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. ;)*

FROM T. L. KNIGHTON: Army of the Forsaken (The Champion’s Cycle Book 2).

Korr has watched as the young, exiled King Darvos is coming into his own, but he still has much to learn. That education is interrupted by a threat to the Bohgan lands they have called home.

Meanwhile, Duke Orlandis continues to seek Darvos, the last real threat to his claim on the Altrian throne. To find him, he’s enlisted the most despicable allies possible.

When these forces make a mistake that could threaten a budding alliance, Princess Lauranna and Darvos find themselves knee deep in a fight of their own.

FROM SARAH D’ALMEIDA: Death of a Musketeer (Mostly because I FINALLY put new covers on this series!)

When D’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis discover the corpse of a beautiful woman who looks like the Queen of France, they vow to see that justice is done. They do not know that their investigation will widen from murder to intrigue to conspiracy, bring them the renewed enmity of Cardinal Richelieu and shake their fate in humanity. Through duels and doubts, they pursue the truth, even when their search brings them to the sphere of King Louis XIII himself and makes them confront secrets best forgotten.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Dragon Blood: A Collection of Short Stories.

(Someone said, having read The Glass Shoe, that he could tell I had improved a lot since I wrote Darkship Renegades. Actually, I suspect if anything I’ve regressed a bunch since then, because there was illness and not writing much for years. It’s just that some styles are more to people’s tastes than others, and of course fantasy and short story is very different from space opera and novel. However it occurs to me most people might have no idea that I write in half a dozen different styles, depending on the genre. So I thought I’d start pushing some of my older collections. And yes, truly, the novels ARE getting finished. 2020 has just been brutal.)

From the trenches of WWI where the Red Baron just can’t help turning into a dragon, to the desert sands of a future world where humans have become something else, from a coffee shop between worlds where magicians gather, to a place where your worst nightmare can love you, let Dragon Blood take you on a series of fantastic adventures.

With an introduction by Pam Uphoff

This collection contains the stories: Rising Above, From Out The Fire, Yellow Tide Foam,
Hot, The Blood Like Wine,The Least Of These Little Ones,
Scraps Of Fog,Something Worse Hereafter,The Littlest Nightmare,Dragon Blood

FROM MARY CATELLI: Magic of the Lost God

The ruins held an ancient magic.

Alice Ladybird learns that her stepsister learned it.

And is using it without shame or pity.What she has not learned is how to stop her.

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: INCOMPETENT

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

    1. I dunno. Some days I think real journalism could be revived easy. Just follow any modern journalist around for a bit, take notes… and procede to do the *exact opposite.*

      I mean, it’d be hard to do any worse. The hard working lads over at the Bee have the tougher job.

      1. Well, it was a journalist who found the tape of Jussie Smollett’s confederates buying the stuff. (His observation was that you did not WANT to know how many stores he visited for that.)

  1. “Is Competent always better than Incompetent? Surely it’s better to face an Incompetent Foe?”

    “Perhaps young one, but you haven’t had to clean up the mess caused by an Incompetent Foe. It is harder to fight an Competent Foe but most of the time they don’t accidently causes the problems that an Incompetent Foe does.”

  2. 2020 has just been brutal

    That it has. Even the Vivaldi browser has, in this wretched year, succumbed to being contaminated with a [ENTIRE DICTIONARY OF VULGARITIES DELETED]* video game. Damnit.

    * No, you do NOT wish to hear me say how I really feel. When I was (somewhat) quoting Churchill about eliminating the traces of Hitler from the earth, I was showing restraint.

  3. *headtilts* I think I have and/or have KULLed most of these already, but I’m checking. 😀

    I like the review somebody left on Dragon Blood about “Each story is like a concentrated book.”

    1. Funny, I’ve been reading some light novels and maybe there’s selection bias and maybe there’s an effect from translation but my reaction is often, “You’re being awfully verbose about awfully little.”

  4. Not a vignette, just an accurate description of a now-blessedly former manager from back when I worked in The Supermarket:

    The man was so incompetent that you could superglue his hands into his back pockets and he still wouldn’t be able to find his own ass!

  5. Not too long ago I was sitting in a cafe in beautiful downtown Fairbanks, Alaska and I asked a friend if she thought a certain presidential candidate could get through a 2 hour debate.

    She replied; “That Depends.”

    I said; “No I meant do you think he’s incompetent, not incontinent.

  6. Off-topic, but I watched an excellent video last night on the Sneaker’s Corner YouTube channel, “The Sharia, featuring Lloyd and Reasoned Opinions”. It starts slow, but tons of good info on why Sharia law is even weirder than you knew.

  7. Bellangere and Hesperia here. Gorman and Ellyn downstairs, with Florio, gathering the meal. None of them could be called incompetent, but they were not a good mix. Four wizards with a bloodkind and a rogue, however much masters of their trades, were not a good mix.
    Footsteps on the stairs.

  8. She looked over the training records, the error logs, the customer comments, the paperwork that came off the suspects’ desks, any and all information that could be gathered.

    The pattern became clear.

    She summoned the executives to present her conclusion. “This was the result of malice.”

  9. I’d much rather be incompetent than incontinent. Also, I’m in compost mentoast…cinnamon mentoast. I’m now in my deep underground bunker, so fire awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy..

  10. “No, that’s not right.”
    “What? She has to be incompetent to have done the job that poorly.”
    “No, you can’t assume incompetence when all the evidence points to her being directed to do it that way. It’s not incompetence when it’s following orders. But I do agree she’ll never moderate another debate ever again. I doubt she cares, though – that side takes care of it’s own as long as they toe the party line. I’m sure there’s already a book deal in the works as a payoff.”

  11. Colonial Reserve Fleet personnel preferred to remember the Finlandia’s destruction in heroic terms; it was less painful to remember crack gunners making their doomed last stand. In more sober moments, they had to admit that a green crew, an equivocating commander, and honestly poor ship handling condemned their shipmates.

  12. Rosine saw him, lit from the street, looking down from the roof. Her heart beat once, twice, thrice. He vanished.
    Florio came up, and she told him.
    He scowled.
    “Gregory’s no fool,” he said. “He did it deliberately.”
    “But,” she said, “he’s no fool. He wasn’t trying to intimidate me.”

  13. “So let us recap,” said the well dressed man. The quite literally faceless minion cowered before him as good minions learn to do very quickly if they wish to survive. Sometimes it even worked.

    “Upon entering my demesne, the persons I sepcifically told everyone to detain -discretely- you decided they were apprehended in the middle of a wedding party attended by every wealthy and influential patron in the city. A party also attended by the biggest gossips, and oh, did you ever give them something to gossip about.

    “Heavies do not ‘blend in.’ At all. That is not, and never will be a skillset needed by such a person. They are instead used where heavy combat is required.

    “Not. At. The. Party.”

    The well dressed man was holding his head now as if in pain. This confused the minion. Not a hard thing to do in the best of times. It tried to cower lower. This did not help either.

    “And then. As if the battle at the party, which completely demolished the building by the way, as if that wasn’t enough! The running fight through the city streets, okay, fine. Once you’ve messed up that badly, I suppose you had to do something to make up for it?”

    The faceless minion nodded its head very quickly.

    “So when they fled into the market district, of course you pursued. And when they dodged around the stalls, you plowed right through, do you know how much that cost? No? Well, that’s what accountants are for, right?”

    More nodding.

    “Which is how you were seen, covered in fruit juices and feathers and somehow still smelling of fish, by not just the market goers, but by the forces of law and order. Whom you then escaped by fleeing through the sewers, abandoning your chase. And then came straight here, is that right?”

    Slower nodding.

    “You are aware that they have trackers, right? Very good ones. They have noses. And you, you… You know what? Fine. Okay. I can work with this.

    “But! You. No biscuit. Out. Away. I’ve work to do. And competent help, it seems, isn’t on the menu today.”

  14. No one looked up as they entered the council chamber, adorned with gold and scarlet, its ceiling a meticulous map of stars.
    The plump men about the table, in scarlet robes and golden badges of office, glared at each other.
    Incompetent, to let the hirelings see your quarrels, thought Robert.

  15. “Alive another day,” whispered one lady, behind her fan.
    “One begins to think,” said another, “that he lives to thwart those who bet on his death.”
    Ivan moved steadily past them. Country chits, new to court. Very new and foolish, to whisper that where he could hear. It was inappropriate.

  16. I know my poor master tries. It’s just that he’s so old that his mind drifts, his hands shake, he doesn’t see as well as he used to, and he slurs his words frequently. For farmer that’s not much of a problem; but an incompetent wizard is down right dangerous!

  17. Lord almighty, Doctor! This is terrible news! Is there a treatment? How am I going to break this to my wife? And we were planning on trying so hard –

    Hold on a minute, son. No treatment is necessary, just a bit of remedial training.

    *Phew* You’re saying that I’m iNCOmpetent.

  18. “Did you think we were some kind of incompetents, Mistress Angela?” said the Hierophant, coldly. “That we could not tell when an acolyte had such a summons?”
    Angela stood, mutely mutinous. She had dreamed for months. They had just noticed.
    But they were incompetents with the authority to exile her.

  19. “It’s not like they are incompetent,” said Rose. “They need more food to be stronger, to make the tools they need to grow more food so they can eat it.”
    Jack gave her a sideways look.
    “We need some way to cut through that circle. Or we will get nowhere.”

  20. “So! This is how incompetent the hospital is!” Lord Manfred’s face was flushing as he spoke. “One little lass, new arrived, heals my knights at death’s door after months of your treatment! We will have your heads for this!”
    I felt very cold. But there was something off about him.

  21. “ROAD SIGN SAYS ‘COMPETENT, CA, 5 MILES’” shouted Emily from her perch in the gunners seat up front on the ultralight, lowering her binoculars.
    “Don’t have to shout – we got the intercom fixed,” said Bob, banking to climb on a course that should keep them clear of the settlement.
    “What, you’re not going to make contact?” Emily asked, turning back to look at Bob in the pilot’s seat, no mean feat in body armor. Turning caused the long red hair that had escaped her vintage faux fur flying helmet to flutter around her goggles, and she swiped at it impatiently, still looking at Bob. Bob really liked Emily, but she was the best gunner in the reconstruction contact teams, so she was his best buddy and that was it. Too bad.
    “Well, given how well these tend to go this close to LA, I don’t really want to have to call in the cavalry with a message saying “COME RESCUE BOB AND EMILY – THEY ARE IN COMPETENT.”
    “Oh, yeah, good point. Let me look for a town called ‘Destructable’. Or maybe ‘Conceivable’ – I could work with that.”

  22. Well.
    Reynardette crouched by the body, already cold, the blood drying about. Brian had been killed with a single blow. She could not even make out where he had tried to defend himself.
    And she had thought he would be able to do the job for her.
    Live and learn.

  23. General Anatoly Belkin turned to the director of the Lower Volga Special Bio-Research Laboratory. “Now explain to me how you are so certain my son is still inside there, in spite of this ‘other-memory’ taking over his mind to the point he calls me a liar when I call him my son?”

    “For the simple reason that has retained all his key competencies.” Fabian Muratov looked surprisingly cheerful. “Not just the physical ones like his marksmanship or his skill with helicopters. He’s retained everything he learned in cadet school and the technical institute, and we all know how well his genesource would’ve done with trigonometry or signals processing.”

    Belkin laughed, a dry and bitter sound. Marshal Voroshilov was an semi-literate old cavalryman who had survived the Terror mostly because he posed no threat whatsoever to Stalin. If Klimka could still exercise all the skills of a modern Soviet officer, there was hope that his own memories and identity would return in time.

    However, Belkin wished he could get a better explanation of this “other-memory” business than Muratov’s babbling about the theories of the quantum hologram spouted by that Amerikanski moonwalker Edgar Mitchell.

  24. “There’s something really strange going on in this mini-mall.”

    “Why do you say that?”

    “Just look at the food court. They’ve got a Chinese restaurant called Toh Mein, an Italian restaurant called Sal Monella’s, and a Mexican restaurant called Bauchu Lynos. That can’t be a coincidence. So ya gotta ask, are they really that incompetent, or is something extraordinarily weird going on?”

  25. Lackin looked over where the bear lay on the floor like a disorganized throw rug. He shook his head. (Lackin, not the bear.) “You lazy good for nuthin’ bruin.” He huffed, “They say everyone rises to the level of their own incompetence. Trouble with you is, that bar is so low, you can’t even get off the floor. You’re incompetent to stand up, much less be a bear.”
    The bear looked at him with a bleary glare. “I may be a bear of low bar,” The Bear said, ” But at least I know whar I am. Turn around you putz. your about to slam the ship into the docking station.”
    Lackin whirled around to see the docking collar growing larger with alarming speed. He cursed as he reversed, thrusters blazing. “Damn you Bear! Why didn’t you speak up?”
    “You were doing so good all by yourself, Lackin, I didn’t want to break your concentration. I may lie like a rug but that doesn’t mean I Lie like a rug. My incompetence may be in question, but I ain’t the one crashing this tub.”

  26. “Lefty’s got to go. Incompetent doesn’t begin to cover it. That boy has spent the last thirty years living in an imaginary mansion on the corner of Delusion Drive and Batshit Crazy Boulevard.”

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