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. ;)*


WITH A STORY BY SARAH A. HOYT AND ON SALE FOR 99C:  Parallel Worlds: The Heroes Within.



Heroes and villains are not always on the opposite ends of the spectrum of good and evil. Sometimes, all that separates them is a fine line. The stories within “Parallel Worlds” explore the lives of such heroes and what drives them — and what keeps them from crossing over to the other side.

This anthology features nineteen stories from bestselling, award-winning, and emerging authors, and includes brand new, never-before seen stories from Jim Butcher’s, “Dresden Files,” Robert Asprin’s “The Myth-Adventures” by Jody Lynn Nye, and Neo Edmund’s “Red Riding Alpha Huntress Chronicles.”

[My story is Dead End Rhodes, which unfortunately planted a series-seed in my head.  I’m finishing Other Rhodes, to hopefully release next month.  Stay tuned – SAH]



Robert’s and my story is one of the origin stories for a character in a world Robert and I created years ago…. and which we’ll start doing novels in soonest, I promise.

FROM MARY CATELLI: Journeys And Wizardry


Drunken mermaids — a clan cursed to become crows — a magic book that even the Nameless Necromancer fears — and more in this reprint collection of thirteen stories and a poem.



Trouble comes to Mossy Creek.

Jaqueline “Jax” Powell left town after high school, wanting to put as many miles between small town Texas and herself as possible. Mossy Creek, however, isn’t your normal small town and once it gets its hooks in you, you never really escape. It has already brought home two of its wayward children. Will Jax be the third?

When her best friend and “sister from another mister”, Annie Caldwell, is attacked and left for dead, Jax wastes no time in returning home. But is Mossy Creek ready for her return? Before long, everyone will remember why she’d been called “the rogue” growing up. An Earth Elemental, she will join with Wind and Fire to protect those they love.

As storm clouds gather over the small town, danger grows. Jax will have to use all her gifts as an Other to keep her friends safe.

But will it be enough?

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: SNIFF

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

  1. “Sniff Sniff”

    “What’s wrong Wayne?”

    “I’m one of the best Ultra detectives in the US. I’m supposed to sniff out crime not to get a bad cold.”

  2. She started to drink, then spit the water back into the glass and snapped out a strident, “Don’t drink it!!” in a voice that cracked like thunder.

    He froze with the cup in front of his face. “Whaa…?

    She sniffed her cup suspiciously and frowned. “This water contains almost one percent thallium sulfate. Half a cup could kill you. A full one definitely would.”

    He sniffed his. “I don’t smell anything.”

    “You wouldn’t. It appears that my senses are augmented, along with my strength and reflexes.”

    He looked at the kitchen sink they had just filled the cups from. “But that would mean—”

    “Yes. Since they can’t reach us directly, our enemies have poisoned the water. We must warn everyone, at once!”

  3. “Normally I try to write a cutey, perhaps a bit witty vignette that runs exactly, not one word more, not one word less, than fifty, and that includes, or at least alludes, to the provided prompt word.” he said.

    “However, today, considering the state of the world, the lack of liquor in my cabinet and the price of tea in China, I doubt if I could bring my thoughts together even in I wrote 78 words.” he sniffed.

  4. “SNIFF? What does that mean?”

    “Synthetic Nuclear Insect F-garbled F-garbled. No we do NOT know what the last couple words are.
    And that’s even scarier than the first three. The SNIT was bad enough.”


    “Synthetic Nuclear Insect Technology. The.. results were FAR more carnivorous than anticipated.”

    “Uh oh.”


  5. She sniffed. The air smelled of stone and metal. Whatever those delicate shapes were, they were not the leaves and branches they looked like. They had certainly come from the hand of a master, and no master would waste this effort on mere artwork, were it to be placed here.

  6. He sniffed as he entered the house, and then instinctively went for his sidearm: his nose had been assaulted by the the acrid stench of burned powder and sweet, coppery aroma of blood. He fell back to call for backup, knowing already that it was too late: Mendoza’s people had beaten him there.

      1. Really? A carp? We don’t keep Fluffy around only because a fire-breathing dragon is convenient for BBQ.

        1. The Carp is for DGM. Fluffy can have Comrade Joe.

          Barbecuing ants for the Aardvark must be finicky work, though.

            1. Well, I don’t know what the PUNishment is for making us all break out the Mental Floss, so I just went with a Carp.

              Once again, maybe we need a schedule of Appropriate Piscine Projectiles for various transgressions? Ranging from a Guppy for minor gaffes, to a Great White Shark for the worst trolls?

              1. I believe I’ve already recommended “Boot to the Head” for non-pun-based offenses, but you’d have to ask Sarah for an official policy.

  7. There was this loud snort as the creature sniffed the air, and it’s cold blue eyes looked at me. From around me, I could hear the crunching of hooves in snow as the long-legged creatures that only looked like horses came out of the forest. On each of them was a monster that only looked like a man in armor.

    I didn’t have to look around, as the sense of fear was complete. They had me surrounded, but they were waiting for something or someone.

    What they were waiting for came out of the deepest part of the forest, with all the delicacy of a lady’s first appearance at a ball.

    Which it was for her.

  8. As the magic faded, the water dragon slumped against the cave wall, unmoving.

    The princess murmured “Is she… dead?”

    The fire drake sniffed along the water dragon’s muzzle and neck, tipping his head at her ribcage to listen. Princess and knight jumped as he suddenly punched just under her ribs.

  9. Cari and her aunt watched the end of the Jot and Miki teleplay, sniffing and dabbing their eyes with disposable tissues. They do this every year, Max thought. The same teleplay, the same reaction. Granted, it had a sad ending, but shouldn’t they have gotten used to it by now?

  10. The dogmen plugged along. Now and again their leader stopped to sniff, and plunged onward through the forest. Aidan tried to tell himself that their having come through the forest and leaving by it as well showed that they feared to be caught, but no one appeared to catch them.

  11. Max buried his face in a pillow, trying to block out every sight, smell and sound on the train. He wanted no-one to see him like this.

    “You alright, Max?” said Mother, sitting next to him.

    “Just allergies,” said Max. “I’m fine.”

    Poor boy, thought Mother. He misses Cari already.

  12. Roses brown and gray. Angela looked at them with narrowed eyes. Then she walked up to the bushes and sniffed. They were, indeed, scented, but mildly.
    “Roses white and red are best,” said Tristan.
    “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” said Celestine, tartly. “They have gray lilies as well.”

  13. There’s something about certain scents that reach deep into memory. My grandfather, who fought in Vietnam, would have flashbacks when he smelled tropical plants and jungle soil. Dad says that even up here on the Moon, the smell of certain cleaners and lubricants takes him straight back to the Energy Wars, when he flew off carriers. I wonder what odors will take me back to my youth when I grow old. The chickens we had to hand-strip during those first days after the Expulsions when Food and Nutrition’s mechanical processing systems kept breaking down under the increased load? The sweaty-gym-sock odor that lingered everywhere when the life-support systems were struggling to keep up with a population that had doubled, then doubled again?

  14. A tall man stood before the oak, as straight as it was. His hair and beard, both falling to his shoulders, were white as snow, and his robes as well. He looked at her with steady dark eyes.
    No smell of decay hung on the air.
    A raven flew by her as if it had perched on the wagon. She wondered, uneasily, if it had. Glossy black, it perched on a tree near the man. They looked gravely at each other, and vanished.
    “Can we stop?” Felix’s muffled voice came from behind. “Is it safe?”
    She hesitated. “I think so.”

  15. I finally was able to open my eyes. A young woman in scrubs was sitting beside my bed watching me. “Ah, you are awake then. Here, you’ll want this.” She holdout a cup with a straw, and I tasted the most wonderful water I’ve ever tasted.


    “You are in a sniff – a Skilled Nursing Facility – in northern California. You’ve been unconscious for six weeks. You were brought in by the Coast Guard when you crashed at sea. What is your name?”

    “Nick – my name’s Nick Scallodian.’ But my mind was racing. It was no surprise I had been in a coma – the last thing I remembered was lying in my cold sleep pod aboard the starship Truth Or Beauty and getting the shots to put me under as we got ready to shift into hyper.

    But there had not been a place called California for almost a hundred fifty years, not since the great receivership in the leadup to the Third World War. And If I was really a couple hundred years in the past on Earth, I should still be under, and in fact should never have woken up.

    Unless someone had injected with with the cold sleep nanotech recovery shot. Which used tech that would not exist about seven decades.

    So how could that have happened?

  16. Beside her, Rhea sniffed and focused her attention past the casket for a moment. Beyond Rhea, their grandfather Robert sat like an oak statue, as stoic as any Japanese elder could ever hope to be. Grandmother Marion was the only family member Robin could see who was openly weeping. Robin couldn’t see Uncle Dennis and his family filling the row past Gram.

    “A mother shouldn’t survive her children,” Marion murmured.

  17. Siobhan squatted down next to the wilted plant. With a stick she found in the wood she began to dig. Hoping, afraid to hope all the same she came across one and lifted it to her face. Rancid. She found another and sniffed it. It was the same. God! Her stomach ached. Tears traced down through the dirt on her face. Dizziness swept over her. Losing her balance, she fell back on the boggy ground; soaking her dress. That’s just the end. Now her bum was freezing and she had nothing to eat. There were no options left. She could sit in the field and starve, or freeze, or she could walk down the hill to Dugan’s and sell herself for her dinner. With luck, Lucy had said, in a few weeks she could make enough to buy passage to America. She sat in the mud looking at her hands, unable to decide.

  18. The spell gave him 8 minutes to work his way through the assembled wolf packs and escape. He tucked his new tail between his legs – just far enough, he hoped — and lowered his eyes and stepped out of the cave.

    He suddenly wondered—do wolves sniff each other’s butts?

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