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. 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 M. C. A. HOGARTH: In Good Company.

Trust Your peers….

…unless, of course, one of them is a rogue flouting Fleet’s already lax regulations. But stowaways are the least of the Stardancer’s issues when they are assigned to investigate a mysterious area of space at the behest of an alien allied power. What will the Stardancer find in the depths of the Sargasso? And will it give them reason to dedicate themselves to Fleet’s military mission, as their captain hopes, or to decide that defending the Alliance is someone else’s responsibility?

In Good Company, the sixth Alysha Forrest novel, returns to deep space and the adventure of finding new worlds and new discoveries. And if there might be an AI or two… what’s the Alliance without its many peoples?

FROM JOHN R. FOSTER: Morning In Havana

Is Fidel dead or alive? No one knows, but reporter Kate Swanson is risking her life to find out; has Colonel Blanco finally succeeded where so many others have failed? From the jungles of Angola, to the streets of Havana, and into the depths of Cuba’s coastal waters, Morning in Havana is a relentless quest for riches, revenge, and redemption in an island nation turned upside down…

FROM J. W. KERWIN: Slow Death in the Fast Lane: A Brendan O’Brian Legal Thriller.

If you hate the IRS, you’ll love this book!

Years of creative accounting have landed Harvey Berkowitz in court, charged with criminal tax fraud. The government has a mountain of incriminating evidence and what appears to be an airtight case. But Harvey has Brendan O’Brian, an unconventional defense attorney with a reputation for winning seemingly unwinnable cases.

O’Brian turns the tables on the government, putting the Tax Code and predatory IRS practices on trial with strategies that create a circus-like atmosphere in the normally staid federal court.

Chaos reigns outside the courtroom as well. O’Brian is mugged twice in less than a week, shadowed by a man who is officially dead, and harassed by local cops. But his biggest distraction is news that his wife has hired someone to kill him.

Surrounded by a cast of unforgettable characters, including a seemingly senile law partner and a colorful client nicknamed Eddie the Skunk, O’Brian must determine which events outside the courtroom are connected to the Berkowitz trial, an unrelated case involving a ruthless politician, or his wife’s contract on his life.

Although a work of fiction, the book discloses some very real truths about a government agency that has recently been embroiled in controversy. For example, at one point in the trial O’Brian details the workings of a little known IRS sting operation that targets small businesses.

And in the particularly entertaining chapter entitled “Dean Wormer must be running the IRS,” an expert witness uses the “double secret probation” scene from the iconic National Lampoon’s Animal House to explain why the Internal Revenue Code violates constitutionally mandated due process requirements.

On the surface, Slow Death in the Fast Lane is a fast-paced, entertaining and frequently amusing legal thriller. But read between the lines and you’ll find a damning denunciation of a government agency that many people believe is far too powerful.

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER: Fair Trade: An Alien Invasion Story

Most of my writing is in a series people seem to enjoy but there is a constant small crowd who say: I’d really like your take on an alien invasion story. Well this is for them. The bulk of the aliens come to Earth stories assume their vast superiority, sometimes invincibility. Sometimes they suddenly appear on the white house lawn dictating terms. I have yet to see one with them appearing at the Kremlin or Canberra which seems rather parochial. Other times they are so advanced they quarantine the Earth or Solar System without discussion because we are such barbarian slime-balls. They may alternately be impossible to talk to and attack without mercy. All these assume they come with a plan and the means to carry it out. Our own age of exploration showed things happen much less orderly. Islands and natives were happened upon while seeking someplace else or even because a storm or miscalculation left the ship lost. In that case there is no plan but survival with the assets at hand. As with any game remember that turnabout is fair play.


Covering current events as always, most notably the Freedom Convoys, the supply crisis and the Russia/Ukraine issue. Earlier drafts of most of these essays were included in the last several pamphlets I’ve published but now I’ve included more news headlines and formatted like one of my normal books. This is my latest contribution in the fight for freedom.

I’ve also included a few essays on history since I’ve been working on that and one or two comments about pop culture. This time, the book is just whatever I’ve written in the last month in chronological order.

FROM BLAKE SMITH: A Kingdom of Glass: A Novel of The Garia Cycle.

Zara hasn’t seen her family in eleven years, but she doesn’t mind. They sent her to live in a neighboring kingdom when she was small, and she’s adopted her foster parents in their place. She lives the life of an aristocratic Garian girl- riding her horse, shooting her bow, exploring the castle with her friends- and she has nothing to wish for.

Until she’s summoned home, to a prospective marriage she doesn’t want, family she doesn’t remember, and a poisonous royal court that threatens everything she’s ever known. The East Morlans are nothing like Garia, and Zara struggles to find her place among the scheming Morlander aristocrats. Along the way, she makes new friends, meets enemies, and falls in love. But secrets abound in the glittering palace, and Zara must discover who she can trust as she fights for her life and freedom in a fragile, beautiful, kingdom of glass.

FROM TONY ANDARIAN: Prologue to Chaos: Dawn of Chaos.

“This society is decadent beyond redemption. It is time for it to be purged in fire and rebuilt from the ashes.”

The royal family of Carlissa struggles to guide their land into a new age of enlightenment. But when a radical professor of magic is targeted for heresy by the Inquisition, they end up caught in the crossfire. And when that violent confrontation spawns political infighting in the kingdom, it leads to the return of a dark and ancient threat thought lost to the legends of time.

Prologue to Chaos introduces the vast world and cast of characters of the Sanctum of the Archmage saga. Aron and Gerard, princes of Carlissa, race to stop the rampage of an arrogant mage targeted by the Inquisition. King Danor navigates his government’s factions in a struggle to reform its archaic laws. Orion, a scholar, prepares for his first day as an instructor at the academy, while Randia, a talented bard, looks forward to a life of music and theater with her beloved consort.

They do not know it yet, but each of them will be called upon to fight or die in a desperate battle that follows the opening of the Hell Gate.

Prologue to Chaos finally brings the world and story of the award-winning Sanctum of the Archmage role-playing games to the world of fantasy fiction. Get it now and don’t miss this exciting start to the saga!

Note: An earlier version of several chapters from this book appeared as part of the novel Dawn of Chaos, published briefly on Amazon several years ago. That book has now been re-written and expanded into a series of six novella-length installments.

FROM DAVID WELCH: The Day of the Deputy

Stanton Brunner has always lived in the shadow of famous lawmen. His father is a respected town sheriff, his grandfather a legendary, retired U.S. Marshal. But Stan never wanted to have it out with the bandits of the world, and was content to live the quiet life of a frontier town gunsmith. This comes to a crashing end when Bloody Brit Talmadge and his band of outlaws ride into town. Talmadge is a hardened killer with a cruel philosophy to match. He means to rule the town and surrounding valley with an iron fist, and that requires eliminating all who might challenge him. When tragedy strikes Stan’s family at Talmadge’s hands, the young man finds himself with a choice: slink away and do nothing, or take up the badge where no one else will. If he stays and fights, he faces seasoned killers who have him outnumbered, and have the townsfolk running scared. Stan, on the other hand, has never shot at a man, never enforced the law, and never really been in a serious fight. Beyond his inexperience, he’s also torn between a duty to see justice done, and a seething, justifiable desire for revenge. About the only thing the man has going for him is courage, and soon enough that courage will be the only thing standing between a small town and complete annihilation.


With the destruction of their home colony, Captain Ben Gibson and his Army Rangers have nowhere else to go.

Six months after humanity’s victory in Earth’s first ever interstellar war, a group of soldiers are tasked with running a convoy refueling base in a rural part of the occupied enemy world. When they arrive, they find the local village has been abandoned in anticipation of their arrival by the panicked residents. Fearing a possible humanitarian crisis, the troops have to go into the alien wilderness to find them, reassure them that the humans are not the savages they’ve been taught they are and bring them back.

And it won’t be easy. They will have to overcome language barriers, a fearful and hostile population, cross-cultural miscommunications, almost no support from the Army, and their own demons to succeed. With no idea where to start, it looks nearly impossible until the sudden arrival of a dirty, disheveled priestess who confesses to a host of war crimes and demands she be executed for them.


A century ago, Evan Larkspur was a promising young playwright who never imagined he would one day be regarded as the Shakespeare of his time. Disgusted by the growing authoritarianism in his elite circle, he joined a Naval Survey for a relativistic run that never returned.

But now he is back! Or is he? His fragmentary memories—sabotaged ship, cold-sleep malfunction, miraculous escape—seem like a madman’s fantasy. His valuable Survey data, if real, would make him a target, so he remains in the shadows as an actor and a smuggler, trying to tie his memories of the past to the repressive society he sees now.

He is blackmailed into impersonating a government bureaucrat overseeing an extraterrestrial archaeological site, an important key to a bitter feud between two rich and powerful men. He soon finds that there is more beneath the surface than he expected.


The invention of the Blieder Drive opened the galaxy to humanity, and humanity exploded out into it. Every group of like-minded individuals, from religious groups to nudists, got together and took off to their very own planet. Without bothering to ask anybody’s permission.

Four hundred years later, the bureaucrats of Autocratic Earth and its government have decided that enough is quite enough, and are mounting an expedition to return the Children of Earth back to the fold of good, right, proper, and highly controlled government.

Eric Frank Russell’s The Great Explosion is a science fiction comedy that explores the purpose and necessity of government with his typical wit. In 1985 it was inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for classic libertarian fiction.

FROM AMANDA S. GREEN: Designation: Frejya (Augment Wars Book 1).

I was five when they came for my brother. I was thirteen when they came for me. At twenty, they sent me to war, an AI embedded in my brain make sure I didn’t remember my past or question my orders. Not that they told me that part.

And that was their mistake. They might have enhanced me, trained me, but they didn’t break me and, with Menhit in my head, I am about to become their worst nightmare. . .if they don’t kill me first.

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: WHIMSICAL

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

  1. After the Faerie assisted Mankind in defeating the Alien Space Lizards, Mankind had interesting times dealing with the Return of the Faerie to Earth.

    One whimsical story involved an IRS agent trying to audit the fortune of a relative of Puck.

    The agent spent days trying to count Mr. Goodfellows’ gold when the pots of gold would appear and disappear.

  2. Oh! I loved the Vixen War Bride. It’s as oddball as the Combined Operations series I write – milscifi but also full of hilarity, cross-cultural miscommunication, and a hefty dose of post-WWII occupied Japan. Except aliens. Not a romance.

    1. I downloaded VWB and just finished it. Very impressed, the characterization is great. On to the next in the series.

  3. “Elizabeth, dear. I know you hate him. I know he has snubbed you and your family, and is looking longingly at the charms of your bitter rival. And, yes, you are one of the most talented, probably _the_ most talented cryomagus that the Academy has seen in generations. But you are still not allowed to turn Mr. Whim into a Whim-sicle.”

  4. Dunno if I can do whimsy today, really. I’ll give it a think in between all the other stuff. There’s bound to be something in the ol’ brain bucket, but right now it’s full of rather the opposite of whimsical.

    1. I just put together my federal and state taxes. The process was somewhere between whimsical and Return of the Revenge of Murphy.

      I wish I could drink; (can’t because reasons) a shot or three of good bourbon would be wonderful right now.

      1. We did ours a couple of weeks ago. Turbo Tax for the win. We had everything ready to go as soon as the Costco Turbo Tax discount hits. Just have to wait for the investment summaries to be completed on the taxable account, verification on totals SS and pulled from IRA’s. Getting enough back from State to pay Feds. Which means, because the State takes for freaking ever to get refunds back, we’ll have to pull from one fund or another to pay the Feds on pay day (which we choose a few days before 4/15, because not idiots). Part of the State refund problem is we refuse to pay the ransom to efile, as “little” as it is ($19). They want us to do their data entry? They can dang well bleeping make it free. I know dang well e-import on their end is easy by now. Paying the feds because hubby made an investment oops that rendered a $2+k swing from getting a refund to paying just over $1k.

        Took awhile to find what happened too. Of coarse he had to “think about it” before he’d take my suggestion on where and why to look. Extra frustrating because it would have been something any one of the guys would have done at my last work (one of the reasons, as frustrating as it was, they got Some slack). Dang it. When importing data from any online site there is freaking going to be a form that Turbo Tax fills out, for our records even if it isn’t filed. Find. That. Form. I didn’t even have to write a single bit of code on Turbo Tax to know that that is something that Must Be Done (or very huge oops and hell no). Dang it. … I was smart enough to Not Say “See!” or “I Told You!”

        Hubby and son are suppose to be getting son’s taxes done tonight because dad takes off for his annual warm area golf trip with the men’s club and gets back first weekend of April (son works swing, weekdays won’t work). I mean they’ll still have one more Sunday after dad gets home. But still …

  5. John Smith, CPA, stared across the desk at his client.
    “Why can’t I write it off? It’s a medical expense. It’s done wonders for my mental health.”
    “There is no way to explain to the IRS that your whoopee cushion collection is medically necessary!”

  6. Ava laughed. Nearly doubled up, her hand to her mouth.
    Julian looked over in indignation, only to realize that she had not even been looking at him.
    “Oh, look!” She pointed at a grumpy troll-face, of a statue glaring among the roses.
    “He choose the most thorny,” Julian said, diplomatically.

  7. For a moment, Maximiana thought of dismissing it. Who knew what whimsy they committed this time?
    Still, she could always punish them for their folly after. “Speak,” she said, and listened.
    At the end, she kept her face impassive. Reynardette had to learn her place, when she invaded like this.

  8. Donna, dear, that’s an E-flat.
    Ok, Mom. I’ll start over.
    Sweetie, don’t hit the keys so hard. This is a whimsical song. Lighten up.
    Ok, Mom. How’s this?
    Better! Now – a little bit faster.
    I think I’m gettin’ it now, Mom!
    Yes, you are! Let’s sing!
    “Whenever I feel afraid…”

  9. “Nobody should be as whimsical as you,” I sighed, rolling my head in my hands.
    “Why not?” Belladonna asked with a smile.
    “Ladies that would make Sophia Loren envious in her prime, have legs for days, cleavage for weeks, can bench press elephants, has a voice that can make corpses stand up and salute, and is a combat mage…I admit, I might have the issue of wondering where the other shoe would drop.”

  10. Although Soso Gamsakhurdia is known primarily as a satirist, the author of the Major Uborevich books, he has dabbled in a wide variety of genres. His first published novel was firmly science fiction, an alien invasion done in a richly Georgian style, with the protagonist crossing an occupied Caucasus to rescue his father from duress vile. Another of his novels dips into cosmic horror in the tradition of HP Lovecraft, although in Soviet days it was typically discussed in relation to the Strugatsky brothers’ Roadside Picnic. And with The Cookie Caper he made whimsical fantasy respectable again after two generations of that subgenre being deprecated in favor of the rigorous worldbuilding of JRR Tolkien and his literary heirs.

  11. The woodwork was whimsically carved. In intricate patterns of vines, small creatures were cavorting: monkeys, hares, foxes, jackelopes, lions, hawks, unicorns, dragons, and all the same size.
    Rosine sighed. At least the bed would be warm. The days ahead held too much sleeping on stone to worry about the woodwork.

  12. She would not have done as that princess did, she told herself virtuously. Telling men they had to find her three times, and then they had to hide themselves so she could not find them three times, or she would cut their heads off.
    She would not want to marry a prince who would marry a princess who would cut her suitors’ heads off.

  13. Michaela spit out the first taste of her drink. “What the heck? This thing is unpalateable!”

    “What’s wrong?”

    “It’s way too hot.”

    “What did you order?”

    “A Hot Pink.”

    “I’m guessing that the replicator added Sriracha to the mix.
    Unfortunately, the food system Artificial Intelligence’s sense of humor is – whimsical.”

  14. “And up for bids next as the fourth from last of the lot, we have this truly unusual vessel for the discriminating collector or the captain and showman, one of the few examples of this corner of antique cultural and naval history still in excellent working condition — and coming to you complete with a full archive of parts-creation templates usable with any standard fabricator.” The lights in the presentation bay, presently in that sort of deep shadow achievable easily only in vacuum, came up just barely enough to faintly suggest (at least without using available light amplification or broad-spectrum imaging) a sort of vaguely clamshell-shaped and small ship-size object. “While consensus today is that these — nearly unique — vehicles represent the very apex of design whimsicality, rest assured that this surface-to-orbit, in-system, and fully interstellar craft is quite capable of executing any of those missions.”

    In the fuzzy little Oort Cloud of jitneys and small transport craft in front of the bay for direct and personal viewing, at least one person sat up and took notice (still quite possible in zero gee). Valeria Kudlow, cargo handler and jill-of-all-trades programmer, said simply, “No, it couldn’t be.” While she decided to ‘cheat’ after all and start fiddling with the controls of the monitor in front of her. Which soon started to show the odd, blobby, somewhat mollusk-shaped ship as a dim silhouette, very slowly and ponderously rotating on a (conventionally) vertical axis.

    “Couldn’t be what?” Karl Isaacson, the ‘captain’ of their small and irregular but highly profitable intersystem freighter (currently looking for a replacement spare shuttle), said rather diffidently. The ‘patter’ from the auctioneer had already put this one pretty firmly in the not-a-shuttle category. He also wasn’t much of a fan of ‘dramatic’ ship reveals when you could just as easily have turned the floodlights full on.

    “Craziness melted down and poured into a ship design and then actually built. Okay, an alleged ship design. But they say that you can make anything work with enough technology and power, especially if it’s out-of-atmosphere or you’re willing to go r-e-a-l s-l-o-w in-air.” (Her voice dropped quite impressively far down in pitch, like an actual slow phonograph playback. Being from Gargantua, a “fat Earth” terrestrial heavy enough to feature a noticeable fraction of helium in the atmosphere, that wasn’t so very surprising — though hearing her talk using her native air mix was borderline hillarious with someone built like a tank.)

    “Okay, Valeria, lots of people on lots of planets have had some very, ah, odd ideas about ideal ship characteristics and conformation over all the centuries since we first got off Old Earth. So what’s so..?” He let his raised eyebrow finish the question for him.

    “I could be wrong. Phineas T-Pot Barnum up there isn’t letting us see the, let’s call it the front, yet, so I can’t tell for sure. But what you just said is more than true, and there are some real crazy ideas turned into actual hardware out there, and this one turns out to be verifiably from the very depths of the turn-of-the-millennium Crazy Years. Though it took a long, long time and the torrents of money from heavy-atmosphere mining to turn that brainfart into sad reality.” She (apparently) changed her mind again, and blanked her monitor back to a default status display. “Turns out to be no feed that shows you the other side anyway. But if that smart-guy slick on the audio ever mentions Venus Prime, you’ll probably know it right then.”

    “If you will, Valeria, I’ll ask again: what’s the infamy here? Sounds to me like you think this is a true laughingstock of ship design, period.” Dagara Houlihan, chief space and Jump pilot and communications wizard, let a little bit of frank puzzlement into her Irish-tinged voice.

    “Just watch. Just listen. You’ll get it.” She crossed her arms.

    “There are many engineers and architects that will tell you that politics has no place whatever in exoatmospheric ship design. And yet, every ship ever made and every person ever born has a context, a provenance, and so does this one. In the age of the Third Matriarchy among the aerial ships and colonies of Venus Prime…” Valeria burst out laughing. Which from a person genetic-drifted to live at 1.75 gee with strength and reflexes to match, sounded a little like an earthquake laughing. “You’ll just have to wait for it, now,” she said between near-volcanic giggles. “These vessels do have a common name, and it’s… worth hearing. And mind-muddled stuff like that is how the Third Matriarchy ensured there’d never be a Fourth.”

    She wiped her face with a sleeve. “Someone in one of the nations of old Europe, back in those craziest of years, got it in her head to take some offense with the fact that a lot of ships, pure rockets especially, tend for sensible engineering reasons to look a little bit like… equipment particular to the male of the species. At least if you’re either Sigmund Freud or a, what was it, ‘snowflake’ with less sense than a real crystal of snow. So they decided to, ah, ‘fix’ that.” And shut her mouth on one more round of giggles, or guffaws.

    “Aw, holy mother of Mary herself. It’s a giant…” And Dagara had to do the same. Which (shutting her up) usually took some doing. But by now the odd, mollusk-like craft had rotated enough to see that instead of being a clamshell, it split in rather a different way, not so much suggestive as very nearly explicit.

    Valeria turned up the audio feed, over the noises in the boat. “…and so I present to you, discriminating buyers, one of the finest examples of its class to appear on the open market in many years. I give you a documented and authentic, well-preserved and working, Third Matriarchy c*ntship.”

    [And thanks to the “Feminismus!” crowd in Germany for the idea. I and the rest of the Universe could probably have thought for a thousand years, if given the opportunity, and never ever come up with that one!]

  15. “Make thee a fiery serpent, Moses,” said the Lord, “and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”

    A watching angel clapped her hands, and giggled delightedly. “I *love* it when He gets whimsical…”

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