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

*First an update on Hoytness: I’m ALMOST normal.  This is the dangerous part of getting better, because I’m impatient. I never dusted or vacuumed for instance, and the temptation is “I feel better. Let’s do it.” Similarly it’s a beautiful day (and last week wasn’t) and my mind is going “I want to go for a walk.” But if I do make too much physical (or even mental, to be honest) effort, I’m going to end up sick again. And I don’t want to do that.
Meanwhile Euclid is eating, but his mind is obviously not right.  We have him confined, because he was peeing/pooping wherever, but in the boarding cage where we keep him, he’s been okay, because the box is RIGHT THERE.  Now he is pooping in the box, but OBSESSIVELY peeing on one of his “shelves” on the comfy (and expensive) blanket. If I remove it, he just pees on the shelf. Thing is, it’s not smell, it’s position. I’ve changed the shelves, he still goes on that one. This isn’t right.  Also, yesterday we left the cage door open while we cleaned and did other stuff. He didn’t even try to get out. (We still close it because other cats would get in, eat his food and possibly beat him.) I honestly don’t know what to make of that. But he’s acting more lively and engaged with us. (Which still isn’t much) and for now we’re considering that “Palliative care.”  It will do. For now. – SAH)

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. ;)*

(Note, I’m trying out a new, less work-intensive way to post these books. If the stuff above is just blank squares, don’t worry, I’ll be fixing it after I get another coffee. Sometimes stuff shows like that, but it’s fine in the last posting. We’ll see. AND posting STRIPS it. I guess hosting a completely not native HTML thing is something that being hosted by wordpress forbids. Sigh. Okay, old school now:)

FROM SAM SCHALL: Fire from Ashes (Honor & Duty Book 4)

At war with an old enemy, betrayed by a supposed ally, Fuercon is a system on the brink of disaster. All that stands between it and defeat are its Space Navy and Marines – and the fact the betrayer does not yet know its secret plans have been discovered. But will that be enough to turn the tide of war?

Honor and duty.

FROM KARL K. GALLAGHER:  The War Revealed (The Lost War Book 2)


Newman and Goldenrod survived landing in a monster-infested wilderness. Their group of historical reenactors no longer fears starvation. But can they control the magic powers people are developing? Discover how they were transported there? And stay safe from the orcs and dragons?
“Karl Gallagher’s first production, the Torchship Trilogy, was good enough so that I read and reread it. He has now turned his hand from science fiction to fantasy.”
– Professor David D. Friedman, Professor, Santa Clara University, author of The Machinery of Freedom and Salamander
– Also known as Duke Cariadoc of the Bow, KSCA, OL, OP, founder of Pennsic War

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER:  All in Good Time (April Book 11)


Living by bad neighbors is hard. Especially when there is a whole mob of them. Needing to do business with them makes it harder. Imagine nine billion noisy disrespectful neighbors who can’t keep their word and would be just as happy to see you dead.
The orbital nation of Home moved the fence line a little by moving from Low Earth Orbit to beyond the Moon, but the Slumball, Earth, is still a just few light seconds away and thoroughly unpredictable.
April and her partners Heather and Jeff know they need an entirely new neighborhood far away. Their superluminal drive will let them do that. It’s better than anything the Earthies have. They have just started learning to use it and explore both its capabilities and the nearby stars. They don’t want to jump out too far too soon and disappear inexplicably like the Earthies’ first starship the Pedro Escobar did.
Starships aren’t cheap and they have two now and a sort of lifeboat. They’ll need more and a lot more trained crew. Right now, they need to gather resources including money. They’ll do business with the Earthies to do that, but there are real limits how much crap April will put up with for their support. Such as if they kidnap her banker friend. They haven’t found anywhere men could live or full of valuable resources yet but they haven’t lost hope of doing so and expect to make it all work in good time.

And, oh, yeah, I did a thing. I’m memeing Deep Pink to promo it. Yeah this one isn’t deeply artistic. I was feeling like crud and this is the best I could do. Still (I hope) funny. FB is still throttling the link, so if you guys want to disseminate the meme, MUCH appreciated. And not just on FB, of course.

hell looked like clevelandwithcode

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: POINT

59 thoughts on “Rare Monday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

  1. Yeah, yeah, an easy way out.
    But it’s Too Obvious.
    If *I* didn’t do it, someone would do it for/to me.
    Thus this (travesty):

    “You have might just have a point.”

    “A point? I am certain that I have two.”

    “Alright TWO points.”

    “I should hope so.”

    “Anything else you wish to say?”

    “Just one more thing.”

    “And that would be?”


    “Minotaurs. Why couldn’t I have drawn unicorns, or maybe gryphons, even hippogryphs.”

    1. So you’re impaling yourself on your own horns just to stop us from doing it first?

      You do you, I guess…

  2. “Pointless? Really? They named the place pointless and we’re going to this place?”

    “Not ‘pointless’ but ‘Lester’s Point’ – which some fools call ‘Point Les’. To confuse.”

    “Why there?”

    “Indices all indicate-”

    “We follow pointers to Point Les. WHY?!”

    “A 250 gram monoisotopic diamond.”

    “Wow. That’s a LOT of points.”

  3. Grumble Grumble

    I just wanted to have somebody to say “he got the point” after a swordsman stuck a sword point into some nasty person.

    But the Ox ruined it! 😆

    1. Say it anyway. His comment didn’t stop me. Or make the grumble post exactly 50 characters long. 😛

  4. I’ve never actually been there, so I just have to ask: does Cleveland really deserve its rotten reputation? Is comparing Cleveland to Hell an insult to the Clevelanders, or is it the other way around?

    1. I’ve heard that it has improved in the last 30 years or so, but one of my college friends always referred to it as, “The Mistake by the Lake” every time he had to go there.

    2. Actually the quote is out of context, to attract attention. It refers to the fact that when the characters cross over to hell, it’s the same street, just on fire.

    3. I grew up in Cleveland. Father taught at Case Western until I graduated High School. The family joke was that it was a great place to live, but you wouldn’t want to visit. That was because you almost needed needed to be a native to know the city’s best features. The Cleveland Symphony was one of the best in the country then. There was a lot of good art if you knew where to look. For example Viktor Schreckengost had done bas-relief sculptures for the Cleveland Zoo. The Cleveland Arcade had not yet become the showplace that I gather it is now – it was mostly full of low-end specialty retail, such as office supplies – but the building itself was gorgeous.

      I gather that a lot of glorious architectural spaces, like the base of the Terminal Tower building, have gone upscale as to retail shopping. In my teens, the Terminal Tower had some shops, but most of it was empty.

      We did a fair amount of exploring in ‘the flats’ – the low areas by the river. Back then, there were a lot of junk yards full of things like stacks of claw-footed cast iron bathtubs and disassembled golden oak church pews (Father made some lovely bookshelves out of those.). I don’t know if land values drove those away.

      I think the reputation is based on the economic doldrums that gripped the city in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. I hear some rumblings that the city has been suffering from Democrat Run into-the-ground syndrome in recent decades, but the pictures I see look like there was a renaissance first.

      1. When I was growing up in East Cleveland & Cleveland Heights (close in suburbs – most of Cleveland’s suburbs incorporated before the city could absorb them so Cleveland proper is mostly inner city) in the 60’s & 70’s the Flats was not a place you went alone or at night. Neither was Hough (a Cleveland neighborhood that had race riots in the 60’s).
        However there were always wonderful things in Cleveland. Great museums, excellent zoo, world class symphony orchestra, good local music scene, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, NASA’s Lewis Research Center (Now the Glenn Research Center), the Emerald Necklace of parks surrounding the city, I could go on…
        It’s really a great place to visit if you do a little homework.

    4. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cleveland is the location of one of the other Hellmouths (the main active one being Sunnydale), per the episodes The Wish (s3) and Chosen (S7-series finale)

      1. Cleveland was the butt of jokes even before they elected Dennis Kucinich mayor or the Cuyahoga river caught fire. I’ve no idea why — it isn’t as if Ohio’s other major cities have earned any kind of bragging rights or any other Rust Belt metropolis is superior.

  5. You may want to add an actual link below the Deep Pink mention here, since the image doesn’t have an active link attached to it.

  6. “Yes, I’m aware of the falling barometric pressure. But that doesn’t worry me nearly as much as these dew points.” The chief meteorologist extended a claw at the symbols on the display. “Unless all the stations to the west of us are giving us erroneous data, we’re going to be looking at severe storms all along this frontal boundary..”

    “That’s nearly three thousand kilometers.” The colonial governor’s ears laid flat in reflexive fear response and her tail fluffed up like a bottle brush. “We’re already stretched thin since the Empress herself ordered us to accept three hundred thousand of those humans.”

    The chief meteorologist gave her a soothing purr. “Settling a megacontinent is not easy. Take a look at the records from Yaowraun. They lost whole towns those first few decades, and that was entirely with Chongu volunteers, mostly with a reasonable technical education, not a mish-mash of Kitsian refugees and Terran religious fanatics.”

  7. Harry looked at the sword tip embedded in his thigh. Then he looked over at his wife, Sue. “Yes, yes, no need to say it. I got the point. Now would you please hand me…”

    As usual, his wife had the scalpel in his hand before he finished his sentence.

  8. Can confirm that the two Gallager books in this duology about an SCA camp sent to a world where someone worked out the actual biology for Tolkien’s orcs are page-turners. Recommended.

  9. “Dang, Cheryl! I can definitely tell that the water is cold in the swimming pool!”
    “You can, Chad? Oh. Umm… Shut up and had me a towel.”

  10. Digressions snuck in at the bottom. Apologies for the flying tangent.

    Since some of you were interested in the Virginia politics, what with the gun grabs- there are quite a few going on- and the sancutary counties (85 of 95), cities (9), and townships (17), there’s been some news a bit under the radar you might be interested in. Judicial watch has been doing yeoman’s work in getting counties to clean up their voter rolls- eleven counties in California, four in Pennsylvania, one in Colorado, and one in Virginia. Notably, they are only doing this right now for the most egregious violators, those being more voters on the rolls than citizens of actual voting age in the county.

    In Virnginia, there are 867,742 people of voting age (and note 17 year olds can vote in the primaries if they turn 18 by the election date, so the number can wobble a bit). There are 911,129 on the voter rolls, though. Of the 911,129 registered, less than a third voted- 308,250, with 219,191 going to the Democrat incumbant (Gerald Edward Connoly) vs. 83,023 going to his Republican challenger. That extra 43,387- lets be honest folks, they weren’t writing in Humpty Dumpty with Chicken Little as his running mate.

    And to be even more honest, does anyone really think that it is *just* 43 thousand extra? That it isn’t going on in, say, the Hampton Roads metro? Richmond? And more?

    Our host has mentioned a time or two about the (massive) corruption during the last election or three. You don’t get over 100% voter registration without de facto voter fraud. You probably don’t get much over 80% without it being *highly* likely- it’s been mostly just below 80% for a good while. The ones with more registrations than actual people of voting age are just the stupid ones that got caught. Jefferson County in Colorado was only 102.5% over. San Diego, even after removing around half a million names from their voter rolls is still 117% of actual voting age people. And that is just *one* of Cali’s eleven that couldn’t keep their fraud below the radar.

    Y’all know what would have happened to this kind of report if Trump *hadn’t* somehow beat the fraudsters. Five years ago, this would never have seen the light of day. We might have very strong suspicions. We didn’t know for sure. Now we see hard evidence. Just a piece of it, as I believe there is much more to uncover. The citizenry is ill used by public servants with so little regard for those that put them there.

    Do not give in to despair, folks. We’ve a long road ahead of us. Little by little, bit by bit, we can put this great ship to rights. The fact that Judicial watch is serving the counties with notice of legal action if they don’t get their crap straight sharpish is a good thing. Even for a lifelong pessimist, there’s reason for some… guarded hope, let’s say. *grin*

    Link source

      1. Simple. Tell them if the federal election does not meet federal standards, it is invalid. FULL STOP. Fix it and do it again if you want your district represented.

        1. Yeah, that will enter a minefield that might prove interesting. If they hold the election anyway and elect someone, it then becomes the US House’s perogative to determine if that member should be seated. Do you really think Nancy Pelosi is going to turn down a sufficiently woke Democrat?

          Article 1, Section 5: “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members,”

          Could Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have used this power in 2016 or 2018 to deal with obvious fraud such as the 2016 Senate election in NH, or all the districts in CA which had obvious fraud in 2018. Yes they could and IMHO yes they should have. But they didn’t.

          1. Agreed, they absolutely should have. Just one more inevtible betrayal, and another reason not to believe shiny campaign promises. With federal judges being brought around, there’s at least a chance that some things can be set aright if the cases get brought to them. Something I wouldn’t have suggested in previous years.

            1. You could imply, very strongly, that knowingly accepting fraudulent results as valid makes you accomplices to the fraud. Fraud is a crime, by the way.

              1. Again, the Constitution allows them that authority. Your only legal choice at that point is amending it (using the same process that’s just been demonstrated fraudulent).

                  1. The Constitution does guarantee that right…. to citizens. Were all the votes verified as coming from citizens? You know they haven’t been. Is the Congress required to seat those it has adequate reason to believe were chosen fraudulently?

                    1. Then both Ryan and McConnell should have refused to seat the “winners”. Instead, they allowed them to profit from the crime.

                    2. Yes, they should. But don’t forget all this crap wasn’t public yet.
                      What you keep forgetting is that, yes, public opinion needs to be weighed, because otherwise you court real revolt.
                      Now the crap is coming out. Even CBS in CO is getting in on the “this isn’t right act.”
                      Which means the outcome will be very different.

                    3. Shoulda, woulda, coulda — with the Left holding air superiority I’ve little doubt that any victories on that front would have been Pyrrhic. Good grief, look at the mileage the Dems are getting out of Stacey Abrams’ delusions complaints.

                      Part of Trump’s majesty is he knows those bastards’ playbook and has proven able to overcome their battleground prep, flanking their media Maginot Line and rolling them up.

                    4. You know, RES, I’ve been hearing GOPe types saying for almost 20 years that “this is not the hill to die on”….. and it’s never sounded like anything but “peace in our time”.

                    5. There’ nothing I can do about your hearing impairment. It’s awfully easy to pick a hill for others to die on.

                      You are grossly ignoring all of the gains made since the Reagan and Gingrich victories and seem to overly appreciate the setbacks. You look at the battle of Midway and bemoan the Yorktown‘s loss while ignoring the four Japanese carriers sunk.

                    6. That’s because you’re concentrating with laser-point certainty on what you WANT to happen.
                      But the world doesn’t work that way, Steve. It doesn’t.
                      Bless Trump, because I don’t think ANYONE ELSE could take what they’re throwing at him without folding. And if whoever is in his spot folded it would be worse.
                      BUT more importantly, Steve, you’re standing there going “WHY didn’t the republicans DO anything?”
                      Uh uh. Until ten years ago WOULD YOU KNOW IF THEY HAD? WOULD YOU KNOW IF ANYONE HAD TRIED ANYTHING?
                      The truth is you wouldn’t. The media would have reported something else.
                      OR — do you remember Wacco? Steve? Do you remember the Oklahoma bombing?
                      Both of those were used to stomp on “the right wing.” Even though the first was unimaginable abuse of government power, and the second was probably an agent-provocateur working for the FBI.
                      WHAT GOOD WOULD IT HAVE DONE TO DO ANYTHING? At best, it would be used like those above. At worst, it would give them their dream scenario to destroy the right.
                      Look, the tech is finally here. Trump is a miracle and I say that in some awe. We’re FINALLY fighting back, in the measure of the possible.
                      And you want to what? You want the world to work like the picture inside your head?
                      It doesn’t. It JUST doesn’t.

                  2. This rather sheds some light on the desperation to protect their SCOTUS base, doesn’t it? Trump getting to appoint Ginsburg’s (or Kagan’s, Sotomayor’s or Breyer’s) replacement is anathema to them. It means they will pull out all stops to prevent Trump’s reelection (not that they weren’t going to do that anyway) and his nominated replacement to that august bench will undergo a confirmation process making Kavanaugh’s seem tame.

                    If the Dems regain the Senate they’ll leave the seat empty rather than accept a Trump nominee, even if he offers up Lawrence Tribe or Merrick Garland.

                    1. Further, it is essential the GOP provide names of lawyers to any voters with standing who challenge local procedures.

                      Wisconsin Judge Finds Democratic Election Commissioners in Contempt for Not Removing Ineligible Voters From the Rolls
                      Ozaukee County, Wisc., Judge Paul Malloy has found the state’s election commission in contempt of court for failing to comply with his December court order to remove 200,000 ineligible voters from the rolls.

                      In addition, Judge Malloy found the three Democratic Party members of the commission in contempt, fining them $250 a day until they comply.

                      The dispute is over a state law that required the election commission to purge names from the voter rolls if they hadn’t voted in three consecutive elections. That law was later amended to make it four consecutive elections. Voters were still given the option of remaining on the rolls if they returned a postcard to confirm their addresses. Purged voters can also register on the same day that an election is held.

                      But this proved to be too much for the Democrats, who are arguing in court that keeping the rolls clean of dead voters and voters who may have moved out of state might inhibit someone from voting. …

  11. Rare Monday? Last I checked there was a Monday every seventh day.

    Maybe you’re not so much better as you think.

  12. “The church is at South Point,” said Brandon, wearily, looking over the city streets and buildings.
    “Is that actually to the south?” said Minette.
    “Yes, though it’s not actually very pointed. The church is actually at on the riverbank.”
    “Must be there. The only place we can’t see from here.”

  13. “Nico,” said Phoebe. “You’re behind. You have to do the fire.”
    Nico scowled and went over to the firewood. He arrayed it to be lit, but he added no tinder, and no kindling. Corridon opened his mouth to correct him, and Nico cast the spell.
    All the logs leapt into flame.
    “That,” said Corridon, “was a bit excessive.”
    Nico nodded. “That was the point.”
    Said Margery, “He had to do a big flame spell. To keep the balance. He’s been doing too much of the healing and the earth and the water.”
    “I suppose he needs wind next?” said Corridon dryly.
    “Oh yes,” said all three in unison.

  14. Half a dozen statues stood about, pointing this way and that. Florio looked at the carved hands.
    “I think this is supposed to be some kind of riddle.”
    “Puzzle,” said Carolus, mildly. “They like you to call them puzzles. They say it filters out the mere brutes, by requiring wits.”

  15. Mom and Dad left for the gym before I got out of bed, so I had the house to myself for a few hours.

    After a quick shower, shave, and breakfast, I went into Eric’s room and did the final preparation for the briefing. After Eric and Steven had gotten hit by the tractor-trailer, somebody had to go through their rooms and clean things out as quickly as possible. Dad was trying to keep Mom from jumping off the edge of a pill bottle, and that left me to go through their rooms, wearing gloves and tossing stuff.

    Steven’s wasn’t too bad, I was able to get out all of his clothing and trash in about four bags without issues. I didn’t need to know his wank habits or read some of his cringe-worthy poetry. But, he had talked about one of his girlfriends, and everything there was serious enough that he had actually started to price engagement rings before the girlfriend moved back home to Chicago, to marry her high school sweetheart. Or that he had seriously thought about joining the Marines.

    Eric…well, he was family, and I loved him, but he was a bit of a shit human being in quite a few ways. Nearly got himself thrown in jail a few times, ran with a crowd of assholes, might have been dealing drugs at one point, and told me once when he was really drunk that he probably killed three people before he graduated high school. But, he managed change things in his life enough to get an MBA, get a “real job,” and lord over the fact when my Parents weren’t in earshot, he was able to live at home, rent-free, and spent all his money on his hobbies.

    Which-as far as I could tell-was the gym, race cars and barely legal girls. Whom he dumped immediately when they were 22 or had a positive pregnancy test. Couldn’t be his, he had a vasectomy when he was 19.

    Like I said, a bit of a shit human being.

    Ten bags of trash and clothing, about three gallon sized bags of things that I flushed down the toilet without even touching the inside contents, and I washed the bags out with soap and water before I tossed them away as well. All of their papers and documents and such I organized and put in their dresser drawers, and everything else I cleaned up and cleaned out. In less than two weeks, I had washed all the sheets for their beds, remade their beds, and moved everything out of Steven’s room into the smallest bedroom of the house so I could use his room (he had the largest of the non-master bedrooms) when I moved back in.

    And, yes, I was crying every hour on the hour as I did this. The tears were not due to the lack of housekeeping that Eric did.

    (At the end, I had to shampoo both sets of carpets. Eric’s carpet? Ran a rug shampooer across that thing five times before it came out clear. And one more time to be safe.)

  16. Ray added three more yellow dots to the spaceship hull.

    “There. How does that look?”

    Ray waited patiently.

    “Nope.” Said Tim. “Shade’s off. Need some more red.”

    “Okay, thanks” said Ray. He shook his head, wondering just who at NASA decided that spacecraft should be camouflaged using the pointillism method.

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