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 ANNA FERREIRA: A Capital Whip: A Pride and Prejudice Sequel.

An invalid for much of her life, Miss Anne de Bourgh has precisely one accomplishment: carriage driving. She is proud of her skill with reins and whip, and justifiably so.

But when another young lady moves into the neighborhood, and challenges Anne’s place as the most accomplished driver in Hunsford, Anne must prove to herself, to her beloved horses, and to her family that she is worthy of the name de Bourgh, and she does not shrink away from a challenge.

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Doctor Inferno.

Even Superheroes and Super Villains grow old, eventually.

But when a retiree from a nice retirement facility has an encounter with a young scientist of somewhat dubious experimental ethics …who picks William N. Furnace as an unwilling financier of his rejuvenation experiments . . . Doctor Inferno is back!.

And the Department of Superhuman Monitoring and Detention springs into action . . . blaming various odd things on Doctor Inferno . . . when they ought to be looking at other possible causes.

With the help of his old AI (who’s been running without supervision for decade) and couple of kidnapped DSMD agents, a Superhuman who is more Chaotic Good than Evil sets out to save the World, whether it deserves it or not!

A not very serious romp into the Superhero Genre by an established SF/F writer.

BY ILENE KAYE: It Had To Be Yuu.

Only Yuu could manage to get himself kidnapped—on a planet in the middle of a blizzard, no less—and not even know it. It’s up to space survey pilot Audra Marin to fly to the rescue, but when she gets her childhood playmate home alive, she’ll make him pay.
Only Audra could stumble into a fraud investigation and mistake it for a kidnapping. Trading company heir Yuu Ra-Dezan has to find a way to keep Audra from complicating his efforts to find an embezzler. “She’s my fiancée” seems like the best cover story—but when did his childhood nemesis turn into the hottest woman in the galaxy?
When his host’s robots try to hold them at blaster-point, Yuu and Audra trip over each other to foil a plot to steal the fastest ship in the galaxy. The only piracy these two will accept is stealing each others’ hearts.


From Book 1: Rico is a psychopath.

That’s why his job as an intergalactic hitman for a massive criminal syndicate suits him so well. He gets to do what he does best: go planet to planet and wreak destruction. He enjoys his work.

But Rico’s latest assignment isn’t what it seems, and after inadvertently thwarting a terror attack, he finds himself playing the good guy. Stuck pretending he’s a cop, he gets paired with some lady detective who is more than a little suspicious of him. To make matters worse, he starts to have new feelings toward her, feelings he’s never felt before. Love, maybe? That’s stupid. What is he supposed to do with that?

And this job isn’t fun, as it soon spirals into secrets, betrayal, and a whole planet out to kill him. Well, it’s a little fun. Still, Rico may have finally found himself in a situation he can’t shoot his way out of.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t try.


On the planet Nwwwlf, in the lost colony of First Landing, the original settlers carved out one sylvan valley, a lone outpost where humans flourish. But their bright hopes and best intentions devolved over centuries into a rude replica of medieval feudalism.

Gilead Tan, who had been held captive for centuries in his sleeping cell, survived treachery and pain to free a small group of sleepers. But he and his friends now face the perils of life outside First Landing’s sanctuary–without their powered armor, their tools and technology, or anything else they need save for a few chickens.

Gilead must establish a safehold for his crew, but the alien environment does not welcome them and petty bickering threatens their meager resources. He hopes that a trace of smoke – spotted above a distant ridge – beckons them to a better place.

It doesn’t.

FROM T. L. KNIGHTON: Bloody Eden (Soldiers of New Eden).

Ten years after a nuclear war forced Jason Calvin to fight his way across Georgia and through a brutal warlord, life has settled down a bit in a town called New Eden. As the town sheriff, Jason keeps the peace. After saving a family from a horrible fate, that peace becomes threatened when a sadistic military man shows up, claiming the family are fugitives from his draconian justice system and they’re coming back whether anyone in New Eden likes it or not…and maybe some of New Eden’s own as well. Unfortunately for him, Jason isn’t about to just let something like that go. “Bloody Eden” is the action packed sequel to the hit novelette “After the Blast”.

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Three Matches.

What can you do when you find out you’re a fox shifter, and your mom keeps thinking you want to make a far more socially acceptable admission?
Rya Stevens runs away, and gets caught in a terrible Colorado snow storm. When she runs out of gas she hopes for angels.
What she gets instead are …. alligators and dragons. Oh, my.
This short story takes place in the Shifter Series between Gentleman Takes A Chance and Noah’s boy.


Tom is a cat in trouble. The worst possible kind of trouble: he’s been turned into a human. Transformed by an irascible old magician in need of a famulus — a servant and an assistant, Tom is as good at being a servant as a cat ever is. The assistant part is more to Tom’s taste: he rather fancies impressing the girl cats and terrorizing the other toms by transforming himself into a tiger. But the world of magic, a vanished and cursed princess, and a haunted skull, and a demon in the chamber-pot, to say nothing of conspiring wizards and the wickedest witch in the west, all seem to be out to kill Tom. He is a cat coming to terms with being a boy, dealing with all this. He has a raven and a cheese as… sort of allies.
And of course there is the princess.
If you were looking for ‘War and Peace’ this is the wrong book for you. It’s a light-hearted and gently satirical fantasy, full of terrible puns and… cats.

FROM RD MEYER: Homecoming

Earth. The mere name has had an almost talisman-like pull on the human race since we were driven from our homeworld over 6,000 years ago. Mankind’s ancestors ran from the genocidal threat engulfing them, fleeing like intergalactic refugees towards a new home that would allow us to flourish once again.And flourish we did. From a ragtag group of just over 12,000 survivors, humanity has grown to create a proper empire of nearly 900 billion spanning two galaxies. But we never forgot our home, so we waited and we planned. Now the time was finally right to return to Earth and take back what we once had no choice but to abandon.Although the military campaign, as well as the alien races between humanity and our birthplace, were the primary concern, they turned out to not be the only ones. You see, Earth itself, despite crawling with the vermin that nearly eradicated us, was far from free of surprises, both physical and historical. Unanticipated challenges waited for the people of the Terran Confederation, including notions that would shake the very foundations of what it meant to be human. Our legends had defined us, but could those legends withstand scrutiny? What if everything we’d come to believe about ourselves and our world had been carefully crafted to cocoon us for our own good?A story meant to be about our return to Earth expands to cover our journey both across and within the realms of known space, from long lost colony worlds where mankind has morphed into something else, to the edges of an intergalactic war between implacable enemies…enemies that now had the incentive to turn their attention towards humanity…

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: OBTAINABLE

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

  1. “A Type 33-7-99-A drive fan? Obtainable.” N(click!)ta(hum)ka noted. “Attainable? Not right now. Only three in stock, and they’re all reserved.”

    Gregory sighed and didn’t try any body language that would show his frustration. Cross-species expressions tended not to work very well, but he managed to do the slightly spread legs with the knees at a near-perfect fifteen degree angle, arms away from his body that was a looking to make a deal in the Seth’s body language. “You have three in stock! Why can’t you just tell one of your customers that you have an emergency repair job and you’ll give them a refund on some of the cost? I’m willing to pay the difference as well.”

    N(click!)ta(hum)ka smiled-and that worried Gregory because only humans smiled in general pleasure. The Seth smiled when they got to bite something off someone-metaphorically or actually. “All three are for ships owned by Miss Felicity Jones. And, she made a major earnest payment on the next four to come in.”

  2. Steve frowned as he drank the hot breakfast beverage.

    “Well, here’s another reason to defeat the Great Devourer”.

    “Why’s that?” Marilynn asked.

    “Once the Great Devourer is gone, real coffee will be obtainable. This drink isn’t bad but I miss real coffee”.

  3. “Goddamn it, Magnamus! I thought we had a plan to get rid of him!”
    “We did, my lord.”
    “You knew… that… young Jack back there… is _completely_ inappropriate… to win… my daughters hand! And yet. He. Came. Back. With. The Holy Sword of Holiness! Which he is _completely_ unworthy of holding. Let alone retrieving. Now what do we do?”
    “Good question, my lord. What do we do now that the unobtainuim is found to be… obtainable.”

  4. Elbaniatbo, the rather slow but lovable dyslexic faithful robotic sidekick of the famed throughout the universe Rone Granger, when seeking to disguise himself to infiltrate the nasty notorious nuts and bolts unruly ruffian gang carefully wrote and hung a large but tasteful sign on his chest saying, I’m Not Obtainable.

  5. “Wait,” Judy asked, looking at Ben sharply. “The entire pretender government put themselves in prison?”

    “Yep. Razor wire fences and armed guards and everything. And they are supposedly paying for it too – though it sounds like the guards are not finding reasonable quartering or edible food anything close to actually obtainable.”

    Judy shook her head. “Sounds like they are trying to get the guards to start abusing them.”

    “Yeah, organizing abuse without setting up a safe word.” Ben looked over at Judy, waggling his eyebrows.


  6. Oh fun, a sequel to SuperEgo. I’ve adored Frank J. Fleming since he was satirizing George W. back in the day. And now I have to go write a review of SuperEgo before I reward myself with SuperEgo: Fathom.

    But only after I finish Draw One in the Dark. Fun reading ahead, mateys.

  7. “Alas, Lady,” said Rekkitodos, “to obtain the Silver Oriole, one must scale a mountain of pure fire, cross a bridge made from a single hair, enter a castle without door or window, and defeat a giant whom Death himself fears to molest.”

    Jeanne grinned. “So you’re saying it’s obtainable, then.”

  8. Ava frowned, turning from the garden. “Is there no one we could call on? We’re not supposed to fight before the test.”
    Julian hesitated. “We can defend ourselves, but we can try to avoid any fighting.”
    What if they were needed against some foe? Ava thought, but did not say.

  9. “How soon will you get those generators to Akron? Do you know who is unloading the stranded train? Have you got trucks hired?”

    “The way that can be spoken is not the way.”

    “You said they’d be there Friday!”

    “The journey is the reward.”

    “Does Proverbial Power Systems have good lawyers?”

  10. Ken Redmond paged his way through the latest set of project proposals that had been sent down from science for feasibility review by Engineering. “What is it with these guys? You’d think that somebody with a background in science would have some idea of the limitations of what experimental equipment we can fabricate down here. They might as well require half a kilo of unobtanium.”

  11. If they could not find her a partner, they would never have let her attend the ball. It would not become her to look desperate because they had not managed to get him to her more swiftly. All about, maidens were being introduced to grave young men and led off.

  12. He shrugged. “I know there will be things left out that we can’t get, but I can carry only so much. You have to balance.”
    “You have to balance well enough to manage to wilderness far from any town,” said Robert. “Some things, indeed, you can get only in cities.”

  13. The leader of the group looked at Simon in despair. “Why did you lead us here? There is no water. We will die!”. Some of the women began to wail.
    He shook his head. “No, there is no water to be seen. But you will not die. Water is obtainable.”
    “How so?” came the angry retort.
    Simon walked a few paces, picked up a stick from the ground, and returned. “See, this sandy place is where water has flowed. Do you see this tree, how large it is, how green and healthy? It could not grow here if this place was barren. This would not be a suitable place to search, if we were planning to stay. It would flood the next time it rains. But for now, it will do. There is water, beneath the ground, somewhere, and not far,”
    He knelt in the sand and began digging with the stick. “We will find it.”

  14. If by “hemosol” you mean the hemorrhoid medication, that is obtainable. If you mean the assassin Hemosol, well, he is not so easy to find.

  15. My prompt was “S. Hoyt thinks these books worth reading.” So I bought 3 of them, plus a Schlichter novel (that was my idea). Thanks!

  16. Worldbuilding fun from a WIP:

    “I want his head on a pike! Preferably shoved up his-!”
    Bertrand Ramos was in a state. Flag officers of the Fleet were not supposed to be seen ‘in a state.’ It was bad for morale.
    “Sir, please calm down. The court has-”
    “When in the entire history of the human race, has someone ever calmed down when they were told to, Mister Hasz?!”
    This was why Flag Captain of the Fleet Bertrand Ramos was currently having his temper tantrum in his stateroom, witnessed only by his aide, a man with no rank whatsoever in the Fleet, and not the court room itself.
    “The court has punished the man already. He cannot be tried twice for the same crime.”
    “He attacked a superior officer! Me! He broke my goddamn NOSE!
    The aide remained unruffled by his employer’s son’s increased volume. The soundproofing on this deck was quite good, as he’d noted to his quiet pleasure many times in the past.
    “Yes sir, he did. The court did, in fact, find in your favor. The man has been punished for it.”
    “I wanted to see him bleed, Mister Hasz. He spilled my blood, it is only right that I should get to spill his!
    Hasz pursed his lips in a slight moue of displeasure. How the master had ever quite sired such a son continued to baffle him. His enquiries as to if the lady of the house had ever had any indiscretions never bore fruit of such, yet he still wondered.
    “That does not mean that this is an obtainable goal, sir.”
    “Tut-tut, sir. No need to worry. There are other ways of achieving one’s goals…”

      1. Oh he did deserve it. Ramos is a pompous dickbrain of the Reformer faction in the Fleet. He treats his ship like his own petty fiefdom, and he mostly gets away with it because of his father, a rather more important man in the politics of humanity’s Exile.

        Unfortunately for him, the court held a majority of Old Soldiers, a faction that opposes the Reformers in the Fleet. The man that so humiliated poor, pitiable Ramos was not cashiered, NJP’d or anything of the sort. He is now far away from the reach of any politician in uniform. He’s at the sharp end, serving on a scout ship.

        The mortality rate of scout ships is depressingly high. Especially concerning to those that depend on the support and intelligence they gather. The ones that survive and do their jobs are precious and valued. Ramos doesn’t know just yet quite how badly the court screwed him.

        When he does find out, now that’s when things might get interesting… The story isn’t at that point yet, though. The crew of the Celerity have several more challenges to survive before they have to worry about Fleet politics.

  17. “So you’re asking me to just believe you’re that far ahead of everyone else in the world, smarter than all the other scientists and engineers put together? Since you’ve discovered — you say — a whole new force of nature and how to harness it for practical applications?” Hugh knew he hadn’t raised his voice or made any other such breach of etiquette; but still once he’d finished talking, it felt as if the patient silence of this room was accusing him.

    The soft steady candlelight, flickering firelight from the fireplace. The ghost of music — Vivaldi? — whispering from the speakers. A glass of not outlandishly expensive champagne in his hand. But most of all, the blue-greenish drift of Earthlight through the twenty feet of water in the cosmic-ray-proof window above him, and the eerie lightness of one-sixth gravity in his flesh and bone…

    “No, Mr. Saltonstall, we’re not,” said Emilie Westenra, “we’re not asking you to take that on faith at all. This information is merely background to the things we do want you to do for us, if you can. Though of course it is covered by the remarkably ferocious NDA we had you sign, which our lawyers back on Earth will, will, will enforce if it’s ever relevant — I think you can begin to appreciate what I meant, when I said the non-disclosure papers themselves would not be the only obstacle to your telling tales out of school.”

    And as they’d so often done, Lucille Westenra took up the thread, without a pause or any obvious sign between them. “And we’re not that much smarter if any, though maybe luckier. They’re doing physics or whatever, we’re trying to take mankind to the stars. So we assume our goal and try to work backward from that into the known and possible, not just the other way forward. So we, for instance, know how to interconvert ordinary and fifth-force energy, which now rests practically on materials they do not have and do not know exist.”

    Hugh found it increasingly hard to be skeptical. Neither of the twins had any wild or striking sort of beauty, and he’d never been the kind to be captivated by even the sort of — resources — the Women Who Bought the Moon by now had between them (besides, it was long-term leased, and just short of 12% of the whole surface area, and that mostly on Farside). But, wow. “Then why is such stuff so routinely obtainable for you, and Pure Unobtainium for all the rest?”

    “We cheated, Mr. Saltonstall, in one of the ugliest kludges ever, the very same experiment that proved the fifth-force ‘hints’ were far more than that.” Now it was back to auburn-haired Emilie. “And we’re far more along the lines of the old Manhattan Project than today’s careful NSF principals, we do things that would not, ah, likely get funded or approved Back Down There.” She took one more tiny drink of the same small glass of single-malt Scotch (so she said) that she’d filled half an hour (30 roller-coaster thrill-ride minutes) ago. “We’re like the old days, Nerva and Rover and Orion and all. Try big, fail big, win big.”

    He took a far larger drink of his (excellent) champagne. But it was Lucille, of the space-black hair even after decades in the public eye, who continued.

    “And that crossroads experiment is far beyond your need to know. What I can and will tell you is that once you make even a tiny speck of — we’re calling it strange matter, even though its nature is rather different from the old idea by that name, and its existence rests on the fifth force inescapably — our strange matter, it can be used to convert ordinary energy, like electromagnetic or some other form, not just to stored fifth-force energy generally, but used specifically to make more strange matter. To put it in nuclear-fission terms, it breeds.

    “And that brings us around, Mr. Saltonstall, to your relevance here.” Once again that ping-pong switch, back to Emilie. “We can monkey with the interactions of electromagnetic and nuclear forces, in fission, to extract all but a tenth or maybe a hundredth of the energy released as uranium, or whatever, splits.”

    And the look in her eyes, then… “We can turn it directly into fifth-force energy, as if we could grab both fission-product nuclei as they fly apart under their mutual repulsion, do work with that force like a piston in a steam engine. That’s all fifth-force stuff, and we could get maybe 99% conversion — already 95% at times — with the rest ending up still as recoil energy in the fission fragments, then simply as heat in the core. Which is the limiting factor, now.”

    And Hugh Saltonstall felt a lightning thrill run up and down his spine — as the airy-fairy, unicorn-snot abstractions solidified, all at once, around him. As he found himself saying, “So you’re not talking zero-power experiments, here.”

    “No, of course not, that would be pointless. If you imagine something like a high-fissile Kilopower core, running at, say, 20 times its normal fission power and neutron flux, but producing only the usual amount of heat.” It was still, for now, Emilie talking. “That means we get 19x its nominal power output taken off into the fifth-force configuration itself, then stored into the accumulators as shifts in their nuclear energy levels… we can get up to 0.1% by mass that way, about the same as heavy-metal fission, but directly accessible. Like using a dry cell battery to charge a capacitor. But the price is, we’d have to limit that output to only 19x the level we can carry off as heat, and that’s not very much.”

    Not very much, Hugh thought. Most engineers would… disagree.

    And now it was Lucille again, whose vivid blue eyes now reminded him of the bold blue Cerenkov halo around a “swimming pool” reactor core.

    “So we did better; we have a way to interact a fifth-force, pseudo-material ‘gas’ of particles with the nuclei in the core — just simple billiard-ball collisions, not inelastic ones, but we can transfer heat directly to the field configuration. It’s still a system with a thermodynamic temperature, but it ‘conducts’ all through the active volume of the core, not just at some surface. So, heat transfer at a uniform temperature, throughout the core. We can make that happen on a time scale of microseconds; not enough to moderate neutrons, but enough to produce gigawatts per liter thermally, and an order of magnitude higher on a direct-conversion basis. And,” she raised a slim hand, “before you ask, the field dumps its heat into a surrounding water bath by the same volume-contact process. With a scaling factor, that lets us effectively run a heat engine at near Carnot efficiency — say, 70% to boiling water from near-melting uranium, or a lot better if you can use near-boiling liquid uranium.”

    “Wait a minute,” he said, furiously trying to remember old burnup numbers, “at 1000 MW-day per tonne that’s about 0.1% fuel burnup, so you’d get 100% burnup in, what, about a day? I mean, total fission of all the uranium.”

    They exchanged a glance. Hugh, by now, hoped that was a good sign. “Sure, but the big hiccup is how the magic field mojo that does all that is rarely stable for so long. And as soon as the conduction field dumps, you get all that heat going right into the metal core, and — kablooey!” Emilie really didn’t sound very daunted by that prospect, much less scared, but… maybe there was a reason for all that empty, dead Lunar real estate. “We want you to help us design a good way to mass-produce a reactor core and chamber that will withstand the explosive boiling of the core, hopefully direct it to a recovery system that can reclaim and purify the spent uranium easily.”

    And it was back to Lucille. “We used to just run the cores until they blew up, or even over-run them like slow-action bombs, but that’s wasteful. We need to go up to about ten or twenty grams a day — that’s grams of energy, kilograms of U burned completely — to make the fifth-force energy we already need for our, ah, further starship drive investigations. We’d like you, and part of the core of your present company, to come here to the Moon to work on that for us.

    “And help us make the stars ‘obtainable’ for us all, too.”

    (Based on some pre-existing setting and characters.)

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