It’s the Last Book Promo of the Year and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike



FROM BLAKE SMITH:  The Secret of Seavale


A cottage by the sea, nestled in a respectable neighborhood. It should be a safe haven…

Elizabeth Markham has run away from school and seeks the house of her godmother, six miles outside of Portsmouth. Seavale Cottage is a place of peace, and Elizabeth will be safe under Mrs. Brownhurst’s care.

But she arrives at Seavale only to discover that Mrs. Brownhurst has gone away, leaving Elizabeth to fend for herself. She finds assistance in her servants and in her very obliging neighbor, Captain Randall, and all is well until Seavale is beset by strange nighttime happenings. Elizabeth is about to discover that her place of refuge holds more danger than she ever dreamed, and she must gather all of her courage and resources if she and her friends are to survive the secret of Seavale.

FROM JL CURTIS: Rimworld- Militia Up.


It was supposed to be a simple contract for a couple of months of security services off world, but the devil’s in the details.

Tight Bridge Technologies hired Ethan Fargo and his militia to guard their power stations on the planet Endine against mob unrest and sabotage. When they arrive, they find the planetary authorities don’t want outsiders around to uncover their dirty secrets, and the Galactic Patrol’s not interested in providing backup. They all but order him to stop making waves, kicking asses, and taking names. The harder Fargo works to keep his people safe, the more troubles he finds. Dragoons and pirates are stalking the outer system, while the planet itself is a snakepit of treachery, tyranny, rebellion, and corruption. Everyone wants him to fail, while taking the blame.

They made one mistake: they underestimated Ethan Fargo. After the locals kills two of his Ghorkas, and kidnap his lady, he’s out for blood, and to hell with anything in his way…



Oh, yeah, and also my most recent collection is on sale for 99c till the 31st.

So Little And So Light, containing, I THINK my most libertarian short story EVER.


From a parallel world where we have all the dreams of pulp writers, to a future where bioengineering kindles new hates and new heroes, to a different Tudor England, to the intricacies of time wars, this science fiction collection provides a glimpse of things undreamed… some from which we’ll gladly waken, and some we’d very much like to be true.
Contains the short stories: Wait Until The War Is Over, Only The Lonely, Lost, Neptune’s Orphans, After the Sabines, The Serpent’s Tail, Spinning Away, The Private Wound, Super Lamb Banana, To Learn To Forget, Things Remembered, The Bombs Bursting in Air, On A Far Distant Shore, So Little And So Light.


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: consist

42 thoughts on “It’s the Last Book Promo of the Year and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. If I dare ask *which* is the “most libertarian story ever” will I regret doing so?

    Not that any answer will /stop/ stubborn ox… but curiosity, you know?

  2. A cancer upon conventions would be a con-cyst.

    (Yeah, yeah, but YOU come up with a GOOD bit after an 11.5+ hr shift and the… adult beverage[s] to deal with such. Heck it was so bad I damn near asked smoker if I could have a drag… and I do NOT smoke. Yeah, one of THOSE shifts. And I *expect* 9+ hours.)

      1. I should have said “His career consists of him making only stupid decisions.”. 😉

        Everybody makes stupid decisions from time to time, but this guy set a record for stupid decisions. But then his invulnerability allowed him to survive stupid decisions that would kill other people. 😈

          1. Actually, he was assigned to an outpost on Venus thousands of miles away from any other outpost.

            He has super-strength and invulnerability but can’t fly and can’t run with super-speed. 😈

  3. The scientists could not accept the existence of a substance made up of equal parts gas, solid and liquid. It was deemed impossible. Nevertheless, it consisted.

  4. “It intermittently exists. Yes, I’m serious. It desists to constantly consist, and yet it persists.”

  5. Jason scanned his panel as an orange tug pushed the consist that made up the four o’clock to Birmingham out of the yard. The panel was green, the tug uncoupled letting the rail cars roll on. To vanish into the familiar swirl of distorted earthlight as they entered the wormhole.

  6. Jason scanned his panel as an orange tug pushed the consist that made up the four o’clock to Birmingham out of the yard. The panel was green, the tug uncoupled letting the rail cars roll on. To vanish into the familiar swirl of distorted earthlight as they entered the wormhole.

  7. The train’s consist included 4 catapult flatbeds, 6 boxcars full of frozen carp, a passenger car full of minions, and a flooded gondola with a suspiciously moving cover. The fourth diesel locomotive had a suspicious amount of smoke in its exhaust.

    The destination was “somewhere in Denver, we hope”.

  8. “Mastery of dimension and time hopping does not consist of intensive knowledge of any subject,” said Margot. “Nor of a smattering of knowledge in many wide-spread disciplines.
    “No, it consists of skills to survive the first moments and orient yourself, followed by the skills to figure out what is needed.”

  9. When I heard where and with what Kotran had bought our water for this trip, my first thought had been that he had won the ‘most unusual consist’ award: one thousand two hundred tons of regular water and a mermaid. None of us even knew what a mermaid was – we had to look it up. The oldest reference was to a loan-word in Old Comdia, right after the Cataclysm, with nothing to say where it came from.

    By the time he and Ra’ing came aboard, ‘with what’ had become ‘with whom’ and we understood both the problems that came with her and why he’d done it. She became an ex-slave the moment she came through the hatch, but she had no citizenship, no identity, and nowhere to go. Worse, as soon as the various Pankirans found out where she was, Elada started receiving offers for her. Some of them were so insistent that we decided to fire off early, without sorting out all the legal documents that come with having a refugee on board.

    Leaving her behind was out of the question. You don’t do that to people if you can help it. That’s why Kotran paid a premium for our water, and why Ra’ing had a cabin aboard the Heavy Artifact as we headed for beyond the Outer System.

    Adapting that cabin proved to be a challenge as well. Her tail doesn’t look like the dictionary picture we found. The only scales are on the flukes, and they’re leathery instead of fish-like, and black, like her hair. But it is a tail, not tweaked legs, so all the plumbing is in front. She couldn’t even use a normal toilet.

    And since I ‘m responsible for all the plumbing and the hydroponics, I had to ask her how she went to the bathroom. On her first day aboard, no less, when she was still convinced we were her new owners.

  10. “Hmmmm,” said the doctor. “Have you been attending many conventions?”

    “Why, yes. Every weekend. It helps sell books.”

    “Been on a lot of panels, too?”

    “Yes, all the time, it seems.”

    “That explains it. We’ve found the source of the pain in your butt. You’ve a bad case of Con-syst.”

  11. Random writing bit about fifty years from the story I’m working on right now-

    The assassin was confused when the woman came up to him. If he had to place her, she was Indian, probably from the Kodava ethnic group, short and limber with a gymnast’s build, but extraordinary dusky. She wore her long black hair, almost reaching down to her knees, in a single intricate ponytail, tied off at the end with green and gold ribbons. Her outfit, the assassin noted, was a draping sort of dress in almost luminescent white, with an intricate weave of rose red and gold on the borders, a shawl-like extension over her right shoulder and the aiguillette of the Imperial family in silver and roses worked from rubies looped under her left armpit. A red mark rested directly on her forehead and golden jewelry ending in a locket barely smaller than the fingernail of her smallest finger rested perfectly in her hair. She bowed to the assassin, and said, “Good afternoon, I am Anju and I am here to help you while you stay here.”

    As she straightened, the assassin noted that she wore tooled leather slippers with a very grippy sole, and she smiled with brilliant white teeth. “You’re a part of the Magos,” the assassin said in reply, without being impressed. “You’re just a doll that the system uses.”

    The woman’s expression grew a bit stormy, bright green eyes glaring at him for a moment in anger and frustration. “My name is Anju, and I am a Magos Terminal,” Anju replied. “I am not one of the toys created by your Masters to serve as a way for them to avoid dealing with peasants. I am a self-contained, self-aware entity that is connected to the Magos and exists as both a part of it and as an entity on my own. I consist of both physical matter and prana, and I am as functional as a human can be.”

    The assassin’s hot retort was paused for a moment, and the intelligence-gathering function started to work in the assassin’s brain. “How can you claim to be both?”

    “The Masters wouldn’t dare to create a system like the Magos,” Anju snorted softly. “They believe in the concept of absolute control and a universe that runs by the clockwork they want to establish. Deus always understood that in a universe with quantum probability, you can never plan for everything. And, trying to squeeze individuals into clockwork plans means that you have to…trim people. You look out at the macroscale and forget the human scale. We Terminals exist to understand the human scale.”

    “You are backed by the power of your magical control system,” the assassin considered curiously. “How can you claim to be on this scale?”

    Her hand reached out and touched the assassin’s false skin, carefully stroking it. Her touch was extremely arousing to the assassin, and was confusing for a moment. “I am a discontinuous experience, created to exist as what I am. While I am connected to the Magos and I exist as a part of the system of destiny entanglements that the Magos uses, my will is my own and I am able to make choices and decisions independent of the Magos.”

    “You love the Empress,” the assassin counters. “Did you have a choice about that?”

    Anju looked at the assassin with a bit of shock. “Of course we do. We all do, because she is lovable. She’s earned our loyalty, and our expressions of love are those of our individual aspects. For me, she is my exasperating younger sister, who I wonder how she got this far, and she frustrates me immensely when I don’t adore her accomplishments. You met Solomon, before you came here for the first time.”

    “That is his name?” the assassin asked, curiously. “Do you know what he did to me?”

    “He removed the controls your Masters placed on you. Solomon thinks you have a purpose here,” Anju considered after a moment. “That’s why you’re here, that’s why you’re alive, that’s why I’m here, and that’s why all the rest of your comrades are dead.”

    The assassin froze for an instant, and Anju’s smile grew broad. “You’re wearing the stolen flesh of one of the Empress’ citizens. Adelaide, for all of her silliness and humors, take her job title as Guardian of the Realm very seriously. That Solomon set things up to spare you…I’m now curious as well. He was the first Terminal to interact with Adelaide, and he’s always taken a bit of a…proprietary air with her. And, he never does things for her or to her or with her without a good reason. A reason that is good for her and good for the people around her, even if it hurts momentarily. If you’re here, if the mental blocks that were controlling you were removed, there is a reason why you’re here.”

    “And the rest of my comrades?” the assassin asked, curiously. “What did you mean by that?”

    “We knew of every single one them when they crossed into our territory,” Anju tilted her head to the right side slightly, curious. “There was a point where they could be stopped, and we stopped them at that point. Very coincidental stops, I might note. You’re the only one to make it this far, and to make it to Sol, let alone the Palace.”

  12. While tis rare I disagree with Sarah, the Press is no more enemy of the American people than the Lady of the Green Kyrtle was enemy of the Narnian people.

    Enemies of the (American) People
    By Sarah Hoyt
    President Trump has caught a lot of flack about calling the press “enemies of the people.”

    The usual suspects and some not quite so usual, people I read and enjoy, and who in general are fairly sane and haven’t caught the rabies of never Trump, have gone out of their way to beat their hairy chests and cry woe onto us because “that phrase has an history.”

    What I hear is someone objecting to “tone” And by the way this is me rolling my eyes so hard they fell out of my head, rolled on the floor and the cats are playing with them as we speak.

    Here is the problem. I see why President Trump said that, and you know what? He was no more and no less than precisely right.

    I see why he ignored the history of the phrase to use it too. …

    1. Would you say the Press is a FRIEND of the American people? It may not be the enemy of the people, but they surely do seem to despise many of us.

  13. Blessed vignettes! My day, which would normally consist of mundane pursuits like grocery shopping, reading, and solitaire, has instead blossomed with creativity! First I spent a delightful afternoon in my shop turning two key rings from zebrawood and purpleheart. And this vignette brings my total to THREE somethings made today!

    50 words. And a feeling of accomplishment. Thank you, Sarah! May you and yours have a marvelous New Year! And the same to all of the regulars here. 😉

  14. Nigel Slim-Howland’s New Year’s Eve consisted of this:

    – Playing chess with Jenkins, who was programmed to have several flaws in his game, enabling Nigel to win occasionally.

    – Listening to Gwendolyn fending off invitations from amorous suitors who couldn’t take “I’m not that kind of android!” for an answer.

  15. Hope you don’t mind my waiting until the sale was over so that I could pay full price…some people deserve to be paid what their work is worth.

Comments are closed.