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 (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM T.L. KNIGHTON:  The Last Champion (The Champion’s Cycle Book 1)



When the kingdom of Altria falls before an expansionist lord, the champion Korr is tasked with spiriting off the next in line to the throne as well as a princess who could be used to legitimize the duke’s claim to the throne. Joined by his childhood friend, one of the legendary Rangers of Altria, Korr seeks shelter with the man who trained him to fight many long years ago.

FROM JULIE A. PASCAL:  The Storyteller.


The Grandfather tells Kiralee stories. He talks in riddles about bondage and freedom. He whispers to her that her whole world is a lie. Should Kiralee trust him, or does he have an agenda of his own?

FROM BLAKE SMITH:  Fairyland: A Short Story.


Eleven-year-old Branna fell asleep on a hill in the foggy Irish countryside and woke up in a land that was supposed to be a myth. Fairyland is a beautiful place of green oaks and golden light, but it is also a dangerous land, and Branna must use all of her cleverness if she is to escape the clutches of the fey creatures who rule over it.



Like all Private Detectives, Seamus Lebanon [Leb] Magis has often been told to go to Hell. He just never thought he’d actually have to go.
But when an old client asks him to investigate why Death Metal bands are dressing in pink – with butterfly mustache clips – and singing about puppies and kittens in a bad imitation of K-pop bands, Leb knows there’s something foul in the realm of music.
When the something grows to include the woman he fell in love with in kindergarten and a missing six-year-old girl, Leb climbs into his battered Suburban and like a knight of old goes forth to do battles with the legions of Hell.
This is when things become insane…. Or perhaps in the interest of truth we should say more insane.


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: GOLD

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

  1. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

    Why is this night different from all the other nights? That on all other nights we eat many vegetables, on this night, maror?

    What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    Will there be anything further father?

    Why don’t you come up and see me some time?

    Who put the bomp in the bomp buh bomp buh bomp?
    Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?
    Who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop?
    Who put the dip in the dip dee dip dee dip?

    What is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything?

    Does anybody really know what time it is?

    What’s for lunch?

        1. It’s a song by the band Chicago from 1969, and that’s the next line.

          What kind of music did you have, there in the labyrinth? 😀

          1. What kind of music did you have, there in the labyrinth?

            Ragtime, Sweet & Hot Jazz, Big Band Swing, Rock’n’Roll, parodies… I’m sure I’ve heard that tune mentioned, but it was like a sort of musical background radiation – it was just there. I’d heard Weird Al’s Like A Surgeon years before I knowingly heard Like A Virgin, as an example.

          2. I’ll be pedantic; it was Chicago Transit Authority for that album. Name changed after the CTA got pissy.

    1. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

      The first derivative of the function of its airspeed distance.

  2. One day as I helped my mother cook lunch we heard a great commotion outside. We peeked out a window and saw a group of ronin and other armed men, about thirty in all, riding into our village from the south. They stopped near our house, and one of them started making demands. We were to give them most of our food, half our cattle, six wagons, twenty strong men and ten women, and be quick about it! They had already killed the Daimyo’s tax collector, and some of his samurai, so killing a few of us would mean nothing at all.

    He had hardly stopped shouting when I heard another voice and saw Garluth standing some distance behind them. He spoke strange words in a voice like thunder, there was a burst of brilliant yellow light, and when it faded he wore strange, shining golden armor. He spoke more odd words, and pulled out his sword, with edges made of yellow light. He told them that our village was under his protection, and to go back where they came from.

    They shouted back at him, half-angry, half-mocking, and told him he would either join them or die. He refused, and said they’d be the ones dying. They formed into a more organized group, lowered their spears, and rode at him, yelling loudly. He frowned, not angrily, but with a kind of resignation, waited until they passed the last house, pointed his left hand at them, spoke more thunderous words, and a brightly colored magic spell formed around his arm.

    There was a blinding light, and a great boom of thunder. When I could see again all of the riders and their horses lay on the ground around a smoking hole eight shaku wide, some of them plainly dead. One by one the survivors stirred, and staggered to their feet, and he pointed that glowing sword at them and commanded them to leave this place while some of them still lived, and never return.

    They loaded the wounded and what they could salvage onto their remaining horses and shambled away as fast as they could, leaving the dead. We would all be filling in that hole and digging graves for two days, and eating horse for weeks.

    I expressed my awe at his great power, and he remarked casually that his people did not ordinarily use ‘plasma weapons’ against a mob of primitives, but he’d wanted to terrify them without having to kill them all.
    Daimyo — regional lord, equivalent to a duke
    Shaku — a distance slightly less than one foot

  3. “He said he’d found gold? Was bringing it back.”

    “He did.”

    “This.. ain’t gold. And what happ– oh my word!”

    Clarence saw the body. Radiation sickness was a nasty, nasty way to go.

    “Uh oh. Lemme check something. BECQUEREL! Platinum 195. He HAD gold. Gold 195, not the stable 197.”

  4. “Good Lord Almighty!” George gasped as he hauled the old suitcase out of the hidey-hole. “What is in this thing!?”

    “And what the hell makes an old Samsonite worth killing for in the first place?” Nicole wondered.

    “I get the feeling that we’ll find out if we open it,” Frank said.

    The clasps were locked, but the metal was old, rusted, and brittle, so it took next to no effort with a crowbar to pop the case open. Nicole gasped. Two dozen gold bars glittered at them in the dim light. Frank let out a long, low whistle as the sheriff slapped his forehead in disbelief. “Well, there’s our motive.”

    “Yeah,” Frank sighed.

    “Ever get tired of being right, Frank?” George asked.

    “All the damn time, Sheriff. All the damn time.”

    1. I prefer it this way:

      Dayna: “Don’t you ever get tired of being right?”
      Avon: “No, I get tired of other people being wrong.”

  5. The next morning, I wake up and I notice that Sayuri is gone but the spot where she was sleeping next to me is still warm. The side of the house that I sleep in is on the western side, so I’m not getting any sunlight directly through the windows. But it is bright enough to see the man sitting in my computer chair, wearing a very nice suit of bespoke tailoring and writing in a notebook.

    Let me emphasize this-he looked like he walked off a Waffen SS recruiting poster. Tall and slender and androgynously male, muscular in the way that suggests a greyhound’s lean build, blonde hair so light as to be golden and close cropped to his head, chiseled jaw and a flat angular face, cool blue eyes that are full of intelligence and oddly red lips. I can see his hands-and they have some of the longest fingers I’ve ever seen on a human being-playing with his pen, and he has to be drawing something in his notebook. Since I’m the only thing that might be interesting in this room that he could be sketching, I very quietly poise a bit more under the covers when his attention is fully on his notebook. Then, I start to chuckle, softly at first and slowly increasing in my volume until he looks up at me in shock.

    “Why, Sturmbannführer,” I say in German, in a very proper Prussian accent, giggling cheerfully under my words, “you’re in a bedroom with a woman that is most certainly not your wife, definitely not in uniform, and absolutely certain that she may not be acceptable to your mother. Whatever would your Standartenführer say when he finds out?”

    His expression suddenly changes from shock to cheer, then he smiles a white, brilliant smile. “Oh, I suspect that my Oberst would only complain if I left you at the altar, miss,” he replies with an upper-class Bavarian accent, in a voice that naturally wants to laugh and be seductive. “That, and while Miss Suisha might have a Nazi fetish, she does keep it firmly under control and knows that while the Waffen SS wore their uniforms well, they have too much evil blood in their history.”

    He then caps the pen and sticks both the pen and notebook in a pocket in his suit jacket and stands up to full attention. He doesn’t click his heels as he comes to his feet, but it’s a near-run thing. “Good morning, Miss Taylor, I am Kurt Vogel,” he replies formally, chin up and thumping his right fist on his chest. “I am the Geschäftsführer of Miss Suisha’s Servants, our Kommandant is currently in Nikko, trying to arrange a meeting with Miss Suisha’s grandfather.”

    I roll carefully onto my side, wince in reduced pain from last night, and lean up on my left hand, curious. “Oh?” I ask, switching back to English.

    “Miss Suisha’s father will not approve of us, and while Miss Tanaka wouldn’t mind the help, we would have to find places to hide the bodies,” Kurt shrugs. “And, holding a threat to Itsuke Suisha would put both Miss Suisha and you in danger.”

  6. The Engineering meeting room was already full when Spruance del Curtin arrived. Not surprising, considering that pressurized volume was at a premium up here, so every chamber was made no bigger than it had to be. Nothing to do now but take a seat and do his best to catch himself up on the ongoing discussion.

    Autumn Belfontaine was talking about possibilities for different programs to run across the day. Although Sprue couldn’t get a good look at her tablet from his angle, she had quite a list on it — not surprising, since she’d worked in radio before the Expulsions exiled her to Shepardsport.

    She paused, looked over at Ken Redmond. “You have some reservations about my plans?”

    The head of Engineering gave her an odd look. “You’re going to want to watch the tendency to let the oldies segments become Nothing But Hits. There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s good listening but never charted on the Top 40, let alone made gold. I can remember when I was in my teens and there’d be a song I’d hear a few times, just enough to like it, and then it’d vanish.”

  7. Occupying Katahito’s thoughts at the moment was the necessity of dressing up a farce as a noble victory, and the carousing idiots as great warriors felled by overwhelming odds. ‘Doomed to die, they drew their last breaths with their heads high, on the attack.’ Which was in fact true, just that the attack had been utterly moronic and ended in the deaths of all concerned. The notion scalded his belly sufficiently that he spat in disgust.

    Sitting next to him on the cart was the magnificent woman he had taken to wife, who still insisted on calling herself Fujiwara Sakiko. She was smiling as he fumed. “You are trying to construct a fable that will save the face of the great Lord and save your life. But the notion of making up a pleasant lie for him is making your liver burn with rage.”

    “How do you always know?” he demanded. He turned to her in outrage, scowling fiercely.

    “My magics are many, and puissant,” chuckled Sakiko.

    “And you are grinding your teeth,” added the monster made of knives from its place between the traces. It was pulling the cart instead of an ox.

    “And spitting,” added the old woman. She was “leading” the monster with a rope and a switch, as if it was an ox. “Not to mention, the look on your face could sour milk.”

    “Pah!” Katahito spit again, this time in disgust at himself.

    “It is always the same,” continued the monster philosophically. “Young men are very concerned with what is right and preserving their honor. Old men know that honor is mostly trickery and lies. They hoard honor like misers with gold, caring nothing if a thing is right or wrong. That is why so many young men fail to become old men. I have seen this many times.”

    “If you want my advice,” concluded the beautiful young Sakiko, “you should swallow your pride and make up the prettiest lie there has ever been. That would be the easy way. But I know that would injure you in ways that will never heal, so we will not be doing that.”

    “To preserve my family, I should do whatever is needful,” said the young samurai, “but the prospect of such a lie does not sit well with me.”

    “Pride has sharp corners,” said the monster sagely as the old woman grinned her snaggle teeth and cackled. “When you swallow, it hurts going down. That’s why we are doing this the hard way.”

  8. Yawning, Sue accepted the package and signed with her finger, squinting to distinguish the faded electronic line on the battered screen. “Hey, you got an early start today.”

    The courier left without replying.

    Sue opened the package. She trembled as she retrieved the ring inside, whispering “GET OUT LOCATION DISCOVERED.”

  9. Yawning, Sue accepted the package and signed with her finger, squinting to distinguish the faded electronic line on the battered screen. “Hey, you got an early start today.”

    The courier left without replying.

    Sue opened the package. She trembled as she retrieved the gold ring, whispering “GET OUT LOCATION DISCOVERED.”

  10. Feel free to remove the double post. No idea why WordPress does not like my first email address, although it has shown up on have I been pwned.

    1. WordPress does that; it’ll cogitate on a post for a while, then the hamsters finally get it to post. (On rare occasions, it’ll lose the post entirely, but delays are common. Give it a few minutes.)

      OTOH, if you’re put in moderation, that’s another issue. It *might* be a wrong email address or handle, or it might just be WordPress being WordPress.

      WordPress Delenda Est

  11. “Enough gold to ransom a kingdom,” said Elise. “And the dragon just goes and sits on it.”
    “It’s not as if ransoming would lead to peace, harmony, and happiness,” said Alba. “Likely more wars, murders, backstabbings, thefts. At least dragons do their killing up front and get it over with.”

    1. Jarod spoke up. “Look, the gold’s in our kingdom, right? On our territory, at least. It’s safe — nobody is ever going to steal it, and the dragon is not going to spend it.”

      He looked around and, though confused, they agreed with him.

      “Then why don’t we just leave it here? That way, we won’t have to store it in the palace, or guard it, or count it over and over to make sure nobody’s embezzling. Make an estimate, and call it the Royal Gold Reserve!”

  12. He walked through the fair, speaking and occasionally buying. His hair glittered in the sun. She supposed she should wonder whether his hair was actually gold.
    It did not move as if that heavy, she told herself. That is, if fairy tale gold was not lighter when it was hair.

  13. “Bring all the gold,” said Carrigiana, sternly. “Every single coin. Gold is as much a tool as steel.”
    “There are times,” said Edwin, “when you sacrifice gold to food and other supplies. But this is not one. And it’s rare, because gold is a tool to getting food with ease.”

  14. Golden light shone from Carolus, and shifted, slowly, to pure, radiant white.
    Madame Nyx laughed. “You and your o so holy justice. Do you think because we had this building built before you learned these tricks, that we were not ready for you?”
    Rosine, in the distraction, inched behind her.

  15. The steel gray bar was heavy. Maybe heavier than it should have been. I carried it to the kitchen and made a cup of tea. The bar stayed hidden under a napkin as the volunteers came through. When they were gone I drained the tea and turned my lovely china cup over. I dragged the bar across the rough underside and watched as the streak turned from gray to yellow. Only real gold streaks like that on porcelain. The bar went back to my lap as the office manager came calling for me.

  16. “Gold is tricky,” said Nico, earnestly. “It’s precious, it’s pretty, and it’s imperishable. But, the greedy like it too.”
    “We need,” said Imogene, “to know more. We can only guess now. It’s not enough.”
    “Charging in would put them off guard,” said Margery. “Give us time to see things first.”

  17. “Gold!” Sprocket whined, small wisps of smoke rising from his nostrils. “I need gold!”

    I sighed. Get a dragon, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Just a scaly cat, they said. Yeah, well, having a pocket sized dragon might be useful for mouse control, and he was certainly cute, but where was a newly-graduated 20-something living with her sister going to get a bed of gold coins for her dragon’s horde? And Sprocket had been whining about this for weeks.

    Granted, I shouldn’t have gotten an animal I couldn’t take care of properly, but who’d have thought that the little devil would be so insistent! Food, water, attention, training — these I could provide. But gold? Not with prices at $1500/oz; I don’t have a bed that expensive! But I’d had an idea, and once my sister got back from the store …

    “It’s okay, Sprocket,” I said, extending a finger to rub him under his chin. “Sissy’s getting you a bed of gold coins right now.”

    “Hmph,” he snorted, but accepted my attention and started wrestling with my fingers. He really was adorable, which was the only reason the needy, irritating jerks survived to adulthood.

    The downstairs door opened. “I’m home!” my sister called up the stairs. “And I’ve got the gold for the cutest little Sprocket there ever was.” She pulled the coins out of the grocery bag, encased in a plastic mess bag.

    “Gold!” Sprocket jumped down to the floor, yelling the word while jumping back and forth to grab the bag. “Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!”

    She handed over the mesh bag to me. I cut an opening and poured the coins on the table. Sprocket jumped up to my lap and then up to the table, then climbed on the small pile. “Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!” He stopped, then sniffed suspiciously. “Doesn’t smell like gold …”

    Damn it. How does the little bugger even know what gold smells like?

    He grabbed a coin, then investigated the edge. He quickly spotted the seam and pulled back the foil.

    “Momma, this isn’t gold! It’s chocolate!”

    Based on:

  18. “I’m telling you the real color is (255, 215, 0), not (212, 175, 55)!”

    “They’re both gold.”

    “No, the color gold is not gold shade.”

    “So, what’s the big diff?”

    “What’s the difference? The difference would be like calling your favorite author, ‘I sack, as a shade of purple gray.’”

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