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

Welcome to the Sunday 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 CHRIS DURSTON: Each Little Universe.

‘Chris Durston refuses to be dull.’ – ‘You’ll laugh. A lot. You might even cry.’ – ‘If you want to meet some characters that will stay with you for, quite possibly, the rest of your life, I highly recommend this gem of a book.’ – ‘This is one of the most out-there-in-a-good-way stories I’ve ever had the honor of reading.’ – ‘It was a great read from open to close.’

If Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett had written an earnestly nerdy story in a setting running on the ridiculous logic of Scott Pilgrim, it might have come out something like this.

For two oddball inventors, taking care of an unexpected new arrival – a girl from the stars – is hard enough. Dealing with the things that want her back may turn out to be harder.

A story about love in all its forms (but not a love story), Each Little Universe asks big questions through familiar lenses, treating video games, wrestling, and pop culture with equal gravity to questions about what it means to be human and how we each find a place for ourselves in a big, strange cosmos.

Fans of Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere, American Gods), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds), and Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Killing Commendatore) will love this story, set in a world very much like our own but a little more strange, and the unusual take it offers on life, the human experience, and cats.

FROM M. C. A. HOGHARTH: 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….

Book 1 of the Blood Ladders trilogy, an epic fantasy with sociopathic elves, vampiric genets, and the philosophy students mixed up in the lot.


There are some jobs too subtle, too sensitive, or too dangerous for the bureaucracy. The Empress Amanda has a solution: a secret espionage network that reports to the Emperor Trajan alone.

And they have just the man to set it up.

Nick Ashton gets his most difficult assignment yet — Section Six!

Its first mission: Wingard Sector, where someone is interfering with the Emperor’s plans. There’s another word for that:



Marshall Hunter only wanted to fly: the faster, the higher, the better. But a life of rescuing wayward spacefarers and derelict satellites in the cislunar cruiser U.S.S. Borman is far from the adventure he’d imagined. But his fortunes change when a billionaire couple goes missing on their way to a near-Earth asteroid. Out of contact and on a course that will eventually send them crashing into Mars, the nuclear-powered Borman is dispatched on an audacious, high-speed interplanetary run to bring the couple home. As they approach the asteroid, however, the Borman itself becomes hopelessly disabled.

With the Borman suddenly out of commission and far beyond reach, cislunar space begins falling into chaos as critical satellites fail and valuable lunar mineral shipments begin disappearing in transit. Nothing is as it seems, and Marshall Hunter and the rest of the crew suspect none of it is by coincidence.

FROM DAVID E. PASCOE: Baptism By Fire.

When a madman and a giant flaming thing attack James Lawrie’s Marine outpost, the medic and an explosively talented sergeant aren’t supposed to save the day. Life becomes no simpler when Petty Officer Lawrie returns home on leave to find federal agents investigating the disappearance of a young woman from his past. A young woman whose body turns up marked with eerily familiar symbols.

FROM DAN HOYT: Ninth Euclid’s Prince.

Welcome to New Rome!
The far-flung heirs of the Eternal Empire of Eighty-Three Worlds have been called home to its seat of power, New Rome, by the Emperor himself. In these mean streets, no wife is above suspicion, and no man above assassination. With the Emperor poisoned and Prince Oswald in jail, Ninth Euclid, a mathematically gifted secretary from a rural backwater, must solve the knottiest problem of all: How will he keep his liege lord safe from daggers in the back and politically scheming trollops in the night?

FROM BLAKE SMITH: In Pursuit of Justice: A Novel of The Garia Cycle.

Garia and the East Morlans have been on increasingly rocky terms for years, and when Téo and Zara ran away together, they touched off the powder keg of war between their kingdoms. Now they have to fight for their lives while learning to live in a foreign land.

In the Morlans, Hanri and Alia are facing their own sets of problems. He must control and divert the single-minded vengeance of his father King Reynard, and she must sort the gold of information from the dross of gossip in a palace swarming with rumors. It could mean the difference between life and death for all of them.


Dylan Hunter — the vigilante hero of #1 bestselling Kindle thriller HUNTER — returns to battle . . .


Engaged to be married, mysterious journalist Dylan Hunter and CIA security officer Annie Woods are desperate to put their violent past behind them.

But then an investigative reporter is brutally, mysteriously murdered.

A visionary presidential candidate is targeted for destruction.

And a horrific day of unspeakable terrorism rocks Washington, D.C.

Soon, Hunter’s investigation puts him in the cross hairs of a power-hungry billionaire and a cold-blooded assassin. Camouflaged by “fake news,” a deadly conspiracy of Russian spies and American traitors aims to install their puppet in the White House.

And these predators will do the unthinkable to bring America under their total control.

The stakes — political and personal — couldn’t be higher. Because to stop them, Dylan Hunter must make an irrevocable choice. He must revert to his dark, secret life as a violent vigilante, waging a one-man war of justice against the corrupt and untouchably powerful.

It’s a decision that will, finally and forever, seal his fate … including his future with the woman he adores.

But for now, only one thing is certain:

In the tidal wave of political violence raging through the blood-soaked streets of Washington, D.C., the final outcome will be … WINNER TAKES ALL.

FROM DENTON SALLE: Black Earth Rises: Urban Fantasy in a Slavic-haunted Texas (Hall of Heroes Book 3).

Like the black earth showing through the snow, the otherworld emerges into ours.

Texas – big, open, and strange. Stranger than you can imagine as the Slavic Otherworld leaks into it. With all the monsters and myths of folklore loosed in North Texas.

Jim’s planned on a night of dancing and drinking as a break from studying. His best friend, Mike, came a long despite his bad feelings about it. It got bad. Then it got worse than Jim imagined as the nightmares of myth came hunting them.

What does a young man do when he finds horrors are real? And that a centuries-old brotherhood exists to fight them? Reality turns out quite different than he thought.

An urban fantasy where the terrors of Eastern European folklore hunt the streets of Dallas. If you enjoyed Butcher or McGuire, you’ll love this tale of magic and myths in the modern world.

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: OVERFLOW

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

  1. The problem of taking a week off is that you’re not gone for long enough for everyone to take over your tasks and finish them while you’re gone. No, they just keep dumping crap in your basket, on your desk, or your chair even after it overflows onto the floor.

  2. The hatch was clearly marked WASTE OVERFLOW TANK#2 and had all of the usual organic and inorganic hazard markings on it. A nice, artistic layer of dust as well, suggesting that the hatch hadn’t been opened or even touched in a while-days if not weeks.

    But, Izanami could use all the data from my eyes and my sensor package, and threw up graphs and indicators. Door has been used in the last twenty-four to thirty-six hours, she whispered in my ear, most likely within the last twelve to sixteen hours.

    No sense trying to query the local cameras or sensors-location like this, nobody would care as long as the basic sensors for pressure, atmospheric quality, and hazards wasn’t messed with. Video cameras? They’d be lucky if they survived a few days, let alone a week, before some lurker stripped the camera to sell for drugs or food.

    1. Now, why XOR before INT0?
      To clear ES on overflow?
      Why doesn’t that corrupt the heap?
      I’m sure that I’ll just never know.

      His code is subtle, fast, and deep.
      But I have schedules to keep,
      And bugs to fix before I sleep;
      And bugs to fix before I sleep.

  3. “Refugees… Another freighter hull full of damned refugees, and how is it I can smell them through six AU of vacuum, Mike? You know what that ship is carrying. You know what its going to do to us!”

    The speaker was tall and slim, as most born in space were these days. Dirty blond hair and a coward’s grimace. The kind of man that’d never seen decompression sickness, never smelled the mad desperation that comes when the recyclers can’t keep up and the air gets stale and there no food and hasn’t been for days on end. The kind of soft you get when you never get closer than five thousand feet from death pressure, the kind of ignorant arrogance that can only survive down the well. Saint’s mercy on them.

    “I know it Pat. I know.”

    “They’re going to come here, eat up all our food, all the food we’ve worked so damned hard for, sweat, blood, and toil, and for what? So they can mope around the spaceport, live in their shitty scrap city, mug honest citizens and who knows what else? We can’t feed them all, Mike. You know we can’t.”

    Forty thousand refugees in the last three weeks. Forty thousand of who knew how many millions that had lived, worked, and traded with them for generations. Forty thousand men, women, and children who’d seen their lives vanish right out the airlock, lost friends and family and nigh all their material wealth. Forty thousand that packed themselves into any pressure vessel they could and boosted for the jump point, leaving everything that had mattered, everything that was normal behind.

    “I know.”

    “And what about the diseases they bring? Our hospitals, heck, even our veterinarians are beyond capacity. We’re getting cases of spacer’s pox and suit rot for fuck’s sake. Stuff that was pinned down and eliminated a hundred years ago!”

    Pat’s voice rose to a shout at this point, shaking his finger about as if to accuse someone, or everyone, of bringing this calamity down upon his head as a singular and personal attack. The bots did not respond, and the only other man in the room just sighed, staring out the window into the night sky. Another faint light was approaching what they laughably called a military picket line.

    Three aging corvettes and a converted merchant tender. A cruiser hull that had been used as target practice in better times was being refitted with mining lasers and what might be called missiles if one was being especially charitable. The men were earnest enough, and knew space enough to keep the drives going and the air cycling. But military? Not a one had seen a shot fired in anger.

    Not a one had seen the holds full of dead and dying men, gasping in stale air and having had to eat their own fellows just to survive before the last three weeks, either. They were spacers, though. You had to be a certain kind of tough, a certain kind of resilient in order to live in an environment that would kill you in an instant if it could. They weren’t any kind of military, though. And he hoped they never had to be.

    But the eternal stars didn’t care about a man’s hopes, now did they?

    “Mike. We’re barely surviving here as it is, man. These refugees…”

    “I know.”

    “What are we going to do, Mike? This is our home. I don’t want to lose our home.”

    Mike closed his eyes, scratching his head with a stylus in thought. Forty thousand wasn’t the end of it- at least he hoped it wasn’t. It was a long trip through jump space to the border, longer the more mass you carried through. There could be hundreds of thousands more on the way. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions- who knew? There hadn’t been that many souls traveling this way since-

    “Pat, how trashed are the colony ships? The ones the original settlers brought down during the Founding.”

    “Colony ships? Mike we gutted those old things decades ago, save for the museum on Mercy One. What, do you want to start stuffing the refugees in them? Maybe launch them off to some other poor sod’s doorstep?”

    “In a way, but no. What I’m asking about is the cold sleep pods. Do you still have them?”

    “The pods? Sure. They’re not useful for much of anything, just steel tubes and plumbing, a few bits of cryo-tech- Wait. You’re not suggesting-”

    “I am. It’s a risk, but so was the trip here. And all you said is true. Mostly.”


    “So we get the pods up and running, and anyone who can’t help us survive-”

    “Popsicle. I get it, Mike. But honestly, how many farmers do you think made it here alive?”

    “Not just farmers, Pat. Doctors. Teachers. Soldiers, even. Spacers. Put them all to work. Because it’s not just lack of food that might kill us. Nor disease. It’s whatever might be following them through the jump point.”

    Pat’s face paled at that. The refugees didn’t quite know who or what they were fleeing from, other than they tended to shoot first and ask questions never. That didn’t sound like the kind of opponent amenable to flags of truce or negotiation.

    “That’s a problem we need to prepare for, but part of the solution to that is to deal with our refugee problem first. Put the skilled ones to work, get the rest into cryo. We don’t have the time or the resources to deal with the overflow.”

    “You said ‘we,’ Mike.”

    “I did. My ship and I will stay. For the time being.”

    And keep the drives warm, just in case. But maybe, just maybe they could pull this off. If the fates and the eternal stars were kind. Mike snorted. ‘Kind.’

    He’d settle for them not getting in his way just this once.

      1. Er. That was more or less tossed off in around an hour without much thought, to be honest. What’s there is rough and unpolished, sort of a ripoff of David Weber and Chris Nuttall, just not nearly as good. A vague idea of a hardscrabble mining outpost at the far end of known space, without so much as an orbiting station. Just a tiny little world of blue and green, slightly rustic/bucolic (a hint of Firefly perhaps subconsciously wedged in there), and a carefully unmentioned and undescribed bugaboo horde possibly threatening, y’know, seeing as refugees had to have been driven out by *something.* Aliens, perhaps? Bandit empire? Super monsters made of dark matter? You know how the rumor mill goes in small towns.

        If it was a story, it would need at least a halfway decent plot diagram. And some proper villains. And resist the temptation to drown it in multiple PoVs, like the one in the refugee hull even now hurtling through jump space with Important Intelligence on it. It would need complications, but even more it would need solutions, because we can’t just let ’em all die, now can we? Even if that’s a temptation, if our hero is the mercenary sort.

        Mebbe throw in a training montage from the other direction, swipe some ideas there from the oldies. Peter Grant did it, and managed to make it look good, too. Throw in a few twists. Plot twists, I mean. Throw a slice-of-life in the middle bit there for giggles perhaps. Write about space some more, because who doesn’t like space?

        It *was* a bit of fun to write, though. Just have to squeeze in another… story universe… somehow. Fudge. A good story has a beginning, middle bit, and a solid ending. This barely even qualifies as a prologue. The plot currently has almost as many bones as a shark. I can pants a quickie prologue, but a story’s got to have plot.

        1. It actually reads like it could fit in Michael Z. Williamson’s ‘Freehold’ universe. The refugees are fleeing the U.N. takeover of their world. The last refugee ship brings news that the U.N. has mostly collapsed, but not before doing enough damage to their world’s economy and infrastructure that they can’t go back for years-n-years, if ever.

          Or, the U.N. forces left in their system have decided to set themselves up as local warlords, rather like State Security after the People’s Republic Of Haven broke up. If given enough time, they’ll start looking for other systems to conquer…

          1. *chuckle* I’ll take that as a compliment. MadMike is one heck of an author, and he’s well read on top of that. The Freehold universe is a favorite, and well worth the read for anyone whose politics and preference intersect at “freedom loving” and “sci-fi.”

            Nuttall’s Empire’s Corps actually starts out kind of like you described, with an empire going into Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly with the protagonists pushed way out on the far fringes of the empire. The “crumbling empire” setting has been used to good effect several times. Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet universe had a spinoff that used that, too (Lost Stars: Tarnished Knight if I remember correctly). I think Campbell was one of the last paperbacks I bought some years ago, too.

            So it’s an idea well worth stealing, filing the serial numbers off, and playing around with. There are real world empires and mini-empires to steal from, too. Scaling up the gritty world of Solzhenitsyn’s Russia and the chilling Cultural Revolution in China in the late 60s/early 70s to multiple worlds, with factions that span those multiple worlds as well as indig politics within said worlds… sounds like a lot of work.

            I can see some upper-mid level political dude grimly looking down on a city in flames as he is flown away, telling himself and his people that it was worth the sacrifice, that the People (capital P) needed approved outlets to protest, and when that protest exceeded its bounds… Cue mushroom clouds.

            If you remember Tainanmen Square, the protests that led up to that day started basically because of a botched funeral. Hu Yaobang was a reformer that wanted social and economic reform, rehabilitation of the people persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, and more. Of course he was ousted and disgraced, dying of a “heart attack” a couple of years after said fall from grace (and I remain a smidge suspicious of said convenient “heart attack.” But that is just me). Originally, the Party wasn’t going to give him a state funeral. The students were incensed by this, and protested- but you have to understand China at the time (post Cultural Revolution). These were protests, sure, but protests in the *approved and expected* form. Slogans that were expected by the government at the time. Sound familiar? From Solzhenitsyn, the corruption, inefficiency, and rigidity of the Soviet state.

            The rigid conformity and the corruption clash, obviously. On wealthier planets closer to the seat of power, you’d have more conformity below, and more hidden corruption above. The farther out you get, the more corruption that is evident further down the hierarchy. Like the above China and Russia examples, call this a “post revolution” slide into chaos, spark conflict, factions, greed and ruthlessness.

            That’s some dark, dark stuff right there. Proper breeding ground for, oh, countless villains of nigh every sort, from fallen paladins to absolute monsters, masterminds, thugs, and thieves.

            I may just steal that idea. Thanks!

  4. “Truly, anyone can trip anywhere. Especially if she does not watch where she is going. I have no complaint.”
    The words overflowed as if, poured into her, they had to escape. Julian frowned in truth, and she tried at cut them off. He looked baffled, not furious, she told herself.

  5. Thanks every week for these new offerings — and I wrote a poem today. It is not an overflow poem 🙂

    A Sunny Day

    Spring is past
    flowers die on the stem
    dried leaves sprinkle the ground

    the dog tiptoes on concrete paths
    sniffs and leaves a note
    for canine passersby

    We slip into the air chilled room
    grateful and gasping
    as the sun beats down

    Just another sunny day
    another day in the desert

    By Cyn Bagley (2021)

  6. Elissa’s apotheosis accelerated; all Laniakea unfolded panoramically before her, and the lucid majesty of its ageless dance made her eyes brim with tears.

    “What’s that bit in ‘Clancy of the Overflow’?” she murmured. “The wondrous glory of the everlasting stars…”

    “Everlasting?” The Gel-Mind laughed softly. “You are very young, child.”

    1. “And I sometimes rather fancy/ That I’d like to change with Clancy/ Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go/ While he faced the round eternal/ of the cash-book and the journal . . ./ But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy of the Overflow.”

      A.B. “Banjo” Patterson ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ [Clancy makes an appearance in the ballad, “The Man from Snowey River,” and a few other poems.]

  7. She wondered if Lady Madge had her partners already selected, as a proper chaperon would. Gloomily, she looked about. The doors to the balcony and garden stood open. She supposed that she would be duly grateful when the ballroom was filled to overflowing. Now, it just meant a cold draft.

  8. The stream flowed serenely onward, until it welled up into a pool, where it finally overflowed over a short drop, and the waterfall led to the next stream. And on the waters below the waterfall bobbed a boat.
    Autumn blinked. Then she looked about and realized the bird had vanished.

  9. Not a vignette, but the funny thing is I was just talking about this with Mama Raptor.

    The house I grew up in, the washer and dryer were in the kitchen (which was also the largest room in the house) rather than a separate laundry room. Papa Raptor installed some bifold doors to close them off from the kitchen proper, but he couldn’t fix the main problem: whatever dingbat had installed the washer had set it to drain not directly into the discharge/sewer pipe, but into a washtub. Which had a tiny little outlet drain. So if that drain ever became partially obstructed, the washtub would rapidly fill up with water when the washing machine drained and, if you didn’t catch it fast enough, would overflow all over the kitchen floor and (if you didn’t clean it up fast enough) drip down into the basement. Which was REALLY bed because the house’s breaker box was on the basement wall directly under the washer & dryer.

    1. We live in an engineer’s dream home when we aren’t on the road and had to rig a drain pipe from our washer to a utility sink. I came home one day to find the utility room was flooding. A large terrycloth towel had disintegrated in the washer and the sink strainer was full of purple fuzz. Which was weird because the towel had been red.
      Luckily once I cleaned out the strainer most of the trouble was over, other than sucking up the overflow water on the floor.

    2. The mid-50s house I had used a proper direct connection to the drains, but the mid-30s house I moved to had to use the utility sink. Part of my home-shop machining was a screen filter that plugged into the sink’s outlet and reduced the amount of link to a manageable amount.

      I didn’t have any overflow problems until the washing machine’s drain pump failed. The only good news was a) that the laundry was on a ground level slab floor, and b) I had already removed the orange shag carpet that had infested the adjoining family room.

  10. Lyall relaxed in the study lounge with a book, unperturbed by the sound of heavy boots and shouting in the outside hall. Old Man Taggart being on the warpath about something or another was hardly a new occurrence in the dorms, after all so he saw no point in getting worked up about it, even if he was closer to a major source of these storms than he’d like to be. He wondered what Dave had done this time when the custodian’s shouts answered the question for him.


    So he had decided to flush the evidence again. Lovely. He had told his bothersome roommate a thousand times that toilets, especially the cheap models in the dorms, weren’t meant for disposing of his various miscreations. Still, getting every one in the building was a new one, even for him. Did he even manage…?


    Of course he did. Lyall sighed and looked back down at his book, mentally bracing himself for impact. Luckily the old man stormed past the lounge without looking in. He figured Taggart was probably going straight to the source instead of bothering him about it, which was probably the only bit of good luck he was going to have relating to that incident today. The room’s temperature dropped several degrees at the thought, frost forming on the metal limbs of his chair.

    ”I suppose Taggart can get to me sometimes…” Lyall thought, putting his book aside and working to regain control over his magic.

  11. The river swelled beside us, into a vast lake. I could barely see the bank on the other side, and boats were spread across the waters, with many fishing. More nets were hung up by fishing boats, and onward, where the waters overflowed, I saw mills. This? A mill pond?

  12. Sand poured down from the roof, hissing. Like an hourglass, though with no way to turn it over.
    Or perhaps no way to turn it over. Angela felt queasy. Though that was folly. To be trapped here when the sand overflowed would be as perilous as when it turned over.

  13. We’d expected a decent crowd for the presentation from the returning Mars crew, but not anything like this. Already we had three overflow rooms at capacity, full of people willing to watch the astronauts on a big-screen TV rather than watch at home. And we still had people lined up for three blocks while the Astronomy department scrambled to arrange a fourth big-screen TV. On reflection, maybe we should’ve arranged to have this event at the Assembly Hall, or even the football stadium.

  14. The buzzing of flies and scent of rot was bad enough, but the waist high, black waters were worse.
    The feel of creatures slipping past under the surface made her skin crawl. She knew it was most likely fish; but images of sliding, creepy things filled her mind.
    “We have to get out, before the overflow releases,” her guide whispered in the dark. “Faster!”

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