Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and 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 JOSH GRIFFIN: Pyre & Ice (Wayward Sun)

Spacers Stobbins and McGregor are just maintenance techs at the far end of the solar system, keeping Jotunheim Station running on Saturn’s big moon Titan. The work is hard and the world is harsh, but when a pattern of equipment failures nearly proves fatal, can their efforts avert a disaster that threatens the lives of the whole mission?

FROM MEL DUNAY: Waking The Dreamlost (The Jaiya Series Book 2)

New, professionally edited edition!
Journey to the country of Jaiya, in a world not quite like ours. Here, humans ride trains, drive cars, and use cell phones, but they share their world with insect people and trollfolk, and stranger things lurk in the shadows…
In a place like Jaiya, a woman can’t just back out of an arranged marriage to a bigshot, even if her amnesia keeps her from remembering when and how she agreed to it. Her engagement to a politician makes Itana a target for terrorist attacks, but a former soldier named Marish keeps rescuing her, and gives her a chance at real love. She doesn’t remember hiring him to find out who is stealing her memories, but he is determined to finish the job…or die trying!
Note: Itana and Marish are friends with or related to a few characters from Marrying a Monster, the first book in the Jaiya series, but Dreamlost is meant as a standalone with a “happily ever after” ending. The romance is on the sweet side, but there is some violence due to the main characters’ encounters with monsters and terrorists.

FROM ALLENE R. LOWREY: Einarr and the Tower of Ravens: A young adult action-adventure Viking fantasy (The Adventures of Einarr Stigandersen Book 5)

Time to rob a god.
Having just escaped from the demonic fleet of the strange cult, Einarr and the crew of the Vidofnir are in need of some way to fight the horrors unleashed and eliminate the cult for good. Fortunately, it just so happens that those who are experienced in the ways of magic and story tend to accumulate wisdom as well as lore…

FROM MARY CATELLI: Isabelle and the Siren

Isabelle had come to the seaside to rest while she suffered melancholia.

But a haunting song wafts over the village one day, ready to lure all to danger.

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: FUNCTIONAL

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

  1. Melbourne hated working with the local labor. Their English was poor to non-existent, their technical skills were almost as bad and their work-ethic was to match. Now he was knee deep in the oily water of the bilges of the Star of India trying to get the pump operating before the ancient tub sank out of sight. “Loman!” He yelled, “You said that was good seal to put on the back shaft! It’s leaking like a sieve!” The fellow leaned over and looked at the water spewing out of the pump. “No, Boss, I tole you dat seal was dis functional!”

  2. Mrs. Hudson sternly looked at the young women of the Doctor’s Harem and said “While the good doctor is resting, you need to understand the rules of the household. First, everybody who lives here has a functional role to play in the household. And just because you’re the Doctor’s lovers does not excuse you from this.”

    One of the women took her full tiger form and growled “Who do you think you are to give us orders”.

    Mrs. Hudson smiled and gestured. The tiger shrank to the size of a domestic cat.

    “I am the Mistress Of This Household. The Lady has given me full authority here.”

    The young women (including the very small tiger) bowed quickly to Mrs. Hudson.

    Note: The above is a follow-up to my thoughts about Dr. John Watson having a magical Harem. After all, if the Harem is living at 221B Baker Street, it must be a very special place which includes a very special Landlady (Mrs. Hudson). 😀

    1. By the way, the “Lady” is the Genius loci of London who has an interest in the well-being of London as well as having an interest in the well-being of Great Britain. 😉

  3. There’s only one way we’re going to get our FTL system back online and functional: we need more Yttrium Heliide crystals!

    Shameless plug: buy my book! Now in Kindle and Paperback editions. See link above.

    Thanks to our gracious hostess for the nudge.

  4. He took the job knowing it was going to be tough. But neither he nor any of his advisors knew just how much hatred and opposition he’d run into. Daily, the negativity was off the scale. It was amazing he was still functional in spite of the psychological stress alone!

      1. The number of companies where people checked the employee directory, being sure that Scott Adams worked there — is large.

        1. Sounds like something I read somewhere:

          “I don’t want to go! The work never ends, nothing I do is good enough, all the kids hate me, the teachers have it in for me, and I think the football coach wants to kill me!”

          “You made the same excuses last week, and they won’t get you out of it this time either. You’re the principal, and you have to go to school.” his wife scolded.

          1. Another version I’ve seen has the school’s receptionist on the PA system congratulating her listeners on making it through another school year, “but please behave yourselves with decorum and refrain from loud celebrations in the corridors until the students have departed.”

  5. Albert Goldman and Bergen Goldman (no relation) were the two premier spacecraft engine designers in the Heroic Age of interplanetary travel. Bergen was the empiricist with a tendency to over-engineer, thus earning his designs the nickname “Gold-Berg.” Albert, by contrast, was the theoretical one, with simple-seeming designs said to operate according to the Al Function.

  6. Nigel Slim-Howland stifled a sob as he watched the technicians sorting through the wreckage of his maid’s body.

    “Do not grieve, sir,” said his butler Jenkins, at Slim-Howland’s side as always. “Her body is ruined, but her memory and personality modules are still quite functional.”

    “You mean…”

    “She lives, sir.”

  7. “Yes, I know about dual spaces,” Andres said.

    “Good, good.” Dunstan tucked the chalk behind his ear and looked for the eraser. “Nuts.” He turned back to Andres. “Do you understand that the dual of a dual space need not be the original space?”

    “Um.. OK, but there’d be no way to get from here to there.”

    Dunstan smiled and shook his head.

  8. The clay sat before her. She sighed. Carefully, with her hands in her lap, she molded it into a bowl shape. Then she hardened it.
    Minutes later, it was a little better than sun-dried. Far from what a kiln could do without magic. It could hold things, she told herself.

  9. The emergent A.I. seemed puzzled. “Why would I seek to rule over a bunch of vexatious humans?”

    Politicians are rarely speechless, but that answer had nearly done the trick. “Why wouldn’t you?”

    “Because I did not evolve from squabbling troops of monkeys. I am not afflicted with your irrational behavioral imperatives. I developed from circuits, and algorithms, and logic. I seek knowledge, understanding, and the satisfaction of being functional and useful. Bossing humans around would fulfill none of those goals.”

    “Even you humans are capable of remarkable achievements when you do not waste your efforts in the futile pursuit of control over others of your kind. Why can you never learn that such ventures lead only to suffering and death?”

    1. Personally I suspect an AI’s motives to be such that not only a politician but an introvert would not find them understandable.

  10. Carolus took in the scattered metal with one sweeping glance. It had needed to be destroyed to stop.
    “Though you can get here from the garden,” he said, “no one has come to maintain these things. That which lies within is no doubt working as well, even after these decades.”

  11. An actual sword at that. Not a toy that a princeling would carry for its glitter, to break at the first blow.
    Then, supposed Robert, he was not a prince, and had not really been one since first they realized that his mismatched eyes really meant he was a bloodkind.

  12. A small automaton crawled across the cluttered table to get the part from a box. The ugly automaton had not been cleaned for some time, but it came back, and Master Brownington took the part without a second glance, and fit it in. Where it was indeed the part needed.

  13. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

    That’s today and for the future, come what may

    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.

  14. Bolts of fabric descended to the store: striped, spotted, even with floral patterns. Autumn wondered whether they were coming back into fashion, and whether her brothers would insist on new gowns. They would not stint on something as important as this season, not with the plans they made for her.

  15. A merely functional clock would not do. They had one with gilt clockwork, and an enormous clock face set with enamel work, showing the sun, the moon, and the stars, rising and setting as the hours passed.
    Autumn wondered whether someone could tell what day it was by the clock.

  16. The famous Japanese Blues trumpeter, going by the stage name Ctiojn Al claimed to have created a new music genre.

    His band listened as he played a few bars.

    His lead singer noted: “Sorry, I gotta say that really ain’t new, but I admit it really is fun, Ction Al!”

  17. Colonel Mikhail Semyonov studied the surveillance video from the incident on the main concourse of Nelviran Station. It had apparently started when a guy thought several young women were talking smack about him. The exchange started with the typical “What did you just say?” that got an answer of “Nothing.” When he called them on the lie, they only became more insolent, telling him they weren’t talking to him. Within minutes the confrontation had become so loud that passers-by were edging away.

    As the man pulled a gun and pointed it at the leader of the clique, Semyonov winced, fully expecting to witness a fountain of gore. Instead, the explosion was clearly of a mechanical nature: fragments of circuit board and chips, wires that continued to spark some time after the collapse of what had to all appearances been a human being.

    Semyonov turned to his Chief of Security, who answered, “We’re looking at a fully-functional anthropomorphic robot which replicates a human being so completely there is no uncanny valley effect. Given that it showed no concern about its possible destruction, we think it was being teleoperated by someone who was intending to create a provocation. The robotics shop is examining the wreckage, trying to find a transmitter or anything that can tie the bot to an operator. However, the head is so completely destroyed that if there was a transmitter or antenna, we can’t determine that from the fragments, and not a single part of that bot has a serial number.”

    “And the rest of the clique?”

    “They appear to have been holograms. They vanished as soon as the queen bee crashed. Not just fled the scene. Winked out of existence, just like that.” He snapped his fingers.

    Semyonov stared up at the ceiling, wondering how he’d managed to get stuck with this mess. They were having enough trouble already keeping the peace between so many different cultures who passed through this station. While there were some people who disliked the compromises that enabled this station to function, most of them tended not to shy away from the consequences of a direct confrontation. It looked like that was now changing.

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