Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Sunday Book Promo The Better Late Than Never Edition


Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Sunday Book Promo The Better Late Than Never Edition

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



*I’ve read this one! 😉 – SAH.* It’s an eclectic collection of short stories, all science fiction, ranging from alternate history to alien encounters, to mil sf (three of them.)

The stories in it were written between 1998 and 2015.

And Not To Yield is a novella in the Darkship Universe (A Few Good Men Continuum.)

A collection of science fiction short stories by Sarah A. Hoyt.
Are there truly aliens among us? What do they really want? And what if our creations could come back in lethal form? Could we resist them? If there were a time police, would we know it? And really, why do people expect enlightenment from the stars? What if aliens needed us for their moral compass? You think our illegal immigration is bad? Wait till its coming from the stars? And what happens when the coin falls on edge? Can you reproduce it? Those not particularly moral aliens might set fiendish traps. And you can never go back again. Also, why would you want to? The future will invent completely new ways of making people miserable. Also how well would a generation ship get us to the stars without humans getting in their own way? If you read the world of Darkship Thieves, there’s a story ten years after the revolution in Olympus. It bridges the gap to the second wave of novels of the Earth Revolution which will be written, eventually. And what if the Carthaginians had sowed salt on the ruins of Rome? How long is memory?


C. J. CARELLA: Outlands Justice (A Crucible of Worlds Book 1)


(This book is a collection, and it would be difficult to give all the story synopsis wihtout detracting from space and attention for the following books, so this is just ONE of the stories.  The descriptions sound great though.)

A Gathering of Heroes:They once were Justiciars, defenders of a great realm, each gifted with unique abilities. An immortal from fabled Atlantis; a master of arcane sciences; a warrior princess with a taste for death; a Greek demigod; and a Fey sorceress. They will ride forth once more and challenge the Warlock and his army of beast-men and demons.


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!

FROM PAM UPHOFF:  Cooking Hot (The Directorate Book 10).


Tenth Story in the Directorate Series

A Novella, sequel to Project Dystopia

Ebsa Cloustuone is back from a perilous assignment, and in a sort of quarantine that’s going to keep him on the Embassy World for a few months until the Empire decides it’s safe for him—and the other survivors—to finally go home.

And someone has to feed all these people, so Ebsa’s back to work, cooking and feeding anyone who shows up hungry.

Including Ambassador Ashe, who sees a number of opportunities in the presence of a Warrior with a cooking hobby.

A challenge leads to a Multi-world Cookoff, that devolves into a spontaneous city-wide fair. Should be fun, right? Right?

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Daughter of the Pearl.


Count Chang wants glory. Leesan dreams of marrying. Neither can foresee the power that awaits them—or the danger.

Cloud-dancers use magic to keep the world in balance. But the Great Northern River ails, and strange, twisted and evil things move across the land. The humans along the river cannot see the danger, but the Great Sky Emperor does. He grows angry. His wrath will remake the world and none of the cloud-dancers want that.

Count Chang hears a rumor of a Chosen One living far to the south, the only human able to heal the river. Instead he finds a corrupted naga and Leesan, the unwanted third daughter. Valueless, cursed, ignorant, Leesan would be better off dead, or so her father’s mother insists. Instead Chang claims her and takes her north, to train the gifts she unknowingly carries.

Chang detests the idea of marrying. Leesan cannot imagine a woman with value of her own. Together they must find the cause of the river’s ailment and heal it. Evil lurks in the land, and it will take all their power, trust, and strength to do their duty and save the world from the Great Sky Emperor’s wrath.

That is, if they can.


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: Clean




17 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Sunday Book Promo The Better Late Than Never Edition

  1. Trade Winds cuts a very broad swath across the entire SF&F mix of genres.
    A bit of something for everyone from a very talented story teller.
    And extremely well edited I must say.

  2. “Man, your place is a mess! How can you stand to live here?”

    “Granted, it looks like a jumble, but I know where everything is. Well, mostly. And while it may be untidy, it is very clean. I guarantee you could safely eat off every non-floor surface in the place,”

  3. The city looks beautiful from here, thought Idris Newman. Atlanta has plenty of history as well. Besides being burned in the Slaveholder Revolt, in 1903 it was the site of the first battle in America between Ultras. In 1915, the newly established US Ultra Agency broke ground for its National Headquarters. Now about a hundred and fifteen years after the Battle, Atlanta is the unofficial Ultra capital of America.

    Now it is time to come clean with the Agency about my Lost Daughter, thought Idris Newman.

  4. “Look: There’s no such thing as Demons. If there were, they’d be on Oprah whining about how misunderstood they are, and giving away free cars just to get social media followers.”

    “But Sue and Rebecca said they found this old book locked up in chains when they were cleaning out that closed church, and they got it open using lockpicking instructions from the internet, and it says they can get fame and fortune and anything else they want if they just follow ten simple steps to, um, here it is ‘Summon and Bind a Demon to your Will’. Jimmy, you’re a cop – you have to stop them!”

    “Cheryl, think this through: If there were extremely powerful inimical beings on some other plane, but it were easy enough to get them here that any teenager could do it with a few instructions from an old book, then there’d be idiots doing one step wrong and letting demons loose upon the world every other week. Since that’s not happening, that’s not how it works. And as long as they are not sacrificing animals or worse, nothing they are doing is against any law.”

    “But Sue and ‘Becka might get hurt! We need to stop them! You have to help me!!”

    “Okay, okay, I’ll call a friend over at the Bishop’s office and see who they can put me in touch with – that book was probably locked up like that for a good reason, and the Church will hopefully want to get it back.”
    “Thanks big brother.”
    “Yeah, yeah – you need to pick smarter friends.”

  5. The heavy door swung halfway closed, a careless hand pushing it. Jessamine breathed. The barn walls in the hayloft had gaps and from her perch she could see the unwelcome intruders walking back down the driveway under a slowly clearing midnight sky. Trapped by the broken ladder, dusty if not downright filthy, she still could rejoice that the thieves had been driven away, and without their prize. But it was going to be a long time till morning when someone might come looking for her. Meanwhile she wondered what, or who, the intruders had meant when they said, “We’ll just have to take care of her and then clean up the record.”

  6. Despite many and concerted efforts, no agency head has managed to overcome how plants, especially sessile ones, do not work well as with animal agents as with their fellow plants. It is not so much our eating habits as our habits of cleanliness. Especially the way we wash our feet.

  7. “So, it’s not a clean title?” Kotren’s voice was both sour and incredulous. “How? No one’s even spoken Late Tranadi for ten million hours!”

    “Celestial forwarded the insurer’s claim from this Bandor Trust, in the Great Leading Cluster.” Elada glanced down at the message-screen on the purser’s console. “And apparently, there was some sort of artistic revival movement. The wreck’s only about a million and a half old.”

    “Wonderful. Did this Bandor outfit offer a salvor’s contract?”

    “Yes. Forty thousand flat.” That brought general derision among those of us in the control room; the intercom to Engineering, where Kotran was, sounded like they had the same reaction.

    I waved my hand for attention. “Elada?”

    “Go ahead, Wall.”

    “Right now, we’ve only done a visual survey of the Ulate Trandu. Since we haven’t taken control, or even made physical contact, we don’t owe these people anything. So I would suggest that we tell this Bandor Trust that if their next transmission isn’t an executed, registered, air-tank standard, 75/25 net of consumables contract, we’ll just recall our probe and leave. They can have a go when their ship orbits back into the middle system in seventy or eighty million hours.”

  8. I threw my cards down in disgust.

    “Man, I can’t beat you even when I’m cheating!”

    Jim just smiled.

    “Honest play is its own reward” he said, raking in his chips.

    “Besides, I love taking cheats to the cleaners.”

    He tossed me a $20 chip.

    “Go buy us some drinks.”

  9. Okay, I will come clean on this. I had intended to write a well-crafted, upbeat vignette this time. I even read the prompt word before anyone else had commented. But my ideas all seemed to end in scenes of sadness and depression. Then I realized the truth. I’d been brainwashed.

  10. Thanks as always for the plug! One small point of clarification, though: Outlands Justice is a novel, not a short story collection. I broke down the book description into little subsections to try to make it look better but it appears I succeeded in confusing people instead. No biggie, and thank you again!

  11. The commerce raider closed slowly with the docking adapter as the station commandant and exec watched.
    “Is that…”
    “Yep. A broom, tied to the docking probe.”
    “The captain’s a World War II history buff. It means they expended all their ammunition, and destroyed everything they attacked. A clean sweep.”

  12. No, Steffi Roderick was not pleased. “Ken, don’t you try to tell me it’s buggy software. It’s that run of chips. They’re defective.”

    Ken Redmond bit back the words that came immediately to his mind. “If those particular chips are bad, but all the rest of the production run are working, someone must’ve violated clean room procedure.”

    When Steffi spoke, her voice was much quieter. “Which means that either we have an incredibly careless tech or a saboteur.”

  13. The first thing I remembered as I woke up of was someone shaking my leg and saying, “Adeladie, you need to wake up now.” Before I am fully conscious, before I am awake and aware, my fingers are around Kiokyo’s present under my pillow.

    Four days after we had arrived in New York, Kiokyo had taken me to this tiny shop in a basement in Queens, which looked like it had been carved out of an ancient castle in Japan. An old, grizzled Japanese man in a worn but well-cared for black kimono had looked at my hand, gave me several sticks to hold, and then talked with Kiokyo in whispers in an obscure dialect of Japanese that I barely could make out one word of four. Two days later, Kiokyo had come to my room after lessons and brought a package wrapped in a hand-painted silk wrapping, tied off with a black silk cord.

    I had untied the cord and opened the wrapping to reveal a long, curving wood cylinder of a black hardwood of some kind, carefully lacquered and with brass fittings. My fingers touched the short end of the cylinder and Kiokyo put her hand on top of mine for a moment.

    “Adelaide-dono,” she says, falling into highly formal Japanese, “this is an honorable gift from one that a Solist like you is obliged to. It is given to you for that reason.”

    I knew what my reply was, “I am thankful for that gift,” and I waited as Kiokyo removed her hand from on top of mine. My other hand grasped the longer end of the cylinder and I drew my hands apart.

    What came out was a tantō blade of the Kissaki-moroha style, with a perfect forge line. I looked at Kiokyo and she smiled. “The smith who made this regarded his life’s goal to make the perfect blade. He learned his traditional smithing arts in Japan, and traveled to world to learn from every single forge he could find that would teach him. He made everything from claymores to katanas to rapiers to jians, and he made this blade for the daughter of his best friend. She would have worn it on her wedding day,” and here Kiokyo’s face fell into sadness, “on August 7, 1945, in Hiroshima. The smith was going to open up his own belly, in fear that he had been the cause of her death, when a kami told him that one day a worthy wielder would hold that blade.”

    I examined the blade and looked at it very carefully, never touching the blade itself. “You will need a dagger,” Kiokyo commented quietly. “It will stay under your pillow when you don’t need it immediately.” She extended a small, lacquered wooden box across my sheets. “What you will need to clean and care for it. I will teach you what you need to know.”

    I knew that I had much more dangerous weapons at my beck and call-but, for some reason, that dagger and the knowledge that I had it was a sort of formality that worried me.

    I can feel the blade start to draw from the sheath when my mind wakes up to realize that it is Charlotte that is shaking my leg and it is very early morning. “You need to wake up, Adelaide,” Charlotte says again, and my eyes open

    “What’s going on,” I mutter, drawing my hand back from under the pillow. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Viola going through my closet.

    If Charlotte knew I had been reaching for a dagger, she never reacted. “I’ll explain as we go,” she says and pulls me out of bed. As I get up, Viola makes the bed and starts to lay out a simple black dress with long sleeves and a high collar on the bed, then goes to my dresser to find the underwear that I will need.

    I know what that dress is, it is the one we picked out for when I went to Saint Thomas of Aquinas Lycée for entrance testing. Before I can say anything, Charlotte is leading me out of the bedroom and towards the bathroom. “We don’t have much time,” she says. “In fact, we have exactly,” and she looks at her watch, “one hundred and fifty minutes to get you to the Lycée for testing. You will have to eat on the road and we will apply your makeup before we get there.”

    I start to pull off my nightgown, but Charlotte more-or-less peels me out of it, and she has the shower going before the gown fully settles onto the floor. As I get into the shower, I say, “How long was I asleep?”

    “Four and a half hours,” Charlotte replies, handing me shampoo and conditioner.

    “What is going on?” I ask in confusion as I wash my hair.

    “About fifteen minutes ago, Edmund Ward called Adam,” Charlotte takes the shampoo and conditioner from me and has the body wash close by for use. “He had been called about ten minutes earlier by Father Jorge Herrera, whom told him that if you wanted to be tested for classes, it was today or never.”

    “We were scheduled for about two weeks from now,” I grunt, and carefully wash myself. The bruises have faded somewhat, looking merely a vivid blue and dark purple rather than their incandescent red last night. “We were also to be in a hotel that was a short drive from there, not in fucking Manhattan during rush hour.”

    “Ladies don’t use that kind of language, ma chatounette,” Charlotte reminds me, and once the last bits of body wash are done, she turns the shower off and half-yanks me out, a towel in her other hand and she starts to completely dry me off.

    “We have…,” I say as Charlotte continues to dry me off.

    “Kee has all your notes and the music scores you need,” Charlotte finishes, gets out the hair brush and brushes my hair. Once she’s done, she tucks the towel around my body, and half-drags me back to my bedroom. Viola is waiting with a lunch bag, and she starts to get me into my underwear as Charlotte looks at her watch. “We’re about a minute ahead of schedule,” she notes.

    “Make that two,” Viola replies as she helps me get into my bra. “The bruises have faded enough so that we don’t have to use makeup to conceal anything.” She helps me into the dress and zips it up the back, as Charlotte helps me to step into the black patent leather shoes.

    I sigh, look at myself in the mirror, and say, “I’m scared.”

    “We didn’t expect this,” Viola pointed out. “But, we are as ready as we can be.”

    I think for a moment. “Let’s go.”

  14. The first attempt I was unable to reach my mailbox.  I rebooted.  The second attempt it shut down as soon as I opened mail.  Another reboot. The third attempt was sluggish and balky.  I ran scans.  Everything now clean I tried again.  Nope.  There would be no posting on Sunday.

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