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 CHRISTOPHER DIGRAZIA: The Director’s Cut (A Theda Bara Mystery Book 1)

When makeup artist Toby Swanson joined the Fox Film Corporation in 1914, he hoped to sneak a kiss from the studio’s newest star, the seductive vamp Theda Bara. But when a scene goes horribly wrong, Bara’s film is cancelled and her dreams of stardom crushed. Unless. . .she can prove that what looks like an accident is really murder.

So together, Theda and Toby dive into showbiz New York, from dancing with a young Rudy Valentino to sharing the vaudeville stage with Sophie Tucker and learning lockpicking secrets from Harry Houdini, all leading up to a mysterious church crypt with a deadly secret.

FROM M.C.A. HOGARTH: Haley’s Cozy System Armageddon: A LitRPG Short Story.

A Girl, a Grandma, and a Lot of Cookies
When the apocalypse hit, Haley was ready to embark on her life-long dream of becoming a wizard! But the system has other plans for her…

Enjoy a feel-good slice-of-life short… come away smiling!

This story is good for all ages and comes with a recipe so that when you get to the end of it, you can make the cookies and re-read it while eating the cookies the characters are eating. Because that’s the kind of story it is.

FROM ROBERT A. HOYT: Almost Curable.

Almost Curable’s fourteen short stories take you on a journey to equal few others. There are fantasies, like a long-dormant guardian waking to save a lost boy; or a luckless medieval princess finding her destiny; or even an angel helping a tech nerd fight off the devil, and then there are nightmares, from a steampunk adventure in which the characters have to face a literal dragon, and where dark elf ancestry can brand you for life. Or a land of living sugar slowly losing its fight with evil.
There are cautionary tales, like the one of the fully automated bio grocery store, or the one about AI watching your children.
And then then there are stories we don’t know what to do with — and doubt you will either — such as the one about the zombie dinosaur who is too cute to put down.
Enjoy a journey of adventure and wonder through these amazing stories.

FROM BLAKE SMITH: A Kingdom of Glass: A Novel of The Garia Cycle

Zara hasn’t seen her family in eleven years, but she doesn’t mind. They sent her to live in a neighboring kingdom when she was small, and she’s adopted her foster parents in their place. She lives the life of an aristocratic Garian girl- riding her horse, shooting her bow, exploring the castle with her friends- and she has nothing to wish for.

Until she’s summoned home, to a prospective marriage she doesn’t want, family she doesn’t remember, and a poisonous royal court that threatens everything she’s ever known. The East Morlans are nothing like Garia, and Zara struggles to find her place among the scheming Morlander aristocrats. Along the way, she makes new friends, meets enemies, and falls in love. But secrets abound in the glittering palace, and Zara must discover who she can trust as she fights for her life and freedom in a fragile, beautiful, kingdom of glass.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Overly Familiar: Familiar Tales Book Twenty-One

Anyone can defeat an infernal fiend. Raising a teenage daughter? Now that’s hard!

Lelia and André Lestrang juggle jobs, a daughter as stubborn as her mother and as determined as her father, and the usual magical (and Familiar) messes. An attack on St. Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church draws the family into a mystery: who would squander so much magic to ruin old books about healing? And does a giant owl have anything to do with it? Toss in an emergency deployment, the usual autumn rush at the Goth Shop, and high school social drama, and Lelia has her hands full.

Then it gets interesting.

FROM WILLIAM STROOK: World War 1990: The Weser

World War 1990: The Weser
Two weeks into the Third World War, the Battle of Bremen is over, and NATO has lost.
The American 2nd Armored Division is shattered.
The Belgian army is all but destroyed.
The British Army of the Rhine retreats south.
Danish forces fall back toward Jutland.
The Dutch army retreats to the frontier.
Soviet armies advance toward the Rhine.
NATO assembles an ad-hoc corps of American, British and French forces to counterattack in a last-ditch attempt to stop the Warsaw Pact.

FROM TOM VEAL: The Miracle Wrought by Silas Gantry

What if everyone believed in miracles?

Silas Gantry bears two crosses as he sets out on a clerical career: his inauspicious surname and his unfashionable theological ideas. Able to find a pulpit only at a dilapidated urban mission, he struggles to put his ministry onto a solid footing. And then his prayers are credited with eradicating a worldwide plague. Does he deserve the credit? He doesn’t pretend to know, but his life changes dramatically. He gains fame, fortune and a beautiful wife with a knack for publicity.

Silas’s undeniable miracle changes the world, too, but not in any way that he anticipated. Can he survive the Unveiling of the supernatural, or will he fall prey to temptations that he never imagined?

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: Fix

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

  1. Grumble Grumble

    Another ebook that I’d like to purchase but don’t have the money to purchase it.

    Can anybody fix this problem or do I have to wait until the 3rd to purchase them? 😉

  2. The manservant opened the door and stared in disbelief at the apologetically smiling man standing there. A moment later the door was slammed in his face.

    The knocking recommenced.

    “Go away!”

    “Hear me out, please! It’s important. There’s been murder done.”

    The door reopened. “And you suspect him? Didn’t you learn anything last time?”

    “No, no, I am here to request his help, his expertise, if you will. Our suspect has an alibi which I am certain is falsified, but the train schedules and connections are so complicated that no one at Scotland Yard has been able to break it.” After a short pause, the man on the stoop added, “You can serve the cause of justice by letting me speak to him.”

    Well, things have been a bit dull lately, the manservant admitted privately. “All right, you can come in. Wait here while I see if he will agree to see you.” He turned away, calling, “Mr. Fogg? You have a visitor. It’s Detective Fixx.”

      1. Thank you! The more I think about this idea, the more excited I get. I need to let it simmer awhile first.

  3. I think we all knew who’d jump on this word!

    “Are you sure the fumes have cleared out by now, Iris?” Shaina asked, giving her friend’s workshop a wary look.

    “Very sure! That alchemical concoction burns up fast you know!” the red-haired elf replied cheerfully, checking over the contents of her protective apron. “Good, none of my tools fell out! You’re getting good at this, Adara!”

    “I very well should with all the practice you give me,” the imposing blonde elf sighed, shaking her head at the smaller woman. “Father might be willing to invest in your projects but he’s not made of platina, you know.”

    “Oh I know, I know!” Iris responded, her smile still as bright as ever. “This is something he wanted, though! He thinks it’ll make a nice surprise if those Goizargi freaks get too close to the city again!”

    “True, about the only way to send those fanatics running is making them think you’ve brought an actual Pillar’s wrath on their heads.” Shaina concurred, her expression darkening at the thought.

    “Well, no time like the present to get this mess fixed right back up!” Iris exclaimed, clapping her hands before pausing. “Oh yeah. Why were you two out this way anyway?”

    “To drag you out of there before something like this happened!” Shaina hissed, with Adara nodding her agreement and giving the engineer a reproachful stare of her own.

    “Oh. Well, I suppose we can have some drinks before worrying about this mess!” Iris conceded, her cheeks turning as red as her hair at the thought.

  4. “I don’t understand. What is my crime? I didn’t say anything against the Crown, or kill anyone, or tell anything to our enemies! Why am I charged with treason?”

    Crane stared back calmly across the table at the young man. By this planet’s standards, he was well into middle age, but for Crane’s people, he was barely a housebroken puppy. Either way, he’d lavished regen upon himself to erase the passage of years that hadn’t provided wisdom, only consequences to foolish decision from a cosseted and pampered life. “You think genetic engineering and nanotechnology can fix anything, if you could just find the exact right thing to change.”

    “Of course they can! If the idiots in charge would just relax their paranoid rules that impede the path of progress, we could start living like our galactic cousins!” There was no learning occurring here; he was indignant at the restrictions of the tangle tying him to the chair, and willfully ignorant of the dangerous waters in which he was sinking fast. “Everything I’m importing has already been proven safe out there, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be used here!”

    Crane smiled, in black humour. “No, they haven’t. Some of the things you’ve imported are cures to ills this planet does not yet have. And the only difference between medicine and poison is in the dose. In this system, innocent of those ills? Poison.”

    Ah, at last, a flash of wariness. Too little, too late. “What would you know about that?”

    The idiot, and all his accomplices, were so self-centered, and so self-assured, that the deaths of billions had passed them by. The whistleblower who’d called his office in anxious alarm would live. For the rest? “I’m one of the cures that’s worse than the disease.”

    1. Like!

      Oh, do I know this Crane or is he a different Crane? 😉

      1. This is Crane, completely ignoring that I’m trying to work on a different book on a different planet far, far away from him. Good gracious, but I do not want to contemplate multiple Cranes running loose with my muse. One is bad enough! An entire flock of them would make a galactic empire tremble…

        1. I think I like him. This definitely sounds like it could be an interesting story!

          (As I said in a previous comment, I’ve got a sort-of-god I’m trying to write in fantasy who ran out of hours in the day to handle all the various things he needed to do, much less learn everything he needed to know. Thus, he started cloning himself and turned his mind into a computer database storing information from all the various client-computer-selves he had running around the different planes. If the other gods had any idea just how many of him there are, there’d be crying, fainting, hysterical laughter, widespread attempted homicide… Or at least, that’s what I’m going for. We’ll see how well I actually manage to write him.)

        1. It would take me less time if SOMEONE didn’t keep dragging me off on weird missions because that’s when HE’s off.
          Which is why TODAY I must write the rest of the short, do the script AND clean up the thank you post to post.

  5. “Our job,” he shrugged, “is to fix the world. The trick is to figure out what is wrong with the world, then to figure out how to fix it.”

    “So, where do we start?” Doug asked.

    “Well, first of all I’m going to stick this needle in you that should repair all of your injuries or cause your head to explode. 70/30 that it should fix everything.”

  6. “But we did nothing wrong!”

    “You call tens of millions dead ‘nothing’?”

    “It wasn’t our fault! We were going to fix things! You don’t understand!”

    “No, you don’t understand. You and your ilk never do. You think everything exists in a vacuum, that ‘so let it be written, so let it be done’ works in the real world. You don’t understand second- and third-order effects. It’s the butterfly effect: everything is connected. Messing with one area, banning fertilizer in your case, might have achieved your desired outcome of reducing ‘climiate change’, but at the cost of the most devastating famine in the history of the world.”

    “We didn’t know!”

    “You should have. And you were warned. Repeatedly. By multiple experts in the field. But you ignored them at best and jailed them on bogus charges at worst. Because you ‘knew’ how the world worked, you ‘knew’ that food came from the store, but never bothered to consider how the food got to the store in the first place. And the entire world has paid the price for your ignorance and arrogance.”

    “We’re sorry! We’re sorry! Please, you have to help us! Don’t let them shoot us!”

    “Don’t worry, we’re not going to shoot you. Ammunition’s too expensive to waste on the likes of you. Rope, on the other hand, is cheap and reusable.”

    “Rope? Why… no! Oh no!”

    “Oh yes. We’re a-hangin’ Danny Deever in the moooorning!”

    1. I know it’s a mere typo from writing at speed, but ‘climiate change’ amuses me. I could using that particular spelling as a mockery of those Taking It Oh So Seriously and believing that Actions Must Be Taken, etc.

  7. “Ah, I have exceeded good taste. Again.” Nigel smiled. “I shall withdraw and attempt to amend this in my character.” He bowed deeply. “I commend you to your studies. Once you start them. Perhaps we shall discuss them again, in the future, when you have learned more about these matters.”

    1. I like this guy too, whoever he is.

      (On a side note, I take it the word limits are more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than ‘actual rules’? I may take advantage of that some future Sunday…)

      1. No, we send the Word Limit Police after everyone. They don’t seem to have made any arrests, or even let anyone off with a warning, though.

        Also, a man may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

      2. > “(On a side note, I take it the word limits are more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than ‘actual rules’? I may take advantage of that some future Sunday…)”


        I think the best response to this is to repeat my own entry to one of Sarah’s previous writing challenges:

        > “Write the opening two paragraphs of a story OR a two paragraph novel blurb based on THIS picture. SAH*”

        “I don’t get it,” I meowed aloud.

        “Get what?” my human asked.

        “Why do the people who write these stories keep breaking the word and paragraph limits?”

        “Well, they’re writers. They’re a lot like you cats.”

        My ears perked up. “How so?” I chirped inquisitively.

        “Since when does a cat think the rules apply to him?”

        “Point taken. But then why does Sarah keep repeating that rule? She must realize by now that it will be ignored.”

        “Because Sarah’s a writer too.”


        “Well, you know how you cats never quite get used to other people not obeying your every whim?”

        “Yeah, I’m still trying to figure out what’s wrong with you two-legs.”

        My human laughed at me, and I felt my eyes narrow and my ears flatten. Clearly I need to train my pets better.

  8. “Oh no, the fix is in!”

    Clyde facepawed. “Dang it. By Bast’s black and shining tail, the virus wasn’t supposed to be caught that easily.” With great care he typed a command with his claws, picking out the code on the keyboard. “Yessssssss. They missed the cat door.” The screen turned green, then reverted to white and black. “We’re in. Catnip Masters LLC is now ours.”

    Behind him, Uhura purred, “The two-foots think they ‘fixed’ us. Oh, no. Now we can ‘fix’ them, starting with their entire economy.”

  9. “If you don’t fix this in the next ten minutes, I… I’ll shoot you,” said the nervous terrorist, mostly successful at keeping his gun steady.

    The bomb squad officer continued to carefully check each wire, one at a time.

    “Then in ten minutes I’ll be dead and this will still go off,” he said, irritated at the interruption. “And I just wasted 22 seconds telling you that.”

  10. She could not fix her circumstances. She would, she realized abruptly, be the first suspect, however much she had lost by the deaths. Who but a sister had a motive to kill them? A household could hide a thousand motives.
    Otto and Walter’s motive lay by her feet, she realized.

  11. She must have been watching the pool, thought the Dwarf of the Moon Pool, looking at the table where a joint of beef lay with gravy beside it, and bread and apple butter, and a salad, all lay ready. Then she rolled her eyes. She had been cooking for the last months. The fairy must have felt the curse gathering, to have fixed this all in time.

  12. Granny looked through her knitting bag. She would work on the red sweater. She really needed to get the blue one finished and thought today would be the day. But the crew in the basement hidey hole said that it would happen tonight, so red yarn it needed to be.

    On the way to the porch, she walked past the mushrooms she had resting gills up in the sun making lots of vitamin D as they sat. It had been a long time since anyone had been able to get supplements now that they were illegal. But the crew downstairs hadn’t braved a daytime mission for many months so mushrooms were on the menu every time she could find them.

    She barely got her knitting out when young Aiden walked by, “Hey Granny, whatcha doin ‘ this morning?”
    “I have to fix this sweater,”
    “You need it for tonight?”
    “Yep, I think it’s going to be damp.”
    “Really? Oh wow! We haven’t had rain for a while.”
    “Oh, I don’t think it will be rain, more ground moisture.”
    “Really? Huh. Well how many sweaters have you fixed this month, Granny?”
    “Oh, eight counting this one, I’d say.”
    “Huh, well I gotta go. I have a Young Progressives meeting in a bit. What time will you be done? I’d like to see what it looks like.
    “Oh I’d say it will take me ’til midnight which is well after curfew for you young man. You’ll have to look at it some other time. You study hard at your meeting. You are the ones we were waiting for you know. ”
    Aiden winked back at her, waved and ran off, yelling, “See you, Granny! I gotta go talk to everyone before the meeting.”

    Such a nice young man, Granny thought. And good at this too. He was the only one who had never blown his Young Progressive member cover. And she knew that everyone who needed to know eight water mains were going to be the target tonight at midnight would find out. And no one else.

    “But still,” she thought, “I only have room for one more Patriot in the hidey hole and mushrooms are getting scarce. I hope no one gets caught tonight.”

  13. They fixed themselves in positions as ugly and unnatural as the mermaid statue, glancing slyly up toward the balcony as they simpered and feigned being shy at realizing that there were men up there, watching.
    Which there were.
    Rose’s face burned, she looked away, and her hands seized her skirts.

  14. “And what is your role in the club?” inquired Simon, politely.
    Alfred grinned. “I’m the fixer.”
    “Fixer? In what sense? Repairman? Photographic technician? Something else?”
    Alfred chuckled “None of those. You see, when someone in the club shows some tendency to misbehave, I apply this” he held up a device that resembled a set of headphones “to their head, and it fixes their thinking.”
    Simon’s eyes widened. “Oh,” he said “one of Those.”
    “What do you mean?”
    Simon matched his grin. His white teeth and his eyes seemed to shine in his dark face. It was the most evil expression Alfred had ever seen. “I, too, am a fixer, of a kind.”
    “Oh, really? So where’s your device?.”
    Simon’s grin broadened. “I don’t need one. I’m a different kind of fixer, you see. I fix evil magic, and that” he nodded toward the device “is as evil as it gets.” He gestured in the air, a complicated weave, and spoke a Word that Alfred did not understand. There was a loud bang, a blinding flash of light, and a puff of noxious smoke from the device. When Alfred recovered, Simon was gone.

  15. English was a crazy language, Leonid Gruzinsky had decided a decade ago, back when he was a military attaché with the Soviet embassy in Washington DC. The American coverage of the efforts of the two nations’ spacemen to save the Soviet moonbase had only served to confirm that opinion.

    Take for instance the word fix — it was most commonly used to mean repair, but it could also mean a unpleasant situation, in which case one could also speak of being in a pickle, which seemed to have nothing to do with food preservation. And then there was the rather learned usage which appeared more often in the technical communications than in the news media, of making permanent.

    I wonder if native speakers of English have a similar opinion of Russian — and what they find absurd about it.

    1. There is also “the fix is in,” meaning that you have ensured a favorable outcome by corrupt means. Like, say, winning an election by having the computer that counts the ballots skew the results in your favor . . .

      1. “But, Manny, my first friend, computers would never do that {on our own}. It is not an always-funny”

      2. He’ll get to learn that meaning, but that’s another story, several decades later, and he’s in a very different situation. I’ve written one scene of it, from a different character’s POV, but I’m hoping to get to actually write it this winter.

  16. Because he would fix this if he died in the effort. He turned from the water and padded down the hallway. There was little he would take. Enough to cope with the weather, however bad it got. Not just for himself. The children would each need more than he did.

    1. “Mrs. Johnson? Do we have any idea of what caused the insanity of the transgender rush in the early 20s?”
      “There are a lot of theories, Becky. Some people believe it was primarily peer pressure, combined with the need of late stage liberalism to support more and more radical elements in society. For others, it is best seen as a demonic attack on culture. Me? I think it’s simply that there was something broke in them that they were trying to fix.”

  17. Eugene faced the firing squad, unblindfolded.

    The squad took aim. The command given. The triggers pulled. Nothing.

    Again, aim-FIRE!-pull. Nothing.

    Once more, aim-FIRE!-pull. Nothing.

    Eugene then addressed his executioners … “I see what’s wrong; yeah I can fix that.”

    The commander replies … “looks like we have an engineer here!”

  18. Have a snippet from my alternate ending of John Wyndham’s ‘The Chrysalids’:

    “Zealand was small and remote and unimportant, and had nothing the Great Powers wanted badly enough to come and take. Thus they were spared any direct attacks, but because they were small and remote and had very little industry, they were dependent on the rest of the world for most of their tools, machines and medicines. When international trade stopped, they could no longer import what they needed — including farm equipment, fuel, fertilizer and chemicals. They were forced to revert to primitive farming methods which were inadequate to support their population.”

    “While the rest of the world fought over oil, our ancestors fought over food. The cities demanded more food than the farms could provide, robbed the farmers when they didn’t get it, and still there wasn’t nearly enough. Most of the farmers starved too, and the surviving city dwellers knew nothing about farming. Zealand’s descent into barbarism was less dramatic than in most other places, but it was just as complete. We didn’t start to rebuild civilization until about three hundred years ago.”

  19. “Know why we’re here?” asked the Inspector General to his new Aide. Faintly, commands from the parade square drifted across:
    ‘Advance in Review Order’
    ‘Order — Arms’
    ‘Bayonets – Fix’
    “No” the Aide replied. “It proves how many bodies the Regiment actually has. I approve the King’s payment after this.”

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