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

Yes. I’m very late. Schedule wise this next week will be crazy. Bear with me. Things should get better after.

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 ALYX SILVER –  What if He Were to Pick Me: A Pride And Prejudice Variation With A Dash of Insanity.


What if Mr. Darcy, trying to avoid the appearance of being lofty and proud, so far mistook himself as to be charmed by Lydia Bennet?
How long could the fair strumpet lady hold his interest? How would Elizabeth Bennet feel about it?
As all the Bennet sisters fall into the strangest of relationships, you’ll fear you lost your mind. But you haven’t. Just grab your sweetie and a whip – in case of unruly pillows – and hire a Bennet coach to Gretna Green. They have the best carriages, and guarantee no one will catch you.
Then hold on to your hat. You’re in for the ride of your life.

For those of you who are Sarah Hoyt completists, or like to keep track of everything I wrote or something…
This was written in 1998. (At the same time as DST, which wouldn’t sell for over a decade after that.)  My husband had a traveling job. I was stuck home with elementary schooler and toddler alone for five days a week.  Though I knew every place in town where kids ate free, I was lacking adult conversation/companionship. I couldn’t give DST away for love or money, even though I was convinced (still am) it was my best work to date.

I needed to do something. So I acquired a hobby of doing Jane Austen fanfic. And went insane. The second part is obvious.  This was my first fanfic. The others are more aux-serieux .  And yes, I’ll be putting them out.
Also incidentally, this is free to the end of today: But He Turned Out Very Wild.


This one is serious. TWISTED, but serious.

Eventually Alyx will branch out into regencies.  Some of you know what those are and that they are started.  BUT I promise it’s still a hobby.  I.e. what I do when I’m brain fried, in the evening, or (if I can afford Dragon Naturally, because the others aren’t working and that will take — sigh — some money. I’m considering auctioning a couple of cloth dragons, to buy it. More anon.) in dictation while cleaning/gardening/remodeling the house.

FROM NATHAN C. BRINDLE:  Saving the Spring: A short fantasy.


Jack Randall knew immediately something was off when he pulled up to the old roadhouse.

Little did he know that crossing paths that night with the establishment’s beautiful bartender and her handsomely-rugged boyfriend/cook would lead to him recalling his former life as a god – or fighting a rematch with the god who had stolen his memories.

FROM MARY CATELLI:  Dragonfire and Time.


An angry dragon demands justice of the king.

Mae, a royal wizard, is assigned the task: the dragon had metted out her own justice, burning a thief with dragonfire, but she had seen him since, whole and sound, and this she will not tolerate, so Mae must put an end to it.

Mae goes to discover the truth of this before the dragon leaves its lair to extract her own justice. And in her search of the spring festivities, learns more secrets than the dragon had even guessed of.

FROM ALMA BOYKIN:  Horribly Familiar: Familiar Tales Book Twelve.


Love, romance, curses, and . . . chaperones?

Nothing aside from magic comes easily for two shadow mages. André Lestrang relocates to Riverton just in time for the summer humidity and storm season. He and his fiancée Lelia Chan struggle to balance work, magic, their relationship, and his Army career. When someone sends a magical package bomb to one of their friends, a chain reaction of trouble ensues.

Add in two Familiars determined to ensure that their mages don’t get “in trouble” before the wedding, the usual mischief a ring-tailed lemur, kit fox, wolverine, and others can devise, and a dash of new responsibilities to the magical community. Lelia and André discover that the summer starts to feel . . . Horribly Familiar.


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: EFFICACIOUS.

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

  1. “Efficacious?” George asked his AI. “Why couldn’t they say effective”?

    The AI replied, “I’m only an AI. I don’t understand why your superiors do things”.

    “Well, I’m human and I don’t understand them either.”

  2. “I believe that your integrally-suppressed submachine gun will be most efficacious in quietly dispatching the zombies.”

    “‘Efficacious? Really? Rafe, speak English, would ya?”

    “I believe that I was. It is an adjective, meaning “capable of having the desired result or effect; effective as a means, measure–”

    “I know what it means, Rafe.”

    “Then why did you object to my use of the word?”

    “Because nobody says it anymore.”

    “Why not?”

    “I dunno, because it’s old-fashioned.”

    “I do not see why that would make a word objectionable.”

  3. I have a question for Sarah on the promo links, do you get your hit from the links in the post, or do I have to hit your amazon link?

  4. I saw the word EFFICACIOUS and immediately one of my characters began jumping up and down shouting “Me! Me! MEEEE!!!!”
    The werewolf glowered down at the demon as it emerged from the grey gate in mid air. The demon looked back, transfixed with terror.

    “Greetings, dung stain,” she snarled. “I am feeling generous this day, and so I offer you a choice. You may be rent asunder by my claws and fall back to the shadows, or be sped on your way to the darkness by my pretty hammers.” She hefted a hammer in one hand easily. “My claws have felled the Dark Ones in their myriads, even the mighty all-consuming worms flee my coming. But these hammers were forged by Valkyrie Nike, she who is named for the very Goddess of Victory. I am sure you will find them efficacious. Choose well, purulent one.”

    1. “Choose well” implies that one choice would somehow be better than the other. I would think “Choose quickly” would be more appropriate in this situation. And perhaps more efficacious at getting an answer. Otherwise, of course, the werewolf could happily proceed to employ both alternatives. No such thing as overkill for Phantom’s heroes …

      1. Really, is there a -good- way to be clawed to death? ~:D Although “choose quickly” does have a certain impatience about it, and the wolf has reason to be cranky about the demons.

        As to overkill, Alice Haddison has a a saying: If it’s worth killing, it’s worth over-killing. She also likes to say if you’re going to shoot something, you should HURT it. Her favorite firearm is the 30mm rifle on her Mobile Infantry jump suit. KaPOW!

        They are about to be attacked by the hordes of the Unseelie Court, gating in from Elfland. Alice has her suit on, and she’s all set to mess up some evil fairy creatures. If I could sit down and write it, anyway…

  5. Entering the door, taking a breath and looking around,
    Frank, the first customer of the day,
    Cool and extremely comfortable
    Along the well lit
    Our small and snug but most

    He said. “Most efficacious”, as the first letter of each line came to mind.

  6. Antifa came out to play with tactics quite audacious
    Riots are the American way or so Joe Biden told us
    The dems and press
    they cheered the mess
    They must be made to pay
    Using any means that might prove efficacious

  7. I try to read According to Hoyt faithfully in the hope that it will nudge me to go back to making jewelry, turning wood, and writing vignettes. However, so far this year it has not been very efficacious in stimulating my creativity. I cannot seem to get beyond fifty words.


  8. “There are other things we could do,” said Carolus, “but none that would work so well. None, in truth, that we are certain would work.”
    “They would have to?” said Florio, his voice losing certainty. “They had to have some way to.”
    “We don’t know their purposes enough to tell.”

  9. “If it isn’t presumptuous of me to ask, I am curious about your complexion.”

    “It is not my blue blood Mr. Hartley, for I fear I do not have such. Rather it is a preparation of silver I take for certain… complaints. It is an efficacious prescription, even if it fails to leave me with a wholesome and natural complexion. For I must confess that my appearance would be even more dire without it.”

  10. dictation while cleaning/gardening/remodeling the house.

    That could be efficacious, if it has a filter to take out all the ‘Dammits’ and ‘Oh shits’ that go along with such endeavors.

    “WHAT is this paragraph?”

    “Which— oh. That’s where the hammer got my finger. Fortunately, it wasn’t The Finger, so I’ve still got that.”

  11. The thugs charged straight toward her, and knives glittered in their hands, and not even lifting her hands, palm outward, gave them any pause.
    She shoved them out. She felt uncertain about the light, and so that labyrinth she had only played with enveloped them. Their paths started to twist, and wander, as if they were held captive by the moon’s power.
    She giggled. It was said to make men wander.

  12. Gerard cleared his throat. “She would never have studied it were it not efficacious in many ways.”
    Maximiana sat back. “Only a fool would. And were she a fool, I knew that another necromancer might not be. Thus, I readied a protection for myself against necromancy, and have no fears.”

  13. The first time I ever heard “efficacious” used was in the song “Lilly the Pink,” as done by the Irish Rovers. 🙂

  14. (Don McCollor)…Mary Kingsley (in her two books of her travels in West Africa) had a delightful way of unconventional and older English (and was delightfully funny). Going down a rope ladder into a boat ‘playing bob-cherry with the sharks on the bar’…

  15. The woman sat rigidly straight. Her silvery hair fell like rain about her. “That is an efficacious way of blinding yourself and all your friends.”
    “No one told Aidan that,” said Robert. “He was surprised to hear it after.”
    Aidan thought, but did not say, they probably wanted him blind.

  16. “Your assignment for Monday is to write a 1000-word essay on Tsar Joseph’s offer to take the US clones.” Mr Kawasaki looked from one to another of his students. “And do not simply present me with a rehash of chapters 6 and 7 of your textbook. I want to see thought and analysis of why it would seem an efficacious resolution of the First Sharp War and the factors that caused it to fail.”

    Miranda held her expression carefully neutral. He would have to give the class one of those topics. Most of the time, if she had difficulty with her coursework, she could ask her parents. But anything to do with the Expulsions was a hot topic, especially with her father. He’d been friends with several of the guys who’d died in the Kitty Hawk Massacre.

  17. About those Austen fanfic: Beloved Spouse is very fond of Austen as well as of your writing, but does not care to use a Kindle reader on the computer and ever since Amazon “upgraded” their digital books to KFX (I think that’s the mode) I’ve not been able to convert the files for our Nook reader.

    If I buy those, a) are they DRM-free and b) if they still won’t convert into Nook-accessible files, can I acquire appropriate versions direct from you?

    I do not ask you (indeed, I ask that you NOT) to give me those tales uncompensated (you already give too much great stuff away here); I want Amazon to register their purchase even if buying directly from you would put more moolah in thy pocket (well, okay – if you will sell direct I do not insist on giving Bezos more money to piss away on his Washington Pest) but merely that you provide that which your distributor seems unwilling to offer: a version readable on my digital book reader of preference.

    That would be truly efficacious.

    1. It occurs to me that this same question might well be asked of all authors promoting wares here: are you willing/able to provide DRM-free versions of your digital books for those of us who don’t use Kindle?

      1. My understanding is that, if you use Calibre, KFX can be converted into normal files by use of plug-ins, or by running the normal conversion twice. But that’s just what I hear.

        I’ve been remiss in mentioning my younger brother’s book being in a bundle at the moment (20 books for 10 dollars). The deal is only for a couple more days, so I apologize about that.

        20 Book Packs – Space Opera

        1. I use Calibre and it used to work – before KFX. None of the plug-ins I’ve employed has worked, although I cannot recall whether I’ve tried any two times (traditionally, shouldn’t that be “Run it three times”?)

          Daughtorial Unit has declared she can fix it, but I like having a Plan B … and Plan C and so on. I prefer to eschew plans which have any steps labeled “Something wonderful happens.”

          1. Check the Apprentice Alf site, if you use one of the Older Kindle For PC programs, you get the Old Format Kindle ebooks.

            Just turn off the auto-update for the Kindle For PC.

      2. As the banshee says, Calibre is your friend. However if it isn’t, I might be convinced to send a txt copy along.

        An honest review in return wouldn’t hurt anything. ~:D

        1. I allus reckons a review is part of the payment for a story promoted here, and used to (it got tedious) routinely post advisories on every Book Promo post reminding folk to put up their reviews. As for honest – I wouldn’t do any other type. It does the writer no good if somebody thinks they are buying GrimDark Urban Fantasy and instead discovers they’s acquired Light Urbane Fantasy — they’ll just post a review denouncing the writer, the book, the other reviewers, Amazon and all points West.

          I confess to only one bit of fudgery in reviewing: Star ratings. As in the War Against Grade Inflation, the fight to maintain Star Standards is a lost cause. Three Star reviews, rather than being taken as indicative of a very enjoyable light read or a competently-done thriller, is nowadays interpreted as meaning mediocrity. So in recognition of how Stars get interpreted a reviewer finds hisself giving out Four Stars for a three star book, and Five Stars for a mere Four Star book. Similarly, many a Two-Star drops to One. It is depressing, but one tries to balance that i the review itself.

          As for Calibre … it used to like me but it’s all over now.

          1. Star ratings are used, apparently, as if anything under a four or five is the worst thing ever. I don’t use them that way, but many do.

            In this regard, A&W (according to Pewdie Pie anyway) stopped selling the Half Pounder burger because people thought it was -smaller- than the Quarter Pounder. Because 1/2 is smaller than 1/4 because 2 is smaller than 4. Or something.

            I’d have said that level of stupid was impossible, but current events are proving me wrong every day.

            1. I’d have said that level of stupid was impossible,

              Life has taught me to never challenge the fates that way. The universe can always produce greater idiocy, bigger fools, more useless co-workers, worse bosses and depths of stupidity beyond the ken of normal man. Stupidity is a bottomless pit, ever deeper, ever dimmer, ever more than intelligence can comprehend. Stupidity can turn knowledge into drivel and method into madness.

        2. For clarity’s sake, ye wouldst be Nathan C. Brindle for book purchase purposes? I wouldn’t wish to purchase something by Nathan A. Brindle, Nathan B. Brindle, or even Nathan Y. Brindle under the impression it was the work of the Phantom of the North Country.

          1. On Amazon I am Edward Thomas. The one book so far is Unfair Advantage. Searching duckduckgo for “Edward Thomas Unfair Advantage” puts my link second from the top.

            Beware that there are many Edward Thomases-eses. My choice of nom de plume was less efficacious than I might have hoped (authors take note, most normal names are taken ahead of you). But the initials are ET, so that’s good. ~:D

            1. Ah, my mistayckle. I processed elimination to pick the only author I didn’t wreckognize, under the misapprehension you wuz in the day’s offerings. I shall have to search you on Bezosmart.

              More proof that the process of elimination produces crap.

    2. All my stuff is DRM free, and I can send you the doc file if you need.
      PROBABLY. But they should convert.
      Younger son will be doing paper soon, also.

  18. “You are perspicacious to note the unfortunate aroma sebaceous, and my tendency to the loquacious. Both are side effects of the medicinal compound most efficacious to my malady hellacious. It is most vexacious, this malady tenacious, demanding not only the regimen rapacious, but a diet overly herbaceous. My appetite? Voracious!”

      1. Um, if it were a Gilbert and Sullivan possession I’d expect a post starting along the lines of

        I am the very moodel of a modern bovine animal
        Trans-shipping ACME packages time-critical and general
        With contents efficacious against forces gravitational…

  19. Sigh, reading the evergreen title I started minding the rhyming ending with a pun
    ch line;
    So today the prompt is hairy fairy.
    But no werewolves, if you please,
    They, always make me sneeze.

    So go light on the lopers.
    All in fifty words or…

  20. Little late on this, but here goes:

    “Clem,” Delbert asked, “you know what that Martian tourist did? He asked me if that moonshine was effeekayshus!”

    “What’s ‘effeekayshus?’” said Clem.

    “Dunno,” said Delbert. “Mebbe it means ‘gits you drunk.’ Stuff burned his eyebrows off, though, and that’s just opening the jug!”

    “Then what?”

    “He done ordered two cases!”

  21. (Took half-forever to ‘find the keyhole’ on this one, but it seems to have worked out about as well as usual. Aside from any possible lapses due to my less than encyclopedic knowledge of such shops and their merchandise…)

    She walked into the shop, much like all the others to the musical welcome of our old-timey little bell-on-a-spring. By herself, blonde and shortish and slight in overall build (but wiry instead of scrawny), summer-casual in a T-shirt and jeans — a T-shirt that proclaimed rather loudly in large bold type,

    No Way!
    We blondes are NOT dumb.
    We can so walk and talk at the same time!

    I had to suppress an urge to compliment her on the spot, if only for the implied (and now unusual) clear understanding of the word “dumb.”

    And though she looked for just a moment a shade disoriented, or as if she had to pay microscopic attention to everything around her simply to be sure where she was, there was also a sort of deep self-assurance oddly at odds with that.

    But that wasn’t so unusual, really. About 40% of our overall customer base is male, which might sound surprising for a store whose sign proclaims we are

    The Discriminating Lady’s Modern Firearms Emporium

    (but it’s been my consistent observation our little bit of quasi-Victorian frillery helps keep out the sort of “man” who’s looking to prove his “manhood” through bore size and muzzle velocity — who is more troublesome than profitable). It does tend to induce that brief moment of hunting for lace curtains and pink holsters and pixie guns with the recoil of a hummingbird’s wings, however.

    “Hello, I’m Andrew Markham, can I help you with anything?”

    “I hope so, I’ve been inspired by… certain current events to look at something in the line of self- and home-defense. And I’m Andrea Bennett, new in town at least for the next few months.” She offered her hand and I shook it, which was a little at-odds with both our shop’s 19th-century theme and prevailing ways in our town; but our natives are old-fashioned as all get-out in some ways here.

    Furthermore, she did not show that deep conflictedness recently all too frequently on display: “I’ve never been in a gun shop before, I’m still not sure I even believe in guns, but…” (Ah, yes, but I see the news, the real news. Ah, but I’ve just realized government might just step aside and let me and those bad guys on TV have a nice little intimate — uh, chat together.)

    It was interesting, too, she seemed to be eyeing the sign behind and to the left of me as I stood there at our front counter. The one that said

    10% Military Discount With Valid Military ID or Proof of Service
    (on non-sale items)

    which, of course, proved exactly nothing.

    “What did you have in mind? Perhaps a fine 21st-century version of the lady’s ‘muff gun’ for concealed carry?” I pointed at the .25 automatics, even including among them a decent little pseudo-reproduction two-shot cartridge Deringer.

    “I’m sure that’s a nice little piece of hardware, but right now I’m looking for something a little more… efficacious.” She hefted her none-too-huge handbag into easy view. “And I mean more than what I’ve already got here in this. And I do mean, along with that necessary little accessory piece of paper, too.”

    Perhaps Andrea fit in with our theme and our grew-up-here ways after all.

    And it might have been only me and my sometimes oversensitive hunches, but somehow there was a whisper in the air as she said that first part, too, of places both very foreign and very, well, tense and unhospitable.

    “So, did you want to look at something with, ah, some real stopping power?”

    There was no way I believed she was looking for a heavy automatic, but as they say in programming, exhaustive search always works and stepwise reduction can be quite efficient.

    “No, those .45s are a bit too much even for me, by preference. How about something in a sub-40 caliber, maybe something more like… this.”

    She was pointing at a resolutely old-school .357, though of course it could also step down to, say, a .38 special if you were so inclined. “Somehow I did not quite have you pegged as looking for a six-shooter today.” And she smiled in a way that was the very antithesis of the whole “dumb blonde” stereotype.

    “It’s been my experience” — and there was that odd, quick, faint flash of echoes of places like Mogadishu and Benghazi in the air once again — “that an excess of subtlety can sometimes lead to a deficiency in communication.” There was no tension, no “flatness of affect” or any haunted look to her at all; but, still… it was the same feeling as when your cat reminds you that she is not merely the long-line descendant of apex predators, but the kind of predator that can quite easily devastate and rearrange entire ecosystems.

    “Which can in turn lead to — all sorts of likewise undesirable further things?” I could not help asking her back, right out loud. But with a wry smile.

    “Yes,” she smiled as she said it. “Things best avoided for all concerned.” Now I really was pretty sure she was talking about more than her, or even her past or her future — maybe things far from our quiet little town and its regular doings.

    I’d already decided this was one of those “customer interactions” that would be both likely profitable and most definitely pleasant.

    And I also decided that if the badness going around ever came around to here, Andrea Bennett would be exactly the kind of person to have around too.

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