Writing Challenge 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. ;)*


510kscvzxmlON SALE FOR 99C THIS WEEK!

April is an exceptional young lady and something of a snoop. After a chance encounter with a spy, she finds herself involved with political intrigues that stretch her abilities. There is a terrible danger she, and her friends and family, will lose the only home she has ever known, and be forced to live on the slum ball Earth below. It’s more than an almost fourteen year old should have to deal with. Fortunately she has a lot of smart friends and allies. It’s a good thing because things get very rough and dicey. They challenge the political status quo, and with a small population the only advantage they have in war is a thin technological edge.
The entire “April” series is building towards a merge with the future series that starts with “Family Law”.

FROM PAM UPHOFF:  Warrior At Large (Wine of the Gods Book 52.


Ice is back, and back in trouble! Fired from the Directorate, he’s working three part time jobs, and tripping over problems that a Warrior of the One can’t ignore. Spies from other Worlds and corrupt politicians is just the start

And with no one ordering him around, he’s free to deal with problems his way.

FROM MARY CATELLI:  The Witch-Child and the Scarlet Fleet.


Trapped in a pirate port. . . 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.


*No word for the challenge.

Write the opening two paragraphs of a story OR a two paragraph novel blurb based on THIS picture. SAH*


30 thoughts on “Writing Challenge and Book Promo

  1. “Hey Two-Legged! Do you have anything for me to eat while we’re waiting for something to happen here?”

  2. Even with the unimaginable emptiness of space stretching in every direction, it was still possible to feel both crowded and alone. Crowded, because while space is limitless, the space station is not, and you are living in the pockets of a few thousand of your closest enemies. Alone, because being alone in the crowd is timeless.
    It’s times like these when your need the scattered diamonds over the cloud blanket, and the company of a
    :page break over title:
    Station Cat

  3. Once upon a time, probably not as long ago as you might guess, a Fey Princess was wed to a Goblin Chieftain’s son. It was done to end a war that was doing neither Race any good, before it came to the attention of the Humans, for while they once held Humans in contempt, both Goblin and Fey have learned a healthy respect, not to say fear, of the Human magic called ‘engineering’. So, where the Magical Races once ruled, now Humans hold sway. The Goblins mostly live quietly on the fringes of the world, and the Fey have given up magical duels and Wild Hunts in favor of scoring points off each-other at fashionable cocktail parties. They are the oh-so-elegant guests that add so much sparkle to Elite Society in New York and London and Paris, but white nobody can quite remember inviting (not that anyone would make a fuss).

    In due time, the union produced a daughter, who was a little of both Races. She wasn’t beautiful, by either standard, but she was as subtle as her Mother’s people and as cunning as her Father’s, belonging wholly to neither. She studied the magic of the Humans, as well as that of her own peoples’, and since she did not belong in either circle she spent much of her time on the borders of things, watching, companioned by other creatures that find such places congenial. Cats, and crows, and rats, and the like.

  4. Waiting… He always seemed to be waiting. The far off stars, and clouds looking like ocean waves, or ocean waves looking like clouds. It just took a moment of altering ones perspective to get the desired view. In reality it was just a perch beholding infinity. Moments or centuries it didn’t matter how long he had been watching. The peace it brought him was the only solace he had or would have. That much he knew. His reverie was interrupted by the soft pad of cat feet. He sighed knowing what was about to come.
    “It’s time for you to go,” the impossible cat whispered to him coming in close for on last skritch on it’s head.

    1. I like this, partly because I had the same feeling of ocean waves. Although I’d rather see the cat be his companion in wherever he is going, than be left behind.

  5. This went live while I was posting a comment on the last. So I’m cutting and pasting the bit that might be worth seeing.
    Sarah, shoot me an email. (I’m presuming you can lift it from this comment form, but if not, let me know.)
    I might be able to help you with sound editing/production. (Depending on what you want, of course. I can do a fair bit, but I’m a hobbyist, not a professional.)
    Your efforts here and elsewhere have been a bright spot. I’d like to donate some time, and reflect a bit of that.

  6. Visualizing daylight had kept him digging. His reward, along with bitingly cold fresh air, was a midnight star field, brilliant and distant over a silverscape of mountainous drifts and shadowy white valleys. He was thankful there was no wind. There was no visible horizon, either, and he couldn’t discern any landmarks. He’d never seen so many stars, and had no idea which direction he was facing. His teeth were chattering before he reminded himself that, no matter what, he could not possibly be more than a few yards from home, back down the tunnel that he had just completed with such effort. It was night time, was all. He would go back down and close up and warn up and have a snack and a sleep and then it would be daylight when he crawled up the tunnel again.

    He heard his own breath, the frosty crunch of ice under foot, the susurration of clothing against the snow… and a faint meow. He whipped his head to the left so fast he nearly fell, but saw nothing. More slowly (‘take it easy, fool, you’ve taken a chill’) turning to the right, he saw a slim form approaching along the crisp edge of a drift. His eyes were still adjusting, but, yes, it was a cat. When it reached the dim ring of lantern light he recognized one of the barn cats. Something familiar. Known. He reached out to the animal and it swarmed into his arms, as desperate as he.

  7. Some nights, the fog was thick enough to see the stars. All you had to do was wait until you could see the dew dripping down the lenses of the security cameras, and hiding everything from the guard towers. Then you could run from the Unapproved People’s dormitory, out across the Useful Fields, slip the barbed wire fence by the culvert and follow the little paths the cats knew through the minefields. From there, it was a short, steep scrabble up the Flattened Top Mountain until you came out above the fogbank.

    Wangyu often wondered if the stars knew what State Security did to his people in the Re-education camp below, it the fog hid that from them, too. All he knew was that he wanted to escape up there, out so far away nobody knew his world even existed. And tonight – tonight was the perfect night to try. He waited until the lights of the monitoring drones were out of sight on their circuit, and took his stolen lantern, vest, and clipboard, walking up the path as though he was in charge of every square inch of it. At his feet, the sacred cats were grey shadows against the stone, pacing him. At the top, yes, there was the starship he’d seen come in earlier today, its hatch still open and ramp down, and crew standing there by a broken loader.

    The captain was saying to one of her officers, in a beautifully foreign accent, “We don’t need a damn alternator; we need a cat herder.”

    Wangyu knew then that the spirits of his ancestors must have heard all his prayers, for such a chance. “I can herd cats. How many do you want, and where?”

  8. Two thousand feet below, the lights of the city were dimmed by the layer of mist and fog. The boy had given up trying to find any familiar landmarks and now stared pensively down at the blurred city.

    “So, ‘we’ll go to the top of the Tower,’ you said. ‘It will be fun,’ you said.”

    The boy shrugged. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

    The cat flicked his tail. “And have you figured out how we’re going to get down?”

    “I was hoping you might have an idea.”

    The cat drew his body up into the shape of feline offense. “Me?! You’re the one who got us into this mess.”

  9. He sat, lost in thought, staring over the void. The station was so different from the planet-side farm. So empty. So… sterile.

    He absently raised his hand to scratch the head of the cat that rubbed up against his wrist… and then startled, because there were no cats of the station.

    He looked down at his hand, held in a petting position, only air under his fingers.

  10. The night sky called to him…

    Orrin was six when his teacher made him hold the sign. Then she’d smacked him so he would cry and made him pick it up again so she could snap a picture. The revolution came when he was nine. At ten, they took him and set to making him a soldier for the New Men. Orrin turned out to be a very good soldier indeed.

    …And he would answer!

    The stars in the night sky did not move. That was what the State’s teachers said, and so it was Truth. Except for one that did. Orrin knew this contradicted the State and therefore would get him killed if anyone knew. But, so could the banned books he’d hidden away. And the cat that nobody else saw, that he wasn’t quite sure was real. Either one was enough for the State to make an example of him, and the State controlled the world. Orrin would have to leave the world behind to escape.

  11. >> “Write the opening two paragraphs of a story OR a two paragraph novel blurb based on THIS picture. SAH*”

    “I don’t get it,” I meowed aloud.

    “Get what?” my human asked.

    “Why do the people who write these stories keep breaking the words and paragraph limits?”

    “Well, they’re writers. They’re a lot like you cats.”

    My ears perked up. “How so?” I chirped inquisitively.

    “Well, since when does a cat think the rules apply to him?

    “Point taken. But then why does Sarah keep repeating that rule? She must realize by now that it will be ignored.”

    “Because Sarah’s a writer too.”


    “Well, you know how you cats never quite get used to other people not obeying your every whim?”

    “Yeah, I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with you two-legs.”

    My human laughed at me, and I felt my eyes narrow and my ears flatten. Clearly I need to train my pets better.

      1. I didn’t!

        Excuse me while I lick my paw and wash my face with a smug feline grin as I say that.

  12. On a cold, calm and starbright night, pondering existence, I was sitting on a fence twix earth and sky. I asked; “What is the purpose of it all?”

    The cat said; “Me”, so I cuffed him in the head, “ow!”

    He should have realized it was a rhetorical question .

    1. On another bright and starlit night he Lone Space Ranger and his trusty sidekick Tom Cat, were surrounded. Star Lions to the left and right, Crater cheetahs before and behind.

      Well old friend” said the Ranger, “It looks like we’re done for.”

      Tom Cat replied, “What’s you mean, we, human?”

  13. What would you do if you found a magic cat?

    Tracy had been struggling ever since her parents had to sell the farm and move to the city. The girls at school considered her tomboy interests disgusting, and the teachers scorned her as a semi-literate hick. The day she went to feed the community cat colony and one of them spoke to her, she didn’t think twice about taking him up on his offer.

    She thought it would be a brief visit to a magical world. In all the stories she’d read, the hero always had to go back at the end. But now she’s caught in the midst of a cosmic war and there’s no guarantee she even can go back home again.

  14. Under the stars lit by a lamp, I enslaved my first human. The poor wretch was ripe for the picking and I pounced on the chance to follow my ancestors footsteps. I am Stalker of Large Prey and this is the story of my slave.

    Under the stars lit by a lamp, Fluffy saved my life. Grief had broken me, the loss of everything that mattered to me. Everything that made life worth living, gone in a fiery crash. I am Amos Eli and this is the story of my salvation.

  15. Lantern, beach, cat. More accurately, a classic hurricane lantern with a light almost twice as bright as the harsh fishy smell of burning whale oil could ever generate. The beach was immaculate-polished white sand in range of the lantern, a few small stones and shells for variety and the steady wash of the surf just outside of the line of sight. The cat walking right at the tide line was a pure-breed American short-hair, black fur brushes and polished to a fine shine, only marked by four sharp white lines on both sides of it’s body right on the stifle. The cat stopped about three body lenghts from him, examined the man carefully, and said with an oddly feminine voice, “You’re running late right now, you know.”

    “Have I ever been on time by your standards, when you’ve called me?” he asked cautiously.

    The cat considered this for a moment and shrugged. “I will admit to understanding your limitations,” the cat carefully agreed. “You’re needed again, and I know that we’re asking for you too soon.”

  16. Hebrin noticed A’garog’s expression as he entered the viewroom. It was hard not to notice A’gragog at any time since the Hepabarian stood almost eight feet tall, and the vestigial whiskers that graced his not un-ample chin brushed the floor. A’garog stood stock still at the viewing window. The swirling stars of the Comebus regula were in full display. They weren’t actually swirling of course, but that’s what everyone called them anyway. Hebrin silded up to his friend and coughed, careful not to step on a tendril.
    “So, old boy, what you looking at?”
    A’garog’s made a sound like someone crushing oyster shells.
    “What? The stars? They are quite beautiful tonight.”
    More crunchingly gargling came from A’garog.
    “Oh, so you like that globular cluster? I thought it was in particular, striking.”
    A’garog turned to look at his friend. He sighed. “No, Heb, I was trying to make you understand. When something is so strikingly dramatic, so gorgeous as this, there are no words to describe it. Only the feelings from the hearts will do. Now will you please shut up?”

  17. Write the opening two paragraphs of a story OR a two paragraph novel blurb… Or perhaps one of those short “teaser” excerpts instead..?

    “I still say a barn roof ridge is far more fit for my kind than yours,” said Hobbes, trotting up to where his friend sat looking at the fast-setting starfire that, for now, outshone the last dregs of dusk.

    “Just got finished my evening chores, Hobbes, and this is about the only place high enough to still see the Cloud Net and near enough to reach in time. Soon enough it’ll be hidden by the sun, and months till it’ll rise up into the morning sky to be seen so clear again.” There was a sound in Audie O’Daill’s voice that was not lost on his younger friend, born a coal-black Kitten when he was nine.

    Hobbes sat down on his back feet, comfortable on the ridge of a two-story barn in what to most two-legged people was nearly night. “You see a very big world up there, don’t you?” His own speech was more spoken ideograms than Indo-European-style words, and Audie had compared it to a puzzle worse than Japanese in school; but for any who’d had much to do with Cats it was a skill learned very well and early.

    “They say it’s an ocean of night with islands full of light and no farther shore, but to me it’s always been the Net” — its right name, to the few that cared for such things, was the Gossamer Net Nebula — “that made it all real. Bigger than worlds, bigger than star systems, lit up for all to see. Big-ness right up there, bright as the strings of bulbs at harvest fair just before the fireworks.

    “Saying to all who bother to listen, here I am, come on and see, come to visit.”

    “If that is where you truly believe your feet will lead you, Audie O’Daill, then I will come with you.” There wasn’t much inflection in what he said or how; but anyone who knew Cats knew they said nothing they did not mean.

    “You’d do that for me? Really? Not knowing what you’d get or be giving up?” It was the same sound in his eighteen-year-old’s voice as when his father, every once in a while, said “If you’re all caught up for now, come with me to market.”

    “For you, and for me too,” said Hobbes Rousseau, who’d chosen his grown-up name “because my state of nature is to make the life of trespasser mice most nasty, brutish, and short.” Licking an already-clean front paw, “Never you mind how my kind live maybe half or a third as long as yours. You are not the only one who sits up here nights, gazing off into your deep black sea.” He smiled a comfortable predator’s smile. “And wondering what treats may swim in it.”

    (Shares, obviously, a bit of background with last week’s vignette. At least I got to figure out how Cats actually talk.)
    (Take II, it’s — still — WordPress.)

Comments are closed.