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

Book promo

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 MACKEY CHANDLER: Help! Nobody Taught Me to Cook. #CommissionEarned

If you have never cooked and need to gather the tools and start TODAY this 26 page booklet will get you started without taking half a day to read. If you don’t have funds to eat carryout or go to a restaurant until your next paycheck it can be a life saver.
It assumes you live in civilization, have some funds, and aren’t homeless but not much more than that. More than feeding you it can give you the dignity and independence of not demanding charity of others. It suggests common well know dishes with easy to find ingredients. It should hold you for a week or two until you get tired of the limited selection or win the lotto.

FROM J. L. CURTIS: Tales Around the Supper Table- Volume 2 #CommissionEarned

Volume Two of tales from Texas authors!

Dragons, Cowboys and Indians, SciFi, Magic, Urban Noir… Stories for everyone in this new collection!

FROM D. W. PATTERSON: Spin-Two: A Future Chron Novel (Future Chron Universe Novels Book 4 #CommissionEarned

If you could save the world, would you? What if the world was destined to end and you would be interfering with the natural order? What if the world looked down on your kind? Robotic personage Dag Mach had assisted with the development of the wormhole drive, now he had discovered its successor, the Spin-Two drive, and he had found the answer to the end of the world.

If Dag did nothing then this universe would end. But if he stopped the natural progression he would be “playing God.” And Dag didn’t want to play.

“Spin Two” is set a novel in the future (2600s) and is the twenty-eight tale in the Future Chron Universe. If you enjoy “Spin-Two” consider reading the next novel in the series “Robot Planet” for more Hard Science Fiction – Old School.

See the author’s blog for more information.

FROM DALE COZORT: Exchange: Book One of the Exchange Universe. #CommissionEarned

It’s called Bear Country, an untamed alternate reality where humans never evolved, but saber-tooth tigers and suspiciously intelligent little green monkeys did. Random chunks of Bear Country are temporarily swapped—exchanged—with Earth, bringing a risk-averse, bubble-wrapped society unimagined threats, from giant bears to the hazards of unknown bacteria. They also bring opportunity for anyone brave enough—or crazy enough—to settle there.

Computer guru Sharon Mack prepares to evacuate when she finds out her town is about to be Exchanged . But when her crazed ex-husband kidnaps their autistic daughter, dragging her into Bear Country, Sharon has no choice but to go after them, find her daughter, and escape before the Exchange reverses, cutting her off from her own reality forever.
Flash floods and giant bears aren’t the most dangerous thing in this wild frontier. Bands of escaped convicts, with nothing left to lose, roam freely in a land with no laws but survival of the strongest. Then there’s enigmatic Leo West and the secretive Sister West cult, determined to claim Bear Country for their own. And there are those willing to kill to hide the true secrets of the Exchange.

Exchange is the first book in the Exchange universe. The second is Devouring Wind, available now.

FROM M.C.A. HOGARTH: To Discover and Preserve: A Peltedverse Collection #CommissionEarned

The ships of the Alliance’s Fleet map the galaxy, police its hundreds of worlds, and run its diplomatic and scientific errands. It’s also the backdrop for the lives of millions of Pelted, a complex work environment filled with opportunities for development, career and relationship alike. Join the crew of the Stardancer and several other ships, and live a day in their life! You’ll take a trip to the vertiginous world of the Phoenix tour a star nursery, answer several distress calls… you might even run down a pirate or two….

To Discover and Preserve collects nine short stories, including four all new reader-requested stories, from the Peltedverse’s military arm, and is a standalone adjunct to the Alysha Forrest series.

FROM KEN LIZZI: Obsidian Owl (Semi-Autos and Sorcery Book 3) #CommissionEarned

In the wrong hands, the obsidian owl can wreak death and devastation on an unimaginable scale.

A nihilist biker plans global extinction. A rival biker wants merely to retire, if he’s allowed to. A young woman wants revenge.

Karl Thorson, ex-Special Forces soldier, agrees to help Trisha Wagner track down the biker gang that slew her father and brother, and stole an artifact — an obsidian owl. Nero Jones intends to use the artifact in a ritual he hopes will cleanse the world with fire. Vegas Kuzmich wants to bring his drugs to market, then retire from the life of an outlaw biker. But his men demand he first get some payback from Nero Jones’ bikers. All of them are headed for a showdown in Yellowstone.

Can Karl Thorson retrieve the obsidian owl? Can he thwart Nero Jones’ scheme? And will Vegas Kuzmich ever get to retire?

Don’t miss the third book in the Semi-Autos and Sorcery series. It’s what fans of Larry Correia and Jim Butcher are hungering for.

FROM CYN BAGLEY: Hilda’s Inn for Retired Heroes #CommissionEarned

In Delhaven, there is an Inn run by a retired mercenary. If you are a down-on-your-luck mercenary or men-at-arms, come to the public rooms and Hilda Brant, the owner, will give you a bowl of stew. If you want ale, hand over the coins. Hilda may give you floor space, but she expects you to pay in favors or coins.

Hilda is also an untrained mage with an elemental, which is another reason she is retired. Most mercenary companies are wary of mages for good reason.

When Lord Barton decides he wants the magic on Hilda’s property, Hilda pulls together her resources, including her brother a mage and her sister a brothel Madame, to save her Inn.

Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.

FROM BLAKE SMITH: The First Adventure of Sir Garamond de Crecy. #CommissionEarned

Sir Garamond- Gerry, to his friends- has been knighted for less than a month, and he’s already found his first great quest: saving the beautiful and helpless Princess Alyssia of Ollandra from the dragon that is holding her in dreadful captivity. Or so he thinks…
A lighthearted short story.

FROM C. V. WALTER: Country Roads (Alien Brides Book 4) #CommissionEarned

Book 3.5 in the Alien Brides series.

How do you say “we come in peace” when someone steals your probe?

When a petty bureaucrat confiscates the communications relay, the aliens and their human partners must unite to rescue their property and protect those they love from the clutches of corruption and blackmail.

To help those she loves, Mindy must boldly go the last place she ever wanted to…
Back home.


(Okay, this blurb appears to have been written by monkeys, probably because my editor has been sick. So, I reject their blurb and substitute my own.)

Of all the creatures in the known universe, none is more dangerous than a species known variously as the planners, the architects or the controllers. (Really, they need to get better interplanetary language translators, is what it is.)

It is customary for the young of their kind to pick a creature from another species to herd towards a glorious future that fits their species’ plan.

Vix, a very promising youngster has picked…. Barbarella.

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.

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.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: SOPHISTICATED

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

  1. “Well Dorthy, We’re at the far edge of the universe, the trans-galaxy drive a pile of shattered diamonds, how will we get back?”

    “Fear not Lance Shywalker, I’ll don these red slippers, click my heels three times and…”

    “I’ll be darned Dor, wasn’t very sophisticated, I admit, but we’re home!”

  2. “He doesn’t look very sophisticated?”

    “You mean Sis that he looks crude and vulgar. He does look that way but unlike some “sophisticated” adventurers he’s honest and gets the job done correctly.”

  3. The harness, at ninth and last, was as simple a set of spells as a meat axe. Trip a stimulus, you got a response. Make the owner unhappy? You felt varying degrees of terrible-skin tightening, nausea, your heart being squeezed, all the horrible sensations designed to make you feel awful and guilty. Make the owner happy? Warmth, a bit of a flush, endorphins, a racing happy heart, maybe some erotic stimulation at certain levels and response types.

    But, to get there required quite a bit of sophistication. You had to make sure to keep negative stimulus from doing damage or not hitting a threshold that the subject would be able to power through it. You also had to avoid over-stimulation or addictive behaviors on the positive side-you wanted your subject to do more to make the harness’ owner happy, but you didn’t want it too obvious to the person in the harness. And, you had to do all of that without having directly having access to their brain and working around the alpha-level genome modifications that all Dawn Empire military caste members had.

  4. Squee! I lost track and Tales Around the Supper Table 2 went live on the 31st! This means I published/ was published 3 times last year!

    Does this make me one of those suave, sophisticated, real professional authors?


    Oh, wait, Larry Correia isn’t either? That’s okay, I’ll go see if I can sit at the table with him & Sarah Hoyt instead! They’re laughing, instead of displaying their ennui – that looks more fun!

    1. “Ennui is more boring than sophisticated.” Lady Darkness yawned and fluttered her black lace fan.

      “But, I thought we were supposed to cultivate an air of cool detachment and sardonic humor at the foibles of life as we embrace darkness?” Kayla glanced down at her black, black, and darker black outfit.

      Lady Darkness bared her fangs, then studied her pastel talons. “Oh, we are, my dear. But you can embrace darkness in a floral print, or,” she shifted her tail and hindquarters so that the light played better on the ombré crimson, oranges, and soft yellows. “Or you shock the mundanes with disconnect. Which I find SO much more entertaining.”

    2. I was happy to see Tales 2 listed in the promos today, and grabbed it right away. I’m not sure how long until I read it, but I know I’ll enjoy it when I do!

    3. I just finished the previous book (Rogue’s Magic), and Tales will be read at the lunch table. 🙂

  5. “Look at her,” muttered Delia. “Done up in emeralds and rubies. Even if she were our mothers’ age, they would say the stones clash. At our age, they will just raise eyebrows and say her mother should know better.”
    Charlotte-Rose glanced at Ava and said, “Julian won’t even notice her.”

  6. A bird flitted across the room. A drab and unmusical bird, so that Ciara did not need Lady Arabella’s shocked expression to know that this was not the newest fashion in grand festivities.
    She fought down a sigh. She suspected that someone would do it with brightly colored, or tuneful, birds in a week.

  7. Everyone at court had worn their finest. Gold and rubies, and silk and pearls were everywhere. The Fairy of Pine Tree Falls smiled a bit sourly and pressed forward. It took many courtiers a moment to realize that she did not glitter and gleam and yet was not a servant.

      1. If they realize that she’s a Fairy, they won’t give her any “dirty looks”. 😈

  8. Bokrug looked across the table and sighed silently to himself. Chthulhu was one of the more sophisticated of the Old Ones but he just did not understand the realities of the modern world. He must really be desperate to show up here in Sarnath asking for help.

    “We tried that!” Bokrug said, “First with Stalin and then that German fruitcake. Next there was Mousy Dung and, after him, a half dozen minor butchers. The greatest necromantic experiment in the history of this pathetic plane and your damned city is still setting on the bottom of the ocean.”

    Chthulhu took on a hurt expression and started to speak but Bokrug held up a finger to silence his brother as he continued, “Even if we did raise it, it would take a century just to clean it out. Since it sank, trillions of animals have lived, bred, shit, and died there. Frankly I’d much rather be outside here eating the occasional soul than sleeping in an ancient, barnacle encrusted ruin covered in fish shit.”

  9. “No, the ikol aren’t persons,” said Maksali. “Only sophisticated mimicries thereof.”

    “Do they know that?” said Natalie.

    Maksali frowned. “Well… not being persons, they don’t know anything,” he said. “They only mimic knowledge.”

    “That must be sad for them,” Natalie murmured.

    “Again, conscious sentiment…” Maksali paused, and sighed. “Never mind.”

  10. She twirled before the mirror, childish glee warring with the elegant and refined outfit. “I look so different! Mature and sophisticated, even!”

    ” ‘Made impure by admixture’, ‘corrrupt, deluded by sophistry’? I regret to say you are correct,” came the sardonic rejoinder from the man lounging on the settee.

    She turned to face him, frowning prettily. “That’s not what it means!”

    He took a sip from his glass. “Depends on how far back you go.”

  11. Max tilted the dainty snowflake-shaped brooch this way and that, watching the light reflect off it, all different colors. Cari’s going to love this! he thought. She’s going to look so fancy!

    Max pondered a moment. Maybe I ought to clean up a little before I give it to her!

  12. It was a more sophisticated trap than Toni would’ve expected for this level. She made a mental note that the development team might want to reconsider the programming on that one. On one hand, you wanted to challenge your players with difficult quests. On the other, you didn’t want to make things too difficult too early, or players would become frustrated and quit playing.

    1. Now why am I thinking of those “trapped in a computer game” stories? 😈

      1. Actually no, just one in which the bio characters can go into cyberspace through full-sensory-immersion VR systems. However, the protagonist’s a post-bio living as an infomorph in cyberspace. Toni’s the deuterotagonist, and the programmer who pieced him back together.

        It’s in the same ‘verse as “Phoenix Dreams” and “Phoenix in the Machine.”

  13. While the other initiates regarded Erik as a country bumpkin, the Mentor saw him run through the Basic Eight spell set effortlessly, almost without changing expression. Mastery of magic, the Mentor noted, depended more on intelligence than sophistication. Rough as he was, the Mentor was sure Erik would go far.

  14. Jack turned the piece of paper upside down and studied the runes again. The curse was extremely sophisticated which meant he had to be certain of his course of action before beginning to unravel it. Monica was standing behind his chair, leaning over his shoulder. She stared intently as he twisted the paper around.
    “Wait. Stop. Turn it to your left about ninety degrees,” she ordered.
    Jack did as she said.
    “See it? There? Read top to bottom,” Monica told him.
    He squinted at the page. “You’re right! I see it now. Thanks, love. I appreciate it.” Jack smiled up at his wife.
    “Well, I can read it, but you’re the one who’s going to have to unravel it. Just be careful, please.” Monica kissed the top of his head and left the office.

  15. Odd, how you sometimes catch a word, or a few, out of a crowd of them, missing all the rest…

    “..sophisticated lady…”

    The man in the burgundy-colored frock coat had been mumbling, or muttering, to his friend(?) about something or other, very nearly outside even my attention. Then he’d said that, with a kind of peculiar emphasis, half behind his hand, like something out of a Ben Jonson play from half a millennium ago. With a vague, carefree sort of toss of his head only generally in my direction.

    I was seldom a bodyguard much anymore, and never had been much the egotist. So, irrelevant.

    But then, as I continued to idly watch the crowd at the Newlyweds’ Ball, a fluteful of cold whisky in my hand, he said it again, with yet more emphasis, in something closer to a stage-whisper.

    “So-FISS-ti-KATED LAdy, there, so polished and bright.” To his friend, who somewhat to his credit was starting to look a bit unsettled. And who had either a far better tolerance, or had not been at the gin-and-chinchona nearly so much.

    And I let my outward attention be elsewhere, in the centuries-old tradition of security personnel fading into the background, or at least back among the human furniture. Though these later days I was far more occupied with commerce, well-worn cherished habits die slow, or at least die hard.

    So it was out of the corner of my eye that I caught him visibly shake off his friend’s cautioning hand, and, drink sloshing a little in his glass, head my way. And I looked at him square at last.

    “Not so sophisticated as all that, my dear man” — I had no further name or title for him, but a fellow guest of Lady Catherine of the Langmuirs (that is, the Langmuir Herself) at their annual Ball where they either welcomed new spouses into the clan or denied recognition of their marriages into it, must merit such bare consideration; or at the very least Herself herself in her own House did.

    Now his friend trailed in his wake. With something of a pleading expression.

    And I turned to face him full. Carefully not falling into the stance as I did, much as some of my older instincts screamed at me to do, or to call for what hung at my husband’s side for us both. Ready to be tossed to my waiting hand at a mere syllable.

    “Where I grew up, my dear sir, I was so sophisticated that I spent most of my first score years at the cultivating of potatoes and turnips, or occasionally cabbage. Turnips and taters, winter and summer, most of all we had to eat, though the pickled greens from the turnips made a nice nutritious dessert.”

    I did not approach his accusation — for such it was — at any more sophisticated level. I had to doubt he could, in his current state of mind and body, process any subtler denial. While still he approached me with fixed expression, intent as a seeking missile. (Stalking a dreadnought.)

    While beneath my bottle-green silk dress (syn spider silk from the orbitals, cheaper and stronger than the silkworms’ work) an icy ocean of calm began to move; old habits, old instincts, counting the ways and sorting the contingent targets, how best to divert, disable, stun, maim, kill; moment by moment.

    Marquesas values its people, so often, much as house-cat owners do: such lovely, loving predators.

    “And the climate, my dear sir? Not so warmly polished. We don’t call it the Monkeyball for nothing.”

    It was hard for me to follow, an insular dialect of Hungarian mixed with this and that from nearby in Old Central Europe on the mother planet (and an uneasy mix of Indo-European into Finno-Ugric, at that). From an obscure little world near mine. But surely, I’d caught the main sense of it…

    Armand, you mad moron! She’s ranked fifth in the world on the floor, in rapier! Wave off!

    He began, the proudly sloshing one, to open his mouth. So I ‘shifted gears’…

    “Inneskjild Madelung,” I said, in the accents of my old Brass Monkey. “Inneskjild Madelung Ferranti, of the Ferranti-Ceoghans” — and I gestured simply to my husband, Guido, who was holding the ball of the hilt of the rapier at his side with finger and thumb of his off hand; holding it up, so barely a half foot of slim, shining single-crystal superalloy blade showed in the hall’s warmly incandescent light.

    His longtime family’s-friend Violetta. Sophisticated lady. So polished and bright.

    His expression, back to me, was that of a cat looking at a plate of meat, hopeful yet polite.

    (Reasonable enough, given that he was nearly by my side, the hilt in easy reach to me. They teach far better sense in weapons class in any high-school gymnasium on Marquesas, truly they do. All I’d had to do was leave that fine glass of whisky dangling regretfully in mid-air, and…)

    While the interloper’s expression was still prideful, almost sneering, which told me so very much since I’d just claimed direct membership in one of the subordinate Houses — which in the chain of appeals of any affair of honor would ultimately see the Ceoghans facing the Langmuirs, Themselves, one Great House of the Five to another. (And who’d be mad enough to be the root of all that?)

    His friend intervened, literally, interposing himself deftly between me and Armand the Boor.

    I smiled. (One who was stone-drunk out of all the half of his wits he’d ever used, it would seem?)

    “My lady Ferranti-Ceoghan, it is lovely to make the acquaintance of such an accomplished person as yourself, if I might dare to seize the initiative. My name is David Eotvos” — he pronounced it the old way, closer to “Ootvoosh” than anything else I could render in English — “and I’d like to apologize in advance for any rudeness.” And he held out his hand, offering to take mine.

    Which in Marquesas custom meant to offer a truce, a reconciliation, a pre-emptive standing-down.

    “Nincs mit,” I said, in one of the pieces of Hungarian that’s made it more or less unscathed into the dialect he’d used and I could barely navigate. It’s nothing, or maybe more like Nothing happened — which was as assuring as I could be, while also the cold hard truth in a star-cargo-small package.

    Because if anything, ah, actionable had happened, no apology was going to stand in my way, no pleas, never mind my regard for Lady Catherine or the Langmuirs or my own House Ceoghan.

    In some few but very important ways, I was not Lady Inna of the Turnips any more.

    And I continued, in the dialect he’d not yet used to me, “It’s always good to make the acquaintance of a true gentleman,” I said, taking his hand and bowing over it as was the custom here. “But I must correct you, David Eotvos; by the latest ranking I am not fifth but seventh, in the unrestricted rapier class overall,” I said in the Langmuirs’ standard, colloquial English (not their co-equal Gaelic), what this David had spoken to me.

    And he smiled, slow and companionable. “I might be ranked barely in the high three digits, myself, Lady Ferranti-Ceoghan, and obviously nowhere near your exalted plane of expertise. But even I can tell when a judged match is ruled won on… something other than its merits.” Smiled again.

    “If you ever have use for a sparring partner of decent but patently inferior talent, feel free to look me up, I’d consider the defeat a worthwhile experience. And now, if you and I may take our leave in full peace, I have something of a… personal and social nature to put right.”

    Armand the Boor seemed to have noted at last the six inches of steel (all right, iron-group elements alloyed into a blade that could just as merrily have cleaved raw flame in a gas turbine spindle, all day long) bared naked to the room by my beloved. And had fixed his eyes tight to it, till David had taken him by the elbow and, passably gently, steered him away toward less mischancy waters.

    [Based on some pre-existing setting — and featuring my own “mischancy” pittance of Hungarian!]

  16. “Think of our society. More than three hundred million people, all making their own choices for their own reasons, billions of them every day. Sounds like a recipe for utter chaos, right? But take the trouble to look and you’ll see that a sort of dynamic balance arises as an emergent property out of all that supposed disorder. Like the stability of a flowing river, as opposed to the brittle rigidity of a river frozen solid.”

    “Some folks believe that a centralized authority can be powerful enough, sophisticated enough to make all those billions of decisions for everybody and so impose order on society, which they call freedom. The notion is, of course, ludicrous, the task fundamentally impossible.”

    “But that is what the authoritarians desire. They seek to force the river into some unnatural shape and then flash-freeze it in place as a monument to their twisted fantasies of a Perfect World. Trouble is, the river doesn’t want to be in that shape. Stresses build up until the ice shatters. Not so good for the people frozen inside it.”

  17. [Missed last week’s “dazzling” so including it here.]

    “A dazzling display of deduction. How did you spot the false Frenchman?”

    “Waal, I ain’t so sophisticated, but I reckoned sump’n funny was goin’ on when he sat down to the johnny-cake and squirrel pie arter the barn-raisin’ and asked for Sauterne, when squirrel pie calls for a red wine.”

Comments are closed.