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

Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. 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: Magic And Secrets.


Tales of Wonder and Magic A woman, sent to a far off duchy, finds a mysterious wolf haunting the forest, and learns there are secrets no one even suspects. Playing with props for amateur theatricals has more consequences than any of those doing it dream. . . act with care. A king’s tyranny sends a woman searching desperately for a legend of lions, there being no other hope.

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY:   Under the Earthline (Martha’s Sons Book 3)


With only a slender hold on their alien world, human settlers from a marooned starship inhabit a single terraformed valley. As technology frays, as the second generation of settlers cannibalizes its past, and as the governor cancels elections again, tension grows between the city and the western farms.

One Dawe son dead, one in exile, and Thaddeus Dawe now slated to serve as a hostage for his younger brother’s crimes, Thaddeus has a task. He must locate the colony’s last terraseeder for the secret enclave another brother works to carve from the northern wilderness. But with the governor’s men harboring no love for Dawes, and First Landing’s bureaucracy and its preeminent practitioner having other plans, Thaddeus is not the only one whose life is at risk.

A tale of adventure, loyalty, and love.




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: TOP

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

  1. 2021:
    The four horsemen, War, Famine, Beasts, and Plague,
    rode over the lower forty eight.
    “I feel sorry for you of course, I’m saddened by your plight .” Said JiminAlaska.
    “I’d like to help you but there’s really nothing I can do.” He said, sitting on top of the world!”

  2. Despite July Fourth commemorating the Declaration of Independence, the words that came to the top of my mind when seeking patriotic text were those of the Preamble of the Constitution.

    PS – Anybody else pining for a bit more domestic tranquility right now?

  3. Reisus was one of the lesser known scions of the Oppernockity line and went into the toy making business, rather than musical instruments like the rest his family. He specialized in magical spinning devices of every shape and size. He was reputed to be able to create one of his toys from anything and relished the challenge whenever someone came in with an object and told him, “I bet you can’t top this!”

  4. The Academy Director stared at the group of Ultra Trainees.

    “Let’s see you got into a “game” of can you top this with your powers”.

    One of the trainees responded “Yes Director Sir”.

    “And the result was, before you were stopped, was several blocks of homes destroyed but fortunately nobody was killed. The Academy will be paying for the damage but the twelve of you will be paying the Academy back for the rest of your careers.”

  5. “Our father once said ‘I’m beginning to think there is no top.’ That was loose and muddy thinking, of course, but it may have contained an element of truth. You have detected certain subtle signs, sister, and my initial, tentative conclusion is that the All-Highest was receiving direction from another.”

  6. The smoky head turned about, surveying the scene.
    Nevermind the head, Apollos told himself as he flew down the street full speed. It’s solid. Attack its footing, its feet, and get it down.
    People were streaming away from the creature. At least none went toward it that he could see.

  7. She could see the sky between the trees. Not so clearly now, with the stars rather than blue sky, but enough. She was reaching the hilltop.
    Where there were buildings, she reminded herself. At this hour, the scholars ought to be soundly asleep, but only a fool would trust that.

  8. “They call it sympathetic magic and mock it. We study congruences and use them. Trust me.”

    “So how do we restart the turbine?”

    “Spin this up and place it on the apex.”

    “But that’s a child’s toy!”

    “Trust me. We have enabled the spin congruence between them. It will turn.”

  9. “Top of the morning, Ms Roderick.” The voice sounded like a Chaffee, but he was doing a darn good imitation of a plummy RP British accent.

    “Aren’t you chipper this morning.” Annoyed at being interrupted from her struggles with the main Shepardsport mail server, Steffi looked up to find Lou Corlin standing at her desk, looking over the big monitor. “I thought you did the J-pop show, not the Brit-pop show.”

    Lou grinned. “Yes, but right now I’m covering Brenda’s air shift.”

    Brenda Redmond did Breakfast With the Beatles, the morning drive-time segment at Shepardsport Pirate Radio. She was also nine months pregnant, and due any time.

    Steffi looked back at the code on her monitor. “So who’s doing the Rising Sun show?”

    “I am. And my regular training, and my teaching responsibility, and my work responsibility. I had to drop the elective on the history of broadcasting, but Stanford’s offering it next quarter.”

    Steffi fought the urge to roll her eyes. Chaffees were known for being real eager beavers, but this was taking it a little far. Especially considering Lou had a girlfriend over at Grissom City and was trying to get her moved over here. “Why didn’t she ask Spruance Del Curtin to cover it? He’s a Shep.”

    Now it was Lou’s turn to quick suppress an expression that would be less than professional. “She may have married a Shep, but her dad’s still a Grissom, so she’s got lineage right to call on me. She was planning to work right to when the baby dropped, until her dad told her hell no, she was not going to risk having that kid pop out right there in the DJ booth.”

    Steffi could imagine Brenda arguing her case. She might have her mother’s looks and build, but she had the scrappy temperament of the Grissom geneset down pat.

    “She’s got my best wishes. Right now we need to figure out what’s going on with the mailserver. We’re having e-mails disappearing into the bit bucket again, including important stuff. With critical deadlines coming up for paper submissions to three important scientific conferences, we need to get it straightened out ASAP.”

  10. 50 x 2 =

    Jim showed up, looking like death warmed over.

    Quietly, Mark asked Paul,”What happened to Jim?”

    “Seems he got into a drinking contest a night.. or was it two nights.. ago. And really went over the top.” came the reply.

    “Come on, Paul, he’s out-drunk everyone we know without any issue at all.”

    “Jim screwed up this time. Challenged a centaur that looked like a Shire, and big even for a Shire, at that.”

    “Damn!” Mark paused, then added, “Just out of curiosity, did he win?”

    “He lives, barely. That’s all I know.”

    “And he’s stuck with loudmouth Taylor?”

    “Yep. Ouch.”

  11. “I’m telling you that this is an offer it would be short-sighted to pass on.”

    “We already have a marketing contractor.”

    “But can they optimize social media to maximize, no, ubiquitize your brand presence?”

    “Who are you people again?”

    “We’re Terrific Opportunity Partners. That’s right, we’re the TOP!”

  12. The want ad read: “Co-ed singles looking for the mandate of heaven. We need top men: Top. Men. No others need apply.”
    Murgatroid sighed. Why in hell can’t the copy boy tell where a hyphen belongs?

  13. “But with all due respect, High Minister, this matter must be resolved!” Vivienne’s voice held careful but utterly genuine admixtures of earnestness, urgency, outrage, and diamond-hard resolution.

    “I assure you, Miss la Fayette, we will very soon have top men working on that.” His own voice held a subtle but definite sort of emphasis on his fifth-to-last word. And the whole sentence had that flat ring of (purported) truth.

    “Who exactly, High Minister? What people holding what positions in what departments — can you at least give me some kind of specific hint?” Calm as her voice still was, she even let a trace of frustration leak into it. As a not at all “official” yet quite verifiable Troubleshooter for the United Financial Agencies of Zurichensee, a suitably measured degree of frustration meant something rather different there than if she’d been, say, a “mere” petitioning housewife.

    “Top men, Miss la Fayette. TOP men.” This time the puzzling emphasis was so strong you could nearly see the capitals hanging in the air, as if they’d been freshly laser-cut from a forging of million-PSI structural tungsten.

    Too like that old Ford-Allen vaudeodrama, she began to think…

    Vivienne? Before you even start to go all recurring-nova on this guy, I have to tell you I think he means it, quite literally. Richard Carlson’s voice in her ear wasn’t an earpiece, wasn’t via an implanted anything, but it still came as clear as if she were wearing good headphones. Ever heard of the Templar Order of Paladins?

    Visibly, she only raised a subtly-plucked eyebrow in quiet but unmistakable inquiry. Below the table she sat at in front of High Minister Sellers’ desk, she tapped her left index finger once on her leg, signifying “yes” to the acceleration sensors in the large but simple gold ring that would relay it.

    The interesting thing is, His Holiness Master Sellers is in the top-ten list of three of the five estimates for who’s who at the peak of the pyramid in the Order’s command structure. And despite their almost comic-opera name, they do give every concrete sign they take all that stuff pretty seriously, and they really do get results most of the time. Visible results, to us.

    Her significant look had yielded no perceptible response. “Would you be willing to say to me, High Minister, that you are one of the top men in the hierarchy of Church and State here on Hieronymus?” Her voice was now as neutral as her elevated brow had been.

    “Why, yes, Miss la Fayette, I could and will say that.” There was the least trace of a smile, there about his mouth — companionable and amiable, not in any way condescending or gloating.

    “So is it at least distinctly possible that you might, I say might, be one of the TOP men involved in the proper resolving of this unpleasant little business?” Vivienne strove to copy his own last emphasis with fidelity and clarity.

    “Why, yes, Miss la Fayette, since the initiation of, proper action, on this matter is henceforth going to originate with me, I believe you and those you are here to represent can rightly assume I will be among those top men on this.” Now, his smile was unmistakable. If still not quite unambiguous.

    She rose to leave, extending her hand to shake his in courtesy. “That means we have, it seems, reached a meeting of the minds, High Minister. Thank you for so much of your most valuable time, and I’ll endeavor to take up no more of it today.” And with a bow over clasped hands from them both, formality to bookend the personal and secular, she turned and left.

    In her fifteen years’ service to the Empire of Man, she’d been a rather different kind of troubleshooter. She’d been good, she’d liked it well, perhaps even a bit too well. So she’d left, abruptly and irreversibly, and come out here to the Rim. And now, though there were occasional pleasant instances where she still got to literally shoot her troubles out of the way, mostly her more subtle side prevailed, in all the senses of the word.

    So far, so good.

    And that’s why a few people of note were already calling her Vivienne la Fay.

    (Based on a little pre-existing background. And hoping the noise on the Internet line is low enough for this to work…)

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