earth nations catch up.
There are a few hitches along the way with people wanting to partner with them unasked, spies, more spies, and the Martians. The Martians are nuts and are the only other people who know there are aliens out there, but they are more than happy to keep that a secret too, even if they have to kill you to do so. There’s always something happening on Home and among April’s friends, but that just keeps life from being boring between the real crises.

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: concern

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

  1. Fingers strained to reach his weapon against the weight pining him to the ground. Sweating, he inched the pommel up and slowly closed on the grip.

    A claw pressed down almost imperceptibly, driving breath from his lungs. A scaled head drew close. The huge golden eye almost seemed concerned.

  2. dear editor

    i won’t have any problem meeting the deadline,with this computer keyboard, hopping from key to key is much easier than when I started writing on a manual typewriter.

    my only concern is that now too many other cockroaches will take up the craft and flood the market


  3. “Some evolved ape tried to explain the term concern to me.”
    “So what does it mean?”
    “It had something to do with worry for the future.”
    “We don’t need that.”

    The round scaly female reached over and kissed the male. As they kissed, the female shook her body until the white round eggs encased in a filmy substance floated down into an incubator. Then the male sprayed sperm over the resting eggs. When he finished, they could not hold each other up.

    Their eyes fluttered and dimmed as they gazed into eternity. They felt no concern because their future rested here. A future that would seed other worlds and dimensions.

  4. I had a bit of concern in making it in time for my lunch with the minotaur.
    Shoulda been concerned for being as early as I was.
    Other than that, I survived my Orvan sighting and enjoyed a delicious sandwich and a bit of conversation with the fellow.
    Okay, we sat and chatted for several hours, until we decided it was either eat something more, or leave before they tossed us from the joint!
    We must do it again some time.

    1. There need not have been any concern for surviving the “sighting” as it were. My concern was not seeing you post until now, which had me wondering if your return trip was as uneventful as we’d hoped. Chances are, I will not be back in the area for a year.

      1. Sorry, came home, worked on some scaffolding ideas and crashed into the bed. Though I have a vague recollection of replying to someone on something before passing out.

  5. Minerva Johnson, Mentalist, said “I’m very concerned about this Lost Daughter of yours”.

    Idris Newman, the Ultra Thief called Grey Cat, smiled and said “Besides the fact that she killing her sex partners by absorbing their life force?”

    Minerva smiled at him and replied “Besides that.”

    1. Personally, I’m concerned that I’m letting this story work in my head but not writing it down. 😉

      1. You’ll just have to keep writing these snippets, then collect them together into a coherent whole.

        Wait – I hear something. Is that a carp making that whistling sound as it flies through the air at just barely subsonic speed?

  6. In case anyone is concerned about running out of popcorn before the Hugo Award announcements finish, I’m taking popcorn flavor orders for the cart.

    {What? You didn’t say ‘no horror.’}

    1. Why should I concern myself with the Hugos? It’s not like Worldcon will be a going concern for much longer, at the rate they’re going.

  7. As we head home, I give Charlotte a quick briefing on the way back. “Edmund is very good at what he does,” Charlotte replied as I finished. I know that Benjamin is deliberately engaging in anti-tracking measures, to give us a bit of time to get back to the apartment.

    “No playing Henry the Second with him,” I point out. “Unless he is an active and immediate threat, we are not going to harm him in any way, shape, or form.”

    Viola ponders this. “We were very careful, and the other Servants were very careful as well. If it took Edmund to find this, we may need to check a bit to see what law enforcement can find. They have access to information sources that Edmund doesn’t.”

    “Edmund doesn’t have to work through various legal requirements,” Kioyko pointed out from the front seat. “Knowing him, there might be at least a half dozen clerks at the Federal Building that are more than willing to do him a little favor. Nothing illegal, just illicit, and he would protect them as far as he could.”

    “The CIA lost a great agent runner when they didn’t find him,” Charlotte noted. “He has the talent for it. And the instincts. He’s hunting for facts, and he will find them at some point.”

    “But will he believe them?” I mused. “I’m still having trouble believing it sometimes, and I’m in the middle of it.”

    “He seems to be the sort of man that will take the world as it comes,” Charlotte sighed wistfully.

    “He’s married and monogamous,” I pointed out.

    “A pity, that,” Charlotte replied after a moment. “Are you still trying to play matchmaker for me, ma chatounette?” I could hear the smile on her lips.

    “More that I want to give you the chance to find someone,” I reply. I snuggle, cat-like, into her arm for a moment, then sit back up. “I can’t promise any of you a rose garden, but I will try for you to find love.”

    Viola rested her head on top of mine and sighed. “Our lovely and silly Adelaide,” she murmured on top of my head. “Always concerned about everybody but herself.”

    “I’m fifteen years old in this flesh,” I snuggle into Viola’s shoulder. “I’m looking, but I have to be careful.”

    “And what about me?” Benjamin asks from the front.

    “Benjamin, I know that you’ve found at least one girl in less than a week since you got here,” I reply.

    “Two, but identical twins,” he replied with a waggle of his fingers. “So I’ve got that and incest play as well.”

    I laugh and pause for a moment. “Kiokyo, what do you want?”

    Kiokyo doesn’t say anything for a moment, then she says softly, just enough to be over the car noises, “I want something, and when you get into the Lycée, we will get a chance to do it.”

    “A surprise?” I tilt my head carefully under Viola’s.

    “Several,” Kiokyo notes. “I promise, you will enjoy it.”

    “No hints?” I ask curiously.

    “Only one,” and I can catch the edge of Kiokyo’s smile in the windscreen. “Beauty salon.”

    I ponder that for a moment. “Interesting clue. Not sure what it means, but interesting.”

    “Very interesting,” Kiokyo notes. “Oh, I’ve talked with Ian and Charlotte and Viola, to work out the logistics of it. But, I do promise, you will enjoy it.”

    I ponder this for a moment. “You have all been wonderful for and with me,” I say carefully. “Now, we need to get home.”

    Benjamin nods, and we head back to the apartment.

    1. A nicely done six-way conversation! In an SUV, I presume? It makes me curious to know who/what Adelaide is.

      1. She’s a Magical Girl with her horde of assistants, and…

        Spoiler alert.

        The main character of the story (Adelaide) is the soul and memories and consciousness of a forty-something male technical writer poured into the body of a fifteen year old girl with a pretty good rack. Which isn’t how this is supposed to work.

        But, the Magos doesn’t make mistakes like that…

  8. I have heard there is going to be an international symposium in Geneva next year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web. They will have panels and vendors and Sir Tim Berners-Lee will be the guest of honor. It is being called Con CERN.

    50 😉

  9. Martin had intended to sleep in on his first day in St. John’s, but he was awakened abruptly by the sound of drums.

    The city seemed to be alive with them. Concerned, he dressed hurriedly, leaving toilet and tie for later, and went to the window. Below, among the ordinary cars, was a panel truck, with a burly Chenna in back, happily thumping on the side with what looked like a rubber hammer. A few others around were making similar noises.

    It was a celebration of some sort, then, not an alarm. Relieved, he went back to his morning routine. Once dressed properly he went out, heading across to the College. On the way he met the bookseller again, with a brass mallet and a short board in her left hand. He decided to inquire.

    “The Privy Council just ruled on the Customs officers. We won.” She paused for only a moment. “Parliament enacts the customs laws, but the civil service law is reserved to the Grand Council by the Treaty.”

    Martin thanked her and went on. This is not England, he thought wryly, and it is not the last time I will be reminded.

  10. A month ago the prompt was “valuable.” Three weeks ago it was, “Book.” Two weeks ago, “live.” Last week we were given “useful.” I am beginning to have some small concern that somebody is not really engaging on these writing prompts, that they are become jejune, banal, and pro forma.

  11. Doralise watched the road. She watched for projectiles accidentally coming toward her, too, but the dispute was not her concern. The centaurs and fauns would drop it instantly if she intervened, to establish that.
    Or rather, if they realized that she intervened. None of them ever checked their wine for tampering.

    1. The centaurs don’t? I thought they were rather alert to such, lest it be watered down. But I’ve not met all that many centaurs, either. As for the fauns, I cannot rightly say. They seem to be… always preoccupied.

  12. My *solicitude* for this organization leads others to hear *anxiety* in my voice which *disturbs* me. However, I won’t *involve* myself in your affairs if you will take your own *apprehensiveness* elsewhere.

    ( I am concerned with changing the words between each set of asterisks. ; ))

  13. Artemus Gordon saw the concerned look on his partner James’s face.
    “Jim, what’s wrong?”
    “The stage from San Francisco was just robbed by monkeys.”
    Artemus grinned. “You either going bananas, or you’re putting me on,”
    “Sorry Artie, but it’s true. It’s the work of Doctor Dolittle’s evil cousin, Doctor Doless.”

  14. Henry’s bleeding seemed to go on and on in spite of my efforts. I dug into my IFAK for another pack of cotton balls. He groaned. I looked at his pale face and was concerned to see him close his eyes.
    “Stay with me, Henry,” I urged. “I’m getting this.”
    “It fucking …” he groaned.
    “You’ll make it! You’ll be fine!” I got busy with the cotton, throwing the balls away as they became soaked. Henry had stopped groaning.
    I sprinkled some more coagulant. Was the bleeding slowing down now?
    Henry was still silent.
    “Hey, hey, Henry, stay with me now. Open your eyes, would you!” There was no response.
    I soaked another cotton ball in his blood and threw it away.
    “Henry, come on! I got you. The bleeding is slowing down… Say something, Henry!”
    “Shut up,” he said. “I’m talking to my Dad.”
    My breath caught. His father was dead. Did this mean…
    “Nah,” he said. “I’m not really talking to my Dad. I was just fucking with you.”

  15. In part, at least, because they ain’t got no culture.

    We Are The Counterculture
    By Sarah Hoyt
    If you’re as old as I am, or a little younger, you probably remember the counterculture from the seventies (I was too young to remember it from the sixties.) The word will bring to mind greasy little cafes and the sort of “free papers” where the comics have a lot of naked people. The articles will have lots of swear words and sometimes mild blasphemy against Christianity and religion in general.

    Even when I was a teenager, my feeling about the entire “counterculture” thing was that it was all rather juvenile, like a kiddie playing with the contents of his diaper, or a teenager “bravely” telling his father all he – the kid – knows about economics. In other words, it struck me as a pose, empty of content.

    I was right and wrong.

    Every culture has some sort of counterculture within it, the opposition to what most people see/believe/like. How strong that counterculture is and how opposed to the actual culture depends not so much on how functional the culture is, as on how many different voices can be heard. Paradoxically, the more uniform the culture, the more conformity is enforced, the stronger and more serious the counterculture will be, although it often doesn’t diverge that much from the main culture.

    I suspect that when Western culture enforced conformity more strongly, and there were greater penalties for sticking out, the “counterculture” was both more vibrant and less divergent.

    I know in Portugal, at 14, I could be totally counterculture by merely wearing jeans in many circles. And under 10 in the village, I was a counterculture of one by wearing pants (my mother was convinced any cold breeze would make me sick) in winter, which just wasn’t done for girls.

    The reason the self-proclaimed counterculture I saw (screaming for attention) all around in the seventies was a pose devoid of content is that there was no opposition to it. …

  16. “What is with this guy?” Reggie Waite jabbed a finger at the screen of his computer, on which was displayed some kind of forum. “I’ve addressed every one of his arguments, but he keeps coming up with new objections.”

    Steffi kneaded at her husband’s shoulders. “It’s a concern troll. You’re never going to satisfy that jerk, so don’t let your Shepard ego turn it into a tar baby. For all we know, it might be a bot. I could probably program one myself, although Toni Hargreaves was always better at the AI side of stuff.”

    Steffi recalled those days, back when they were still at JPL, working on the software for the Dispater probe to Pluto. Odd, how time and distance colored the memories in rosy hues.

    Which made Steffi realize it wouldn’t hurt to shoot an email off to Toni, now that she was over at Grissom City. It’d be good to touch base, talk shop.

  17. To whom it may concern,
    Good night alt-right. Good night freedmen. Good night neo-cons. Good night paleo-cons. Good night hadeo-cons. Good night Trump train. Good night establishment Republicans. Good night squishes, mugwumps, scalawags and carpetbaggers. Good night radical Republicans of the 1860s. Sleep well, and don’t let the Democrats kill you when they set your house afire.

    1. Optimist. I’m waiting for the left and the lefter-left to finish doing themselves in so we can sweep up the mess, bleach the bad spots and get on with life.

  18. “I tell you, these Humans are just too dangerous to let loose on the galaxy. IF they develop that Higgs-Boson research into an active portal Tech, we’re doomed. Doomed!”

    Gezhic signed. He made a note; decrease Larfl’s maple syrup ration.

    “It’s under control. First step, we have to con CERN…”

  19. “It’s getting out of hand! Moderation is one thing, but actively blocking people from accessing the Web? They won’t stand for it, I tell you,” Mondrain ranted, between bites of Basic Ration 3.

    “They’ll just have to sit, won’t they?” replied Larsen. “Not your concern.”
    That’s when the Enforcer entered.

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