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


Sunday Book Promo

FROM ALMA BOYKIN:  Oddly Familiar


Ah, October, when the ghosts, and spirits walk, and the Off Ramp of Doom falls quiet. Too quiet…

Lelia Chan and her Familiar, Tay, continue learning about magic and what mages do. When a customer drops a strange silver disk in Belle, Book, and Blacklight, it starts a chain of events that pull Lelia deeper into shadow magic. André Lestrange and Rodney return to help sort out the off-ramp. Someone else returns, someone who wants to open doors best left closed. Lelia and Company have their hands and paws full dealing with the forces of darkness and bad jokes.

Evil walks on All Hallows Eve. It’s up to Lelia and Tay to send it back where it belongs. Or else.

ALSO FROM ALMA BOYKIN:  Against a Rising Tide.


FROM MARGARET BALL: A Creature of Smokeless Flame.


Thalia Kostis and her cohort knew the CIA was funding their group of research mathemagicians, but they’d never demanded results like this before! After terrorists use magic to kidnap hostages from the agency’s headquarters, the Center for Applied Topology finds themselves torn from their cubicles and dragged across three continents, from holding cells to terrorist safehouses as the superiors who never believed in them before are now demanding impossible results.

Now academics who can’t organize a donut run are finding out there are worse fates than loss of funding… If they don’t find and stop the magicians responsible, they’re going to lose their lives!

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Like a Continental Soldier.



The starship Valerie Hall failed to reach the terraformed world of its original destination. Instead, it found a habitable substitute where the settlers split into two factions. First Landing devolved into a rude replica of medieval despotism. Seccon might promise more.

Or so hope Gilead Tan and his companions.

Gilead spent three centuries in cold sleep, held there by a First Landing custom that decreed only one sleeper could be awakened every fifty years. Once awake, Gilead freed two dozen of his fellows—all soldiers like himself—and led them into the wilderness.

Close to two hundred civilians still lie trapped in the decaying cryo-cells of First Landing. Their captive slumber haunts him.

But despite its vaunted freedom, Seccon has one rule. No one goes back to First Landing.


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: nerve

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

  1. Do I lack the nerve to post a vignette or is it a matter that I can’t think of one. 😀

  2. For their science project, Johnny and Sally developed a peer to peer network, a mesh network, built using only organic links to replace the heavily compromised, very insecure internet. The judges did not award them first prize but they did admit, it took a lot of nerve to do that.

  3. I have a note on my calendar, gleaned no doubt from the main blog sometime in the past, that today (11/18) is your birthday.
    So I have screwed my nerve to the sticking point to make this comment, as it didn’t really take a lot of courage (on the internet, no one knows you’re an idiot).
    If I got that date right, then Happy Birthday!
    If I got that wrong, then I wish you a very merry un-birthday instead.
    Thanks for your books and your blog.
    They make delightful birthday presents for the rest of us.

    1. I also have a calendar note to the effect that this is the anniversary of the birth of our Most Beloved Beautiful but Evil Space Princess, so Happy Birthday Dona Sarah!!

  4. Benjamin came out of the shower unit, having finally gotten the tomato soup out of his hair. The hatch opened as Amelia came through. He glared at her.
    “You’ve got a lot of nerve coming in here”.

    “I want to apologize. I’ll never shut off the gravity without warning again.”

  5. “No,” said Ima. “No nerve. Find some other ingredient.”
    “My child,” said the witch. “It’s metaphorical. It is like your grit.”
    “But ‘ingredient’ is not metaphorical. It’s used up. And then I won’t have the nerve to refuse you anything else you ask for. So I’m cutting it off NOW.”

  6. Dedication is not enough.
    Courage is not enough.
    Love comes closest, but still is not enough.
    All three are needed, when the perilous fires are upon us, as they have been for so many times, as they will be for times to come.
    Disaster plays upon our nerves like a hurdy-gurdy man on his droning strings, the grinding ground that underlays the music of the flames.
    Heroes nerve themselves with dedication, courage, and love to add melody and counter-point to the song of hope that rises from the ashes.

    For the people of Paradise CA and others.
    The first two for the quality of writing as much as the substance of the posts. The third because…
    heroes gonna hero.

    (add the https:// in front of each)

  7. She’d been Catherine; now she was the Catherine. The techs had rewired her brain, reprogrammed every nerve. She missed simple things like a hot meal and a soft blanket, but not as much as she loved the taste of starlight.

  8. “Look, you’re the Doc, but it’s a nerve, not a transistor. It has to heal. You can’t just plug in a replacement. ”
    “Sure we can. You haven’t seen what we picked up from that medical trading bazaar at the last planet we stopped at – too busy with those jump drives that screwed up your arm. But with the new tech we can fix it.”
    “So you’re saying you completely understand it, and any side effects are minimal.”
    “Well, the translation of the documentation says…”
    “Whoa there Doc – you’ve only read a translation of the manual, not tested it out? I’m assuming using that translator we picked up four stops back? You do realize that I was using that translator to read the jump drive operators manual to adjust the drive’s second order phase modulator, and those translated steps are what got me into this fix with my arm, right?”
    “Oh. Hm. I see your point. Alright, I’ve suppressed the scar tissue and encouraged your normal healing process using doo old Earth tech, and I will get with my staff and figure out a protocol to prove this new device does what I think it does. You are on restricted duty as of now until either that heals on it’s own or I convince myself that I know what I’m talking about. Go get some rest.”

  9. “And then what happened, Miss?”

    “And then the agent had the nerve to tell me that a five hundred dollar advance and ten cents per copy royalty in exchange for eternal rights and the rights to all my other series were an excellent offer.”

    “And that was when you turned her into a newt?”

    “No, sir. Salamander.”

    The jury foreman waved his hand. Judge May frowned but acknowledged the unusual motion. “Your Honor, we find it was a justified transformation and Miss Penn is not guilty.”

    After that, DA never, ever tapped members of Romance Writers of America for jury duty when an author was on trial.

  10. Renpola stopped for a long minute outside Mensall’s shop, settling her nerves. Sitting in on lessons, practicing cadences, even casting short cadences on her ribs or stomach, had not prepared her to to be public about her dream. And so she stood outside, focused on breathing, on calming herself – and on the pouch tucked under her coat. Forty-three shells and eighteen, her entire savings from the last two years. Her dowry, in a sense. She hoped it would be enough.

    There was only one way to find out. So she set her back, crossed the street, and went in.

    There were two people in the shop. Rod, of course, had the counter. He was serving a middle-aged, prosperous-looking woman, who had a few tambourine sets around her. Ren waited, and soon noticed that the woman was ignoring the decorations and instead was checking the drum-heads for flaws. A musician of some type, then.

    Rod came over, quietly, when it was clear that the woman was fully involved in her studies. “Good afternoon, Ren. What do you have today?”

    “I’m looking to buy – or commission if need be – a barrel for a mage-drum. A half-deep alto would be best, if you have one,“ Ren said as quietly as possible.

    That drew a sharp look. “For your first drum, Ren?”

    “Yes. I think I’m ready.”

    Rod looked at her long enough to make her nervous. He knew that she couldn’t afford to officially enroll, so he could deny her the use of the testing room, the ‘closet’ that mages or would-be mages used. Finally he shrugged.

    “Well, that’s between you and Master Gelan. We’ve no one scheduled, so go ahead and set up in the ‘closet’. We’ve a few barrels I can show you, once I’ve completed my duty here.”

  11. My nervous system got fried. Well, except for the nerve in my right foot’s big toe. It still works. I know, because YOU’RE STANDING ON IT.

  12. Nigel Slim-Howland was furious. “The nerve of that woman! How could Gwendolyn, my maid, snub Clarissa like that?”

    Jenkins, Nigel’s butler, replied, “I should remind you, sir, that Gwendolyn has no nerves. She is, as I am, circuits and software.”

    “True, true,” sighed Nigel, “but it’s hard to tell sometimes.”

  13. Sigh. “Progressives” want to restore the Past’s Future.

    The Past is Another Country — A Crappy One
    By Sarah Hoyt
    For various reasons, but mostly because I’m so angry I have very little space left, mentally, for the emotions of imaginary people, but also because I’m a print addict, I’ve been reading a lot of Jane Austen fanfiction. (Don’t judge me. It could be worse. It could be Jane Austen slash fiction.)

    This is a growing concern on Amazon, mostly written for women, by women. Search Pride and Prejudice Variations. (Of course, I’ve committed some. I used to write Jane Austen fan fiction for the boards. Got kicked out of one for gross indecency – it wasn’t. No, seriously, I didn’t even show anything, just made an off-color joke – and fairly haunted the other. Right now I have a story out, but there will be others. There are others waiting to be edited. If it’s your meat search under Alyx Silver.)

    Anyway, because this is fanfic, and a lot of it seems to be written by fans who’ve only seen the movies, I’m used to rolling my eyes a lot. But because I read them through the Kindle Lending Library it’s not a big deal. I roll my eyes, reach for the next one.

    But this one made me angry. Okay, it was already a short distance and an easy road.

    However, the young woman writing this is talking about the Luddites – “frame breakers and machine saboteurs” – and sympathizing with them, because the machines ran people out of work and there were riots. The good characters in the novel look at the displays of wealth of the rich and think of those people out of work and feel upset.

    I didn’t throw the book against the wall. Heck, it’s well written enough I might finish it.

    But that’s so wrong. And she’s virtue-signaling in such a stupid way. And you can bet this is what she was taught in school.

    Only it’s wrong. It’s miles, and miles, and miles of wrongitude. …

  14. “I say jump, you jump! The only question is how high!”

    “The nerve, I know exactly how high for your kind.”

    “And how high is that?”

    “The only reason I’d have to jump is to get onto a platform just high enough for you to more readily kiss my ass!”

  15. Everyone laughed at Orvan’s joke. But nobody was laughing when I led my favorite mule, Jack, onto the platform and hopped up there with him.

    “Alrighty. Ya’ll had your joke. Now I’m calling your bluff. How has the nerve to kiss ol’ Jack on the lips? Just one big buss.”

  16. Continental Soldier

    Does something hang low? Does it wobble to and fro? Can you tie it on a knot? Can you tie it in a bow?

              1. There’s likely a lot of that.

                Fellow I know of (not stupid, aside from rabid anti-Trumpism that makes industrial robots look creative) who works with kids with developmental issues was surprised to discover that the various “kid’s songs” they had mostly started out as drinking songs.

                And then there’s that National Anthem thing.

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