Picture Challenge and Sunday Book Promo

So today the internet hamsters ate the word-prompt for the Sunday Challenge.  I am therefore giving you a picture, this time not mine.

It is copyright thanh262k @ pixabay.com and it’s released under creative commons license.


Have at it!

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

FROM ALMA T. C. 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 MARGARET BALL:  A Tapestry of Fire (Applied Topology Book 4).


Thalia Kostis is a budding magician (depending on how you define it), but she has a theoretical mathematician’s grasp on socialization and people skills. When pressed into spying on a rival magician’s company retreat to find out where kidnapped coders are being held, she expected things to go completely sideways.

She didn’t expect to end up mistaken for her rival’s fiancee…

Now she has to juggle her own impending wedding, her cover, her magic, and company politics that might turn out deadlier than anyone expected!



25 thoughts on “Picture Challenge and Sunday Book Promo

  1. Minerva thought It was always interesting to enter the mind of another person even when the person gives permission. Plenty of pitfalls so streetlights were always welcome.

  2. Tanith stood at the end of her conceptual bridge, staring off into space. Her space-time experiment wasn’t performing as expected. She’s been trying for a longer duration portal between universes. What she ended up with was hole punched through at least a half dozen universes.

    “Oh my.” She thought to herself. “Not only duration unknown. But I’ll probably have to close each one of them separately.”

    She sighed. It was going to be a very long day.

  3. Fight the blankness!, Susan thought, as she clung to the vision in her clouded mind’s eye. The featureless misty darkness pressed in about her. Vagueness, and that old terrible tiredness wormed it’s way into her mind, threatening to dissolve her consciousness. It had always been death, but something told her it was more urgently and literally so here, where all she had left were her memories and her imagination.

    Imagine a path! An old wooden jetty like a pier was what came first to mind. It was better to be moving, to be walking to somewhere. To was the best she could do at the moment, from had apparently vanished behind her and she dared not look back.

    Imagine some sort of landmark! She brought to mind the wavering image of one of those old streetlamps. It emerged from the dark and swirling fog, shedding a little light on the otherwise featureless world. She trudged past one, then another.

    Now, hold it in your mind’s eye. Make it solid, make it real. Where are you going?

    (a little snippet from one of my finely mulched storylines floating around my hard drive. This picture almost fits.)

  4. It wasn’t Bifrost. But perhaps it might lead to someplace even better. Perhaps it meant that Fimbulwinter was past, the storms gone, and Baldur’s world awaited! Ultrude gathered her skirts and began to run.

  5. Jenny looked down at the Boardwalk Between Worlds: Another loose board. And up ahead, a whole sections was about to wobble loose and fly off into whatever chunk of the multiverse was closest.

    She’s told Management that those idiots in Facilities were skipping basic maintenance, but did they listen to her?

    OK, she knew some of the people in one of the urgent repair units, so she could make a call and get this section fixed, but the Boardwalk ran for the equivalent of 35 miles, and if this more-travelled sectionwas this bad, what did the tail-ends look like?

  6. “But … but how did you get to Scheherazade?”, Tom exclaimed. “You were on Luna station last I saw you!”

    “Oh, I walked.”, Isabel said.

    Tim rubbed his forehead. “You … walked…”

    “It was a bit of a hike”, she said placatingly. Sure, interstellar travel: The usual impression was of vast incomprehensible distances that could only be traversed by monstrously complex and exactingly designed ships. Vessels which flung themselves across the void at ludicrous speed by bending frightening energies and space-time into pretzel-knots. Aluminum ships and iron men.

    “-but all that sounded so *tedious*, so I skipped all that and walked. Hey, I brought coffee!”

    “What, real earth-coffee? Not that orange crud they boil from the local pod-things?” Tim could *almost* forgive her for that!

  7. They had told her not to press that button and… well.. not for the first time, her attitude of not letting anyone else tell her what to do backfired.

  8. Heart shaped light spilled out of the hole in the multiverse casting a long evening shadow behind Matilda. She had followed the light since first seeing it a tiny glow in the dark where she wandered, lost. It had led her onto this boardwalk, bordered with useless street lamps, even here at the end where the light was vast and the path … might or might not … continue. She decided to walk forward until there was a real end and then walk off it if necessary.

  9. “Is that a real place, Ms. Cross?”

    “No, Anna, but gate-dancing feels like that.” Audrey turned to look at the painting, a soft smile settling into her face. “The feeling when – most of all that first time – when a gate opens because of what I did, well, there’s nothing like it. It’s exhilarating.”

    “Ms. Cross?”


    “What’s an exhilarate?”

    1. Exhilarate: the feeling you get when a former Hillary Clinton lover disavows the old wench.

  10. Boards flew from nowhere to become a ramp as she walked to confront the distortion forming in the sky. As the face of the Celestial Sheep appeared, she understood, and relaxed.
    “Yes, great worsted one,” she told it, “I believe I can find your lost lambs. Allow me a few minutes to prepare, and I will join you.”

  11. Abigail Jones sighed.
    Half the party in town and most of the long way back, she’d been seized with an idea: put the two oddest parts of her late grandmother’s things together.

    The gold ring in her pocket, jeweled with unlikely-colored stones, too big to be a finger ring and too small to be a bracelet but half-dollar-size perfect for her palm; and the odd little round pond in the middle of tbe garden wood, with its quaint bridge to nowhere and its positively Narnian-style lamppost.

    Carp. Literally swimming as oversize goldfish in the bog-dark water of the pond, that had always managed to remind her of Lewis’ Wood Between the Worlds, figuratively… just, oh, carp. Of course nothing had happened.

    Managing the trust for a many-faceted three-millions north-country estate, much of it in loonies, must be making her a llttle, well, loony herself.
    But “eccentric” did not even begin to capture it, her long-beloved gran Tory’s uniquely sideways take on the world, and… somehow she’d always wanted to be John Carter, or at the very least his plucky grandniece.
    And the stars had looked more than close enough to *really* touch, this night.

    She turned away, still in her party dress, still holding the seven-stoned ring and thinking of the always ocean-deep sky of the Montana countryside; and as she did she… *felt* something else turn, too. So she turned back around.

    Over the pond, the dazzling starscape had been brought down to earth; and in the middle, right off the end of that little bridge to — anywhere? — some tiny, huge part of it was somehow… much closer.
    Maybe *actually* close enough to really touch?
    “Oh my God, just like Huffman,” she said, her computing background showing. “To finish the discovery, you have to give up at least once first.”

    The airbrushed glory of the emission nebula in front of her, was, well, glorious beyond any picture or eyepiece vista she’d ever seen; it was just like hanging in space without all that pesky vacuum. All words simply — failed.
    And those tiny bluish stars, were they the ones that lit it? She leaned forward…

  12. I can’t stay, she whispered.
    She walked out on the pier and whistled. Her crusty old worm opened up a hole and in an instant she was gone. Her lover blinked at the crucial moment and didn’t see her transport. A search party dragged the lake but found no trace.

    1. I like this — a nice, compact piece of drama that stayed with me. I’ve spent the last twenty minutes wondering what led up to that point.

      – Was it heart wrenching? Did her lover drop an L-Bomb on her, and she couldn’t take it?

      – Was it funny? Did he start expounding on his master’s thesis or his football trophies, and she couldn’t bear to stand there and look interested?

      1. I’m happy my vignette sparked your interest, and I thank you for saying so. I like your prompts!

  13. She muttered a curse as her heel caught briefly between the warped planks of the boardwalk. It was stupid to be out here alone in spike heels and a slinky gown. Just asking for trouble, she knew that. But the disco bar had gotten so noisy and crowded and the men so brazen in their pickup attempts that she had to slip away, be alone for a bit.

    The new soft contact lenses didn’t help her mood, either. They worked okay in daylight, but at night, with her severe astigmatism, they just turned all the street lamps and headlights into glowing sparkly puffballs. The psychodelic mirror ball over the dance floor had actually been painful.

    She sighed and stood looking out to the full moon at the end of the wharf. Even that was smeared out into a blueish-grey cloud, and the brighter center she could swear looked like a giant glow-worm staring at her with its beady eyes and beaked mouth.

    She blinked, hoping to adjust the lenses. Why did it seem like the moon-worm had moved closer? Maybe this solitary stroll wasn’t such a good idea after …

    1. Ah, quite true. I get a similar view when I take off my glasses and look at a full moon at night.

  14. If this was a dream, Miki was sure she’d never had one so vivid. She knew where she’d been just moments before, but whatever journey took her here was completely lost on her. Around her gaped the emptiness of space, the only palpable objects being the wooden planks under her feet and the iron lamppost in front of her.

    “Hello?” she called. “Can anyone here me? Jot? Are you there?” She looked all around. Nothing above her, nothing below her. “Where am I? Why am I here?”

    A good question, said a voice that seemed to come from everywhere at once. The voice sound like an old woman’s: firm, but compassionate. Why are you here?

    “I, I don’t know,” stammered Miki. “I was just looking after Jot. He was so cold, somebody had to –” Miki paused as her eyes went wide. “Where’s Jot? Please tell me! I promised I’d keep him from harm.”

    And so you’ve done, said the voice. Presently, Miki saw the space in front of her begin to glow, to take a vague shape like a cloud. And like a cloud, the shape shifted, one moment a rose, the next a winged angel, after that a kindly old grandmother, and on and on. Your Jot will awaken in his world. Soon, he will be fully healed.

    The realization suddenly hit Miki. “But as for me…no, NO! Please, I’ll miss him so!”

    Slowly, the glowing shape enveloped Miki; she felt as if she were an infant lifted into her mother’s arms. Your work there is done, the voice said, kindly. You’ve lived nobly in his world, even if only for a short time.

    “Can I still look after him? Can I still call to him?”

    If you know what to say, and he knows how to listen, then yes, said the voice. But come, Noble Child, there is still much work ahead for you.

  15. It’s easy enough to like men if you like people

    To Raise Healthy Boys You Have To Like Men
    By Sarah Hoyt
    When I was younger, and the boys were relatively small, I used to say I should have stuck to cats. Cats never grow up to be mass murderers.

    This is partly, of course, a joke. I’ve known cats that could rip out your throat in your sleep. Fortunately the only one we had like that liked us.

    No, let’s be serious: it is a danger every parent thought of at least once, and mothers of boys more than that. Our hearts tighten both when reading stories of horrific crimes against children, and the stories of men who became murderers. Because we can never be sure where the bad seed comes from, upbringing or genetics and genetics how far back (all of us have in our ancestry both murder victims and murderers, of that you can be sure) and because when your children start growing and being independent, you worry a little bit.

    And mothers of boys—

    Look, speaking generally boys are more aggressive, even as small kids. And once they get testosterone pumping in during puberty, they’re aggressive, they’re large, they’re stronger than most women by the time they’re 14 or so, and you can tell how many times during the day they meditate on violence, even if they don’t do it. It’s the way the body is wired. None of us – not one – are descended from non-aggressive apes, and throughout all of history and certainly most of pre-history, the duty to defend female and young of the band went to the male, usually the youngish male.

    I thought of all this the other day when watching my younger son be very gentle with one of the cats. He’s a very large man and gentle beyond belief with cats, children, and small, fragile things.

    And I remembered when he was four or five, and was a quiet child who, nonetheless would try to visit death upon his four years older and double the size brother (usually for good and sufficient reason. There are torments even the best of older brothers inflict on the younger ones. Most of them verbal.) And I realized he now was fully under control.

    And no one would believe seeing my sons engage in the amiable “rolling argument” how many times when they were younger I feared one would kill the other. (Another permanent saying was “I know one of them is Cain and one Abel, I just don’t know which.”) …

  16. She watched the rip form, and felt the heat of the oncoming plasma storm. Formed correctly, her shield would bounce the energy back to its creators. Done wrong, and the Others would burn a permanent Gate into her system. She shivered a little and waited for the temperature to rise.

Comments are closed.