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. ;)*


A mysterious castle holds an evil wizard.

How evil — the knights only learn when they come to the very gate, where he can wield the Lifestone.


The Fair Folk live in the neighborhood, disreputable with their magic, and Rosemary Whitney ignores them as best she can, like all respectable people.

But Old Peg starts to tell a story, about changelings, and whether Rosemary Whitney is herself, or Old Peg’s daughter Mad Nan. . . .

FROM AMANDA S. GREEN:  Cat’s Paw: A Nocturnal Awakenings Prequel.

Five years after the world learned shapeshifters are real, Mackenzie Santos is at a crossroads. Her responsibilities to the local pride and the Tribunal are taking more and more of her time. As the Dallas Police Department’s official liaison with the federal government on all things dealing with shapeshifters, she often finds herself on the road. That means she is away from her daughter, who is growing up much too quickly. Something has to give, and it might just be the job she loves.

But walking away isn’t going to be easy. Someone out there is determined to prove monsters do walk the face of the Earth and that they are the top of the proverbial food chain. They don’t care how many lives are lost or how many innocents are hurt. This is war and Mac and those she loves are in the middle of ground zero.

Leaving the DPD may no longer be an option. Yet the restrictions placed on her as a cop may prevent her from stopping the carnage, especially since she doesn’t know where the danger comes from or where it will strike next.

ELLIE FERGUSON:  A Magical Portent (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 4).

Storm clouds gather. An unknown danger nears, one that may spell the end of Mossy Creek, TX, and all those who live there.

Dr. Jax Powell and her best friends, her sisters from other misters, are determined to do whatever it takes to protect their town and loved ones. Each of them, once considered the town’s wayward children, have returned home. All but one: Magdalena “Maddy” Reyes. She’s not refused to return to Mossy Creek, but she appears to have dropped off the face of the Earth—or at least from the streets of Dublin.

Can they find Maddy and save their town or is it already too late?

A Magical Portent is novella-length story that follows Rogue’s Magic.


Trust me.
There are things in the lab no-one ever talks about.
Risk everything.
How far would you go to save a friend’s last hope?

Three friends, one fateful conversation. You can’t let your closest friends do something drastic, not if you can help it. When one of you has a a brilliant mind, another is a skeptic, and the last one is willing to be a guinea pig… should you stop them?

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: Wide-eyed.

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

  1. He took a drink and his eyes opened wide. “Man alive that’s strong coffee!”

    [Ok, I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee today. [Grin]]

    1. $HOUSEMATE has taken to some Vietnamese coffee. I tried some, not doing the sugared milk dilution thing. It might not be Klatchian Coffee, but I can see it being close.

        1. It is meant to be sipped slowly, I think – and it takes time to ‘properly’ prepare. Arabica for flavor, robusta for caffeine, a bit of chocolate for more flavor (and another of the methylxanthines), fine ground so high surface area. Packed tight so the hot water will take time to filter through the stuff. I’d say it’s almost a ritual to prepare, but it’s not much different in time and fiddliness than the French Press I often use.

  2. “You can always tell their personalities by the shape of their skull.” Hinai interjected. “There’s no need for an aptitude test. Morson looked at his as if he were a madman. “You must be kidding. What is this some sort of nouveau phrenology supposition?”
    “Not at all. Besides, Phrenology was studying the shape of the bumps on the head. My Whole-Skull approach is much more scientific.”
    “Oh, come on. I’m not going to indulge such quackery.”
    “No, Look at that subject there! the wide-eyed set of his face, The pointy nose…”
    “Hinai, your certifiable. Plus I suppose you are going to expound on its bushy tail next!”
    “No, look! A squirrel!”

  3. Maxim and Smith stood at the edge of the floe. Smith shook his head. “If we launch our canoe and this thing closes up, we’ll be smashed to smithereens.” Maxim snorted. “Coward! I can navigate this no problem. Besides, these floes are miles across. They aren’t going to be able to just close up in an instant.”
    “You go ahead, I’d rather freeze to death slowly than be smushed.”
    “Very well!”
    With that Maxim shoved the canoe down into the water, as he paddled away he called back over his shoulder, “I’ll send someone for your corpse in the spring!”
    At that moment the ice began to surge. In an instant the two titanic bergs smashed together, crushing Maxim and his fragile craft. He sank below the ice into oblivion.
    The next day the rescue plane picked up Smith at his makeshift tent of Seal skins and whale blubber. When the pilot asked what happened to his partner he shook his head and said,
    “It was horrible. A clear cut case of Ice-wide shut!”

  4. >> “Your writing prompt this week is: Wide-eyed.”

    I didn’t realize you recycled writing prompts! Well, if you can do that then I can recycle my writing too:

    It occurred to him that attending a party of the Philosophy Department faculty and accepting a dare from one of the professors while drunk was probably not the wisest move. If only that had occurred to me BEFORE the party, he thought, as he stared in the mirror at the one-word question that had been tattooed across his forehead.

    On his arrival in class the teacher’s assistant took one look at him and asked “When did you get why-dyed?”

  5. The mechanical bird began to sing. Rosine looked at Florio, who held out his hand. She set the shadows loose as she reached for it. They were not children, to be wide-eyed with wonder at the sight, but they had asked to see what had happened. She would show it.

  6. “I never met your friend Maryann,” he said, “but from what you told me about her, of course I will be glad to put her in a song.”

    He started, “One eye on the pot, the other up the chimney…”

    “No!” she shouted, “I said wide eyed, not wall eyed!”

  7. “This next assignment is quite the little oddity.” Chief brought up a planet for them, looking like much the mix of greens, browns, and blues wrapped in white clouds as any other. “It’s a farming planet.”
    “A farming planet. What the hell is a farming planet? I’ve heard of desert planet and waterworlds, but farming planet?” Akrep kept an amused look on his face, but his eyes were cold, darting between the data coming up on their pads, his wife, and Chief.
    “Have you ever wondered where your oatmeal comes from? Or your steak? There’s no easy way to grow it without gravity.” Chief pulled up tables, and then pictures of endless expanded of green, gently rolling hills. “Fresia is one of those rare planets that conforms so closely to Terran biology that we didn’t even have to terraform it. We just had to settle down and start planting. The farmers who colonized it specialize in bulk grains and large animal meat, both of which take a minimum of people and a maximum of space. They ship from their stations all over the quadrant.”
    “If it’s so close, why isn’t it heavily populated?”
    “That’s a good question, isn’t it? They say you have to be really touched in the head to stay there. Something about the place drives people out, and it’s not the farmers themselves. The shrinks theorize it’s Uncanny Valley – that it’s so very close to what we think of as earth, but not quite the same, that it creeps people out.”
    “Interesting theory.” Akrep didn’t believe it for a moment.
    “Yeah. I believe it about as much as I believe the archeologists when they say your wife is playing with a religious artifact, over there.” They looked at Raina, and she stopped twirling her runestick and looked at them with wide eyes, faking innocence. “But the folks on the ground either can’t, or won’t, say why.”
    “So, where do we come in?”
    “There are some interests, tied directly to our least-favourite aliens by funding, trying to manipulate the commodity markets and drive prices through the floor, with the specific intention of bankrupting and seizing the entire colony. Yeah, I know, that’s nothing new. And if it weren’t a significant food source for the quadrant, we wouldn’t care. We’ve blocked them on the grounds of threatening security and stability, and are already taking them apart, without ever once setting foot down in the gravity well.” Chief leaned forward. “But here’s the interesting part. When we seized their comms, the buggers weren’t trying to starve us out as a direct effect. That was a side bonus; they really want that planet.”
    “As a base for themselves?”
    “You’d think. There’s something strange going on down there. HQ is wondering if it isn’t tied to why nobody will stay there… if it’s not some forgotten tech they’re trying to recapture.”
    “Ah.” Akrep looked over at his wife, and she looked back at him, a muscle jumping in her jaw. “And since we have experience operating in ruins, they’re sending us to go poke the ruins and see what blows up in our face, while the locals try their best to kill us?”

    1. It does make me want to read more. But I don’t see any mention of ruins until that last paragraph.

  8. She stopped, pushing back the hair the wind was blowing with her free hand, her right hand holding a white flower he had not seen before. Then she noticed him. Her eyes widened.
    “Sir? Are you lost? We can give you hospitality, and directions, at the castle.” She glanced back.

  9. She doubted that even the most wide-eyed and young adventurer, who came here willingly, looked at the prospect here with wonder.
    But it wasn’t going to improve the longer she stood here gawking at it as if someone else would destroy the labyrinth while she waited. She walked briskly forward.

  10. “Oh, look,” caroled a little boy, and the children thundered as a pack down the street. Autumn looked after them, saw them stopping to stare wide-eyed, and shifted to see.
    How had they done that? Great clockwork bears dancing in the street. They waltzed better than some in high society.

  11. I went to the tattoo parlor, and got my eyelids Y’d.. I’m now safe in my deep-underground bunker . HA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ah…..

  12. Cari gaped with wonder as the airship neared its mooring atop the tallest skyscraper in the city, affording her a spectacular view. But next to her, the little stowaway looked up at her with pleading eyes and clung to her more tightly. “Why’s this little guy so scared?” wondered Cari.

  13. The two thugs stared wide eyed at the gun Tarr had produced as if by magic.

    “What the hell is that!”, exclaimed Curly Hair.

    “It’s a double barreled, lever action 12ga.” Said Tarr calmly. “I make them myself. Two rounds chambered, three more in each tube. What will it be, gentlemen? Will you go back to your employer, or will I have to mail you back in a sponge?“

    “If we go back he’ll just send more.”, said Shaved Head.

    “I’m sure your employer has a way to access Interpol files. Tell him to look up Neyland Tarr. There should be enough unredacted information to convince him there are less expensive courses of action.”

    1. Is this Nayland Tarr in any published stories?

      Sounds like an interesting person. 😀

  14. Lizzie grabbed the flashlight from under her pillow, the one with the red light, like Mommy used and shone it on the floor.

    “I ain’t ‘fraid of ya, so you may as well come out.” The sounds and thumping stopped. She moved the light around to see if anything had indeed come out from under the bed. “Come on out.” A sound that resembled a dog snuffling a cold trail answered her. “If ya don’ come out I’ma comin in.” She rolled back on the bed and sat up. Before she could swing her feet over the side something scooted out.

    She stared wide-eyed as something that looked like a cross between hair snarl and gigantic monkey rose up and blinked in the light. The red tinted light reflected off of barely visible teeth, giving the creature an evil looking smile, and long nails.

    *wip, still need to see where it’s going.

  15. Linda’s wide-eyed expression would have been amusing and even fun to watch if it wasn’t for the fact that we were looking at a Fey King in his full glory on the battlefield. Eight feet tall of bronzed, muscular flesh wearing full-plate armor still polished to a mirror shine even with sword and claw and bullet dents, he loomed over us, his body language completely blank. He lowered the point of the two-handed great sword that he wielded like a long sword to the ground, and reached under his chin to undo the strap with long, sensual fingers.

  16. Teaching middle-graders was always an interesting experience. Little kids would get wide-eyed with awe at even simple demonstrations of scientific principles. Older kids and adults understood the importance of learning the things that enabled a lunar settlement to work. But those middle years were the difficult ones. Frustrated that they were too old for childish things but too young for adult privileges, they’d affect an air of being too cool for enthusiasm and spend an entire class session impressing their classmates with their talents at snark.

    Which went double for Sheps. And this class had three of them, all in competition with one another.

  17. I knew she was trouble the moment she walked in. Short, wearing a Japanese schoolgirl outfit, eyes wide open and bigger than they should be in her head. I knew better than to take a case from an anime girl in Toontown, but something whispered that this one was different.

  18. “I’m too late.” The Doctor said, “He’s dead.”
    “No! That can’t be!” Martha yelled, “He was fine just a minute ago. We just called you because he had a bad case of hang-nail strain!”
    “I’m sorry. His heart must’ve given out when I did the extraction…”
    “Hank! Come here quick! He’s Dead!” She shouted.
    Hank entered the room with a shocked and stricken face. He looked from the Doctor to Martha and back. “Why died?”
    “Terminal hang-nail.” Martha sneered.
    John suddenly sat up in the bed. Martha, Hank and the Doctor all jumped away as if they’d been stung.
    “You’re alive!” Hank exclaimed.
    “Who thought I was dead? I pertinear passed out from the pain, but then I guess I just feel asleep.”
    The Doctor shook his head. Sorry Martha, next time I’ll try harder…”
    Martha stepped up between Hank and John on the bed. “Oh, It’s nothing. Thanks Doc, and send me a bill would’ja?”

  19. Two overweight female demonstrators tried to run them down, bearing suspiciously sturdy protest signs.

    He dodged out of the way, she shifted her weight forward and punched them in the face, right-left, hard enough to knock them both on their asses. Protesters froze, wide-eyed with shock. What just happened? That wasn’t supposed to happen! How dare the targets of their anti-oppression hit back?

    He scowled at the mob. “I don’t like to hit women. I guess I’m just sexist that way. My wife, however, does not share that sentiment. She can hit anybody.”

    The aforementioned wife drew back a fist. “Which one of you assholes wants to be next?”

    Right Fist lay on the ground, wailing. Left Fist was trying to sit up, slobbering blood and broken teeth. The mob started to work up their nerve again with a low growl. Another large female charged forward with a long knife held low.

    Nobody saw her move. One second she was about to be stabbed; the next her assailant was on the ground, one leg twisted underneath, arm bent in unnatural places, belly gashed open and the knife handle sticking out of it.

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