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 ROY M. GRIFFIS: The Thing From HR: a Cthulhu, Amalgamated novel.

“A Cthulhian romp that’s equal parts Terry Pratchett and Mel Brooks… and it just might be the funniest novel I’ve ever read.” – Upstream Reviews
I laughed far too much…you’ll enjoy dark humor, dry wit, slapstick moments, and elements of romantic comedy. – Amazon 5-star review
What’s a nice Shoggoth like him doing in a dump like this?
Narg was content working as a Damnation Services-10 in HR. Sure, he was related to one of the Elder Gods, but a little nepotism never hurt any Thing. His life was just wailing and gibbering, right up until his Uncle needed a small favor from his nephew.
All Narg had to do was go down among the humans…and pretend to be one of them.
These are not your Grandfather’s tales of Eldritch Horror: this is the untold story of the ghastly, unappreciated (and entirely expendable) minor monstrosities that support the Inscrutable Plans Of Dark Gods And Elder Things Beyond The Knowledge Of Men.
The Cthulhu, Amalgamated series is a comic romp full of action and mystery, including, of course, Sanity-Shattering Horror––and that’s just the paperwork. Even H.P. could not conceive of the Corporate Terrors that await The Thing from HR.

FROM AMANDA S. GREEN: Foil of the Gods.

Evil has taken root in the Adrean Imperium. Soon it will rise up, destroying everything in its wake. If Balaar wins, the world will fall to a darkness the like of which it has never before seen.

Aimsir, to the west of the Imperium, is the birthplace of the Order of Arelion, enemy of Balaar. Cait Falconer—Knight-Cleric and heir to Queen Maeve Porgisl, ruler of Aimsir—knows danger draws near. Aimsir’s borders have been safeguarded but at a great cost. Now Cait and the Order work with the Queen and her military to make sure Aimsir never falls to the coming evil.

Then the unthinkable happens. Allies fall. Others become enemies. The followers of Balaar march inexplicably toward Aimsir. If it falls, all will be lost.

FROM DAN MELSON: Preparing The Ground (Preparations For War Book 1)

It started innocently enough. Joe was the engineer on one of Earth’s first explorations beyond the Solar System, using borrowed Imperial technology. Captured on a hostile planet, he has to make a plan for his crew to escape – and then he discovers his real mistake!

He becomes a Missionary of Civilization on a primitive planet caught between massive empires – and the enemy has to think it’s all native ingenuity!

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Home World (Fall of the Alliance)

Roland house Jaeger is in desperate straits after being brutally used to distract his father while his enemies move.

Lord Seigbert Fey needs help to gain custody of his orphaned grandchildren, and desperate enough to take a chance on a battered angry teenaged boy.

Together, they start to pull their lives together. But their Transdimensional Empire of thousands of Worlds, the Drei Mächte Bündnis, the Three Part Alliance, is heading into rough waters, and about to hit the rocks that will shatter it.

Can a small family survive the fall of the Alliance?

FROM DALE COZORT: Snapshot-42 Book One – Stalingrad Run

At the height of World War II, an apparent time anomaly cuts Europe and part of the Middle East off from the rest of the world. Trapped in Northern Iran, with no way to contact the world he knew, United States Army Engineer Jim Edwards is forced to flee from both the Germans and the Soviets. His only companions are a mysterious Russian woman who may be trying to assassinate Stalin, and a man who calls himself “Loki”. Is he any more trustworthy than the Norse trickster god he’s named after?

In a desperate bid to get to Great Britain, Jim finds himself in a treacherous race across Nazi-occupied Europe. His mission? To prevent the Nazis from overrunning Europe, then sending their war machines against an alternate United States that’s still armed with black powder muskets. The freedom of mankind’s future may depend on his success.

FROM MALCOLM JAMESON, WITH AFTERWORD BY D. JASON FLEMING: Too Young To Live! (Annotated): A classic pulp space opera.

After suffering a catastrophic failure that almost destroys their ship, the crew of the Thuban manage to gain some control inside of a dark nebula, and land on the mysterious Athanata — a planet where age is immortality, and youth is a death sentence!

First published under the editor-mandated title Quicksands of Youthwardness, iktaPOP Media is pleased to bring this long out-of-print Malcolm Jameson tale back to readers everywhere.

This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new afterword by D. Jason Fleming giving historical and genre context to the novella.

FROM ANNA FERREIRA: The Flight of Miss Stanhope: A Short and Sweet Regency Romance.

Marianne Stanhope is in trouble. Her family is urging her to accept the attentions of a most odious suitor, so she turns to a gentleman of her acquaintance for aid. But Mr. Firth has his own reasons for assisting Miss Stanhope, and it falls to her childhood friend Mr. Killingham to convince her that she’s made a dreadful mistake.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Familiar Tales #2: Vaguely Familiar and Oddly Familiar

The Off Ramp of Doom meets an ancient evil . . . Lelia Chan and her Familiar Tay cross paths with a piece of obsidian that’s more than it seems. When the local magic community runs out of ideas, Morgana Lorraine asks a trained shadow mage, André Lestrang, to help. The stone remembers evil. Evil calls to evil. Lelia and her friends must stop that call.Less than a month later, the Off Ramp of Doom strikes again. The police ask Lelia to look into the matter – literally. Meanwhile, Shoshana Langtree’s art attracts unwanted – and possibly related – attention. When trouble at work leads André to return to Riverton, shadow mages and friends have their hands full with stolen art and Halloween follies.Will they solve the mystery in time?

FROM C. V. WALTER: Captivating the Alien Captain: Alien Brides Series, Book 4.

Some women aren’t meant to be tamed…. 

Some men would rather love a wild woman…. 

Trina’s been in love before and is done with all that nonsense. After a lifetime of not being able to count on anybody but herself, she’s happy with the life she’s created, thank you very much. She’ll love her fabrics, and dote on her grandchildren, but leave the romance to the young and foolish.

Enter Captain Maikedon Cretus. He’s smart, sexy, and interested in more than Trina’s body…and very interested in that, too.

Careful and patient, he’s laying siege to her heart until the walls she’s built start to crumble. He’s willing to wait as long as he has to in order to win his lady’s love, and it’s not looking like it’s going to be as long as she thought…. 

Until the alien dress Trina is altering for the wedding of the century turns up questions and a story of betrayal. Can they work together to solve the mystery and lay to rest an Emperor’s dark past, or will the tangled web of woven lies and truth tear them apart?

Contains mature themes.

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: OPTIMAL

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

  1. Nice selection in the promos today! Thanks! Re the writing prompt- Prez glanced across the ship at Umrah. “I thought you said you could fly this thing!”
    Umrah bumped the joysticks controlling the thrusters. “I’ve done it in the sims a thousand times!”
    Prez grumped, “We’ll never get the optimal orbit with the fuel we have left. We’re gonna die!”

  2. Contract-scout O’Mbixez though he was braced. He still winced when the illumination hit him like cross-firing sound cannons. He gave up on his resolve to avoid sending a bad body-language signal to the humans and slipped on his protectors.

    Human were such an optical species. They considered this blaring light-show to be optimal.

  3. “But, Dido, Carthage *has* to be circular,” Anna insisted. “That’s the optimal shape to maximize the area enclosed by a fixed perimeter, like your ox-hide thong. Multiplier analysis proves…”

    “Anna,” said Dido patiently, “we don’t *want* the maximum land area.”

    Anna blinked. “Then what do we want?”

    “The harbor.”


  4. “And that’s why this resort is listed as ‘clothing-optimal’ not ‘clothing-optional’,” the tour director explained yet again as the blizzard raged outside the habitat dome.

  5. Highly recommend the Cthulhu, Amalgamated series. It’s great fun.

    “Come on, Perry,” urged Lieutenant Tragg. “Get your client to talk. She’s facing Murder Two at the very least. Maybe we can get it down to manslaughter if she tells us about these extenuating circumstances you keep harping on about.”

    “That doesn’t sound like an optimal outcome, Lieutenant. Even though she was found at the scene of the crime, covered in blood, with the gun in her hand and screaming ‘I did it’… On second thought, let me talk to her and I’ll see what I can do.”

  6. The sanctuary is quiet. Heads are bowed in prayer and meditation. The quiet deepens with the drone of ancient gongs vibrating against flesh and bone. Slow, melodious flute sounds bounce off the ceiling and walls like an echo chamber. This is the optimal time to experience the spirit world. Awaken.

  7. “Plus sugar,” said Isabelle. “You forgot sugar.”
    Nigel’s mouth narrowed.
    “None of those great works, and yet, we manage to keep the land in a vast enchantment to master the weather. Those valleys do not produce enough food to feed us all.”
    “They ate in days of old,” said Nigel.

  8. She walked along the street. She was surprised she did not stagger. Here and there, others returned late to their homes. Then, it was known that sometimes balls lasted until the ball-goers were rousted by the rising sun.
    If she had not come by the best route, she still returned.

  9. The answer is out there somewhere, the number I am looking for, the best one for my purpose. Divisible only by itself and one, when plugged into the equation, it will allow my truck to become a robot. But the answer keeps eluding me, the optimal prime.

  10. Having a demented fool in the pay of America’s enemies occupying the White House is far from optimal.

  11. “So he locked her in a tower with a maidservant and food for seven years, to teach her a lesson. But when the years were nearly up, Maleen realized that no one was chiseling at the tower to get them out again. So she and the maidservant pried their way out.”
    “How?” said one girl, her nose wrinkling.
    “Stuff they had about.”
    “That wouldn’t work well,” said one older girl.
    Rosaleen shrugged. “When they got out, there was no one there, all the land was laid waste by war. They had to leave, and they ate thistles on the way.”

  12. “They do not look as they used to,” said Marian. “That must be useful.”
    “Very much so,” said Rosine. “Though having gained a good name is even more so.”
    Florio shrugged. “The easiest path to that, however young you look, is to do great deeds of great skill and power.”

  13. Sarah,

    This review of “new” books is optimal. We like the covers; but we don’t need pictures to read good books.

    And we don’t want you overstressed.

  14. Sam had figured the new neighbors were going to be a problem, but the man with the tattooed face holding a knife to his wife’s throat took things to a whole new level.
    As the man snarled threats and slowly worked his way back to the front door, Sam knew he needed to think quickly. His wife was the non-tactical sort, and he had no useful code words or phrases to elicit a desired reaction from her. So Sam called out loudly, “Remember honey, can’t rape the willing!” Hoping the thug would be distracted by his wife stiffening with rage and confused betrayal, he quickly cleared his pistol from its holster, acquired a sight picture and squeezed the trigger. Sam saw the bullet impact his wife’s assailant near the base of the man’s neck. That’s low and left of where I was trying to aim, some detached part of Sam noted. Not optimal. But effective enough, and at least she’s not wounded.

  15. “Next.” The counterman’s voice rose (in volume but not tone), in what Merydydd thought of, privately, as Bureaucratese (Sixth Dialect). Being both an empath and a perceptive, that sort of classifying was not even second nature to her; it only simply and literallly… was.

    She crossed the eight feet of Suggested Social Distance to the counter, wincing slightly at the touch of a sound-dampening field meant (like the Social Distance) to give at least the illusion of privacy. (Of course to her it did the very opposite… with enough of a perceptual, fingernails on a chalkboard ‘itch’ she couldn’t help but pay attention to what the field, to her, did nothing to hide or disguise. Having a four-to-six-sigma set of ‘unusual’ genes at a genuinely ‘Black Swan’ level, whether out of her family’s legendary Faerie blood or ‘only’ a medically-alleged admixture of rare-Neanderthal heredity… did stuff like that. Often.)

    “Name, and name of ship.” He did at least look up from his board; though the clear panel in front of him was obviously a heads-up-display, so he would be parted from his dataflow never.

    “Meredith Olivera taigh Miach, of the Hungry Seagull.” She leached all the Celtic highlights and music from her own Interworld English, which she here (naturally) thought of as Bureaucratese; but gave her near-full name, which might provide a clue to the aware. (And there ought to be some awareness… like most places, this one already had a digital dossier on ship and station-going crew amounting to hundreds of pages of printed-out text. Including a precis of her own, ah, rare-ish talents.)

    “An interesting name, Miss Olivera, surely inspirational to the aspiring ship’s crew. But I regret to inform you that your ship has already been logged into the pattern by your first officer, a Mister Bergdahl, and at that time given a berthing spot, and a priority in cargo handling and in provisioning. Since we must arbitrate among all our visitors in at least some approach to a globally optimal way…” His voice had that rapidity and cadence of a train coasting down a well-worn track, toward a stop.

    Till it did not.

    Merydydd had only raised her left hand, index finger fully up to signal ‘wait just a moment’ with her least finger also half-raised at about 45 degrees, to add the nuance ‘and there might be something in it for you, too.” He was looking right at her, after all; and if he didn’t recognize even basic Trade Silent he would not likely be amenable to what she had to offer, now. “Yes?” was forthcoming then, with a raised eyebrow. Good.

    “As I couldn’t help overhearing” (the literal truth, for a Perceptive), “just now, one of your customers is in need of a faster refuelling with mirror-matter, at the moment, than you can easily accommodate…”

    “We prefer to call that fuel just plain old-fashioned antimatter, here on Persephone Station, Miss Olivera, but yes, you’re right. However, since I must doubt your — smallish — ship runs to an iso-flip inverter to make any significant quantity of antimatter..?” Again, that raised eyebrow.

    Most planets didn’t have an isospin-flip device to convert ordinary hydrogen into stable, storable antimatter; though the biggest of merchant ships and some military ones did have a ‘flipper’ capable of intermixing the two q-states enough to run engines on the resulting annihilations.

    Merydydd smiled, pleasantly. “No, we don’t, and if we did all the worlds might be beating a path to our door.” Mostly to steal whatever tech was involved, she did not really need to say. “But you’ll see that we’ve not complained of a berth so far out from your Station that we couldn’t hardly see it with the naked eye… and one of the reasons for that is we do have on board an Einstein-Rosen bottle of significant capacity. One that’s presently chock-full of enough mirr–, ah, antimatter to give your last client a full fuel lading. And we’re willing to part with that at about half the going price, in exchange for expeditious re-provisioning of our ship, and decently swift cargo exchange despite the necessary use of long-range lighters.” She kept her Interworld brisk and neutral.

    He’d gone a little tense-looking at the words “Einstein-Rosen bottle” but his inward sense was of someone whose skin was crawling. The real-world equivalent of the gamer’s ‘bag of holding’ wasn’t nearly so scary as he was making out… but its reputation had gone before, and was not on his side. A bottle eversion with that much mirror-matter… would result in such a radiation hazard his entire system — a cool red dwarf, a small Mars-class terrestrial, and a ‘rotisserie Jupiter’ so close to the sun it was cooking off mass — might be listed as ‘hazardous, avoid’ for decades to come. Never mind the (perceived) threat to his own priceless skin… and to the station that was his closest felt-equivalent of a homeworld.

    “We could fill a standard magnetic bottle, at our ship, then let you take your bottle on your lighter back to your station… no trust in us or in our expertise required, other than getting your bottle back of course.” Merydydd was very aware she was smiling, softly, could practically feel the temptation in the man’s personal energy… as if he was actually being offered a too-good-to-pass-up deal. (He was; though of course he had no idea why time was so valuable to the Seagull, right now. So very like that character in the old folk story that was her name’s-sake…)

    “You have facilities to do that, standard interfaces?” Businesslike, now.

    “How do you think we got that antimatter charge into the bottle in the first place, Factor? A sweet and beseeching nature?” Mildly chiding.

    “Very well, let me communicate with your ship within the next… half a standard hour, regarding when we can have a small bottle lightered out to your ship… with your highest-priority chandlering goods on board too.”

    Merydydd smiled, sunnily. “That sounds excellent. We can fix the prices of goods as discussed, exchange manifest data, then dispatch your lighter. And we can be out of your system and out of your hair, soonest. Excellent, sir, and indeed close to… optimal.” And smiled still yet more brightly and openly; as if her house / clan / clade association had not been to Miach The Healer but rather to Grainne The Sunny, all along.

  16. Shelly Grimwald leaned across the table so she could speak low enough not to carry to other ears, but Lucius Belfontaine could still hear over the hubbub of the moonbase’s dining commons. “So what exactly is going on over there?”

    “All we have right now is intercepts of their comms with their mission control at Star City, but the symptoms they’re reporting sound like they’ve got an ammonia leak.”

    “Ammonia?” Shelly considered that news. “How could it get that bad?”

    “Apparently they’re using ammonia loops for refrigeration, and for general cooling. It has its shortcomings for those applications, but Freon, ammonia is easily replenished with available resources.”

    Shelly tried to remember how far the Soviet moonbase was from Tranquillity East. “And lunar sunrise will be coming for them in two days. If they don’t have a working air conditioning system, it doesn’t matter which side is in control at Baikonur. Semyonovists or Lanakhidzists, there’s simply not enough time to get any help up here from Earth.”

    “Exactly.” Lucius flashed that maddening smile of his, by turns warm or condescending. “Which means that if they can’t fix their problem themselves, their only hope is us.”

    “And we owe them after they saved the Aphrodite astronauts.” Shelly had been finishing high school a decade ago, when the Manned Venus Flyby had gone bad just as it was coming into the home stretch, but she still remembered the edge-of-one’s-seat tension of those days, of Dad including a good word for Colonel Roosa and his crew in mealtime prayers — and he wasn’t even a space buff.

  17. Igor slapped the blueprints onto the slab and unrolled them. “See, master!” he gloated. “This time it will work!”
    “Hmm,” said Dr. Frankenstein, studying them. “I don’t quite follow…”
    “We give the creature an infant’s brain: no homicidal urges, no lurking desires for revenge; all innocence.”
    “I see. It might work.” The mad scientist turned over the top blueprint and looked at the one underneath. “What’s this? Another creature — three times the size of the first?”
    “Well…” began Igor.
    “Go on.”
    “It will need a mommy.”
    Dr. Frankenstein sighed. “I don’t think this is the optimal approach, Igor.”

  18. “Is everyone here? Good. Now we can secularize the door.”

    “Don’t you mean secure the door?”

    “Heaven’s no! The local constabulary finds locked doors suspicious, so let them be able to try it and open it. But the rumors are about a religious meeting.”

    “So why the cross on the door?”

    “Planned earlier than the rumor. Thus we secularize it. The e-paper/e-ink setup on the door is no longer a cross, but a Martini glass.”


    “Prohibition is long past… and we DO have a liquor license. Don’t ask how, but we do. By the way the the new drink Chiron has mixed up is the ‘Down’. The optimal drinking experience is to take it quite slow. Do NOT drink it fast. It’s decidedly a sipper.”

    “Shut up and sip Down?”

    “Smartest thing you’ve set so far.”

  19. Bear with me.
    Kamala Harris resigns.
    Hillary Clinton becomes VP.
    Joe Biden resigns for health reasons.
    Hillary becomes POTUS.
    Hillary is a realist, reins in the far left.
    The Clinton machine is in charge for the 2024 election.
    I’m just sayin’.
    It’s less than optimal.

  20. The priest finished chanting, the choir silent. His new bride, despite not having any languages in common, was young, comely and seemed spirited. And her dowry included 200 pikemen, already incorporated into his own retainers. The Baron mused that this was the best marriage that he could have ever bought.

Comments are closed.