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A couple of years ago, I woke up with a very silly vignette of a story-ling in my mind. This got written as “The Rain of Frog.” After that, whenever I was depressed, or just tired of the news, I’d write another very very odd story, and put it up.
I haven’t done that in some years, and while you guys clamored for me to publish it as a book, it’s really short, and I let it drag. It’s sat, completely edited, on my desk for …. five months, I think.
I finally managed to get it published, and it’s up now. I haven’t checked if the paper version is available, and I promise to make it available on other stores, as well this week.
For now it is only on Amazon. The cover is by the very nice and talented Caitlin Walsh, who has hung out among you reprobates for many years, and who let me beg/push/annoy her into making me a cover.
FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Odd Magics: Tales for the Lost
This is a very strange collection of fairytales, recast for modern life. In it the prize isn’t always to the fairest, the
magic is rarely to the strongest.
But lonely introverts do find love, women who never gave it a thought find themselves at the center of romance.
Doing what’s right will see you to the happily ever after.
And sometimes you have to kiss an accountant to find your prince.
FROM M. C. A. HOGARTH: Dragon’s Fealty
When he attended their wedding in summer, Lisinthir Lauvet Imthereli, Third of the Chatcaavan Empire, promised his cousins they would see him in spring for the birth of his heirs on Eldritch soil, and to attend the birth of theirs. He returns to a world and a people reviving from their long winter: a new navy; the rescue of their suffering acreage; and the burgeoning of a tenant culture revolving around the new communications and travel networks.
But a prince and a culture aren’t the only things making their return. When a mistake made in the summer season comes back to haunt them, Lisinthir will discover himself torn between warring allegiances… and someone else will have to pay the price. Will their enemies succeed in blighting the promise of the season?
FROM SABRINA CHASE: One Blood
(Sequel to The Scent of Metal)
After freeing the AI ship Argo from the ice of Pluto, Lea and her team race for the prison planet Beredul to free the Wiyert trapped there. The planet conceals vital information about the aliens that enslaved the Wiyert–and now threaten Earth. Little time remains to protect humanity. A handful of escaped Wiyert, desperate to rescue their people, offer to guide the team. With their help, Argo’s formidable power, and Lea’s unique mental abilities, they hope to penetrate Beredul’s defenses without detection.
They must trek on foot for days across the war-torn surface, pursued by gigantic, nightmare predators to reach the nearest Wiyert stronghold.
And then the hard part begins. Everything on Beredul conceals a dark past…even the terrifying beasts that roam the planet. Disturbing intelligence reaches the alien civilization, triggering an investigation.
The Wiyert have learned caution through harsh experience, and something about the humans from Earth arouses their suspicions. They know too much—and do impossible things. Can the Wiyert trust them with their lives?
Trust always comes at a price, and that price may be too high to pay…
FROM TONY ANDARIAN: The Return of the Horde: Dawn of Chaos 2 – Hell Gate, Part I (Sanctum of the Archmage)
A new constitution prepares Carlissa for an era of enlightenment. The harsh traditions of the past fade, and a promise of freedom stirs the air.
In the space of one terrifying day, that promise is shattered in a bloodbath of fire and magic.
Thousands of years ago, an epic battle was fought between good and evil. The demon lords had opened a door to the realms of hell itself, and their horde threatened to overrun the earth. But the Kalarans, led by the hero Calindra, destroyed their hellgate and drove them from the world.
The Great War has long since been lost to myth and legend. The Church struggles for relevance as the people forget their covenant with the gods. A renaissance of freedom and learning stirs the air in the modern age of Carlissa, led by the royal family, and the wisdom of the Archmage.
All of that comes to an end when a dome of shimmering magic appears in the capital city.
The people fight desperately to survive the chaos that follows, and wonder bitterly why the gods seem to have abandoned them. Their only hope lies with the magic of the Archmage — and his, with a young princess who never wanted to rule. She must find the strength to set aside her bard’s calling and take up a battle against impossible odds, or surrender her land and people to the Black Magus and his demons.
In The Return of the Horde, the Demon Horde returns to Carlissa with the opening of the Hell Gate. Can the land’s heroes survive its sudden and brutal onslaught? And even if they do, can they stop it from conquering the world?Sanctum of the Archmage, Volume One – Dawn of Chaos
Dawn of Chaos, Book 2: Hell Gate
Hell Gate, Part I – The Return of the Horde
Note: An earlier version of this book appeared as part of the novel Dawn of Chaos, published briefly on Amazon in 2017. That book has now been re-written and expanded into a series of six novella-length installments.
FROM FRANK J. FLEMING: Hellbender
Doug wasn’t sure whether he should trust Satan.
The red flag was that he said he was Satan. But the deal was good: Listen to Satan’s story in exchange for some donuts. And Doug only half-fulfilled his part of the bargain.
But maybe he should have listened better, because during his friend Bryce’s next scheme (theft with light to moderate treason—the usual), Doug and the rest of his friends—Lulu (the fun one) and Charlene (the not fun one)—end up with a powerful artifact, a small metal cube with world-ending power that Lulu decorated with bunnies. And now everyone wants the bunny cube, which means Doug, Bryce, Lulu, and Charlene are being pursued by an insane supermodel general, an army of sadists, a vast criminal organization, a smaller, more-in-startup-mode criminal organization, and an unstoppable killing machine—the worst kind of killing machine.
Doug and his friends may be a bunch of losers who aren’t particularly smart or good at anything, but they have one thing going for them: a really cool name for their mercenary group. And now it’s up to Hellbender to save the world—well, what’s left of it. It’s pretty ruined and war-torn already. But, you know, they live there, so they kind of need it.
It’s a mess, but that’s what you get for listening to Satan. Or half-listening.
BY ED LACY, WITH FOREWORD BY D. JASON FLEMING: Blonde Bait (Annotated): A hard-boiled noir thriller
Mickey Whalen lived on his boat and bummed around the Caribbean all by himself, until he found a woman alone, on a sandbar, with a suitcase full of money. He fell for her, hard, even as he was trying to figure out who, or what, the hell she was running from!
FROM ALMA BOYKIN: Hairballs (A Cat Among Dragons Story)
“Gee, Rada, what could go wrong?” Plenty, as it turns out.
Join Rada, Yori, and other Adamantine Division Scouts as they rediscover why bars are not the best place to find inspiration.
A Cat Among Dragons short story, 4500 words.
FROM MICHAEL HOOTEN: A Bard Without a Star.
Gwydion ap Don is a talented harpist, and a known rogue. His uncle Math sees something more: a young man with the magical talent to succeed him as Lord Gwynedd. But to learn magic, Gwydion will also have to learn self-control, duty, honor, and the martial arts. He’s not sure which will be the hardest.
And when his training in magic begins in earnest, how he sees the whole world will change, as well as how he sees himself. He will have to battle bandits, cattle raiders, and armies in his efforts to learn how to be a leader. But mostly he will have to learn how to control himself, which is the one battle he is not sure he can win.
This volume contains the first three eBooks in the Bard Without a Star series: Wizard’s Heir, The Two Tanists, and The Bardic Academy.
FROM BLAKE SMITH: Lyddie Hartington: Galaxy Sleuth
Facing poverty after a childhood among the wealthy and powerful, Lyddie Hartington decamps to Ceres, a newly colonized planet on the edges of the galaxy. Armed only with a change of clothes, a letter of introduction to the directors of the Andromeda Company, and a blaster, she is determined to make her fortune.
But Ceres is nothing like Orion-14, and before she knows it, Lyddie is witness to a murder- a murder that goes to the heart of the Andromeda Company and puts her life in danger. With the help of her new friend, an entirely too handsome captain of the Galaxy Watch, she must discover the murderer and solve the mystery of her family’s downfall.
If she can survive long enough to do it.
FROM CELIA HAYES: Lone Star Glory: Continuing the Entertaining and Mostly If Not Always True Adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his Blood Brother Delaware Scout Toby … Republic of Texas
Time and place? The Republic of Texas, at mid-19th century
Who and what? Texas Ranger Jim Reade, and his Delaware blood brother, Toby Shaw – tasked with solving puzzles, finding the missing, guiding the clueless, and protecting the innocent!
“So,” Toby observed, an hour and a half later. “What have you seen, from this?”
The two of them stood, a few steps from a crude scarecrow cross-frame of poles, from which hung an extremely ragged linen shirt, formerly belonging to Elisha Reade – a shirt from which some small patches had been cut to mend items of a newer vintage. But there was enough of it remaining to serve, hanging from the cross-pole thrust through the sleeves, as a target for Jim’s trusty Paterson revolvers … A good few shots had been at close range. As close as the range in which Jon Knightley had exchanged – or claimed to have exchanged – revolver-fire with his wife.
“A curiosity which I had already suspected,” Jim replied. He was tired. His shoulders slumped, and his ears rang from the frequent report of his revolvers. “Jon Knightley murdered his wife – his latest wife…”
Lone Star Glory – continuing the adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his blood-brother Toby Shaw of the Delaware, in the Texas of legend!
FROM AMANDA S. GREEN: Night of the Wolf: A Nocturnal Lives Prequel
Mackenzie Santos has seen it all as a police detective–or so she thought. The last thing she wants after closing one of the worst cases of her career is to go out to celebrate her birthday. But she promised and maybe Jenny was right. Maybe having dinner and drinks with her best friend would help put the horror of the case behind her. Soon she will soon learn she should have listened to her gut. Nightmares do come true and monsters really do exist. And, on this night of the full moon, she is the prey.
This expanded story was originally released as Wolf’s Prey.
FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Fractional Ownership
When his company demands either a move to Mars or the loss of his job,
perpetual plaintiff Lewis Ostrow finds he can’t even get a ticket to
the world without lawyers.
A short story.
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.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Your writing prompt this week is: BROTHER
30 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike”
He ain’t heavy. He’s my brother!
You both apparently need a subscription to Carp Weekly…
I just knew someone would do this.
“I’m not really sure what I’m gonna do, Ray.”
Mick’s posture was one of total defeat, shoulders slumped. The tabletop in the diner booth took the weight of his arms, until replaced by the grilled cheese and soup bowl the waitress placed in front of him. “I was barely making rent as it was, and the layoff torched all my plans. Damn Covid.”
“Do you have any savings?”
“Enough to get through this month, that’s it.” Mick’s lips twisted in a bitter smile. “‘Brother, can you spare a dime?'”
Ray’s gaze became more intent. “How about a job? I know a guy who might need a new assistant. I wouldn’t bring this up if you didn’t need the money…”
There was just a shade of warning in his tone, enough to grab Mick’s drifting attention. “What’s this guy do?”
“Businessman. He needs stuff delivered. By a reliable guy.”
“Hell, I can be reliable if I have to. What happened to his last assistant?”
Ray didn’t respond.
“Just ask her already, Jon. She’s not going to ask you.” Ezak paused, obviously thinking. “Not unless someone suggests it-”
“I will poison your coffee.” The sandy-haired man stated with a shudder. “If you, or anybody else, harasses Essie about this nonsense. I will.”
“Just make sure that she didn’t think of it herself.” The big red-head grinned, absolutely unfazed by the threat. “She thinks your nonsense is cute.” There was a loud thud as Jon ran into the doorframe.
“… please tell me you didn’t already talk to her about this….” He clearly considered yanking his arm away from Ezak’s steadying hand, but practicality won out and he settled for rubbing the red spot the metalwork had left above his right eye.
“I’m her brother. I’d have to be even dumber than I already am to not notice, and after the first time I got hit in the head because somebody thought I was competition, I started paying attention.” Ezak shrugged, still grinning. “Cuuuuuuuute.”
“I may poison your coffee on general principal.”
It is Sunday. I am always here on Sunday during summer. The grass grows quickly. The tiny flower bed always needs weeding. I wouldn’t need to cut, except I put a smaller fence to keep their mowers out. They just run over the plaque. I don’t like the idea of a mower blade going over his name. It’s not respectful.
So all these years, I remain my brother’s keeper.
“You wanted to talk with me Commander Benson?”
“Yes Agent MacTaggert. We have reports of new Ultra-Supremist group being formed and it’s led by a Reality-Warper known to the Agency.”
Matthew MacTaggert asked “Why do I think I’m not going to like hearing who this Reality-Warper is?”
“Because you’re a smart young man. Yes, your twin brother Kevin is back”.
“What you thinking?”
“Shakespeare?” Sarah looked up from the Stoner-BREN’s sights. “What’s a Shakespeare?”
“Not what,” I answered, “Who. Old poet or play writer or something.”
“Very pre-war. Pre the first war. By a couple hundred years if I remember right.”
“Why you thinking ’bout him?” She returned her cheek to the Stoner-BREN’s stock and reacquired the sights.
“I read something he wrote once. ‘He who has no stomach for this fight, let him depart. We would not die in a man’s company who fears to die with us. He who sheds blood with me today shall be my brother.’ Seems appropriate.”
“You thinking we gonna shed a lot of blood today?”
“I think lot of people gonna die in the next few minutes.”
“Lot of Culties.”
“Hopefully. Lot of good people too.”
“That include us?”
“I hope not. But if it does…” I shrugged. “…gonna happen eventually. This seems as good a place as any. As good a cause as any.”
“Yeah,” she nodded behind the big LMG. “But you call me ‘brother,’ I’ll scalp you if we live through this.”
“Can I call you ‘sister?'”
“You already do. And I’m glad you do. Now look sharp. They’re comin’.”
I always hear Kenneth Branaugh declaiming that in my mind’s ear.
Someone walked down the road toward the station, and he noted who.
“We will have Nigel’s brother with us,” he added. “But he’s far more pleasant.”
“Oh.” After a moment, while he frankly searched for words, she said, “Are they much alike?”
“No. Leon’s sometimes mute for days on end.”
He folded his hands. “At that, if you did not have a sister, Felix, or you a brother, Lucie, there would be no problem.”
Both glared at him.
He shrugged as if a joke had fallen a little flat. “You could go to the library for research. It might help.”
“You would rather smile at the dog than speak to the humans. You sing to your horses the same way. You walk the same way. Your voices are the same. You even laugh the same.”
“I don’t know what your point is.”
“Where is your brother?”
“I have no brother.”
Lady Gillaine looked at the map with a smile and bright eyes. “I could send word to court that it’s for your parents and brothers, they would not object to that.”
Rosaleen looked back. She would pray for the village and for the prince who was supposed to rescue her.
Marian raised a glass to them. “And thus I gain two new brothers in battle, ready to face the most dread of foes.” She shrugged. “As a poet would put it. They sagely prefer to stab them in the back, but that is why we have them in our companies.”
Except for In-Laws, the only Brother I have, is a sewing machine.
Got through the first 5 or so stories in your new book. Finally figured out what the stories reminded me of: the Fractured Fairytales cartoons from the early 1960’s.
For Odd Magics, I decided I need the paperback. It’s a keeper for sure.
“I can’t wait any longer, dear. I have to find your father. Look after your little brother and sister.”
Becky pulled a book off the shelf and began to read. She could imitate dialects flawlessly. They were on a raft. Drifting down the Mississippi. With Huck and Jim.
“You’ve a printer after all?” Jim asked
Ed replied, “No, well, not for long. Just testing to be sure it works, before I take it to the monastery.”
“Monastery? What would you have do with a monastery?”
“The printer is my brother the brother’s Brother.”
“Only you would have such!”
Nice selection today! Thanks. And I’m not EVEN going down the brother rathole… LOL
I just finished Odd Magics, and left a 5 star review. Sure got kind of dusty for a few of the stories…
No brother snippets. Not going there. Not today. /shrug
“You had brothers?” Bill asked.
“Yeah,”Harry answered, nodding. “Youngest son and all that. Otherwise I wouldn’t have met my wife.”
“What happened to them?”
Harry shrugged. “Died over a millenia ago, like any other person.”. He paused before continuing. “And don’t ask me how. I would have long since moved to the other side of the world when it happened.”
The atmosphere still smelled of ammonia, even after all the emergency procedures had been completed. Shevtushenko kept swearing that all the readings were within range, but noses and eyes said otherwise. And with Colonel Alekseev incapacitated, possibly in a coma, everyone was on edge, while projecting the appearance of calm, professional cosmonauts.
No one wants to admit how bad it is. Vasili Mishin looked around the remaining crew of the Soviet moonbase — four Slavs and one lone Georgian. Everyone knew that Yakov Tsiklauri was up here as a political officer, even if he brought plenty of technical certifications to the table.
Why couldn’t Tsiklauri have been the one who’d rushed in to close the valves when the ammonia line blew? Then they wouldn’t be sitting here trying to figure out whether suggesting a call for fraternal aid would be safe.
On Earth “fraternal aid” meant other Marxist-Leninist nations. But China was still struggling with their lashup mess of a space station in Earth orbit, and all the Warsaw Pact nations were totally dependent upon the Rodina for spacelift. Here on the Moon the only possible recipient of such a request was the Amerikanski moonbase on the Sea of Tranquillity. And nobody wanted to set Tsiklauri to fulminating about “capitalist running dogs” in the Soviet moonbase. Mishin wouldn’t be surprised if Tsiklauri would prefer that all seven of them died than the Amerikanski astronauts have any chance to see one or another secret.
“You shall be killed by a brother,” Madame Zink said to John Smite. “Your fate is sealed.”
Smite, while a fantasy writer, was no believer in such things. And yet he found himself avoiding his brothers, Tom and Joe.
One day John he was cleaning out a closet when his old portable fell from the top shelf. As he faded away from the fatal blow to the head, he saw the name on the typewriter:
Remember last Independence Day, when Elly fell asleep on my shoulder on the way home from the fireworks? I promised God, then, that I’d die in boiling oil sooner than let anyone hurt her.
And now I’m sending her to fight Martians single-handed.
Being a big brother is hard, sometimes.
I was just finishing my last interviews for the Heavy Breather rapist case, when Mom called. Her youngest son had just been arrested. I approached the Booking Sargant about his release. He said “Are you 100% sure he’s not the Heavy Breather?” I replied “He’s not Heavy, he’s my brother”.
Postscript: So on we go
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