*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 C. J. CARELLA: Twilight Templar: A LitRPG Saga (The Eternal Journey Book 1).
Ben sat down to play a brand-new MMORPG, Eternal Journey Online. Next thing he knew, he had been transformed into his character, first-level Paladin Hawke Lightseeker, and found himself in a corpse-filled cavern complex crawling with monsters and undead. Armed with a sentient sword, Hawke must learn the rules of a reality where magic and power-leveling are as real as swords and knives, and where you only get a limited number of respawns before you die for good.
Follow Hawke as he explores the mysterious Common Realm, meets new friends and foes, battles to survive, and learns more about his growing power and inner strength.
Note to LitRPG Fans: This novel concentrates primarily on action-adventure, with a focus on power-leveling and learning new magic and class subsystems. Future novels will deal with town and stronghold management. There is also a harem (fade-to-black, non explicit) subplot that plays a part in the story without detracting from it.
Sample chapters can be found at my website: http://cjcarella.com/twilight_templar_the_eternal_journey_book_one
FROM C. J. CARELLA: Lord of the Dead: A LitRPG Saga (The Eternal Journey Book 2).
The adventure continues! Hawke Lightseeker, Twilight Templar, prepares to confront the Necromancer who feeds on the souls of his fellow Eternals. Before he can lead his band of adventurers into the dread mountain fastness, however, Hawke must conquer a Lair, help organize the town of Orom, and raise his strength in a series of increasingly more difficult Quests.
FROM IAIN MURRAY: The Socialist Temptation.
Socialism is tempting, seductive, alluring. It comes in many forms and speaks in many different ways. It appeals to people who value fairness, who value freedom, and who value security. It comes in many varieties, sometimes clothing itself in the dress of nationalism, sometimes in the garb of environmentalism. Yet there is one single, unifying feature – subjugation of the individual to the collective. While Americans have always been skeptical of socialism, even in the progressive and New Deal eras, that is beginning to change. Large numbers of Americans now express admiration for socialism, and similar numbers are critical of the free enterprise system. The problem is particularly acute among America’s young people. This is not the first time we have been here. In 1977, when America was deep in an economic malaise, Ronald Reagan gave a speech in which he wondered, “Whatever happened to free enterprise?” Noting that the free enterprise system “for 200 years made us the light of the world,” he warned that freedom is “never more than one generation away from extinction.” He took the lead in preserving it for the previous generation. It is time for this generation to take up the torch. Reagan framed the defense of freedom as first and foremost a communications challenge. Today, a field of study known as cultural cognition theory understands that our political choices are guided by certain values. Americans generally fall into one of three value groups, valuing fairness (egalitarians), freedom (libertarians), and security (conservatives) respectively. The Socialist Temptation is an attempt to meet the modern version of the communications challenge posed by Ronald Reagan. There are reasons why socialism appeals to each of these value groups. The Socialist Temptation tackles these reasons head on and responds with a vigorous case for free enterprise as better matching American values.
FROM MARY CATELLI: Treachery And Spells
Two novellas of magic and adventure. . . Caught between pirates who would force him to use wizardry in their aid, and a king who would force him to spy, Alik will need every scrap of wits and wizardry to forge his own path. A curse of ill luck leaves Perriel and Gareth trapped in an endless winter, with only the faintest hope of breaking free.
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: ADAPTABLE
26 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo”
Everyone thought I was mad trying to build furniture out of caulk, but let’s see them laugh once they behold the beauty of a DAP table.
I’ll show myself out.
The sword in his hand crackled with blue energy.
“Breakfast? Oh, I thought you said ‘berserk fast’.”
A halo surrounded them. The enchanted blade grew brighter, transformed.
The light faded. The young knight held a spoon.
The Galactic Emperor said “Do you know what the real problem with those Humans is”?
His/Her/Its favorite advisor replied “They are too stubborn to submit to your Rule”?
“No, they are extremely adaptable. Most species require an extremely specific ecosphere to live in. But these Humans can adapt to most any world where there is oxygen & liquid water. Worse, they have the stubbornness to adapt worlds where they are uncomfortable into ones that they are comfortable on. They are small compared to the Galaxy and the Empire but their numbers are growing at the fastest rate Our history has recorded.”
“Should we attempt to destroy them”?
“Interesting that you said “attempt” because We are not sure that We would succeed. The most terrible thing is that now they are friendly with US but any attempt to conquer or destroy them would make them a True Enemy.”
“Don’t get your gonzil displaced. Those coverings are not merely ornamental; they serve a functional purpose as well.”
“As you say, Trademaster baKong.”
“Listen, young chubb. Their species have built major cities in climate zones ranging from A2 to E4, on their homeworld. Furthermore, those cities were founded in Early Industrial or even Pre-Industrial settings, with only the most primitive environmental-moderation techniques available. They can handle both room temperature and the horrid chill-damp of the Wonnors with panache, largely due to those coverings. Our visitors from Earth are natural diplomats because of their environmental flexibility, and a significant part of that flexibility comes from their being a dapper people.”
There is a great temptation to make this “adapt-a-bull” and that would be… perhaps unseemly… were I do commit it. That said, I will be unseemly enough to encourage others to at least ponder such a thing. }:o)
“Honestly, dear, I don’t know where we’d keep it. It’s a great idea, but no. We can’t participate in the adopt-a-bull program.”
Something *like* that yes, but without the vowel-change.
One would think bulls are too bull-headed to adapt — they expect US to adapt to them.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, as was often his custom, on a dark and stormy night, Hank was quite busy building his combination table, stove, chair, ladder, liquor cabinet.
The adorable Jane asked him: “Hey, Hank, what are you gonna call it?
Hank replied: “Isn’t it obvious? It’s an AdapTable!”
“It’s not supposed to do that!”
“Yep, Sealed? Gonna be bumpy. Gottem?”
“Contact. They’re on. Flipping now.” The world tumbled, only his harness holding him to the seat.
“Roger. Jumping… Now!” For one heart stopping moment, every light on the console flickered, before he heard that familiar engine whine. Then, darkness.
A Biden Ballad, with apologies to Dean Martin
A, he’s adaptable
B, he’s so bribable
C, he’s culpable as hell
D, he’s delirious
And E, he’s egregious
And F, he’s failed at everything he’s done
G, he’s no genius
H, his views are heinous
I, he’s an idiot as well
J, he’s a total jerk
And K, he makes me want to keck
And L, he’s a liar through and through
M, N, O, P
I could go on all day
But I won’t
“How adaptable are you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, how adaptable are you when it comes to changes in reality?”
“Like this…” he opened his hand to show her the ball of fire resting on his palm.
“Oh! Um…okay. Um…lemme get some marshmallows!” She ran into the kitchen.
“More adaptable than I gave her credit for,” he muttered.
The white-haired man shrugged. “We will have to manage. Many people assured me that we form bands when four or five arrive, and no one escapes to form another by lingering longer. We are stuck with each other.”
He sat back. “I’m Karl.”
They looked at her.
The Democrats pretend they are adaptable, but they always do exactly the same thing. They treat every Congressional bill as a peanut-butter-and-shit sandwich. Every single time, they try to cram in as much shit as possible before everybody else chokes on it.
“Check it out,” said Gruesome Mary proudly. “It’s a carbon fiber umbrella. Graphene fabric with nanotube reinforcement, spine and ribs are carbon laminate with superconductors woven in. It’ll take a full-power plasma bolt or a .308 round, and you can use it as a bat too. Adaptable from offense to defense with a push of a button.” She demonstrated the button pushing, the umbrella expanding and contracting on command.
Henrietta looked out at the dark and stormy night. “Uh huh,” she said skeptically. “Will it keep the rain off?”
Gwendolyn’s rendition of “Solveig’s Song” left Nigel Slim-Howland’s dinner guests transfixed; she even provided her own orchestral accompaniment. “Absolutely splendid,” whispered Nigel to his butler Jenkins. “I had no idea Gwendolyn cold be so much more than a maid!”
“We were both programmed to be extremely adaptable,” replied Jenkins gravely.
“could be,” not “cold be.”
The best editing is done after hitting “submit.”
The shell of the escape pod rippled for a moment, then it shed the outer ablative layers in a neat, quiet pile that the survivor would use later. Several small probes extended outwards as the pod AI sampled everything-air, soil, EM frequencies, and the AI considered everything. The AI also locked it’s sensors on the nearby local aborigine and began running scans on the aborigine’s structure.
In less than two seconds, the AI had a very good sense of aborigine and the world it was on. Analysis of a clean and remote brain-state copy of the aborigine and it’s digital hardware, and EM frequency analysis gave the AI the best options for the creation of the shell for the survivor it carried.
Massively adaptable quantum machines began to assemble in the inner shell of the pod, under the AI’s direction. A form began to grow within the inner location of the pod, assembling a form similar to the local aborigine, but designed to both carry the full capability of the survivor and the AI itself. In addition, cultural memes that would allow the survivor to have optimum aid from the nearby aborigine were incorporated. The assembly continued, and the pod began to build the second-tier hardware the shell would need to make the most of the ablative layer materials.
The assembly was complete, and the pod was already venting waste heat in the form of steam as the last of the water allocated to construction was used. The outer shell of the pod began to split smoothly apart in six sections, as the AI would use the materials to create sufficient protective garments and peeled away from the shell cleanly. Cognitive functions in the shell would begin shortly, but the AI had ensured that the shell would have enough kinetics training to operate for the first few moments.
The new shell, slightly shorter than the aborigine and in the form of the female reproductive pair of the local aboriginal species, staggered out as the shell’s logic processors began to fully integrate the survivor’s brain state. Unfortunately, the whole system would get caught in the tricks of the English language, when the shell asked the aborigine, “Leader me to your take, hello.”
And then, she collapsed as the survivor’s brain state rebooted.
*Grave tones* We’re gonna need a bigger carp launcher.
We can adapt the pad, says the aardvark.
“So,” said the woman, her voice rich, deep, and musical. For a moment, he caught a glimpse of her eyes, one brown, one green, before she turned her head farther and her mask hid them both. “You think you might help me? Without knowing what I wish?”
“I can turn my hand to many skills,” said Brian.
Sam suppressed a groan as he saw all the human-style chairs had been taken. Now his choices were to stand for the entire period or use one of the cushioned stools the Chongu preferred.
“Intelligence is behavioral adaptability,” Mr. Lichtenberg would always say, back at his old school on Earth.
It took a moment to figure out how to sit on it, since it was short enough that his knees would be up to his chest if he sat like he would on a three-legged stool back on Earth. And he couldn’t sit on his haunches like Chongu, the way that made them look like human-sized house cats.
Better to sit cross-legged — crisscross applesauce, they called it in the primary grades. “Indian-style,” Grandma Bernstein would say. “That’s what we always called it, until someone decided it was racist. Which is ridiculous, because dot Indians, the kind from India, sit that way too. It’s one of the first things you learn if you ever take yoga.”
“You will never be so flexible in your skills as a wizard,” said the wizard, as if to a small child.
Aidan’s eyes narrowed.
“Still, there is much that you can learn about unusual ways to cast spells. Your teachers should have learned that about your light spells, teaching you.”
“Why have you changed your avatar picture, Ash? I thought the rutabaga weedpot was cute.”
“It’s an experiment to see if I can use my jewelry website QR code as my avatar image. Maybe someone will notice the change and check out the hovercard, or my profile. I added my website to it.”
“And what made you think of doing this?”
“I’m trying to adapt to the lockdown restrictions. Since I can’t sell my MAGA jewelry in person I need to let people know about it some other way. I don’t like FB and I don’t tweet, so I thought perhaps a more subtle approach would work.”
“It might. I’ll even check it out myself. Good luck with it!”
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