Pictoral Story Challenge and Book Promo


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. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM KAREN MAYERS: The Ways of Winter – A Virginian in Elfland (The Hounds of Annwn Book 2)


It’s the dead of winter and George Talbot Traherne, the new human huntsman for the Wild Hunt, is in trouble. The damage in Gwyn ap Nudd’s domain reveals the deadly powers of a dangerous foe who has mastered an unstoppable weapon and threatens the fae dominions in both the new and the old worlds.

Secure in his unbreachable stronghold, the enemy holds hostages and has no compunction about using them in deadly experiments with newly discovered way-technology. Only George has a chance to reach him in time to prevent the loss of thousands of lives, even if it costs him everything.

Welcome to the portrait of a paladin in-the-making, Can he carry out a rescue without the deaths of all involved? Will his patron, the antlered god Cernunnos, help him, or just write him off as a dead loss? He has a family to protect and a world to save, and little time to do it in.



A new year brings new purpose to Lamprophyre and Rokshan as they continue in their quest to find and defeat their mysterious enemy, the ancient dragon Sardonyx. But when a prophecy commands the ecclesiasts of Tanajital to climb dragons’ most sacred mountain, Lamprophyre must discover the truth behind the god Jiwanyil’s intent—an intent that may mean the destruction of humans and dragons alike.

With animosity between dragons and ecclesiasts rising, and Sardonyx’s threat looming, Lamprophyre and Rokshan will need every advantage to defend against the day when an ancient evil wakes.

FROM MAGGIE HOGARTH: Marda Quincesinger, Postulant (Coracle Book 1)

When the Adversary shattered the world, the Savior and her Companions kept the remaining pieces from falling into the void. The school they established trains young boys and girls to continue their work, healing the cracks, facing wrongbeasts, and reversing the aims of the Adversary wherever they can.

And all of this is work for heroes, as far as Marda Quincesinger is concerned. She’s more interested in the cake her mother’s baking her for her fourteenth birthday than in taking on the daunting work of an Outremer. But faced with the chance to help her family, she decides to see if she has what it takes to join the Outremers’ ranks.

Full half the hopefuls who arrive for their first year don’t return. Will Marda be one of them? Or will she find the hero in herself?

A gentle story in the tradition of the Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, and Harry Potter.

FROM C. J. CARELLA: Queen of Blood and Shadows: A LitRPG Adventure (The Godkiller Chronicles Book 2)

A Dangerous Woman

The thrilling tale that began with Godkiller Mode continues!

Stranded in a dying city by a treacherous Sphinx, Caitlin Strange and her friends will face Chaos Knights, the minions of Tiamat, armies of monsters and deadly Blood Cultists as she seeks to level up and gain some control over her new life. In the Realms, game-like rules are as real as the laws of physics – and just as deadly.

Follow Caitlin’s story in this action-packed LitRPG tale featuring character advancement, God Cores, and plenty of adventure.

Note: This novel contains Episodes 1-53 of the Vella serial of the same name. The story continues there, starting on Episode 54. Future novels will include those episodes.

She is coming. And the skies will burn.

FROM TIMOTHY SCOTT ROACH: Momma, May I Have the Moon?

“Momma, may I have the moon?”“Oh, my dear no! It would never fit in your room.”On the surface, this book is about unobtainable dreams and fanciful things, but if you look a little deeper you will see it is something else. A problem is presented and the reader is challenged to use his or her imagination to come up with a solution. This is engineering at its purest level — a level as accessible to children as it is to adults. Children naturally think outside the box, because for them there is no box. See what ideas your child can come up with to reach the moon and then draw and submit them for a chance to be in future editions of the book.

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.

FROM DEX QUIRE: Crocodile Words

Crocodile tears are fake tears, can crocodile words be fake words?
Joffrey Simpson O’Day moves from the dry badlands of Eastern Washington State to the lush greenscapes of Western Washington to a Seattle-like city called Sunbreak City. Hayseed, Joffrey attempts to turn himself into a big-city sophisticate but he commits the ultimate faux pas—he insults a book held sacred by millions. He draws upon his head the wrath of everybody. Crocodile words come at him from all quarters. Will he survive?


A collection of all the jokes used in my published books. Every little bit of humor helps these days, more than Rococo Coffee ever helps. Then again, if you’re helped by imaginary coffee, you can still enjoy this book.

The B-side is longer pieces of humor, most notably “The Caped Avenger in If Fate Be My Destiny.”

FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The Space Race Trilogy Omnibus: Time Slips, The Secret of Pad 34, Beach House on the Moon, Plus two exclusive new essays

All three books of the Space Race Trilogy, now together with two exclusive new essays.

Time Slips

What if our most treasured verities were in fact wrong?

To be selected for Project Mercury and be one of America’s first astronauts was a dream come true for test pilot Deke Slayton. But fellow Mercury astronaut Al Shepard kept telling old stories from his native New England, tales of monstrous entities like Cthulhu and Yog Sothoth. Earlier generations had viewed them as demons, but might they in fact be aliens, here long before humanity?

Soon Deke discovers evidence that something is watching the US space program. Something that begrudges humanity the stars and would put a ceiling on human attainment. Something that can manipulate time itself.

HP Lovecraft wrote that we dwell on a placid island of ignorance amidst the dark ocean of infinity, and that we were not meant to travel far.

What might the US space program have looked like in a cosmos filled with hostile eldritch entities? Would they notice us as playthings? Or as a nuisance to be dealt with?

The Secret of Pad 34

Who would put a ceiling on humanity’s expansion into space?

That’s what Gus Grissom wants to know. While fishing offshore from Cape Canaveral, he glimpses a mysterious undersea city of unearthly geometries, marked with a strange three-armed cross symbol.

His efforts to research it bring him veiled threats from strangers at his door. Trouble blights an exemplary career. However, Gus refuses to be cowed into silence, and pursues every lead he can find.

HP Lovecraft wrote that we live on a placid island of ignorance and were not meant to travel far. This is the Space Race in a world where the Soviet Union is not our only adversary.

Beach House on the Moon

The Moon is a dead world, airless and desolate. Emmaline Waite has known this fact since childhood, when she watched the Apollo landings.

But here she sits on the shores of the Sea of Tranquillity, looking up at the gibbous Earth as the waves roll in. What madness can this be?

She gets no time to contemplate that question, for she is not alone. She is about to enter a realm of love and fear, of mind-bending secrets that change her understanding of human history, and of self-sacrifice.

Her life will never be the same.

Miskatonic University in the Cold War and Contemporary Era

How would H.P. Lovecraft’s famous fictional institution of higher education have developed through the second half of the Twentieth Century and into the Twenty-first?

Space: Gernsbeck vs. Lovecraft

A look at the fundamental worldviews underlying the approaches of Hugo Gernsbeck and H.P. Lovecraft to the portrayal of outer space, aliens, and space travel.


For reasons known only to the internet hamsters (TM) I never got the word challenge for the vignettes, so I’m putting in a pretty picture as your prompt. (It’s from Pixabay.)
Normally what I say for picture prompts is: Write me the book blurb (back cover text) for which this could be the cover. Go!

22 thoughts on “Pictoral Story Challenge and Book Promo

  1. Marda Quincesinger, Postulant (Coracle Book 1)

    My daughter read it, she loves it, and is now battling her shyness to write an actual fan letter when I explained it’s a new series, there isn’t any more yet. 😀

    1. I reread Marda Quincesinger within the last couple of weeks and was once again wishing for a sequel too. I love the world building, especially the little touches of the plants and animals.
      Thanks for the lovely story and I hope to see Squire soon.

  2. When you hot-wire a shuttle, know what sort of mileage it gets. Fleeing the tyranny of the Artificers, Birna Drellgannoth found herself just beyond the city limit, on the far side of the River of Doubt. But would the river that defined the Artificers’ worldview be enough to shield her on an unplanned run to freedom?

  3. A Hole in the River of Time

    With past and future staring at each other across it, the river narrows.

    What will happen when the river runs dry?

  4. Down and Out, and On the (Long) Run…

    It’s been a saying for over five centuries now: The Gates are not always your friend. Though humanity’s figured out enough to use them for near-instant star travel, enough to understand they sorta-kinda act like wormholes through spacetime, enough to get your ship and cargo from Point A to Point B 99+% of the time — everyone who knows anything about them knows nobody who’s telling understands what they are or how they work.

    Marduk Srinivasan’s never worried much about Gate theory, or rules, or property rights, or overmuch about laws or ethics either; as long as the bills got paid well and often enough to get by and have fun. As long as he could stay one step ahead of whoever wanted to have a word with him just one more time.

    So if he had to, ah, improvise a quick trip away from the Red Mob, just a couple or hundred light-years, so what? And if the only ride in sight (that won’t get him shot for trying to steal it) makes that old movie ship with the big loud furry co-pilot look fresh off the lot, and comes with an owner/op/mechanic who’s got the smelliest cigar, the reddest hair, and the foulest, most gleefully Irish mouth ever… well, so what else?

    Well, now he’s finding out.

    That the Gates aren’t quite what he (or anyone else) thought.

    That sometimes, in space, you get what you paid for. Insane Girl Genius mechanic, walking-dead hardware, and all.

    That magic (or some close work-alike) is quite wonderfully, horribly real.

    That having just a touch of Faerie blood, in the five-eighths of him that was never Indian, can get you far (farther than you ever wanted).

    That some destinations Out There make Dracula’s castle look… cozy.

    That somewhere in the dark neglected corners of his mind, lurks… a hero?!?

    That if he can’t get the girl he hired (and keep her alive), nobody else in all the far reaches of a suddenly-bigger Universe is ever gonna get him back home.

  5. Wellington W. Wellington was an honest smuggler. He dealt fairly with his suppliers and customers, and his not-so-good ship Tin Lizzy would convey Terran pistachios and antiquities, Venusian rum (from Venus II in the Asimov system), comfort flour falsely certified as containing the officially-required amounts of neo-valium, and Piperian fire-guns. But not brainchains and certainly not cyber-slaves.

    When Wellington made a routine delivery to the castle of the anachronist Lord Ping, he did not expect to have his honesty tested. So when Milord casually requested that Wellington smuggle a pair of cyberslaves off-planet – beautiful female cyberslaves, like something out of a lowbrow text – he offered a polite refusal as his response. As his initial response, that is.

  6. For millennia untold the Galactic Empire had meant civilization. Now, after centuries of slow rot went unnoticed, it is crumbling. Rule of law is giving way to the rule of the strongest. Commerce fragments, becoming local where it had once spanned the stars. And on a hundred thousand worlds a frightened populace may well destroy what they most need to maintain and rebuild.

    Now Benno’s theories will be tested in fire. Can his system of scattered Cloisters stand against the darkness? Can his Rule keep them on track, even in isolation, even in the face of technological regression? And most of all, what is this Plan that people say to trust? Is it actually Benno’s final work, or is it in fact a delusion, even a trap?

  7. Beware the unguarded borders.

    Momma always told Emmalee Wunderlich not to go to the back edge of the boneyard. Not to wander where the technology had been stripped so bare the magic had started to flow back in. But when she had to run from feral dogs and boys bent on even worse things, there was only one place even they wouldn’t go.

    Now the mist is creeping in, and the sky is on fire, and Emmalee is about to learn why she has such a strange last name.

    And what her momma ran to the tech to escape…

  8. It will never fly again, they told him

    Hank Davies believed in the old stories. The ones that the graybeards told with trembling voice, of the days long past when humanity sailed the ancient stars freely. There were ruins of those days all over, but under the eyes of their alien benefactors those days would never come again.

    You can’t escape your place, they told him

    A knack for fixing things kept food on the table, but a man does not live by bread alone. The Gone Goose was more than a home, it was his ticket off planet. The General Dynamics A73 was originally designed as a modular ship. The Goose may not look pretty, but her frame was strong and with a strong 351 Samson power plant, she’d move mountains- if only he had the parts.

    Bow down and accept your fate, they told him

    Hank knows where to find what he needs to get the Goose flying again. But it would take a miracle to pull it off. Deep in the canyons west of the alien kingdom is the wreck of another A73, but getting there is impossible. No humans are allowed out of the city. Even if they could get out, the toxic gasses of planet Luden would kill them in under an hour. And beyond that, something has been stalking the aliens and brutally murdering them at night, causing suspicions to sharpen and scrutiny to fall on their human peasants.

    Never tell a Redneck it can’t be fixed!

    Hank has a plan. His friends tell him its crazy. His best friend says it’ll kill him. His alien boss thinks he’s suicidal. His girlfriend thinks it might just work. And the cat thinks a flying ship sounds just right.

  9. Worst. Shore. Leave. Ever.

    First the place they landed wasn’t like the travel brochure. There was no beach. There was no resort. There was some ancient group of buildings looking like a bad tri-vid; but there were no power readings anywhere.

    Then the tall, pale local came by and the next thing Zorx knew he was waking up with an odd pain in his neck and a strange thirst. Where was the rest of the crew? Why was his shaving mirror shattered? Why did the ship look like it had been partly scavenged? And that smell of ozone… had there been an electrical short?

    If Sub-Commander Zorx doesn’t pull everything together PDQ, he’s going to miss his promotion to full Commander, his chance to command a Frigate instead of a local patrol craft, his arranged marriage to one of the 12 Houses (required to command a ship of the Fleet), and he might even be reported as AWOL!

  10. Crashlanded on a airless planet, the crew of the Palomides are in desperate straits. The good news is that rescue is only weeks away. The bad news, is that they have less than four days of oxygen.

    Survival depends on a select group of survivors taking advantage of weak gravity and soaring pillars of rock to ascend, and tap the magnetosphere for power.
    As they make their ascent, the rest of the crew must wait, try not to panic, and face recriminations for the ongoing disaster.
    Those clinging to life through clumsy gloves, might just be the lucky ones.

    (Bah. It’s written like crap, but I got the pitch down. That counts for something. We’ll see if I get the compulsion to get up in the middle of the night and bash it into something pretty.)

  11. The ship was clapped-out junk when they miraculously coaxed it into space, but even dying in space beat the enslavement that would come with staying on the horribly misnamed Utopia. Somehow the thing held together long enough to get them to land… alright, crash soft enough to survive, on “Frankenstein’s World” as it was informally called. And they managed to get fairly close to the dwellings of one of the mad scientists. But was he the sort of mad that would help them?

  12. The H.M.S. Holstein wasn’t supposed to be more than a tugboat, working in the dockyards of New Brazil.
    Due to a mishap with an alien ship, Captain Silva must save her tiny crew of misfits. Facing a newly made planet, composed of junk from around the universe, they must learn to survive.
    Slogging through forest, deserts and tundras gathered from around the universe; if the strange animals don’t kill them, the competing weather systems will.
    The distantly crashed behemoth of a vessel may be their salvation. And if they’re lucky, they may even get home.

  13. The damage to the port drive was unexpected, but not particularly dangerous, and the landing on the nearest planet to fix it should have been by the book. But there was nothing routine about the planet Terrasombra, a world far enough from the nearest star that it was constantly shrouded in darkness and made habitable only by the heat that came through a mysterious structure known as the Pit. Heat isn’t all that comes from the Pit, however, and the crew soon find themselves battling for their lives and their souls as the forces of darkness emerge to claim them. It will take everything they have to protect themselves while they get their ship repaired and get back home…but if the Pit has its way, they’ll never want to get home.

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