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.
*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH*


FROM M.C.A.HOGARTH: Zafiil Volume 2: Firedancer’s Hand

The epic saga of the Faulfenza’s third messiah continues in the second volume of Zafiil, FireDancer’s Hand.

Journey with Zafiil to the borders of the Alliance in her search for enlightenment, dive into her recent history as a student at the Hearth and her difficult history with Daqan, the Voice of the God, and then return to Qufiil for the gripping finale of her story.

Are the Faulfenza prepared for the FireBorn, and the Others? And is Zafiil ready, at last, to face the role that will see her remembered forever in history?

Zafiil: FireDancer’s Hand brings the epic saga of the Faulfenza’s first contact with the Pelted Alliance to a stunning close.

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Fall of Empire

Igor’s back!

And his Cyborg Buddy Murphy is in trouble.

As the destabilized Three Part Alliance totters, Igor, AKA Axel Vinogradov has to decide whether to shore up the edifice, or complete the collapse. In the meantime there’s a couple of cross dimensional raids, a kidnapped class of teenagers, marooned women on a cross dimensional Tropical Paradise .


Faustina Hartmann has led her army from Huntsville to Vicksburg, across the desolated Old South, to secure a rail line to allow her hometown, Knoxville, access to the uranium ore they so badly need.At the end of a thin, 400-mile supply line, she suddenly finds herself set upon by adversaries to the north and south, potentially cutting off and destroying her men.Taking swift action, Faustina rallies her four legions and leads them into battle. A battle fought not only on the ground but also in the Void, where her demi-human modifications and her alliances with thinking machines can be brought to bear.Long marches, bloody battles, but also clever diplomacy and even a hint of romance await Faustina as she continues her crusade to create her personal empire in the old US Deep South

FROM MOE LANE: Tinsel Rain: A Tom Vargas Mystery

323% funded on Kickstarter!

Tinsel Rain returns us to the post-apocalyptic world of Cin City, glittering tinsel crown of the Kingdom of New California. When an old not-quite-friend of Shamus Tom Vargas is found dead, Tom gets pulled into a case of murder, magic, and mystery! Sinister archmages! Bodies in alleys! An actual high-speed car ride! And as many bad jokes as the author could cram in! Truly, you deserve to read this book!


They were trying to free the human genome – they built a spam filter that destroyed the world.

Lech Sen and his band of genetic computationalists are trying to open source the human genome, but somehow team gets side-tracked by 3,000-year-old Sumerian Urn data, recently unearthed but kept private by a power-hungry tech oligarch. Lech is mystified to find that the decrypted data contains much more than he bargained for, and decrypting it manages to transform Lech’s Wisdom-Of-Crowds spam filter into a villainous artificial intelligence, SpamKiller. To keep the data from SpamKiller, Lech encodes the data into his team’s JUNK DNA, unwittingly and unwillingly transforming them into long-lived super-athletes. After the near total destruction of humanity, Lech and the JUNK crew must band together again to overthrow SpamKiller. In turn, SpamKiller and his oligarch henchman create a set of death games, the Metrics, to force-evolve replacements for the missing scientists, all the while maintaining a deadly obsession with fighting spam.

Destroy humanity, or stamp out spam? Why not both?

FROM S. T. GAFFNEY: China Harbor: Out of Time

Sheila Reilly, once a prominent research physicist aboard the Wells Explorer, now an American refugee living in China Harbor after the Millennium War destroyed America, has barely survived the last 5 years. Sheila’s very life may now depend on the secrets she keeps. Even from Yam, the man she loves and who has helped her eke out an existence for the last 2 years.

Discovery of the wreckage of the Wells Explorer sets in motion a chain of events wherein Sheila must come to terms with her past and is given an opportunity by the enigmatic ancient Lin Yi to change history, but perhaps at the price of losing everyone she now loves. Suddenly everyone in China Harbor is looking for her, from General Chen, the conflicted head of the often brutal People’s Guard and the villainous Colonel Kwan, who will stop at nothing to get the power he wants, to one mysterious stranger out of Sheila’s past, who started it all so very long ago. As Sheila races against time to save the past, no one in China Harbor who has touched her life is safe, from an innocent produce vendor to Yam’s young daughter who longs for Sheila to take the place of her dead mother.

Approx: 180,000 words (This would be the equivalent of 450 pages in a trade paperback. Average novel is 100,000 words.)

FROM DALE COZORT: Through The Texas Gate

Snapshot42: Through the Texas Gate is an alternate history novel. In early November 1942, with World War II hanging in the balance, an invisible wall cuts Europe, along with parts of the Middle East and North Africa, off from the rest of the world. With the Allies running out of vital raw materials from the rest of the world, they look for ways through the wall. They find two gates to other realities. One leads to a still-independent Republic of Texas that still uses black powder weapons and is barely holding off fierce nomad raiders, while another leads to a strange land without people but overrun by still-living dinosaurs.
Jim Bridger and Colonel Tillman need to buy oil and food to keep the allies in the war, but first they have to survive fierce new enemies in these new-found realities.

BY GEORGE O. SMITH, WITH INTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: Pattern for Conquest (Annotated): The classic space opera.

The Loard-Vogh were conquering the galaxy. They could not be stopped. When they got to Earth, they would conquer, even though it was known across the galaxy as The Planet of Terror.

The Loard-Vogh would win.

Humanity must lose.

But mankind has a secret weapon, one so sinister that no power in the galaxy can stand against it…

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

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.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: silly

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

  1. “What the hey? Has Silly Season begun?” Alice explained after reading the news story.

    “Let see that.” Jim said. “Oh no, we better contact the Ancients. Their kindred, the Trickster, is on the lose again.”

  2. It was a cold, sunny morning. Just as I opened my mouth to ask my dad a question, I caught a faceful of Silly String from some hyped-up kid scampering down the parade route. I winced, picked it off and asked my dad to pass me a coffee. Plastic horns were blasting and confetti was everywhere.

    It was another beautiful New Year’s Day in Pasadena and the Rose Parade was about to begin. A family friend of ours had a tradition of organizing seats every year, followed by a buffet dinner and an afternoon of football viewing, feeding the blaze in the fireplace and dozing off on the sofa.

    I really do miss those days.

    1. Those were the days! I love a parade! I played piccolo in the parade bands when I was in high school. But that was a long time ago!

  3. The Battle of Midway was always going to happen after Pearl Harbor.

    Neither the Japanese Combined Fleet or Naval General Staff knew much more than the Americans about the new form of warfare they unleashed after sinking so many of America’s Battleships with airplanes. They still dreamed of the Great Climactic Battle, like Tsushima where they broke the Russian Fleet in 1905.

    The Japanese got careless and heedless and proud. And then they got their tailfeathers handed to them like so much confetti.

    The Terran Empire was on the verge of making the same mistake. Could Bailey or Morgan figure it out in time and convince their superiors to back off before they stirred up a horde of implacable carnivores?

    1. Japan had the same problem with China and with the US. In both cases, their foes were used to fighting over vast territories, and the Japanese weren’t.

          1. As long as we’re “just commenting,” it didn’t seem to be particularly accurate (neither the active US nor Chinese military leaders were more “used to fighting over vast territories” than the Japanese in 1937-1942), nor in line with the above rules (“If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, … comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them”).

            But maybe I was expecting a comment related to what I wrote. The Japanese began the war with “easy” victories over unprepared foes. They only encountered opposition in China when the US restricted steel and oil exports to them. They really only encountered opposition in Southwest and Central Pacific from the US Carriers. However, as detailed by Prang, Parshall, Tully, Symonds, et al., the IJN did not know how to think strategically and threw away their temporary advantage early on. The Americans were just a bit quicker to their A-Game, and had the industrial capacity to rebuild about 30 times faster than the Emperor’s forces.

            I thought it might be interesting to have a similar theme of “grasping for resources out in space” with an empire who similarly did not understand how to use a new military technology strategically, to be on the verge of making a huge mistake, and have the protagonists, let’s call them “Morgan” and “Bailey”, see the error and try to warn the right people, provide evidence and have them change direction before a disaster occurs. I pictured children knocking over a 6 foot high fire ant mound or shooting paint balls at a similarly-sized hornet’s nest. Only with meat-eating insects like the movie “Them.”

            If someone else writes this, I’d probably buy it…

        1. Those implacable carnivores, might fight over vast stellar distances? Silly to fail to evaluate their ability to collect and ship meat. Or forage.

          If they instead logisticly focus on their version of Tabasco, it isn’t a good sign for our grunts.

  4. “So, kids! Where do you want to go in our new time machine? Dinosaurs? Do you want to see Einstein give a lecture? The moon landing? How about Troy? Or Camelot?”
    “Dad. First, Camelot isn’t real. Second, it’s a silly place.”
    “I’m hurt, Ben. Monty Python jokes are supposed to be my province.”

  5. Little sister and I sat at the piano.
    “Let’s be silly and play the knuckle song.”
    We laughed while we played.
    Then we heard Mom shuffling around in the kitchen.
    “Let’s go, girls. It’s berry pickin’ time. Don’t forget your gloves.”
    We caught up with her at the back door.

  6. His voice was full of confidence. “I’m amazing you three are allowed to sit about and talk of silly things. When I came to study, I was put to the books at once.”
    “Aubery isn’t here yet,” said Charlotte-Rose, slowly.
    “There’s the library. You could consult the books there yourself.”

  7. I knew one of this bunch would show up for this but wasn’t expecting this… Follow up to an earlier one:

    “Hey! Adrian!”

    The slender man turned around, completely unfazed by the large, dark skinned youth running after him. Rather, he had the same vaguely amused smile that he always had no matter the situation. Tyrone often wondered if everything in life was just one big silly game to the bar owner.

    “Yes Tyrone?” he asked, a hint of impatience in his voice. “Paul doesn’t like to be kept waiting you know.”

    “You see that thing in the paper about how Tyra died?!” Tyrone asked in return, pausing to catch his breath.

    “Suicide? Of course I did. Honestly, if the coroner couldn’t figure that out in five minutes he needs to be working here, not there!” he replied with a shrug.

    “And you don’t feel anything about it?! That’s cold, man!” Tyrone shouted, his eyes wide with disbelief.

    “She was a customer, and not a bad one, but that’s it,” Adrian responded, putting his palms up in a “What can you do” gesture. “Bad things happen in life, Tyrone. You can either brush them off and move on or you can dwell on them. You can ask Tyra what Option 2 gets you if you see her in the afterlife. Now can we please get going?”

    Tyrone’s rage almost overwhelmed him when his gaze met the bar owner’s ice blue eyes and he froze on the spot, hearing the sound of anguished sobbing. Tyra. He’d know the sound of her crying anywhere. Why was he hearing this now?! Then the mental image of her reaching for her dad’s revolver…

    “Did you hear me, Tyrone?”

    Adrian’s words snapped the youth back to reality and he found himself looking at his boss, who didn’t seem disturbed in the least. What had just happened? Shock from the news he guessed and Adrian being Adrian didn’t help.

    “Y-Yeah, I did. Let’s go meet this Paul guy, Boss Man.”

  8. He lay in a pool of his own blood, dark red against the carpet. Some silly glittering thing rolled away from his fingers. It sparkled as it passed through the lights of the hall.
    “And for that he endangered us.” Otto’s voice was laden with contempt.
    She must have squeaked.

  9. “I can’t compete with this new Korean window installers. They’re so specialized they’ve reached inhuman levels of cost savings.”
    “Can you hire one to learn their secrets?”
    “No, they’re all related. There’s Wu, who puts in glass. And Jin, who installs the sashes. But the boss is old sill Le”.

      1. I think the latter were known as the “Rooftop Koreans” during the Rodney King riots.

  10. (Another bit from “Breaking Strain”)

    Lucius looked up from the readouts on the cryo-tanks. “So how are you getting along with old Welly?”

    Shelly considered what to say, mindful of the microphones capturing every word they said. “You familiar with Monty Python?”

    Lucius raised an eyebrow. “A little. What about it?”

    “He always makes me think of Graham Chapman playing the Colonel. I keep feeling like he’s going to tell me I’m getting entirely too silly.” Shelly let her speech take on a bit of the British actor’s accent, which she was pretty sure was somewhat affected when in character, as compared to his normal speaking voice.

  11. “Come along, you silly thing!” Augusta grabbed her arm and hauled her up as if tearing her gown would be just as well. “One would think that you didn’t want to attend these festivities ever again, or at all.”
    She tugged harder, and Rose stumbled along the path with her.

  12. Silly to lament this. It was not as if the children had died. They would be better off there.
    His thoughts wavered, reformed, and wavered again.
    Why had he thought that?
    Cold as ice, and more clear, the thoughts formed again. He had not thought that of his own will.

  13. “But Mom, that’s just silly. Why would anyone build a rocket engine inside out??”

    And almost before the small person in the crowd had finished speaking, in that familiarly too-clear and too-carrying voice that made bystanders notice and more than a few parents cringe, Lucille was turning her head to the left to look for the speaker, with the beginnings of a merry and congenial smile on her face. And nearly as fast, her twin sister Emilie had also slowed to a near-standstill and begun surveying the people too.

    But it was Lucille, as was her wont, that was wearing the T-shirt with a top caption “Westernesse Voyages’ Jetspike” and foot tag “Inside Out and Inside In” on either vertical side of a detailed semi-cutaway drawing of the mentioned engine. And so it was her that scanned the small crowd now gathered outside the studio where they’d done one more latest interview, with that particular combination of intent analysis and full intuitive openness that always made her look a little absent-minded… “So, was it you?” she said, addressing a ten-or-twelve-year-old with short dark curly hair, that seemde to match a sort of vaguely Slavic seasoning to her(?) words earlier. With, by now, rather a bright smile to her own face…

    “Yes, Miss Westenra, pardon, but I just don’t get it.” Her mother(?) was now into True Mortification at the very least, and seemed to be on the verge of emitting some sort of apology, but…

    “Call me Lucille, that’s my name. And what’s yours?” Bending down a bit.


    “Well, Anna, there are several reasons, like cooling what would be the inside of the chamber, but the big one is how the sides of the nozzle are really the air outside — which means they adjust to the pressure outside in a way a solid nozzle just can’t.” They’d even tried looking at that. Not for long, of course. “They usually call this an aerospike engine, but we put a regular bell-nozzled inside-in rocket engine on the inside, so we call it a jetspike. Or a concentric. Does any of that make sense?”

    “Miss Westenra, I’m so sorry, we shouldn’t be taking up your time…” And Lucille held up a hand. “Nonsense. Good rocket engineers can be trained, but great rocket engineers have to be born, or created some way we can’t. There’s something in the way they see the world, and of course the engine itself and all that goes into it… and again, my name is Lucille.”

    And smiled, more broadly still. “So, Anna?”

    “I guess. I know the nozzle drops the pressure by a fixed amount, so it comes out, like, maybe a hundredth of the chamber pressure. But the air pressure outside is whatever it is.”

    Yup, nailed it, thought Lucille to herself. I bet she could tell you exactly what specific impulse is when she was about eight.

    “Right, which means a regular nozzle is overexpanded when the rocket is low and the air is thick, and the same one underexpanded when the rocket is high and the air is thin.” Her agile hands sketched madly in the empty air, conveying the exhaust stream contracting in waves in the first, even verging on flow separation, and expanding broadly in the second case. Of course, she knew 95% of the people there would have no specific idea what she was talking about. Many of them might get an around-the-corner glimpse of it, though, if they would; and most of her attention was on Anna herself.

    Her mother (Lucille had to guess it) was looking more than a little, well, bedazzled was about the right word. But not bewildered, so good.

    “And that makes it work worse. But I still just don’t see how this thing of rocket nozzle walls made of air works.”

    Lucille chuckled. “Nobody gets this at first, the ‘aerospike’ is a right odd thing. But our ‘jetspike’ is just a variation, it behaves better if you’re using one of these for braking, going backwards, the jet from the regular rocket helps stabilize the airflow that makes the jetspike work.” Again her hands were waving madly, sketching and animating what she was talking about. And she was perfectly aware people would be recording video and making fun of her doing it later… and she so perfectly didn’t care.

    “I think I’m starting to see it, Miss W– I mean, Lucille. But it’s still a weird thing. Did you come up with it?”

    Lucille laughed outright. “Good heavens, no, they were working on these engines back in the Apollo days, there was a variant of the old J-2, the Saturn V upper stage engine, inside-out like this. There are movies. Do you know about those, the J-2s I mean?”

    And the way Anna’s eyes lit up told her volumes in a half second. “Oh, yes, my grandfather was actually there in Florida, when Apollo 11 took off for the Moon. He has film movies! And the J-2, yes, hydrogen and oxygen, five on the second stage and one on the third.”

    Now Anna could feel her own face beaming, at least a little. “Yes, just so, and that was the 1960s. This is the 21st century and we can do a bit better now. Especially since we have to, or the other rocket companies will eat our lunch before we can even get our hands on it.”

    And through it all, Emilie had been standing there in the warm sun, also looking over the crowd, watching, lending her silent support to the small quick bit of ordinary human connection going on in front of her. Pointedly ignoring the “more important” questions of press and bloggers and various critics and enemies. No T-shirts for her, a casual-enough but reserved linen shirt under a light silk coat. Twins, but fraternal not identical.

    They said she was the one behind going beyond chemical engines to nuclear, some fine future day when that was possible; the one always working to try to get the rest of the old records from Rover and Nerva released, even (rumor whispered) running a quiet little side program to recreate the 1960s graphite-extrusion technology that had made the old fuel elements for the old rocket reactors. (Gigawatts, in the volume of a refrigerator.)

    They even said she could visualize a critical assembly in her head, and ‘feel’ how it was and what it might do, at least roughly, the way Tesla was said to have been able to do for many of his electromagnetic machines.

    ‘They’ said a lot of things, of course. But sometimes… even what ‘they’ said was, simply, true.

    By now Anna’s mother was less bedazzled, and more… awed, might do it.

    “Here, let me give you this card. It’s got some of our Web sites on it, and also an e-mail address that will get you to my computer. Lots of other stuff there, so it’ll take a while for me to see it, but be patient.” A cool, cold little smile deep inside her own head — Westernesse’s spam filters were outright vicious, no risk of that address unleashing a flood of irrelevance on her or Emilie or their employees by going astray.

    “Wow, Miss Wes– I mean Lucille, that’s so cool! And thanks.”

    Everything old is new again. Even the slang, thought Lucille.

    “I can’t thank you enough, M–, I mean, Lucille. I can’t begin to tell you what this is going to mean to Anna, what it does already.” (Yes, definitely Slavic there.)

    “If I can be the one who strikes that spark, that gets someone interested in stuff like this, the warp and weft of our future, Mrs. Cargill, it’ll be worth it a thousand times over. And even if Anna herself never goes any farther with this than a hobby and a mild obsession… she might just tell a story in front of someone who’ll take up fire from that and be our next sequential Goddard, or Oberth, or Tsiolkovsky, himself.

    “Everyone has to start somewhere, sometime, in anything like this. For us it was a barn in Provence, on that big vacation between high school and the college we never had time to go to… but we came to it a bit late.”

    But makin’ up for lost time now as fast and sure as we can. Not bad for a couple o’ country girls from north Kentucky. That smile, dazzled.

    “Be blessed, Cargills. And remember the future is not a spectator sport.”

    1. I don’t see where or by whom Mrs. Cargill was named before Lucille started addressing her. Is this one of those things the author knows but forgot to tell us?

  14. (At one point in the history of the word, silly meant “holy.”)

    Silly conversation

    A: Silly goose.
    B: Why not silly gander?

    A: Ganders are never silly.
    B: How can you say that?

    A: Did you ever see one pray?
    B: Did you ever see a goose pray?

    A: Point taken.

  15. (At one point in the history of the word, silly meant “holy.”)

    Silly conversation

    A: Silly goose.
    B: Why not silly gander?

    A: Ganders are never silly.
    B: How can you say that?

    A: Did you ever see one pray?
    B: Did you ever see a goose pray?

    A: Point taken.

  16. Hm, I’m reading Pattern for Conquest right now — the one from since it’s in the public domain (copyright expired).

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