Picture Challenge and Sunday Book Promo

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 BYRON REESE: Wasted: How We Squander Time, Money, and Natural Resources-and What We Can Do About It.

Waste. We spend a great deal of energy trying to avoid it, but once you train your eyes to look for it, you’ll see it all around you—in your home, your business, and your everyday life.
In Wasted, futurist Byron Reese and entrepreneur Scott Hoffman take readers on a fascinating journey through this modern world of waste, drawing on science, economics, and human behavior to envision what a world with far less of it—or none of it at all—might look like. Along the way, they explore thought-provoking issues such as
• why the United States got a higher proportion of its energy from renewable sources in 1950 than it does today 
• whether the amount of gold in unused mobile phones can be extracted for profit
• how switching to water fountains on a single route from Singapore to Newark could prevent the use of 3,400 plastic bottles—on each flight
• whether the amount of money you save buying goods in bulk is offset by the amount you lose when some spoil.
Ultimately, the question of reducing waste is scientific, philosophical, and, most of all, complex. According to Reese and Hoffman, the rush toward simple answers has often led to well-meaning efforts that cause more waste than they save. The only way we can hope to make progress is to treat waste as the complicated issue it is. 
While the authors don’t promise easy answers, in this compelling book they take an important step toward solutions by examining the questions at play, giving actionable steps, and ensuring that you’ll never see the world of waste the same way again.

FROM CELIA HAYES: Adelsverein:The Complete Trilogy.

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

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Oddly Familiar: Familiar Tales Book Four.

Ah, October, when the ghosts, and spirits walk, and the Off Ramp of Doom falls quiet. Too quiet…

Lelia Chan and her Familiar, Tay, continue learning about magic and what mages do. When a customer drops a strange silver disk in Belle, Book, and Blacklight, it starts a chain of events that pull Lelia deeper into shadow magic. André Lestrange and Rodney return to help sort out the off-ramp. Someone else returns, someone who wants to open doors best left closed. Lelia and Company have their hands and paws full dealing with the forces of darkness and bad jokes.

Evil walks on All Hallows Eve. It’s up to Lelia and Tay to send it back where it belongs. Or else.


A dead man just ran away from his own murder scene.

Six months ago, that would be someone else’s problem. My name is Ari, and after hellspawned werewolves tried to rip my soul out, I made this sort of thing my problem. Now I am working the case, well, me, my sharp-shooting partner, and my guardian angel, the Angel of Death. It’s a case that involves human trafficking, corrupt politicians, necromancy, sorcery, seduction, and a deal with the Devil. You know, same stuff, different day.

Unfortunately for me, that’s only the beginning, because something evil has escaped onto our world. I’ve got to take it down, before things get out of hand. Because if things start to go off track too much, then the thing looking over my shoulder protecting me might go off like a tactical nuke.

But that’s part of life, right? Who wants to die a quiet death?


Never underestimate the power of a competent tech.

When Annika Danilova arrived at the edge of the colony’s crater to install a weather station, she knew the mission had been sabotaged from the start. The powers that be sent the wrong people, underequipped, and antagonized their supporting sometimes-allies. The mission was already slated for unmarked graves and an excuse for war…

But they hadn’t counted on Annika allying with the support staff, or the sheer determination of their leader, Captain Restin, to accomplish the mission. Together, they will overcome killing weather above and traitors within to fight for the control of the planet itself!


Ripley facing down the Xenomorph Queen. Sarah Connor fighting the Terminator. David Weber’s Honor Harrington. Science fiction novels and the silver screen are full of badass women kicking butt and taking names. Sometimes it’s the momma bear persona stepping up to defend her young, but, other times, she’s just the meanest one standing—bionic arm or not!

Edited by Jamie Ibson and Chris Kennedy, “We Dare: No Man’s Land” is a collection of 15 all-new stories with female leads. Whether it’s changing an engine on the outside of a spaceship’s hull or chasing SimNACs through the jungle, these heroines have only one goal in mind—to win at all costs! From defending asteroid bases to searching giant space stations, these women get the job done!

What makes female leads great? Does it matter—these women are incredible! Be warned though—they may be referred to as the “fairer” sex, but don’t cross these ladies, or you’re gonna get what you have coming! The authors dared write about these awesome women; will you dare to join them on their adventures? If so, step inside. But beware…this is No Man’s Land!

FROM PETER GRANT: Taghri’s Prize.

Taghri has left the Sultan’s army to seek his fortune – and he seizes opportunity when it knocks. In the confusion of a pirate raid on a trading caravan, he kills their leader and captures their ship. The vessel is now his prize of war… but some prizes may be more trouble than they’re worth!

Nestled among the gold coins in the captain’s cabin is a stolen Temple sacrificial knife, whose Goddess is now paying close attention – too close! – to its new owner. Among the slaves he’s freed is a princess, formerly being held for ransom, who comes with political and personal intrigues all her own. Even if he survives the attention of both, there’s also a pirate lord out there, hell-bent on avenging the death of his son.

It’s going to take all of Taghri’s skill, experience and cunning to survive winning this prize!


The “Save The World” department really messed up this time: A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze are no one’s idea of an A team. Or a B team. Or possibly a Z team. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good attacks a science fiction convention — composed of people in costume, misfits creative geniuses and creative moron — , any conventional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose… literally.

FROM SCOTT SLACK: By Three Moons’ Light

Lieutenant Brown has a simple set of orders: Destroy a buried Karstian anti-orbital laser. If he does, the Strathar fleet he’s vanguard for can take the fight to the Karstian invaders who seized the planet from Strath.

Unfortunately, simple’s not the same as easy on the planet Jotunheim. First, his platoon has to make a long march undetected through the deep wilderness. If they survive, there’s still the hard fight against the military installation ahead. If he fails, the fleet and the invasion are at risk.

A story of The Ares March.

FROM JULIE PASCAL: Too Late For Vengeance

An immortal thrown overboard in the middle of the ocean has abundant time to plan her revenge.

Very few humans survive the Obsidian transformation that grants them the ability to pilot between the stars, the ability to slip between. Now both star pilots and humans are trapped on the surface of a primitive world, abandoned to an eternal quarantine. Human refugees and their descendants struggle to build a new civilization and a new life. The immortal star pilots become known as Obsidian Witches.


Either the challenge word for vignettes didn’t get to me — it happens every couple of months — or the fact that I’m benadryled (totally a word) to the gills so I don’t straight up scratch the skin off my body, but I can’t find the word for the challenge.

So, choose one of the pictures below, and imagine it’s the cover to a book. Give me title, author’s name (can be anything, including yours) and a blurb.

(Of course you can do all of the pictures, but don’t blame me if it takes forever.)

46 thoughts on “Picture Challenge and Sunday Book Promo

  1. For the last picture:

    “When aliens landed in downtown Detroit, they were puzzled that the stores were empty and grass was growing in the road.”

      1. Agreed. 99% sure that background originated in the Commonwealth Wasteland, lol!! 😀 But why not? That’s certainly one of the prettiest semi-current post apoc games out there!

    1. Night fell hard on Southwest Detroit, like a car crusher, or a combat-loaded JX214 dropship, found in one of the many salvage yards still dotting the city.

  2. For the second picture:

    Man: “What’s the matter, robot? Never saw a man before?”

    Robot: “Well, uh, no. Not really. You’re shorter than I expected.”

  3. Last picture:

    “Zak just hid his face in his hands and groaned. There, on the starboard lift surface, was a Denver Boot. Sure, there was an old ‘No Parking Any Time’ sign on the ruins, but who would have thought that there was anyone left to enforce it?”

  4. For the fourth one:

    The young warrior was surprised to see a beautiful woman riding a dinosaur in her underwear. “Excuse me ma’am, isn’t that a bit scratchy on the legs?”

    The young lady rolled her eyes in exasperation. “A bit?! A gentleman would offer a lady his shirt!”

    The young man knew a good opportunity when he saw one and whipped off his shirt. Hopefully she would be impressed with his muscles and the tattoo he’d spent the price of a good horse on.

    1. The young warrior was surprised to see a beautiful woman riding a dinosaur in her underwear.

      What the dinosaur was doing in her underwear I’ll never know!

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Hey, ouch! Don’t!

    2. The dino is wearing the woman’s underwear? The dino is thaaaaaaaat small?? Does the woman have any clothing on? (Inquiring minds want to KNOW!!!) And NOOOOOOO, I am NOT DROOLING!

  5. The dinosaur bellowed. The half-naked woman perched on its back shouted, “N-arg k’tok murdee fefach!” in a most threatening manner.

    “Uh, yeah, nice to meet you, too,” he ventured.

    They stared at each other, frustrated.

  6. HERES A STORY FOR YOU,there are TWO HUNDRED OF US HERE TO HUNT MONSTERS,not men as some would believe,and Lucky you guys,IF YOU STAY ASLEEP,you and your family will be dinner..,the monsters will be turned loose in all the mountains of america,they’ve seen some baby VELOCIRAFTERS IN FLORIDA not to long ago,soon,you’ll see them eating children at a school soon….yes they do plan to kill you and your family..

    1. Please be advised that the release sites for the monsters in question have been changed. You are hereby instructed to proceed with utmost haste to Washington, D.C.; and release all monsters at the intersection points of the beltway, Interstate 495, and entering interstates: I270, I95, I395. Recommend additional releases at intersection with highway 50 in Maryland, and highway 267 in Virginia. Coordinate release times for 0100 hours EDT. Pheromonic attractants have been placed in all Capital targets.

      1. Honestly, if they made this the plot of the last Jurassic World movie (with them oh no not being able to stop the dinos before they eat most everyone on Capitol Hill) I’d be thrilled.

        It won’t be the plot, but I’d be thrilled if it was 😀

  7. “The Ick-Team”, Honoria S. Sacklin (Poundalects Press, 20–)

    “When an out-of-control space vessel crashes into central Ohio, the alien fuel from its severed engine tubes interacts disastrously with the surrounding air, creating a sinister aurora-like entity that threatens to replace the planet’s atmosphere and corrupt or devour all life on Earth. With the vessel’s original crew dead and the local humans helpless, Earth’s only hope rests with Sshiilaak – the mobile, mushroom-like pet of the aliens’ chief scientist, whose mind-merging powers have left it with a faint hint of how to foil the encroaching peril.

    “Together with the now-sentient frog Wilbur, who appears strangely immune to the auroroid’s noxious effects, Sshiilaak follows the local railroad toward Chicago, where it hopes to lay its mycelia on the one substance capable of destroying the menace. But between brutal droughts, Wilbur’s zombified and hostile kindred, and the ordinary human abhorrence of giant walking mushrooms, will the adventure prove too much for the slimy saviors?”

  8. For the 7th picture

    Gavin Newsome the 32nd, ruler of the far left fringe of the outer spiral arm of the Milky Way (a place by the way that the rest of the galaxy avoided like the plague that inhabited some of his planets) still maintained his ancient ancestor’s obsession with trains to nowhere.

  9. Last picture.

    The lander was clearly cold-the lift engines were off, the burn marks from the landing were ambient according to Izanami, and the only thing she could detect was passive sensors and the lander’s APU running on standby. That didn’t mean anything-a good combat AI would have all the systems ready for lift in five minutes. And, the defensive systems would be up in less than one, if they weren’t up already.

    As I watched, one of the dorsal turrets twitched and I quickly looked in the direction that the turret was moving towards. Whatever local equivalent of a mouse had bounced towards the lander, then clearly had a rush of good sense and was running away as fast as possible.

    Clearly, I wasn’t going to have any good sense, but we needed transport and we needed it now.

  10. For the Eigth:

    Barely Lethal by Nicholas Kazinski

    After graduating at the bottom of her class from the Assassins Guild University, Nancy was not expected to do great things. Then she was handed a target that had already killed three senior slayers. She was going to have to learn quickly.

  11. Pciture #2:

    This is why I need to quit the brain-drugs, but probably won’t, farmer Matt thought, staring up at the monstrosity standing in the field. He stared, then began laughing, trying to keep it within the not-at-all-manic-crazy range. How in the heck is a giant walking robot supposed to help me with the planting?! What did I even program this thing to do?!

    Flashes of schematics, some of which might be scribbled on the walls somewhere, some of which might not even be related came to him. He shook his head. Farming wasn’t the point of the exercise, it was just an excuse to have a lot of barn-space away from people who asked questions. Giant walking robots were the point of the exercise, an end in-themselves. After all, who doesn’t want a giant stompy ridiculous robot army?

  12. For number 6: “Fifteen Minutes to Oblivion: the Untold Origin of the Geico Gekko,” by “Flo.”

  13. Rejected by the fair Matilda for the local nobleman, Peter, the gamma apprentice wizard, sent a flock of grackles to “decorate” the ballgown of the gold-digger and the approaching carriage.

    1. Oka, which picture is this? I’ve decided on several possibles, so I can’t be right.

  14. Picture this, a dark and stormy night, a girl half dressed in black, right smack in the middle of tornado alley.

    Meanwhile our hero hangs by his fingernails off a cliff surrounded by boiler plate.

    Toto, the loyal but addlepated dog of course …

    To be continued in book three.

  15. Not the assignment, but my daily “at least 250 words starting a new story” based on one of the pictures.

    “It’s the damned jellyfish that get to me.

    The talking geckos I can deal with. I can deal with the trees that used to be people without being so creeped out I can’t function. The flipping out at least comes after.

    But the fact that jellyfish are now a flying hazard in the everyday?

    Nope, that’s one I just can’t deal with.

    Yet here was one, smack dap in the middle of the iron road the ancients left, right between those rails of iron that prevented wagon ruts from forming that is all that is left of them anywhere.

    I saw it before I came out of the trees. It and one of those damn geckos were standing on the road between me and the remains of one of the roadside inns. I could see the stone building in the moonlight. If I could reach it, I would be home free. Even the geckos didn’t violate the right of refuge in such a place, so I suspected it would keep its pet jellyfish from doing the same.

    When I was a child I closed my eyes when I thought there were monsters around. I guess I figured if I couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see me. For some reason, I decided to use this strategy to make the roadside inn without being noticed by the jellyfish. I stepped to my left, staying on the road, but inside the rut rails instead of inside. I pressed my walking stick into the grove on the side of the rail closest to me.

    Then I close my eyes and ran like hell, counting steps until I reached two thousand, which I was sure would be well past the jellyfish.

  16. For the first picture:

    The Toothy Rainbow

    Miranda Gale had always lived near the Oznado, on her Uncle Elmer’s farm. But she never intended to enter it. It wasn’t a nice place, on the other side, not at all. It was only when a gang of baars murdered her tree-friend Beta, and did something even more horrible to her Uncle and Aunt, that Miranda felt the need to go there. With her magic rifle, its nanofac ammo box, and her best hiking boots, she set off on a quest she never wanted… for vengeance.

  17. Picture 2

    Title: “My, Robot?”

    Author: Strick N. Nine

    Blurb: Jake was just a teenager with gift of gadget making. The fact that his father had an excellent machine shop, and they lived next door to a large automotive recycling center meant he had plenty of materials and the where-with-all to turn them into useful articles. But when the robot he built to move rocks and timber caught the attention of the military; he ran into a major problem that tinkering couldn’t fix. Because his robot had developed sentience, and slavery to the military didn’t set well with Jake or his family.

  18. It was the lack of tracks that convinced her she was dreaming.

    Not the planet outside the window.

    When she woke up she reflected on how a train going from one moving destination to another could not have fixed tracks, but that was why you used ships instead. Even if the sails were a pain.

  19. For #3:

    Afterlife Sun by Chris Lawson

    Elise Ahlstrom’s military career has always been defined by the fact that she always ends up with the jobs nobody else wants to do so she figured an assignment to the dreaded Kish was inevitable. The Ereshkigal star system is the most notorious in the galaxy, and not for usual reasons. Mysterious disappearances, creatures that baffle xenobiologists of all species, and phenomenon that humanity’s most advanced neighbors can’t explain cause even the most hardened mercenaries, pirates, and ne’er do wells of all species to steer well clear of the Kish. Still, Elise is a Marine and duty comes before anything else. If that means braving the long-forgotten horrors of a haunted star system so be it. She’ll come out of this adventure an immortal legend one way or another…

  20. This is for the one with the choo-choo train, which for some reason brings to mind an imaginary YA novel:

    The Journey of Two Lifetimes
    by Pas Dassault

    When Miri and her class arrived at Penn Station, she thought she’d be celebrating the end of eighth grade with the field trip of a lifetime. New York here we come!

    But the moment she steps onto 8th Avenue, she realizes something is very wrong. Where are her classmates? Is this really New York City? And who is this strange girl who’s been shadowing her for the last ten blocks?

    Will Miri find her class? Will she find her way back to the reality she left? Can two people learn to depend on each other to find their own ways home?

  21. This is for the one with the barn, which seems to suggest a funny story (with maybe just a hint of romance, but probably not):

    High Homestead
    by Hanmida Pepper

    It isn’t easy running a farm on earth’s newest colony. What with cantankerous machinery, sketchy (and seldom sober) hired hands, and orbiting revenuers watching her every move, Waynette Hawkins is almost ready to sell out and move back home. But when a handsome new extension agent shows her the latest techniques in oregano farming, Waynette knows she’ll soon be flying high! Will she keep ahead of the revenuers? Will her hired hands smoke up her profits? Will her extension agent learn to say something more substantial than “Whoa! Dude?” Join Waynette in this story of determination, the indomitability of the human spirit, and the inevitability of munchies!

  22. Huh. I think I may have uncovered a character limit on comments. Oops? *chuckle*

    That may be a sign to cut back on big posts, I think…

  23. (I decided to go with a more metaphorical take on the train in space picture)

    Soul Train to the Stars

    It started with a dream: to bring music and dance and joy to a thousand worlds.

    But the realization would be a journey full of pitfalls. Some were small: lazy roadies, crooked promoters, run-down venues. Others were much larger.

    Out there in the great beyond was something that did not welcome humanity and its notions. Something that would silence the music forever if it could.

    Only by rediscovering the courage, the determination, and yes, the soul of their ancestors will the singers and dancers of Soul Train defeat the Great Silence and keep the music alive.

  24. [Front cover with picture #5]

    WAY OUT BACK: New Wyoming Trail

    by Arielle McCloskey

    An Arden Forsythe Novel


    [Back cover copy]

    First Contact, Next Frontier

    When the SSreenan (finally) stepped out of their flying saucers and set paws on Earth, so many things got turned upside down right quick. And not only because those scary Bug-Eyed Monsters from Outer Space turned out to be cute, smart, not-so-little kitties — with ships than can cross light-years in the blink of an eye. (Or even because the first thing they said, once they’d landed in Florida, was “Take me to your leader — no, not that other guy, the real one.”)

    Now, population is a resource — space is big and empty and you need at least 5 million each of two different resident sapient species to step up from Outpost to Colony, under Galactic Mercantile Federation rules. Which means “Uncle Meeow Wants You..!” — to hit the Big Sky trail and help tame some wild new worlds with those sharp-dealin’ cats from the stars.

    Now, a good well-aged cow steak is worth its weight in silver… out there in a galaxy that’s not much like what 2020s Hollywood had in mind. Where you can get a good, cheap stun-gun for the price of a fancy cup of coffee here. And a beater aircar for the price of a Tesla… but only if you know how to haggle.

    Arden Forsythe was only six, the day she saw the shiny silver soupbowls land on the golf course beside the palms. But “Cool Kitties!” was only the start of a lifelong passion for the Way Out Back. Daughter of an Australian father and American mother, she’s all grown up and in the right place at the right time to do what she’s always wanted to do. Get back to the frontier, and help expand humanity’s range off Earth and out into the Cosmos.

    Of course, nobody but a crook ever said pushing the boundaries was easy. And she’s about to be reminded, one more way, that sometimes the worst kind of trouble roots its thorns right next door to home. But Arden has more friends than a Greelax has poison tentacles… so don’t bet bold against her.

  25. Three Moon Hunt by Giánnis Elafina
    Seven missing heirs. Five corrupted planary-transit gates. And one mercenary spacer who’s pushed his luck with alien tech farther than any man alive. When an old friend calls in a marker, Jaegar Harecop can’t say no. But can any man beat the Imperial Survey Corps at its own game?

  26. Picture 5

    Title: No Country for Old Ladies.

    Author: Sati Fied

    Blurb: Jane had it all. A huge spread under the mountains. Horses. A work shack in the back where she could tinker with her go buggy and hopper. A Class V floating security drone to protect it all. All she lacked was someone to share it with. Which was a problem, since Jane had been trained from birth to kill every member of her species that she encountered.

  27. I’m not too late, am I? Here’s some love for #11:

    She had arrived at last, just as her governess Katie had said she would, and now everything was going to be fine. Little Bonnie stepped up carefully onto the highest mushroom-cap; it would not only make mounting easier, but showed respect, and if there was one thing Bonnie’s mommy had taught her, it was good manners. “Katie said you’d be coming soon to bring me home, ma’am. She told the truth, Katie did!”

    “I’m sorry, little girl,” replied the rider, unsmiling. “Katie didn’t.”

    (No worries, the butterfly Air Cav will be there in the nick of time, and Bonnie will get home safe and sound. So there.)

  28. “While Galaxy Express 999 has broken down, System Local 993 must step in.”

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