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 CELIA HAYES: My Dear Cousin: A Novel In Letters

When Peggy Becker married Englishman Tommy Morehouse in San Antonio in the spring of 1938, her cousin and best friend Venetia “Vennie” Stoneman was her bridesmaid. After the wedding, Peg and Tommy traveled across the Pacific to Malaya, where Tommy managed his family’s rubber plantation. There they expected to raise a family and live a comfortable and rewarding life among the British expatriates in the tropics, while Vennie returned to Galveston to continue training as a nurse.
The start of the Second World War changed those comfortable, settled lives: Tommy Morehouse became a prisoner of war, Peg barely escaped the fall of Singapore with her small son, and Vennie Stoneman was a nurse in the US Army Nurse Corps, tending to battlefield casualties in North Africa, Italy, and France. In Australia, Peg waits out the war, wondering if her husband will survive brutal captivity by the Japanese, and Vennie risks her own life as an air evacuation nurse. Throughout all, the two women write to each other, of their lives, loves, of Vennie’s patients and comrades, and Peg’s children and the woes of running a wartime household among rationing and shortages of shoes for her children.

FROM PETER GREENWOOD: Fog of Peace: One Dad and his Army.

John Richmond and Frank Smyth have a hobby: they and their friends are WWII re-enactors, touring nineteen-forties festivals in the guise of the Home Guard. So, when Smyth’s daughter is trapped with some other women in a hotel siege abroad,
he turns to Richmond and the others for help.

Their first idea seems doomed to failure, or even to make a bad situation worse. They need to find a Plan B.

FROM BECKY R. JONES: Academic Magic: Academic Magic Book 1.

Zoe O’Brien has found her dream job at a small liberal arts college teaching the history of Medieval witchcraft and magic. Academic life is exactly what she expected it to be…until the squirrels stop by to talk with her and her department chair and best friend turn out to be mages.

Zoe discovers a world of magic and power she never knew existed. She and other faculty mages race to stop a coven from raising a demon on the winter solstice while simultaneously grading piles of final exams and reading the tortured prose of undergraduate term papers. But first, she must learn to master her new-found powers.

FROM FIONA GREY: Glitter: A Professor Porter Short Story (Professor Porter Paranormals).

Professor June Porter is worried. Her daughter Medina has shown no signs of magic, leaving her defenseless and isolated among magicians. Unless, of course, everyone’s about to discover just how special Medina is.


Rosette studies magic, tends a long spell of her father’s — the drudge work of turning lead into gold — longs to know what is happening at war. . . .

When she realizes her studies hold a spell that will let her learn, she learns more, and worse, of the war than she had expected.


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!


t is 2185 CE. Humans now live throughout the Solar System, but their most ambitious adventure is about to begin. The starship Victoria will carry over 10,000 colonists to a new world outside the Solar System. The larger-than-life exploits of those colonists will become legendary. The colonists will build a new civilization, and the actions of a few individuals will become famous—and infamous—forever marking their new colony with the Founder Effect.

(Also contains story from Dragon Award Winner, Prometheus Award Winner, best selling author Sarah A. Hoyt. 😉 )


When Owen Pitt and the rest of the Monster Hunter International crew are called away to mount a months-long rescue mission in a monster-infested nightmare dimension, Julie Shackleford—Owen’s wife and descendant of MHI founder Bubba Shackleford—is left behind. Her task: hold down the fort and take care of her new baby son, Ray.

But then a routine field call brings her face-to-face with an unspeakable evil calling itself Brother Death. Julie is the Guardian of a powerful ancient artifact known as the Kamaresh Yar, and Brother Death longs for it. In the wrong hands, it could destroy reality as we know it. Julie would die before giving it up. Then little Ray goes missing, taken by Brother Death. The price for his safe return? The Kamaresh Yar.

To reclaim her son, Julie Shackleford must fight her way through necromantic death cults, child-stealing monsters, and worse. And she’ll have to do it all before Brother Death can unleash the Kamaresh Yar. It may be one woman against an army of monsters, but Julie Shackleford is no ordinary woman—she’s maybe the toughest mother on the planet!

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: PAPER

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

  1. Must say I love your sense of humor.
    However, I’m just speculating here, if you said that voting for our dear “president” cured cancer Snopes would probably rate that 100% accurate and big tech would provide links absolutely free.

  2. Dyslexic John and bass ackwards Al, finished building their rocket ship.

    They climbed in at the launch site, and went through their countdown; 1, 2, 3, 4….

    “We have ignition!” shouted Al as the rocket tunneled 30 feet in to the ground.

    “Hey it looked good on repap.” John replied.

  3. As I fold, bend and whirl the red paper rose, I remember your brown eyes and red lips. Someday your lips will touch the it and you’ll be mine. i finish the spell with a splash of rose water.

  4. Zoe’s fist clenched involuntarily, crushing the piece of paper in her hand.
    “What the HELL?” she muttered.
    “Is something amiss?” a high-pitched voice came from behind her.
    Zoe turned to see Rowantree sitting on her windowsill. The window was open to let in the soft spring air and, she hoped, remove some of the end-of-semester funk.
    “No. Just stupid administrative stuff driven by faculty politics,” Zoe sighed. “Please tell me you’re not here to bring more bad news?”
    Rowantree bobbed his head. “I do not believe it is bad news, but I did feel you needed to know. Amongst the visitors on campus today, there is one with strong magic, a young one.”
    “You mean one of the prospective students?” Zoe tossed the paper into her trash can.
    “I believe so,” Rowantree answered.
    “Well, let’s hope they’re not malicious,” Zoe commented. “I’ll get one of the others to intercept the tour group, and introduce themselves.”
    “That is an excellent idea,” Rowantree jumped back down to the roof and scampered away.

  5. Just a Piece Of Paper

    The President of the US finished reading the proposal and looked up at the Ancient sitting on the other side of the desk.

    “Well this is an interesting proposal but what makes it more than just words on paper?” the President asked.

    The Ancient wearing a slightly old-fashion business suit replied “the same thing that makes the Constitution more than just words on paper. The American Ultras will stand and fight for the words on this document just they and the US Military stand and fight for the words in the Constitution.”

  6. Piles of paper….no, mountains… filled the room, to the double-man-height ceiling. The room’s back was not visible, it could have been ten feet away or a hundred. Something squeaked and rustled underneath.

    “You say the information we need is in here?”

    His guide nodded, ears drooping miserably.

  7. “We are reading the papers,” said her father in satisfaction. “Have you read them, Your Highness?”
    Julian blinked.
    “You also have to, Ava. Old enough to sign means you must realize clerks sometimes slip things into them.”
    “Which,” said Julian, “is why they never bespell the paper to enforce contacts.”

  8. “It’s quite simple, Harry. The only thing that worries Chinese strategists more than speculating over whether the tiger is made of paper, is quietly wondering whether the dragon is.”

  9. When I strode through the door, I was frozen in shock after I got in and my eyes adjusted to the lights. The floor and walls were packed with bookshelves, filled with books-old fashioned paper books, going through the compartment and extending so far that I couldn’t where it ended before the curve of the station ring took everything out of sight. There was probably five or six terabytes of data just in sight alone-not on any network, unable to be found Izanami if she searched the data pools, and unable to be hacked or altered without making it obvious. I could count on one hand the number of times I’d even seen this many books, and none of those times had them in arm’s reach.

    A soft humming sound to one side, muffled by all the books and shelving, suddenly came from around a corner. “Don’t move,” the woman said, and I knew she had a dart gun in her hands.

  10. “The first communication we’ve received from these aliens we’ve just detected out near Ceres is on paper? Not electronic?” President Boebert looked sharply around the secure briefing room in the White House basement, an annoyed look on her face. Everyone she looked at around the table wore a frown as well, some appearing frightened. After the chaos and street fighting that led to what was already being called the Restoration of the Republic, security remained a major concern. “And it’s in handwriting? How the heck does that even happen?”
    “We actually don’t know, ma’am,” said the Secret Service staffer responsible for the mailroom. “It showed up in the mailroom’s security sort station, on the video it just appeared on the scan belt, but it was not logged in before that point, and there’s no indication that it arrived from the post office or via courier.”
    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff leaned forward. “If they have either individual stealth, really cloaking technology we are pretty screwed. And if they have some sort of teleportation technology we are really defenseless.”
    “And instead of dropping it into the oval office right next to old Winston’s bust, they put it on the scanner belt in the mailroom?”
    “It’s a message,” said the DNI. “They are showing us they could have been very threatening, but they don’t want to threaten.”
    “Well, what does the darned thing say?”

  11. Maximiana laughed a little. “One of them actually had the insolent nerve to draw up the papers for his side and assure me that if I signed it, there would be no more trouble with the matter for me.” She stretched. “The whole matter will not trouble him any longer.”

  12. QAnon is a Qatari information operation.

    As is well known, Qatari intelligence has blackmail of a myriad of assets within the US Federal government. This is the real source of the information about the infiltration and subversion by pedophile satanists.

    The QAnon source is a deniable way of laundering this intelligence.

    How do I know this?

    I read it in the paper.

  13. A pallid woman cleared her throat while looking at a paper. A clerk, Edwin thought. Though, he had to concede, actually writing things down was a more useful skill than most of the knaves here had.
    She looked up. “Aidan, the time has come for you to obey the law.”

  14. Sancho screamed, “It’s a dragon! Run for your life, Master!”

    I smiled. ‘Calm yourself, I know what I’m doing.”

    “We can’t stand against such a beast!. We are doomed!” Sancho screamed as the dragon inhaled.

    “Fear not! This dragon is an Origami Dragon.” I said; as it promptly incinerated itself.

  15. Jeff looked around the stall. It was bad enough that it didn’t have a regular toilet, just one of those holes in the ground you had to squat over. But it also had one of those water hoses to wash your butt afterwards. He hated those, it never felt right. Fortunately, this place was partly civilized. He sighed and reached for the toilet paper.

  16. “You know, Twitch, I remember when you were extolling the virtues of hot college coeds.” It was too dark to see DelAlmeida’s grin, but Twitch could hear it loud and clear. “But if I understand the intel officer right, you found one that kept a written file three inches deep of every security breach, broken law, and slight ever uttered or written in her presence. So, you got a paper-pusher who believes in precisely cataloging grudges. Tell me again, are you actually chasing her, or just trying to get ahold of your portion of the file and destroying it?”

    Twitch smiled back. “Once we’re married, this is a common property country. What’s hers is mine.”

    “Yeah, but what’s yours is hers. You willing to lose your house and half your guns for a shot at that file?” DelAlmeida had been that route before.

    Twitch laughed, then. She’d given him her password weeks ago; he could have changed that any time if he’d been worried. But she didn’t keep tabs on him; she’d never thought of him as an enemy, not from the very beginning. “Half? I’m going to to teach her to shoot every last one, and send her to Raven so they can teach her to get off the X when anyone’s shooting back. So she can kill anyone who ever threatens her again, and then file all the paperwork to bury their reputation.”

    DelAlmeida was silent for a long moment. “You got it bad, brother.”

    “Never had it better.”

  17. All bureaucracies run on paper, Toni’s dad had always told her. And it was proving just as true for the Stanford University administrative offices as the Arizona state government.

    Which meant another box of tractor-feed carbonless duplicate paper in the letter-quality impact printer before Admissions sent another big print job to it. Not quite as heavy as the boxes of green-bar tractor-feed that went into the big line printer, but lifting them still made her glad her folks had insisted she work out instead of sitting at the computer all the time.

    As she was feeding the paper into the printer and getting it lined up so the top of the page was correctly aligned, some kid came running into the computer room. “The Flying Junkyard’s coming down. You can see it burning across the sky right now.”

    The Flying Junkyard was the nickname for the Chinese space station. They’d used the “wet workshop” method to repurpose one after another Long March booster as pressurized volume, but it was a pretty lashed-up thing. The last year or two they’d been having trouble keeping it crewed, although they’d been trying to hide the problems with their space programs. It also helped that most everyone else’s attention was on the fighting in the Middle East.

    And now they must’ve completely lost control of it before they could deorbit it safely.

  18. “Do we have enough Charmin?” Bill asked as he looked up from the Herald.

    “Yes. Bounty, too, before you ask.” replied Vivian.

    “W-2 forms arrived yet?”

    “No, not yet.”

    “I was hoping to file earlier than April, this year.” he muttered, reaching for a pouch of tobacco and a Zig-Zag.

  19. James can’t pinpoint the moment the scenes and characters he drew and inked upon paper became more important than those around him, but it must have been long ago.

    He can’t pinpoint the moment the walls of his apartment started feeling like the borders of his comic book panels, because it happened so slowly, and made the greater changes harder to notice.

    And while James can’t pin down the moment it actually happened, he can point to the moment he realized that, somehow, somewhere along the way, he’d ended up on the other side of the page.

  20. The chairman got the vapors
    Over what they put in the papers
    He demanded retraction
    ‘No’ was the reaction
    It was the fire of the Epoch

    1. Well…. I don’t have a problem with doing that, except that when time comes to promo, I won’t REMEMBER. (Mind like a stainless steel lint trap.)
      Might I request you read the intro to book promo, extract the email therein, and send the link there. Then I’ll remember for sure.

  21. Sarah, just curious. I posted a couple times on another of your posts, and neither were ever shown. Are you filtering out posts, or is wp blacklisting my email? I’m trying another email address and breaking up my name to see if it’s wp.

      1. wow, so it seems my email got blacklisted by wp! I switched to a different one. Sheesh.

        I’ll try summarizing what i said in the other posts, I’ll see if this gets me blacklisted again. All the twitter feeds from conservatives have been recently started anew on telegram, since gab is slow and parler down, so if anyone wants to follow conservatives, you can subscribe to their feeds. Here is one page that lists a whole bunch of the telegram feeds that can get followed:

  22. “Your papers, please”, said the guard at the gate. So I reached around, picked up the Costco box of TP and WHACKED him with it.

  23. “And what are the Three Slender Things that Hold Up The World?”

    Paddy Mulvaney’s voice was by this point, well into his fifth-score of years, a bit rough from time; and more so from traversing the long Madness almost end to end — but still strong and hale enough to carry the load.

    And the spade in Olaf Carlsson’s strong young hands made that ka-snnnch sound, again, hitting stone or something hard in the green turf. Perhaps a bit softer, and… grati-er?, this time. As Paddy watched with keen attention, as he listened close for Frank Macrae’s response.

    “English will do, for now,” he added to his apprentice, watching with him as the spade bit deeper into the earth and turf once more. And hit, again, nearby, with the same kind of scraping thud. The two of them stood aside with their own shovels ready as Olaf’s experienced care, fortified with more than a dash of intuition, sought the long-buried treasure under the turf.

    “Sounds more to me like brick than country stone,” Olaf said, with an accent in his English that had far more of Ireland than Norway; but after all he’d learned that speech here, and not far above the Arctic Circle where only the moon and the gaudy pale aurora lit the long, long nights…

    “Is ea, ’tis,” he continued, having scraped away enough soil at the very bottom of his working to see the dull reddish-white color of freshly scarred brick. “And looks to me like the top of a beehive stash, too.” With a few strong strokes, he dug the hole wider and deeper, almost plowing the heavy dirt and turf away, then motioned the other two to cut away at the sides. Quickly the simple but effective vault, of bricks stacked rather than mortared, met the watery light of cirrus-veiled day. (Not that that wasn’t near a miracle, no rain at all, this time of the year in Ireland.)

    “The thin stream of milk into the pail, the thin blade of corn as it first arises, and the thin thread in the hands of a skilled spinner-woman.” Frank (short for Franklin) Macrae repeated the words, a bit slower and with a pronounced American accent, in Irish — not the exact words from the old Triads, but Paddy had insisted he begin speaking in his own voice, for this was oral tradition.

    “And a fourth thing we add this day, Frank, if the Good Lord sends us luck.” His secret hope was for yet another, if he remembered his father’s tales of his own father aright; but hard as the years had been he scarce dared believe so far.

    They had, together, uncovered the entire vault and a foot or two more and cut a platform to stand on around it. And now Paddy, with a short prayer to all the gods and not-gods in the old way, picked up the bricks one by one (and they all came away easily save for a bit of sucking mud). First there came a glass jar with a shiny metal screw-on top, with silver coins inside — a robbergift, for any nosy one who’d found this stash to take and leave the rest in peace.

    Then there was a dull, tin-colored… metal can, but thin and sealed with solder. And Frank’s heart leaped a little as he saw it, having seen such things before. It was wrapped in a nest of thin ropes that looked like cotton but couldn’t be, and had an odd waxy sheen to them too. (Synthetic something, he knew as not many would. Polyester, or maybe nylon.)

    He picked up the loops on either side, pulled them tight, and slowly took up the weight… until slowly and gently and with little drama, the trunk-sized box rose an inch or two from its bed inside the remaining brick box. He whistled a note to the other two, to catch the hundred or so pounds of weight with him, and raise and swing it to one side. The same code they all knew and used.

    And there it stood, apparently whole and unbroken. Paddy touched the pin at his left shoulder briefly, the Rising Bird for luck, and used first his knife and then the snips from his pocket to cut a hole across the conical top of the box.
    The airtight (hopefully) seal broke with a brief hiss, good, and the contents in the box came to light.

    There were packages on top. Tiny chip-boards sealed in a glass tube, that might once have been a fluorescent-light bulb. A set of flat clear bags, zippy bags with what ought to be books re-wrapped in heavy waxed paper inside, topped by hand-inked cards to tell their names.

    “Tensor Geometry.” “Hold the Torch High, Comrades.” “Robinson Crusoe.”

    Names he thought he remembered, from the old family tales long ago.

    And underneath, in stacks and stacks, the paper. Half a thousand sheets at a time, more than a dozen packages. “100% Rag Paper” as the cards read, “24 pounds” beneath, then “acid free” on the last line. Wrapped in sticky-wrap one by one, and waxed paper heat-sealed closed within.

    Paper they had, again; but not like that, not that would last so, unless you did make it from real rags, and even that did not keep so well as this. So they carried each flat wrapped stack of paper in two hands reverently and with care, the stuff of dozens of books to carry the present forward.

    So thin, yet most the learning of all this new world hung from its slim thread.

    And Paddy touched his Bird pin again, and said a brief prayer of thanks.

    It wasn’t any fine or fancy version, the “gold” of the body and wings was aluminum-bronze and the copper of its fiery nest was unvarnished; and the “diamond” eye, the star to guide you and lead onward and upward your aspirations, was only a bright nodule of melted rhodium rendered down from scrap. Its upcurving crescent-moon wingtips did not quite meet aright.

    But it had been given to him by Fiona Graham Herself; and that made it precious beyond rubies or gold or diamonds or hardened processor modules.

    Just as she’d given him and their New Dalriada and all the wider New Rising world the gift of the old Mackenzie clan motto to underwrite it and go with it: Luceo non Uro — I Shine but do not Burn.

    (Herself’s own Graham clan motto was taken widely for granted, as common and as essential as the dirt that fed them all.

    Ne Oublie — Do Not Forget.

    Because to forget yourself and your people was to die, always in the end, whether slower or swifter. So those who did, had.)

    And in the very bottom of the rough wooden box inside the tin, along with the drying baked rice and the slats, was like Hope in the bottom of Pandora’s Box a strange and wonderful treasure. Something that Aloysius Patrick Mulvaney knew only because of his family, and the odd studies they’d required of him.

    A glass flask, no bigger than a hen’s egg, fused shut against the damp.

    “Saints and ministers of glory,” he said. “Just as they said, for sure, it’s here.”

    “But what is it?” Olaf’s voice was curious and detached, but also reverent.

    “It’s a different kind of paper, what you write on it not what you write it on. Once upon a time they used to publish them in journals, magazines of learning for all the world to read.” Even at eighty-four years, Paddy had to go quiet a moment to swallow a lump in his throat. “And there ought to be many thousands of pages, here, once we get this back to the Fortress to read.”

    “In that little thing? By itself?”

    “Yes, by the magic of the old world that has passed away.”

    And his mind’s eye saw what his father had told him of, many a year back.

    “So that someday we can list a fifth slender thing: the graphite-diamond-fiber bridge from Earth to Heaven, a rope we can climb to the sky and all that’s in it. So we can rise like the Phoenix itself, but go far beyond the air it flies in.”

    “I must confess I but begin to know what you say, Poet Mulvaney,” said Olaf.

    “Not much need for it yet, or even soon. But someday, someday…”

    And he held the little glass capsule with its three hair-bound ‘micro SD cards’ as if it were one of the most precious and wonder-ful things in all the strange new world.

  24. It was a single sheet, folded in half that lay in her very dusty mailbox. Her mailbox that was NEVER used. At least not since her grandmother had passed away months ago. And across the front, in cursive was her name. No one wrote or read cursive. Except her grandmother.

  25. It was a single sheet, folded in half that lay in her very dusty mailbox. Her mailbox that was NEVER used. At least not since her grandmother had passed away months ago. And across the front, in cursive was her name. No one wrote or read cursive. Except her grandmother.

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