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 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.
Okay, so I intend to figure out what went wrong with the spill chucking and de-typoing on this. I had several editors, and either I mixed up versions, and put up the wrong one, or I was so out of it when entering changes that I added to the typos. You’d think that’s impossible, but I’ve recently seen what I’ve done to Barbarella script over the move, so…
I repeat: If you’ve complained to me about the typos (and there have been more than 5 people who did so, can you send me a typo list? Under the form of “is” and “Should be” per line. Younger son is also on it, but he’s good but slow. I will also be doing a hard cover of this, and the artist has very kindly (and for free) sent me a new TPB cover. So if you intend to buy on paper, you might want to hold off a week or two while I figure this out. If you buy on kindle, it will automatically update when fixed. It was supposed to be one over the weekend, but … stuff happened. -SAH.
FROM BECKY R. JONES: Magic Abroad (Academic Magic Book 4)
Zoe O’Brien is very much looking forward to teaching summer school and tracking down fairy tales in Ireland. Her hopes for a quiet, academic summer are squashed when the dolphins tell her there’s something wrong in the Aran Islands, and her students are stalked by a… something before disappearing. There’s also the possibility that the slightly creepy guy at the train station is her father. So much for a quiet research-filled summer!
Now Zoe is in a race to find her students and help stop an invasion of Ireland by creatures out of myth and legend. The amount of magic in Ireland stuns Zoe. Are the ancient gods of Ireland returning to fight their enemies in the middle of her research? And what does the Morrígan want with Zoe?
*My husband recommends this series – SAH*
FROM A. W. GUERRA AND KELLY HOGAN: First Strike: Loudoun County
Retired Army Delta Force operator Luke Ellis, 17-year-old teen Annie Dedham and her 12-year-old brother Darren, along with young Loudoun County deputy sheriff Alec Holman, are in a race against time to prevent the destruction of humanity. To succeed, they need the help of a mysterious woman scientist. Only she can stop Armageddon from taking place. There’s a huge problem, though: Terrorists are rampaging through the small Loudoun County hamlet of Lucketts and they’re after the same scientist. What Ellis and his little band do over the next several hours will decide the fate of humankind.
FROM JERRY BOYD: Don’t Give Up the Shop (Bob and Nikki Book 24)
The band took some shore leave, and helped their friend in his shop. On a visit to the bots, Bob and Nikki had to rescue some folks. Andre found a girlfriend, and then rescued her, a knight in shining hull metal. Come watch the crew deal with what their shepherd sends them.
FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Relief Afar: A Martha’s Sons Short Story
Even on a lost colony world, secret enclaves have something to offer—but not when an insider sees a newcomer as the enemy.
Twenty-year-old Peter Dawe’s exile gets worse. Not only is he forbidden the lost colony’s city and his family’s freehold, but even his brother’s isolated farm no longer offers refuge. Of necessity, he heads north, away from humanity’s terraformed valley towards the hidden enclave where pioneers push back the forbidding flora and fauna of the planet’s native terrain. They call it Kentucky
Young volunteers from First Landing’s northern families work to terraform the plains beyond the mountains. They’ve known each other all their lives and spent the summer working together. Peter’s presence should be a welcome addition to the small group.
After what he did to protect his brother’s family, Peter has resolved not to fight again—at least not for a good long time. When another man seeks to test himself against Peter and Peter’s past violence, Peter faces a choice. Does he confront what he’s tried to leave behind, or does he show he understands the hard lessons life insists on teaching him?
Relief Afar offers another window into the lost colony world of Not What We Were Looking For. If you wonder what it’s like to build a new life on an unwelcoming planet, and if you want to see what lies in store next for this son of Martha, you’ll want to jump right into the newest tale.
Buy Relief Afar to transcend exile today!
BY ED LACY, WITH INTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: Room to Swing (Annotated): The Pulp Noir Classic
Black private eye Toussaint Moore knew a murder frame-up when he saw one, especially when it was hung neatly around his neck. Instead of dawdling around New York waiting for the NYPD to arrest him for a murder he didn’t commit, he followed the one lead he had: the victim’s hometown in Ohio. Only a stone’s throw north of Jim Crow Kentucky. If he can’t find who wanted that white man dead, and quick, all he’s going to have left is room to swing!
FROM WILLIAM STROOCK: The Great Nuclear War of 1975
The Great Nuclear War of 1975
In a Different 1975…
Superpower relations breakdown and a nuclear war all but annihilates the Soviet Union and devastates the United States.
100 million Americans are dead.
After Washington is destroyed, a smalltown judge delivers the oath of office to Vice President Rockefeller.
Surviving American forces on land, sea and in the air await orders from the new president.
Americans across the nation climb out of the rubble looking for a homeland that no longer exists.
In surviving capitals across the globe, governments ponder the implications of a world without the superpowers.
In Britain, a rump cabinet meets in the Cotswolds to plan a way forward without the United States.
Commonwealth Prime Ministers in Canberra, Auckland and Ottawa look to the UK for leadership.
In Buenos Ares, a weak government plots the takeover of the Malvines.
As radiation sweeps down from Siberia, the Chinese government faces unprecedented famine.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wonders how she will feed India.
In Rhode Island, one man will start a trek halfway across North America to reunite with his family.
William Stroock is the author of 15 novels including the World War 1990 alternate history series.
FROM TONY ANDARIAN: The Ring of the Killravens: Dawn of Chaos 2 – Hell Gate, Part II (Sanctum of the Archmage Book 3)
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.
In The Ring of the Killravens, the survivors of the Horde’s first brutal assault regroup and consider their options. The royal family plans a desperate gamble to use the power of an ancient, hidden artifact against the demons.
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.
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 D. W. PATTERSON: Frozen Time: Time Series Book 3
Because of the Time Wars fought in the space around Earth the underlying system of local and non-local links that makes up spacetime had been destroyed. It was now impossible to use the spin-two drive to open those links and access orbit and the rest of the Solar System. Space access services had fallen back on the rocket ship as the primary way to reach orbit from Earth’s surface.
Now a strange spaceship had appeared above the spaceports scattered around the world and placed them in a seemingly impenetrable bubble of frozen time.
The Earth economy was thrown into turmoil with the loss of space access and a young boy, along with his friends and his amazing AI, were off on an adventure of a lifetime as they and others tried to understand what had happened.
“Frozen Time” is a novel set in the future (2700s) and is the thirty-third and final (for now) story in the Future Chron Universe. Hard Science Fiction – Old School.
The Future Chron Universe consists of nine novels, sixteen novellas, and eight short stories, almost eight-thousand words of science fiction and adventure. See the author’s website dwpattersonscifi.blogspot.com for more information including a recommended reading order.
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: Early
*Since I’m not early — obviously — with this post, I’d like to point out that a) Amazon associate’s site-stripe IS one of those rare things, an improvement that helps with doing these posts. I also wish to tear out my hair and hop around like a chimpanzee on speed because ARGH. No, seriously, argh. I was connected through the proxy, without checking, and site strip THOUGHT it was working but refused to. It required two full reboots to bring you this post. Not your fault. Mine a bit for not checking on the proxy before starting. But ARGH. – SAH*
26 thoughts on “Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike”
Minor nit: “FROM BECKY R. JONES: Magic Abroad (Academic Magic Book 4)” is actually Book 3, as the cover shows.
Oh, I will be purchasing it but my first thought was “Book 4, where is Book 3”. 😉
Yeah, Amazon messed it up and it comes with the link. I fixed it.
Still reading it (yes, I purchased it) and I’m glad to see that my guess when reading the prologue was correct. 😉
It’s Looking Good! 😀
And thank you!
“They say that the early bird catches the worm but this Dragon says that the early Wurm catches the Knight”. [Very Big Dragon Grin]
I never claimed to be a dinosaur buff. And I’m methodical; say “Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous” and I’ll start at the beginning and work forward. It’s not my fault the Tempo-Vator broke after the trip to the Early Triassic.
Anyway, what’s Jason’s beef? Five healthy dicynodont eggs must be worth something.
“Darling! You’re home early!”
“…you don’t get to call me that any more. Both of you, get out. Now.”
“Darling, I can explain…”
“You can explain to my lawyer. And remember that prenup you insisted I sign? It goes both ways, remember? I hope you like ramen.”
I intend to reexamine my paper version of Odd Magic after I am done with my capstone. Pinky swear.
Thank you. Son is going through it as well. He’s thorough but SLOW. Fast writer, slow proofer.
Nice selection of promos today! Yay!
“Ah, it’s Nigel.” Delia, brown-haired and watching him with narrow eyes, emerged from the train.
Charlotte-Rose popped out after, her blond hair streaming. “I didn’t expect to see you this early.”
Nigel spread his hands. “I’m not studying. It’s chance when my work coincides with any part of your studies.”
His mouth was dry. “It is not too early to begin planning,” he said. “If it is perilous, a prudent plan is necessary. Otherwise, failure is certain, and you will be left without what you so direly need.”
She smiled upon him. “Yes, we must plan. I will tell you.”
And she would learn early how to travel on roads in the mountains. She would need to know that, after the curse broke.
She smiled radiantly at the map, and then she began to trace the routes out of the mountains, since a prince had to come from another kingdom.
“Oh, darling. I wish I could, but it’s that time of the month again.”
“Aren’t you a little early?”
She gave him a very direct look that had him blushing redder than his strawberry-blonde hair.
“It’s better than my being late.”
Maybe her ancestors would have called it witchcraft. Maybe lycanthropy. All Leah knew was that it was far too early for the morning after the night before, no matter how much fun she’d had prowling the suburbs.
Leah smacked her mouth dubiously. She regretted it as soon as her higher mental functions checked in. “Yech. Harriet, TELL me you didn’t try to eat a mouse while I was out.”
The nondescript tabby perched on the end of the bed watched her unblinkingly. *Pickles. Snack cakes. Ice cream. Cheese.” The concepts didn’t really enter her mind as words, just vividly remembered tastes and textures.
Leah scrubbed both hands over her eyes. “And you didn’t brush my teeth.”
Teeth are your job.
“And sitting on the couch in my body eating snacks is apparently yours.”
I sit on the couch in my body too. But pickles snack cakes ice cream cheese don’t taste good with cat teeth. Harriet twisted improbably to groom the back of one foreleg.
It’s too early to tell; but I think America is being red-pilled by essentially bar of soap-sized suppositories. And it looks like NY and California might not be the same…
Her parents taught her to be super-industrious from a very early age. She was that cute little girl who sold bouquets of wildflowers to the tourists and lemonade to the neighbors. The tips were great! By age 14 she was gigging at the clubs and teaching music on the side.
Her parents taught her to be super-industrious from a very early age. She was that cute little girl who sold bouquets of wildflowers to the tourists and lemonade to the neighbors. The tips were great! By age 14 she was gigging at the clubs and teaching music on the side.
Is there something akin to the “dogs looking like their owners” thing that happens with a Solist and her Companions?
Seriously. I’m of the philosophy that “if you’re not early, you’re late,” and some prior planning lets you get away with being places early. Throw in the fact that the Lycée is really the only place Sayuri and I can spend time together that isn’t OCD-chaperoned, Deborah has a reason to leave because she has to go home to see her mother and help with her recovery, Aretta still feels a bit weird about how her life has become but likes to be with me, and let’s not get into the venomously polite cat-fight that is Sayuri and Belladona (all done where I can’t see it, but I know)…
So, we’re somehow competing in coming to school early because I’m getting there early for one reason, then usually Deborah, then Sayuri (if the car tires haven’t been slashed the night before), then Belladona (if a pound of sugar hasn’t been poured into some gas tanks), then Aretta.
I love my Companions, I truly do. But they’re family, and I can tell this because I love them dearly. Even when I want to break a riding crop on Sayuri and Bellandona’s ass. Perhaps especially so.
I was going to buy Odd Magics for my niece’s birthday (in November) but I will wait for the hardcover.
In the moonbase’s dining commons the Early Show was on the TV. Until now it had been your typical morning national news program, with weather reports and the opening-bell financial report — until the news anchor announced that they were switching to their correspondent in Moscow for a very special presentation.
News didn’t take long to get around the moonbase, and in minutes the astronauts were all crowding around the little screen. Leonid Gruzinsky had granted an interview. At least the US cameraman had been able to convince him to sit facing their correspondent, hiding the worst of his scars. Shelly could actually see the resemblance to the handsome young major in the photograph Admiral Chaffee had shown her.
Of greater interest, he wasn’t speaking through an interpreter. Although nobody would mistake his accent for that of a native speaker, Gruzinsky had an excellent mastery of colloquial American English, football metaphors and all. Amazing, given how much the ESA astronauts, even ones from the UK who were native speakers of English, struggled with the basics of downs and yardage, forward passes and fumbles.
“Thank you for coming, Assistant Director Ventner.” The slim, precisely dressed man in front of her rose and offered his hand in (what had always seemed) sincere appreciation. Of course, his nickname was and long had been ‘Spooks’… and being in his presence told you one reason why.
“And thank you for being available in turn, Researcher Dawkins.” That odd title of his was one more way to say something, without saying much. “It seems you want to see me about that latest batch of reactions tests..?”
“Yes. I’d like to discuss a few of the results for some of the agents you so graciously provided, especially Stefania Olshansky.” He whipped out two pieces of paper — which in this office, at least, usually meant ‘Here’s something to take with you and study later’ — instead of the ‘Watch some pictures flash across my screen, then try to remember them for later’ you too often got with others. “First a sort of general summary of the test results for all nineteen of the people we just tested — and then second a bit more detailed a summary for Agent Olshansky alone. Some of her results are, let me simply say for now, somewhat anomalous.”
Samantha Ventner could feel one eyebrow climbing. “I hope none of this is leading in any direction like any sort of probation, or Heaven forfend suspension, for her. Steffa is one of our best, she’s very fast at both assessment and action and even has a sort of ‘sixth sense’ for things of little note but great consequence.” The way the man speaks isn’t just kind of stilted, it’s also a littlecatching… but what could you possibly expect from a guy named Nigel Dawkins??
An expression flashed across Dawkins’ face, almost too fast to see, that might’ve been something like a wry smile. “Yes. That last point is even consistent with the results. But I assure you I’m not trying to amount to any kind of drag or drain on the Department’s resources, very much the contrary. Do you know what you’re seeing there? Basically it’s a rather structured and nuanced set of measured reaction times, to assorted kinds of situations and, ah, stimuli — in something at least vaguely like an abstract simulation of assorted actual dynamic field conditions.”
“I can see her numbers aren’t too different from some of the others’, in many cases clearly smaller… but many of hers are printed in red instead of black, and the meaning there escapes me.” Very few of the stats on the other page — except for Steffa’s — were in red. Indeed much of the red there was at the top, the document status (which wasn’t UNCLASSIFIED or even the relatively milquetoast NOFORN).
“It’s a very old and simple code, Director, been used time out of mind in places like accounting. The numbers are the delays between the stimulus being present enough to perceive, and a completed and measurable reaction by the test subject — or at least the start of one clear enough to be unambigously under way. ‘In the black’ means the reaction is trailing, or late by that much; ‘in the red’ means the reaction is leading, or early by that much.” ‘Spooks’ crossed his arms. “Now, Assistant Director, you’re not going to be one of those annoying people who start bleating ‘But that cannot be possible’ right about now, are you? I’d be, in your case, rather a bit disappointed.” There was a hint of exasperation in his voice and on his face, but much more of comradely humor… of a Dawkins-esque kind.
Samantha’s eyes scanned the page, again, far more carefully and in detail now she knew (and mostly believed) what that was about. “So, what you’re telling me is that in about one-third of these encounters, she actually registered a measurable, accurately time-able reaction to something that was about to happen, but hadn’t quite happened yet? Some of these, I guess I’d have to call them ‘negative delays’ for now, are listed as fifty to eighty milliseconds before the… stimulus, you called it, was there.”
Did I actually just say that, right out loud??
She even, for a minute, flashed to the date — not April, or the 1st.
Nigel Dawkins actually beamed, at least as much as he ever showed any such strong feelings in himself. “Yes. That’s the point, much as if your ‘sixth sense’ comment was also a quantifiable, exact thing. Do note that she displayed those early reactions only in the cases where a field-like situation was presented, one that required an assertive or an aggressive — most people would say violent — response. The others, her reactions were normal, or at least towards the fast-normal. So simply on the face of it, not only can she react to situations not yet present, she can also ‘read’ them appropriately. Also look at the shoot / don’t shoot score, one of the few non-timing statistics, near the bottom of the page. No ‘incorrect’ reactions, at all. Only one other person, Michael Gowan, had that quality… and isn’t he one of your better field agents, too?”
Not one ‘good guy’ or ‘bystander’ shot — and also not one ‘bad guy’ who was not shot effectively, either. The ideal; seldom the reality.
“Yes, yes he is. Which means — and I’m not just reflexively standing up for my own people, though I do that too — I’d also hate to lose him.”
“Not, as I’ve said, my goal; rather the opposite of it.” Nigel’s voice had that oddly-distant quality that betrayed he was (something like) bored of others’ misunderstandings of the perfectly patent and obvious. “Perhaps Miss Olshansky is the most, let’s say, obvious and clear-cut case of this kind of advanced reactions, pro-active in the original sense of the word. But she is by no means whatever the only such person I’ve seen and tested by now. And over the years I’ve slowly built up a vague, phenomenal, and patchwork description of what this looks like, from the inside as well as the outside. So I might just be able to offer to her and a few others a set of rules of thumb, a bagful of hints to try, a sort of clinic of the pre-active… which has proven itself likely to help at least a little, and quite unlikely to be disruptive except to those who operate purely on instinct. Which, again, is not many and none of these, ah, four or five.”
And again, that expression, which came (for Dawkins) perilously close to being an actual grin. “So, would you care to walk on the wild side a bit with me, and authorize Olshansky and Gowan and the rest to come and talk about all this, see if they — individually and willingly — may want to hear more of this? To step, and I’m stealing a book title from the 1980s, a bit further out toward the ‘Margins of Reality’ with me and the rest of us second-degree spooks that have been lurking far out there already?”
‘Spooks’ it was, sure enough and all the way home…
But it made sense. One meaning of the word, they were all ‘spooks’ since it came with the job. And Dawkins had made something of a profession of being otherwise extra ‘spooky’ these past twenty years or more here. Thus, ‘spook-s’ for him, ‘spook squared’ as they’d said since forever. Nobody stayed long here unless they were useful, so… doubly-good spooky, too.
Now, though, it looked like quiet, merry Steffa was spookiest of all.
“Er, Dakota, you know you needed to be up early, so… uh. well, drinking is not the best way to wake u p and stay awake. And.. what’s with all the grease and such? You really need to wash all that off.”
“Early? I thought you said ‘oily’ and I wasn’t sure of just which version of ‘well-lubricated’ you meant, so… I took both paths.”
“NUTS! Your species got beyond mud huts just how?!?!”
A thundering knock sounded on the door of the Blue Nebula speakeasy. It wasn’t the code knock. “You’re early,” shouted the bartender. “We’re not open.”
With a grinding crash the door burst open and in strode Tropheus Gurch, bounty hunter extraordinaire. “Pretty big staff you have, then,” he growled, surveying the crowd. One of the customers pulled a flame pistol. Gurch reached over and took it from him and took his machete from its scabbard. He tossed the pistol into the air and sliced it into three parts on the rise.
A group of men were gathered about something in an alcove. The bounty hunter went over and parted them, revealing an arena table. “Illegal critter combats, eh?” With one hand he swept up and pocketed the stakes put down by the gamblers, while with the other he picked up the groundhogs and casually juggled them.
Into the speakeasy through the shattered door came another man, shorter than Gurch but bulkier. He was brandishing the head of a dragonhorse. It had not been cut off; it had been pulled off. “This belong to anybody?” he demanded in a harshly accented voice.
Tropheus Gurch turned. “You know damn well who that belonged to, Dar Dar Shan,” he said. Tears, incredibly, formed in his eyes. “I loved that animal.”
The two bounty hunters stared at each other, waiting for a move.
As usual that morning I left far too early for work, but threw in a couple of errands on the side. (The 24-hour pharmacy, getting gas for the car, dropping books into the library depository…) With traffic the way it is in Los Angeles these days, efficiency is key and it gives me a feeling of accomplishment – more than I’m likely to get from my job.
I didn’t want to hear the news but turned on the radio anyway, as an antidote to the still-silent streets. At this hour it’s possible to find low wattage AM radio stations that broadcast weather or public service announcements. I find their mechanical voices soothing rather than unsettling. But that morning’s broadcast at 1700 on the AM dial fell into the latter category:
“This is a test. This is only a test.” Pause. “This is a great day, testing, testing. This is only a test.”
Then the tenor of the voice started to warp. I drove faster.
I waited with the other security staff for the Deputy, my counterfeit ID on display.
The 3D-printed flechette gun was in my coat pocket, next to the lock of my wife’s hair.
We were both here, early, for today’s Resettlement Policy meeting, but neither of us would be attending.
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