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

*Once more sorry this is ridiculously late. I have not excuse, except that words seem to flow but ONLY after 9 pm. So I write to midnight, and then forget to go to bed. Sigh. This too shall pass. – SAH*


*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: Sabercat (Tommy Reilly Chronicles Book 1)

Despite his rich-kid roots, Tommy Reilly is struggling to make it as a freighter captain. Despite a universe of possibilities, he finds himself running afoul of both pirates and corrupt bureaucrats who seem determined to get in his way at every point. It’s like karma for his bullying past is smacking him in the back of the head.

All of that changes when a figure from his past asks for his help.

Now he’s finding himself at odds with a greedy and overly ambitious business owner who has government backing who happens to be the same man who impounded the very load he needs on his ship. The fact that the load is only the first step in securing information that could bring down the status quo might have something to do with that, however.

Tommy and his crew of misfit rejects have to use skills most of them would rather forget to secure their load, all with eyes watching them everywhere.

FROM HENRY VOGEL: The Lost Planet.

He doesn’t know how to be human. She has never been out on her own. But they’re the last hope for humanity. 

Within the vast and alien Regency, starship pilot Glen Susa knows only the life of a slave. Raised by his master and forced into a life of crime, he dreams of freedom, visiting the Terran Republic, and meeting a girl. With human space ripe for invasion, Glen breaks the chains of slavery and flies off to warn his people.

The daughter of a xenoarchaeologist, Elise dreams of a normal life. Instead, she assists with her father’s research into the fate of the Progenitors, who founded the Regency and then vanished. When her father discovers evidence of a Regency invasion of the Terran Republic, Elise goes on the run to take the news back to humanity.

Chance brings Glen and Elise together, but their warning comes too late. Certain the Terran Republic cannot defeat the alien armada, they set themselves a daunting task–solve the thousand-year-old mystery of the Progenitor’s fate and discover their lost homeworld…

Can Glen and Elise do the impossible before humanity falls to the Regency?

If you love taut intrigue, unique alien cultures, and hair’s breadth escapes, you’ll love Henry Vogel’s modern take on the golden age of space opera.

Buy The Lost Planet and chart your course for adventure today!


Exoplanets. Terrorists. Lawyers…

Calvin Tondini has his first client, but he may be in over his head.

It’s the twenty-second century. Humanity’s first and only interstellar starship returns safely. Its mission to discover a habitable planet succeeded beyond all hopes, but there’s one problem. Captain Paolina Nigmatullin of the USS Aeneid left an unsanctioned human colony behind and now stands charged with mutiny.

Despite a somewhat spontaneous approach to his own career, life, and limb, Calvin intends to map a more cautious path for his new client. Captain Nigmatullin, however, shows an unnerving penchant for talk shows—appearing on them, that is—and otherwise ignoring her attorney’s sober counsel.

How can Calvin ensure his client’s freedom when death stalks the Aeneid’s crew, and Nigmatullin herself hides secrets from everyone, even her lawyer?

Buy Mercenary Calling today for the legal thrill of next century!


Never underestimate the power of a competent tech.

When Annika Danilova arrived at the edge of the colony’s crater to install a weather station, she knew the mission had been sabotaged from the start. The powers that be sent the wrong people, underequipped, and antagonized their supporting sometimes-allies. The mission was already slated for unmarked graves and an excuse for war…

But they hadn’t counted on Annika allying with the support staff, or the sheer determination of their leader, Captain Restin, to accomplish the mission. Together, they will overcome killing weather above and traitors within to fight for the control of the planet itself!

FROM MARY CATELLI: The Princess Seeks Her Fortune Paperback.

In a land where ten thousand fairy tales come true, Alissandra knows she is in one when an encounter with a strange woman gives her magical gifts, and another gives her sisters a curse. And she knows that despite the prospects of enchantments, cursed dances, marvelous birds, and work as a scullery maid, it is wise of her to set out, and seek her fortune.

FROM ELLIE FERGUSON: Prey (Stalker’s Moon Book 3.

They say you can never go home. That’s something CJ Reamer has long believed. So, when her father suddenly appears on her doorstep, demanding she return home to Montana to “do her duty”, she has other plans. Montana hasn’t been home for a long time, almost as long as Benjamin Franklin Reamer quit being her father. Dallas is now her home and it’s where her heart is. The only problem is her father doesn’t like taking “no” for an answer.

When her lover and mate is shot and she learns those responsible come from her birth pride and clan, CJ has no choice but to return to the home she left so long ago. At least she won’t be going alone. Clan alphas Matt and Finn Kincade aren’t about to take any risks where their friend is concerned. Nor is her mate, Rafe Walkinghorse, going to let her go without him.

Going home means digging up painful memories and family secrets. But will it also mean death – or worse – for CJ and her friends?

Originally released as Hunter’s Home, Prey includes approximately 4,000 words of new material.

FROM ALMA BOYKIN: Familiar Tales.

Smiley Lorraine: Wolverine. Rosie Jones: 100-lb. Skunk. Morgana Lorraine: Witch with Editorial Problems.

Welcome to a world where Familiars choose magic workers, and a few others, as their partners. A world of adventure, tax-deductions, bad publisher tricks, and odd veterinary clinics, where wolverines wear glasses and iguanas sing along with the radio—badly—while casting spells and keeping their chosen humans out of mischief.

Or try to.

(Five short-stories.)


Anna’s rescue training kicked in when she tripped over the injured elf. Getting him home? No problem. Getting herself home again? That’s going to be a little more complicated.

Trapped Underhill, in the land of the fae, Anna has to remember everything she knows about fairy tales. Not the sweet happy ones: the stories where Baba Yaga boils you alive and giants grind your bones for bread. Her skills as a hunter and her good manners might be all that keep her alive. At least, if she can keep the Wild Hunt at bay!

FROM AMIE GIBBONS: The Magical Adventures of Evie Jones.

Meet Evie Jones, a witch stumbling into adventures, fighting the rules of her authoritarian government, and bringing the fire to everything from her career to her love life.

Evie Jones is a witch and a lawyer, but don’t hold either against her. She’s not the evil kind of either… well, maybe a little. She is brave, determined, loyal, and absolutely against everything the Council, the totalitarian worldwide witch government, stands for. In the battle between order and chaos, Evie’s here to burn them both down, one broken rule and one saved person at a time.

Humans don’t know about magic, and the Council wants to keep it that way. No matter what. Evie knows where the Council can shove their rules. But even she is careful not to attract their attention.

So what do you do when helping your friends runs up against your government’s rules? If you’re Evie Jones, you get real sneaky, real fast.

But even Evie can’t fly under the radar forever. Can she save her friends, witches and humans alike, from evil witches, demons, and worst of all, the Council?

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: ABSORBED

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

  1. The powder in the cases was a composite of a double based smokeless powder and a fibrous metamaterial which absorbed much of the sound energy from the gun shot. It didn’t “silence” the gun by any means but it did cut the noise by 20 to 30 Decibels across the frequency spectrum.

  2. Julian sat on the lawn, and Ava merrily skipped toward him. After a minute, she paused. He did not look aside for anything. Warily, she looked where he did. The flying leaves might take those wild courses merely from gusts, without magical aid, but that would not explain Julian’s absorption.

  3. I’ve been browsing with kindle limited with these books… I ended up reading every “familiar tale” I could gt my hands on– and also the rest were fun. I’m starting to read more again.

    1. The Familiars series is my “drop what you’re reading and read *this*”. AFAIK, the only time I’ll not do that is if I’m very close to finishing another book.

  4. It was a dark and stormy night, candles flickering, wind howling, as I sat reading an exceptionally good fantasy novel I bought on the advice of L, M, & M’s book promo. Along came a giant amoeba that sat down atop me. I didn’t even notice, I was, so, absorbed.

  5. I sat there and absorbed what he told me. “I want to be clear,” I said with a calm I most certainly did not feel. “To save the world, you engaged in crimes that would warrant your immediate execution if discovered and weren’t covered by a very nice little loophole. Necromancy…”

    “Technically, soul magic,” Solomon interrupted. “But, to get there, I had to perform necromancy. But, true, I did commit that crime. Or would have, if I was human.”

    “Definitely a point. And then, you made sure that my soul displaced the soul of newborn female children for over ten thousand years, causing all of those potential souls to layer upon mine like a pearl, which is bad enough,” I continued, after I took a sip of my tea. “Let’s not even talk about how for the last two hundred or so years, you’ve been sticking my soul in male bodies, knowing full well that this would cause the male bodies I was being born in to have massive neurological issues. Finally, because you were desperate, you triggered the protocols to ensure that I would be considered one of the Heirs to the White Throne, flipped my gender, trimmed two-thirds of my age off my bones, put me in a situation where I had to leave my family, and laid my parents out as tethered goats. Which got them tortured and killed by my…sister?”

    “Sister is the closest term for the relationship between you and Lith,” he nodded, topping off his tea cup and setting the pot down. “You are, by the nature of your soul and the genetics I changed you into, are the other remaining member of Deus’ lineage and can claim the Dawn Empire throne. You needed both, and now you’re here.”

    I frowned, considered my tea cup, and poured another cup of tea, while the toe of my boot started to hook itself under one of the table’s feet. “And, I’ve met Lith and she would definitely be the last choice of anyone to sit on the White Throne, I agree. So, you have not only dragged my soul through ten thousand years of layer upon layer of potential souls, but tortured innocent children and would have let me to rot if you didn’t need me.”

    “It…is not the most charitable list of events,” Solomon nodded, then sighed. “I couldn’t interfere until that night until the very last moment, because Lith would have figured it out somehow and if you die before I could catch your soul again, she wins by default. And, we both agree that would be…”

    “Not quite the worst thing,” I interrupted. “But very close to being the very worse thing. So, in this little…disaster…my soul is now massively compressed into this ball of potential that will cause massive ripples in the world if I die in the right way. Something that Lith wants because it’ll let the Beings Of The Outer Darkness into our universe.” I finish pouring myself a new cup of tea and secretly heft the teapot in my hand. “To avoid this, I’m going to have to kill her-a sister I never knew, and there will only be one candidate for the throne. Am I right?”

    “Yes,” Solomon replied. “And, I am very sorry about what I have done.”

    “I know,” I sighed, sincerely.

    Then, my foot lifts up swiftly and throws the table away from between us and slam the tea-pot into Solomon’s face.

  6. “How’s your ankle? This has to be one of the worst terrains for it.” Manuel had worked his way across the rockfall until he was following her path, often picking the exact same boulders and slabs.

    “This? This is great compared to soft sand. Just have to be careful which rock I choose.” She grinned up at him while carefully testing a hold to see if the rock would stay stable. “Unlike you guys, I have no dignity; I can scramble this on all fours, and keep almost all pressure off my ankle.”

    “Hah!” His grin flashed bright against his deeply tanned skin, but the look he gave her was entirely too sober and meaningful. “It’s not about dignity, it’s about keeping your head up and looking out for enemy action. If someone wanted to take a shot at us, this is the perfect ambush point. We’re trapped out here with no cover, and no way to move quickly.” AS he talked, he picked his way from rock to rock, always in a slight crouch and keeping one hand out for balance, while the other was close to the rifle slung across his chest.
    That was a new complication, compared to all her field tests before. She carefully put a foot on a new slab, and waited until it had slid across the lichen and gotten good traction on a few small ridges. “Should I stand up like you, then?”

    “Hell, no. You should focus on getting off the rocks as fast as you safely can, no matter what it takes.” He had caught up with her, and patted her on the shoulder. “You’re a good geek, Lizzes. You’d be a fu… a terrible soldier, but you’ve spent, what, eight years head-down absorbed in studies until you can even tell me what random rock this stripe here is, right?”

    “Quartzite intrusion?” She replied, peering at where he’d tapped his hand. “Yeah, probably. Unlikely to be Forsterite, as this vein is cleaving… Oh, you meant that rhetorically.”

    “The rest of us have spent years learning to be some of the best soldiers on the planet. Or off it, in Mikey’s case. You stick to geology, and keep moving.” He winked. “At a non-geological pace, please.”

  7. She did not move, or breathe. For a moment, she told herself that she had stolen in softly enough that she could steal out the same way, and go unseen; the man was too absorbed in the telescope to have noticed her, or at least to have noticed she intruded.

  8. Of all the things that would soak up blood, steel was not one I’d seen before. Nevertheless, the gore on the blade disappeared into it.

    I raised my eyes to the man who’d given me the sword. “If this blade is cursed, even professional ethics will not prevent me from inhuming you.”

  9. It was an odd feeling. She looked at her hands. They had spent so many years where the first consideration and the last always had to be whether a thing would betray them to Madame Nyx. To be free, entirely, of that would be as great a change as their escape.

  10. Sherri swung up through the open hatchway to the tiny control room. “We lost a battery bank, but the rest of our batteries are keeping us just barely in hyper, and we’re barely making way” she reported as she swung into her seat.

    “Lost as in broken open?” Bill asked, worried now.

    “Yeah, pretty much. I sealed the HVAC vents and fired off all of those soda socks they have all over the battery bays to absorb and neutralize any acid leaks so they won;t eat through the hull.”

    The ship shook as another hyper charge went off, sending a shock wave through the ether. “Not as close,” Sherri said, looking up at the hull plate curving close overhead. “They may have stupid lead-acid battery banks, but the Krell ships sure are sturdy.”

    “When the boss sent us to steal a Krell scout he said he wanted an example of their hyperdrive,” Bill said, shaking his head at the dials and gauges and pipes and valves cluttering in the control room. “I don’t think he had any idea the rest of their tech was so old school.”

  11. “Before we release anything, I want proper verification of the data. Ideally with different instruments in a different location.”

    Ursula Doorne stopped, realizing that her younger colleague was staring at her with a look of astonishment bordering on incomprehension. “I know it’s easy for the excitement of the moment to completely overcome one’s rational mind. IF this data is accurate, we may well be looking at one of the biggest discoveries in astronomy since Edwin Hubble realized the Milky Way was only one of many galaxies in the universe. But if we’re wrong…” She paused, considering how to phrase what she needed to say. “I know it was before your time, but I was just starting graduate work when the problems with the AXIL satellite were discovered. Several major papers in X-ray astronomy had to be withdrawn, and a number of promising careers were derailed. Even some very senior scientists ended up with egg on their faces from it. I have no intention to allow my name or this department’s to be attached to a similar fiasco.”

  12. She stared out the window, absorbed by the churning colors.
    “Mesmerizing, isn’t it?” the voice came from behind her. She turned away from the ever-changing colors.
    “Yes, very much so. Is it like this all the time?” Aurora smiled at her mate.
    “Just during the double solstice. On Old Earth they called them the aurora borealis or the northern lights,” Georg wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on top of hers to watch the light show.
    “My family came from Old Earth generations ago. My name is an old family name. I wonder if…” she went back to gazing at the swirling lights.

  13. Yeah. About 10% is having calculated a personal need for coping mechanisms that aren’t great where the short term depression is concerned. 40%-60% is in trying to spend mental energy on other things.

  14. Curse you, mad genii-! I just finish re-reading the Carrera books and you go and refill my TBR pile. 😍

    All joking aside, the Mary Catelli book links to an $8.99 paperback! This is an amazing deal for indie stories!

    If you like Sherwood Smith (Wren) and Andrew Lang, her books are the bomb. And once you have them on-dead-tree, they’re more fun to re-read, can’t be eaten by the tech Dewberries, and are easier to lend to your young friends.

    Hint. Tanager’s Fledgling. Hint.

    (Seriously, this is a great deal.)

  15. FWIW, the cover of “The East Witch” really grabs me. I’m not usually a fan of Underhill tales, but I want to read that one anyway. Well done, Cedar!

  16. It soaked into the fabric, marking her. She fought every instinct to brush at it, knowing it would smear against the white silk. Instead, she turned and walked away, tossing the stolen .22 in the trash as droplets of the mark’s blood slowly absorbed into her shirt, touching her skin.

  17. The next questioner at the virtual ‘microphone’ was an earnest-looking person with short red hair. “Hello, I’m Kelly and it’s a real honor to ‘meet’ you, Miss Stellenbosch,” she said matter-of-factly. “I really loved your new book Six Feet and I was hoping you could tell us a bit more about how you got the original idea for it and how that worked out into the story.”

    “Well, thank you, Kelly, and it’s interesting, the idea actually came from one of my other settings entirely, a future whose past is our present, if that all makes enough sense to follow,” said Kate Stellenbosch. “They’re looking back on us, now, so to speak, as their past history — which means that everything we’re all going through right now is old hat to them, already absorbed into their social and cultural history, already settled (more or less) into its proper place the way it’s ah, very much not settled down for us at the moment.” There was a little bit of laughter on the audience-reaction audio channel — a bit nervous, or maybe even uneasy — at that one. But still mostly merry.

    “And something one of my characters said — it’s Amy from ‘Lightning Among the Stars’ in case anyone’s curious, though it didn’t make it past the final edits on that one — made me look back on this whole pandemic, lockdown, cover your faces obsessively and cower at home thing now, with the eyes of the future, through the eyes of people who’ve already seen it all, or never will.

    “And it made me aware that even in the middle of all this, love still goes on, even if it’s not particularly harmonious with all the edicts and restrictions and do’s and don’t’s we live with now. Not a new theme, at all, of course, ‘love in the time of plague’ and all that — except what we’re doing now is really pretty unique in all of human history, at least in its details.” And she shrugged, as if there was nothing more to say on that, in the context of writing. “But I kept on thinking about that whole ‘social distance’ idea, how it’s not really aimed at keeping people apart beyond a literal sense — except of course when it is, even if the people doing it don’t know that themselves — and I just got more and more absorbed in thinking about all that, until the story and characters just sort of strolled right into my mind and were ready to tell me the story of how even in the most tangled and confused and… narrow of times, people still are who they are and, well, it may sound like quite a cliché these days, love finds a way — somehow, always, if it can ever possibly find or make one.

    “And so that’s why the book is called ‘Six Feet of Distance’ — the idea that you can fold up, so to speak, all that hugely uncrossable” — and she smiled quite broadly over the video link, like a meteor across a dark night sky — “distance we are supposed to have, are ‘mandated’ to have, these days, into only that two yards that’s supposed to separate us from everyone else on Earth or very nearly so, all the time no matter what.

    “All the distance, in other words, between each one of us and everyone else, all the distance between being alone and very much not alone. We’re supposed to see that mere two yards as wider than the Mississippi, or Atlantic, or the gap between Earth and Moon — and just take it for granted that there’s no canoe, no Mayflower, no Apollo spaceship to take us across it, and even if we could get such a thing, it would be evil and selfish, not brave, for us to use it.”

    And Kate smiled, half-laughed, almost-snickered. “So in a way, Lawrence and Amelia in ‘Six Feet’ are just as much high-frontier explorers as Amy and Bill are in ‘Lightning’ — it’s only that their light-years between the stars has been, ah, space-folded into a mere fathom’s distance between the first two. And that’s much of what made it so much fun for me to write, in the end.”

  18. “What is this ‘smartmatter’ stuff, anyway?”

    “You’ve seen some of the things we’ve done with nanotech, right? Making complex devices directly, without needing foundries and factories, heavy machinery and toxic chemicals?”


    “Think of smartmatter as nanotech on steroids and speed. An infinitely mutable metamaterial that can build itself from raw materials and energy and take on any form, any function that is physically possible.”

    “So, then, what’s the holdup?” he demanded. “Why don’t you deliver on your wild promises?”

    He’d been expecting that. “Because one does not monkey with unrestricted smartmatter on an inhabited planet. The work will have to be done remotely, on a barren rock five billion miles from the Sun, so the stuff has no independent source of energy in case it starts to run wild. Configuring itself to absorb energy from sunlight is a trivial adaptation that would allow it to get completely out of control. I don’t even want to think about that scenario.”

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