Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

Book Promo

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When you want to pass the lands of the Amazons, you can ask to be allowed to just sail by. Chloe wants to try it, as the only sane route.
But when their queen dies, it won’t merely be for the asking.

FROM MARY CATELLI: The Drunken Mermaids.

Shipwreck is not enough — though no ship will sail by, the mermaids have found the stranded sailors.

And worse, the cargo of wines and liquors is seeping into the sea.

FROM AMIE GIBBONS: Psychic Masquerade (The SDF Paranormal Mysteries).

Ariana Ryder just started getting psychic visions out of the blue last week.

She’s not going to let the freaky new powers stop her from going to the Halloween Masquerade ball though. The who’s who of Nashville and the President of the freaking United States is going to be there!

But the party turns into a rescue mission when a vision shakes Ariana’s world.

Can she rise to the challenge to save an innocent, or are her new powers just too freaky for her to follow?

FROM J.M.ANJEWIERDEN: Keepers of the Wind.

For a thousand years the outlawed priestesses of Meda have preserved the religion of the Fris, safeguarding what scraps and fragments they could.
For a thousand years the Alven Empire stamped out all other religions in favor of their false gods.
But the Alven dug too deep, releasing the demons of earth, terrible monsters they cannot hope to fight.
All that can stand against them is Fleur and the other priestesses.
Five young girls.
Even as Fleur’s powers weaken, the Goddess sees fit to drop a mysterious Alven–half-dead and without his memories–into her life. Can she trust him, or is he a threat to her people?

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: SMILING

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

        1. Yep, it means they’re not running out the clock at state level to keep it from hitting the Supremes.

  1. The stranger walked up to them smiling.

    Seeing the stranger’s teeth, one asked “is he a vampire”?

    The stranger replied “No, seeing that I’m standing in bright sunlight, I’m not a vampire. I’m much more dangerous that your mythical vampires.”

  2. Before I get started with the vignette– I wanted to thank you Sarah for these books. When I need a reading list, I look here first.

    I touched my face. No, I wasn’t smiling. But why was the reflection in the mirror smiling at me? It crooked it’s finger and I stepped back.

    Nothing good comes from smiling mirrors.

  3. OK, I will give this a try.

    Lost in his own thoughts, Roberts almost didn’t notice the waitress place a duplicate of his drink in front of him. A bit startled, he looked up to see her smiling. She then tilted her head toward the bar. Someone wanted to negotiate a contract for his services.

  4. She stepped back, unnerved.

    It wasn’t that he was smiling – he was always smiling – it’s just…there was something in it that she’d never seen there before.

    In anyone else, she would have called it “happiness”.

    She averted her eyes and prepared to fade into the crowd. And out of range.

  5. “Who’s that?”

    Karol turned his pocket library’s external display flat so Evelyn could see it better. “Turn-of-the-millennium ‘politician’ from America, just before the big space breakout. A pretty ‘sketchy’ one, by all accounts.”

    “He looks happy to me.”

    “He wasn’t so happy when all the stuff he’d got up to finally came out, around 2030 or so. And a lot of other people weren’t happy with him at all by then.”

    “Who was he?”

    “Well, everybody pretty much settled on calling him Smiling Barack.”

    “That doesn’t sound like much of a compliment.”

    “About as much as ‘Laughing Hyena’ sounds like a fun invite to your party.”

  6. “Please stop that,” Thaddeus asked.

    “Stop what,” I asked back, curiously tilting my head.

    Smiling,” he muttered, then raised his voice to normal levels. “Even when you’re not on the prowl, you look far too much like a shark considering her-or his-next meal.”

    “I can’t help it,” I sighed, and I swear I didn’t bite my lip or anything, but Thaddeus shook his head again in frustration.

    “And, stop trying to play the wounded little girl as well,” he groaned. “Bad enough when you’re playing a girl, but we both know you’re a boy. Mostly.”

  7. I know, I know, it’s an old story but, seems a priest, a rabbi and a sirloin steak walked in to a bar.

    The bartender, turned, looked over at the steak and said, “We don’t serve your kind here.”

    “I am quite glad to hear that!”, the steak replied, smiling.

    1. Well, financially I’d have to wait until next month to purchase it. 😉

  8. They descended the stairs quickly, but already everyone in the taproom was staring up them, silently and without smiles.
    The guards going up the stairs was reason enough, Rosine told herself. She had no reason for panic, especially when the governor had often called for adventurers before, including her once.

  9. Totally off topic:

    He sees you when you’re sleeping,
    He knows when you’re away
    If you don’t find that creepy,
    I dunno what it would take.

    Yes, the season of tiresome Holiday Music has started where I live.


  10. “I hope you’re ready for a good fight.”
    “Why is that?”
    He gestured toward the mob. Every one of them was showing their teeth. I could hear their rumbling growls.
    “Look at them. They’re all smiling. They only do that when they’re about to attack and think they’ve already won.”

  11. “It’s the storyteller!” called a girl. Their faces lit up. Children thundered down the street, calling for the tale of the golden blackbird.
    Brian laughed. “It’s amazing how they want to hear the tale when — ” He waved his hand at the woods, just visible. ” — the birds are here.”

  12. The trip back home to Coopersville was as routine as spaceflight could ever be. To all outward appearances Doyle was his usual cool, competent self, handling the suborbital hopper with the precision that was a hallmark of the Shepard geneset. However, Rick knew him well enough to pick up the signs, even when Doyle was able to keep his movements so fluid that they looked normal even to a man with a genemod that enabled his visual centers to track motion the way a cat did.

    No, what gave everything away was the mercurial Shepard temperament becoming more pronounced. From the time he and Doyle first begun astronaut training together, Rick had known to look for and recognize the two basic aspects of a Shep’s personality, the dichotomy that one of Alan Shepard’s fellow Mercury astronauts had captured in a couplet:

    “The Icy Commander’s gone away,
    “And Smilin’ Al is here to play.”

    In normal conditions one could predict the conditions that would lead Doyle to shift back and forth. The Icy Commander was for situations when there was work to be done, especially of a demanding technical variety, while he brought his Smilin’ Al side out when it was time to cut loose and have some fun chasing women and what have you.

    Today it seemed like both the Icy Commander and Smilin’ Al had crawled into Doyle’s skull at once and were fighting over the controls. One minute he’d be cracking a sexually-tinged joke about the shadow cast by a landform over which they passed, and the next he’d be snapping at the ground controllers, demanding they repeat vectors and coordinates that had not come through clearly.

    Yes, something had gotten to Doyle while they were at Shepardsport, and Rick didn’t think it was just having to deal with so many of his clone-brothers in such close quarters. Other Sheps could induce unpredictable flips like that, but it usually lasted only long enough to get a rough and ready hierarchy sorted out. And it never lasted after they were away from that situation for any length of time.

  13. “Anne glanced at Sara and saw to her shock that her friend the Trump voter was smiling. It was not insane grinning or hysterical rictus at just observing these heavily armed militia men killing and destroying the mob that moments ago were howling for their blood-Sara’s for having voted for Trump, -Anne’s for supporting Sara’s right to believe what she wanted. No Sara’s smile was tired and careworn, but satisfied and relieved. It was the smile of person finally seeing their bully gone and given their just deserts. Anne bit her lip, she supposed she shouldn’t be shocked, she had thought the kids that attended their university were overzealous, but essentially good. People who agreed with her about Social Justice couldn’t be all bad? So she defended them even as they grew more shrill, more demanding, until they assaulted her collegue threatened her own life just for believing in freedom of speech-freedom of thought. She thought as a fellow liberal she could reason with them, make them understand…

    Red Guards, one their rescuers had called them. Half-remembered images of the Chinese Cultural Revolution floated to her conscious. It was an apt image, she had to acknowledge. How could have possibly happened here?
    A hysterical laugh nearly bubbled up from her chest, she clamped it down with some difficulty. Hadn’t she just been lecturing her students that it could happen here? That totalitarianism was always a threat? Of course she said that while assigning her students to read The Handmaiden’s Tale. Didn’t quite turn out that way did it?

    How terrible, she thought, how awful to realize when you’re the bad guy.

    And if what the armed man who guided them safely off the campus said was true this was happening all around the country, an explosion of righteous anger by people like Sara who were sick of being hounded and hunted and told they were sub-human Nazis for simply disagreeing. Why the men had come to rescue her friend she didn’t know, but she supposed a Chemistry professor could be useful in any upcoming conflict. She just happened to be caught up in the ride, she didn’t think her degree in English Literature would be quite so useful to an uprising, or whatever this was. “The Boogaloo”, the militiaman had happily called it.

    Anne gave a grim smile at the the thought. She just wanted to go home.”

    (A few posts ago I mentioned a terrifying stress dream about a murderous antifa mob being fought and killed I had shortly after the election. Now I want to turn it into a short story.)

  14. She wished they hadn’t split up. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but that was when they had thought it was an underground shipping mall. And they get on your nerves,Annie told herself.That’s really why you agreed. It’ll be the death of you, one of these days.</I.

    The white corridors, uniformly lit by buzzing fluorescent lights; the telltale grime of careless cleaning futzing every corner, confused her. Every door was locked, or led to another corridor.I’m lost. I wish Jason were here.

    This corridor had massive pipes, all painted in different shades of puke green, with “daylight” coming in on the left from clerestory windows high above. Annie had learned the hard way that the accumulated dust coating the glass diffused the light. She’d found a pair of metal doors, with push a bars like the one in her high school. It was a cross between a prison and an ant hill. But what wouldn’t we give to have them again!. Some remnant of self-preservation had overridden her impatience and frustration. She’d carefully opened the door onto the second-floor walkway above a massive cafeteria. The roar of noise from the hundreds of people below that didn’t assault her ears froze Annie like a rabbit. I used to hate loud noisy people. Mouthy chatterers. Dear God, I miss them. Her gaze slid left: Yes, there was someone in ripped jeans and a Dr. Who t-shirt with a rifle… But the Whovian was watching the crowd silently eating below.

    Annie had eased the door shut, and fled

    Now found herself stupidly staring at the wall in front of her. There was a door: padlocked of course. Annie tried not to cry. She’d have to go back to… Go back. Go back to…? Oh sweet Christ, I am so tired.

    She pulled on the padlock anyway. It snicked open. She tried the handle. It turned.

    Annie gently, gently eased the small door open. The room behind was dim, a grey and dusty tangle of pipes, the rank tang of dead rats and old grease in the air. On an impulse, Annie stepped in, knelt down and looked at the patch of wall behind the door. The letter P crossed with an X. Five smudges next to thirteen horizontal lines. There were only five now, Annie remembered. She stood up, fear, frustration and despair temporarily forgotten. I’ve found the resistance..

    Annie was smiling.

  15. “‘Act like you know who’s who,’ they said. ‘You’ll figure it out,’ they said. Which one is the sage?”

    “No idea, but we’ve got less than a minute,” I answered. “Look confident! Which looks wisest?”

    “No idea,” he whispered. “The Master asked ‘ Is the heart of the universe joy or pain?'”

    “Go to the smiling one.”


  16. Her parents were with him, looking very pleased, smiling broadly. Julian seemed graver. She bit her lip. There was no time for her to ready herself. Her parents would not be smiling very soon.
    Julian turned his face toward her, and it lit up. She blinked. He walked toward her.

  17. She wasn’t smiling at all now. “Ms. Goldberg…you have your own TV show. A benefit enjoyed by not one person out of a million, and yet you mostly use this position of privilege and influence to whine about how blacks and women can never get ahead in this country. Does the inherent contradiction escape you completely?”

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