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 SAM SCHALL: Vengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 1)

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back. Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long. But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

This new edition contains new material not included in the original release of this book.

BY EDMOND HAMILTON, WITH INTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: Crashing Suns: Interstellar Patrol Volume 1 (Annotated): The classic pulp space opera series

Somewhere, out in the unimaginable vastness of space, a star is hurtling toward the Sun. Accelerating at ever greater speeds, it can only have been aimed by alien intelligences. With only months to go before the destruction of the entire Solar System, and all life within it, three men and one ship are sent to the destroying sun, in a desperate bid to save life as we know it…

In 1928, in the pages of Weird Tales, Edmond Hamilton published the serial Crashing Suns, initiating his Interstellar Patrol series of stories. With little concern for scientific accuracy or deep characterization, but much concern for excitement, the wonder of space travel, and blowing stuff up real good, Hamilton refined the tone first set by E.E. Smith, and his example was soon followed by others in the first great age of space opera, the pre-Golden Age of science fiction.

This collection brings together the first three Interstellar Patrol novellas, Crashing Suns, The Star-Stealers, and Within the Nebula. Volume 2 will contain the only Interstellar Patrol novel, and Volume 3 will collect the final stories of Hamilton’s first series.

This iktaPOP Media edition includes an introduction giving historical and genre context to the stories included.

FROM ERIC TESTERMAN: Taming Prehistoric (West Of Prehistoric Book 3)

Axemen. Norsemen. Vikings.

Whoever they are, Jedidiah Huckleberry Smith doesn’t care.

But with the possibility of a pardon on the table, he knows that he’d better do everything he can to prove his worth. Which means leading a civilian expedition, this time along the coast of Prehistoria, towards a mysterious warrior tribe whom the apes fear.

He ain’t going alone though.

Along for the ride are some friends… and former enemies.

But first, they are going to make a little visit to the site of their greatest defeat for some payback.

Because Prehistoria will be tamed, one way or another.

FROM LESLEE SHEU: Kumasagi, Part 1: Destin

The Kumasagi, who is in training to comfort and guide the souls of the dead, forms an accidental bond with Asta, a woman born from a sacred lake…

Najat has spent years as a senior-ranked diver, harvesting destins as they are born from pods in a sacred lake. Soon he must give up diving in order to fulfill his duties as the Kumasagi, the younger of two powerful mystics who comfort and guide the souls of the dead.

When his brother Jayan returns from exploring the uninhabited lands, Najat falls ill with a mysterious virus. An unexpected chain of events places him in the path of an errant destin—a woman newly born, yet fully grown. The destin instinctively seeks a Holy Amala, the one who can awaken her cognition and help her find her name.

When the destin finds Najat instead, they must both survive a mind-bending confrontation, which leaves them with a deep mystical bond held secret even from each other.

Kumasagi is a serialized fantasy saga told in seven parts. In Part 1: Destin, Najat’s last day as a Shakti Lake diver leads to a perilous encounter with a newborn destin—the same destin who will become his brother’s wife.

FROM AARON CUMMINS: The Cartographers Guild and the Search for the Jade Mask: An Amazing Pulp Adventure

A roller coaster ride of action and adventure in the grand pulp tradition

Kidnapped friends. A raging revolution. Dangerous mountains. And, at the end of the trail, a lost city that holds a secret worth killing for.

Ace Barrett is a daredevil pilot with iron fists and a wooden head. There’s no danger he won’t face for his friends.
Verity Hester is a research assistant with unusual skills and a secret past. She can pick locks and pockets with equal dexterity. Just don’t ask her where she picked those skills up.

Explorers have called the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan “the roof of the world” for centuries. Snow-capped peaks tower over deep, dark valleys. Visitors to the Pamirs face extreme weather, dangerous slopes, and deadly creatures.

The year is 1922. When two members of a mapping expedition are kidnapped by raiders, the members of the Cartographers Guild will stop at nothing to get them back. The explorers follow the trail into the uncharted mountains and face doom at every turn, while their missing companions are forced to brave ancient dangers to locate a legendary treasure. If bandits or traps don’t kill them, the mountains will. Their crusade leads to an impossible lost city—one no archaeologist would believe—and the home of the fabled jade mask.

Will the explorers save their friends, or will they die while searching for the jade mask?

Fans of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, and Allan Quatermain will love the high adventure and exotic settings visited by the Cartographers Guild.

FROM BLAKE SMITH: By the Light of the Moon

Aatu is eighteen years old, a respectable landowner, and about to marry the girl he loves. The south coast of Finland provides everything his little village requires.

It’s a peaceful life, until a band of ex-Crusaders land on the shore. With the harsh winter and lean times approaching, they cannot be allowed to stay for long. When their priests disturb things best left alone, Aatu fears a minor annoyance will become a disaster.

Aatu’s people turn to the old ways to fight the enemy, to teeth and claws instead of swords and spears. Though they are outnumbered and unused to fighting, Aatu is about to discover that wild wolves are not the most fearsome predators in this land, and even the most peaceful people can become ferocious in defense of the ones they love.

FROM NATHAN C. BRINDLE: The Cross-Time Kamaitachi (Timelines Universe Book 5)

I did not land here as a warrior, but a warrior I so soon became . . .

One moment, Dr. Yukiko Yamaguchi was in her high-tech singularity research lab in California, busily adjusting an electronically-leaky fitting playing hell with her instrument readings.

The next moment, she was falling through space, and landing hard in a wilderness area she would quickly discover was her family’s ancient stomping grounds in Japan – but with an apocalyptic twist.

A hundred years later, there would be legends of a great yōkai, a demon, whom some called a kamaitachi – a sort-of whirlwind, weasel-like creature with blades for claws, which catches up unwary humans and slices their skin. But this kamaitachi is no ordinary yōkai – rather, she is

The Cross-Time Kamaitachi

FROM DOROTHY GRANT: Blood, Oil and Love (Combined Operations Book 2)

In a colony world desperate for resources, a search for new reserves reveals a shadow war!

Lizzes Olsen is a newly minted petrogeologist researching the untapped potential of places on her planet even terraforming overlooked. Unfortunately, the site she’s found is deep in enemy-occupied territory. The same enemy is funding the radical eco-terrorism that turned her university toxic, and training terrorists to kill the Empire’s geophysicists and geologists. Between bombings at home and being hunted abroad, Lizzes’ career, and her life, are in danger.

On the other hand, she has the unlikeliest of allies: a fairy god-Gunny Sergeant, and a very determined Imperial Recon soldier named Twitch who’s out to make her his very own happily ever after. If it takes a hecatomb of her enemies to get her down the aisle, they’re going to make it happen…

FROM T. L. KNIGHTON: The Last Champion (The Champion’s Cycle Book 1)

When the kingdom of Altria falls before an expansionist lord, the champion Korr is tasked with spiriting off the next in line to the throne as well as a princess who could be used to legitimize the duke’s claim to the throne. Joined by his childhood friend, one of the legendary Rangers of Altria, Korr seeks shelter with the man who trained him to fight many long years ago.

Korr is charged with raising the young king and readying him to take back his kingdom, but a chieftain of the Bohgan people becomes something of an obstacle to that purpose. Can Korr keep King Darvos and Princess Lauranna safe?

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: COMPLAIN

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

  1. “Allan, you look unhappy. You have this super-science gadget to travel the multi-worlds in comfort. You have enough money to live comfortable on any of those worlds. So why do you look like you want to complain?”

    “My dear Lisa, there are thousands of worlds out there with thousands of books that I haven’t read. While I’m wealthy, I don’t have enough money to purchase all of those books. But worst of all, it would take me a million years to read all of those books and I’m not immortal.”

  2. Nice group of promos today! And we don’t know ‘anybody’ that complains, right? Right? Bueller?

  3. “I can’t complain.”
    “Of course you can, you just can’t make anyone care.”
    “…I wonder how much I can get if I try to sell you off….”

    1. An old Wizard of Id joke:
      Duke to peasant: How are you doing?
      Peasant: I can’t complain.
      Duke: Great! Why not?
      Peasant: It’s forbidden.

    2. For a long time, when picking up clothes from the dry cleaner, the counter guy would politely ask how I was doing. My reply was always, “Can’t complain. Doesn’t help if I do.”

      After a while, he remarked that I always said that, so lately I’ve been trying to switch it up!

  4. “Hey John, nice, actually really great studio you have here, light and airy, everything handy. How’s the writing going?”

    “Thanks, I like it, it works for me, far better than the old one. The writing is going fine, I’ve one compliant.”

    “I think you mean complaint.”

    “No, that’s another story.”

  5. I stood there, hands on hips, and tapped my foot while glaring into the darkness under the bed. “Look, I made you hot tea. I took painkillers. I got chores that were bugging you started. I made brownies! Look, chocolate! What is wrong with you? Get out where I can see you and give me words, damnit!”

    The thunder from the line of storms rolling through couldn’t hide my love’s tread, nor the amused sound in his voice. “That won’t work with a scared cat, much less your muse.”

  6. My medical assistant emerged from the exam room rolling her eyes.

    “What’s the patient’s chief complaint?” I inquired.

    “‘Everything hurts and I’m falling apart’,” she quoted.

    I sighed. “Oh, geez. Here we go.”

  7. You wanna complain, look at these shoes! I’ve only had ‘em three weeks and the heels are worn right through!

    1. Speaking of which, I, too, must complain about shoes. My newish sneakers are already showing serious wear in the heel, while the rest of the sole looks decent. I was in a hurry a few weeks back and already grabbing something at Walmart, so walked by the shoe aisle and picked them up cheap. Alas, I got what I paid for.

      I used to buy shoes at Meijer before Peter Meijer voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump. Now I’ll have to buy them someplace probably pick my next pair up somewhere else. Targets is fully in on trans insanity, Walmart sells cheap junk, so I think I’ll try Kohl’s next.

      1. They’re about to be bought by Simon property and combined with JC Penney so you might want to hurry. At least that what the word on the street is.

  8. I had to look at her and laugh, “Miss Scarlett, you are a hypocrite and will come to a bad end one day.”

    “Yes,” she agreed cheerfully. “But, is that your only complaint?”

  9. None dare complain about
    The madness of Xi JinPing
    Shanghai alone was not enough
    They’ve just started on Beijing.

    Or so the rumor says at least
    That they’ve started on Beijing
    Shanghai alone was not enough
    For the madness of Xi JinPing

    We watched as the crisis came
    And none in power did complain
    But now It’s Shanghai and Beijing
    From the madness of Xi JinPing

  10. Nigel Slim-Howland’s sister Agnes stomped off angrily, leaving Jenkins and Gwendolyn in dignified silence. While their conversation was electronic, it translates thusly:

    “Mr. Jenkins, Miss Agnes seems nearly inhuman. Are you sure she’s not also a companion-bot?”

    “Quite sure, Gwendolyn. No model that I know of contains ‘chronic complaining’ firmware.”

  11. It’s the weekend. I jump in my boat and head out to my secret hot springs. Another boat is anchored in. I climb up to the springs and it’s full of tourists. I locate the captain and complain to him as politely as possible. He laughs me off. So I get my rifle and fire a shot in the air. Nothing sweeter than seeing a pack of tourists run for their lives. Yeah, I know. I’m gonna regret this. Sure enough, Monday morning I get a call from a trooper. I give him the name of my lawyer and he chuckles. I ask if he wants us to come in, and he says nah. I’m guessing this is the end of it. Hrumph.

  12. She never wanted to become a female wizard. All she wanted was to give a good home to that little kitten that she found down the street. It started with demons in her cat food. Then there were lichs crawling out of the toilet. It just didn’t fit her plans.

  13. “I hate being stuck here!” groused Max in his hospital bed. A savage tackle resulted in two broken ribs and who knew what else. Fortunately, he could breathe unassisted.

    “Shush!” said Cari. “Tomorrow will be better. You’ll see!”

    “You’ll be here?”

    “Of course, darling.”

    Then it will be, he thought.

  14. Colonel Alekseev had taken a turn for the worse overnight. The flight surgeon down at Star City had remained professionally calm and cheerful about the man’s prognosis, but Yakov Tsiklauri could read behind the words. Alekseev’s prognosis was not good, but someone higher up was unwilling to authorize an appeal to the Amerikanski moonbase at Tranquillity East.

    Tsiklauri considered how to deal with that, given that he didn’t know who that person was. He knew most of the Chekists attached to the space program, and felt confident in approaching them on ordinary matters. But if the obstacle was someone of higher rank, appealing to any of his regular connections would bring him to that person’s attention, with possible repercussions to his family dirtside. Not to mention making it more difficult to take things higher.

    Should he go straight over their heads and appeal all the way to Semyonov? Especially now that Semyonov had taken over the position of General Secretary while retaining that of Chairman of the KGB, such an appeal could move mountains.

    Unless Semyonov himself was the one who’d forbidden any cooperation with the Amerikanski astronauts. The consequences of that didn’t bear thinking about.

    On the other hand, there was the new Defense Minister. Would Gruzinsky be willing to argue the cosmonauts’ case with Semyonov, on the basis of an appeal from a fellow Georgian? The man was sufficiently Russified that one could forgive the foreign correspondents for describing him as “unusual for a Russian” because he drank wine rather than vodka and his table featured Georgian foods rather than the typical cabbage and beet soups, not realizing that “Gruzinsky” literally meant “Georgian.” But from things Tsiklauri had heard, the man had a certain defiant pride in his nationality.

    However, he was also known to dislike Chekists. There were even rumors that at least one zampolit assigned to a command of his had been fragged, rather than killed by enemy fire.

  15. “Considering you’re the one talking about getting there, you are walking very slowly,” said Delia, taking the step up into the cart to sit.
    Charlotte-Rose hurried and plopped on the seat beside her. “Besides, we have to meet Ava. Did you ever meet her before? I think I did, once.”

  16. “I’m not even going to have to steal it!”
    Drusilla looked up from stirring the boiling cauldron. Reynardette, still wearing that silly half mask, smiled at her.
    “As long as you get it to me, I have no grounds for complaint. Provided that you do not interfere with my work!”

  17. “He decided it was too dull, living there alone. So he took the table as his wages and set out to return to home. On the way he met a hermit living in the mountain, and he took out his table, and they ate a royal feast that it made.”

  18. And, she supposed it would be simple enough to depart after this adventure. She did not think even Bellangere would dare give her, or Florio either, grounds for complaint with no less than two paladins present.
    She turned back to Carolus.
    “Very well. Now you can be told,” he said.

  19. “I don’t mean to complain, but…”
    “Would you shut up for once! I have more than enough to do to keep this plane in the air without you distracting me!”
    I was going to pay for that comment for the next couple hours, if not days, but if I couldn’t concentrate, we might not survive.

  20. Two broken cyborg soldiers lay in the mud at the bottom of a crater. It had been made by one of the titan guns, long since silenced a day before. The battle raged on far in the distance, barely audible over the moans of the dying.

    “I think you’re on my leg,” said the taller of the two. All that was left of him was a single arm mounted cannon and the armored torso that held his brain.

    “You sure? I think this is a Mk III Tyrant class leg.” The other had a nearly complete set of limbs. A smoking hole in the middle of its chassis, right over the main actuator trunk made all moot though. Outside of a full rebuild, it would never move again. If even then.

    “How could you tell? I know you’re blind as a bat over there.”

    “Caught sight of the blasted thing right before the frogger’s railguns got me. Mk III Tyrant has the extra armor plating over the joints.”

    “Huh.” The other cyborg grunted. “Well, if that’s not my leg, where the bloody hell is it then? I know you’ve got those fancy sensors. That you can’t use right now. But when you did-”

    “Your left leg is two craters back, unless that last blast we felt moved it. Your right is somewhere over to the west, I think.”

    “Well ain’t that just peachy.”

    “It is.”

    “Frackin’ ray of sunshine you are, Pigsly.”

    “I am.”


    “Save for one complaint.”

    “Now this I’ve got to hear. Shot with the golden BB, completely and totally fecked, left for dead, nearly no chance for getting picked up by combat salvage, probably get turned into tin cans and steel poop chutes by the end of the day, our bio bits flushed out for hog feed. And you just have one complaint?”

    “I do.”


    “I am only sorry that this is not Saint Varro Bete’s Plaza.”

    “Varro Bete’s Plaza? Wait I know that one-”

    “That’s where the Prince Ixulzo, may his mouth be a demon’s chamber pot for eternity, holds his Spring Season Ball with all the pretty people in the Emeraldian Empire.”

    “Isn’t Ixulzo your prince? The one that is supposedly leading your army to war?”

    “He is. Supposedly.”

    The first cyborg began to laugh. Chuckles became sniggers. Then guffaws. The holed combat engineer joined in. Metal scavengers, busily salvaging a cyborg’s leg two craters away spooked and ran, their booty left behind.


    On a planet several sectors away, a man in a stylish puce longcoat with embroidered cuffs felt a faint chill as thunder rumbled distantly across a meticulously landscaped garden.

    “Does the wasp wine not agree with you m’lord? I can have a selection brought out should you prefer a different vintage,” said one of his courtiers unctuously.

    “No, it is not the wine, Charles. I just felt a chill for a moment there.”

    “It looks as if a storm is brewing, your Highness. Let us return to the ballroom. The countess has promised us a most delicious display of talent from this year’s newest dancers…”

  21. Stepping off the main track here, I just wanted to comment that, having just reread yet again my copy of Witchfinder, I am now rereading — in order — the serialization of Rogue Magic, to be followed by Witch’s Daughter (both searchable on this site) and then Elf Blood (on the Mad Genius Club site), whose links I have saved each in turn for the purpose. Later tonight I’ll donate some pelf by way of thanks for the pleasure these unfinished serials have brought me over the years, and in the hope of moving the finishing of them slightly up your very long To Write list. Or if not moving them — I do realize it is quite a long list, indeed — then at least paying my fair share for the pleasure you have given thus far in each. In my considered opinion, your serialized novels and the Innkeeper series of Ilona Andrews are equally the best I have read, bar none.

  22. It is truly a beautiful spring day, reflected Reka Carlyle as he walked slowly down the street in the muted sunlight… about the 34th of March, if he remembered rightly. And the something-th of Taurus on the other calendar, the civil one where the months are always exactly four or else rarely three weeks. And he smiled, even if only to himself, for himself. As his eyes took in, happily but not too carefully, the lushly abundant trees, the several-story buildings around him, the people about their foot-borne occasions, all under the rose-pink sky and the flat roof of the city.

    One of the blessings of being retired, not often having to know the date or the time exactly. Or to wonder where they’re going to send you next, today or tomorrow… And smiled, anew. And being less than fifty years old, again, another reward of being here…

    “Good morning to you, young lady, and all the best of the New Year’s month to you.” She was tall and brightly dressed, with short straw-blonde hair under a bowler hat that was once again the latest rage. And when he spoke she seemed to brighten yet more, fall fully into the present, as if she’d been busily half-listening to something else.

    “The same to you, Honored Snake; and I hope you’re doing well.” It wasn’t hard to guess how she’d known, the cap he wore had embroidered his unit designation (one of them) from back in the war years. As long as he wasn’t likely to be suspected of Playing the Veteran Card, some few places and situations, he wore one of those a lot these days.

    “Can’t complain, can’t complain, especially on such a bright spring day as this.” The (mildly unseasonal) sandstorm of last week had fully gone, and the sky (above the yards of heavy water that soaked up the radiation and countered the air pressure without absorbing much light) was its usual midday rose again. While of course here underneath, it was almost always warm and the only rain fell from the pipes on evening and night schedule. “It’s a lovely place to be, here, after some of the ones I’ve seen. And it turns out I love being Redside for its own special charms, as well.”

    “I truly meant that, earlier. As much a formality as it’s become to some, thank you for your service, for real and for true… so much heroism by so many.” There were three heavy metal hair sticks run through a big knot of it at the back of her neck… not so short a style as he’d first thought, done very much in the way that, he kept hearing, signalled I’m single, I’m settled, and I’m looking.

    And some part of him, not so immediate a part as once was, felt a bit more warm and comfortable. Quite dangerous, such things, with only a modicum of training. Because that ‘signal’ also meant, if deployed honestly, Yes, I do know how to use these in self-defense. Reka had always liked to be around dangerous people — as long as they were the right kind.

    “The heroes are the ones who didn’t come back. But of course you’ve likely heard that one before. And of course,” he paused just a moment, “that does nothing to make it untrue.” He kept the memories out of his expression; but there was no huge rush of tangled emotion to suppress, it was simply a wall of sadness and loss. Assorted combat healers had helped make it and keep it that way; and the Warriors’ Evangelical Blessing Way (never mind how he hadn’t a drop of known Navajo/Dineh blood in him) in particular had assured that his hyperfocus came with a dimmer knob and his hypervigilance came with an on-off switch.

    And then he just smiled. Because he really did have nothing to complain about. Because the low gravity and the long years suited him very well, now; and because it was so… restful not to have to keep his head on a swivel and his awareness distributed everywhere, on everything.

    “Oh, and if you’re wondering about this…” He took the small part of his weight (already at 38% Earth normal in all) off the cane by his side, and pushed a few studs here and there with his right hand, and the handle of his very serviceable walking stick pivoted parallel to the body, and the main catch unlocked; and his other hand held the barrel as a yard-long blade slid from the heavy, strong titanium barrel that made a fine club if full-lethal force was not (quite) yet indicated. And he came to something that was not quite an en-garde position, but not too far from it…

    As his weight and his stance shifted, as that switch flipped and that knob turned, and the years (metaphorically but very, very truly) slid off to some other temporary storage place. “Not so fast as I used to be, not so up on the latest things, but still not quite ready for the breaker’s yard as some, like so many back on Earth, might think.” And Reka realized that he was grinning, in a way that so many other places might create upset, or even possibly give offense. “No action to jam, no ammo to run out here.”

    And his grin spread to the face of the person in front of him, as she pointed to the ounces of sharp, strong metal carried ready at the back of her neck. “Surely not so well trained as you; but yes, same thought.” All of it seen in sharp focus and all-embracing context, as the street scene in front of him lit up with potential fields of fire and best cover and worst places to look out for pre-emplaced mini-bombs.

    Like riding a bicycle, they say. But this keeps longer, better.

    And then, in about as many seconds as it’d taken him to deploy all of it, the hardware and the habits, it was all packed away. Not as young as he used to be; and the burn-rate those things made on his energy and other reserves was not what it once had been either. (But the grin — stayed.)

    And suddenly, she was offering her hand. Which he could now easily take. “Amanda Morgan. Yes, like the character in that old vaudeodrama. It turns out I’m a teacher. And yes, we do take our calling seriously. ‘Those who teach our Young not-Right/Earn a Bower in endless Night’ isn’t quite what Blake wrote, all those centuries ago; but it’s really just true.” And for a moment, her glance dropped to the sidewalk they stood on. “Maybe it’s an imposition or an impertinence, but I need to ask if you’d come and talk to one of my classes, if we can figure out the details. If that’s something you’d be interested in doing, if it wouldn’t be forbidden or… bad in some way. All at once I have this really strong feeling, my intuition lighting up like a Yule tree in December. Though of course you ought feel no obligation whatever… Can I simply give you my card, now, and let you think about it as long or short as you will?”

    Almost as if by prestidigitation she’d dipped a hand into the front of her bag and was holding out a very old-school paper card, that began:

    Amanda Morgan, classroom instructor

    The Freehold School For Classical Collective Education

    Modern, Trivium and Quadrivium, Elementary and Higher, and other models of group-centered live personal instruction available…

    “Why yes, Miss Morgan” — the ‘Miss’ was settled by those hair sticks and present local custom — “I think that might be a lot of fun, actually. No shortage of bad things to stay away from, even after all these years; but also no shortage of good stories to tell even to, ah, let’s say at least fourth-graders or so. In the, ah, ‘Elementary model of instruction’ as it seems your school would call it.”

    “Great! It’s been a genuine honor to meet you… but I don’t even know your name!”

    “Reka Carlyle, Miss Morgan. It’s been a pleasure to meet you, in turn.”

    “Thank you so much, and I have to run now or I’m going to be late and that won’t be good.” She said the last practically over her shoulder, as she accelerated to at least a trot.

    And Reka Carlyle went back to walking, slowly and carefully. If perhaps with a bit of a difference. Truly, a fine spring day…


    Complain about what?
    That the sky is blue and wide
    and the world’s in spring?

    Complain about how?
    That the cares of living life
    are eating my soul?

    Complain about now?
    That my hands still work and my
    Dimming eyes still see?

    Looking back, this day –
    (from the future where I am) –
    I saw: life was good.

  24. “Why should you complain about Japanese stereotypes?” I said. “Such a sophisticated and attractive culture – I’d be honored to be associated with it.”

    “But it’s misrepresentative,” said Keiko earnestly. “I’m not part of an attractive, sophisticated culture, and saying I am is wrong.”

    Well, when she put it that way…

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