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

Sunday Book Promo

FROM AMIE GIBBONS:  Psychic Eclipse (of the Heart) (The SDF Paranormal Mysteries Book 6)


Love your enemies…

Ariana Ryder’s a free agent now, and her psychic PI business is taking off. She even put together a huge conference for those involved in paranormal investigations and treatments.

She’s a success!

When Ariana’s conference is taken hostage by a desperate Fae who needs her help, how can she say no? But when the job requires fetching a fugitive from Fairy, she’ll have to work with her ex boss and crush Grant to have any hope of survival.

And when it comes to the Fae, things are never as they seem.

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: horn

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

  1. “What’s with the horns Guido?”

    “Well Boss, I thought the horns made me look more fearsome.”

    “Well Guido, you don’t need to look more fearsome and all the horns really do is give your opponents something to grab.”

    “OK Boss” as Guido’s horns merged back into his body.

  2. “Chuck, where did you find that?”

    The trumpeter held up the gleaming instrument. “Lucky Larry’s Pawn. Some kid found it near the woods and brought it in without a case. You recognize it?”

    Ian glanced over his shoulder and shivered as he crossed himself. The faint baying sound grew louder, even though the sound-proofed doors. “I do now. I hope you like white dogs with red ears.”

    1. Perhaps the Wild Hunt are feeling tired and thirsty and ready for tea and biscuits and a merry friendly chat.

      Then again, maybe they’re not. Eek!

  3. The trumpeting of migrating geese woke him on the last day of his retreat. Peering up thru the towering pines he could see vee after vee of them heading south. It was time for him to head back to civilization as well.

    It took only a few minutes to wash, dress in fresh clothes and strike camp. He stuffed the little shelter and dirty clothes into the backpack with the cooking gear, then rolled and tied the sleeping bag to the outside. A few sips of water washed down an energy bar as he double-checked that last night’s fire was absolutely dead and scattered the cold ashes.

    Making his way carefully down the steeper parts of the trail, he could hear to his left the stentorian bugling of two bull elk, and then the heavy crack of antlers colliding. There was no risk of coming upon their battle, but it would have been a fine sight to carry home with him and describe to his wife.

    The deep woods were always soothing to him, a way to shed the stresses of his work for a few days. But now he was refreshed and looking forward to seeing her. It was still a two-hour hike to the trailhead and he increased his pace.

    He was just stepping onto the graveled area when he heard the familiar meep-meep, and spotted the little white car with the red cornet pennant on the antenna pulling into the lot. She popped the trunk and he dumped his gear in, then slid into the passenger seat. “Miss me?” he asked her with a smile.

    “Dreadfully!” she said, grinning back. “Let’s go home and go to bed!”

    Buckling his seat belt, he leaned back into the soft leather. “My thoughts exactly, love.”

    Five horns to celebrate the New Year!! May it be a good one for all here. 😉

  4. Ned eyed them. Enormous gates, and it looked like one was of ivory and the other of horn.
    He sighed. If only they had taught something of the odd, metaphysical corners, like the gates of false and true dreams. Except that, not being a dream, he could go through neither.

  5. Masrah was far from pleased when Jant, his eldest son, announced his desire to enlist in the Republic’s army. Masrah loved his son, so he carefully stepped on his temper.

    Angry and horrified fit his mood better. And, he admitted to himself, betrayed, for even after fourteen years, the memories were raw. Of the day at Keslay’s Ford, when Sergeant Masrah, of the Royal army, had seen his regiment, and Duke Otorane’s army, broken by the strange field-guns of the rebels. The mages had tried their best, but they were so many, and so well warded, and so new. In the end, they had to run for it, with the horn-signals of the rebels coordinating a pursuit.

    That was the worst of the memories, but there were others. Last in the bitter line was the surrender of Natano Castle, for the Duke’s army had won nothing of consequence after Keslay, and Sergeant Masrah, his wife, and three-year-old Jant, had passed into the hands of the rebels.

    The rebels were now the Republic, and a Chancellor stood in the place of a king, and Masrah, no longer a sergeant, had been given a parole, with the seal of the Army of the Northeast, and leave to settle where he would.

  6. THE HORN. It BLOWS. At MIDNIGHT. Jack Benny rolled over and over in his grave…

    (I tried to watch it, but decided Jack was right enough.)

  7. I’m getting near the end of the tunnel of Solist At Large and here’s a horny snippet-

    Sayuri and I both leave class in a state of mild confusion. This is not what either of us expected from our history teacher, and his clear decision to go with a new history book means that all of the reading that I had done previously had been wasted. Which, if it wasn’t for all the headaches it had caused, I wouldn’t have minded at all. A few quick glances at the book’s other chapters seems to indicate that the book’s subject matter-which covered everything up to the start of the Civil War-was much more nuanced and covered a lot more ground than my other textbooks.

    “That was interesting,” I said, as we get out of the hallway and head towards the cafeteria for dinner.

    “The professor does not seem to be interested in regurgitation,” Sayuri replied after a moment. “He appears to demand that we think.”

    “And, he does pay attention to what we say,” I nod in reply. As we’re walking to the cafeteria, I can see that Madison and her entourage are on their way, with Emily at the proper position for a new member of Madison’s posse. I pause to watch them past, and for a moment I can feel Sayuri’s fingers touching my wrist.

    “Taylor-san, you can only be there for her, you cannot rescue her without her consent,” Sayuri says, softly and very carefully.

    “I know,” I sigh, and we go into the cafeteria for dinner.

    A quick prayer, and dinner is served-simple food, but in good quantities. The dessert is a small chocolate and cherry tart about the size of a tennis ball. It isn’t bad, but Viola could make a better one dead drunk and half asleep. And, if I ever tell her this, she will try to do it dead drunk and half asleep just to prove that’s possible. We quickly clean off our tables, and make the calls needed to get picked up by our respective security teams. Walking out the gates and past the Black Dove Security guards, Sayuri wanders to a spot just outside of the pickup area and I follow her, curious.

    “Taylor-san,” Sayuri says without preamble. “Thank you.”

    My confusion is evident, as she sighs very slightly. “I don’t think I would have made any friends here, at least none very soon. I am happy to be a friend with you, Taylor-san.”

    I can feel myself blush, and I can only say, “Thank you, Suisha-san. I am glad to know you as well and that you are my friend.”

    The horn of the town car honks as Sayuri’s ride comes to pick her up. Sayuri bows to me, a precisely formal forty-five degrees, and says, “I will see you tomorrow, Taylor-san. Thank you.”

    “Thank you,” I bow back to her, a bit deeper, and she gets in the car and drives away. I can hear the SUV pull up, and I hop in the middle doors, and buckle myself in.

    “How was your day?” Ian asks, as he drives away from the school.

    “It was a first day at school,” I shrug. “I may have gained a rival, probably gained a friend, possibly lost a friend, and this is my life for the next one hundred and seventy-nine or so days. Minus things trying to eat and kill me.”

    Kiokyo turned around slightly in her seat in the front and handed me a small white paper bag. “But, we do have a gift from Viola, so that makes it better,” she said. I opened the bag and discovered that there were snickerdoodles in there, a half dozen of them, and made in Viola’s style with plenty of cinnamon and sugar.

    “Did you guys have any?” I asked, smelling the cookies already from the open bag.

    Ian took his left hand off the steering wheel and waved a half-filled small white paper bag around. “Viola made some for all of us,” he said cheerfully.

    In an instant, I pull out a snickerdoodle and start nibbling on it. It’s wonderful, and I have to smile. “I think of all the things that I will not like the most about school this year, it is the lack of ambition in their dinner desserts,” I mumble around the the cookie, and Kiokyo offers me a napkin.

    “Enjoy the cookies,” Kiokyo smiles, “and worry about their inability to imagine a proper chocolate trifle later.”

    I smile, and start on my second cookie, “I think I’ve forgotten what my complaints are already.”

    And, that was how I ended my first day of school.

  8. The deep, mournful notes of the watchman’s horn sounded across the ship, followed by a shrill piping, sounding the call.
    “All hands!” bellowed the bosun, “All hands!”
    Sailors and junior officers billowed up from the hold and down from the rigging to materialize, like ragged djinns, onto the deck.
    The First Lieutenant tapped discretely on the door of the Captain’s cabin, and announced, “Rounding the Horn, Sir, if you please.”
    The ship’s commander opened the door and strode out into the bracing cold of the southern passage.
    He frowned as a floating ice block thudded against the starboard planks and drifted away, then turned to the chief navigation officer.
    “Where in blazes are we?” he demanded.
    “About to round the Horn, sir,” replied the Master, “just entering the Drake Passage.”
    The befuddled captain stared at him without speaking, for a long while, until the subordinate officer, breaking iron discipline for the first time in his career, cleared his throat and spoke.
    “Is there something wrong, Sir?”
    “We are supposed to be entering the Red Sea, bound for Cairo.”
    “You mean…”
    “It’s the wrong Horn.”

  9. I’m going to say that the last trumpet is close enough e to horn for me to wander a bit off-topic. While pulling up “Going Postal” (which just appeared on Amazon Prime Video) Amazon informed me that an Amazon production of “Good Omens” was coming in 2019. The teaser trailer showed David Tennant as the demon Crowley. Neil Gaiman is listed as one of the producers.

  10. “Did you hear the horn?” the message read.

    “Yes,” the insurance salesman texted back. He kissed his sleeping wife, and slipped out of the bedroom. He paused at his daughter’s room, mouthing silently “I love you,” then crept to the garage to retrieve his armor. Nobody saw him drive away.

  11. Lady Ellaina de Courbeyron stood alone in the uneasy, milling, half-terrified crowd on the plaza at Griffith Park Observatory. They and she might as well have been in two different universes in so many ways; her attention barely on them at all now, theirs so distracted by — various things — that even the few of them with more than a tiny tincture of true Blood in them would not likely use it to see and hear her as she was, or as more than one more human obstacle to be avoided in their aimless agitated Brownian motion.

    To be avoided, yes. Unmoving and immovable obstacle, yes. Human, almost.

    Her own eyes, and attention, were on the west, the setting sun and the rising of the falling stars she hoped to touch. Her left hand, raised by her face and cupped like a microwave horn antenna, felt for the first fugitive hint of them. Just as her right hand, cupped the other way down by her side, held an Orb of such age and power it might even manage to help her do what she sought.

    Most of her life, she’d been practicing for this, unknowing. *Feeling* for things that fly through the air, touching them immaterially, then nudging them. Since once upon a long-ago time, with a different name under a sky much like this, back when the Pyramids and she were young together. (The older and more reverent and less flashy ones, which had never yet graced the cover of any “National Geographic” and now likely never would.) And that made her one of a very few in all the Courts of the West who might be able to do something of real, practical use with this current… challenge.

    But only if she were here, in this world, which was why.

    And when the first of the falling stars, up there in the high air and the fiery air far to the west of here, rose over the brow of the salty sea, she knew it at once with the suddenness of a dashed bucketful of snowmelt branchwater.

    The sizzling speed of its ballistic passage, the dull saturnine sullenness of its plutonium fission pit, the patient serenity of the uranium sparkplug on the axis of its cylindrical fusion core… it was felt not seen even in inner-sight to her, but if it had been visual, it would have glowed brightly as Venus in the morning or evening twilight. (Who they’d once called Inanna-sig or Inanna-ud, Daughter of the Moon. Back in the days when she’d once met Enheduanna of the hymns.) There was no doubt any more that she could *acquire*, once all those many giga-tons of salt-laden seawater no longer laid in the way between. Nor that she could *track* once she acquired.

    Next it remained to be see if she could *affect* the falling stars of North Korea or whoever was really behind all this, pet monster or hidden master or what…

    “Anything I can do to help?” The words were perfectly clear and yet made no sense at all to her at first. The man in the dark long coat wasn’t standing in front of her but off to one side, he wasn’t really crowding her or the magical envelope of shield and presence around her that kept all the mayflies, ah, the mortals, at bay. But still he was talking *to her*, and that made no sense.

    Ellaina was relieved the “signature” off the oncoming RV (MIRV, really) wasn’t obscured or interfered with in the least, by her slight lapse in attention. As far as she could tell, tracking a dozen of them would be child’s play for her now.

    He had, perhaps, two or three percent Faerie blood in him, only a bare hint of any further Fae ancestry. There was a certain gravity to him, but no envelope of power or residual traces of habitual magic. Nothing to signify, as they said quite popularly only a couple of centuries back.

    “I really don’t think so. And there are better places, safer places, for you to be now than right here.” *You dear but very foolhardy son of Adam*, she almost added out loud. Almost, a necessity long honed sharp by the Courts of Faerie.

    He chuckled at that. Even ruefully so. “I thought so too. At first. But whenever Brighid, Aine, *and* Dana are all telling you to get it in gear and get on the road from Bozeman to LA right fast, or they’ll take turns kicking your ass, you, well, *I* don’t waste much time on arguing with ’em. So here I am.”

    Ellaina was engaged enough to make her voice direct rather than curt. “So what can you do for me and what I intend?”

    He smiled, almost ruefully and with some real weariness, which came as a surprise and a puzzle to her (as she tracked the warhead, still far off around the thermosphere or exosphere or thereabouts, as steadily as a hound on a scent or a GPS receiver spot on code and carrier phase both).

    “This” he said with a curious flatness, as he flicked his right index finger down to point precisely at the center of the Earth.

    And it was as if flint struck steel, or a hand touched a doorknob in a deeply carpeted midwinter. A spark that jumped to the ground and through it, down and down and down, deep rich fire-coal red.

    Ellaina had seen the like, occassionally, in the monks and martial artists who called it chi or hara or similar names. That typically ran through the vertical center of the body, but could also route to and through the hands and feet.

    The Orb still in her other hand was like a forest fire to its candle. But then the thin red thread brightened to orange, then yellow, and continued to crawl down the spectrum. And she looked in his eyes and saw a glimmer of real depth.

    And its color went to forge-welding yellow, and tungsten-filament white, and even as she felt the second falling star rise over their watery horizon, Ellaina wondered at seeing something *new* for the first time in a long time.

    That thin thread of power was now, in her inner-sight, the color of the Dog Star and likewise the brightest in its sky. And still it waxed, bluer and brighter, and almost she said something… when its core went black, like an overexposed negative bleached by the overload. But still she felt no threat, secure behind her familiar shield with the Orb of the Icenii warm in her right hand.

    And she began to hear a song without melody, without words, but still with meter and intonation. Deep as the deepest realms of Faerie she’d ever seen.

    There were now flecks of gold in the dark core of that thread of light, and the hint of fugitive swirls of reddish and yellowish light like eddies of fog round where he stood. Power and power, like profligate sunshine. And the Orb in her hand now… wriggled, so to say, like a kitten wanting to jump down and play.

    “The Earth offers you through me its heart, the song that keeps you and all the world in manifestation. For you to use in this your enterprise.” It still sounded like him, but deeper in some way that had nothing to do with pitch. There was still no aura of power *about* him, either, only the current that ran through.

    And before she could reply, the Orb already had. Before it had felt like she held a bucketful of the deepest, warmest power. Now it was as if the molten core of the world was there instead, a sea of metal fire, waiting ready for her.

    And she remembered all at once very clearly, being a computer named Ellen Corbin working at a place called Los Alamos, and one long sleepless night lit suddenly by the feeling of a closing fist, and then an echo of light.
    And she dared still more than she’d ever meant, before that.

    Ellaina de Courbeyron drew in a breath and prepared to break thousands of years of tradition. Her left hand locked on target, helping but not essential, as she touched the heavy metal of the first fission core and let it know what she meant, and sent a fraction of the Orb’s power though her hand like a radar pulse through a horn… And the clouds of red and yellow and green and blue fog amplified it like a well-tuned maser, in perfect harmony, and…

    Far away out over the lonely ocean, a new star was born.


    Dust and plaster cascaded from the high school band room ceiling.

    Walter blew another note through the enormous horn.


    An alarming crack appeared in a cinderblock wall as terrified rats fled the room.

    Walter drew breath again.

    “Stop!” the director screamed. “Don’t you understand? You’ve found Joshua’s Tuba!”

  13. Mickey’s face was bright red with rage, and foaming spittle flew from his lips as he bellowed at us.

    “You two, go pay Donatello and his boys a visit. The scum bag is trying to horn in on our action.”

    “Sure Boss. One message written in hot lead coming up.”

  14. >> “Your writing prompt this week is: horn”

    My first thought was of Orvan getting lazy and just pointing to his avatar for this week’s submission.

    1. There was that, and other, rather less.. socially acceptable.. possibilities that have kept me from doing anything with what might seem a grand opportunity. Slow, not stupid.

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