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


Sunday Book Plug

FROM M A ROTHMAN:  (I recently “read” this, and yes, I’ve had fights with him on various things, but he’s an excellent writer and this is an excellent book if you like thrillers and hard sf with a bit of romance.  It’s not much to say that this book has best seller quality. ) Primordial Threat.


The year is 2066 and the world is oblivious to the threat it faces.

The fate of humanity lies on the shoulders of Burt Radcliffe, the new head of NASA’s Near Earth Object program.

He’s been rushing the completion of DefenseNet, a ring of satellites that are both part of an early-warning system as well as the means to eliminate incoming threats.

Yet Burt knows that despite the world’s best efforts, nothing can be done about the alert he’s just received.

Coming out of deep space is a danger that’s been approaching since the dawn of time. A black hole. An unstoppable threat that promises death for all in its wake.

Dave Holmes was a modern-day Einstein. As the original architect of DefenseNet, he’d had visions of this Primordial Threat before he disappeared, yet he’d left behind no details on how the problem might be solved.

Can Holmes be found, and if so, will his solution even work?

The world has less than a year to find out.


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 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.

MORE ALMA BOYKIN:  Imperial Magic: Merchant and Empire Book Three..


The Great Northern Emperor Returns!

Ewoud Rhonarida needs experience, or so his father insists. Tycho sends his son east, to the trading center of Kehlibar vlee. There, Ewoud must learn to balance deference with duty. When he fails, it costs one man his life and endangers more.

But Ewoud attracts the attention of the Great Northern Emperor. This could be a boon. Or it could signal the undoing of the Galnaar family.

Tycho labored to remain unnoticed. Will his son’s fame be the family’s ruin?

FROM DAVID BURKHEAD:  Roaming the Universes.


Epic journeys through space and time

Whether exploring the solar system in the near future or venturing to worlds of magic and mystery, these fifteen stories take you on a journey to other universes.

Included are stories from the FutureTech Industries series, from the Knights of Aerioch, and an assortment of stand-alone tales.

The stories may be short of length, but they are not short of wonder.

So climb aboard and see what these other worlds have to offer.


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: violent.


36 thoughts on “Sunday Book Plug and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. “Violent? I’m not a violent person. It’s not True Violence when they started it and they got what they deserve.”

  2. Rohm stormed in, “You said it would be NON-violent!”

    “Stasis field – as non-violent as it gets.” replied Ethron.

    “The reaction, however–”

    “You didn’t specify the reaction–”

    “Now I want to get violent!”

    Ethrond pressed a button and Rohm was locked into stasis for the duration. “Peace in my time.”

  3. “I hate violence. I really hate the person I turn into when I get violent. But you just had to cross the big red line that everyone warned you NOT to cross. You remember what I promised if you crossed it? A day of reckoning you wouldn’t live long enough to never forget, remember? Well, guess what? Today’s that day.”

  4. He handed her a packet of DVDs wrapped in decorative paper and tied off with a nice ribbon. Glancing in, she noticed the titles The Wild Bunch, Kill Bill (Vol’s 1 & 2), and A Fistful of Dollars, among others. Said she, wincing, “I asked for a bouquet of violets.”

  5. The crowd laughed when he picked up his bow and said; “Now I will play the violent.”

    Some one in the audience shouted; “Silly fool, you mean the violin!”

    He said, with a chuckle and a cruel smile, “No I don’t.”, as he reached down and picked up an arrow.

  6. The judge looked at the two men held before him.
    “By fighting, you have broken the law. The penalty for these violent actions is clear, but puzzling. Nevertheless, I must apply it.”
    He turned to the bailiff. “Strip them naked, dip them in chocolate, and throw them to the lesbians!”

  7. I turned to the right and bent slightly before letting off a 1 second burst. All 20 of the attackers almost instantly stopped and began vomiting, crying, and rubbing their eyes. I don’t need to be violent when I can apply a natural military grade incapacitating agent. Call me, Pepe.

  8. “It’s not a violent world,” said Helen.
    “And that means?” said Gian. She looked at him. “I’ve been around the multi-universe. And heard a lot of briefings. There are those who think a world’s violent if you can walk on the grass, and those think it’s not violent as long as you can avoid a duel by following etiquette that’s intricate past belief.”

  9. “Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violent.”
    “Wait, what was that last one?”
    “Yeah, I think you’ve got that wrong.”
    “Hmm. OK. If you say so. But When I heat up iron to Yellow-hot and quench it, it makes much more of a racket than just Red-hot, so I figured they named the color after that.”

    1. You’ve got a cat that mows? That’s amazing! I have to go out and mow for myself ever week. (Please, don’t be violent on account of my play on the (probable) typo.)

    2. Cats eat grass when they’re sick. If yours is mowing your lawn, I’m not sure there’s a vet on the planet that can help her.

            1. Took Aunt and her cat (Buddy Q. Stepsetter) to the Vet so he could be fixed. MOW was the last full throated sound we heard him make.
              When we got him back, he had a just kinda “meh”.
              his meower broke

    3. Havey SAYS meow. It’s a very carefully pronounced meow. It doesn’t sound real. Heck it’s not real. His normal sound is squeak. I think his daddy was a cartoon cat. It’s why his nose is outlined in what looks like black marker.

  10. “I need a gown for the Watershire ball.” Lucy stated, pacing up and down the carpet of the small sitting room over the dressmaker’s shop. “And not black.” She dared her modiste Marian, who was also her closest confidante, to argue.

    Marian merely observed quietly, “It is barely three months since your father died. Is it not too early to put off full mourning?”

    Lucy continued her pacing. “It is not a day too soon. As it is, I have felt like a hypocrite, wearing mourning for a man I hated, just because it was expected of me.” She spun around and glared at her friend. “You know how horribly he treated me and my mother. The drinking, the beatings. Even flaunting his mistress at her. In public, no less. I am GLAD he is dead.”

    “I swear,” she continued bitterly, “if he had not been killed in that duel, I would have murdered him myself. In his sleep, though that would have been too good for him.” She resumed her agitated pacing.

    “So you will defy convention and go to the ball. ”

    “Yes. In a violet gown if I must. But I will go.”

    “I can create something suitable, I believe.” Marian said after a few moments thought. “Now, please, my dear, sit down, calm yourself and have some tea and pastries.”


    It was the afternoon of the ball, and Lucy stood speechless in the modiste’s fitting room, staring at the gown her friend had made for her. The general style, waist and neckline and long sleeves, followed the current fashion trends. But convention stopped there.

    The overskirt, bodice, and sleeves were a dark grey satin that glimmered like polished steel. There were long hemmed slashes in the sleeves, and the skirt was composed of narrow panels that ended a few inches from the bottom in sharp points like swords. The full-length underskirt and the sleeve linings were done in a heavy crepe-textured silk the exact color of blood. The neckline of the bodice, and the upper sleeves, were trimmed with loops of black satin cord, tied to look like hangman’s knots. A large blood-red garnet tear-drop was suspended from the same black satin cord, long enough for the jewel to nestle just above her breasts.

    The effect was totally chilling, a gown that appeared to be bleeding.

    After several long minutes, Lucy turned to Marian. “I don’t know what to say. I said I would wear a violet gown if I had to. But this?”

    Her friend gave her a smile of total understanding. “Ah, Lucy, I clearly heard you asking for a VIOLENT gown. Will you wear it?”

    Lucy studied the gown again, then slowly smiled a wicked smile. “You are a friend indeed. Thank you. Yes, I will wear it tonight. With great pleasure.”

      1. The story? Or the gown? 😉 I almost regret to say that I am a woodturner and jewelry-maker, not an author or a modiste. I’m currently reading the “Dressmakers” series by Loretta Chase, wherein she lovingly describes the latest fashions created by her main characters. I can visualize this gown, but I’m not sure I could actually make it.

  11. “Antimatter weapons.”

    “Yes, Mr. President.” The National Security Advisor’s flatness of voice underlined the gravity of the situation more than any possible histrionics.

    “Forgive my ignorance, but… you mean like on ‘Star Trek’ every week?”

    “No, more like a small and potentially very powerful nuclear bomb. Matter and antimatter releases about a thousand times as much energy as an A-bomb core, weight for weight. And of course you get the matter for free. And there’s a near guarantee 100% of the material will react, even in the smallest device and with no minimum critical mass needed…”

    The President looked to his Science Advisor. “Is it really that bad?”

    “Once you get the hard part done, which of course is somehow first making and then containing enough antimatter, it is that bad. Or even worse.”
    And he grimaced. “The explosion the destroyer ‘Stanton’ observed in the Barents Sea looked much like a tactical nuclear bomb of 5 kilotons or so, fireball and all. But the close-up details of a small bomb could be far worse, because of the radiation release, at least if it’s reacting mostly with air.”

    He looked back at his NSA — almost as if shopping for good news.

    “An A-bomb or H-bomb releases mostly short-range radiation in a very dense core — it just about has to be, to work — but an AM-bomb spews out mostly lighter particles like pi-mesons, then mu-mesons, then electrons that can travel a lot farther. So a big bomb *will* release these particles’ energy into a fireball, but a smaller one could deposit the energy in a large region maybe hundreds or thousands of feet across, it’s hard to tell, this is far beyond rocket science or even norrnal bomb physics. It could be, mostly, a cold radiation bomb instead.”

    “You mean like a neutron bomb? That sort of effect?”

    “Mostly or largely gamma rays instead of neutrons, but still very pentetrating radiation with potentially almost no dense components to shield it and stop it in the bomb or a fireball. And the sad truth is, killing by radiation is far more efficient, measured on a strict energy basis, that a grenade or a shell or a bullet.”

    “Subtle and invisible instead of loud and violent, Mr. President, but quite lethal.” The Science Advisor’s voice was quiet and level.

    “Hardly nonviolent,” the National Security Advisor’s Alabama drawl coming more clearly to the surface. “Tearing someone apart on the cellular level is just as violent as a shellburst ripping through their body, for all it might be quietly microscopic instead of loudly macroscopic.”

    And the silence that followed in the Oval Office was violent enough itself.

    (Okay, *now* I have to go look stuff up again to see just how right all this is…)

    1. Why to I think if you vaporized a man’s body so quickly that he didn’t even feel it happen, that you’d be guaranteed to create a ghost, a disembodied, restless, Earth-bound soul?

      1. I am thinking of the part in Stranger in a Strange Land where the Martian artist became so distracted while creating that he forgot to come in out of the cold and accidentally discorporated, thus producing an artwork that was partially created by a living Martian and partially by an Old One.

        The Martian art world was debating whether more such pieces could be produced by surprise discorporation of artists at work.

    2. You’re right that the immediate radiation would be mostly gamma rays and a shower of lighter particles, but they really don’t penetrate atmosphere all that well, and the absorption of the immediate radiation (which would create secondary radiation, then tertiary…) would result in a fireball, though I don’t know how different it would be from that of a standard fission or fusion explosion.

  12. “Check fire, Wall. We have a visitor.”

    By visitor, Brennu meant Ra’ing, as all of the Heavy Artifact’s crew were qualified for the range and at least one firearm, and he would have announced any of them by name. The term visitor also meant that I had to secure everything, since the chance that Ra’ing had ever been allowed near a gun before coming aboard was precisely nil.

    I set the safety on the Square 55 I’d been shooting, checked the tether, and cleared the magazine and chamber, watching for loose bullets. They drift into air filters, and if you’re lucky they’ll damage the cleaning robot instead of some critical systems. Once I had everything closed and clamped down, I called back: “Range secured. Clear to enter”.

    Brennu had been watching and was satisfied so he buzzed Ra’ing in. Someone – probably Tenia – had fabricated a sort of prosthetic toe-grip for her, which wrapped around her tail just above the flukes, and extended past them about ten centimeters, ending in a ‘T’ that allowed her to hook into the grip-rings. I waited for her to self-consciously set into one of these: “Welcome to the armory and the target range.”

    “Thank you. Elada told me to come down here.” She had been spending a lot of time on the bridge with Elada, mixing science and navigation education with a lot of badly needed ‘girl talk’. She went on in a small voice: “I’m kind of scared.”

    “It is scary; that’s the point. It’s also necessary. It’s a violent Solar System, and away from the civilized planets and cities we have to fend for ourselves. Twice since I came aboard we’ve had to fend off attackers who wanted the ship or the cargo.”

  13. Post Michael electricity restored just in time to speak up in defense of the Washington Post … although “It isn’t (quite0 as bad as the New York Times!” stands forth as almighty faint praise.:

    The Misandrist Editorial the Washington Post Should Be Ashamed Of
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Why can’t women stop buying the Marxist narrative?

    If you’ve read this and you’re going “uh, what?” because you’re a woman and not Marxist, don’t worry. I’m not out of my ever loving mind. Well, not more than usual, at any rate.

    What I’m doing is echoing an editorial by Victoria Bissell Brown published in The Washington Post who starts her insanely stupid article by asking:

    Why can’t men organize to change themselves?

    Why, Vicky, (yeah, I’m fairly sure you don’t want me to call you Vicky, but since you’re functioning at about a six-year-old level, that’s the best you deserve) that’s an amazing question, that probably made the Post editors drool at your amazingness. It’s almost as good as “why can’t you take a valium like a normal human being, and stop being crazy?” which is what your editorial made me ask.

    Her article starts with a confession of spousal abuse: …

  14. Suddenly a man in a suit dropped out of the sky. A last-second blast from a jetpack slowed his descent just enough so that he stayed on his feet after landing.

    “Come here, and hurry,” he said. As we approached, he extended a length of cable to each of us. “Loop these around under your arms. We’re going up to my ship.”

    “No suits for us?” asked Ray.

    “No time. Got to get up and out before we’re spotted. You can handle vacuum and hard radiation for a minute or so with no ill effects.”

    Hoping he was right, we obeyed. The man hitched the cables to the harness on his suit and turned on the jetpack. With a violent jerk we accelerated upwards.

  15. The war coverage had high ratings across the galaxy. Every sentient with a tachyvid watched the violent bipeds blast away at each other. Their ingenuity for powerful weapons was striking in a species too primitive to leave their star system.
    “I don’t like it,” editor Stakfll said. “It’s going too smooth.”

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