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

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. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months. One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

WITH STORY BY PETER GRANT:  Terra Nova: The Wars of Liberation.


New stories set in Tom Kratman’s hard-hitting Carrera military sf series

“Send us your tired, your poor,” says the inscription at the base of the great statue, “your huddled masses yearning to be free.”

But the future of the colony planet, Terra Nova, and its relations with Old Earth is far more a case of boot out your tired, your poor, your dissidents and troublemakers. Use us for a dumping ground for all your problems. Go ahead and abandon these here. This may have been fine, too, but for the UN and its corrupt bureaucracy insisting on maintaining control and milking the new world and its settlers, willing and unwilling both, bone dry.

Contained herein are tales of the history of Mankind’s future first colony, from the first failed attempt at colonization, to the rise in crime, to the rise in terrorism, to its descent into widespread civil war and rebellion…and ultimately liberation. As with most of human history, this history is messy, with good men and women turning bad, bad men and women inadvertently doing good, and blood flowing in the streets.

Stories set in Tom Kratman’s Carrera series by
Kasey Ezell
Mike Massa
Rob Hampson
Chris Smith
Peter Grant
Chris Nutall
Justin Watson
Monalisa Foster
Alex Macris
Lawrence Railey
and Tom Kratman

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER:  April (April series Book 1).


April is an exceptional young lady and something of a snoop. After a chance encounter with a spy, she finds herself involved with political intrigues that stretch her abilities. There is a terrible danger she, and her friends and family, will lose the only home she has ever known, and be forced to live on the slum ball Earth below. It’s more than an almost fourteen year old should have to deal with. Fortunately she has a lot of smart friends and allies. It’s a good thing because things get very rough and dicey. They challenge the political status quo, and with a small population the only advantage they have in war is a thin technological edge.
The entire “April” series is building towards a merge with the future series that starts with “Family Law”.

FROM JERRY BOYD:  Whammo Ranch (Bob and Nikki Book 2).


A saucer comes in damaged, with sick people aboard. A deadly plague threatens Earth. Can Bob and his crew save the day? Will Bob’s good nature cost him his life?
Julie’s boss wants to retire. Can she handle running the restaurant? Can Bob find her the help she needs?
Dee has come down with a terrible case of pedestrianism. Can Bob and the boys find the cure? Will she drive again?

FROM ARCHER GARRETT:  The Western Front – Part 1 of 3 (Western Front Series).


Darkness has descended upon the world; the fabric of society has been torn asunder, sovereign nations collapse under their own burdens, once stable governments are ushered into revolution and allies of old are thrust into war. The tentacles of darkness have inevitably traveled across the Atlantic and are now tightening their grip on the American republic.

Now, faced with a collapsing economy, a failing currency and a society that is swiftly casting its humanity aside, the United States stands at the precipice of a bedlam and malevolence not witnessed since the fall of Rome.

Part 1 follows several characters who strive to navigate the chaos, including:

Jake, his wife and brother are forced to flee the maelstorm of violence as it spills from the cities and into their small town enclave.

A Texas State Guardsmen deep behind enemy lines on South Padre Island, stands with his compatriots against a wave of unspeakable atrocities committed by a ruthless cartel alliance committed to seizing the spoils of the American southwest.

An outlaw and his Catahoula cur companion, learn to survive and even thrive in their river swamp domain as they seek a redoubt from the troubles that plague the world beyond.

A radical revolutionary intent on plunging the wounded nation into revolution as he stokes the flames of hatred and destruction.

FROM JERRY STRATTON:  42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh.


Forty-two astoundingly useful scripts and automations for your Macintosh. Work faster and more reliably. Use Perl, Python, AppleScript, Swift, and Automator to automate the drudgery of computer use. Work on the command line, add actions to the services menu and the menu bar, and create drag-and-drop apps for your own custom workflow.



Having dropped an alien-contact anthropologist on a newly discovered inhabited planet to establish a relationship with the aliens, starship *Richard M. Nixon* and its crew returns two years later on a trade mission. The corporations of the Tripartisan Economic Combine are eager to buy the aliens’ epoxy glue, which is among the best ever seen in known space. Vincent Icehall, the starship’s young shuttle pilot, has little to do during the mission but hang out with what he assumes is the alien community’s jester and village idiot. Icehall can’t pronounce the alien’s name and dubs him “Turkey,” but slowly begins to realize that Turkey is anything but. Ignoring all of Turkey’s warnings for the crew to leave the planet immediately, Icehall stumbles on a plot by the anthropologist and the aliens’ chieftain to steal the Nixon’s shuttle for use as a weapon of war.

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:WIDE EYED



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

  1. Blew past 50, but this WAS our morning, damnit.

    Whoever owned the place before we did was not a phone tech. but believed himself to be. Even before we moved in, we ran new cabling – and network while we were at it. Later we found he also not a plumber. Then, not a carpenter. This morning we spent far too much time wide eyed at the glaring evidence that he was most decidedly also not an electrician. This only made us all the more glad we ran our new runs to a couple rooms. Further work has been suspended. After dealing with so much ****ery, we both needed a drink. And perhaps unlike our predecessor, we will NOT deal with high voltage circuits after a drink. So help me, had the Three Stooges done the wiring job it would make more sense.

    1. I’d say it was a previous owner of my old place in Silly Valley, but that guy was a semi-competent carpenter. The buried junction box in the wall and the wood screw doubling as box holder + ground screw were indicative of his electrical chops. The house inspector went into wide-eyed fits when he saw the soldered knob & tube to Romex connection for the back room. OTOH, I’ve heard of that quietly recommended for others in the same situation. No scarier than the rest that I fixed before he got there.

      FWIW, the grand incompetency prize was to a Bell Tel employee who wired *all* his basement power with 4-wire phone cord.

      1. wired *all* his basement power with 4-wire phone cord

        That.. that… I think it might have been less dangerous the day the centaurs were first given brandy.

  2. I stirred awake slowly, to strange sounds. As my head cleared, I realized I was in hospital, and the sounds were monitoring machines. Shaking my head, I remembered that a beam had gotten loose and swung at me. Last thing I saw was a wide “I” coming at my face.

    50 on the nose!

      1. Copied from where I inadvertently posted the intended comment at the bottom of the page, instead of here:

        To be honest, I was more concerned with how to make the “wide I” pun than any larger context.

        I would think he was necessarily on the ground, however.

  3. “Is she the princess?” said the wide-eyed little boy.
    Bredon opened his mouth to say so.
    “No,” said Illys. “I was a princess, once, but no longer.”
    “Isn’t being a princess forever?” said a little girl.
    “Unless you become queen,” said another girl.
    Illys shook her head. “Not for me.”

  4. Alara held out her hands. She had to get this one right, or they would never listen to her.
    The spell words came crisp and neat. Sparks exploded in violet and converged into a pattern over her hands. With one sparkling white light for them.
    Even the masters stared, wide-eyed.

  5. “Well, the furniture won’t walk into the truck, so we’d better get started.”

    “I brought something to help. I think.” Sara turned to her little hand-cart, tipping it and sliding out a case. She popped the cover, and the others stared, wide-eyed, at the huge spell-stone, nearly a foot across.

  6. Wide-eyed she said “You’re a Demon?”

    “If my fellow Ancients could be called gods, then I might be called a demon. While none of them do call themselves gods, I fear that a demon is somewhat true about myself. I can feed on Ultras, both modern ones and the ancient ones. Fortunately for standard humans, they don’t give my kind the same boost in power that Ultras do.”

    “And my fiancé is one of your kind. Does he have to feed on Ultras… like myself?”

    “No but it is extremely hard for us to ignore possible meals. I’ve long suspected that my kind was created as a necessary predator for Ultras. I have learned to not feed on Ultras but normally I find it easier and safer to live apart from Ultras.”

  7. You could tell the cartoon was done on the cheap: one of the characters had “Y’d eyes.”
    (Don’t mess with me, I have a number of knives and I KNOW how to use them.)

  8. Minette was glad of the cold and clouds. Having her hood up shadowed her face, against the threat of rain, and kept her wide-eyed wonder from marking her out as a country chit.
    As long as she kept herself from looking about and staring, which the hood could not hide.

  9. The prince looked young, delicate, and fragile. Far younger than even the peasant lads and lasses pushed into adventuring because of their magical gifts. But he raised his head and looked at them without a hint of shyness, or being wide-eyed.
    Edwin wondered how many adventurers he had seen before.

  10. Pinging again. The email address I can most readily send from is one that spam filters often seem to dislike.

    I re-sent something to you on 8/5. I had sent you the original on 6/26. Some more private thoughts on your second son’s search for work. Haven’t even received a “thanks, but folks with what you have to say are a dime a dozen”. Unless it has been caught in my filter, I had better check.

  11. Stevyn looked down at the children. Had he ever been like them? So wided-eyed and innocent? So naive? They were so sure that he would save them and their village from the tyranny of King Reks.

    “I cannot help you,” he said. “Heroes do not exist anymore.”

  12. Chelsea noticed the kids’ eyes widening when she mentioned having flown down to the surface under the command of. Colonel Hearne. A vague memory tugged at her mind, something mentioned in passing during her training. What had that man done to deserve such awe?

    Yet another reminder that, for all this was the world of her dreams, she was a stranger here. It would take only one slip on some fact Everybody Knew to shatter the carefully constructed identity and lay bare the truth of her transtemporal origins.

  13. The little stowaway gaped at Cari in wide-eyed wonder. We do look alike, Cari thought. We could be siblings.

    “Are you my mother?” the little boy asked.

    “No,” Cari replied. “I’m only twelve! But maybe we’re cousins. Where do you live, anyway?”

    “With you,” said the boy solemnly. “With you.”

  14. I swiped the last fruit from his bowl and showed it to him. When he reached out I clapped my hands together and showed them to him. Empty! I reached up and tickled his ear and two blueberries appeared in my hand. His eyes went wide and he clapped his hands over his ears. The two blueberries in my hand that had come from behind those same ears tempted him. We watched each other closely then suddenly the eyes narrowed and a hand flew out, grabbed the berries, and popped them into his mouth. And when he triumphantly opened his mouth the berries were gone.

  15. It occurred to him that attending a party of the Philosophy Department faculty and accepting a dare from one of the professors while drunk was probably not the wisest move. If only that had occurred to me BEFORE the party, he thought, as he stared in the mirror at the one-word question that had been tattooed across his forehead.

    On his arrival in class the teacher’s assistant took one look at him and asked “When did you get why-dyed?”

  16. “Wide-eyed wonderment” is a facial expression which turns out to be a bit of a universal thing; nearly every species with a face and the concept of facial expression seems to have an equivalent.

    Which was why the young Orzuni in front of me had her eyelids nearly peeled back to her eyebrow-analogs, as I introduced her to the huge white dog that would be responsible for watching over her and the other children of the joint expedition.

    “See, Septa… She’s friendly…”

    Which earned me a very sarcastic “Whufff” and a side-eye view from Aryi, our senior childwatch-dog. Aryi was quite non-verbal, canine throats not being suited for human speech, but she was probably more intelligent than many humans on her own terms, and could be quite expressive across the implant network with her thought-imagos. The one she was sending me was more-or-less “teach your grandmother how to suck eggs–I know how to make friendly with the kiddoes”.Which she did, using all her wiles. Aryi could do “cute” and “pet me” the way an inner-world supermodel could wrap the average male around her little finger. Septa proved to be as susceptible to it as any human child, and was shortly taking lessons on how to properly pet a Pyr, and where the best places were to scritch ears.

    I backed off, to let them get to know one another. Septa was a very shy child, even for Orzuni. I don’t think I’d been able to coax more than a word or two out of her the entire time I’d been around her–I think she knew that she was very low-status, and highly expendable.

    Today was merely orientation, and Septa was the first Orzuni juvenile to be risked at such close quarters to our dogs. I gathered that she was also something of a sacrificial lamb, her parents being low-status, and since that was the case, she was not seen as much of a potential loss-risk, if the dogs decided to eat her. The Orzuni were rather… Dubious, shall we say, of humanity and dogs, both. We tended to trip the instinctual alarms their evolutionary roots gave them, being an arboreal species from a niche somewhat akin to that of squirrels. It didn’t help that there had been a primate-analog predator, up in the trees of their natal forests, and pack-predator wolf-analog down on the ground level…

    I let that leak out over my implant, and got another sarcastic response from Aryi. As a child-guardian, she took great pride in her professional skills, and those of her pack. They’d never lost a kid, ever, going back several generations and multiple worlds, and she wasn’t about to start with one like Septa, who was apparently quite good at scritching things… And, cute; her bushy tail was something that tripped little triggers in Aryi’s canine instincts.

    The little Orzuni was already well on her way to achieving a bond with the huge furry dog that would be her guardian throughout the expedition.

    Which, considering the fact that the Orzuni had precisely zero experience with even the concept of domesticated animals…? Meant she was doing very well, indeed. As was Aryi–I had picked her to do the orientation with precisely because of her knack for these things. She was able to turn on “puppy” quite effectively, even at her full-grown 90 kilos.

    Yes, it’s nowhere near 50 words, but this is the best I could cut it down after remembering the little girl I had to introduce our great big dogs to, the other day… Wide-eyed, indeed–She’d never met a big dog, up close and personal. They loved her, though.

      1. They were good, so they got treats. No little kids were gobbled, only slobbered upon and loved nigh unto death. The girls love kids.

    1. I have a Kuvasz and a Pyrenees mix and therefore adore this piece on principle. 😀 (The Kuvasz protects on the grounds of “Mom will be upset if I fail”; the Pyr mix just loves everybody. Ever.)

      1. The first time Red 2.0 saw a Pyrenees, her eyes went really, really big and she sort of gasp-whispered “hairy pony!”

        1. That is *adorable*.

          When our Pyrenees mix, otherwise known as Large Large Dog (the Kuvasz is Small Large), sees a small child, he will lie flat and put his chin on the ground in an attempt to convince the child that he’s really not THAT big and is Perfectly Safe to Pet.

      2. Pyrs are amazing dogs. Sneaky-smart, and very much their own dogs, but capable of being astoundingly cuddly and lovable.

        Do not, however, make the mistake of ever coming across as a threat to anything they have bonded with, or taken responsibility for. Won’t end well, that.

        1. LGD brains in general never cease to amaze me. The Kuvasz is much the smarter of our two, but Large Large does show very occasional flashes of brain.

  17. Terra Nova: The Wars of Liberation
    “The price is always blood”

    Well, of course it is, when you’re in a mosquito-infested jungle, dressed like that. They’re gonna eat you alive.


  18. The guards fell about them as if they were an escort.
    A little girl being ushered into a door stopped where the lamplight fell on her face. Wide-eyed, she said, “Are they going to the governor’s castle?”
    “Come along, Nan,” said a woman, sharply. “We do not meddle with governors.”

  19. On reading, Florio twitched, just barely visible to one who knew him. One who knew him well enough to know that twitch was what in another soul would be a gape of astonishment, or even a stare of wide-eyed wonder.
    He looked up at her. “Read this, Rosine,” he said.

  20. In hindsight, Wyoming Denver made his fatal mistake two hours, twenty four minutes and 14 seconds before the inevitability of his own demise became apparent to him. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich he had eaten was now fouling the delicate rebreathing mechanisms of his extravehicular suit. Then Wy died.

  21. The brown-furred Farrthani began to weave and waver about the time the doors crashed open to admit the Shore Patrol; and he fell to measuring his seven-foot length on the floor about the time the leader of them drew even with us. “Those big ones don’t go down so easy,” he observed in the general direction of our table. But his “Anyone see exactly what happened to him?” was, far too clearly, aimed more or less right at me. (I have one of those faces that seem to tell port officials I can be relied on to tell them the straight story. And, more’s the pity, so often it’s true.)

    “There was quite the epic fistfight with that heavyset Celtic-looking fellow still up there, Sergeant, but mostly I’d have to judge it was the beam weapon.”

    “Beam weapon, Terrence? I saw no evidence of any beam weapon being used by either party,” said my companion, wide-eyed with excitement of some kind under her mop of blonde curls. (Batchelor Angela Daigle, quite soon to be Doctor Angela Daigle unless I was very wrong, seemed to be excited through some nonlinear combination of thirst for secondhand mayhem, puzzlement we could draw such apparently irreconcilable conclusions, and annoyance at our technical conversation being interrupted. But given the amazing wealth of deep information on drive-field dynamics she was willing to share for enough single-malt to unlock her hoard of words, I was still quite glad to be with her.)

    “Beam weapon, Sergeant and Batchelor Daigle,” I said. (They love ’em some titles over at that University, madly and dearly they do.) Illustrating and explaining my point by raising the half-full bottle I’d ordered half the evening earlier and plunking it back down again next the sergeant, where the words “Jim Beam” were displayed as prominently as they’d been since before the dawn of spaceflight. “Beam weapon, sure as Phobos rises in the west, I’d have to swear if I did. And doubtless a self-inflicted wound at that.” I re-emphasized my point by knocking back the half-shot remaining in my own glass, by way of demonstration. (Officialdom never seems to realize I’m an inveterate and incorrigible smart-aleck. Sometimes even in the face of quite overwhelming evidence.) And out of the corner of my eye I caught Angela, now wide-eyed with effort not to burst out laughing.

  22. So sorry again about that hair thing.

    Who knew that “inflammable” meant the same thing as “hypergolic”?

  23. We get odd people my diner in the morning.
    Take Frank for instance. Came in yesterday and I asked him how he was doing as I poured his coffee.
    “It’s a red squirrel morning, Joel!”
    “Huh? What do you mean?”
    “Means I’m wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to sass the world!

  24. The doors were heavy, but swung easily for the massive guards. Stepping aside for the “Emperor”, they hid their grins as the 14 year old ruler hesitantly entered his harem.
    Occupying an entire wing of the palace, previous emperors had spent copious amounts of money and time outfitting the concubine quarters.
    Upon his coronation, the tribes had each sent a women to join his harem. Some for political reasons, others purely as eye candy. The sheer variety of shapes, sizes and colors of female flesh was enough to leave him wide eyed in wonder.
    The closest stood, towering head and shoulders above the rest. Her taut, bronzed physique singled her out as a Dorshian; the largest of the subservient tribes.
    “How may I serve you, my Emperor,” the concubine asked, bowing to display a truly astounding amount of cleavage.
    Eyes shifting back and forth, he couldn’t find anywhere to settle his gazed that wasn’t filled with an alluring form of one type or another.
    “Um,” he began licking his lips. “I was hoping, maybe, one of you could, um…” His eyes settled to the floor as he took a fortifying breath. “Do any of you know how…to play Pi-Cho?”
    It was the Dorshian who went wide eyed this time; an equally wide smile following soon after.
    Her sultry voice softened as she replied, “Of course, my Emperor. The…games are in the next room.”
    The soft laughter that followed was filled with as much relief as mirth. The tension broke as they followed the shy youth, slipping on the robes they’d so hurriedly discarded when he entered.

  25. To be honest, I was more concerned with how to make the “wide I” pun than any larger context.

    I would think he was necessarily on the ground, however.

  26. “Whatever you do, don’t take the glasses off when you’re outside,” said the corporal.

    “Why do we need glasses?” replied the visiting authoress. “I saw your sun as soon as we warped out – it’s an ordinary type G.”

    “Didn’t they cover that at the pre-landing orientation?”

    “They might have – I’m afraid I go into la-la land during lectures.”

    “God.” He escorted her off the ship and they began walking toward the Commandery.

    Agatha Winterbottom looked about. The landscape, seen through the glasses, was drably grey, with only a few faint hints of color. What could an authoress make of that? Surely one little peek wouldn’t hurt…

    She slowed her pace. The corporal, not noticing, moved ahead. One little peek…She removed the glasses.

    And stopped, wide-eyed. Agatha had visited twenty-two planets but none had had a sky of such a perfect blue, or ground cover of such a perfect green. And everywhere were flowers, each of a color of depth and purity to make her heart ache.

    Her attention was caught by a flicker of movement. Ripples in the air distorted her view of the scarlet-flowered tree behind them. The ripples coalesced and began to spin. A dark-grey cloud formed in the center of the vortex. A low whistle came from the cloud and grew louder.

    The whistle grew to a shriek and something shot from the cloud toward her. A split second later something knocked Agatha to the ground. She heard the “plop-whizz” of a needle gun followed by a grunt and a heavy thud.

    “All right,” came the voice of the corporal. “Keep your eyes shut until I get your glasses…Here they are. Do not open your eyes until you’ve put them on.”

    Agatha put them on and the corporal helped her to her feet. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I should have kept an eye on you – but I did say not to take them off.”

    “What – what was it?” asked Agatha.

    “A quantum beast,” said the corporal. “Some call it a Schroedinger’s wildcat. They sort of float about, partly here and partly there, but one can manifest itself when it’s observed.”

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