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

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 JOHN ANDREW KARR: Detonation Event (Mars Wars Book 1).

Restarting the red planet’s core leads to the discovery of a mysterious microbe in the “interesting and intelligent” first Mars Wars novel (David Drake, author if Hammer’s Slammers).

For decades the Space Consortium of America has searched for new ways to harvest resources beyond an increasingly depleted Earth. The ultimate plan is about to be ignited. So is the ultimate threat to humankind . . .

Battle-hardened Cpt. Ry Devans and his crew of the Mars Orbiter Station One are part of a bold plan: resurrect the once-active molten cores of the red planet with synchronized thermonuclear explosions, and terraform the hell out of that iron-oxide rock for future generations. It’ll change history. So will the strands of carbon-based Martian cells that have hitched a ride on the ship.

Dr. Karen Wagner knows the microbes’ resistance to virus is incredible. It’s the unknowable that’s dicey. Her orders: blow them into outer space. But orders can be undermined. Two vials have been stolen and sent hurtling toward the biosphere. For Devans and Wagner, ferreting out the saboteurs on board is only the beginning. Because there are more of them back on Earth—an army of radical eco-terrorists anxious to create a new world order with a catastrophic gift from Mars.

Now, one-hundred-and-forty-million miles away from home, Devans is feeling expendable, betrayed, a little adrift, and a lot wild-eyed. But space madness could be his salvation—and Earth’s. He has a plan. And he’ll have to be crazy to make it work.

“Politics, intrigue, suspense, a potentially world-changing microbe, and of course the hero trying to save the day . . . Well-written and nicely paced.” —Sci-Fi & Scary


A civil war ends, and a knight returns home to a land and wife he no longer knows. A wife mourns over her lost child as her husband returns from years of civil strife. Alone, they have nothing, but together perhaps they could rebuild.

Before they can try on their own, though, they encounter a dragon on their land. Swept up in the flying monster’s beauty and power, they pack up and leave the home that holds nothing for them anymore.

The pair travel through the war torn countryside, seeing the remnants of violence that plague the land while chasing a dragon that flies above it all.

In a land of dying magic and open wounds, follow the knight and his lady as they search for meaning in a new world for both of them.

FROM MARY CATELLI: The Firemaster and the Flames.

Jan well knows that it is an honor to serve the king as a firemaster.

Even when it means leaving the lands where firemasters are known and common, and traveling to where they are feared and hated, bringing with her the foundling she is raising, to fight a strange manifestation of fire.

FROM NATALIE ARCUEIL: Anat: My Passionate Hebrew Teacher.

Quiet, studious René Silva comes to Israel for graduate school. He starts attending Hebrew language classes after hours and quickly develops a crush on the charismatic, attractive divorcee teaching it. They get to talk and hit it off, and she decides there is more than one thing she can teach him.
It is just learning and having fun—at least, that’s what they keep telling themselves…

FROM JIMMIE BISE AND CEDAR SANDERSON: One Hungry Werewolf: And Other Monstrous Rhymes

When you’re a werewolf, you make your own friends…
Step inside the covers and meet the monsters so creepy and so adorable that you may want to invent a new word to describe them! We like “creepydorable” but you could come up with your own.
Inside you’ll find blobs, a mad scientist, and an awful lot of bats, but we invite you to begin at the beginning, with just…
One Hungry Werewolf.

FROM CELIA HAYES: Adelsverein: The Complete Trilogy.

The Adelsverein Trilogy, now combined in a single hardbound edition, is a saga of family and community loyalties, and the challenge of building a new life on the hostile frontier. They came from Germany to Texas in 1847, under the auspices of the “Mainzer Adelsverein” – the society of noblemen of Mainz, who tried to fill a settlement in Texas with German farmers and craftsmen. Christian “Vati” Steinmetz, the clockmaker of Ulm in Bavaria, has brought his sons and daughters: Magda – passionate and courageous, courted by Carl Becker, a young frontiersman with a dangerous past. Her sister Liesel wants nothing more than to be a good wife to her husband Hansi, a stolid and practical farmer called by circumstances to be something greater, in the boom years of the great cattle ranches. Their brothers Friedrich and Johann, have always been close – in the Civil War, one will wear Union blue, the other Confederate grey homespun – but never forget they are brothers. And finally, there is Vati’s adopted daughter Rosalie, whose life ends as it began – in tragedy. But Vati’s family will will survive and ultimately triumph. They will make their mark in Texas, their new land. Adelsverein: It’s about love and loss, joy and grief . . . and the sometimes wrenching process of becoming American.

FROM BLAKE SMITH: Hartington Abroad.

Jeriah Hartington is far from home. Born into a wealthy family, he is now reduced to poverty. In desperation, he signs on to a ship headed for the planet XKF-36. Their mission? To search for colonists who’ve been lost nearly as long as Jeriah has been alive.

Jeriah fully anticipates an adventure as they travel into the unknown wilderness. He never expected to find living people, eager to tell the tale of their sufferings. But their hair-raising account could be the downfall of everyone on the planet, even their rescuers. For a villain lurks within the ship’s crew, and no one can say who he might be.

Draw One In The Dark

Something or someone is killing shape shifters in the small mountain town of Goldport, Colorado.
Kyrie Smith, a server at a local diner, is the last person to solve the mystery. Except of course for the fact that she changes into a panther and that her co-worker, Tom Ormson, who changes into a dragon, thinks he might have killed someone.
Add in a policeman who shape-shifts into a lion, a father who is suffering from remorse about how he raised his son, and a triad of dragon shape shifters on the trail of a magical object known as The Pearl of Heaven and the adventure is bound to get very exciting indeed.
Solving the crime is difficult enough, but so is — for our characters — trusting someone with secrets long-held.

Gentleman Takes A Chance

Family! Can’t live with them and can’t eat them.
Tom Ormson, owner — with his girlfriend — of The George, a diner in downtown Goldport, Colorado is well on his way to becoming a responsible and respectable adult, despite his rough start and the fact that he turns into a dragon.
But then the unpredictable Colorado weather, the ancient leader of a dragon triad and an even more ancient shifter-enforcer combine to destroy his home, put his diner at risk and attempt to kill him.
All this, of course, has to happen while Tom’s friend, Rafiel, is trying to solve a series of murders-by-shark at the city aquarium, and Tom’s newly-reconciled father is attempting to move to Denver.
Fasten your seat belts, a wild ride is about to begin.

Noah’s Boy

Tom Ormson and Kyrie Smith are suffering the growing pains of young romance and young business people. Tom worries obsessively about the new fryer in the diner exploding.
As though he didn’t have enough on his mind, though, life decides it’s time for a sabretooth with vengeance on her mind to come to town, and for the Great Sky Dragon to try to arrange a marriage for Tom.
Meanwhile, out at the old amusement park, the one with the really good wooden roller-coaster, a series of bizarre murders is taking place.
And, as if that were not enough, Conan Lung, dragon shifter, ex-triad member and waiter extraordinaire starts his country singing career with an original song “If I Could Fly to You.”
When Kyrie is kidnapped, it’s all Tom can do to make sure he protects her while not eating anyone.

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: BABIES

30 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

  1. “She’s pregnant!”


    “Is the baby a boy or a girl?”

    “Well son, she going to have babies. At least three.”

    “Three or more kids crawling around? She’s going to kill me!”.

    “Not likely son. She’s going to need your help raising them”.

    1. “So sir, you want to hire me to assist in caring for a child?”

      “Five of them. My wife is still annoyed at me so hiring you is part of my apology.”

      “I see. Is your wife also an Ultra and can you tell if the children will be Ultras?”

      “My wife is a Mind-Mage and four of the children already show signs of being Mind-Mages. The fifth takes after me and I’ll have to spend more time with him.”

      “Yes, I’ve heard that Power-Eaters need special care. I’ll have to meet with your wife before I can agree to take this job.”

      “Of course… Got to go. The Babies are arriving early.”

      :”I’ll come with you. Your wife could use my assistance.”

      1. Recent got to playing Wild Arms 2 again. It’s a JRPG on the PS1 that came to the US a little after FF7. I think the last time I played it was almost 20 years ago now.

        One of the many things I liked about the game was in the post end credits epiloge, the male lead and his romantic interest have, since the end of the adventure, gotten married, taken over the bakery and had twins.

        I thought it was a nice touch that a lot of stories of the era just skipped over.

  2. “You want to make a big boom, these babies will do the job. The blues are 1 microgram antimatter, or roughly 40 lbs of TNT. The oranges are 1 microgram, or about 20 Tons TNT. No, I can’t sell you blackies, 20 kilotons. Hell, it’s amazing I can stock those babies at all. But unless you can show me military procurement, no dice.”

    “Look, I don’t need to move mountains. A fairly small amount of some low-explosive would do. I’m just blowing stumps.”

  3. “Princess Isabella will be in charge,” said Millefleur. “She is Prince Julian’s sister, much older than he is. She was widowed when fighting with a storm sorcerer, and she and her husband had not had any babies. So she takes charge of the education of young whippersnappers of noble birth.”

  4. “A D.S.O. for military espionage, eh?” said Major Allen, and spat. “And they say you Immortals deplore bloodshed. Bloody hypocrites, that’s what you lot are.”

    Styniak just smiled thinly. “Major,” he said, “when *you’ve* been stoned by a Tyrian mob for refusing to burn their babies alive, then we’ll talk.”

  5. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, on a dark and stormy night, deep within the Oort Cloud, the epidemiologist arrived by space scooter shouting “Fear not, I have the serum and I’m here!”

    The rancher replied: “Dang Bro we called for a gynecologist, we’re having a lot of babies, not rabies!”

  6. What exactly does a suitcase full of dungeon cores mean? Well, it is a bunch of babies in suspended animation. When inside an appropriately prepared container, a dungeon core can assimilate the deaths of entities. These deaths, and other absorptions, are used to grow and change as a living dungeon, which fills with monsters.

    A core can passively absorb a wide range of energies and become attached to a range of containers, so sanely trafficking in multiple cores requires that they be properly sealed in specific and comprehensive ways.

    A purchaser of cores must be intending to make living dungeons, and may intend to kill many growing them, and later more when the dungeons mature enough to send out monsters. There are potentially controllable, ethical uses, but core traffickers include a fair number of unstable madmen.

    A cache of black market cores is unlikely to be perfectly sealed, and the people with the expertise to tell, and fix it, may well be in the trafficking ring, so the smart, by-the-book answer is to destroy them all.

  7. “Alright, you babies! We’re going to take that hill! And no goddam alien is going to stop us.”
    “I really need to talk to Sergeant Pierce about his motivational technique,” thought the young lieutenant.

  8. “They want to talk about your wedding, of course.” Ciara smiled. “After that, your babies. Then they might raise the question of your bride.”
    Justinian gave her a sour look. “Your Felix does not look content to wait forever himself.”
    “Neither am I,” said Ciara, and looked about for him.

  9. A baby squalled.
    Aidan blinked in surprise.
    Moments later, others joined in. He looked about and saw small children running about in a field, chasing each other. He swallowed. He had not quite believed them when they said there was hope to settle down at the end of the adventures.

  10. “Help me undo this curse and I will do nearly anything you want. Kill your enemies. Fight you, dragon to dragon. Bear you a clutch of eggs. Give you up to half my hoard.” Her complete lack of hesitation set him aback, but he covered it with a sneer.

    “Why not your whole hoard? Or two clutches?”

    One corner of her too-human mouth lifted in a smile, the nerve! “You know why only half. But I’d agree to two if you think you can stomach that much contact with me.”

  11. The fact that my head was pounding like the drum corps of a Highland band, and I could not for the life of me recall how I ended up with that trio of dragon babies serenading me from the top of the dresser, was telling me it was just going to be that kind of a day.

    1. Word to the Wise.

      The baby dragons aren’t singing to be singing.

      They’re singing to be feed. [Big Dragon Grin]

  12. The statues were of children, and she thought it looked like a playground. But Carolus and Aurelie had no children, and neither had any governor for a long time.
    That was babies, Rosine told herself. If a governor had children already, he could bring them with him to this land.

    1. I live near a military airfield. One year during the air show while I was working on my roof a B-2 and two F-117s flew right overhead at less than 1,000 feet. Wow.

  13. Cooing softly, Gwendolyn cradled Nigel Slim-Howland’s infant nephew, quiet after a long, unpleasant evening.

    “Astonishing,” said Nigel to his butler Jenkins. “Are you sure Gwendolyn’s not programmed for child care?”

    “It’s not in our firmware,” replied Jenkins. “And Gwendolyn is equipped with the domestic servant module, not the maternal one.”

  14. Mrs. Horowitz’s third-graders crowded around the workbench as Alice Murcheson demonstrated how to transplant seedlings into the larger planters in which they’d grow to maturity. “Now remember, you need to handle them very gently. They’re just babies.”

    Yes, the kids understood, but a lot of them had little brothers and sisters, and like as not, were helping out with their care at home. Alice remembered the summer between second and third grade, when her mom was having migraines so bad they’d lay her flat. More than once she’d handed Alice a bottle and baby brother, and big sister had gotten to play mommy.

    Nowadays, her mom probably would’ve gotten an investigation from the Minnesota Child Protection Service, but that was Earth for you. Up here on the High Frontier, kids that age were already shouldering real responsibility, doing work like this which had real consequences if not performed properly.

  15. “Babies? Oh, yuck!” said Margie.
    Elvira gave her a sharp look. “Best you never say that within hearing of one of the proctors.”
    “Why? What’s wrong?”
    “You’ll get more of this in the History of medicine, but to put it briefly, the feminist movement of the late 20th and early 21st century discouraged women from having and raising children, and that led pretty much directly to the population crash among developed nations of the mid 21st century. It also contributed to other insanities you’ll learn about. The title “nurse” was derived from “nutrice”, which was the term the ancient Romans used for a lactating woman who would breastfeed a child not her own. It got extended to the whole practice of female caretaking of children, and from there to caring for the sick and injured. When the medical profession was rebuilt, the Professional Nursing Board decided that kind of feminism didn’t belong, so if you show any sign of disliking babies or children, you’re going to get bounced from the program so fast you won’t know what hit you. And even if you don’t say it out loud, your dislike is bound to show up on your practical evaluations in pediatric care. Do you want to succeed in this program? Find a way to drop the yuck.”

  16. “Don’t be a bunch of babies! This is our chance to be superpowered badasses, and I say we go for it!”

    “Esteban, did you even glance at the manual for those nanomods?” I shook my head. “We don’t know the first thing about what it takes to install a set of these. The smartest thing we could do is find someone who can fence these, even if they only pay us half of what they’re worth.”

    The big man seemed unconvinced. “This stuff could be our ticket to the big time, hombre. Think we can get a medtech to see things my way?”

    A new voice called out of the shadows. “Don’t bother going for your weapons. Your lookouts are knocked out, and I’ll be taking the goods back to the lab they came from.” The voice paused. “On second thought, I have a better idea. I can take your words as vocal consent, and you get to be Dr. Carson’s human guinea pig. And your buddy can keep you company. Every experiment needs a control.”

  17. “Sometimes, Sergeant-Senior, it is difficult for some of us to believe that any of us were ever that young.” The voice came from behind her and to the left, but it was nothing of a real surprise; she’d seen and heard him coming a good ways back. Of course.

    “And yet did we ever forget much, both young and old would waste no time in reminding us that yes, we were, and perhaps at times nearly as foolish.” It was only then that she half-turned to face him, now standing nearly next to her at the fence-rail of the ship’s concourse practice field, it now fully accessible since spin gravity had been properly restored.

    And inclined her head in one of the several greetings that were proper in such things. “Tea Dobbins, Chevalier, and it’s my honor to make the acquaintance.” She pronounced her first name with two syllables, rhyming it with “Leah” like it were the Irish; and used the pseudo-rank “Chevalier” since he was in civilian dress and had only the tasteful handful of medals on his coat to betray the rank and history of a bygone service. “Tea short for Teodóra, actually, though both names are on the old lists. And yes, it would have been Dabinzz, more or less, but we made it off Earth long before the Hungarians and their registry would have got hold of that one. All my ancestors Into The Black well before there was ever a Harzburg Empire at all.”

    “Kastor Parsifal, Sergeant-Senior. And I’d have to say, though no reflection on you, that your apparent charges there are not entirely to the credit of our joint Service, Fraulein Dobbins.” The guess was easy, no rings on her fingers on duty as none allowed save if she’d been married. And the civilian title one more careful and measured familiarity with a near-stranger.

    “General Parsifal, it is indeed an honor to properly meet you. There are many good things to say about Inghaz Ridge, though I’d be repetitious at best to catalog any of them for you now — coals to Newcastle, and perhaps also oil to Araby as well.” And she looked, again, at the motley collection of semi-off-duty cadets still assembling on the training field. Some of them looking a bit green around the gills, some more before or after having to toss their lunches in the buckets provided, a few actually looking decently normal after their first Jump transition and the quick re-spin following it.

    Likely those last were not the ones who’d took advantage of the “last call for grog” the night before this assembly. Of course, she would never have encouraged some of the older cadets to stress that policy… or ever needed to.

    “Yes, Chevalier, some of them look pretty rough right now, maybe even as if they might’ve ‘slipped through the cracks’ in our recruitment system. But as you know, in military terms they’re just babies. Despite all the training and all the schooling and all the military tradition in many of their families, even a bit or more than a bit of advice from older relatives, they just have to learn as they go, so many of them. And some of the ones filling the buckets fastest now are the ones who’ll grow into leaders, people who’ll take the chances that have to be taken, when they’re needed and only then.

    “And I don’t just mean in battle, the Space Service does so many other things for the Empire, there’s a reason both nobles and commoners have to serve to enjoy the full set of rights and privileges. Though here I am, stuffing a normal conversation full of Imperial political theory and practice.” And Tea Dobbins smiled a non-flitatious but merry and comradely smile at the mustachioed ex-officer. Between close glances at the now fast-assembling company.

    “They do say, ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’ — true or not. But
    well indeed that you don’t have to convince me, though, I am somewhat on one natural side of that policy debate.” He extended his hand, that measured and careful degree. “If I may?” And she smiled, in the way that said no offense was considered or taken (inconceivable how the turn-of-the-millennium idiots back on Earth had covered their faces in all polite company for so long, before common sense had reasserted itself), and took his hand in a firm and neutral grip. Whereupon he bowed slightly over it.

    “Count Kastor Michael Parsifal von Eschenbach, Counselor to the Canton of North Osterreich, and it’s an honor to make your acquaintance personally.” He didn’t quite click his heels together in the old way, but his body language was not too far off it. And she smiled, again, that hazel-eyed benediction of hers.

    “Lady Teodóra Franciska Hunyady Dobbins von Teller, at your service in all the ways save the older one, Chevalier General. Though it was long ago and I was green as the Leyden Sea back then, it was my honor and challenge to be at the Battle of Inghaz Ridge myself; and it’s likely due to you that I’m here to be one more thorn in their backsides and one more lesson in their copybooks.” It was likely unneeded, her inclination of her head to the cadets; but it was also mostly useless, because her name had grabbed Kastor’s attention the way she still held his hand, quite formally but quite firmly.

    “Lady von Teller? Of the Tellers collateral to the Sobieskis? And Hunyady? As in the old Hunyadys from the old days..?”

    And her smile at that could have lit up a hemisphere. “Yes, them, from back in the days of the old Borgia Popes and the invaders, and the Dragon the Impaler, and all. John and Matthias and all that lot. And here it is near a milennium on, and look how everything so old is new again.”

    “But, Lady von Teller, surely you don’t have to be…” And polite words failed him and little telling whether it was by good luck or incapacity. But she, still holding his hand formally and properly, filled the breach at once.

    “Yes, actually, for the good of the Empire and my family both I do, Count von Parsifal. There are, as I just said, all sorts of reasons why a society and a political system like ours needs the leavening of military and practical service in the ones it elevates to the positions of, um, power and privilege. Without a means of, ah, throwing the cold water of reality on our, um, best youth, there’s far too many ways for them to go astray from it, and far too deep holes to fall into where they’d never find their way out again — and drag all of us along. If they are babies today, someday they’ll be all grown up and steering the world.

    “If only it were true, that the hand that rocks the cradle guides the world. But it for good or ill cannot be quite so simple. But as a younger daughter of a noble house, as a career officer who’s long since found her, ah, ceiling of buoyancy as they used to say in the days of the old Air Service — well, I’m in a good and even a useful place. And someday I too will leave the service, and it’s by now long since past the time I ought to have let go your hand, Chevalier.” And did.

    “Perhaps we’ll meet again soon, but for now I truly have to go bring a bit less chaos to these cadets’ young lives. Will you be part of the training cadre, here on the Bathory Erzsébet?”

    “Why, yes, Lady, I will. And it’s been… something of an education already. And if you’ll permit me one more slight flattery, more than a bit of an honor myself.”

    (And please forgive any errors in the historical stuff, I had about no idea where this one was going until the characters had already dragged me there.)

  18. From the forthcoming (eventually) Angels Inc.:

    “KaPOW! Splash another missile!” shouted Brunhilde.

    “I never get to shoot anything,” pouted Gudrun from the pilot seat. “You always get to shoot the bad guys Brunhilde, no fair.”

    “Yeah, I kinda feel bad about that,” admitted Brunhilde. She reached over and tousled Gudrun’s hair. “I’m sorry. When we all get up north, I promise to let you shoot the bad guys first, okay?”

    “You have to find me a big juicy zombie I can vaporize,” said Gudrun, leaning into Brunhilde’s hand. “A really gnarly one, like that one Nike and Sigrun chopped up. I’ve been itching for a crack at one of those.”

    “I’ll see what I can do,” promised Brunhilde. “You too Athena, I’ll find something for you to bust up. I know you want to.”

    Nammu opened her eyes with a very daunting look on her face. “New mission, my beauties. We need to rescue that submarine. Foul deeds have been done here, and those men need our help.” Playful, fun Nammu was gone. Madame Chen of the Tang Dynasty Imperial Court was in her place, issuing orders. “Gudrun, change course to land next to that submarine. Brunhilde, swarm it with drones and shoot anything it launches. When we get there, we will put your combat chassis out for security. Athena, when your munitions get here, I want you to pass control over to me, and not look at what is inside that ship.”

    “I’ve seen mind controlled humans before,” protested Athena. “It’s ugly, but I can take it.”

    “Listen to me, warrior women!” shouted Nammu, sweeping them all with her gaze. “I saw my first battle when I was over three hundred years old and had already buried husbands, children, and grandchildren. You are BABIES! Innocents! You must be protected from such things. You, George, Jimmy, all of you. And especially Alice. She is to be told nothing until it is all over, am I understood? Stay the hell out of it and let me work. Now nod your heads and say ‘Yes Nammu.’”

    “Yes, Nammu!” they chorused.

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