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


Sunday Book Promo, the I Guess You Slackers Are Writing Again at Last (Like I Should Talk) Edition

*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*



FROM DAVID DUBROW AND RAY RAY ZACEK:  Appalling Stories 3: Escape from Trumplandia.

“Trumplandia is like nothing I’ve read before – hilarious, dystopian porn!” – Patrick Courrielche, co-creator of Red Pilled AmericaWhat happens when the wokest folks you know go on a road trip through the reddest of Red States in search of the Promised Land?45’s election didn’t just upend every talking head’s political predictions, it shredded the very fabric of space-time. The United States of America have become the Disunited States of Trumplandia, plagued by bizarre cryptids, Cthulhu megaliths, and alternate reality wormholes, all crushed under the tiny orange fist of the President Who Must Not Be Named.Fed up with the Fanta-Faced Führer’s fascism, a caravan from the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lightbringer seeks asylum in the Free Republic of California: a progressive paradise that waits with open arms for anyone brave enough to make the journey west…and survive.

These are their stories.



btw, I’ve been invited to the next one, and they’ll let me play with Richthofen.  So, you guys better make sure this one does well.

Throughout the human experience, historians have wondered, “What if?” What if Japan had been on the side of the U.S. in World War II? What if things had been just a little different in the Falklands? What if Russia had started World War Three?

Wonder no more, for these questions, along with many others, are answered within the pages of this book. Told by a variety of award-winning authors, like Sarah Hoyt, the 2018 Dragon Award Winner for Alternate History, and Kacey Ezell, the winner of the 2018 Baen Reader’s Choice Award, “Those in Peril,” deals with naval warfare that never happened in our world…but easily could have.

The first book in the exciting new “Phases of Mars” anthology series, there is something for everyone inside! From sailing ships, to steam, to today’s modern aircraft carriers, “Those in Peril” traces several centuries of naval warfare…that wasn’t. From adding a psychic…to making a different choice of friend or foe…to something insignificant toppling a kingdom, this book has it, so come aboard and find out “what if” all of these things had changed history…just a little. You’ll be glad you did!

Inside you’ll find:
Naked by Kacey Ezell
Captain Bellamy’s War by Stephen J. Simmons
A Safe Wartime Posting by Joelle Presby
Beatty’s Folly by Philip Wohlrab
Martha Coston and the Farragut Curse by Day Al-Mohamed
The Blue and the Red: Palmerston’s Ironclads by William Stroock
Far Better to Dare by Rob Howell
Off Long Island: 1928 by Doug Dandridge
For Want of a Pin by Sarah Hoyt
Nothing Can Be Said Sufficient to Describe It by Meriah Crawford
Corsairs and Tenzans by Philip S. Bolger
For a Few Camels More by Justin Watson
Per Mare Per Terram by Jan Niemczyk
Fate of the Falklands by James Young



REMARKABLE DEBUT NOVEL FROM CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR MARTIN L. SHOEMAKER. Shoemaker proves why he has consitently been praised as one of the best story writers in SF today with this touching, thoughtful, action-packed debut novel, based on his award-winning short story Today I am Paul.


Mildred has Alzheimer’s. As memories fade, she acquires the aid of a full-time android to assist her in everyday life. Carey. Carey takes care of Mildred, but its true mission is to fill in the gaps in Mildred’s past. To bring yesterday into today by becoming a copy. But not merely a copy of a physical person. A copy from the inside out.


After Mildred passes, Carey must find a new purpose. For a time, that purpose is Mildred’s family. To keep them safe from harm. To be of service. There is Paul Owens, the overworked scientist and business leader. Susan Owens, the dedicated teacher. And Millie, a curious little girl who will grow up alongside her android best friend. And Carey will grow up with her. Carey cannot age. But Carey can change.


Carey struggles. Carey seeks to understand life’s challenges. Carey makes its own path. Carey must learn to live. To grow. To care. To survive. To be.

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: rail.

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

  1. To the traitors, the inverse of Lady Godiva- no chocolate, only this: painted in tar, rolled in feathers, tied up, and ridden out of town. Hilary, Nancy, Chucky, Alexandria, Elizabeth, Dan, Michael, Walter, Jane oh, too many to mention, traitors all, and shame to us that we have not yet.

  2. Looks at bookcase in illustration, looks again.

    Say, you DO have a great rack!

    I was going to rail against the inequities of modern publishing but I cannot tear eyes from that truly luscious rack. I am stunned, I am agog, I am mazed, I am stupefied, I am gob-smacked.

    Word counted fifty, which means I am done.

  3. The United States of America have become the Disunited States of Trumplandia, plagued by bizarre cryptids, Cthulhu megaliths, and alternate reality wormholes (Emphasis mine.)

    Bet I’m not even mentioned, despite that. *smirk*

  4. “Stay clear of that bird!”

    “It’s just a dang bird. Who cares?”

    “It’s of Rallidae, you fool!”

    Rallidae, Shmaallidae, so what?”

    “We already encountered two. You know what that means, don’t you? THIS is the deadly one!”

    “Oh, come on. What nonsense. It’s just a dang bird. Here, watch.”


      1. Fun thought. Were a bunch of folks claiming that Trump was empowering extremism. Perhaps this Omar thing really has.

        What if, rather than statistical clustering, we are looking at a new normal.

        Imagine a world where there are puppy kickers strange new respecting /me/ for decorum, ‘compassion’, and sound policy. XD

        No matter how bad things go, at least they won’t be going that bad, that way.

        1. See:

          Peggy Noonan advises us to “get ready for the coming struggle session.” What’s a struggle session? The term comes from Communist China’s cultural revolution of the 1960s. Noonan explains:

          In the struggle sessions the accused, often teachers suspected of lacking proletarian feeling, were paraded through streets and campuses, sometimes stadiums. It was important always to have a jeering crowd; it was important that the electric feeling that comes with the possibility of murder be present.

          Dunce caps, sometimes wastebaskets, were placed on the victims’ heads, and placards stipulating their crimes hung from their necks. The victims were accused, berated, assaulted. Many falsely confessed in the vain hope of mercy.

          Noonan sees “the spirit of the struggle session” in contemporary American politics. She attributes it in part to the internet, in part to the “extremity of our politics,” and in part to loneliness.


          I take it that after a while, even the most venomous social media posts can feel inadequate as an expression of rage. Moreover, a social media mob can, to some extent, impose “struggle sessions,” not so much on its enemies — for now, anyway — as on those who, in general, tend to agree with the mob, but not angrily or wholeheartedly enough.

          Noonan is right to conclude that “none of [this] portends good.” What it portends, I fear, is cold civil war.

          1. Noonan strikes me as perhaps decades late and trillions of dollars short.

            In the idiomatic, not literal sense.

            As for forecasts, I think my judgement isn’t up to it today.

      1. We’ve a new infestation the past couple of days. Another claim Sarah is obviously a Mormon, and that is one of the more coherent statements.

          1. AND things I dind’t actually know, btw, since if I pick names at all I pick them for meaning. And often my subconscious did the work and didn’t tell me. “Athena Hera Sinistra, the girl with no mother and the mother of the gods” was something I didn’t even know until a CHARACTER said it.

          2. A friend who knew this last one in another blog years ago says he’s true to form, and probably not a moby, just someone in desperate need of mental health help.
            Perhaps a little worse than he used to be.

          1. About a third of my fans seem to be Mormon. I don’t have a problem with them, but to my knowledge I’m not one, nor do I put crypto-Mormon messages in my books.

            1. In general, I consider “crypto-Anything messages” in books/stories to be “dog-whistles”.

              That is, something that exists mainly in the “minds” of the readers. 😈

              1. I generally just point out that the belief that there are secret messages in communication is generally known as “clinical paranoia.”

                1. What if the person seeing the “hidden messages” is a Professor of Literature? 😈

              2. I forget who said it, but if you’re hearing dog whistles doesn’t that make *you* the dog?

            2. Perhaps, then, a new book? Entitled “Mormons From The Crypt”? Or “Mormons, Decrypted”? (Most of my nieces and nephews are Mormons.)

            3. Isn’t that what you would say if you were putting crypto-Mormon messages in your books?

              It’s the Kafka-trap for you
              It’s the Kafka-trap for you
              No one cares for you one bit
              When you’re on the intenet.
              It’s The Kafka-Trap!
              It’s the Kafka-Trap!
              IT’S THE KAFKA TRAP!!!
              (To the tune of “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie.)

                1. Probably a transparent attempt to ride the coattails of that popular Broadway musical, The Book Of Mormon.

                2. The same way some bands started putting backwards messages into their recording, to mock those who claimed such?

                  “WARNING: The Surgeon General has determined that playing your records backwards may be hazardous to your phonograph needle.”

                  Of course, you could have have someone claiming there are secret LDS messages in some book, and have them sing whilst keeping time by lightly thumping an apple… }:o)

            4. But if you take the opening paragraph from Darkship Thieves, translate it into Mayan and then reverse it and add up the numerical values in Hebrew, it reads: “Hie to Kolob, Orin.”

              Explain that!*

              *Note to morons: Satire

      2. I’m wondering “How do I miss these things?” Are they new comments in older posts, or is our wonderful hostess cleaning out the stupidity between times I check her blog?

          1. Thanks. Now I feel silly for missing that. Good lord, that commenter appears troubled. I hope he gets the help that is needed, rather than triggering ACW2 and/or committing atrocities.

  5. The railings were old, splintery wood but since the bridge was tiny it hardly mattered. They didn’t need to be touched for safety. More important were the muddy tracks that crossed the bridge and went upslope on the other side of the creek. There the faint trail turned and vanished. 50!

  6. Roger rushed into the room, babbling, “They’re hostile! Hostile! And I hear you’re setting up a railroad to send things to them? It’s too late to try for appeasement!”

    Bill carefully lined up the sights on the invaders’ command ship.

    “Not railroad”, he said as he pulled the trigger. “Railgun.”

  7. ‘Not that I am the even tempered person, I take the upheavals of life with a certain measure of calm.  But today was just not the day to push my temper.  Who thought it would be cute to rearrange my reading corner?’ I began to rail.  OH! … that elephant!  Kawaii! 

  8. “‘Rail! Rail! Against the dying of the light.’
    It always gives me goosebumps, it’s just *so* cool.”

    Sabrina’s companion, only slightly older, tried hard not to roll his eyes.

    The platinum-haired woman at the next table looked up from her corned beef and cabbage and said, “It’s ‘rage, against the dying of the light’ actually, in the original at least, rage not rail. Sometimes the difference is very important.” She spoke as if to the empty air, and there was not a trace of irritation in her voice and barely any perfectionist punctillo.

    Bill held his voice to near a whisper. “Ever heard of a “woker” before, Brina?”

    “Shh!” she hissed. “Yes!”

    “So stop being one. She looks like Susan Willoughby.”

    This time the woman at the next table looked at both of them, as she picked up her wine glass, some new pale-white with the merest hint of bubbles. “It’s all too easy, by comparison, to rail. Even if that is a big step up from simply ranting. it’s still nothing but talk. But to rage — and I don’t just mean get angry and throw things of course — but rage in the old Dylan Thomas sense, let the anger be your fuel or your rocket propellant… that takes character, and guts.”

    And she smiled, as if at the fondest remembrance, in the most wistful of ways, before she raised her glass and took a tiny sip. “Turns out I was a true believer in ‘Proof of Principle or Run Home Whining’ before I ever heard the words, and hacking my old Raspberry Pi down on the startup-file bare metal by the time I was tall enough to ride the Good Rides at the State Fair. But it took the ‘oh-ohs’ to really get me going. We Were Eight Years in Power in oh-eight, the Pink Peril and their Nude Green Eel in oh-eighteen, the Nullification in oh-twenty, and all the rest you’ve read about in every recent-history course you’ve ever run. ‘Rage, rage, against the dying of The Light!’ Rage *with* the machine, against The Machine. Good times, good times, even in evil times.”

    And she shivered, delicately, as at the memory of the most delicious pleasure. One that had only mellowed, but never faded, over all the years in between.

    “And it’s been said my ears are barely inferior to the average house cat, so I do hear things. And I’ll buy you both anything in the bar, on one condtion, long as you’re willing to prove your age of course, if you join me in a toast.”

    And Susan Willoughby smiled her old merry, wistful, reactionary smile again.

    “It’s from an old poem, too. ‘Long live freedom and d*mn the ideologies!'”

    “Yes, Ma’am,” said William Harkness’ nephew. “We’d be most honored.”
    And the smile suddenly on Sabrina’s face was like the sun. “Both of us.”

  9. “Stop pretending,” said Selinda, her voice icy. “You didn’t rail in the lands of mankind when they respected you for being an elf.”
    “They didn’t,” said Bredon. The hoarseness of his voice shocked him. “Respect me as an elf.”
    She froze. Her gaze darted about. Finally, she managed, “You lie.”

  10. The stairs had no rail. Whether that was meant to make them hug the wall and fall prey to a monster there, she could not tell. Even reaching the floor unbothered might mean only they had not hugged it.
    Spells of soft falling were good for peace of mind, too.

  11. A thought inspired by Trumplandia up there:

    Will the lunatics continue to rail against him long enough for “Trump Derangement Syndrome” to make it into DSM-6? 😛

  12. Howard walked all the way round #806, checking the protective wards on the boiler and firebox. The yard crew had already checked and oiled the bearings on the 2-4-2 locomotive, so he didn’t redo that. He did, though, finish his magical inspection by climbing up and checking the water tank; it wouldn’t be the first time that someone forgot to fill it, and you couldn’t add the water later.

    Satisfied, he went down into the cab and found the clacker. Ready for firing, please, he keyed. A switcher wasn’t a glamorous locomotive, but the fire sprites were homebodies and didn’t care for the inter-city trips. It cut down on smoke in the yard, though, which was nice.

    Understood, firing, sounded back. Howard settled in to wait, and listen for boiler trouble, of course.

  13. The 14th Amendment says the state cannot do that, but if nobody is granted standing to argue that point is it merely an isolated tree falling in the forest?

    Don’t Take My Constitutional Republic Away from Me
    By Sarah Hoyt
    What do you do when your most important possession is being taken away?

    How you answer depends on many things, including “what can I do?”

    But right now, if you’re an American, you’re in precisely this position. Our arrantly ignorant speaker of the House, and those who aid her and abet her have more or less stop disguising the fact that they no longer even pretend to hold your vote sacred or to respect the Constitution.

    In my case, my rights are being stolen in many ways, some of them courtesy of my state. …

    1. I wonder if eight-year-old Sarah heard of both Denver and Dover, and thought they were the same place. (Seems like an easy enough mistake to make.)

      1. I’ve wondered about that, but I honestly think I’d seen a picture and Denver on an overcast day has the sort of light that makes you think of the seaside.

  14. “She’s off the rails,” complained Leyda. “Ever since she fainted, she’s completely bonkers!”

    “Right,” said Anisa. “She just sits at her desk, glassy-eyed, like she doesn’t know where she is.”

    “And the singing! Before, she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but now she’s got the most beautiful voice.”

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