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 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 FIONA GREY: Glitter: A Professor Porter Short Story (Professor Porter Paranormals)

Professor June Porter is worried. Her daughter Medina has shown no signs of magic, leaving her defenseless and isolated among magicians. Unless, of course, everyone’s about to discover just how special Medina is.

FROM RICHARD F. WEYAND: Hecate (Pantheon Book 1)

Recently widowed engineer Timothy Conner would always remember it as the day his life changed forever. The day he went to the estate sale.

Timothy Conner bought an ancient book and got a cat into the bargain. But the cat and the book concealed a centuries-old secret. Conner probes that secret and releases an ancient being of unimaginable power.

Life for Timothy Conner would never be the same. The world would never be the same.

Because the world had never been what he had always thought it was.

FROM J. M. NEY GRIMM: Eurydice Otherwise (The Hades Cycle Book 1

She’s not Eurydice, but she’s caught the eye of hell’s king…

Phoebe, a nature spirit of ancient Greece, loves her mountain birthplace and intends never to leave it. But the Olympian Artemis’ dazzling glamor lures her away to join the goddess’ retinue of handmaidens.

Initially the handmaidens welcome Phoebe warmly, but their friendship turns to bullying once Artemis turns her back. Phoebe’s inexperience makes her no match for the mean girls, who win every verbal battle.

And when Phoebe chooses a protector other than the often-absent Artemis, she courts a danger far worse than cruel taunts or stinging slaps. Unless she learns to value herself for herself—rather than depending on the regard of others—she will perish in Hades’ depths.

Eurydice Otherwise is the intense first tale in The Hades Cycle. If you enjoy ancient mythology brought to vivid life, you’ll love the entrancing characters, inventive world building, and startling twists in J.M. Ney-Grimm’s gripping short story of the old gods.

FROM C. V. WALTER: Healed by His Alien Nurse (Alien Brides Book 7)

Coming soon…..

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Fractional Ownership

When his company demands either a move to Mars or the loss of his job,perpetual plaintiff Lewis Ostrow finds he can’t even get a ticket to the world without lawyers.A short story.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Noble, Priest, and Empire: Merchant and Empire Book Seven

Valdher of the Wilds, Lady of the Forest

Unwanted survivor, failure, Halwende cost his father money and should never have become heir. When Valdher chooses him as priest, no one is prepared for what follows, least of all Halwende.

Sneelah of the Snows, Lady of the Ice

Young in his power, Aglak Rothbard settles long-simmering disputes. With force. Icy-cold force, just like the goddess he serves.

One man seeks to open the raw, new lands in the north for settlement, as his Lady commands. The other seeks to balance rapid change and the desires of a deity reluctant to release her hold on the north. When long-forbidden magic is brought back to light and used for ill purposes, both men and their deities must work together for the good of the Northern Empire. Two men and their patrons, strong in power and stronger in will. Who will be master of the northern lands?

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Darkship Thieves

Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space. Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. She never had any interest in finding out the truth about the Darkships.
You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the stranger—who turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help.
But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime and perhaps a whole new world—if she managed to survive….
A Prometheus Award Winning Novel, written by a USA Today Bestseller.

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: WILD

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

  1. “You’re Grounded Cadet!”

    “But Sarge, I was just having a good flight.”

    “No Buts Cadet, your Wild Flying almost caused an airliner to crash!”

  2. Delia put her cup down with a click. “Such wild flights of fancy have their place, but now, let us speak together as befits cousins, in practice for the day when we will be such. You know we were not sent here to study, but in hopes of making matches.”

    1. This feels very reminiscent of Jane Austen. Was that the goal? Because if it was, well done.

  3. Every Sunday night was the same. The Lawrence Welk Show; Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; The Wonderful World of Disney. Every. Sunday. Night. However Jane did not begrudge the solid block of time her kids spent, enchanted, in front of the television on those evenings. (Even the dog curled up and watched.) It gave her a chance to review her schedule for the week, make sure the kids’ sports uniforms were laundered and plan her weekly grocery list. If she was really lucky, she’d even get a chance to sit down and read a few chapters in her latest library book without interruption.

  4. Truly annoying. It would have been easier if the fan were lost in the woods, the wilds did not have so many hiding places. Her mouth pursed. It was just as well that Brian had been murdered, she would kill him herself for costing her so much work by dying.

    1. Inconsiderate jerk, she thought. Did he not think how much his getting murdered would inconvenience me?

  5. Syesha knew there was going to be a catch. It sounded too good to be true; but broke, with no other options. she had jumped at the chance to get paid.

    “Always read the fine print.” Her father’s voice echoed. She braced herself for launch. Just another shift in Weaponized Infiltration Large Dragon Division, or W.I.L.D Division as it was known.

  6. The drop pod gave a wild shudder, shaking like it was being worried by a very irritated dragon. I remembered the third rule of drop pods and I made sure that the mouth guard was firmly in place again while I kept my breathing as calm and as steady as possible.

  7. New setting, and this one’s been cooking for a bit…

    “She does not wish to harm you, Vincent,” a metallic, feminine voice echoed in the cockpit. “Nor does she wish to be harmed by you.”

    “I don’t know, she certainly didn’t have any issues going after me,” the pilot grumbled, brushing stray hair out of his eyes. “If her attacks hadn’t been so wild the battle might have gone the other way.”

    “Only because you were restraining yourself,” the voice replied sternly. “You’ve sent more dangerous opponents than her to their graves with minimal effort. Is that not why you are both revered and feared as the ‘Gunblade Emperor,” Vincent?”

    “Is there a point to this, Ash?” Vincent asked, irritation creeping into his voice as he checked the visuals outside the cockpit. “Colonel Behringer will be here any minute now.”

    “Only that you should be honest about how you feel, as she is, Vincent.” the voice responded.

    “Feelings don’t matter to the Undying, Ash. We both know that.” the man sighed. “All I can do is hope she’s the one to end this curse.”

    “On that, we agree.” the voice concurred before going silent. As he had predicted, his superiors were approaching in their own mechs, pale imitations of the draconic jade titan that Vincent sat in. The last thing he needed was Ashleshia getting her inner yenta on in front of the men who counted on his cursed unlife to bring them victory after victory.

    “What can I do but keep going…?” he wondered, lowering the titan’s colossal mechanical blade with one hand and saluting the approaching officers with the other.

    1. Neat. This feels like an interesting combination of fantasy (‘Undying, curse’) and sci-fi. It sounds like an interesting world. You planning to write more?

      1. Thanks! I had a feeling the darker elements might be to your taste. 😉 I borrowed rather heavily from some games I played, one of which involves cursed mechs, though I’m still working out what, exactly, is going on here and I’ll probably need to finish the game series to get a serious handle on it. I’ll definitely write more at some point, likely after this project I’m working on is finished. Pretty sure Sarah won’t give me a choice once it is, heh!

        1. If you haven’t read ‘Servants Of War’ by Larry Correia and Steve Diamond, do so. Cursed battle mechs in World War 1-style trenches, powered by fragments of a stolen golem spell.

              1. Does it cost money? Because if so, no. No, I have not.

                (I have read “The Lawdog Files”, but that’s largely because my parents bought it for the family.)

                I would like to have a little more in the bank before I start taking you folks up on all your various media recommendations.

                1. In that case, great news! You can download Monster Hunter International from the Baen Free Library for, well, free.

                  This is of course an insidious plot to get you hooked on the Monster Hunter series so you will have to buy the other 10 books. 😀

                  I can also recommend these books from the Baen Free Library:

                  Caliphate by Tom Kratman
                  A Desert Called Peace by Tom Kratman (Terra Nova 1)
                  A State Of Disobedience by Tom Kratman
                  Boundary by Ryk Spoor (Boundary 1)
                  Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson (Freehold 1)
                  There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo (Council Wars 1)
                  Emerald Sea by John Ringo (Council Wars 2)
                  1632 by Eric Flint (Grantville 1)
                  On Basilisk Station by David Weber (Manticore 1)
                  The Honor Of The Queen by David Weber (Manticore 2)
                  In The Heart Of Darkness by Eric Flint & David Drake (Belisarius 2)
                  A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo (Posleen Wars 1)
                  Gust Front by John Ringo (Posleen Wars 2)

                  Most of them are the first book or two of a series, so, more of those insidious plots to get you hooked. You can download the books in various formats including HTML, so they can be read with Firefox or Chrome or whatever web program you use.

                  Back in the 1990’s Baen enclosed CDs loaded with books in some of their hardcover editions. Images of the Baen CDs are hosted at The Fifth Imperium where they are also free to download. There are at least 400 titles between the various CDs, including several complete or nearly complete series and a lot of older science fiction classics.

                  Be warned, John Ringo’s Ghost/Kildar books are on a couple of those CDs — that’s the series that started the OH, JOHN RINGO, NO! meme…

  8. “Crossroads ahead,” called Kevin.
    In this wild, that was a point of danger. They could take the wrong road.
    Except, of course, they did not know where they were going, so they could not choose wisely.
    Barring a stone with the warnings that to go left meant to face hunger and thirst; straight, that you would die, and your horse live; right, that you would live, and your horse die.

  9. The judge looked up from some papers on her bench. “What is the geographic anomaly located at thirty-two degrees, forty-nine minutes, sixteen seconds North latitude by one hundred seventeen degrees, seven minutes, forty-eight seconds West longitude, commonly referred to as the Balboa Sinkhole? What caused it?”

    The purple-haired woman in the witness box shook her head slightly. “I do not know.”

    “Come on, you must know something; you were found in the middle of it, after all. Are you evading my questions, Ms. Evans?”

    Her grip on the chair arms tightened. “Not intentionally, Your Honor. I’m afraid I just don’t have very many answers, even for myself. All I know is what I’ve learned in the four days since I appeared on your world. My existence before that is a complete mystery. Daniel and I have made what he calls some wild-ass guesses, based on what we have been able to observe, but that is all.”

    “What can you tell me about the sinkhole?”

    “Only what we have guessed — that it’s somehow connected to whatever sent me here. Some sort of interdimensional transporter machine, we think. My very first memory is of standing in that crater. I did not witness what caused it. I did not know where I was, or even who I was. I’m sorry, but that is the only answer I have.”

  10. “I’ve always wondered at the wild, feral youth portrayed in A Clockwork Orange. How had such a dystopian society of roving violent youth gangs coupled with bizzare fashion trends ever come about. Well the green goblin gang of New York City answered the both questions about violence and poor clothing choices.”
    Sadly the vignette above is NOT fiction.

    1. ‘Green Goblin Gang.’

      Are they wearing strange plastoid armor? Or Halloween masks? I do hope no one’s gotten their hands on a glider, or pumpkin bombs…

        1. Ah. So they don’t even have the common courtesy to play comic book villains.

          Lord lead them to repentance, and bring healing to their victims.

            1. I’d bow, if we were in the same room. In the meantime – thank you. You honor me.

              We’ll just see how my good intentions, forgiveness, and prayers hold up should I ever meet such individuals in the future. After the scuffle, that is. I make no promises for what I do or don’t do in self-defense or defense of others.

        1. Not to witnesses. Certainly not to police officers. And to my knowledge, green screen suits only work in front of… Well, actual green screens.

          Given their described body type, I do hope no one mentions the D&D Armor Provides Penalties to Stealth rules. No one needs people streaking through the city thinking that Nakedness = Invisibility.

          Yes, I have been reading “Order of the Stick” recently. How did you guess?

          1. > “No one needs people streaking through the city thinking that Nakedness = Invisibility.”

            It depends on their charisma score (just ask Haley).

            1. Their charisma score was negative. If they worked in a nudie bar, customers would tip them for putting their clothes on. It would take two-keg ‘beer glasses’, minimum, to make them look marginally acceptable.

  11. The animal park was close, and soothing to his soul. At rest he often wild away his quiet hours there.

  12. Delilah coaxed Samson into revealing the secret of his strength and then spilled the beans to the Philistines, who shaved his head while he was asleep, leaving him weak as a kitten. “Damn,” he said afterwards, looking at his bald pate in the mirror. “I’ve been wiled, beguiled, and styled.”

  13. What’s in a Name?

    I’m a Lawyer (insert suitable or unsuitable joke or Shakespearian quote here). At least I’m not an ambulance chaser or one of those lawyers whose3-D image grins at you along the commuter routes. My particular niche in the law profession has only existed for 50 years, since humanity became a true inter-stellar species. I am an interstellar law specialist with a practice concentration in copyright and patent law.

    The species in the interstellar community that we’ve joined fall along a continuum when it comes to concepts like intellectual property and ownership. The K’rill were our first contact and, on the intellectual property scale, were at the far end, not even having the concept or language to describe it. They had openly and generously shared propulsion, navigation, and other engineering concepts with humanity, asking nothing in return. They also acted as our sponsors, introducing humanity to the wider community in our part of the galaxy. One of the species whose acquaintance we made through the good offices of the K’rill were the GuGon.

    The GuGon are hard to describe, as they don’t easily fall into a category as a species. Not like terrestrial mammals, reptiles, birds, or even fish or arthropods. Still, a wild confluence of conditions led their verbal and auditory spectrum to be very similar to that of humanity, with much of their pronunciation being similar to that of standard English. Although AI translators are the usual means of communication between species, the similarity of GuGon and human speech has quickly generated a whole academic industry populated with the 25th century descendants of Henry Higgins. A fair number of people are at least passably fluent in GuGon, but I’m not one of them. Of interest to me is the fact that they are on the other side of the scale from the K’rill when it comes to intellectual rights and are very litigious. Of course, that’s good for my business.

    On Tuesday morning I was working on a standard licensing agreement for use of some #%*69Gr technology by a Terrestrial company when the screen (I’m old school) flashed notification of an incoming interstellar call, originating from GuGon space. I activated the translation matrix and accepted the call, anticipating a fat retainer from a disgruntled GuGon.

    Sukhoram: greetings esteemed litigator Reynolds

    I knew this guy (?) from previous dealings with the GuGons, a solicitor with a penchant for trolling for cases with the chance for quick, lucrative settlements.

    Me: Greetings, esteemed solicitor Sukhoram, to what do I owe the honor of your call?

    Sukhoram: a potential case of copyright infringement has come to my attention. As it involves a human corporation I will need a human to represent my,,, our interests in this matter,

    This sounded interesting. Sukhoram had a reputation for finding lucrative settlements,

    Me: Can you give me some details of the case?

    Sukhoram: While searching a Terran database I came across a product whose name violates our copyright laws and, most likely, the Interstellar code as well. We seek a cease-and-desist order and for 50 years of damages. The product is called Goo Gone™ and, as you can hear, it is phonetically the same as our Species’ name. One we’ve gone by for at least 10,000 standard years. They have been in violation of our copyright and Interstellar laws as well at least since humanity signed onto the Interstellar Accords.

    I had been quickly searching my database for this product. It was old, made by a family-owned company, and had been on the market for 625 standard years (about 500 Terran years). In that time, through several mergers and acquisitions, the company had maintained its trademark and had successfully defended it in human courts on several occasions. At least on Earth, their right to the name, was secure. Soundalike names were problematic, but case law on Earth was well established in the matter. It looked like Sukhoram had a winner, and I’d get a fat percentage for little work. Win-Win!

    Me: That sounds straightforward. They have held the Terran Trademark for that name for more than 600 standard years. When did your species file the copyright or Trademark on the GuGon name?

    Sukhoram: That might be a problem. We’ve never properly filed for either of those, as it’s our name, it’s been our name since we’ve had written language, probably much longer than that.

    Me: Per interstellar law precedence goes to the party that legally claimed the name, on their world before interstellar status or in the interstellar court of records once their species signed the Accords. They clearly have a right to their name, despite the similarity.

    Sukhoram: Well, it was a good thought. I will keep you in mind when I have other cases involving Terran interests.

    Me: I will look forward to the opportunity when it comes.

    The connection terminated. I made sure that the recorder had got the whole thing, then I placed a call to the legal department of the company that makes Goo Gone™. Based on Interstellar Law they would have a strong case for a cease-and-desist injunction and at least 50 years of damages against the GuGon. I would be happy to represent them in the Interstellar court, for a suitable percentage.

    1. Oh my. I hope Sukhoram has a sense of humor, or at least is a good sport, because he’s probably going to regret ever mentioning that case…

      1. I’m not sure if “Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to” applies here, but I am sure any lawyer in any time would do the same thing.

  14. When Elaine was in grade school and had friends stay overnight, they’d talked about being out in the middle of nowhere. To them, used to town lots side by side, the open field beyond the farmstead’s carefully mowed grass might as well have been a wilderness.

    She wondered how they would’ve handled living here at Sparta Point, surrounded by coastal redwoods that reached up to touch the sky. In the day she could hear the bellows of the Roosevelt elk, and as dusk turned to night, the yowls of mountain lions brought gooseflesh to the back of her arms.

  15. One of the more frustrating things about being one of the new gods was that no one told you the rules. They’d all lived with them for so long that no one even thought about them anymore.

    Rules such as: “Don’t get too close to your followers. You can’t save them all, and it’ll hurt more in the end if you care.”

    Or: “Don’t challenge Death to a game of dragonchess. She hates it when people do that, and they only way you’ll ever get her to forgive you is by playing poker with her. (Read: by being thoroughly trounced at poker.)”

    Or: “Under no circumstances, EVER, play a game of dragonchess with Asmodeus.”

    Admittedly, the latter was a rather obvious rule for most. And when the archdevil had first asked, Ethren’s acceptance was only a matter of politeness. He was absolutely confident that he wasn’t going to win.

    And then he did.

    It had been a challenge, certainly. But despite his initial resignation, he found himself slowly becoming more and more invested in the game. To the point where he used the one real trick in his arsenal – a special move from a slightly altered set of rules, allowing one to swap one’s king with an unmoved peasant.

    In retrospect, he’d wondered whether that was quite wise. Granted, the only real way he could expect to win was to pull out something new enough that the Supreme of the Nine Hells hadn’t seen it yet. The problem was that if the god of evil thought you were cheating, he was far more likely than most to do something about it.

    But in the end, Asmodeus had just cocked his head at the board for a moment, then said, “Ahhh. Sword Coast rules.” And the game had continued.

    And as soon as he was out of the room, Ethren heaved a sigh of relief.

    The next week, he realized it had been too easy. Far, far too easy.

    And after living with nagging paranoia for several years wondering why it had been so easy, he was more than happy to accept the archdevil’s offer of a rematch, hoping that he’d be able to work out the answer. (And, well… the first game had been rather fun.)

    He worked it out during their fifth match, when Asmodeus mentioned offhandedly that no one else ever played the game with him.

    And he convinced himself that the next time the devil came knocking, he’d say “No.”

    And then the devil did, and he said “Yes.”

    He was actually the one who instigated their twelfth match. By that point, well… it wasn’t actually anything evil. And getting thoroughly trounced at dragonchess every couple of years would keep him somewhat humble. Or so he told himself.

    Honestly, it felt rather weird being tempted into games of dragonchess, of all things. But no one could say the archdevil was bad at his job.

    Of course, from time to time, things were interrupted. A paladin would make a call that Ethren had to answer, a priest would need a touch of divine intervention, one of Asmodeus’ people would stage yet another coup…

    Or Cyric, god of lies and chaos, would barrel into the room like a wild owlbear, break the chessboard, scatter the pieces, and disappear in a bout of mad laughter.

    As Ethren sat staring at the carnage, he was faintly disappointed that this didn’t even surprise him. Asmodeus certainly didn’t seem troubled – almost before Cyric had left, he was on his hands and knees collecting pieces from various corners of the room.

    “You know,” Ethren commented, finally. “You could probably use magic to collect those quicker.”

    Rising to his feet with a handful of white and black figurines, Asmodeus shrugged. “I could. But that would be too easy.” Walking back to the fallen table, he righted it with a foot, then started dividing the figurines again. He paused, looking down at the still-broken chessboard.

    Ethren raised an eyebrow. “I could mend that, if you like.”

    Asmodeus chuckled. “Clearly, you haven’t interacted overmuch with dear Cyric. Believe me, it won’t be that easy.” Returning to his seat, he laid the last few figurines in their places before continuing. “Knowing him, he’s placed some sort of intricate enchantment on the board which will make it all but impossible to repair for more than ten seconds.”

    He raised a finger, and a slightly unsettling smile slipped onto his lips. “I have a better idea.” Laying the finger against the surface of the table, he drew it back towards him twice.

    Two parallel lines appeared, scorched black into the wood. With two more quick gestures, he drew two more perpendicular to the first two.

    Ethren stared down at the perfectly drawn tic-tac-toe board. Then up at the devil. “You cannot be serious.”

    “I assure you, my friend, I am perfectly capable of it.” Asmodeus waved a hand at the board with a kind smile. The faintly malevolent humor in his eyes was almost invisible. Almost.
    “I believe white moves first.”

    Ethren opened his mouth, then shut it again, and lifted his dragon piece, setting it in the center square.

    “An excellent opening move.”

    “You are aware that this game is pointless? Once you have any real knowledge of the game, you can’t win. The best a player can do is make sure both parties lose.”

    There were moments in games past where Ethren almost forgot who was sitting across the board from him. There were also moments when he was very well aware. When the archdevil smiled, there was a look in his eyes that made this moment very much the latter.

    “And isn’t that an interesting metaphor?” A black knight took up residence in one of the corners, and Asmodeus sat back in his chair, gesturing towards the board. “Your move.”

    Ethren shrugged and set a white peasant in another corner. Asmodeus placed a high priest in a third corner, laying the foundation of a row.

    Which Ethren then blocked with his next move, putting another peasant between the priest and the dragon. Asmodeus of course placed a mage to disrupt his line.

    With the placement of two more white peasants and a king, the game was over. Ethren shrugged and stood up.

    “Like I said. No one can win.”

    Asmodeus smiled self-deprecatingly. “Nonetheless, I am glad to have finished the game. Even if it wasn’t the one we started with.”

    “Same time next year?”

    “It would be my honor.”

    Ethren gave a slight – very slight – bow to his host, then turned and left.

    As the door closed behind him, he didn’t quite catch the ripple of illusion magic run like water off of the pieces on the board. Asmodeus glanced down with a slight smile.

    Every one of them was black.

    1. That was a fun contribution as well! Glad to see you both contributing and encouraging people here. 🙂

    2. …And now I regret ever telling you that Sarah doesn’t enforce word limits. You’re not supposed to write an entire novella, lady. 😛

      More seriously, though, is this based on the Forgotten Realms setting? It’s been a long time since I read any D&D novelizations, but I thought Cyric’s portfolio was murder, not chaos.

      1. This is based on my reading the TV Tropes info on Forgotten Realms deities (they’re in the Characters category of the Forgotten Realms pages) and deciding that I wanted to play around with them. You’re probably right about Cyric’s technical portfolio, I’m just describing general character.

        (As for word limits: never underestimate me again. 😉 Although that does give me an idea… I could possibly write a collection of novellas/short interactions I’ve imagined about the lives of gods. I just need to file off a dozen serial numbers first…)

  16. Her path converged to the other break in the crowd. Sir Guillaume, of course, had come suitably attired, and suitably attended with suitably attired men. She wondered whether her father, or some other noble, had seen to the clothes.
    It did not, she thought, make him look tame. Or safe.

  17. “They can’t have just come through the wild! They don’t do that!”
    Whoever shouted was so terrified his voice was unidentifiable.
    “They come to us and demand their tribute! They don’t just come to a village and kill everyone!”
    Marcus came into sight. Young Bill stared, and was cut down where he stood by a stranger.

  18. “We will need knights to deal with the mountaineers,” said the chancellor.
    “They are not a danger in their wilds,” said the chamberlain, and thought that it did not become a king to sit and watch his councilors as if they were a bear baiting. The case must be obvious to him. “This long lost princeling is a danger. He goes to war.”

  19. “Worldwide Infection Leverage Detection,” the cop read on the office door. It was propped open. Inside the tenth floor office, among the piles of papers scattered as if by a clumsy search, he saw the body, sprawled as if cut down in the middle of a search.

    It was covered in masks. Those cheap blue paper masks from China that had been popular back in the 2020s.

    “Looks like the Fauci Mob again,” he grumbled to himself. “This is gonna put that rat on the front pages again. And we won’t have the evidence to send him up the river.”

  20. Matt dug in, ignoring the laser grid. Holo-Ball World Series, game seven: two outs, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth. He swung at the holo-pitcher’s fastball, low and outside. The iBat’s haptic feedback stung Matt’s hands – game-winning homer. Under his breath he muttered, “And the crowd goes wild.”

  21. Grumble grumble cuss cuss.

    I will not be starting another story before I finish the current one.
    I will not be starting another story before I finish the current one.
    I will not-

    Oh bogsdammit. (headdesk)

    I blame the prompt.

  22. Genessa surveyed the waterfront. A wild ceropotamus swam lazily in the shallows about thirty feet away. It was harmless as long as nothing disturbed it so Genessa began to fill her canteen.

    As the water flowed in a gentle current, faint laughter carried on the breeze, bringing Genessa’s attention to the shoreline nearest the beast. Suddenly a child of about four years stepped out of the long grass with clear intent to splash about in the lake, blissfully unaware of how easily the ceroptamus could pull her under water until she drowned.

    Genessa called out a warning to the girl while cautiously moving towards the now alert creature. The annoyed child seemed determined to get to the water one way or another, so Genessa quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her back to into the long grass, continuing to back away until the ceroptamus became bored once again.

    Hearing faint voices in the distance, Genessa knew she had to return the child to her family and warn them of the danger before quickly making her own escape. But then she noticed the necklace on the girl’s neck, bearing the emblem of the Dicantain royal family. So much for remaining obscure.

  23. The Jurrasic Park movies got it all backwards. If/when we recreate real live dinosaurs, they won’t be safely kept (yes, even the carnivorous ones) in a park. They will be released into the wild — just ahead of some very high priced, very exclusive guided safaris.

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