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

*So I forgot New Year’s was Sunday. And Amazon finally stopped futzing with Through Fire and it went through. So, today we have book promo. Tomorrow the conclusion of my deep dive into what we’re facing, which honestly probably will amount to “Brace” but hey. Anyway, new year new books. – 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


Zen Sienna is a woman from another world and does not want to become the wife of a ruler of Earth. But she also doesn’t know how to escape the man’s courtship.

Which is just as well, because when a revolution happens, she turns out to have the skills to stay just one step ahead of the corrupt revolutionaries and the insane government to keep herself and those she comes to love alive and lead them to triumph.

Follow Zen in a harrowing adventure where a stranger in a strange land proves herself the most qualified to survive.


Malta. An island full of history and mystery. Conquered, invaded and defended through every age, it’s a place that inspires the very best and the very worst humanity has to offer.

Join these authors as they explore Magic and Mayhem, Saints and Demons, who battle over the island of Malta.

FROM PAUL CLAYTON: Escape From the Future and Other Stories

What if you had access to a time machine and could go back to visit a deceased love… one more time. Would you?

In 1962, Bobby Newman’s Grandpa, a basement inventor, loses his wife to cancer, then begins to lose his mind to grief. While tuning up his not-yet-perfected time machine for one last visit with his wife, he ends up going the wrong way… into the dystopian future of 2025. Inexplicably, he sends the machine back.

FROM LARS WALKER: King of Rogaland

It’s 1022 AD. In Norway, the balance of power is poised between two mighty men – King Olaf, full of new ideas about central government, and Erling Skjalgsson, defender of the old democracy. Two worlds are watching as they contend – the familiar world we live in, and the unseen world around us, full of witches and elves and the dead who walk in the night.

Erling is fighting for survival, and for the future of the land. The steps he must take aren’t always gentle ones. At his side is his Irish priest, Father Ailill, concerned that Erling might gain the world and lose his soul. Concerned, also, about Erling’s nephew Asbjorn, a proud young man inclined to cut corners with the law.

And to one side, they have an interesting guest in the household, a cheerful young nobleman from Scotland called Macbeth…

FROM TONY ANDARIAN: Dawn of Chaos: (Sanctum of the Archmage, Volume One)

It wasn’t demons, death, and slavery to the Dark that truly frightened her. It was the woman she would have to become to fight them.

A new constitution prepares Carlissa for an era of enlightenment. The old order fades, and a promise of freedom stirs the air. In the space of one terrifying day, that promise is shattered in a bloodbath of fire and magic.Thousands of years ago, an epic battle was fought between good and evil. The demon lords had opened a door to the realms of hell itself, and their horde threatened to overrun the earth. But the Kalarans, led by the hero Calindra, destroyed their hellgate and drove them from the world.

The Great War has long since been lost to myth and legend. The Church struggles for relevance as the people forget their covenant with the gods. A renaissance of freedom and learning stirs the air in the modern age of Carlissa, led by the royal family, and the wisdom of the Archmage.

All of that comes to an end when a dome of shimmering magic appears in the capital city.

The people fight desperately to survive the chaos that follows, and wonder bitterly why the gods seem to have abandoned them. Their only hope lies with the magic of the Archmage — and his, with a young princess who never wanted to rule. She must find the strength to set aside her bard’s calling and take up a battle against impossible odds, or surrender her land and people to the Black Magus and his demons.

FROM J. BRUNO: The Amazing Flight of Aaron William Hawk Vol. 1: Into the Vast Nothing.

A young boy, a ginormous kite, and a blustery mountaintop—What could go wrong?

Ever since he could sit upright, young Aaron Hawk shared a deep passion for flying with his father. That is, until his father’s tragic death. Making Aaron forget all the things that were close to his heart. But in an effort to revive his dreams, Aaron builds a huge kite, and in a daring quest for adventure, he rides it across the skies. However, his harrowing ride ends when he crashes to earth, deep in the woods. He finds himself tangled in the wreckage of his glider, but fortunately, mostly unharmed. An elderly aviator comes to his aid, and later reveals a fantastic story of an island where one can learn to fly like a bird, and gives the boy a magical compass. And so begins Aaron’s journey. Follow along on this wondrous quest as Aaron discovers what it takes to face his fears, take hold of his spirit, and chase his dreams. But how much will Aaron risk to follow his heart and find the mystical island?


All she knew was that after the explosion, her sister was gone. And for all they knew, VISP and LIMIT, two opposing organizations tracking the girls, these kids were at the center of the most destructive attack on the power grid in modern history. An event that plunged the world into chaos and darkness. For years she had been contained unconscious. Now she’s waking. And she’s not alone.


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.


Lord Axel Ivan Vinogradov Is a Mentalist with the Fast Reaction Teams that protect the small population of the Sanctioned Research World of Siberia Max from acquisitive Cross dimensional Worlds.

As the Three Part Alliance crumbles, Axel–code name Igor–finds himself overstretched between his duty, and his family. Especially after he is accused of murdering his corrupt and very much not-loved uncle.

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: UNTIDY

41 thoughts on “New Year Book Promo and Vignettes by by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

    1. Minis! Unpainted minis! Squee!

      …wait, no you play nothing that requires minis.
      But minis!
      You don’t have the time to…
      No space!
      So cute!!

      ADHD means never having to claim your thought process is tidy.

  1. “He looks tidy enough,” said Ava. “Well, as tidy as you can be after a journey like that. I don’t think that he’s hit a disaster.”
    “He wouldn’t have left before they tidied up,” said Charlotte-Rose.
    “He wouldn’t be much use,” said Delia. “Throw him out while it’s still untidy, and they will find it that much easier to tidy up. After all, he can’t use magic to help.”
    “Well,” said Ava, “there’s no use to sit about and guess. We can go and ask.”
    “And make him welcome,” said Charlotte-Rose. “That’s only courteous.”
    Delia did not hurry with them.

  2. “What a mess!”

    “Yep, things get a little untidy when Fred has to fight a dozen Rogues equal to him in power.”

    “How did he win?”

    “He has the skill to use their numbers against them. Can’t expect him to be tidy while doing that.”

  3. Phileas Fogg was waiting behind his desk as Passepartout showed Detective Fixx into his study. No word of welcome was forthcoming, not that Fixx had expected it; he absently rotated the brim of his hat in his hands as he wondered how to frame the conversation. at last the urgency behind his visit drove him to go straight to the point.

    “I thank you for your consideration, Mr. Fogg. I am here in the hope that you can save an innocent man from the hangman. You may have read about the Belcourt murder? The man was found stabbed in an alley between his residence and Barclays, where he was employed as a financier. I have been working on the case. The chief suspect was eliminated on the basis of his alibi – he claims he was traveling back from Scotland at the time, but I think that he was able to find a faster route back which gave him time to commit the murder. The man arrested, Robert Dulaney, was Belcourt’s employee and they had had words over his pay, but I don’t believe he committed the crime. In fact, I know he did not.”

    The detective’s earnestness had impressed Fogg in spite of himself. At last he spoke: “And you come to me? Why?”

    “Mr. Fogg, during your world tour I was impressed by your logic and ingenuity in spite of my… incorrect assumption of your guilt.” A frown crossed Fogg’s face, and the detective hastened to continue. “You of course would be within your rights to dismiss me from your home, and never speak to me again, but simply put I have nowhere else to turn.” Fixx’s untidy appearance – he looked as if he had not slept for days – and the desperation in his eyes spoke the truth.

    “As you just mentioned, Detective, you remained quite convinced of my guilt until you received direct proof otherwise. Why are you so convinced of this man’s innocence?”

    Fixx took a deep breath. “Because he is my brother-in-law, Mr. Fogg. I have been investigating without the help of the police. Robert has been married to my sister for more than fiteen years, I know him well, and I am certain of his innocence. Will you help me?”

  4. Back to this group of course.

    “I see Baldraz’s reputation for military efficiency wasn’t exaggerated.” Carys observed, glancing around the clean fortress hall as she followed Vincent.

    “Indeed,” he agreed, their footsteps echoing in the halls. “Colonel Achterberg doesn’t tolerate messiness of any kind so the soldiers learn to keep things in order in a hurry.”

    “Yet they tolerate Brad and his special brand of untidiness.” she remarked, a hint of amusement playing on her lips.

    “They tolerate many things that they shouldn’t,” Vincent remarked, bringing his hand to his chest without even thinking about it. “Brad’s, well, eccentricities are rather harmless all things considered.”

    “I can believe it,” Carys concurred, her eyes narrowing as she took note of Vincent’s gesture. She was sure he was thinking of the same people she was: Dr. Walter Dunst, the doctor he would no doubt be visiting once the briefing was over, and his old colleague, Dr. Anders Blomgren. If those two weren’t in league with infernal powers she would eat raw slugs. “Vincent, was that from…?”

    “Back then? Yes,” he sighed, lowering his hand to his side. “I’m so sorry, Carys. I thought we’d be even after that. Instead I just seem to keep haunting you.”

    “Even?!” the sorceress hissed, stopping in her tracks. “You thought we’d be even after that, Vincent Cyril Austin?!”

    Her using his full name caused the Undying soldier to freeze on the spot before he turned around, a guilty look on his face. “Of course. My life for yours and Lionel’s.”

    “Of all the…” Carys closed her violet eyes tight, lowering her own hand before it began crackling with arcane forces.

    Vincent took a step backwards, bumping into something solid. It was an imposing blonde man wearing regal robes and a crown with an athletic blonde girl behind him. The girl looked ready to reach for the pistol at her side but the man held up a restraining hand, regarding the scene with a wry smile.

    “If you two could sort out this quarrel another time, Sir Vincent and Lady Carys?” the man asked, his tone more amused than angry.

    “Oh! M-My most humble apologies, Your Majesty!” Vincent stammered, backing away and giving the man a hurried bow. If he wasn’t already an Undying he’d have gone ghost white upon realizing he had backed into King Friedrich himself.

    “Mine as well, Your Majesty and Princess Renata.” Carys replied, giving the royal duo a respectful curtsy.

    “I think we were expecting this,” Renata remarked, shaking her head at the two Chosen. “Anyway, the meeting room is just around the corner. Follow us!”

  5. She inched onward. The doorway and all the windows stood open. She blinked for a moment, but she had to leave, and had no time to ponder why, all the more in that the observatory was not lit.
    She had walked by starlight already, and the roof stood open as well, letting her see this book and that paper on the floor. How untidy. Her breath came out in a huff of laughter. Did they not expect fugitives to wander through here and need good footing? She crept into the observatory, looking about for the door on the other side.

  6. “Do you know what they call an untidy mage, Adelaide?” Belladona sneered. “A statistic. You nearly blew yourself up not paying attention to spell-end terminators, twice! We wouldn’t have had enough to fill a mess tin, let alone be able to identify!”

  7. “Let me guess,” said Clarissa. William’s cooking was never what you’d call inspired. “Sloppy Joes again?”

    “No, my dear girl. Tonight we’re eating upscale!” He waved dramatically as he uncovered a pile of buns and a pot of leftover ground beef, to which he had added some tomato sauce. “Behold my latest culinary creation! I call it…the Untidy Joseph.”

    1. And a direct challenge to the Woke anti-ginger cabal that is running entertainment these days.

  8. Lucius Belfontaine knew enough about Russians that he didn’t expect the Soviet moonbase to be shipshape to American standards. However, the level of squalor he’d seen made him wonder how the cosmonauts could stand it.

    Suddenly the need to bring their own oxygen had a big upside — he wouldn’t need to breathe what had to be a horrific stench. It wouldn’t do for him to be seen wrinkling his nose in disgust.

      1. Habituation is a thing. With odors, it’s often called “nose blindness.”

        It’s something that is often brought up when trying to sell a house. Getting the seller to notice or at least think about the possibilities of odors that would be off-putting to potential buyers and work to remediate them, even if the seller can’t smell them because they’ve become “just part of life,” and thus ignored.

        It’s easier if you have the wherewithal to move somewhere else while staging and showing. But if you’re dependent upon the money from the sale of your old house to buy the new one and have to live in your old house until it sells, the realtor will probably give you a long list of don’ts: don’t apply perfumes, don’t use strongly scented cleaning products, don’t cook these foods because of the odor, etc.

    1. Maybe this be looked upon as humor rather than prescience.

      Then, I have been fearing it being a looooooonnnnnnggggg decade:
      2020 won
      2020 two
      2020 three

      2020 NEIN!!

      1. Was thinking exactly the same thing yesterday. I wish we could’ve all said nein! before this entire unholy charade got rolling.

  9. Ezhak walked into a workshop that was completely transformed.

    It had been sterile, sealed in clear panes of shatter-proof shielding, unmoved for all the years he’d lived on this ship. Now, it was….

    Well, not untidy. Nothing was piled randomly– he could sense that– but Mother help him if he could see what the pattern was.

  10. “Jenkins,” said Nigel Slim-Howland, “I believe I should take Gwendolyn in for maintenance again!”

    “For what reason, Sir,” answered Nigel’s butler.

    “She’s in a cleaning frenzy again. Today she grabbed my oxblood loafers and ran them through the buffer!”

    “Is that a problem, Sir?

    “My feet were still in ‘em!”

  11. Doctor David Cambridge entered his home on Level 4, turned on the lights and windows, and found a note on his coffee table.

    Have taken a job off-planet. I tidied up your place. Thanks for everything!!! Love, Cherry

    David sighed. He never asked her to come, but he’d miss her.

  12. His heart began to beat, not faster, but harder. Courtesy, he reminded himself. She would not object to his untidiness, after his long journey, though her gown showed not a trace of dust, but as courteous as his tongue could be.
    “Already I am deeply in your debt, my lady.”

  13. “Such an untidy mess,” murmured the brown-haired one.
    “They’re my servants, not your knights,” said the Firelord. To — the red-haired one, thought Marcus. The one who had argued for them.
    “Who would want such untidy, scrawny, timid creatures?” she said. “I want their labor. As all of us are entitled.”

  14. “You realize, of course, that the United Nations Technology Inhibition Department will fall on you like a ton of bricks.”

    “Short ton, long ton, or metric tonne?”

    “Short ton, for what it’s worth. The UN normally uses metric, but in this case a short ton would be UNTID-y.”

  15. I knew my compatriots would get to the first four with no problem. The fifth was much further into the room, so getting her out of her bindings and out the door before the bomb went off was going to be a bit of a rush, even for a superhero like me.

    I braced myself. I knew it was up to me. I had to be the one who untied E.

  16. My thoughts are too untidy to share at the moment. I just figured out how to run XCOM 2 on my laptop, after not being able to play the game since my old PC dies in a storm in 2020.

    May you all and your families prosper in spite of the worst efforts of those who would enslave us.

  17. An observation: Everyone alive now lives with a (literally) incredible level of material stuff (buttressed by cheap energy); giving even the poorest a life that would have been unimaginable to the rich 100 years ago. If you only have few possessions, you don’t dare let them become disorganized or untidy.

  18. Her hand was a bit unsteady, turning the old-fashioned metal key in the lock (Crazy Years blackouts and power shortages had brought such right back into style) — but it didn’t tremble, or shake, and she wasn’t truly nervous. After all, this was her house, her old family home from far back since her mother’s grandfather built most of its oldest bits himself, long and long ago.

    “Failte… oh, fiddlesticks, your Irish is better than mine. But be most welcome, here, na-the-less.”

    And then the lock was turned and the bolts drawn back and it was time to walk inside, for the first time in weeks and the first time ever with him. The first time Thaddeus was going to be seeing it, really seeing it, aside of descriptions and a few low-res old snapshots of this or that. Her eyes swept the front of the house, neat windowboxes of flowers and clean porch (recently courtesy of her friends and relations here) and…

    Stop being fussy, Rose, no time left to tidy up anything now. “And here it is, my own little place, such as it is…” Pulled the door wide open and almost-darted inside, finally, without even glancing back.

    Then she turned around, hand still on the light switch that wasn’t really needed, eyes checking the oil in the lamps in case the power dumped (which it hadn’t done in a dozen years, not for long enough to matter), and the blocks of peat standing ready to the stove (which again was mostly there for comfort, with most things mostly sorted out)… and faced her beloved.

    Who was smiling, softly and subtly but warmly, so much like the unfancy but dependable glow of a turf fire. “Your descriptions don’t do it real justice, Rose. This front parlor is one of the most comfortable and cozy places I’ve ever been. You can practically feel all the love that’s seeped into it, over all the years. And I’d bet your kitchen’s the same way. Right through there?” The big doorless entryway, with its few but subtly treacherous steps, climbing the levels of hillside the house was built on.

    “Yes, you’re here to see it after all, so you might as well.” She found herself smiling, even feeling happy, but there was still that fluttering.

    There was the stove, the electric stove too, far less hot in the warmer end of the year (though the wood-burning one kept off both the chill and the damp); and the big eating table that was ridiculously big for one plus her (few and rare) guests, but had been here half as long as the house…

    “And if you still want to see my little room, that my da built years ago for a nursery for us later little ones…” And Thaddeus followed, still smiling in that usually-sunny way of his.

    “And that’s what I’ve heard about, that diagram.” He pointed to a large-format printout on the wall, evidently some old drawing, or rather two on one sheet. ‘Peewee’ and ‘Phoebus II’ said the captions.

    “It’s not the original from my old dorm room, I rolled that one up and put it away… when it became a keepsake. But it’s from the same file.” She gestured briefly to the large printer-scanner in the corner. “So this is what helped get you that first job. Rose Fitzgerald, the Irish student who not only had a poster of a nuclear rocket engine on her wall instead of some boy-band, but kept asking all the questions nobody else had any idea were the interesting ones first. And now you’re the Indispensible Woman because your instincts are uncanny flawless, and you never forget what you learn.”

    And he pointed to a shiny-black thing on the side table, beside the big desk with its outsize monitors and keyboards, nearly the size and shape of a 3/4″ dowel — but hexagonal instead of round, coated graphite in place of bare wood. (No uranium in it, far less high-enriched; the radon would be said too much a hazard. But still, almost a real fuel element.)

    She found herself smiling, impishly. “But that wasn’t there on my dorm room wall, was it?” She pointed at the process flowchart printout there, all colored boxes and arrows. “Electricity splits water to hydrogen, that and carbon dioxide makes Sabatier methane, or maybe methyl alcohol. The first and oxygen and minerals and nitrate feeds methane-eating bacteria, whatsis capsulatus, the second with other stuff feeds that odd yeast; that third blue-green algae lives under red LED light and leaches minerals from raw rock and fixes nitrate from raw nitrogen and… on and on, electricity drives the whole thing if you have enough or haven’t enough sunlight.” And she smiled, even more richly, at him. “Not just the details of Rover and NERVA I remember, now, but your own mad chemico-bio infatuations as well.”

    But then her mouth ran on away with her and said what her mind had been whispering half-sensibly in the back of her head all along. “But here you are in my little place, most of all I have in this world, and it’s hardly the size of a doll’s house next to either one of yours. Barely bigger in all than that other house-in-the-sky you have, up on Island One. So I keep on wondering what you see in it, or in me, Tadeusz.” And for some madly odd reason, her mouth chose now to pronounce his name quite perfectly in its original form. Then close firmly on helpless silence.

    And the expression on his face was like an egg cracking open, to reveal not some wobbly little chick but the sun. “What I see in you? Or it? I see someone who kept reading what no-one else cared about or supported, so far above their heads and all their known world. I see someone who followed that little half-felt road-map inside her, all around the internet and far back into 60s and 70s reports, simply kept going till she’d half built a retro-tech NERVA re-do inside her head like another Nick Tesla.

    “I see someone who got her chance and grabbed it and kept going… not to get out of this little Irish village, but to chase her dreams then come back home and never let her feet get swept out from under her by it all. Most of all I see someone who knows her stuff well enough to ‘get’ what I do, mixing biology and old-school industrial chemistry up into a web of processes that can make food and air and all the rest, far away on our next worlds to settle — who lives in that strange little corner where the future meets the past and the known meets the unknown, and makes wonder.

    “And here I see the wonderful old house I never had growing up, because of what my parents had to get through, half on the run when they weren’t flat on the run, in the craziest of the Crazy Years from the ‘Justice’ men.” He shook his head. “You have any idea how amazing all this is to me, to be in your old house at last, nobody burned it down and tried to burn it down around you because your parents told too much of the truth too loud? It’s not a tiny little doll’s house to me, Rose, it’s a bloody magic miracle!”

    And the smile on his face, through all of it, underlined how it was all said — and thought — in passion, not in anger but wonder. “You seem to say I want or need fancy, when I grew up ready to leave all of everything behind that wouldn’t fit in a bug-out bag on my back. Every last minute of my life, waking or sleeping or anything else.”

    Whatever had gripped her had shattered, like sticky mud dunked in liquid nitrogen. She reached up, all the way up, to lay a hand on his shoulder. “The Crazy Years are over, Thaddeus. The world’s come to its senses, maybe barely in the nick of time but it has. And that’s the real miracle. If this is what you want, it’s surely what I have, and if you really do see what you’ve always wanted right here… well and I like what I see, too, looking at you.” And she breathed, slowly once, the air of home.

    “If you want, I can make you one of our favorite meals, growin’ up. But if I’m to do that for you, you’ll have to light the old stove for me first.”

    And Thaddeus smiled, in his accustomed way. “Another old-school process, I ought to get to know better.”

  19. Just wanted to say that I’ve been reading The Morning Star, one of last weeks promos, and enjoying it quite a bit…

  20. “Of course it’s messy. Any natural environment inevitably becomes so.”

    “I wasn’t commenting on the planet’s state but on the fact that it has no moon and it’s in a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ so far from the system primary that the star has no gravitic effect on ocean movement. It’s un-tide-y.”

    Huh. 50 words (as counted by LibreOffice Writer) right out of the box . . .

    Happy New Year!

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