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

Heads Up

*Okay, heads up first. I have a minor test/surgical thing tomorrow morning.  The reason this post is ridiculously late is that I spent the morning chasing down the necessary prep (think about it, it will come to you) for which the center forgot to send me the prescription.  On that, I wish to add “ew, yuck.”
What this means is that likely there won’t be a post tomorrow morning.  Which is why I don’t feel bad about putting promo up THIS late. -SAH*

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:  Toys

Book Promo

*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 J. D. TULLIS:  Through the Mirror (Book 1 of The Veil Series)


In Through the Mirror, Jason Whitelock and Ellie O’Connell are two high school seniors that live in the isolated and slightly mysterious port-town known as Eastmouth. The shocking discovery of a hidden room catapults Jason and Ellie into a clash with terrifying, lovecraftian alien forces and shadowy government organizations. Stranded in an impossible situation, the two must band together to survive the odds and find a way to escape back into the semi-normal lives that they had greeted with boredom only days prior.

This book should be of interest to fans of Jim Butcher’s ‘The Dresden Files’, Larry Correia’s ‘Monster Hunter Series’, and Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’. It is the first entry in The Veil Series.

FROM J. L. CURTIS:  Rimworld- JACE


Roberto de Perez engineered his escape from the soul-killing drudgery of corporate leadership, to a remote research lab under an assumed name to play with research projects, like the creation of AIs more powerful than any protocol envisioned.

Freedom isn’t perfect: As a mid-level lab manager developing a brand new self-aware AI that’s actually better suited for combat shuttle control, Roberto unwittingly crosses a line with an external agency he didn’t know cared, and his own internal bureaucracy isn’t happy, either. What he doesn’t know is that there are people determined to keep him from succeeding at any cost.

What he doesn’t realize is his new AI has learned to manipulate the system all too well from watching Roberto, and everyone underestimated what it will do when its existence is threatened…

Novella 17,600 words



When you know the world is ending, what would you do? Some people give up. Others tend to go a little crazy. Then there are the planners and the ones that refuse to believe things will end. Nick Theopolis, convienience store owner, reader, and planner is one of those.

It won’t be easy. Mobs, hunger, and collapse of general infrastructure. Don’t worry, he’s got a plan for most of that.

FROM ALLENE R. LOWRY:  Einarr and the Oracle of Attilsund (The Adventures of Einarr Stigandersen).


No sooner have Einarr and his friends returned to meet their ship at Kjell Hall than they have to set out again. Captain Stigander has determined it is time to get serious, both about lifting the Binding that keeps them away from the home his son barely remembers and about more material matters, such as gaining the wealth and manpower they’ll need to take on the usurper’s enthralled army. When the svartdvergr Jorir hears his new Lord’s tale of woe, he suggests a detour into the far northern reaches of the sea, where dwells an Oracle he has had cause to visit before. Now the crew of the Vidofnir sets off to seek its fate in a rather more literal way than anyone is used to.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN Miners and Empire: Merchant and Empire Book Five.


Aedelbert Starken shapes stone, not magic. Or so he thinks.

The town of Garmouth depends on the mines for life. Aedelbert comes to the city with his partner Caedda Quaedel in order to build three new smelters for the ore. Aedelbert and Caedda, master stone-cutters, just want to work, collect their wages, and move to the next job. Nothing more or less.

To their chagrin, building smelters and training an apprentice pose the least of their problems. A noble with a grudge threatens the mines and the city, leading to a race between the men of Garmouth and the mines, the noble, and the forces of ice and water.

Aedelbert wants nothing to do with any of it. The Scavenger, however, has other ideas. And what He gives, He can also reclaim…

67,000 words.

62 thoughts on “Book Promo Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Heads Up

  1. The last time a family member had to “prep”, they discovered that Ye Olde OTC stuff worked much, much better than the prescription stuff, and cost $200 less. They were Not Amused with the prescribing MD.

      1. The wife’s is, too, she has hers first thing next month. But, yes, it’s apparently not a thing the pharmacies just keep on the shelves. I’m picking hers up either today or tomorrow.

        It may take me a bit of running around to track down the over the counter part of it – I have to find the cherry flavor (she found out the time before last, this being the third time around, that the orange stuff durn near “preps” her in both directions).

    1. Good luck with the procedure. The prep (circa ’02) was annoying (I had to pre-prep on juice and Jello before the goop did its thing), but they set a monitor so I could watch the relevant portion as they worked. The geek in me wished they hadn’t sedated me so much; it was interesting. OTOH, it made me shut up. Might have been part of the plan. 🙂

    2. If we are talking about what I think we are (or even if we aren’t), a new alternative to the familiar and yucky invasive procedure comes from the company below.
      Simple, in-home, and mine was fully covered by insurance.

      1. I’m told – and I don’t know how accurate this is – that one benefit of the standard invasive test is that if they find suspicious polyps, they can remove them immediately.

        With the non-invasive tests, they’d have to go in anyway to remove a thing suspicious.

          1. And told you to back sooner rather than later, I’ll bet.Yay. (Boo.) I’m on a five-year schedule because of family history. My wife was told that she was good for ten years.

                1. I am on a five-year schedule, although at my most recent GI Inspection I was told that had they found no polyps they would have waited ten years before repeating. So either there are regional guidelines and/or various risk factors involved. or possibly it is related to the college tuition schedules of the gastroenterologist’s kids.

                  1. I went from “six year from now” to “you’re already four years overdue” owing the changes in family history — and they had me come back in five.

  2. The Traveller and his two companions materialized in a massive space.

    Walls hundreds of feet tall separated by hundreds of feet of flooring.

    As the Traveller figured out their next leap, his companions noticed large strangely shaped objects littering the floor.

    One started toward the objects to see what they were.

    The Traveller called him back hurriedly saying “Stay here, we’ll be leaving very quickly and you don’t want to encounter the owner of those things”.

    The second companion asked “what are those things and who owns them”?

    As the Travel Field surrounded them, the Traveller said “Those are the toys of an alien baby”.

  3. After the dishes, Farshan dug out one of Mog’s toys, the double-handled rope. Soon he and the half-thun were fully engaged in a tug-of-war. It was a rare moment to just be, listen to Mog’s buzzing play-growls, and watch his slowly wagging tail.

    Eventually, Farshan tired and let go, and he realized he had an audience. A couple of the settlers had sat down for evening tasks where they could watch.

  4. “Toys,” said Bellangere, contemptuously. “Trivia. Things of no importance.”
    “No obvious importance,” said Florio, not glancing aside. Rosine frowned. She had never seen him so intent except when trying to disarm the most intricate of clockwork traps.
    “Only a master,” she said, “could put danger in so small a compass.”

  5. “Toys,” said Bredon, lightly, looking over. The sight of Illys’s still face made him blink.
    “How many children do they have?” said Illys, disbelieving, not looking from the balls and blocks.
    “Six,” he said. Slowly, she looked at him. “Thus far.”
    “We were a large family with three,” she said.

  6. Dave Barry wrote that he was telling a tech about the unpleasantness of downing roughly two gallons of “prep”, and the tech told him he mixed his with vodka.

    Barry said that it sounded like a fine idea at first, and then reconsidered after noting that getting from the sofa to the bathroom in time while drunk might be a problem…

  7. What this means is that likely there won’t be a post tomorrow morning.

    What are you, nuts? Of course there won’t be a post tomorrow morning. Nor should you attempt one tomorrow afternoon, evening or night. Do our medical thing and get some rest and recovery. Go walk in the park or something. Have a light meal and do some ironing, dusting or other light housework. This blog won’t wither away if you fail to water it one day.

    It’s April 8th!! Just consider all the reasons you can take the day off and Celebrate:

    the 632 assassination of Charibert II, King of Aquitaine

    the 944 death of Chinese emperor Wang Yanxi

    the 1093 dedication of Winchester Cathedral

    the death of Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos in 1143

    the birth of Peter I of Portugal in 1320

    the 1605 birth of Mary Stuart, third daughter and sixth child of James VI and I, the first king of a unified England, Scotland and Ireland

    the 1730 dedication of Shearith Israel, the first synagogue in New York City

    the glorious 1740 captureby three British ships of the Spanish third-rate Princesa, taken into service as HMS Princess during the War of Jenkins’ Ear

    the discovery of the Venus de Milo on the Aegean island of Milos in 1820

    the 1892 birth of America’s Sweetheart, mary Pickford

    the 1895 decision by the US Supreme Court in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co., finding unapportioned income tax to be unconstitutional.

    the 1896 birth of “Yip” Harburg, American popular song lyricist and librettist who rote the lyrics to the standards “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (with Jay Gorney), “April in Paris”, and “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, as well as all of the songs in The Wizard of Oz, including “Over the Rainbow”

    the 1911 discovery of superconductivity by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes

    the 1926 birth of American comedian Shecky Greene

    the 1947 birth of Tom DeLay

    the 1950 death of The Great Nijinsky, Polish dancer and choreographer

    the conducting of the Gemini 1 test flight in 1964

    the death in 1973 of artist Pablo Picasso

    the death of Annette Funicello in 2013

    On top of all that, it is Buddha’s Birthday, also known as Hana Matsuri, “Flower Festival” (Japan)!!!

    So you see, there are plenty of reasons to take the day off!

  8. Spring break ended tomorrow.
    Granny breathed a silent prayer of thanks as she picked up the dolls, blocks, Lego bricks, and tiny cars from the Great Room floor, again. The front room was still clean, after dire threats of doom to any grandchild that approached it, and the guest bedroom would be a wreck until everyone had gone home, but she insisted on clearing the path between kitchen and dining table several times a day, for her own safety.
    The oven chimed and she pulled out the pizza.
    Somehow, kids these days survived on that ersatz Italian delicacy three meals a day, seven days a week. At least it was easy to cook.

    She hallooed out the back door and the four munchkins clattered inside and filled their plates. Granny took a helping of the neglected salad and sat down next to the youngest girl. The older cousins were all engrossed in some video playing on a tablet one had brought.

    “Have you had fun, Sweetie?” she asked.
    “It was super!”
    “What did you like best? Maybe we’ll do it again this summer.”
    There had been the trip to the zoo, a round of virtual-reality games at the mall, miniature golf, and several trips to the ice cream store.
    Granny remembered again why it was wise to have your own kids when you were young. Everybody got picked up tomorrow after breakfast, and she had her nap scheduled immediately thereafter.
    “My favorite was building the fort in the back yard with all those cardboard boxes,” said the pony-tailed princess.
    The oldest boy, just into his teens, looked up from the video, a relatively rare occurrence.
    “Me too!” he said.
    “The fridge box was totally awesome!” said his sister, and the others chimed in their agreement.
    Granny smiled; the kids didn’t notice the rueful look in her eyes.
    Same as when their parents were small, she thought, wondering why she bothered buying them toys at all.

  9. When Chad first saw the three tiny figures, he thought they were toys. His own daughters were still a little young for Barbies, but he remembered his sisters’ collection.

    Except why would somebody stand three dolls on the window sill? A prank? An attempt at art?

    And then one of them turned and looked at him. Chad’s heart started pounding so hard the blood roared in his ears. He’d heard the wild stories of what that tyrant Gorlath was doing in Maroa, using the forbidden arts to transform his enemies into the creatures of fable and folklore. But he’d heard too many wild rumors here in Codyland to put too much stock in a grapevine that crossed worldgates. Frightened refugees often conflated memory and nightmare.

    But here in front of him stood three pale-skinned little men, all the size of a Ken doll and all perfectly dressed in tiny overalls. Gremlins, looking for work in his machine shop.

  10. Dust was settling from the crater where the stump had been.

    Uncle Mike asked, “Did you really need eight sticks of Dynamite to remove of that thing?

    I replied, “Maybe not, but you gotta admit, that was pretty cool.”

    He stalked off muttering, “Boys and their toys.” under his breath.


    Based upon a real-life incident in my youth

  11. “Wow, you do have a lot of small dogs here! What breeds are they?”

    “I have three Papillions, four poodles, two Pomeranians, a Pekinese, a Yorkshire terrier, and a Lhasa Apso.”

    “They are so cute! But don’t you worry about them cross-breeding?”

    “Not an issue. They are all boy toys.”

    50. Came late to the post so went with the first idea that came to mind. Well, maybe not the very first thing. 😉

  12. “Fate,” said Chance, “does not toy with individuals. It really isn’t concerned with specifics normally.”
    “So, the major events of history weren’t pre-ordained?” I asked the genie.
    “Yes and no. Many were roughly set to happen, but the who and much of the how was not. The San Francisco earthquake was destined to happen on that day, but the existence of San Francisco, and who lived there was completely incidental. Fate didn’t care if a city was there or not, or if humans or dinosapiens lived in it. That said, as the date gets closer, many of the facts of fate start to get set as the choices are made.”
    “And that is where you come in.” I noted.
    “Correct, we are there to make sure that the random choice of the universe doesn’t set an unstable fate, the creator doesn’t like it when that happens.”

  13. He he he he heh.
    Oh, drat.
    What is it they say about who laughs last?

    I have to schedule that procedure this year too.
    I really hate what it does to my digestive system for the two weeks following.

  14. Okay, vignette.

    “I can’t believe you spend 16 billion credits on toys for those irritating aliens,” Soblek groused.
    “Think of it as an investment, “ replied Trouzs.
    “But really? 16 billion on humans? What a horrible waste!”
    “It’s not a waste. Humans learn best by playing. And they don’t even realize it.”

      1. Yeah. And my currently favored genres get really odd when crossed with that flavor of space alien. (VRMMO LN, Isekai, maybe a bit of lingering xianxia influence…)

  15. As the old saying goes, close your eyes and think of England.
    Be over before you know it.

  16. “YOU WILL BE ELIMINATED!” the massive robot bellowed, smashing through another building in pursuit of the even bigger bunny rabbit. Where the bunny could fit through tight spaces and jump over obstacles, the dread automaton simply destroyed all in its way.
    Director Simmons shrugged and said “Boys and their toys.”

  17. I was considering adding eight words, but forty-two somehow seemed the correct number:

    James grimaced as he watched Jenny, employing a set of Barbie and Ken dolls, re-enact his attempted courtship of her to the amusement of her friends.

    “I can’t believe that she would toy with my affections in such a way,” he said.

  18. Excerpt from a work in (slow) progress:

    Patches stepped off the scale back onto the table. “Meeeoow.”

    “Here, let me show you a game.” The vet pulled a laser pointer out of his jacket pocket and aimed the dot right in front of Patches’ forepaws.

    Patches saw the sparkling dot and snatched at it, but it jumped away. What? I had it before it jumped. Patches glanced over at the vet. Ha! Laser pointer. I wonder how fast his reaction time is. The dot was now gleaming on the table about a foot away. Patches hunched up and stalked closer, then slammed a forepaw onto the dot. 0.23 seconds. Pitiful. Are all humans that slow?

    “Let me do it.” Sophie reached for the laser pointer.

    “Here, let’s put her on the floor.” The vet handed the pointer to Sophie and turned to move Patches, but she had already ghosted down and was stalking the dot. “Hold it steady until she pounces.”

    Patches pounced on the wobbling dot. It jerked away. 0.62 seconds. The young human has poor fine motor control and considerably more response delay. Interesting.

    Patches collected an entire data set as both children took turns at jerk-the-dot. Then it was time to take Patches back home and go buy some pet supplies.

    1. Just make sure that if they are examining both ends, they start at the top…or at least clean between.


      (And for the pedantic, I am well aware in those cases they use two separate scopes.)

      1. Well of course they use scopes. The only patients a doctor can fit his head in for direct examination are giants and politicians.

        1. Actually, normally speaking, the doctor can’t with politicians, due to said orifice already being occupied by the owners cranium.

      1. Great! I am sure that that is a relief … both the having the good test results and the not having to do that again for three years.

  19. Derek looked around the room, his HUD grid array marking all the items scattered on the floor. He had seen their like before, except larger in one what they figured was a workshop. Except this appeared to be a bed chamber. The marine escorting him was also scanning the room. Probably for possible threats.
    “Well, I see somethings are similar across cultures, ancient and alien, Derek muttered to himself.
    “What was that sir?”
    “Sorry Murphy, just talking to myself is all.”
    Derek almost felt the wince In Murphy’s voice, “Please sir, I am trying to forget that nickname. What do you think you have here anyway?”
    Derek grinned, “Nothing much really. Probably a playroom with children’s toys.”

  20. “Boys and their toys!”, sneered Dr. Perry. “Why would you even have a gun.”

    Tarr gave her a long cool look, causing her to drop her eyes. “Because there is a practical limit to what can be accomplished with a penknife and boundless enthusiasm.”

    1. I need to talk to the doc about such when I see him next. The previous scoping was a long time ago (no records available anymore) and had some issues–OK back then, but…

      Oh well, today I had a dental technician with both hands in my mouth taking impressions. At least that goop doesn’t taste very bad.

  21. My family has a history of narrow esophagi and I generally have to have an upper GI done every five years or so to check for problems and widen things so I don’t have as many GERD episodes. I’ve already been told by the doc that my next visit will be examined on both ends due to age.

  22. Take a book, or two, while you ‘enjoy’ the time on the throne… Plan on at least an hour sitting there, if not more.

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