Vignettes and Book Promo

*Okay, late again, and I should explain: When Dan and I were very young, sometimes he got to work from home. It was really really rare, but his company had this “portable computer” that weighed maybe 50 lbs and was the size of a large suitcase.
When for some reason everyone else was on vacation (it was a very small company) and they didn’t want to keep the lights on in the office, they would let him bring the computer home.
What we found is that after 3 day of both of us working from home, we slowly rotated to an almost exclusively nocturnal schedule. We’d be up till 3 or 4 in the morning, then wake up closer to noon than dawn.  At the time — we were in our early twenties and childless — this annoyed us, as it was too late to grab fast food breakfast.
I thought that our bodies had just changed, and with the time with kids, when I used to get up sometimes before 5 to get some writing in before taking them to school, we were now conditioned so we were up at six, rain or shine.
I mean, most days we work from home, and 7 am we’re at our computers, doing our various duties.
Apparently though, this is while the rest of the world is also functioning and we might be called upon to meet the away-kid at lunch, and/or do our shopping early before the crowds, or whatever.  When the world loses its time-moorings, we go back to our preferred schedule. So we’re going to bed at 3 am and get up around 10 or eleven. I’m so sorry.
I’m also sorry I didn’t put up the chapter yesterday.  It was a rough day, but I think I’ve turned the corner on dealing with anger, and hopefully it will get better now. I have so much work to do. As, probably, do we all.  Build over, build under, build around and be not afraid. You got this. We all got this. I don’t know how or when we’ll come out of this, but when we do, come out strong. Do now what you need to do to do so – SAH
PS- For some reason I did not get the vignette challenge word, so. there will be a picture.*

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. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Mermaids’ Song.


Whoever hears the mermaids, singing, will die.

So Nicolas has heard — before, and after, he hears the song.

FROM ROBERT BIDINOTTO, FREE FOR KINDLE:  HUNTER: A Dylan Hunter Justice Thriller (Dylan Hunter Thrillers Book 1).*


“A masterwork of thrills and suspense.” –Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins



Award-winning true-crime author Robert Bidinotto makes his stunning fiction debut with a gripping vigilante-justice thriller that has earned more than 500 “5-star” rave reviews from readers.

   Two people, passionately in love.
But each hides a deadly secret.
He is a crusading vigilante, on a violent quest for justice.
She is tracking this unknown assassin, sworn to stop him.
Neither realizes the truth about the other.
And neither knows that a terrifying predator is hunting them both….

*(Note this book does not have my associate’s link, because I’m not sure of the mechanics of a free book in the associate’s link.)

FROM MY FRIEND NITAY ARBEL, FOUR FREE BOOKS:  Stay-at-home reading promotion: all my ebooks free on Kindle, Wednesday March 25 through Sunday March 29.



I didn’t get the word challenge, so look at the picture below and write me something fun.

I’ll have a Witch’s Daughter chapter for you later in the day.  Note the novel to date is now a new tab (I hope.)



36 thoughts on “Vignettes and Book Promo

  1. Okay, late again, and I should explain: When Dan and I were very young, sometimes he got to work from home. It was really really rare, but his company had this “portable computer” that weighed maybe 50 lbs and was the size of a large suitcase.

    It was an Osborne, wasn’t it? Two big disk drives and a little bitty TV screen in between?

    Don’t apologize for living your life. Most of us understand, home family comes before internet family.

    And Now For Something Completely Different!

    There’s a post under LongReads on WordPress where Sinead O’Connor says the proudest moment of her entire life was tearing up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live back in 1992.

    I guess, she is, or was, a singer? Meh. Don’t remember ever hearing anything she did.

    But still, the proudest, most important, most significant thing she ever did was tear up a picture on TV 28 years ago.

    Daaaaayum, that is sad. Hell, I wasn’t even interested enough to keep reading, and find out why tearing up a picture was supposed to mean something.

    I’ve done things far more significant, and nobody has ever heard of me. I wrote some open-source computer programs that were once used by hundreds of people. I’ve designed circuit boards and built production test widgets. These days I’m writing stories, and a lot of people tell me they enjoy reading them.

    My proudest accomplishments are all creations. Hers was a petty act of destruction. And, an infantile tantrum by the sound of it. If I had ever done such a thing, I would NOT be proud of it.

    So, don’t apologize because your creativity doesn’t run on schedule like a bus. At least you have some. We will wait, and be thankful for something good to read, whenever you post it.

    1. I’ve done things far more significant, and nobody has ever heard of me. I wrote some open-source computer programs that were once used by hundreds of people. I’ve designed circuit boards and built production test widgets.


      Heck most the code I written in the first 20 years of my career has been archived/shelved.

      Only two systems either evolved, with no original code, but concept still there, or still exist with my original code intact. Original code still intact & in use would be the last system I worked on. Pretty sure they haven’t moved to, or are moving, a new development system, for all that they need to.

      The other system, I know it has evolved, because: 1) we laid out the design plans to do so to incorporate from reporting only into reporting with GPS, mapping system, with new-ish database called SQL 🙂 The C code, designed to make C++ class wrappers easier to incorporate, was written against the database tables, but dBASE flat instead of SQL, from the original COBOL code and file structures (timing). 2) I know who ended up with the system & they are using the same name. Now what I don’t know is if they used any of the prep work I and my (new) co-worker had implemented … over 20 years ago.

      I agree. I’m more proud of what I’ve created, that no one knows about, even if it was only used briefly, or evolved way beyond what I wrote.

      As for writing fiction … maybe I should be typing … OTOH I enjoy what you all write too.

    2. Ah, little Sinead, she of the buzz cut hair and heroin chic body image.
      One of the original one hit wonders with:

      That hissy fit on SNL in protest of Catholics pretty much tanked whatever chance she might have had for further significant work in the industry. Honestly cannot remember whether it was a fundamental grievance with religion or had something to do with the Irish troubles. Sadly, her example of career self destruction was a lesson unlearned by many newcomers of late. Pity that.

  2. “Hah! Just try usin’ your water magic — where ya gonna get any water up here? You’re finished! Ha-ha-ha-gglrgak—”

    For a good witch, she could produce a remarkably evil grin when she wanted to. “Idiot. YOU are full of water. Not clean water, by any means, but I can work with it.”

    1. Hotmail, msn, and outlook mail servers have been Not Right for a couple weeks now. Not sure what’s going on there (translation: so swamped with other problems that even though the techs are muttering darkly, can’t be arsed to go research why.)

      1. I had to giggle on Friday. Thursday evening, the local newts had a piece talking about how the internet was slowing around two PM because of streaming and gaming. Friday? Slow-down started at one PM as people tried to beat the rush. *head shake, grin*

  3. “we go back to our preferred schedule.”

    A night owl is a night owl, regardless of how other schedules may force one to be otherwise … given the ability to do so, one will slip back into their preferred schedule. Blessed are those whose work & life schedule matches their biological preferred one. Trust me. It is a PIA when the household can’t match. I can’t match my husbands nocturnal preferences, never have been able to. I tried when we were first married. We figured out it caused me to get sick a whole lot more.

    “had this “portable computer” that weighed maybe 50 lbs and was the size of a large suitcase.”

    First one I worked on was probably around 20# or 30#, about the size of, and buttoned up, looked like a sewing machine (’90s).

    Question: What is the code for block indent? Is there a cheat sheet link for the WP codes? (Now that I’ve figured out how they actually work …)

    1. Do you mean <blockquote> for inserting quoted text?

      Be warned, it adds one blank line before the quoted block, but not after it. I have not found any way to insert a blank line, so I add one line with a hyphen (dash) and nothing else after the block.

      1. Be warned, it adds one blank line before the quoted block, but not after it. I have not found any way to insert a blank line, so I add one line with a hyphen (dash) and nothing else after the block.

    2. I’ve tried to revert to nocturnal life. Not happening. My brain says, “Day job is in session, Day Job schedule.” That and Athena T. Cat still goes off at 0545. And if I want to walk, it has to be before sunrise, so . . . Blech.

      1. 🙂

        In our household I’m the (waves hands) morning person. Not super early. But yes. Two cats & the dog have non negotiable schedules. They insist on being fed and going out by 8:30 AM or so, every morning …

        As for nocturnal. Me? I can make it past midnight, if I’ve gotten into the “one more page/chapter”, but not much past that. Even worse it disrupts the sleep cycle & I’m just as likely to be up at 5 AM (animals love that). Then I crash hard the next night. Keep it up too much & I feel lousy. Since don’t have kids in school or daycare, and not working, generally don’t get sick. But boy am I opening myself up to getting caught by something, eventually.

      2. The dogs are still upset over the sleeping arrangements. When I hit peak sickness and $SPOUSE was starting, she moved into the other bedroom. I stayed in the regular bedroom with the CPAP setup and the dogs. Lab/Aussie is fine; she’s sensitive about how we’re doing daytime, but at night, sleepytime. Get-up time is supposed to be 6AM (for the dogs, I usually am up around 4-4:30).

        The Border Collie is our night watchdog. When a) somebody’s coughing up a lung, or b) when $CREATURES are stirring around the house (usually deer, though there’s a small feral cat or three that wander our deck), she’ll start barking. A couple nights in a row, it was 2:30 AM. This morning, I woke at my usual hour, and she waited until I was just ready to leave the bathroom to start barking. They still had to wait until near 6AM to get breakfast, but guard duties fulfilled and potty breaks taken, back to sleep til then.

  4. “So you signed in blood, but didn’t read it all the way through?”

    “I was an idiot. Forever, you say?”

    “Yes. You got the benefit of the doubt and get to keep your soul, but you’re on board for the long haul.”

    “‘And there will be no more sea.’ Well, I liked it then.”

    “You’ll like it now.”

    1. I suddenly have this mental story-seed of immortals amoung us… the crew of the Flying Dutchman, but as ships fall apart rapidly without constant maintenance and repair, and you could never put in for dry-dock, where’s that leave you?

      Wandering the word with your sliver of wood, for as long as the ship’s with you, you’re still “on board”…

  5. Natural mode for me is making sure the fire stays burning in the cave mouth and keeping the wolves and raccoons out of the clans stuff – and then sleeping in. Had to fight that for school and subsequent (and found out that I sleep lightly enough that the classical tossed metal trash cans did not startle me awake as intended no matter how tired I was – I heard something just before the toss every time that woke me up). I found out that a lot earlier wake up is better than just a little earlier for me, but absent obligations or people shouting, my natural schedule is up late sleep late.

  6. “Father?”

    “Yes, my son?”

    “Why did you build your castle on this tiny floating island, when there’s all that lovely, open green land stretching out below us?”

    “It will make more sense when you get older, my son, but I can sum it up in one dreadful, horrifying word.


    1. 20-odd years ago, approaching Nashville on the freeway, it was rather disturbing to see that kudzu had wrapped most of the highway signs. Including the one that was supposed to direct me to the bypass instead of the inner-city ghetto the interstate stopped at…

      I don’t know what the situation is now, but I got the impression Nashville was losing the fight against kudzu.

  7. “Land ho! LAND HO!”

    “Hear that, Captain? Looks as if we made it at last!”

    “Not so fast, bo’sun. Something else to be heard, if you’ve ears to listen. Silence! Silence and patience, and you, too, will hear it ….”

    (extended pause, with elaborate descriptions omitted due to time constraints)

    “Wha – what’s that, Captain? I hear it! Good Lord, there it is …. Could it be … well, blow me down! It’s ‘Roundabout’! We – we’ve sailed to ‘Yessongs’!”

    “Exactly, bo’sun, and that means this is not the end of OUR voyage. Helm, set course for ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’!”

  8. “A wizard created an illusion that his castle hung in midair. Showed a sailing ship docked at it.”
    “Of what use is an illusionary castle?” said Carolus.
    “The castle was real,” said Florio. “We had to search for the way up.”
    “Poor old Rogier had to be blindfolded,” said Rosine.

  9. (This is from an earlier picture prompt at
    I wrote it but never submitted it. So …)

    Grandma always said the painting leaked a little.

    She said that to me when I was three years old, to explain the damp spots on the couch and the carpet. The painting above the couch showed an old-style clipper ship, sails billowing, pennants flying, pounding through the waves. There was a lot of water in the painting. If some of it occasionally leaked out, that made as much sense as anything else in my three-year-old world.

    She said it again when I was four, as the ship rode easily over long swells under a bright blue sky.

    She said it again when I was five, as moonbeams lit the ship’s sails and danced across the ripples. By then I was starting to wonder whether I was remembering the painting correctly, but I never wondered why it leaked. It leaked because Grandma said it leaked, and that was that.

    And then Mom disappeared, and our lives changed, and we stopped visiting Grandma every summer. I hadn’t seen the painting again until that moment. And I was twelve, and I knew darned well that paintings didn’t leak.

    It wasn’t leaking. It was gushing.

    The heavy, ornate Victorian frame hung askew. A waterfall spilled out of the lowest corner, splashing the gilded wallpaper, drenching the couch, cascading down to the floor. The carpet squelched underfoot. I smelled sea breezes and old fish. Storm clouds and angry waves filled the frame. I couldn’t see the ship at all, anywhere.

    Beside me, Dad shouted “Griselda?” It was the first time I had ever heard real fear in his voice.

  10. I watched as we came up on the docks at White Tower from below. That alone was odd. The Belliver came into port from above, like any proper sky ship did. But today we came from below because of the storm, the storm that took George.

  11. Senya’ Despair. Kane understood the name now. Here in this little valley was a treasure trove of the lost Matrices of Counter-Earth. At the name, sages dreamed of study, adventurers dreamed of glory, and kings dreamed of power. And here they were. And they still worked, for there was no way to get to them without being able to fly.

    Kane could imagine the slump in Senya’s shoulders and the weary drag of his feet, turning away in defeat long ago. Kane too would turn away soon, but for him that path would lead back to the human station – and hang gliders, which would still work on this crazy magic- filled world.

  12. “Its been three days Marcus.”

    The voice was gentle, patient, and sure. The old first mate never raised his voice any more than he had to. Even in the fiercest rock storm or loudest gale, he was always clear and calm.

    “I know.”

    The younger man stood braced against the starboard gunwale looking up at that damnable floating rock. More specifically, the tower perched atop it.

    “At some point-”

    “I know, Brunne.”

    The other man lapsed back into silence. Four days since their passengers had disembarked to investigate. Three days since the flags had shown, and then nothing. Marcus stared at the weathered wood under his fingers, smooth and still strong for all its age. Carnival birds chirped and roared beneath the ship in the forest’s canopy, and within the ship repairs were continuing. It would not be long before they’d have to be off again. Off to Salint Town, and from there to the third moon, impossibly far away from this little anomaly in the wilds where the terrible rock storms had blown them.

    He sighed. How could it be? In so short a time for a mystery to somehow sweep you up and carry you on, far and farther from your comfortable old life?

    If they hadn’t stopped for the night, hadn’t got to drinking in that creaking wreck of a bar, hadn’t been chased out of town and somehow been talked in to taking on passengers in the middle of their escape… Well, the Twisted Horn would’ve carried on about her same old route plying the quarter with guns, plums, spice, and silver. Safe, profitable work under the Republic’s guns.

    He’d never have even heard of any long lost treasures. Never seen a living, breathing alien.


    And never had his ship invaded by furry despots.

    “Feeding time, Mims! Off to your bowl, that’s a good kit.”

    The feline in question gave the cook’s man a side eye and sprang into the rigging, easily dodging an outstretched hand. The three men watched as the small grey and white bounced upward as if gravity were only an occasional influence. Brunne raised an eyebrow at the other man, who quickly made himself scarce.

    Marcus watched the cat as she made her way upward. To any common landsman, the height would be daunting. Men often had to conquer their fear of high places. Few indeed had the stones to sail the open skies, even the mostly safe ways of the Republic. Cats apparently had no such difficulty.

    “One more day, Brunne. Then we’ll go.”

    The first mate grunted softly, following his captain’s gaze. Then,

    “What the devil?”

    The tiny blob of grey and white leaped into the air from high up the forward mast, near the crow’s nest, seeming to hang in the air for a moment. Her front paws snagged the edge of the floating island and,with a wriggle she disappeared.

    The two man looked at one another for a moment.

    “Ho the ship! We found it!”

    It wasn’t the sweet soprano most men think they want to hear in their dreams. It was a soft, feminine alto, and the owner of the voice rather more tall and narrow than most men preferred. Her nose was a tad large and a bit hooked, her hair a drab grey rather than the rich silver of the upper class. Yet at that moment, holding aloft what had to be the ancient artifact they’d been searching for, he could not think of a more beautiful sight in all the worlds. He grinned, clapping his first mate on the shoulder.

    “Told you so.”

    Brunne had not the good grace to harrumph, scowl, or in any other way give the younger man his satisfaction, even if he was his captain.

    “Indeed you did, Marcus, indeed you did. What say we bring the ship back up, so we can get clear of this place all the sooner, eh?”

    He nodded, his eyes still on the figure above. All in all, three days wasn’t so bad. Not when there was treasure at the end of it.

  13. Bethany climbed the old worn stone steps of the Evening Tower of the former priory slowly, calmly, thoughtfully, reverently. Though only an apprentice adept, she’d been given the straightforward but essential task this night of renewing the Spell of Floating on this one of the pair of sky-islands; and she’d always done her best work by getting herself focused and centered well in advance.

    The smells of jasmine and lavender floated up to her from the pots along the stairwell as even the scattered Moonlight brightened more and more. Here on this timeline of the Skein, the Moon was uncommonly close and dazzlingly bright, and correspondingly powerful at the full (which at their current location at the edge of the Earth’s Nearside came just after the dusk had quite faded). It made even such a flashy, dazzly, cinematic working as a Dual Major Spell of Floating not merely feasible but almost sensible.

    And when she reached the easternmost of the four belfry windows and faced into the direct Moonlight, it still hit her like a bucket of icewater — cool, clean, absolutely abundant power from a Moon so close it and Earth danced face to face around once every twelve hours. Bethany’s eyes roved intimately over the now-familiar features, so amazingly consistent though the smaller craters did vary randomly from Line to Line, tracing through the wide Sea of Rains to the Sea of Fecundity, feeling the softly violent light pour through her like glass.

    She breathed out a breath that seemed to be already saturated with silvery light and magick, and reached for the deep current flowing around her so richly like a tidal bore–

    “Halloo, the overland! Halloo, the overland!”

    Her eyes snapped open, and she flicked her fingers at the silvery orb hung in the very corner of the belfry (this and the other three) to her right, to hold the forming spell-shape and prevent any… accidental discharges.

    Only then did she swear, softly and fiercely once, then step over to the south window and look through the Birgitta’s Hoop down past the cliff edge of the island, power the scrying with the tangled dregs of the power she’d grasped.

    A packet courier skyship, here in the far upland mountains and hollows? Odd.

    “Halloo, the skyship! Halloo, what ship and what errand?” The same working that let her see, through the foot-wide Hoop, down past the cut-off edge also let her voice flow through her cupped hands and the Hoop to the vessel down below. Which by any courtesy, ought to have come deck-to-land level with the table of the overland before hailing her or anyone anyway.

    “Mirielle Dubonnet, Head Mistress of the Court Academy, sends a message to one Bethany Radetzky, Adept Apprentice Class, for her ears and eyes alone! Do we have your leave, Ma’am, to make common level and come aboard?”

    Bethany very suddenly realized you could have knocked her over with a feather was not so fanciful or hype-laden after all. “Yes, come aboard to this island, you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard.” Odd as it did always sound to her, the words were certainly by now traditional.

    What the what the what? What, indeed, could the head Mistress of the Court Academy of Magick have to say to a girl who wasn’t even related to “those” Radetzkys on her own off-the-beaten-path, very mundane, timeline?

    It looked like she was about to find out. And she’d have to wake up the others, too, after all and first.

  14. I emerged from the back door of the little cottage, to a landscape utterly unlike the one that had greeted me on the entrance. Here was a deep valley full of shadows, lit by a moon of improbable size, more like the astronomical paintings of the view of one of the gas giant planets from an inner moon.

    I’d never been much into the genre of floating islands, although I’d seen plenty of them in paintings at the art shows of various conventions I’d attended over the years. These things seemed to come in and out of fashion over the years, and just when you thought you’d never see another one, they’d start showing up, complete with square-riggers docked at their sealess margins.

    My guide must’ve noticed my interest. “Here we draw nigh upon the lands that are not of Men. You would do well to consider carefully before proceeding further.”

    I looked from him back to that lovely vista, so inviting, so arousing to my curiosity. “Is that a caution, or a prohibition?”

    He smiled, that same sphinx expression with which he’d favored me upon our first meeting. “Consider this, that you are on the margins of a realm to which the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve come as strangers.”

    “But not necessarily trespassers.” How frustrating it was to be unable to get a straight answer. I did not recall Tolkien’s elves speaking in riddles, even in the earliest versions of the Legendarium when he was operating much closer to the various Victorian fancies of fairies his wife Edith had so loved.

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