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

A Request from SAH:

Due to the fact that I spent most of this year being ill, as well as dealing with assorted and rather insane emergencies, and that I MUST finish three overdue NOVELS (yes, one of them Dyce.) And that it is likely I will resume my work at PJM next week… May I request that you send me guest posts, so I can run two a week, and somewhat relieve the weight of this blog?) – With gratitude, 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. ;)*

FROM MONALISA FOSTER:  Pretending to Sleep: A Communism Survivor’s Short Story.


Based on actual events, this short story provides a quick glimpse into life under Ceaucescu’s brutal communist regime. Like so many Romanians, ten-year-old Renata lives in fear of Securitate (Ceaucescu’s secret police). They don’t always take you in the middle of the night. In a world where the living envy the dead, not all examples are made in the shadows. Some are made in the light of day.

FROM MEL DUNAY:  Seeking a Quantum Tree (Ancestors of Jaiya Book 4).


Journey to the country of Jaiya, in a world not quite like ours. Here the humans wield magical powers and fight against an Empire which seeks to enslave them, but they share their world with insect people and trollfolk, and stranger things lurk in the shadows…

Sena is a Jaiyan secret agent, sent to warn a neighboring country about an upcoming attack on them by an insane general. When the invasion happens sooner than she expected, she must work with the handsome Taavid, a wealthy businessman and Jaiyan exile, to help save the other Jaiyans trapped in the occupied zone. But General Drozniya controls the occupied zone, and he is obsessed with the Quantum Tree, a legendary source of mystical power which could destroy the world!

Note: Quantum Tree is meant as a standalone with a “happily ever after” ending. However, the hero in this book is the son of the hero and heroine of Book 3, and he and the heroine are parents of some of the characters in the original Jaiya series. The romance is on the sweet side, but there are some disturbing supernatural events, along with some violence, not very explicit, and some references to the horrors of war, more implied than shown.

FROM NATHAN BISSONETTE:  A Wizard in the Monastery


A weary wizard. A cloistered cleric. An enchanted manuscript. Will they save the world, or destroy it?

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Witch-Prince Ways


Widowed, caught between two feuds, Katie was desperate enough that the Witch Prince witched her wits away, so that she let him steal her baby.

Then there was no reason for him to not let the bewitchment fail, then. What, after all, could she do against him? Even the witching woman would tell her that defying the Witch Prince was beyond her power.

And tell her again, when she will not listen.



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:LICK*

[*The management apologizes for handing such a prompt to the reprobates, dirty minds and general hang gallows who frequent this blog. We tried to warn the team in charge of vignettes of the foolhardy of their challenge, but alas, they’re innocent and doomed and don’t have a lick of the natural suspicion that should attend to hanging out in this den of energumens. Therefore the management is not responsible for– Oh, heck, the management just ain’t responsible. Carry on. -SAH]

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

  1. “Daggum idjits.”


    “Not a lick o’ sense ‘tween ’em.”

    “Toldja that there TV’d be a bad influence.”


    “They done tried imm’tatin’ them Duke boys. Now look where they is.”

    “They don’t call it ‘Cripple Creek’ fer nothin’.”

    “Damn shame about the Charger.”

    “Yep. An’ it was a Hemi too.”

  2. send me guest posts

    Well. okay — but we’ll have to do something about WP’s single URL rule.

            1. Point of Order! The discussed Wules do not apply to RES, they are in wegard to how others respond to RES (C’est moi!) That’s because Wallabies are Webels!

              BTW — are transgender athletes engaging in Gender Appropriation?

              Asking for a friend.

      1. What exactly are you looking for in a guest post?
        After all, I daresay most of us could dash off a few hundred words about all sorts of esoteric topics.

  3. The giant three-headed dog crouched ready to leap onto his master’s guest.

    “No Spot!” his master ordered and Spot whined wagging his snake like tail.

    “What would he have done” the guest asked.

    “Lick you. You really haven’t been licked until you get licked by three tongues at the same time.”

  4. >> “May I request that you send me guest posts, so I can run two a week, and somewhat relieve the weight of this blog?”

    The offer I made before still stands, if you’re desperate enough to change your mind. 🙂

      1. I’m not sure what definition you’re going by? It’s a list of reading recommendations – somewhat like these Sunday posts – with all the work of putting it together being done by a guest. Seems close enough.

        But it’s your call. I’m not going to complain about you NOT asking me to do any work around here.

          1. The idea was that I’d write a short post linking to a handful of the better LPs I’ve read, saying some introductory words about the authors and games involved and explaining why they might be of interest to some of the people here. Sort of like these Sunday recommendation posts but for something other than traditional novels.

            What did you think I was offering?

              1. [blink]


                …I’d love to know how you got there from “I can write a short guest post.”

                But as I said, the offer stands. Yea or nay?

                  1. At least it’s clear now why you were down on the idea before. I’m surprised you didn’t snap at me if that’s what you thought I meant.

                    A couple of questions, though, as this will be my first time doing this. First, how do I send it? Will the hotmail account do, and do I need to put anything in the subject to catch your attention?

                    Second, how are images handled? Will I just be linking to external sources or are they saved to your blog? What are the tags involved?

                    Hate to suggest this right after TXRed finished writing it, but it might be a good idea to add some basic information about submitting guest posts to the FAQ.

                    1. No worries, I don’t really need images. It would mostly just be the box covers of the games involved anyway. I’ll make it easy on you and skip them.

                    2. I will beat this thing into submission I will, I will…

                      <a href=”> Text Label&lt&#47a>

                      shows ‘Text Label’ as a clickable link to

                      …can’t even blame it on WordPress either grumble grumble…

                  2. Sarah, two more questions: First, what’s the tag format for turning bit of text into a link? Second, is there a limit to the number of links a post can have? There’s a problem with one of the LPs I wanted to use and I might need to link to each chapter separately.

                    1. I was rtying to enclose the html in such a way that it would show it as text. What I tried works on PJM but not here. WPDE.

                    2. Oh well, there’s a way to show html without actually making it work, but what I tried doesn’t work in WordPress….

                    3. I’ll look up the tags, although you’ll need to confirm that it’s working right before you actually post (this is where a preview function would be REALLY handy). The limit was my main concern.

                    4. Here is how it’s done:

                      <a href=”http://www&period;webaddress&period;com”> Text Label</a>

                      which shows ‘Text Label’ as a clickable link to webaddress&period;com

                    5. Something went wrong in processing GRRRRR…

                      One More Time:

                      <a href=”http:&47;&47;www&46;webaddress&46;com> Text Label<&47;a>

                      shows ‘Text Label’ as a clickable link to www&46;webaddress&46;com

                    6. Almost got it that time!

                      <a href=”> Text Label</a>


                    7. …and put a double-quote after .com face-red face-red

                      <a href=””> Text Label</a>

  5. Well, doggone, it looks like this week my book promo goes astray in spite of having sent it from three separate e-mail accounts, including one from a domain name I own, via my cPanel. We have got to get this problem licked, because it’s really annoying to be looking forward to that little sales boost and not get it because somehow the Internet hamsters manage to munch my message in spite of all my efforts. I know Mary’s got lost last week, so I’m not the only one.

    You should have the one guest post from me, on building parallel systems. I have two more I can write up, one on writing through difficult times (from my current experience with home repairs after storm damage, which has temporarily dislocated my office area), and one on virtual conventions online. Would it be possible to include a promo for one of my books at the bottom when the guest post goes up?

      1. The one I sent this week was a different one, “Starlight Running.” Or are we supposed to wait a certain number of weeks after we’ve had one book promoted before sending the next title to be promoted?

        Or did my mail glitch and re-send the old one when I thought I was sending the new one? There are just so many ways computers can go wrong, and not all of them are easily visible and correctable.

  6. “Ewww! That’s disgusting! Go on, git!”

    “Don’t appreciate the tongue bath, huh?

    “That’s not so bad. But.. all those parasites! Don’t they bother it at all?”

    “Nope, it’s a Xemit dog”

    “Xemit? never heard of those.”

    “Takes a ticking, keeps on licking.”

    There was a *KLONK* as the steel-toe hit.

    1. Sound of a construction truck backing up.

      Engine revving as the hydraulics whine as the dump truck bed slowly rises.

      Sudden whooshing sound as 10 cubic yards of wet, slippery, shiny, flopping carp are dumped right in front of the barn door; followed by the banging of the tailgate swinging back and forth.

      Lesser whining sound as the bed lowers.

      Sound of engine revving and truck being placed in gear as it pulls away. The sound of the tires rumbling on the gravel drive fades into the distance.

      Quiet rustling sound as 3 dozen cats appear out of the bushes and grass, all licking their chops at the feast in front of them.

  7. “If you divide Pi by the Pyramid Inch and multiply by the diameter of the Earth, and then use the encoded instructions in the Voynich Manuscript to translate the works of William Shakespeare into Mayan heiroglyphics, you will begin to understand the Great Mystery.”

    “What’s he on about?”

    “Dunno. Doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, either.”

            1. OK, that’s a winner.

              “And what has he won?”

              “Why, this spectacular gold-plated Carp trophy!”

              1. I’ll add it to my collection of carp, as well as the dozen or so Internets I’ve won.

              1. No, there’s little joy when the carp become airborne.

                Speaking of which, excuse me while I duck and cover now.

            1. I just never thought there’d be a connection in my brain between All along the Watchtower and Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog.

              But then again, I never thought I’d connect The Moon is a Harsh Mistress with You Spin Me Right Round, either. This is your brain on the internet, kids…

  8. “Really? REALLY?”
    *solemn nod*
    “Really and truly.”
    “You’re not just joking, are you? Having me on? Playing a prank?”
    *absolute gravity, not even a twinkle of an eye*
    “No, I am not. I will even swear upon that which we agree (though as you know, that is contrary to my normal customs), I am not joking, pranking, nor in any way deceiving, nor attempting to deceive, through inclusion or omission, you, in any way, shape, or form, in this matter.”
    “I just can’t believe it, though. They just skipped straight past J and K, and went to L. Ick!”

  9. Seen at the salt lick.
    In the early morning, a small herd of deer are approaching. Delicately placing each hoof, ears and heads swiveling, they draw closer. The first in line dip their heads as the ones in the rear keep watch. Suddenly the birds go silent. All heads come up, ears cupped to find the direction of the intruder. A small crack, just a tiny click, and they all turn as one to flee.

  10. As I looked down at the dog licking the face of his unconscious master, I sighed.

    “Don’t they give them at least a lick of training before sending them out here?”

    My partner snorted. “No. They’re arrogant morons. Why else would you think you could lick Earthquake in a fistfight?”

  11. They walked down the street, and Aidan finished the roll. He licked the jam off his sticky fingers, and looked down the street.
    “Look, they have jugglers. We should go watch.”
    For a moment, Imogene could not breathe. It felt like being ordinary people, who could attend a festival carelessly.

  12. “It is just as well that it is random,” said Sophia, tranquilly. “You need a lick of sense and a modicum of humility to survive powers. Once the more spectacular deaths are known, those we need, with a lick of sense and a modicum of humility, would avoid gaining powers.”

  13. “Agggghhh!”
    “I told you to lick-“
    “WHY! What torture is this that you would feed me this evil thing! It hurts!”
    Sigh, “You have to lick it, not bite. You wanted to try some human activities, at least try to listen when I tell you how to eat ice cream.”

  14. She licked her lips thoughtfully. “But why should I stick my finger out like that?”

    The matron shot her a disdainful look. “Because this is the proper way to drink tea,” she proclaimed haughtily.


    “What do you mean, ‘why’, child?”

    “Why stick your finger out? Does it give you a better grip on the teacup? Does it make the tea taste better, or enable you to drink more efficiently? Does it provide some other benefit? What is the reason?”

    She was regarded with complete incomprehension. She tried a few sips with her finger sticking out, then a few more with it tucked in. She set down the teacup and shook her head. “There is no improvement. Sticking your finger out serves no purpose. It’s also uncomfortable, and it looks silly. Why do you do it?”

    “It is the proper way,” the woman grated out.

    “Oh.” She smiled, but not in any friendly way. “Now I understand. It allows you to pretend that you are better than people who do not drink tea that way. That is the entire purpose, and the only benefit.”

    She raised her teacup again, without sticking her finger out. “By all means, go on looking silly. I have no need to pretend I’m better than other people for such a trivial reason.”

  15. Linnet watched the cows for minutes as they shifted about the pasture. Then she snorted. Merely because the cows were bright green, pure red, and snow white did not mean they would avoid a salt lick.
    She headed down the road again. Their milk might prove to be green, though.

  16. Dave looked up at the other occupants of his cell. They looked like ordinary adventurers. Ordinary in that there was no way a sensible person would be caught dead walking around in all leather, with sheathed blades strapped to every concievable surface. And some pretty well incoceivable to be honest.

    It was the arguing that woke him. Well, the arguing and the fact that someone had kicked over the unmentionables bucket. Kicked it right under his bench as a matter of fact. That fact was the one he was most upset about at the moment. He decided to mention something to that effect.

    “Oy! What’s the big deal with all the shouting! Some of us are trying to… trying to… One of us is trying to sleep here, you know?” He finished much softer than he started. Why was it the sound of ones own voice could be so nauseating when the getting drunk was so good?

    “Why? Why?! Because of this utter brainless, useless, sorry excuse for a-”

    “Not useless,” was said in a thick accent.

    “-dead weight, stumbly-fumbly, smelly-faced-”


    “-pustulant pismire!”

    The quiet lasted for near a solid minute. Nobody wanted the attention of the night guard, it seemed. The tall and skinny one still looked angry. The short and curvy one had her hand over her face, shaking her head. The bald one looked mildly offended, though. Being in a cell was enough to offend a body, he thought. That was probably it. That and the smell. Those two things. Why did he smell smoke, too, though?

    “So, look here.” It was the curvy one. Almost quiet enough to not make his head pound. Dave looked.

    She had a round looking head with curly blond hair. Lots of curves on that girl. Swoops and swishes and all.
    Being an experienced male, he took all this in in a glance.

    “Look, I’ll tell you. *I’ll* tell you, so loudmouth over there doesn’t get us all punished for it.” She had a pretty good glare, he decided. He was glad it wasn’t pointed at him.


    “So we were looking for secret doors.”

    “In a cell?”

    “No. In a bedroom.”

    “Good idea. Cells don’t have secret doors. Wouldn’t be very secure if they did.” Now the glare was pointed at him. He still thought it was a pretty good one. Which is to say, he didn’t like it very much.

    “Sorry. Being quiet now.”

    “So, looking for secret doors in a mages bedroom. Where would a mage hide his illegal and dangerous stuff? Got to keep that sort of thing close, right? So we were searching-”

    “The two of us were searching. The idiot here-” Tall and skinny got the glare again this time.

    “Shut it. I’m getting to that.” The other man waved her on.

    “We were searching. But Bill here- he’s not local, you know- Bill didn’t know ‘search.’ So I told him it meant use your senses to find something out of place-” Dave couldn’t help it. He snorted. So did the other man. The bald guy kept looking around aimlessly. And still slightly offended.

    “So I’m over here checking behind an end table. You know, the sort of thing you put beside a bed because you might leave a book you were reading there, so you don’t have to carry it all the way back to the shelf. Anyway, I look over at Bill and he’s got his face up next to the wall. Only all I can see is the back of his head, so I ask him what he’s doing-”

    “And he says he’s searching. Searching!”

    “It’s not like he understands the language very well, Mark.”

    “With his tongue! Honestly-”

    “Shut it.” And wonder of wonder, he shuts up again. For the moment, at least. Unlike Bill who had only said two words so far, he thought.

    “So yes, he was.”


    “Licking the wall.”

    “And that’s… a crime, somehow?”

    “Well, no. That part wasn’t. The manor burning down was the crime. Not that we did it, of course.”

    “Of course.”


    “So you’re here because you were, I don’t know, in the vicinity when this house burned down and you smelled of smoke? Because you do. Smell like smoke I mean.”

    “Yes, that could be considered a factor in our mistaken arrest, I believe.”


    “Well, we didn’t set it on fire. Wasn’t us, see.”

    “But you did, or one of you, lick a wall.”

    “That is an accurate statement, yes.”

    “And that somehow got you here?”

    “Well, sort of. How much do you know about pocket dimensions?”

  17. Alaric stepped back as the circle filled with smoke. From within the cloud came moist slurping sounds, and a dark amorphous shape writhed. Suddenly a giant tongue reached out from the obscuring vapors and slimed him from head to toes.
    “Dammit!”, he yelled, “I was trying to summon a lich!”

  18. “Fork it over. You won’t like the licking if you don’t.” He leaned on his club. “I’m doing you a favor, really. Madame Nyx, she doesn’t like it when you fall down on the job. Show up with too much now, and she’s going to expect the same every day.”

  19. Lyrics I implore the Muse my paper to bestrew –
    Impotently I discern her voice is laryngitic.
    Covered in chagrin I imprecate till all is blue,
    Kick her out and drink myself, despairing, paralytic.

  20. “Hey, Rick! Take a look at my new toy!” Dick said, holding out an elegant wood-barrel pen with silver-chased fittings.
    “This is really slick, Dick! It’s sure not a Bic, is it.”
    “Nope. I asked Mick for one of his wooden pens, and he turned this for me yesterday.”
    “That was quick. Can I try it out?”
    Rick clicked the button to extend the point, carefully addressed his letter, and flicked again to retract it.
    “Wow, very very nice!” He handed it back reluctantly.
    Dick chuckled. “Yes, it is. Now stop drooling over my pen, and lick the stamp.”

    100 words. Not great, but sometimes it is fun to just play with the sounds. 😉

  21. “He LICKED me!”
    I shook my head and sighed, “Sorry, once he learned why people were laughing at him, our Lycanarian really likes working with humans.”
    Laughing at him?”
    “Yeah, when the name tag for a seven foot tall dude who looks like a werewolf says, ‘Chee-Wah-Wah’, people find it funny.”

  22. Dry Lick Run was their spot, accessible only during twilight. Standing there, hands joined, they watched as the transport cut an arc across a cloudless sky. The setting binary sun shining on its hull made it look like a meteor. “My ride,” said Able Seaman Tristan. “We’d better head back.”

        1. Anybody traveling I-40 in Western North Carolina is certain to cross the French Broad (creek) several times.

  23. The news was electric. “We licked ’em!” Kaylee heard someone in town say. “Chased ’em clear through the Crab Nebula!” She wished she could somehow join in the elation. True, the colony would be safe for another generation, but at great cost, and no word yet from Able Seaman Tristan.

  24. How do you get out of this chickens–t outfit?
    Sure, there was prestige, back in the beginning. Now I am wondering why I have to sit through another interminable lecture on .45 cal ACP ammo and why this barrel has the tolerance for this newer higher pressure round, but that older barrel doesn’t…and on and on, who cares about that s–t? Just read the caliber on the gun, read the caliber on the ammo, load it and shoot them. Shoot them all.
    I mean, that’s why I joined right? Licensed for International Certified Kills.
    Sure, we were caught with our pants down in 2020, damn traitors in the colleges with all their socialist teachings about the betterment of mankind with free healthcare for all and free college. Hypocrites, they were after a quick buck, worse than the corporate greed they denounced in their classes. The COVID-19 virus spread like wildfire and killed a lot of people and scared everyone s–tless.
    Back then Trump was President. When the next round of engineered plague escaped in China, he had been elected to his second term and he had zero f—k’s to give. He wrote an executive order and created our special forces group. Those first guys went into the labs in China and burned it all down with fire…and got the vaccine.
    We missed the next one though. The left had hated Trump from day one of his first round. They impeached him for the EO and made it stick that time.
    He got the last laugh though. The third round of bioweapons killed roughly a million people. It came from India.
    This time the left and right buried the hatchet and made common ground long enough to pass a law officially sanctioning our group: Licensed to kill. Licensed to kill anywhere in the world, regardless of borders. Licensed for International. Licensed to kill internationally, certified that the target will be killed, dead, burned out, biologically sterilized.
    So here I sit, another long lecture on which ammo goes in which gun. Next week the biohazard suit training, oh joy. Too bad the Space Force was crapped on by those lefties, we could have incinerated these illicit labs from space.
    And the s–t, I have to take every damn day: Licensed International Certified Kills: L.I.C.K.
    If I have to clean “LICK my b-lls” off my truck one more time I may go postal. How do I get out of this outfit?

  25. “Hey Michael! You want to go to the Lick* tonight? It’s a two-on-one. The Masked Angus is fighting against Eoward of Edinburgh and Hot Hairy Harold.”

    “Huh? What’s a Lick?”

    “Oh, I’m sorry, you Yanks don’t know about the new craze of Scotland. Lick stands for Luchadors In Combat Kilts.”

    See? I can keep it clean! 😉

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