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

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Book Promo

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FROM MARY CATELLI:  The Lion and the Library.


The library holds many marvels. Lena and her betrothed Erion had found things that helped the beleaguered Celestians of the city.But when the king’s caprice decides to sacrifice Erion to protect himself, Lena can only hope a legend can help her. A legend of just kings. And lions.

FROM SABRINA CHASE:  Rogues and Heroes.


…with a young woman desperate to leave her dusty planet for space … a British boy determined to end WWII all by himself … a cop in a dark world willing to do anything for a good read… an old cowboy with a final, heavy burden

…and more, in this collection of short stories from SF author Sabrina Chase.

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: UPPITY





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

  1. “I should hand them over to Drusilla,” said Maximiana. “Imagine trying to insist that I deal with the whole matter of Lise and Felix.”
    Judging that at this moment, silence would be deemed insolent, Gerard said, “A hard feat, to imagine that. They are hardly country chits, to be ignorant.”

  2. “Uppity words!” The writer shouted in frustration. “Why don’t they arrange themselves into the sentences I want them to?”

  3. “You’ve been acting kinda…. uppity, Drake. Reeeeeaaaaaal uppity.”
    “Yeah, I’ve been gettin’ that a lot.”
    “You know what happens t’ uppity guys ’round here, Drake?” Rourke sneered.
    “No, pray tell what?”
    “They gets beat so bad their own mommas can’t recognize ’em.”
    “Really? I’m guessing that I’m next in line for said treatment.”
    “He ain’t as dumb as he looks, is he, boys?” Rourke laughed. The rest of Rourke’s gang joined in.
    “Well,” said Drake, “I don’t think my friends will be happy with you if that happens?”
    “Friends?” Rourke scoffded, “What friends? Ain’t nobody here ‘cep-EEP!” Rourke let out a decidedly un-masculine squeak as the muzzle of a big revolver suddenly planted itself between his eyes.”
    “My friends Mister Smith and Mister Wesson,” Drake said with a cheerful smile. “And…” he thumb-cocked the .41’s hammer “…their six associates. Now, you can tell me what I want to know, or you can make my friends mad. Your call, Rourke.”

  4. He shook his head sadly. “I’m afraid we have already been taken over by communists. It occurs to me that the government and its bureaucracy are essentially communist in their nature and operation.”

    “Government produces nothing of value. It takes money by force from the people who do create value and doles it out based on ‘needs’. Every part of the government spends most of its efforts trying to prove that it ‘needs’ more — more money, more employees, and, especially, more administrators. Most of them neither know nor care where the money comes from, and treat the budget as an infinite slush fund in which the only limit is how much they can grab for themselves. If it runs short, they can always raise taxes.”

    “We, on the other hand, are just a bunch of uppity peasants to be kept in line.”

    1. (I paraphrase here)
      “What do you want?”
      “I know what he wants.”
      “Oh yeah? What’s that?
      “He wants more. Isn’t that right Rocco.”
      “Yeah! More!”
      In Key Largo he was a thug. Today we’d call him, “Senator Rocco.”

  5. “You should see my latest invention!” Professor Weisenheim cackled, I call it the Utopinator! Unlike an elevator my device can carry you forward or backward in time, or to a different social class! He gestured with a gnarled finger at the controls. “You can go back to see how Rome fell, or forward to the end of Time! Or if you prefer, throw the lever to Uppity, and see how the other half lives. I warn you though boy, that is a dangerous journey. The daily contradictions of fact and fantasy may make you lose your mind!!!”

  6. I saddled my horse, put my foot in the stirrup, swung my other leg over the saddle and my boot in the stirrup, and said to my horse, Giddy UPPity!!

    And NO, I ain’t sorry fer sayin’ that!

    1. For that uppity attitude, you get a free demonstration of Our Mistress Of Evil’s latest innovation — the Double-Barreled Ballistic Carp Cannon! Load! Load! Aim! Shoot!

  7. “Sigh, I must admit, I grew up, was raised, in the deep south, in the northern most state in Dixie, Florida,” said Jim, “-but now I live up here on top of the world, in North Pole, Alaska.” stated Jim , “So!

    Now, “ asked Jim, “ is uppity downity?”

  8. “You quarrelsome little chit! Who are you to argue with a great mistress of magic? Everyone knows how dishonest thieves are. You with your pretense of being some kind of rascal! As if the name you choose to hide behind did not reveal your evil as plainly as the truth!”

  9. “Ok, Top. Level with me. What is it this time.”
    “Honestly, sir? I just don’t think I can take it any more. I know I’m old. I know I’m supposed to have been in long enough to have taught General Patton how to drive a tank. But I just don’t know how to deal with this new generation.”
    “It can’t be that bad, Top. The recruits are getting younger on us every year, but…”
    “Recruits, sir? It’s this new breed of drill sergeant. I heard one wake the company yesterday with, ‘Ok, kids! Hippity, huppitty, it’s time to get uppity!!!’ I’m done. I’ll have my retirement papers on your desk by COB.”

  10. “We’ve got a potential quarantine break.”

    The duty officer flew down. “Show me.”

    “Sector 3/A.52 The infected anthropoids. We thought they were busy crab-bucketing, but they cooperated enough to send some probes and even visit.”

    “Visit!? Without even an entreat? The infection makes them presumptuous.”

    “Uninhabited worlds, sir.”

    “Doesn’t matter.”

  11. “Do not get above yourself, young Aidan,” said the Hierophant. “Being the king’s son and the queen’s means nothing when you were stricken from the line of succession.”
    “Do not get above yourself, Your Wisdom,” said Aidan. “You agreed to abide by the laws of this town when you stayed.”

  12. “Don’t be absurd, woman,” barked the judge. “You can fly through the air and blast light from your hands. Do you think that makes you a superior sort of being who can pass judgment on all lesser beings?”
    Lunette bit down the observation that was a judgmental thing to say.

  13. The problem with moving things all at once is that you can’t remember where each thing is. When you acquired them one at a time, each found a niche in your memory.

  14. “Use the coarse knob to adjust the stage for ten Tees to a Holland. Beyond a Holland, unlock it and move it manually. Otherwise use the fine control. Mr. Svieghe, can you read the dial and tell me what adjustment is needed?”

    Karpem Svieghe squinted over the dial. “We nned to move it up a Tee.”

    “At least one, no more than two. Very good.”

  15. “What shall we toast to,” Kate asks, topping off my shot glass with a fairly decent whiskey.
    “To uppity females,” I said, lifting my glass as she finished filling hers.
    “May we never run out of things to be uppity about,” Kate agreed and lifted her glass in salute.

    One of the very few things about working with Kate is that she understands my…ah…condition. As much as baseline humans can, mind you. Very empathic, can follow me when I flip from masculine to feminine logic, and she actually has a good fashion sense. I was going to keep cultivating her for the rest of her working career and biological lifespan, I would miss her in sixty or so years.

  16. There were times when Admiral Chaffee would think Cather Hargreaves was back here. But no, this young man sitting on the other end of the sofa was the other version of himself, the one from the world where they didn’t get out, the one he’d encountered in that brief moment of quantum connection on Mars, the one Toni had pieced back together as an informorph in that other world where humanity turned its back on space. He’d made himself a biological body — an avatar, he called it — but his actual embodiment was still that giant spacecraft of that brief moment of vision, a spacecraft he was keeping hidden elsewhere in the Solar System.

    They had gotten to talking about Toni’s trial, what it might mean now that they had hard evidence that Toni’s memories of that other timeline were not merely some kind of mental glitch, but memories of real events in a real place. Their conversation had turned to the Internet troll whose I hope you die in a fire had set off the whole chain of events.

    “Actually no, Admiral, he didn’t die. The watchdog software in his implant caught the heart attack in time, and EMS was able to resuscitate him. He spent a couple months in a cardiac unit, but he did pull through. He was even called as a witness at Toni’s trial. What had the mob in such a lather was the idea that I would dare to strike at a biological human being, even with pure information.” He paused, perhaps retrieving memories from the spacecraft’s powerful computers, or running a simulation of the probable consequences of what he was about to say. “I don’t think you really understand what a profound affect the Dhaka AI disaster had on society. You think of the attack on Pearl Harbor, or the destruction of Tel Aviv in the Energy Wars, but it was more fundamental than that. A sense of existential threat, in which generations of media portrayals of robot uprisings resonated with folk memories of slave uprisings and serf revolts.”

  17. From the s[tuff] I found while looking for other things pile …

    I know we’re not generally into Christian music here, but this seemed … different … and appropriate.

  18. “Frankie, what’s a Heinlein combat drop?” asked Carole apprehensively. She was not looking forward to the coming phone call.

    “They’re going to land armored suits on the surface using atmospheric braking capsules. And Brunhilde.” Frankie shook his head apprehensively. “I wonder what the big Elders are doing right now?”

    “They’re freaking out!” said Carole. “We don’t have any anti-space assets on the planet, no one has ever made an assault here in a million years. The very idea is completely insane! Physically traveling from one star to another? Who does that?!”

    “Jeez Carole, it’s only George and Brun,” said Frankie. “They’re not going to do anything bad.”

    “We had better hope not,” said Carole fervently. “Now here’s my call, this will be the Great Mentor of my mistress. Wish me luck.”

    “Give him hell, Big One,” said Frankie.

    Carole was remarkably restrained on her call. She did not even say “I Told You So!” to the Elder who had stuck her with the Little Ones for being uppity, constantly pestering him about the crazy Humans. She merely informed the him that the massive ships currently rail-gunning armored combat suits down at the surface of the planet were friendly as far as she knew, and perhaps he should listen to the extremely loud radio broadcast they were beaming down at the planet to find out more. She offered Frankie’s services as a translator too. He said he’d get back to her and hung up rudely.

    On the radio, which Frankie had finally gotten access to, came a voice. “Brunhilde has landed, say again Brunhilde has landed! Beachhead deployed, I am hull-down and prepared to form up with the Space Marines. Estimate 99.95% capable, George. Stay frosty, boys and girls!” enthused Brunhilde. “Carole, if you’re listening, thanks for finding us this excellent landing zone. It rocks!”

    “Oh, shit,” said Carole, looking at Frankie with big eyes.

    “Um, are we in trouble?” he asked apprehensively.

    The phone rang.

    “I’d say that is a yes,” whispered Carole, reaching for the phone.

  19. The problem with Mary Catelli’s stuff so far is that she when she writes short stories, they are so good they really should be first chapters in full-length novels. I want the rest of the story…it’s almost more frustrating than it is satisfying. I seriously got to the end of “The Hall of the Heiress” and said, literally out loud, “Wait — where’s the rest???”

  20. “Excuse me, sir?”

    “Execute the order as given, Helmsman, if you please.”

    “I’m not entirely sure if I…”

    “The order I gave has a provenance stretching back at least to the days of lighter-than-air powered flight on Earth, as ‘Up Ship!’. Short and simple, like ploughing a mule: ‘Gee’ for left, ‘Haw’ for right, ‘Whoa’ for stop, ‘Gee-yup’ for go, and so forth. Quick to say and easy to understand — at least typically. Even in the case of mules, with which I’ve had some fair childhood experience.”

    “With all respect, I’ve simply never heard… excuse me, sir.”

    The helmsman’s voice held no detectable trace of actual insubordination; but only that odd combine of uncomfortable / distressed / puzzled that so many of the “old crew” still tended to display at the oddest times. Their basic competence was actually outstanding, and he very much wanted not to stomp down any of their typically-impressive initiative. Still… “You have my permission to speak freely, Helmsman, given we’re not exactly in the thick of combat at this particular moment.”

    “The thing is, sir, the Our Lady of Ardennes is a 150,000 ton cargo and passenger vessel with limited but considerable privateering capability — which is really to say, sir, only that I along with most of the rest of the previous crew here aren’t really used to hearing and obeying orders phrased so — informally and irregularly. Not to complain at all, of course, sir, merely to explain.”

    “A remarkable man once said, Lead Helmsman, ‘The purpose of war is to explore each other.’ Whether or not I agree with him fully on that, I can say quite definitely the burden of battle-readying an extemporaneous force like ours is for all of us to learn new things — hopefully both well and usefully.

    “So then, if it please you, Helmsman — Uppity!” And though his voice was never truly raised, his last word cracked like a cat-o’-nine-tails on some centuries-past British Royal Navy sailship. While his thoughts inclined very privately toward and if it still does not, likely I’ll be taking the auxilliary helmsman’s seat away from him next and finding out how well this shiny bucket o’ fancy really handles with no first-classers aboard to coddle..

    And as the Lady lifted smoothly if belatedly on her finely-calibrated countergravity disdain for the surrounding fifty or so cubic kilometers of landscape, Commodore Devin Grimes of the very new Free Worlds Space Navy reflected that in war as on the farm, one invariably ploughs with the mules one’s actually got.

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