*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 LAURA MONTGOMERY: Simple Service: Science Fiction Colonization Adventure (Martha’s Sons Book 1)
They’re stranded beyond the known stars. Will his treacherous mission on an unforgiving world end in death?
Twenty-year-old Peter Dawe has learned to keep his mouth shut around his father. So the super-strong, genetically modified, human hybrid keeps his focus on his strict parent’s bidding to recover his family’s weapons. But after barely escaping a manhunt, Peter encounters real trouble when he runs into his self-indulgent brother.
Forced to take the vain and reckless fool back into danger with him for a second attempt to retrieve the remaining blasters, Peter fears his sibling’s undisciplined ways will get them both killed. But as the colony begins its descent into tyranny, treachery and betrayal could be far deadlier enemies…
Can Peter survive a desperate plan that puts a target on his back?
Simple Service is the first book in the immersive Martha’s Sons science fiction series. If you like gripping action, insurmountable odds, and alien worlds, then you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s rugged adventure.
FROM CEDAR SANDERSON: Tanager’s Fledglings.
When the starship’s captain died midway through a run with a cargo of exotic animals, the owner gave first mate Jem one chance, and one choice. The chance: if he successfully runs the trade route solo, he’ll become the new captain. If he fails, he’ll lose the only home he’s ever known.
And the choice? He’s now raising an old earth animal called a basset hound. Between station officials, housebreaking, pirates, and drool, Jem’s got his hands full!
FROM TED LAPKIN: Righteous Kill: An edge-of-your-seat WW2 military thriller.
October 1940: a raiding party of elite soldiers arrives in Nazi-occupied France on a mission to change the course of history.
Their task is simple – ambush Adolf Hitler’s personal train and kill everyone on board.
But these soldiers have a secret. They are modern-day Israeli special forces operators armed with lethal 21st-century weaponry and dispatched eight decades into the past by a genius physicist who cracked the secret of time travel.
They are ready to sacrifice everything to save millions of lives that will otherwise be lost in the maelstrom of war and the Holocaust.
Yet even if they manage to pull off the most extraordinary commando raid ever conceived, there’s no guarantee they’ll make it home again…
Written by a former Israeli army officer, RIGHTEOUS KILL takes a daring premise and weaves it into a gripping, action-packed military thriller. It’s the perfect fit for fans of Vince Flynn, Andy McNab, Eric Flint, Harry Turtledove and John Birmingham.
FROM M. C. A. HOGARTH: The Blood Ladders Box Set, Books 1-3: An Heir to Thorns and Steel, By Vow and Royal Bloodshed, and On Wings of Bone and Glass
Mannered society meets the realm of epic fantasy in this trilogy of dark sacrifice and redemption. Philosophy, witty conversations, undead armies, sociopathic elves, and vampire genets… there’s a taste of everything in Blood Ladders. The box set contains all three novels:
An Heir to Thorns and Steel
Morgan Locke, university student, has been hiding his debilitating illness with fair enough success when two unlikely emissaries arrive bearing the news that he is prince to a nation of creatures out of folklore. Ridiculous! And yet, if magic exists…could it heal him? The ensuing journey will resurrect the forgotten griefs of history, and before it’s over, all the world will be remade by thorns and steel….
By Vow and Royal Bloodshed
Restored to a working body, Morgan Locke has returned to Troth to seek the legendary athenaeum at Vigil in the hopes it will produce a solution to the enchantment binding the elves. But elves are not the only creatures now stepping out of folklore: the demons are coming, and they bring with them the armies of the dead. If they do not want to see their world consumed, Morgan and his companions will have to find the answers, whether they come from books… or bloodshed. Time is running out….
On Wings of Bone and Glass
Evicted from Vigil and faced with the impending descent of demons, Morgan Locke and his companions must unravel all the mysteries that are barring them from the salvation of their country and their world. Can they unbind the curse and free the magic to the hands of their allies before the dead rise again? And in the aftermath of that epic battle, what will become of the world they’ve always known? The adventure doesn’t end when the last sword is swung. There is a great deal to be done. Join Morgan and his friends in this final book of the Blood Ladders trilogy and see how they conclude their epic journey out of folklore and back into ordinary time.
FROM ELLIE FERGUSON: Witchfire Burning.
Limited time price drop!Long before the Others made their existence known to the world, Mossy Creek was their haven. Being from the wrong side of the tracks meant you weren’t what the rest of the world considered “normal”.
Normal was all Quinn O’Donnell wanted from life. Growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”, she had been the only normal in the family. The moment she was old enough, she left and began life as far from her Texas hometown as possible. Now she has a job she enjoys and a daughter she loves more than life itself. Their life is normal, REALLY normal, until her daughter starts calling forth fire and wind.
Quinn knows they must go back so her mother can help five-year-old Ali learn how to control her new talents. But in Mossy Creek nothing is ever simple. Quinn’s mother has gone missing. Secrets from Quinn’s past start coming back to haunt her.
And the family home is more than a little sentient.
Can Quinn keep everyone — particularly Ali — safe? And will she ever get back her illusion of normalcy?
FROM BLAKE SMITH: A Kingdom of Glass: A Novel of The Garia Cycle.
Zara hasn’t seen her family in eleven years, but she doesn’t mind. They sent her to live in a neighboring kingdom when she was small, and she’s adopted her foster parents in their place. She lives the life of an aristocratic Garian girl- riding her horse, shooting her bow, exploring the castle with her friends- and she has nothing to wish for.
Until she’s summoned home, to a prospective marriage she doesn’t want, family she doesn’t remember, and a poisonous royal court that threatens everything she’s ever known. The East Morlans are nothing like Garia, and Zara struggles to find her place among the scheming Morlander aristocrats. Along the way, she makes new friends, meets enemies, and falls in love. But secrets abound in the glittering palace, and Zara must discover who she can trust as she fights for her life and freedom in a fragile, beautiful, kingdom of glass.
FROM ALLEGRA DRAKOS: Nibiru’s Child, Book 1: Who Killed Cressie Moonchild?
Can Samantha Survive?Samantha Fitzhugh leads a quiet wall-flower life in the genius class of her high school. She never knew her father, and her mother is off in Antarctica absorbed in a career as an archaeologist.A series of freakish events in the school have her on the verge of being expelled. Out of the blue, the hottest boy in the class invites her into his family to stay until her mom returns.There she finds warm and loving parents, even if they are abit strange — a professor father with profound arcane knowledge and a psychic mother who reads minds and casts spells. They believe that the vestiges of some inherited power is starting to emerge from her. They caution her that high school is a hormonal time. If she wishes to go down this road, she must retain her chastity.Meanwhile, a mad artist is spontaneously producing paintings of Samantha that have become a focus of worship for a gang of crazed meth-dealing bikers. They believe she is the descendant of Inanna, an ancient Sumerian goddess from the lost planet Nibiru.The gang leader is a former college professor with a murderous thirst for vengeance against those who drove him out of the profession. He believes in Samantha’s magical descent and her link to a planet with a 3,600 year orbit that will bring it smashing through the earth’s solar system.He wants her and intends to possess her, no matter who he has to kill.
FROM ANDREW FOX: Again, Hazardous Imaginings: More Politically Incorrect Science Fiction.
Science fiction is NOT a safe space!
In this companion volume to Hazardous Imaginings: The Mondo Book of Politically Incorrect Science Fiction, fourteen stories by Ian Creasey, Andrew Fox, David Wesley Hill, Liam Hogan, Claude Lalumière, and other writers from around the world push the boundaries of what is considered taboo in science fiction. From a society where telling an insult joke is a capital crime to one where letting your faucet drip may cost you your head, from a utopia where inequality and want have been abolished to a hostile planet whose isolated colonists must deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault among their own, these stories pull no punches.
With an introduction by award-winning author Barry N. Malzberg.
FROM KARL GALLAGHER: Storm Between the Stars: Book 1 in the Fall of the Censor.
Niko Landry and his crew thought a routine hyperspace survey would be easy money. But when the barrier separating their homeworld from the rest of the human race opens, they seize the chance to go exploring . . . finding an empire more dangerous than they imagined.
EDITED BY ROB HOWELL, WITH STORIES BY SARAH A. HOYT AND ALSO DAVID WEBER, LARRY CORREIA AND D. J. BUTLER: Songs of Valor
Fifteen tremendous authors. Fifteen extraordinary stories. One outstanding anthology.
It is a time of high adventure! A time for heroes to say “No!” to the evils that will befall their families and friends if they don’t rise to the task at hand…even if they don’t want to! If they won’t take up arms and spells on behalf of their people, civilization will fall.
Fifteen exceptional authors have spun tales of reluctant heroes—people often like you and me, who didn’t think they were worthy, needed, or even “the right one for the job.” Sometimes all they have going for them is that they’re the wrong person at the wrong time. When there’s no one else, though, a hero must do what’s necessary, whether that’s fighting demons, the undead, or an unconquerable enemy.
Songs of Valor focuses on heroes rising to the challenge presented them. An untrained human facing an ancient dragon. A necromancer fighting a demon in the land of the elves. A dragon rider well past her prime coming back to protect the ones she loves. An over-the-hill fighter who does what he must to stem the tide of evil.
Inside are fifteen incredible stories of heroes rising to the occasion. Their willingness to brave the peril, though, doesn’t guarantee their success. If their valor should fail, all indeed will be lost! Will they succeed? Step inside and find out!
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: REFLECT
39 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.”
The instructor looked at the damage in the Danger Room and asked “Now students, what was the problem here”.
“Ah, I set my shields to reflect the power of the attacks?”
“Correct. The First Rule of Ultra Combat is to protect civilians. Reflecting the power endangers your surroundings and any civilians nearby. Shields must absorb the power. Yes, it is more difficult but it is necessary when civilians may be near the fight.”
The gate shimmered slightly looking like a pool of water hanging incongruously vertical in the air but reflecting no image back to the viewer. The drone quad copter entered the gate at the center and disappeared. As soon as it passed through communication was lost but, if all went well, it would fly a short circuitous path and return the way it came in a few minutes.
“‘Images in a Mirror’?” Karl guffawed. “Other Nobelians have invisibility or super-speed, and you can… what, reflect things? Make people see themselves? Pitiful! Absolutely…”
Then he stopped abruptly, and flushed. “Boorish, that was,” he murmured. “Forgive me, Sonja.”
Sonja Undset smiled. “That’s all right,” she said. “Everybody make mistakes sometimes.”
The path wound about a willow, and beyond lay a round pool reflecting roses in red. A merry lass of stone had lifted a pot to her shoulder and let it endlessly spill into the waters, sending ripples through the roses and the sound of endless plashing through the air.
glad you like it!
Then, he made a mistake. Sensible one, but fatal. His partner had me pinned down, so he had cleared his magazine, switching to a full magazine for when he came out from cover to engage me. He had no time to reflect on his mistake as I had managed to clear my corner, and come around with my pistol raised and firing just as I saw him. I put three rounds high and left in his chest, the suit-burster rounds fused automatically when they didn’t detect any real resistance and exploding inside his body. The arm, still holding the fresh magazine, dropped to the floor as there wasn’t much left of his shoulder and chest on that side of his body.
Wow, what an image!
Thank you, not fun to get hit by smart explosive shells.
“You might wanna reflect on your present situation and reconsider your chosen course of action, friend.”
“Hey fuuuuuuhhhhh…..” Griggs’ curse trailed off as his eyes crossed comically. Finding oneself abruptly on the wrong end of a LaForce Arms .550 Enforcer, like the one that had just appeared in Fletcher’s hand, does tend to have that effect.
“As I said, friend, reflect, reconsider, and maybe seek life elsewhere.”
“Yeeeaaaaaahh, I…. uh… I was… just… uh… just goin’.”
“We decided to call that mode Kinetic Reflection. The force shield reflects an impacting object’s energy back on itself, sending the object in exactly the opposite direction at almost the same velocity.”
“If somebody shoots at me, the bullets bounce back and usually hit them. So you see, you can’t charge me with a crime. They all shot themselves.”
“I am rubber, you are glue…”
“Funny that you should bring up the mirrors”, Prof Sombore said. “You’re aware that reflections make the jacobian, the measure of the *oriented* volume in some space relatively negative. If you take this object on the table and rotate it, you can bring about a ‘reflection’ as far as any two of the axes are concerned, but the third ends up oriented differently. Chirality, handedness, what have you is preserved.”
“Now a rotation is something you’re used to thinking of accomplishing continuously. Given a rotation, you can think of rotating it along the same axis through half an angle. You’re also used to thinking of reflections as something that happens suddenly in a discrete step. Now: You may know enough mathematics by now to derive what happens if you take *half* a reflection. What does that operator look like, and what does it suggest about what’s really going on so abruptly here?” he said tapping the surface of the mirror.
I remembered that when writing Though A Mirror, Darkly.
I really did plan to write a thought out exactly fifty word vignette but upon pondering, contemplating, considering, one plot after another, imagining surrounding environments, exploring various time lines, my mind leaping back and forth and then forth and back again I, alas, concluded, upon careful reflection, I got nothing.
Heh. I see what you did there.
What happened to my ?
Well, WP doesn’t like “snicker,” in pointy brackets.
You mean, <snicker>
How did I do that?
With a little HTML: <snicker>
“Reflect on this, my dear sister.” He spread his arms indicating the walls about. “A charming place to stay, a convenient place to sleep. But not exactly a place to live out your life, even your life until your wedding day. There are many wonders out there, if you want.”
Max lathered up, and made a hesitant beginner’s move with the razor. In the mirror, he tried to picture Cari peering over his shoulder. She’d probably laugh, Max thought, seeing me slice myself up for the first time.
But Cari was a thousand miles away, and Max struggled to focus.
By the way, I enjoyed Tanager’s Fledglings very much!
With the meal done, Robert pushed aside the plates and looked at Aidan and Imogene. The two looked sober, ready to reflect on his every word.
As if, thought Edwin, this were the time for sage advice. That would come if they survived their follies in the field long enough.
He realized the theory was sound. An infinitely reflecting mirror pair displays all alternate dimensions. By reducing the density of the reflecting medium, he could pass through the reflecting interface into different dimensions. Only two problems remained. How to select his destination, and more importantly, how to get back home.
He stopped at the entrance to the room. A pit gaped at his feet, the marble columns that lined the walls stretching deep below his level. Only when a drop fell from the ceiling and broke the still surface of the water on the floor, did he understand the illusion.
“It’s a shame, because Ms Yarbro is an excellent writer, but I’ve never been able to get into the Count St. Germain novels.”
“Why not? I always thought it was an interesting take on how an immortal would see history.”
“That may be, but the first time his lack of a reflection came up, my suspension of disbelief crashed and burned. It doesn’t bother me when it’s clearly a supernatural vampire in a fantasy story. But everything else is treated so realistically, right down to his knowing how to make penicillin out of bread mold to treat infections, so I’m thinking in scientific terms and immediately trip over the impossibility of making the physics work out.”
If he had known, he would have learned more about survival. Except that forest like this probably did not have food enough to eat without tools. He did not have powers to cook, or butcher, any meat he caught. He was not sure he could catch any, despite his powers.
Totally off-topic, but sitting in registration for gallbladder surgery. Shamelessly seeking prayers.
On the Way!
Dear Lord, please make Dorothy’s surgery quick, complication-free, and as painless as possible. Help her to a speedy and complete recovery!
I really like your new header picture. It captures what I feel when I read good sci-fi.
“It doesn’t reflect light.”
The pause after Eugen Zharkov’s simple statement stretched out and out, as if stresses were slowly accumulating in some truly unfortunate segment of fault-line rock. But he was far too useful to the Fed for any simple edifying demonstration of Party power and privilege, so after a while his questioner quietly prompted back, “So, you’re telling me it’s dark??”
As if he was also saying “You don’t want to play with sharp objects. Do you?”
“Yes. Perfectly dark. Literally, completely dark. At this point in the battle,” and his quick fingers brought up the cross-sync-ed images of what they were by now calling the Massacre at Mars, “we shone a 200-MW free-electron laser on their largest ship — and yet we detected no visible light returning. At all.”
And his smile was as dark as the thing he described. “That’s like shining a big old-fashioned searchlight at a Novy Zil limousine on a moonless night in the French countryside, and seeing nothing different, between Off and On.” (Some day the contrary country people might get their electricity back. But for now it was Saddam Hussein rules for them: sun down, lights out.) “Now of course no material we know of, no matter how exotic or ‘stealthy’ or high-tech, possibly can act that way, down to parts in a million or a billion — but since they call this thing, themselves openly to us, a ‘Boltzmann field’ at least three times in our recorded conversations, it seems likely they just plain meant that.”
His questioner, in his natty Special Services Branch uniform that was its own species of dark and nonreflective, suddenly looked very attentive indeed. “So you’re truly telling me they have some science we don’t? Not just technology that can do some very ugly and surprising things, but completely new physics that our whole planetary Global Federation doesn’t have? Despite being the sum and pinnacle of human achievement?” Patrick Gallowglass’ voice did not say, in any overt manner, that the ‘Belters’ (from the trans-Mars Asteroid Belt to some vague place in the Outer System beyond the giant planets and their much more useful moons) were a bunch of candlelit peasants squatting in a howling barbarian frontier wilderness… nor did it, for anyone plugged into the official Federation news-stream and its indispensible clear perspective on all the world, ever need to.
“Yes. Literally new physics, embodied in some very effective technology. You could detect such a thing, as we did actually during the battle, because of the heat such a powerful laser weapon produces in this Boltzmann field; energy has to go somewhere, and the long-wave infrared says it did go there, and get re-radiated back. But it’s pretty much the ultimate stealth coating; and it can be much bigger than the ship it hides and protects — just look at the transition, from dark to light” (his fingers played on the big touch-sensitive display again) “as the field cuts off in something less than a microsecond. Though there are other angles, that show its heat was dumped into another one, far behind the ship from where we’re looking at it in the battle cameras.”
He smiled, a sort of in-joke smile that invited his Party companion into the odd and suspect world of science and scientists — people who by their very nature and work had to deal with a stubborn reality that could not be molded and modified by the daily ebb and flow of Party dynamics. “To a physicist, the very name they use says most of it… Boltzmann, as in the radiative properties of a perfect ‘black body’ — completely absorptive, totally radiative, ideal.”
“So how do we get this, Professor?” Gallowglass’ use of the title noted how a person dependent on credentials to work, and work legally and without the harsh disapproval of the Federation’s Global State, did so quite at its pleasure.
Eugen Zharkov spread his hands. “That’s not clear or obvious, Liaison Officer. Across the sweep of human history, inspiration and genius do what they will. We can work — I could work — all our lives, and not necessarily find how to do such a thing, or make such a machine. If you’ve listened to the conversations as I have” (he did not use the word “negotiation” because of its implied parity between the ‘Belters’ and the Fed, of course), “you’ll have noted how they talk as if the Dark, their dim places far from the Sun like the shadows at the edge of the wooded clearing where you’ve built your campfire, was both inspiration and threat. As if out there you had to innovate and adapt, or freeze or starve.”
“Not completely or utterly dissimilar from our world, Comrade Scientist.” His voice was dry as the valleys of Antarctica, cold as the Siberian steppes.
“And their capital mistake, though we might yet fail to exploit it, was to let us in on the secret with a demonstration of its use in actual combat conditions; to both show and tell.” Zharkov smiled, though it must have been like smiling in a Russian winter hearty enough to freeze mercury solid in a thermometer. “There are more than a few clues to us, as to what this effect is based on, as to what new laws of the Universe have revealed themselves this way to us.”
He dared to look Liason Officer Gallowglass straight in his blue eyes. “It will take some time, necessarily. But we will, in the end, search out the secrets of science and art and put them to work for us. The book of Nature is open to all. And eventually we will learn to read this page, too.” And spoke sincerely.
Because he was, not just perforce but also as the descendant of generations of both German and Russian forebears, very much a creature of the State too.
(Based on some pre-existing background, and also, ah, vignette-ish material.)
The Emperor’s Under-Nursemaid’s aide gave Jimson the scuffed rubber ball.
He turned it around. “A coat of varnish mixed with a little glitter and nobody will notice—unless they handle it, and who will do that? We’ll be gone before the inventory tonight.”
“What if the Emperor wants to play with it?”
Joseph strode down the hallway, his ever present body guard 3 steps behind him. Suddenly he paused, looking into a frame on the wall.
“Wow!” He exclaimed. “I didn’t know they’d finished my portrait and had it up already.”
“Mr. President,” remarked the agent. “That’s your reflection in a mirror.”
Great books on the list today, the TBR pile is getting higher!!! 🙂
You ever have this temptation to lock the world out for two weeks and just try to get your To Be Read pile down?
Or is that just me?
He slipped up behind the young woman looking at herself in the mirror, and bit her on the neck. She hadn’t seen the vampire coming to her…
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