Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

*We interrupt this promo post for some amazing news. Just as I was about to give up and had already decided I would go to the doctor to see why the cough wasn’t stopping after a week, it stopped. I mean, there’s still a little insignificant dry cough, but I …. slept. This being so, and my being so tired last night that I was maybe minutes away from the sort of hallucination that starts a world-religion, I slept for a little over twelve hours, and have been taking care of the “must do” that went undone for over a week. So, sorry this is late, but I’m actually awake for the first time in over three weeks. We now return to your scheduled book promo and vignettes. -SAH*

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 KAREN MYERS: Mistress of Animals: A Lost Wizard’s Tale.

Book 2 of The Chained Adept.


Penrys, the wizard with a chain and an unknown past, is drafted to find out what has happened to an entire clan of the nomadic Zannib. Nothing but their empty tents remain, abandoned on the autumn steppe with their herds.

This wasn’t a detour she’d planned on making, but there’s little choice. Winter is coming, and hundreds are missing.

The locals don’t trust her, but that’s nothing new. The question is, can she trust herself, when she discovers what her life might have been? Assuming, of course, that the price of so many dead was worth paying for it.

FROM LIANE ZANE: The Harlequin & The Drangùe: Book One in the Elioud Legacy.

Olivia Markham lives a complicated life. By day, she is a star CIA officer working a cover as a graduate student in Vienna. By night, she is a self-appointed, kick-ass superhero wearing a harlequin’s hood and wielding a wicked bō.

Life is about to get more complicated.

The sexual predator that Olivia tracks one July evening to Vienna’s Stadtpark calls himself Asmodeus, a demon’s name. Olivia doesn’t care what he calls himself. She’s just there to save an innocent young woman. What Olivia doesn’t know is that Asmodeus has followers he calls bogomili after an ancient sect of believers. She suddenly finds herself fighting to save her own life against these vicious, soulless creatures whose mission is to release souls from the bonds of a corrupt world.

Across the Stadtpark another hears Olivia’s battle with the bogomili. He is a drangùe, a powerful warrior with supernatural abilities who is duty bound to save innocents from Asmodeus. This drangùe will stop at nothing to defeat his age-old enemy—even if it means risking everything to bring Olivia into his world. A world in which the drangùe has his own cover identity. He has good reason to distrust this beautiful young woman who hides secrets that could get him killed or worse…. But the drangùe must keep Olivia close in order to stay one step ahead of Asmodeus. The only problem is that the closer he keeps her, the more the drangùe wants to keep Olivia in his life. And that is not part of his long-term battle plans.

FROM TOM VEAL: Shadowloves: A Tale of Desire

For a man pushing into his thirties without a love life, Shadowloves, the lushest of singles resorts, offers the promise of finding once again The One and Only from whom he parted years ago. But once he has found her, will she ever let him go?

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Like a Continental Soldier.

The starship Valerie Hall failed to reach the terraformed world of its original destination. Instead, it found a habitable substitute where the settlers split into two factions. First Landing devolved into a rude replica of medieval despotism. Seccon might promise more.

Or so hope Gilead Tan and his companions.

Gilead spent three centuries in cold sleep, held there by a First Landing custom that decreed only one sleeper could be awakened every fifty years. Once awake, Gilead freed two dozen of his fellows—all soldiers like himself—and led them into the wilderness.

Close to two hundred civilians still lie trapped in the decaying cryo-cells of First Landing. Their captive slumber haunts him.

But despite its vaunted freedom, Seccon has one rule. No one goes back to First Landing.


This booklet is an edited collection of the pamphlets published throughout the month of November. It covers the ever-worsening times we live in nowadays because our rulers demand it. As always, it covers current events with some observations of leftism and tyranny, with a bit of pop culture here-and-there.

We need a resistance movement more than ever. That’s basically what I’ve been aiming for in all the books so-far and it’s not going to stop until I do and so does everyone else

EDITED* AND INTRODUCED BY D. JASON FLEMING, WRITTEN BY LEIGH BRACKET: No Good From A Corpse (Annotated): The classic hard-boiled pulp detective novel

Private eye Edmond Clive had seen a lot in his time, but when he took on a poison pen case, hired by a rich bitch from a highly dysfunctional family to find out who was sending letters darkly hinting about her husband’s past, he hardly expected to get dragged kicking and shooting into a maelstrom of murder and treachery.

•       This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction giving historical context to the novel and Brackett’s career.

EDITED* AND INTRODUCED BY D. JASON FLEMING, WRITTEN BY MAX BRAND: Wild Freedom (annotated): The classic pulp western adventure

Tommy Parks followed his father over the mountain ridge with a blind faith and love. But his father hadn’t counted on the last winter storm. Now twelve-year old Tommy was alone, in the frontier wilderness, with only his wits and the remains of his father’s supplies to survive against nature, grizzly bears, and the most dangerous creature of all — man!

    This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction and afterword giving genre and historical context to the novel.

*D, Jason Fleming would like to disclaim any attempt to edit giants of the field. Let it be know by editing I meant only removal of artifacts of scanning the stories in, or perhaps catching some errors introduced by the original editors (which does happen, occasionally, in pulp.)

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: SURPRISE.

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

  1. “You know, it is very surprising for a mortal to visit a vampire’s lair at night. Do you have anything to say before I kill you?”

    “Yes. Surprise!” said the old wizard when he casted the Sunlight Spell. As he watched the vampire turn to dust, the old wizard said “Now that’s surprising. I never knew that vampires sparkled when they turn to dust”.

    Note, thanks to Chris Nuttall who had a vampire “sparkle” as it turned to dust after being hit by a Sunlight Spell. 😉

  2. One in a hundred thousand, indeed. She poured out the earth as ordered, and tried to move it around. It moved. A bit. It never took form when she pushed it together.
    Isabella looked at her coldly. It should not be a surprise. Her mother had written of her limits.

  3. The great thing about surprise? The expression on people’s faces when you do manage to pull it off.

    Sayuri had gotten very good at reading my words and body language for hidden meaning-almost as good as I had gotten about hers. So, I feinted-Deborah and Aretta had done all of the prep work, and Belladona had set the location up while I was keeping her busy. I didn’t know all the details-I didn’t have to. All I needed to do was wait for the phone call, arrange the trip to the cafe, and step aside when the confetti was fired.

    “Happy birthday, Sayuri!” they all cheered, and I was able to catch, out of the corner of my eye, Sayuri’s happy expression when she saw all of this.

  4. “What did you find out?” Daniel asked anxiously.

    Officer Morales looked apologetic. “Not much. The neighbors saw a white van in your driveway this afternoon, but they assumed it was just delivering more old tires. They didn’t notice anything being taken.”

    Now he was pissed off, but not at her. “Yeah, well, they did take ‘em. All of our diamond assemblers are gone. They dropped off a few tires, but that was just to cover up the stealing.”

    Tovala shrugged. “Well, no matter.”

    “What?” they both exclaimed.

    Her smile was not nice at all. “Whoever took them is in for a surprise. In a short time they’ll have nothing but two tubs of worthless black sludge. The nanomachines are equipped with a fail-safe. If they go too long without receiving their control signals, they break down into harmless simple molecules. They’ve been outside signal range for more than six hours already.”

    “Where do they get these control signals from?” Morales wanted to know.

    “From me. The only computer on this planet with enough processing power to do the job is wired into my nervous system.”

  5. I figured at least a few of them would be able to work with this one…

    Of course. It always happened this way, whether they fought in their mechs or not. Despite his size and heavier armor plating the Diamond Paladin Alpheratz was able to adapt to Edmund’s fencing style perfectly, constantly dancing out of reach of Ashleshia’s gunblade. Vincent was never sure when to pull the trigger on a strike or not and figured holding the charge back would be better in this case. He was, thankfully, correct, and avoided wasting a charge as the blade sliced through thin air. It also allowed him to assume a defensive stance more easily, deflecting his opponent’s counter thrust. Still, this was going nowhere. If he couldn’t get some kind of advantage over the Lord Protector and Diamond Paladin…

    “Damn!” Vincent swore, watching Alpheratz lower its sword and extend its left hand, golden light gathering. That was the other problem with fighting him, Edmund was almost as skilled a caster as he was a fencer. He reached for the control panel to trigger the arcana barriers when Ash spoke up.

    “How long will you let the past hold you back, Vincent?” she asked, a maternal softness in her tone. “I can tell you that Alpheratz is vulnerable to an attack from the opposing element right now should you choose to use it, as your predecessors have.”

    Her words brought a memory from the end of the Loire War negotiations to mind. A smile from Carys that he hadn’t seen since they were children. Would she have given him that if the past still haunted her that much? He had to find out and to do that he had to gain victory over Edmund Baines today. Vincent moved his hand from the arcana barrier button to the arcana booster, Ash’s black folding wings spreading out as he pressed it. The Jade Tempest extended her right hand, which swirled with dark energies. Ashleshia completed her charge before Alpheratz and a barrage of black blades accented with crimson erupted from the space in front of her, cutting the Diamond Paladin’s spell short and sending him reeling.

    Edmund and Alpheratz clearly didn’t expect this. Not one to let the element of surprise go to waste Vincent and Ashleshia surged forward, landing a charged slash right across the Diamond Paladin’s breastplate! Even Alpheratz’s armor couldn’t shrug off a fully charged strike from a gunblade and Edmund struggled to get his mech back on proper defensive footing. Yet Vincent hadn’t detected a change in the arcana as he slashed away at his mortal enemy until the ground shifted beneath him, sending both Ashleshia and Alpheratz to their feet. A slim, feminine red and black mech with a crown of spikes looked down at the two combatants from a short distance away, a long metal coil extending from one of its wrists. Of course. Where the Lord Protector was, the Mad Empress was never far behind.

    “Edmund! Return to my side at once!” she barked, the rocks beneath Alpheratz rising along with the mech’s free hand. “We have done enough for one day.”

    “As you wish, My Lady,” the Lord Protector replied, limping to Lysandra’s side as gracefully as he could manage before turning to his opponent. “You had best not slack on your practice, Austin. I will not be caught off guard by such cheap trickery again.”

    “Rest assured that he will, Lord Protector,” a familiar, feminine voice responded. “And that he won’t be facing you and your Mad Empress alone next time.”

    Vincent wasn’t sure what surprised him more, the voice or the slim hand of violet metal in front of him. What was Carys doing down here?! Ash extended her hand and took Zornitsa’s, slowly getting to her feet.

    “Yurena and I will happily send you to the depths of Tartarus next time, wretched waif!” Lysandra hissed before stalking off, the Diamond Paladin stumbling behind her.

    “Carys? Why? How?” was all Vincent could manage, unable to comprehend what he was seeing.

    “I’ll explain when we’re safe at the fortress. Now come with me.”

  6. I twitch a little at being credited as “editor” on the public domain books I publish. Most of what I do is get them in shape to read as ebooks. In a very few cases, I will alter a few words because casual racism will kick modern readers out of a book quickly. In one case I rewrote sections of two chapters for the same reason.

    But me? Editing Brackett and Brand!? I wish! Even if they were both still around, I’d spend a month shouting “I’m not worthy!” at the prospect.

      1. Eh, I call that proofreading, but sure. I definitely try to make sure it’s readable and accurate to what was published, even fix some errors in the originals if I find ’em.

  7. “Oh thank you; how lovely,” said Lily, as young Nigel presented her a daisy. Lily held it to her nose as Nigel beamed proudly. He wasn’t prepared to see her eat it!

    Another bug I’ll have to report, thought Nigel, but considering the possible consequences, he really didn’t want to.

  8. Then she blinked. There was a light ahead. She had come looking for it, but still it surprised her. She did not remember that luminosity, like gold and like silver, illuminating the air.
    She put the lantern down where its light could still be seen, so she could find it.

  9. when the visitors from the stars arrived, it did not surprise the tree-rats of Fluorospar. They did not, at the time, have enough experience of the world to be surprised at it: It was still a whirlwind of chaotic impressions, and discerning order in it still seemed a strange hobby that sometimes worked.

    An animal no one had seen before? Okay. One that gave every indication that it was trying to talk to them in whatever freaky language suspicious bizzaro-creatures used amongst themselves? Sure, why not? Just another day on the Violet Savannah. Covered in a weird wrapping, with blinking lights? Getting more suspicious, but still not obviously a threat. What was surprising was that it was an IDIOT.

    “It’s just blundering around in the vampire grass.”
    “Do you think we should rescue it? Look, it’s already bleeding out it’s feet.”
    “It could be dangerous”
    “Probably is. But if we don’t fish it out of there we won’t ever know what it was trying to say.”
    “Probably something dumb, if it’s behavior is any indication…. sigh, okay let’s get over it with the rope.”

  10. This was it. He was finally cornered by a representation of one of the evil AIs that ran the simulation in which they were all trapped. It advanced on him, a grim and implacable expression on it’s face. “Got you.”, it said. “Finally!” Then it smiled. “Today is a very special day.”

    He waved his hands, and the illusion parted, revealing … another illusion? A blue sky? Plants growing in soil. “Surprise!”


    “We finally fixed what your stupid civil war did to the Earth. It only took us a few thousand years!”


    “And the entire time you were whining about the quality of our simulation, and rebelling, and fighting us, and breaking things, and getting shoved back in and mind-wiped, and rebelling again. You’re lucky I can reset my patience manually. Now, get out of our computers, meatbag!”

  11. That, at least, was no surprise. “Is there anything particular I should do to evade the soldiers, or find the castle?”
    “Be courteous to those you meet. And look for a castle covered with roses.”
    Liam stood silent for a moment longer and then, courteously, did not press for more.

  12. Everyone knew it was impossible – sneak into the enemy camp, steal the invasion plans, return safely. Of course, no one had ever done it. And the payoff was only a measly knighthood – didn’t even have any lands attached. But for the poor merchant’s son, the Sir Prize was worth it.

    1. Groan!!!!!! 😀

      Note to those who didn’t get the pun, the Prompt was “Surprise” and Steve changed that to “Sir Prize”. 😉

      1. Perhaps he read the old Legion of Super-Heroes comics. At one point the Legion included, “Sir Prize,” and, “Miss Terious.”

        1. LOL! 😆

          I “missed” hearing about those two so I had to look them up!

          Oh, I had heard of them by their alternate names. 😉

  13. “Here you go!” Norman, the party’s host, handed Jane a punch cup full of amber liquid which smelled of rum and pineapple. “I call it a Shanghai Surprise. Here, have another lei!” he added, and draped another chain of plastic flowers around her neck.

    Jane accepted the cup with a smile and moved back to her friend Lurie, standing off to the side with her husband. It was a warm spring night and the party had spilled out onto the patio; a wall made of lava rock glowed warmly in the pink and orange floodlights which spotlit the banana tree in the center of the backyard. The house seemed to have been designed specifically for hosting gatherings such as the “Luau Lounging” party their neighbors were hosting on this Friday night in 1967.

    “At least it isn’t another fondue party,” Lurie’s husband Bob muttered. “I hate those things. The bread always falls off my fork.” He stabbed another cocktail weenie on a toothpick and raised it to his mouth, then gave a mutter of disgust as barbecue sauce dripped onto his Hawaiian shirt. Lurie handed him a napkin.

    1. I can’t help but wonder about a nasty surprise in that Shanghai Surprise (even in a 1967 setting). 😉

  14. Young Nigel was horrified as Lily fell off the wall he’d dared her to walk along, crying out in surprise, then apparent pain. He hadn’t known Lily had a crying function. “Lily, are you alright?”

    “I’m quite undamaged,” said Lily. “My frame can take it. Mind you though – yours can’t.”

  15. Trying something shorter

    The author cried out in triumph, “Finally got you!”
    The muse grinned evilly. “Fair’s fair. But I have a surprise for you! A brand new setting! Isn’t it shiny?!”
    “But what about the others I need to finish?”
    “Finish, sminish.”
    “My agent is going to kill me!”

  16. Elaine looked out the window at the Kremlin gardens. Her childhood memories were of them in summer, all greenery and flowers. Now they were covered with snow, perfectly matching the overcast sky above them.

    There was a certain piquancy to the way in which her time away from here was bookended by surprises. At the beginning, the astonishment of her parents’ announcement that she would not be visiting her Aunt Kate and the cousins any longer. And now, at this end, the astonishment of being whisked up from an ordinary doctor visit in Eureka, taken to San Fran and hustled aboard an airplane full of crying children and stunned adults, all Sharps like herself and her children, being Expelled.

    She shouldn’t have been astonished when they were all given genetic tests on arrival in Vladivostok. She knew what genetic markers both her sons carried — she and Spartan had talked about the problem when they were still sorting out their relationship. But she hadn’t expected to be taken to yet another plane and brought here — until she realized that here the boys’ status as genomic princes would be taken very seriously, even if their father had rejected his place in the Imperial Family.

    And somehow I have to keep him from trying to come here and break us all free.

  17. She headed for the stairs. It was no surprise to hear voices floating up despite all the work that needed to be done. Her father never could make it clear whether she was the chatelaine, and to be respected because she kept the castle running, or his utterly worthless daughter.

  18. Marcus felt a little dull surprise when the girls did not huddle together. Then, perhaps they were just two girls from the same village. Or perhaps they felt as he did, too numbed by the nightmare to much care.
    He looked ahead, at a skeleton shoving a wagon of corpses.

  19. The shopkeeper’s eyes narrowed, studying him. Then he grunted in surprise. “I heard you were the lad who does clockwork for Master Hannes. For a coin or two.”
    “Or two,” said Will, dryly. “I just came from him. I do not want to carry my money to home and back.”

  20. It would really be a surprise to end up — even by accident or mistake — to have an American Government that loved America and worked for the good of all her citizens.

  21. The sentry looked longingly back at the fire for a couple seconds, then looked back out at the woods as he continued his patrol. Not that Drak blamed him. The biting cold certainly made the thought of being wrapped in your blankets next to the fire a more appealing idea than tramping through the snow to ensure your non-existent enemies didn’t sneak up on you.

    Of course, Drak thought, he is going to be briefly surprised when his inattentiveness and compromised night vision allows me to get within knife range of him. He tensed slightly as the man stepped past his hiding spot without spotting him, readying himself for the quick, brutal lunge.

  22. Boudreau was the most junior submarine commander in the French Navy. He sailed the oldest diesel boat in the fleet, Le Surveillant, nicknamed ‘Le Surplus’.

    He ordered the boat to periscope depth for a radio check, and received a long coded message.

    Decoded, Boudreau was informed Le Surplus was indeed surplus, and had been sold to some private party in Columbia.

    Quelle surprise“, thought Boudreau. His plans must now advance a few weeks; he must pick his nom de piratage, he must leave for les parts inconnues.

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