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. ;)*


Charlotte Fisher lives under colliding skies.

It’s the second half of the twenty-first century, and mankind has reached Earth orbit but not much farther. Orbital debris is a by-product of the industrial activity, and it’s dangerous both to everyone up there and the bottom lines of the corporations offering a prize to get rid of it. Charlotte heads up a team chasing the Manx Prize for the first successful, controlled de-orbit of a dead satellite. To win, she and her team must out-think and out-engineer a cheating competitor, dodge a collusive regulator, and withstand the temptations offered by a large and powerful seastead.

The sky’s not the limit. It’s the challenge.

If you like hard science fiction, impossible odds, and a touch of romance, you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s Manx Prize.   Buy Manx Prize to join the race for space today!

FROM BLAKE SMITH: Lyddie Hartington: Galaxy Sleuth.

Facing poverty after a childhood among the wealthy and powerful, Lyddie Hartington decamps to Ceres, a newly colonized planet on the edges of the galaxy. Armed only with a change of clothes, a letter of introduction to the directors of the Andromeda Company, and a blaster, she is determined to make her fortune.

But Ceres is nothing like Orion-14, and before she knows it, Lyddie is witness to a murder- a murder that goes to the heart of the Andromeda Company and puts her life in danger. With the help of her new friend, an entirely too handsome captain of the Galaxy Watch, she must discover the murderer and solve the mystery of her family’s downfall.

If she can survive long enough to do it.

FROM HENRY VOGEL: Fortune’s Fool (The Fortune Chronicles Book 1)

He digs through the past to unearth his future. But will rocketing into the expanse blast him into deadly trouble?

Xenoarchaeologist Mark Fortune just needs one big find to be set for life. Roaming the post-apocalyptic galaxy in search of riches, the pragmatic loner believes he’s finally made the breakthrough of his career when he activates an ancient portal. But when he’s catapulted onto an unknown planet, he’s followed by a revenge-driven skybiker out for his blood.

For the sake of survival, Mark and the motorhead form an uneasy alliance until they can escape the strange and unforgiving world. But the only path back home pits them against a ruthless warlord in a flying space fortress armed with pre-holocaust tech and a horde of killer robots…

Can Mark tear down a dictator before his newest discovery is otherworldly death?

Fortune’s Fool is the first book in the edgy Fortune Chronicles science fiction adventure series. If you like throwback futurism, gritty action, and expansive worlds, then you’ll love Henry Vogel’s interstellar doorway.

Buy Fortune’s Fool to open the door to uncharted planets today!

FROM PETER GRANT: The Stones of Silence (Cochrane’s Company Book 1)

The secret is out – the Mycenae system is the hottest new mineral find in the spiral arm. Now it’s about to become ground zero in a gold rush by every crooked company and asteroid thief in the galaxy.

Andrew Cochrane, with his crew of the finest veterans and cunning rogues, have an even better scheme. They’ve conned the owner into hiring them as a mercenary security company to defend the system. With no oversight but their own, Cochrane’s Company plans to seize the richest pickings for themselves.

But nothing ever comes easy. If they want to keep their loot, they’re going to have to outwit and outfight every smuggler, bandit and renegade after the same prize – and their boss, too!

FROM J. L. CURTIS: The Morning The Earth Shook.

A year after Calexit, the last US bases in Southern California are under siege, with their power and water cut off. Their perimeters are under constant probes by a now hostile nation. There is intelligence the government of California is planning a final all-out action to overwhelm the last bases and claim the spoils of victory for their own…

But the men and women in uniform aren’t going to let their bases be overrun, especially after the murder of their dependents. This is their story, a novella of the last military withdrawal from California. And if there’s one thing the Sailors and Marines are not going to do, it’s go quietly!

FROM MARGARET BALL: An Opening in the Air (Applied Topology Book 2).

Any sufficiently advanced applied math is indistinguishable from magic…

Protest on campus are usually like grackles – annoying, in the way, and ignorable. But when Thalia Kostis invisibly crashes a meeting, she learns that outside money and organizers are planning for a full-out riot, complete with scapegoats and martyrs. Unfortunately, applied math isn’t magic, and she’s in danger when her cover’s blown . Now she and the rest of the misfits at Institute for Applied Topology must figure out who’s behind this and stop it, before more than just their own building goes up in flames!


People love easily. Look at most of your relatives or coworkers. How lovable are they? Really? Yet most have mates and children. The vast majority are still invited to family gatherings and their relatives will speak to them.

Many have pets to which they are devoted. Some even call them their fur-babies. Is your dog or cat or parakeet property or family? Not in law but in your heart? Can a pet really love you back? Or is it a different affection? Are you not kind to those who feed and shelter you? But what if your dog could talk back? Would your cat speak to you kindly?

How much more complicated might it be if we meet really intelligent species not human? How would we treat these ‘people’ in feathers or fur? Perhaps a more difficult question is: How would they treat us? Are we that lovable?

When society and the law decide these sort of questions must be answered it is usually because someone disapproves of your choices. Today it may be a cat named in a will or a contest for custody of a dog. People are usually happy living the way they want until conflict is forced upon them.

What if the furry fellow in question has his own law? And is quite articulate in explaining his choices. Can a Human adopt such an alien? Can such an intelligent alien adopt a human? Should they?

Of course if the furry alien in question is smart enough to fly spaceships, and happens to be similar in size and disposition to a mature Grizzly bear, wisdom calls for a certain delicacy in telling him no…

The “April” series of books works from an earlier time toward merging with the “Family Law” series.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Dipped Stripped and Dead. (Yes, working on sequel. I need to be three people.)

A Dyce Dare Mystery
When she was six, Dyce Dare wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t stop tripping over her own feet. Then she wanted to be a lion tamer, but Fluffy, the cat, would not obey her. Which is why at the age of twenty nine she’s dumpster diving, kind of. She’s looking for furniture to keep her refinishing business going, because she would someday like to feed herself and her young son something better than pancakes.
Unfortunately, as has come to be her expectation, things go disastrously wrong. She finds a half melted corpse in a dumpster. This will force her to do what she never wanted to do: solve a crime.
Life is just about to get crazy… er… crazier. But at least at the end of the tunnel there might be a relationship with a very nice Police Officer.

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: ELBOW

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

  1. “Problem my apprentice?”

    “Yes, that blow to my elbow hit my funny bone and it hurts”.

    “Ah yes, while we don’t always get into physical fights, we do have to be ready for them. For all our powers, we can be hurt by physical attacks.”

  2. Cat hated casseroles. It brought on horrible flashbacks of the Baptist Sunday potlucks of her childhood. And, frankly, they required zero talent to make. Boil elbow macaroni, pour in cheap store-bought pasta sauce, and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. But, when you haven’t been able to get to the grocery store and that’s all you have in the cupboard, that’s what you make. Muttering quiet curses, Cat put a pot of water on to boil.

  3. The cherry tree, once blossoming and beautiful, lie wilted and broken upon the ground.

    The dojo master, who had cared for and nurtured the tree from seedling to maturity demanded an explanation!

    Young George relied; “I can not tell a lie Sensei I did it with my own little elbow.”

  4. Her arm was wrapped in a white cloth that covered her from wrist to elbow. Pale beneath the thunderous clouds, she walked into the field, held out her arm, and pronounced the spell.
    Lightning crackled, launched downward, and in a jumbled moment, took form as a perching eagle of lightning.

  5. “But, Sahib,” Savitri ventured, “if our region is home to an enormous Maurya statue of the Sleeping Buddha, why have we never seen it?”

    The Professor chuckled. “Just *because* it’s so enormous, my dear,” he replied.

    Savitri cocked her head. “Meaning…?”

    “Your village lies within the crook of its elbow.”

  6. “Bow and the Elbow, with bottles. Five minutes.”

    The heavyset guy had dodged past us, just far enough away to avoid actually brushing either of us as he went. And his voice was like what the Greeks used to call a cledon, a clear but sourceless message from out of a crowd.

    Tradecraft would have told me not to look at him, but he was there and past before I could do or say anything out of the ordinary anyway.

    Once more I looked at Alex Caulfield, not nearly as oblivious as a lot of those technical types, but still operating far outside his comfort zone. Assessing, as was my habit in all these things, at regular intervals. “Steer a little bit more to the right, we’re going towards the streetcar stop up by the corner at Bright and Colonial.”

    He looked, again, metro-retro quizzical. “I thought you said a streetcar would be way too open and too hard to leave quickly.” But said it blandly and quietly.

    “It is, but the way to the pub is by there and the wait-lines are rarely enough to be an obstacle this early in the evening.”

    “The pub?” He looked around, once again seeming a little lost, but that only put him right in the center of the profile for the maybe 30-40% tourist faction of the milling crowd in Mattingly Square.

    “Just got a message about that. Now we know right where we’re going, and maybe even what to look for when we go in.” Optimistic enough, to hope he wouldn’t ask me to say the name out loud, but…

    “You mean that vaudeodrama nonsense about elbows and stuff?”

    Better. “You have to know your geography, Old Earth, or actually had to have been there. And also know at least a little bit about the local bar scene. Not any kind of holo-glitzy offworlder trap, more a longtime local favorite.” And it turned out he was a natural as a retro-metro gender-neutralized throwback to the Barking Twenties, however at odds that old foolishness was with his natural persona. No haircut, no dye, no lenses required, just a retro-trendy new suit of (execrable) clothes and a squeaky set of manners. Total new look.

    “Okay, Alex” — even the name was geneutral — “just hug the wall ahead of me and keep going past the stop.” And for a wonder he did, it, no coaxing, done.

    “That was pretty good, you still look like a big-city offworld tourist, bravo.” We were, for the moment, alone, and sound does not carry the way it ought with a damper on every deep-city corner, to cut the dense-pack howl for the tourists. “And just bear right into this alley-looking street next up, like you’ve been here half a hundred times.” My voice was just barely above a murmur, but he could hear it just fine.

    It was more a delivery driveway back of some of the mainfront shops, but it carried us off the high street and onto a totally-different world in about half a brisk minute, with enough shallow zigs and zags to forbid sight from either street. And enough time for young Alex to metamorph a bit, again.

    “Okay, now if you can, Alex, drop that geneutral stuff entirely. Take off those earrings first, that’ll help, drop ’em in your pants watch pocket. Hand me the coat, then reverse your vest, just do it while I watch around.” And he did, fast enough if with a few fumbles. Perhaps top warp drive engineers could also be at least competent as low-level operatives. (Not a lot of overlap on those two jobs, of course.)

    And it was almost creepy how his manner shifted back to normal-male as he did. Which impression might just be the best marks my reluctant student in all these things had earned tonight. “Remember you’re still Alex Caulfield, just the regular-guy version of him / zit / whatever. Edison Street is mostly Canadian minority, mixed anglo-francey, not much metro-retro here.” There were even a few streetfront signs in French and English, which warmed my heart a bit.

    He turned to me, causally, and in a low and even tone said, “Thank God and all His ministers of glory, that neutral stuff gives me the willies.”

    It was almost like dropping back into the early 21st in Canada, here, to “party like it’s 2019.” The crowds, the automobiles filling the streets (electric here of course), the big and bright and glittering — non-holo — signs. The wide sidewalks full of people out on the town of an evening, without a care (mostly and except for us).

    Homey, for someone raised as I’d been, in the small-farm country south of New Cochrane. Our idea, such as it was, of 22nd-century urban life. And it seemed to cheer and comfort Dr. Peter Rasmussen, too, which was all to the good for us both. “Okay, Alex, we’re looking for a place called the Outback Stampede. The place where the old Stampede was, back on Old Earth, has two rivers meeting right in the middle of it. Care to guess what they’re called?”

    “The Bow and the Elbow? Really?” His whole manner had shifted, and not just in a non-geneutral way; now he walked with a sort of unconscious confidence, but not any kind of challenging uppittyness, that was as in-place here as that metro-retro moop had been merely one long alley-street over.

    Some things, as I’d just shown, can be taught. But the sort of natural poise he was growing into right before my eyes… that has to be born, not made. Almost too bad he was so good at his usual trade…

    “Really. The city’s name is even Scottish for… something or other. And I’m guessing the ‘bottles’ part is more than an allusion to the pub.”

    “But what do you do” — we were just two more Can-quarter regulars now, out for a pleaant little stroll even if one’s picks in clothes were a more than a little, ah, avant-garde for the norm. (“Turncoat” weeds, an oldie but goodie.) He’d stopped, and began again. “So, what do you do if you miss the signal or don’t understand it at all? If it’s too, um, opaque to make out?”

    And I felt myself smile, something like ruefully. “The best you can, brother Alex. The best you can, with whatever you’ve got. Unlike other ones, this profession of mine is never an… exact science.” And laying eyes on one of the most neon (and other gases) lit pub signs on all the Northern Coast, “But when it works it works. And that’s enough, as they used to say. Just go right in, now, and let your eyes adjust in the anteroom.”

    And I followed him, and his step and demeanor as he preceded me would’ve done credit to an old cobber into town from the Outback in Oz-That-Was. The impressiveness factor of this boffin turned insert just kept climbing.

    “Bottles. Can’t be that easy,” he said after a moment. He didn’t even nod to the man he’d (obviously) tagged, up there in the (relative) gloom of a saloon lit more by real gaslights and fake oil lamps than anything more up-to-date.

    He didn’t need to, the one up on the second level (a couple of feet higher than the main, central wood-plank floor) with authentic Old Oz hat, complete with its hanging, swinging fringe of dram-size mini-bottles in place of the more traditional whisky-corks. “So let’s check him out and see if the credit code clears,” I said, just as murmorously as he.

    By now he was following me again, smoothly letting me set the pace of our progress over the wide open floor and up one of the many short staircases that led up to the next, railed, level with its tables and center-facing benches. To our target who stood up as we approached.

    “You gentlemen look like you could use a bit of hospitality, here in the country part of the city,” he said, dark eyes glittering like onyx under his hat as he indicated the half-full bottle on the table. And then after a beat, as if it also made perfect sense, “The Northern Lights are clear and bright…”

    “…but the Southern Cross outshines them all,” said ‘Alex’ and I smoothly in decent unison as we both sat.

    “And what is the Pickerell coefficient of an envelope at second crossover?” he said, pouring unasked.

    “Nothing,” said Alex, simply, but with a hint of that old-cobber swagger he’d had before. “Denominator zero by definition at crossover. And no one with a drop of sense would run a ship that way…”

    Ah. Near home and dry, again.

  7. Aiya looked at me and waved her left arm frozen at the elbow. “Joint’s acting up again,” she complained. “We really do need to get me a new body, darling.”

    I sighed. Aiya…well, you’re supposed to outgrow your first sex gynoid and I did…technically. Twelve years of mods and upgrades and some rather less-than-legal components for pure civilian use made her as much of the family as Josephine had been.

    Once upon a time.

    That meant that if I wanted to port her mind-state to a new body, I would have to do far too much pruning of what made her so wonderful. And, you can only do so much with a high-grade, non-commercial printer for a gynoid model that hasn’t been produced for four years. “I’m going to replace all of those joints,” I grumbled. “I’ll ask Jake for some time at the big work printers and do a run of everything you need. There’s a new French joint set that has an obscenely high MTBF rate and we’ll replace all your joints this weekend.”

  8. “So if we’re not in the armpit of Hell and we’re not by the arsehole, where the heck are we, boss!?”

    “I’ve been to the arsehole of Hell. It’s a lot hotter. And the armpit sits smack in the middle of a stinking peat bog. No thank you.”

    “So you mean…?”

    “Yep. Junior, we’re lost. Somewhere in the elbow of Hell.”

    Junior groaned and held his head in hands. The old man’s sense of humor would kill him long before any hellspawn could.

  9. “I’m sorry sir, but I can’t sign off on the plumbing of you house.”
    “Why the hell not?” the owner screamed. “I used the most expense, top quality materials for it!”
    The building inspector pointed patiently, ”The Code clearly states that hose for turns is prohibited. You have to use elbows.”

    1. Ha! I’ve actually seen that done before. No elbows, just flex hose. I did boggle a bit, but the crawlspace was dry, so, I suppose it worked. At least temporarily.

      1. The hilarious part is everyone uses hose to attach new replacement faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines, and even your water conditioners. On the other hand, copper pipe is far less likely to be chewed through and leak like plastic hose. Gripping hand, have to use elbows even with plastic pipe here in NH.

        Man, I still miss Jerry. And too many other authors no longer around.

        1. I use the stainless steel armored hoses for sinks, washing machine and water heater. Water pressure here is something like 95 PSI so I don’t dick around with flimsy hoses.

  10. He took her by the elbow and steered her down a street. “I might end up there yet, if we can’t make a match for me. But you have no fears, not being an heiress, we will be sure to make a match for you!”
    She looked down the street.

  11. Leaning on his elbow was enough to get up and wriggle back, so he could lie against the pillows and be ready to eat.
    He got far enough back that he could smile when Beth looked over. She took up the tray to put it before him.
    He felt hungry.

  12. Through his spex Tanner looked over the tangle of piping that fed the lander’s engines. “Looks like we’ve got a leak in an elbow bend. And of course it’s going to be the devil to get repaired with just your basic maintenance robot, even using haptic-feedback gloves slaved to the waldos.”

    “Damn.” Brent mirrored the feed on his own spex to get a better look. “It would have to go bad now, instead of when we’re in port and can have it hauled indoors. Even Schirrasburg’s spaceport has a repair bay big enough they can bring them inside and work in basic p-suits for moondust protection, instead of full EMU’s. But no, it has to break down now and leave us making a forced landing in the middle of the Sea of Tranquility.”

  13. Imogene checked the armor again. The elbow was such a tricky spot. “I,” she began. She looked up. The others already looked at her, and she had to admit it some time.
    “I need an armorer.”
    “We can find one. If we can’t find enchanted armor for you,” said Robert.

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