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 DAN MELSON: Moving The Pieces
The die is cast.
The demons have mobilized to attack the Empire, and Joe and Asina are behind enemy lines.
For 150 Earth years, Joe and Asina have been clandestinely helping the humans of Calmena prepare for the coming war. In that time, the Calmenans have gone from barely Iron Age to the brink of space. From scattered starveling communities hanging on by their fingernails to proud independent city-states. But now the demons are pushing enough troops through the Seven Gates of Calmena to wipe out the human cities in passing.
Joe and Asina will not allow that to happen.
FROM CHRISTOPHER DIGRAZIA: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: A Theda Bara Mystery
THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF
Hollywood, 1917. Silent movie queen Theda Bara is filming her epic, Cleopatra – “the one they’ll remember me for.” But when a studio extra turns up dead in a PR stunt gone wrong, Bara finds herself the center of intrigue, from a friend from the past who isn’t at all what she seems, to an Egyptian cult that wants her dead. With stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Erich von Stroheim along for the ride, Bara and her loyal friend, makeup artist Toby Swanson, have to find out who is telling the truth, who is lying and whether it spells the end of Cleopatra. . .or of Hollywood itself.
FROM DAVE FREER: Save the Dragons.
Blundering through a series of fantasy world populated by dragons, dwarves, vampires, werewolves and worse, our hero, an inept alchemy student finds himself caught up in a heroic quest to save the dragons from tooth-hunting poachers, that threaten not only Zoar, a world of swamps and dragons, but all the worlds. He’s not built to be a hero, but someone has to do it.
FROM A. PALMER: Troubled Poems for Difficult People
This is a book of troubled poems
For difficult people.
The first of those people is me
I write them to myself
I write them about myself
But I don’t write them for myself.
If reading them helps, I am grateful.
“Troubled Poems for Difficult People” is a body of just under a hundred poems about philosophy, pain, and humility before God from a Christian perspective. It concludes with “Book of Weekdays,” intended as a meditation on mornings and evenings for each day of the week.
FROM M.C.A. HOGARTH: In the Court of Dragons: A Peltedverse Collection in the Fallowtide Period
Loose ends don’t tie themselves
Sweeping cultural changes sound very good on paper. But in the lives of normal people, even the ones who stand to benefit, those changes can be a challenge… one they might not have even asked for. In the Court of Dragons collects eight stories of the period after the events of the Chatcaavan War, focusing on changes both personal and widespread: old favorites return and new characters make their debut as we follow the effects of the war on everything from the imperial harem to the nascent Eldritch newsroom. What are the Faulfenza up to in the capital? What was the fate of the palace castrates? And who taught an Eldritch to… bungee jump?
This reader-commissioned collection includes stories written by the author at reader request. Come home to the Alliance with these tales of hope, renewal, comedy, and romance.
FROM ANNA FERREIRA: A Summer in Scarborough: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel.
Miss Anne de Bourgh was delighted to receive a letter from her cousin Georgiana, explaining that she would be spending the summer by the sea, and requesting the pleasure of her company. A glorious few months of balls, shopping, and walking by the sea awaits- a wonderfully diverting holiday for Anne, who has rarely left Rosings before.
But Anne is a de Bourgh, and life is never simple. Before long, she finds herself caught between the attentions of two very different men, and must choose if she will follow her heart or disoblige her family. One must be disappointed, and Anne has never been very practiced in the art of disobedience. Must she give up everything she has ever known, will she find the strength to search for happiness elsewhere?
FROM MACKEY CHANDLER: Another Word for Magic
Fleeing the Solar System after an attack by North America, the three Home habitats now have to seek their own fortunes. Heather, Sovereign of Central on the Moon saved them but now has to make certain the USNA can never threaten them again.
What was a tentative research partnership with the Red Tree Clan of Derfhome becomes a full alliance of equals. Lee finds she has to grasp authority and act for the Red Tree Mothers and herself to repossess the planet Providence she and Gordon discovered. The Claims Commission on Earth has collapsed without the leadership of North America. Explorers like her are cut off from their payments and the colonists on Providence are left in the lurch too. To do that she needs these powerful new allies.
FROM MAX BRAND, WITH INTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: The Smoking Land (Annotated): A Pulp Super-Science Lost Civilization Adventure!
When rancher Smoky Bill’s closest friend, scientist Cleveland Darrell, disappeared in that lab explosion, everybody figured Darrell had died, his body vaporized. But when Bill finds out about a “fake” artifact that includes a fragment of Darrell’s writing, Bill knows he must follow his friend, and possibly rescue him. For that fragment of writing mentioned going north of Alaska, to “The Smoking Land”.
FROM DAVE FREER: Cloud-Castles.
Augustus Thistlewood was an idealist. The youngest scion of a vastly wealthy family, he’d come to help the poor, deprived people of the strange world of Sybill III – a gas-dwarf world with no habitable land. The human population, descendants of a crashed convict transport, lived on a tiny, crowded, alien antigravity plate they called ‘the Big Syd’, drifting through the clouds in the upper atmosphere. It was a few square miles of squalor, in a vast sea of sky, ruled by the degenerate relics of two alien empires.
The problem was that the people of the Big Syd wanted to help themselves, first – to his money, his liberty, and even his life.
Only two things stood between them and this: the first was his ‘assistant’ Briz, – a ragged urchin he’d picked up as a guide. She reckoned if anyone was going to steal from Augustus, it was going to be her, even if she had to keep him alive so that she could do it. And the second thing was Augustus himself. He didn’t know what ‘giving up’ meant. Actually, he didn’t know what most things meant. As a naïve, wide-eyed innocent blundering through the cess-pit of Sybill III, he was going to have to learn, mostly the hard way. Some of that learning was going to be out in the strange society that existed on the endless drifting clumps of airborne vegetation, and the Cloud-Castles of the aliens who hunted across them. Most of it was learning that philanthropy wasn’t quite what they’d taught him in college.
FROM PAM UPHOFF: Bad Tolz
Bad Tölz. A World named for a city on the Home World . . . Barely controlled by the “True Men” Mentalists of the Drei Mächte Bündnis. An unstable alliance of aggressive Worlds . . . on the brink of civil war.
Fynn, a bastard half-breed adopted by a friend of his dead father, was, despite his irregular antecedents, an ordinary college student. Then the increasing problems in in the Alliance led his new father to pull him into a secret society sworn to protect an Alliance that is crumbling.
When Bad Tölz is invaded, Fynn is all that stands between his World and brutal subjugation.
FROM CHRISTOPHER WOERNER: Convoy
Current events, essays on history and leftism. They’ve been at this for a very long time and now they’ve reached the highest point. I’m doing what I can but that pretty much comes down to analyzing and writing. One day I hope to figure out the ‘why they do it’ because it seems so anti-human. That’s why we have such misery and suffering.
This book mostly covers the Freedom Convoy and whatever the hell is going on with Russia and Ukraine. It comes off more like a sham than an actual war.
*Some of you tell me you couldn’t possibly publish your own books in indie. I just want to point out my friend’s cat, Henry, is a published author. Okay, so, sure, these are blank books/notebooks. But that is an accurate representation of Henry’s thoughts, so… (He’s almost as daft as Havey.) So, be brave. Be like Henry. (But with more words.) – SAH*
FROM MR. HENRY HAYDEN, ESQ.: Notebook: Pay Attention to MEEEE (So Sez Henry)
Super cute A5 notebook chronicling Henry’s DEMAND for attention. This warm design is perfect for the cat lover in your life.
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: CALLOUS
23 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike”
“Why are you helping me. You’re a rogue?”
“My dear young lady. I am a rogue but I’m not callous. Besides, I really hate the person who did you wrong and I really like you.”
(I ran into the first two as an adorable clip; husband says the comic is well worth reading.)
“She’s egregiously ambitious, barbarous, callous, devious, and ferocious. And those are her good properties.”
“Promiscuity, have you seen your brother?”
“He’s in the greenhouse, Dad!”
I was a guest in this house, and it seemed rude to bring it up, but I had to ask. “So about the names of your children–”
“Oh, yeah, I get that alot,” the father replied.
“It just seems a bit cruel.”
“Does it? Have you ever met a Faith who was faithful or a Chastity who was chaste?”
I thought a moment. “Well, no, but–”
“Dad! Betrayer won’t share the X-box!”
It isn’t atrocities that get tyrants toppled. It’s the little callous touches afterwards.
Take Laxidarg of Zunchwer. If you have to publicly kill an innocent little girl, that’s one thing; everyone miscalculates sometimes, and the populace can admire truly unswerving zeal, however ruthless.
But billing her mother for the ammunition…
It may seem callous to say, but the “Convoy” cover is hurting my eyes.
She’d had enough. One more sarcastic remark out of his mouth and she’d bludgeon him. It might be seen as callous and vindictive, but she didn’t care. He deserved to be punished. He must have seen the storm brewing inside her, because he took a step back and walked away.
“Look,” said Nigel. He cast a spell. Julian’s hand on Ava’s arm pulled her back with no gentleness, and Nigel smiled at the end. “Look, I must tell the truth now. I assure you I want nothing wrong.”
Phoebe’s mouth twitched. He turned to Ava.
“I don’t think we’ve met?”
He shrugged. If she thought he was so weak as to yield easily, she would not want to deal with him either. He did not want to appear at the mercy of his heart.
“I do not fear being called a coward, if that is what you ask.”
How intriguing. Other fairies might have been able to watch and not care, but she thought she needed to see what this girl meant to do. And learn why.
She stood. She should move with due haste. The girl trudged steadily onward. The best place was probably among the boulders.
I have seen too much and now have a callous disregard for the feelings of marxists, socialists, communists, progressives, and the rest of the wokerati.
I do not wish for them to rot in hell, die in a fire, or go carnally know themselves in anatomically painful ways.
I wish them to actually wake up and find Christ.l; but I no longer have time or patience to listen to their mentally-ill rantings, ravings, screeds, or shrieks.
May you all use this “Passion Week” to find out the Truth.
We all like Science Fiction; but the eternal class struggle scam doesn’t do anyone any good. And adults are supposed to know the difference between reality and fantasy. YMMV.
Ellyn walked toward the door without a flicker of her eyes, and Hesperia as well. Both as if they had not spent weeks fighting next to the rest.
And that, thought Rosine, is why we were a company and not a band. She glanced at Bellangere, who did not move.
The clock chimed midnight. “It’s time to show you the secret of Chiltonbury Castle and your family, Lord Mordaunt,” I said. The young Earl’s ruddy complexion paled.
I lit a lantern and we descended to the wine cellar. I took the ancient, massive key from my pocket, slipped behind a wine bin, and opened the iron door. Beyond lay the stairs.
The steps were wet and slippery and the air foul. The lantern dimmed as we went down. Under my breathe I counted the steps.
“…, 98, 99, 100. Here we are, your lordship.” Another iron door; another key. The unoiled hinges screeched as I forced the door open. From the dark chamber beyond, carved into the living rock, came a feeble moaning.
I lifted the lantern and thrust it in. “Look,” I said. Lord Mordaunt went past me and over the threshold. A moment later he gasped and staggered back; I caught him before he fell.
“What in God’s name was that?” he asked hoarsely.
“Your great-great-great-grandmother,” I told him. “A witch, a worshipper of the Devil. She cozened him into granting her eternal life; but forgot to ask for eternal youth.”
As we ascended to the world of blessed light, I could tell that my companion was trembling with suppressed emotion. When we reached his study, Lord Mordaunt burst into a roar of uncontrollable laughter. “Good lord, Smithers, what a sell!” he exclaimed when he could finally speak.
I was too taken aback to reply.
“Did my father know of this?” he demanded.
“Every Earl of Mordaunt has been shown the secret,” I replied sternly. “I performed that service for your father, and his before him. I had not thought that you should be so callous.”
“Poor old Pa,” said Lord Mordaunt, and laughed again. “Opening the Castle to trippers at a shilling a head and not realizing he was sitting on top of a gold mine! Why, just the drama of going down there must be worth…ten times as much. And when I get them there and tell them they can learn and see the secret for another pound—! I shall double your wages, Smithers. This is the best thing I’ve heard in my life.”
A Lost Race novel reprint? You have my full attention. There’s quite a bit of fiction from that era that could stand to be reintroduced to a modern audience.
“Shouldn’t we, you know, take a break?”
The older man wielded the long handled shovel in a steady rhythm. Stab the blade into the soil. Loosen. Pitch it to the side. The tool was old, worn down, but well kept. The haft was gray with age, but tough as iron, barely flexing as each load of dirt was cast aside.
“We’ve been at this for hours.”
“When are we going to be done?”
“When we’re done.”
Black flies buzzed in the background. The young woman lay on her back, staring up at the clouds. Sweat stained both their clothes. Other than the flies there was little sound to be heard over the crunch of the shovel.
“Are you just going to keep digging that trench all day long?”
“So when are we stopping?”
“When it’s long enough.”
The young woman smacked a hand to her face and dragged it down slowly.
“Really? That’s all you’re going to say?”
“So how long a trench do we need?”
“Two hundred eighty feet.”
“Two hundred- you’ve got to be joking.”
The older man stopped digging. Then he climbed out of the long trench that he and the young woman had dug and stepped precisely eight feet away. He began to dig again.
“And we have to do this now? Today? Don’t tell me-”
“Wolves. Atticaracka. Carrion feeders. Ghouls. Necromancers.”
The younger woman sat up quickly, her damp auburn curls bouncing at the abrupt action.
“Where? I thought-”
“Not here. Yet.”
“So the trench is for…”
She trailed off. Her expression changed from blank confusion to horrified understanding.
“You’re just going to bury them in a slit trench?”
“Burn them first.”
“In the trench?”
The shovel fell from suddenly limp fingers. The young woman put her hands to her mouth in shock. Stinging blisters brought her attention back to the situation at hand.
“Don’t you even care who these people were?”
“But you’re going to bury them- after burning them first.”
The sound of digging paused for a moment. She looked over to see if her words had finally gotten through to him. The only thing she saw was a head sized stone being tossed aside. The shovel was back in action barely a moment later.
“Carrion feeders don’t like charred bones.”
“So you’re not trying to attack wolves, then.”
“But the bones would draw-”
She picked up her shovel gingerly. The large pile of corpses stank, but her nose had grown numb to the smell hours ago.
“So you’re hunting ghouls, then?”
“But you only have the… bones as bait for ghouls, then?”
She didn’t want to think about the night before. What she’d seen while she hid. But her arms felt like lead weights and her back twinged with warning whenever she moved too quickly.
“So why would the Necromancer be coming here, then? Surely he w-wants the bones, too?”
The slightly evasive answer from the infuriatingly laconic old man made her wonder.
“Then why is the Necromancer you’re hunting really going to come here, then?”
She gasped. Before she could utter a word though, he continued.
Her bottom lip trembled. She hadn’t thought there were any tears left, not after the night before and the sweat of the day. But she refused to cry again. She stomped over to the man as he turned another shovel full of soil out onto the grass. The trench had already grown nearly hip deep.
“You mean I’m the bait?!”
The old man did not deny it. Or stop digging.
“I could run away, you know!”
“I really will!”
The old man frowned slightly.
“Have to track the necromancer down after he sacrifices you, then.”
Another shovel full of dirt landed on the grass.
“How can you even do that? Have you no shame?”
The wet sound of meat being chopped pulsed like a metronome beneath howls of anger and frustration.
“How? How could a- a mindless brute of a man like you destroy all my carefully laid plans? You’re working for the Organization, aren’t you? You’re one of their pawns!”
The greasy-haired man was tall, thin, and tied to a charred stump. The wet smacks were the sound of a shovel carving deep into a massive mound of slightly glowing green flesh. Moments before, it had been a terrifying undead giant with spikes of bone sticking out all over. It had been the latest and greatest creation of the greasy man now tied to a stump.
That was before one old man and a skinny young girl had somehow brought it down and broken free the animating spirit that had been bound to the flesh. Now it was being systematically dismantled by a man with a shovel.
“Can we kill him yet?”
The young woman threw her hands up in apparent disgust. She walked over to the bound man and spat in his face.
“Can we at least torture him a little?”
“Not worth it.”
“Necromancer’s bounty is worth an even quarter million intact.”
The old man glanced at the young woman.
“Well, mentally intact. Torture tends to affect the mind a bit. He won’t like where he’s going anyway.”
The man on the stump paled at that.
The young woman turned away, a thinking expression on her face.
“That’s a lot of money.”
“Is some of that going to be my money? I did help. I was your bait, even. Couldn’t have done the job without me!”
“Some. And it would have been harder, without you.”
“So how much is easier and less annoying worth, then?”
“About twenty percent.”
Her face reddened.
“Is this because of the big zombie you somehow took down all on your own- with just a shovel, I might add- even though it was five times bigger than you? And just how did you manage to do that, anyway?”
“You really don’t like him, do you?”
“No. I think he is a callous, unfeeling ass who the world would be better without.”
“So, what does his lack of cattle have to do with your opinion of him?”
Bad One! Bad One! [Evil Grin]
“But one wasn’t enough for them — tens of thousands dead or soon to die, and when that great nation still wouldn’t bend down and kiss their… terms of total and abject subjugation, they did it again. In callous and utter disgregard for all the further thousands of human lives they were about to maim, ruin, or tragically end.” The speaker’s words rang out over this little corner of the quad, thanks to an antique but adequate little amplifier, almost certainly courtesy of the Student Activity slush-fund. “And in the end, this so-called great nation stopped bombing — only when it finally ran out of bombs.” The shouts, or mumbles, of agreement were scattered but often fervent. The signs had mostly the old “peace symbol” that only a few still remembered was simply a mashup of semaphore code N and D, for Nuclear Disarmament.
Ashley Chilton couldn’t help, literally, shaking her head at the massive naivete involved. (And once again being fall-down-on-your-knees happy she had followed her intuitive prompting and got out of historical academia, fast, fast, and faster, not too long ago.) “‘Callous and utter disregard’ for everything non-nuclear about World War II, like what that invasion of the Japanese homeland would really have been like. But Carl Jung said it, once, too; something pretty close to ‘sentimentality and cruelty are close allied’ if I have it right.” The “crowd” here was thin enough to make that old cliche about “alone in a crowd” nearly just true. And she smiled at her companion, in the particular way they’d found that invited him to say more without doing so out loud. She still wasn’t sure how much she “really believed” his stories — but even as a semi-agnostic, they did touch her heart and mind in a way that anything besides the truth rarely ever managed… so Giancarlo “Jon” Garva was worth the attention, just for that alone. Even if there was a real possibility he was quite floridly, delusionally bat-nuts crazy in all of it.
He smiled that particular kind of knowing smile, again familiarly to both after the months they’d known each other here. “Not just the invasions, in all the lines where the Americans and the rest went on and finished the whole job the “conventional” way — the run-up to the invasions. Remember how effective that fire-bombing campaign was? Take atomic weapons and any version of Hirohito’s surrender speech off the table, and city-firestorm attacks are one of your best remaining options. “‘Operation Flameout’ did enough damage in one night to destroy over half of the Empire’s remaining factories and strategic buildings — though I’ll spare you any of the casualty figures from either side of that one.” He shook his head. “Of course there are worse things, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not in the top-twenty list. Probably the absolute worst, though, is the one where Hirohito got shot dead one of by his guards, after the last bomb. Given universal cover-your-ass dynamics, especially in a warlord-ist distortion of Japanese society — of course they lied, and said it was the Americans. Which just about broke the ‘off switch’ for stopping the war on the Japanese side, no matter what anyone ‘in power’ said or did after.”
And Ashley looked at him, knowing she probably should not, and saw once more that thousand-yard-stare vacancy in his eyes. “That’s probably one of the most utterly Golf Charlie Foxtrot situations I’ve ever seen, in all the centuries and all the lines. Decades of — rabid, no-quarter, endless fighting no matter what. In the end they simply quarantined most of the home islands and kept on bombing their tech into oblivion.” And then he shrugged his shoulders, in that semi-insouciant almost-French way he had sometimes. “But what do I know, Ashley, eh? Just a mongrel Italian-Slav from a line so variant and far from yours it’d take five minutes just to list all the Turning Points between.”
And, still looking at him, spoke from her heart in a way she’d held back from doing, so uncountable many times before. “So how do you stand it, all of it together, Gian? Even the history I know is so full of… such utter evil, such concrete Hell-on-Earth.” Her voice was soft, but strong.
And Giancarlo Garva smiled… a soft, slow, lovely smile of his own. “But you forget all the rest, dear Ashley. All the bravery, all the passion in all the ones that fought back, or never even gave in to the evil in the first place. That had no idea whether they were dying for something or not — but have monuments in town squares, on the Moon and planets, out in the deeps between the stars, because the ones who came after did know, and knew quite well enough to be grateful.
“That’s what keeps someone like me sane, sensible, able to go on. It’s not just the Charlie Foxtrot battles, or wars, or timelines. It’s what people really do, so much more of the time. ‘What if’ — is not often such a sad question to have answered, really, in the biggest of big pictures. We’re not, in the end, such a bad bunch as a species after all.” And he smiled, that special and rare and other smile, once again.
The world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. Wasn’t that one of the Irish Romantic poets, more or less? Not just weeping, though… even if it had taken such a lovable madman to make her see it, and truly and genuinely feel it, now at the very last.
Two, alone in a crowd, of mostly idiots anyway. She, separated from the person in front of her by two feet, and some further immeasurable distance too.
And yet… at that moment she felt more in tune with all of humanity, in all its many forks and branches, than she’d ever been able to remember.
(another installment in the saga of the Soviet moonbase in the Grissom timeline)
“So what do you think?”
Admiral Chaffee steepled his fingers and looked over them. “If NASA gives me the go-ahead, I’ll do the interview, but I don’t know how useful it’ll be. It’s been ten years since I worked with Leonid Gruzinsky, and we’ve drifted apart in that time.”
Shelly expected that was an understatement. Even if maintaining a professional acquaintance with a Soviet aviation officer during the era of detente hadn’t been regarded as a security risk, all that flexibility went out the window after the USSR invaded Afghanistan. The past five years of reports of atrocities had pretty well cemented the judgment, and even a flag officer couldn’t ignore the pressure to sever such ties.
Hard as it must’ve been to know that the man he’d once worked alongside in the greatest international space rescue effort had been involved in the ugly war in Afghanistan, it must’ve been even worse to see what the war had done to him. Although the admiral had burn scars on his face from his passage through the flames, they weren’t disfiguring. Gruzinsky, who had by all accounts been a handsome man when he assisted Tiger Team in getting the Aphrodite astronauts back to Earth, hadn’t just lost an eye to that conflict. It looked like the whole left side of his face had been ripped apart and put back together as best as Soviet military surgeons could manage.
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