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

*Wait. What do you mean I haven’t put the promo post up yet? WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING? Oh. Yeah. Unpacking. Laundry. Cleaning bathrooms. The fun never ends. Right. Now putting up promo post. -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. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY: Transport and Deliver (Martha’s Sons Book 5).

When flight on a boat jeopardizes all a family has worked for, can an errant son risk his life to save their future?
The Luwenthals—second generation settlers on the lost planet Not What We Were Looking For—confront the destruction of their past life, and are forced to flee. As the boat containing the family’s prized linotype crosses a river lit by the flames of the printshop they had to abandon, fifteen-year-old Tobias Luwenthal must face his father’s ire over what he sees as his son’s betrayal.  Disaster strikes, but will Tobias seize the chance to redeem himself at the cost of his own life?  Will his father learn from his son as Tobias has learned from him?
If you’ve enjoyed the Martha’s Sons series, start reading now for a glimpse into what happens next in this dystopian lost world!

FROM RAY DOWNING: Christmas in Idaho – Christmas Book with Audio CD – Unique Gift – by Emmy Award Winner Artist Ray Downing Hardcover – January 1, 2020

🎄 Timeless Classic – Enjoy the sights, sounds and magic of Christmas in this inspirational Christian allegory.

🎄 Emmy Winning Artist – Ray Downing writes and illustrates this remembrance of Christmas and the promise it holds for all who believe.

🎄 Beautiful Design – A treasured keepsake, bound in faux green leather with gilded page edges and gold ribbon.

🎄 Color Illustrations – Over 40 full color illustrations and Victorian motifs.

🎄 Audio CD – A beautiful reading of the story, backed with Christmas carols and classical music.

🎄 Message – This story is a poignant allegory that explores the role that time plays in our perception of the physical world and in the Christian promise of immortality.

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

In a dangerous hidden world of supernatural warriors, she may be the key to winning everything.

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.

EDITED BY CEDAR SANDERSON: Can’t Go Home Again.

Men and women who lay their life on the line never escape unscathed, and when the time comes to return home, they find a wall between them, and loved ones. These tales follow those who gather the hope to begin healing, and tearing down the walls that have sprung up between them, and their loved ones. No one ever said it would be easy…

FROM BEN MASON: Pulp Noir: A John Noir Superhero Story.

All he wanted was a drink. He picked the wrong bar. They picked the wrong victim.

John Noir walked into a bar to buy a drink when he sees the leader of a neo-nazi gang abusing his girlfriend and makes a point of stopping it.

John’s problem is that they don’t like a black man stepping into their business.

Their problem? John’s got a special deck of cards and he knows how to use them. But John isn’t the only one with powers and before the fighting is done, he’s going to have to face down a sinister opponent fiercer than any gang.

FROM DALE COZORT: Snapshot II: The Necklace of Time

For eighty million years, the Tourists have taken Snapshots of Earth, creating living replicas of continents. Life in the Snapshots quickly diverges from the real world, creating a universe where humans and animals from Earth’s history fly between Snapshots, exploring, fighting, and sometimes meeting their alternate history selves. In 2014, the Tourists create a Snapshot of North America in a snow-globe shaped artificial universe, linked like pearls on a necklace to other copied times and places. In that timeline, Simon Royale—a.k.a. Simon-2014— is a legendary best-selling author. When he was only seven-years-old, his sister mysteriously vanished. Simon-14’s writing—and the power in it—is born from his obsession with discovering what happened to her. But now, cut off from the life he’d known, he may never find out.US-53 isn’t really the past. Thanks to the Tourists, it’s a mutant off-shoot, the 1950s grown up and sneaky, with sharp elbows. In this version of the timeline, Simon Royale—a.k.a. Simon-53—is just an aspiring author with a trunk full of unpublished novels. Then the two worlds connect. For an ambitious publishing company, it looks like a golden opportunity for Simon-53 to leverage Simon-2014’s fame.Can the clashing versions of Simon Royale coexist in the unnaturally linked timelines? Simon-2014’s legal battle over the right to his own work and identity are the least of his worries. In the 1953 timeline, his sister is still alive. What made her disappear in one reality but survive in the other? Is something dangerous hidden in his memories or his first novel? As Simon inches closer to the truth, one thing is clear: it’s a secret someone is willing to kill to keep.

FROM THOMAS SEWELL: Terrorist Interrogator: A Sam Harper Military Thriller

What really happened to Sam’s parents?
After the events in Covert Commando, Sam Harper and his CIA ex-GF Michelle are ordered to join a newly formed task force. As part of the deal, Sam receives access to the CIA’s codeword-only file on his parent’s death in a terrorist bombing.

What they learn drives them underground and on the run in a thrilling battle against old enemies and newly discovered traitors.
Read more of Sam Harper’s adventures while on the government’s dime.

FROM MICHAEL A. HOOTEN: A Bard Without a Star.

Gwydion ap Don is a talented harpist, and a known rogue. His uncle Math sees something more: a young man with the magical talent to succeed him as Lord Gwynedd. But to learn magic, Gwydion will also have to learn self-control, duty, honor, and the martial arts. He’s not sure which will be the hardest.

And when his training in magic begins in earnest, how he sees the whole world will change, as well as how he sees himself. He will have to battle bandits, cattle raiders, and armies in his efforts to learn how to be a leader. But mostly he will have to learn how to control himself, which is the one battle he is not sure he can win.

This volume contains the first three eBooks in the Bard Without a Star series: Wizard’s Heir, The Two Tanists, and The Bardic Academy.

FROM DAVID L. BURKHEAD: The Beasts of Trevanta.

Wounded in body and spirit after the fall of her kingdom and loss of her lover, the knight Kaila has one last duty to perform before dying: seeing two orphaned children home to their clan in Bringanzo’s Desert.

But all is not lost. When the shaman of Three Mountains Clan takes Kaila on a smoke quest she learns Kreg is still alive, fighting his way across the lands to her. She will raise an army to free him, though hell shall bar the way.

And once they’re united, not even the beast men who overran Trevanta, shall keep them from taking back their land.

FROM M. C. A. HOGARTH: Dragons’ Fealty (Lisinthir’s Heirs Book 1

A SPRING HOMECOMING

When he attended their wedding in summer, Lisinthir Lauvet Imthereli, Third of the Chatcaavan Empire, promised his cousins they would see him in spring for the birth of his heirs on Eldritch soil, and to attend the birth of theirs. He returns to a world and a people reviving from their long winter: a new navy; the rescue of their suffering acreage; and the burgeoning of a tenant culture revolving around the new communications and travel networks.

But a prince and a culture aren’t the only things making their return. When a mistake made in the summer season comes back to haunt them, Lisinthir will discover himself torn between warring allegiances… and someone else will have to pay the price. Will their enemies succeed in blighting the promise of the season?

Book 1 of 2 of Lisinthir’s Heirs

FROM KATHY BORICH: Appetite for Murder: A Mystery Lover’s Cookbook

Off to England for supper with Sherlock Holmes, morning tea with Miss Marple, or a pub crawl with Chief Inspector Morse. Guaranteed to whet your Appetite for Murder, this tantalizing slant on cooking and crime is cooked up especially for mystery lovers. Relive your favorite classic crime fiction and then whip up the food that helped solve the crime.

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: Comparison

I’m Lazy!

Actually that’s not quite true. I’m actually really busy because I am still getting the fairy tales ready to go, proofing DST, finishing Bowl of Red and I HAVE to unpack, because living in the middle of boxes is becoming untenable. (Or antennaeble. There’s so much dust, I’m going to mutate and grow antennae.)

So, I have a weird challenge for you: Come up with weird anthology theme/title.

Now, I’ll give some examples below, and some of them are obviously for the lulz, but we do have the VERY tiny publisher which will be firing up any week now. (More or less at same time as Boxes from Sarah’s garage, since it’s mine and younger son’s labor on this.) And it will MOSTLY do anthologies.

So if something fires up my neurons, I’ll add it to anthologies to get together. And if it’s yours, I’ll try to invite you if write.

So….

The Penguin Conspiracy

When Time Ran Backward

The Funniest Apocalypses

The Invasion from Weird

…….

Tag, you’re it. (And I know I’m not super creative right now. Deal while I dust.)

Spit Out That Black Pill

For years now I’ve been a voice calling out in the wilderness, and honestly I thought I had no reach whatsoever and most of you thought I was insane.

What I’ve called, at times not very coherently because it took time to see the picture, and because I’m a depressive and subject to the same fears as the rest of you.

But on this day when America overcame a show trial against the right that underlies all rights (the right to self-defense IS the right to be free) I am not going to say I told you so, because this doesn’t hang on the verdict of A jury which these days is almost a toss of a coin. (Though let it stand that this jury did the right thing in the face of terror and credible threats. It ain’t nothing.)

It hangs rather on the tides of history. What I’ll call for lack of a better term the “blue model” (though the commie model also works or the government always knows best peasants model, or the technocrat (one word two lies) model or rule by experts or– They’re a continuum also a dazzle of obfuscation.) is dying. It’s dying as it’s lived: UGLY, mean and destructive.

Yes, the commies (for lack of a better term) have a plan. They always have plans. And the cult believes them. It is, btw, how they get sellouts: cowards are terrified of the “inevitable win” of communism. You however are not required to collaborate with their belief. Their plans are not more credible than the USSR’s endless “5 year” plans. And you don’t have to buy into them like the CIA did into those.

They’re a spent force. They’re done. It’s been clear they were done since election night 2016, if not earlier. Though it’s becoming more obvious as time goes on.

Doesn’t mean the war is over. As Bill Whittle (bless his name) puts it, most casualties happen after we know the war is won or lost. So be careful out there, and keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

Right now, they’re the Germans after knowing they’ve lost accelerating the final solution. They’re fatally wounded but not toothless.

HOWEVER let it be known in the end we win, they lose. We know it. They know it.

Don’t get sloppy, but fight with all you’ve got, from where you are, with everything you can. Because in the end individual freedom wins.

And I’m glad to see other people also crying into the wilderness. Feels less lonely.

I don’t know this first blog or his associations. I’ll note he’s wrong about “email caste”. There are sit-at-the-computer jobs, and the distinction I’d make is “does this job produce anything or simply try to herd people and respond to regulations?” because there are gradations.

For instance, when herded into humanities, I took languages, where there was a reality to learn, and also it was useful to an extent. And husband does real — vital, even — things with numbers and hard math. The fact it’s virtual doesn’t make it less vital to you and me and our future. And to an extent, even I produce things that either sell or don’t. My family either gets the money/help/goods from it or I’ve wasted my time. (This is much clearer now in indie, because no one else influences it.)

There is no “email caste” and most employees at “mind” jobs are not lefties. They might stay quiet because otherwise they’ll find themselves fired. But with the vaccine nonsense, that too is changing.

He’s fairly accurate on the rest.

The Decisive Battle – Malcom Kyeyune – Power & Politics (wordpress.com)

And next is the incomparable Bill Whittle (I’m a subscriber to his channel, but somehow end up only listening to the free stuff, because I lost my password and life is crazy) who TRUST me is not known for sunshine and rainbows forecasting. If he’s seeing this, you should be too.

Spit out the black pill. You KNOW PRECISELY where it’s been. Rinse your mouth.

Then come back and help us hoist the flag.

There’s hard fighting still to do, but we can do it. There are going to be times of horror and seeming hopelessness, but remember despair is a sin.

Be not afraid.

Hello, Fellow Mushrooms!

Like the secondary hero of a popular fantasy novel of recent decades, I have a slight flaw in my character. (This of course depends on your interpretation of slight and flaw.)

It’s not the only one, but it is marked, persistent and it annoys me when I can’t satisfy it. It’s stronger even than chocolate-seeking-behaviors.

I like to know the truth.

What a time for me to live in.

I can generally find the truth in small day to day things, or at least I have a very strong sense for when I’m not being told that truth. And btw, nothing will get me to cut ties faster with a person, institution or service than knowing they’re p*ssing down my back and telling me it’s raining.

Small white lies, I’ll tolerate, till they….. accumulate, because I’ve come to the sad conclusion a lot of these are told because the person is embarrassed/has a bad memory/etc. Unless they roll into a massive bolus.

But still, I try to know the truth. And partly, I like to know the truth about the world we live in, including what is going on with my fellow humans. Partly, to be honest, so I can be prepared or at least not worsen problems.

The problem is that the Mass-industrial-information-and-entertainment complex has never been about truth. EVER. They were about propping up a mass narrative, and my entire life it has been a narrative about the perfections of communism or socialism, or other leftist bullshit. Everything they reported or didn’t report was decided by “does it help the cause.” And the reporting was slanted to fit the narrative. Of course, by the seventies the narrative was “what every educated person knows.” So, it was bullshit, but bullshit fit into a theory that they told everyone was the truth. So a lot of the people adding bullshit might not have realized what they were doing.

The problem with lies is that they fall apart if poked too had or overextended. No, not actually joking. When we’re building worlds or writing novels, there’s a good bit of fandancing over the parts we don’t want you to see. And that’s btw, in a medium where you willingly colaborate with us to believe the lie It’s much, much harder when you don’t. But even in the best fantasy series, you start seeing cracks around book 15, if not before. Because lies when overextended become obvious.

The current lie the left has been running is now showing signs of both: Overextension and excessive accretion, and it’s breaking apart everywhere. And worse, because it took them generations to build it, the people inside it don’t realize it’s a lie or that others can see it’s a lie. So they don’t understand people’s reactions at all.

Worse, because the seed of the lie was started by an outright psychopath who thought other people were widgets, it means that the system regards people as widgets who are interchangeable with similar widgets. They’re not prepared for individual response to fast-changing situations. which is what we’re having, thanks to tech.

So they’re flopping and floundering and spinning tales fast, tales that seem to make them infalible, perfect and in control.

I confess I was mildly dismayed I just got a missing from one of you about how “China now owns the whole world and has, because it bought our politicians” Doom, gloom, the end is coming soon.

Mind you, the end is coming soon, because the system is splintering. But the system is the system of lefty lies and delusion. It won’t hold.

And China is now and has always been a master at this kind of lie, and projecting this kind of lie on the outside. ALL totalitarian regimes are. But in China it’s cultural. They have issues telling reality from appearance to an extent and they PRIZE appearance over reality. Which combined with communism means that the party itself, and its heads in particular, know NOTHING of what’s going on in their own country, let alone the rest of the world.

Increasingly, I think our idiots are the same, too. They prefer the narrative to the truth, and keep telling themselves bigger and bigger lies.

STOP BELIEVING THEM. Yes, it all sounds coherent, etc. Take it from someonw who routinely has to interrogate reality to not go severely depressive: if it’s coherent, it’s not the truth. Real life is messy and fractured.

Now, back to reality, okay: the problem right now is that you can only find the truth by trusting your lying eyes and the limits of your connections. You really cannot trust anything that comes out of the MSM which for five years has been making up sh*t wholesale. The only thing you can trust from them is ‘admissions against interest’ and even those “trust but verify.”

For instance, as of right now, our job market makes no sense whatsoever. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

And the left says it’s because “people are quitting for better jobs”. And the right says that people are now on the dole and don’t want jobs.

AND NONE OF THAT MAKES SENSE. Because the jobs opening up aren’t amazeballs, by and large. In fact, friends with tech degrees are having some trouble getting jobs, as opposed to in the early Trump years when people were finally finding jobs in specialties they’d tried to get into for years. And what dole? Precisely? Sure, there were some payments early in the covidiocy, but right now most people are back to flying solo.

And yet, most restaurants and stores are screaming for help and offering the world.

Well, part of it is the masks. I bet any chain that dropped the idiotic “our associates must mask” woud find itself swamped with employees. For a lot of people the asthma and other issues associated with constant (and useless and idiotic) mask wearing just aren’t worth it. I know enough people in that position to think this is a major factor. Heck, if I had to get a job right now that would be a major factor in my decision.

Note, I never see this reported. I bet it accounts for a lot of things, though, including why enrollment is down in in person classes, etc.

You don’t see it reported because, for whatever reason (I could hazard guesses, and they have nothing to do with their being masterminds. The primary being that they want to find a way to “dismount” from the Covid lie, but can’t figure out how) the establishment and the propagandists are wedded to masks. So are all corporations, air travel, etc. And then they can’t figure out why people are not flocking to them, either to work or consume.

But there’s more than masks at work. I confess I’ve only met a few people doing this, but my acquaintance is no longer LARGELY in that range.

There are many people suddenly working from home. Not just tech workers, but anyone whose job is done at a computer. Some (rolls eyes) mag at the beginning of all this estimated the number at 2% of the economy. I’d like some of what they’re smoking, because it’s potent stuff. I’d estimate it at about 20% and might be higher, judging by the dislocations it’s causing downstream.

Look, guys, we were looking for a place to live not in trendy TX or fashionable FL. Partly because we left it too late, and plain couldn’t afford it. Partly because when states explode that fast things happen and …. well, I saw it in Colorado, okay? Also the left in those states goes bonkers. It’s not a coincidence I’ve been reading about hospitals and schools going crazy in both states. (Even if successfully combated.)

So we were looking in states of no significance, and often in cities of less than 10k people….

And they were SWAMPED. Houses that had been up for YEARS and which had major issues were being snapped up by out of towners set on telecommuting.

I mean, I do understand the run on real estate in TX, FL, and to an extent in CO (beautiful area, and people can always roam around in nature. Unfortunately that was never my thing) and such. They can have all the perks of the Eastern cities, but more …. freedom, either political or of the region.

BUT middle of nowhere, in a depressed area where there haven’t been new jobs in forever? We eventually had to offer 10k more to get a house that needed help (It will get it, over time.) And prices were going up every week.

Now, because of the bias of normalcy — i.e. people don’t notice things have changed. Like that they are working from home and no longer need to live in x place — this is just the vanguard of those realizing “I could live cheaper elsewhere.” The vanguard. That’s way MORE than 2%. It’s probably more than 20%.

Thing is, you know, people moving cheaper, whether to a suburb or another town and state, can probably live on one salary. And most women’s unemployment is in service: retail, restaurants, etc.

Oh, yeah, and most school systems are requiring masks, and frankly my kids wouldn’t have been sent to school if they needed that. So, mom can stay home and educate the tykes, or supervise their education. (This is not sexist. It’s usually the woman who wants to/is willing/can afford to stay home. NOT ALWAYS though, and I know some families where the husband has quit to stay home with the kids.)

This is corroborated by a few squeals (not being widely reported) of school systems that lost massive amounts of their pupils. One of them 30%.

This is not something the left wants you to know, because the trends are not …. favorable to their narrative. They’ve been pushing for years to have humans seen PRIMARILY as economic units and producers. Hence, everyone MUST have a job. And those who look after kids must be paid.

So you don’t hear much about it. And neither do they. So they have no clue how things are working and why the numbers look so weird. (The next step is to fudge all numbers even more, because the left also thinks perception is reality. If they lie hard enough the truth will go away.)

The truth is that there are new ways of living in America being forged. We’re going more dispersed (My guess is the games being played with the cities are going to bite the left in the ass, too, as all that lovely real estate will become worthless sooner than later.) We’re going more family/friends/our group oriented. The relentless push to get women in the work force is reversing, as women say “bugger that for a game of soldiers.” The relentless push to have strangers raise your kids is reversing too.

But there are other things. There is a …. certain easing of consumerism. Look, I’m not actually joking. Part of it is that everyone is on the move, so we’re dumping the not-needed. Part of it is that the population is smaller in the younger brackets. People over 40 mostly already have all the needed, and are willing to let the not needed go. More dispersed populations are less susceptible to “fashion trends” and home workers care less about new clothing and accoutrements. In the same way, cars are being driven less (someone interpreted this as Americans traveling less. Naw. Judging by crowded during the weekday gas stations and stores on the highway, Americans are driving more long distance. BUT they’re not commuting every day.)

Overall what this means is that once the big moves are done (we do need things for new place, for instance, and yeah, it’s impossible to find a lot of those not made in China. Little stupid stuff, like organizers for cupboards) China gets LESS from us, because American life is turning more to “I don’t need that much.” (Some idiot attributed it to Marie Kondo, which was a joke three years ago. It’s not that. It’s the flexibility, and yeah, adapting to living with less.)

Their strikes against us, like spiking the oil prices are effective, mind, but not as effective as they SHOULD be. I shudder to think of current oil prices if everyone were still commuting.

It’s going to get bad, mind, but not nearly as bad as they think it will. Not for us.

For them? Reality will keep evading their script. More so as time goes. Which means they’ll declare everything is working perectly at the top of their lungs over and over.

And the depressives on the right will colaborate with them. Given the set of idiots the left has, this falls under attributing magical powers to the enemy.

In the end, and probably not very far off (I’d be shocked if they’re not already hurting) it’s going to bite China too. In their drive for “world domination” they forgot they need consumers. They didn’t grow ANY internal consumers. They rely on America to buy a never end of stuff. America is turning away from the never-end of crap. To an extent that was a product of mass: Mass communication (“The must have toy!”), mass crowding “I can’t wear outdated clothes to the office”) and well, mass (Younger people need more stuff.)

For now all that is receding. (Though I expect we’ll see the births rebound real soon, and not just because child deductions no longer require even SSN#. Which tells you a lot. I mean real births, with real people. Because people working from home, well…. The marriages that doesn’t break become stronger. And if you’re raising your kids, you’re not charging yourself for one more.)

And China will get bit by “Why aren’t Americans buying stuff.”

In fact they are already being bit, hence the militaristic threats and flailing about. All much scarier if their science weren’t mostly risible, and their military might composed of “little Emperors” who cry for mommy during skirmishes with India.

Couldn’t happen to better a’holes. And China is a’hole. Maybe the Chinese people can know freedom this century. Would be novel. And good.

As for us? America will be all right. Yes, they’ve captured our structures. But the good news is that our structures are now so thoroughly borked they have to get fixed or replaced. Not long now. Till then there will be insults and horrors, like the retreat from Afghanistan.

But what can’t go on, won’t go on.

And at the basic fundamental level America is changing from being the country the progressives and their narrative could control: only mass industrialization and mass communication allow the totalitarian regimes to at least pretend control enough for mass atrocities.

We’re no longer that country. And we’re not that country more and more every day.

We’re taking our ball and going home. And we’re not the ones hurt by that.

Take a deep breath. And don’t believe anything you read in the “Mass” communication. (Much less hear. And these days I’d be leary of “see”.)

Don’t buy the enemy propaganda.

Yes, they’re keep us in the dark and feeding us sh*t. But you’re not really a mushroom. You have eyes and the ability to think.

Just like there self-obviously are not “covid dead” piled on every street corner, it’s obvious that socialism isn’t winning much of anything. And their attempts to throw more money at it, only make the whole thing crazier.

Be not afraid. Don’t believe the enemy is magic. They gaslight themselves more than they gaslight us.

It’s going to get bad. Very bad. But not as bad as their propaganda would make you feel.

Be not afraid. You’re not defeated till you decide you are.

Fight in any way you can where you are right now.

In the end we win they lose. Because reality will not be denied, no matter how pretty the lies.

Go work

When Things Go Wrong

Every year has a theme. The theme of this year is Murphy. In things great and small, if it can go wrong, it does.

In our house endeavor it manifested in several ways, but one of the more annoying was having to hire two people for every job, and having the first one either not do the work, do the work wrong, cost us money by forcing us to redo the work and other work (the most notable being cabinet painter who splattered the floors all over.) We might be in the middle of one of these, btw.

On the upside, the second person we hired almost always was competent, fast and honest, even if often very expensive.

And the second time I did a job — on average — the stain didn’t assume strange hues and the varnish didn’t curdle. Which gives me great hope.

We’ve now redone and sold five houses in the last 37 years. We’ve never had this much trouble, not even the first time.

It also manifests day to day, like right after I landed and was starting to work again I got sick, and it’s taking me forever to come up from it. I blame some fans/friends I hang out with online. I mean, all they had was a nasty cold, but I don’t know how I caught it.

Seriously, Dave Freer and I used to pass colds to each other when we talked every morning. Given that we were on opposite sides of the world, after the fourth time it happened it led us to question the nature of space/viruses and reality. Because that stuff shouldn’t happen.

So, if you’re sick, please breathe away from the monitor, just in case 🙂

Anyway today’s murphiness manifested in the form of poo on my bedspread from the fluffy and unhygienic cat. (This is a great name for a rock band: Unhygienic cat.) Oh and some cat (I suspect Valeria who is the spiteful one. You need a brain for spite) having turned my lap desk upside down and peed on the under side. Anyone need a pair of mittens and a matching fur hat?

I think part of what’s working on them is how confusing and messy the house is. Which means I need to unpack faster. But I have books to finish.

All of which will undoubtedly feed murphy some more….

This ramble brought to you by “I bathed my cat and washed my bedspread, and all I’ve got left is an empty brain.”

Oh, yeah “And I’m really starting to worry for national events and that the butcher’s bill will start being collected any minute now.” …. and I still own houses in two states.

So forgive me this very weird post.

At least this year is almost over. If we’re lucky, the theme of the next one won’t be “Things go wrong and can’t be fixed.”

And yet, despite it all, for what we’re about to receive let us be truly thankful.

And FIDO (F*ck it, Drive on.) Which is the only way to deal with Murphy, temporary or permanent.

A Not So New Form Of War

I was reading the news — I know, what a bad habit — when I read about Belarus, a Russian surrogate pushing/encouraging armed Middle Eastern “refugees” into Poland, when it hit me: They’re using people as weapons.

Forget everything you heard about creating a replacement population, though these idiots might believe that notion.

Forget about “refugees” too, the left’s insane term for economic migrants from shithole countries, propelled into more prosperous ones by dreams of easy money, mostly from corrupt welfare systems. Oh, sometimes propelled by religious visions — Muslims, Communists, and others — or by nationalistic fever and dreams of reconquista (of what was never theirs, nor even their ancestors) or of recovering the lands “stolen” from Dar Al Islam. (You might think the later is less likely than the reconquista, racialist fervor of La Raza commies, but I once found myself talking to the son of a Jordanian banker who — having found out I came from Portugal — went into a spit-flecked rage about how Portugal was stolen from Islam, and would be recovered.)

Forget about thinking of these people as people. They are of course. Mostly horribly deluded people and, at least in the US traipsing into a situation that is going to go bad for them, very rapidly as tensions worsen.

But for a moment pretend you’re one of the self styled technocrats (yes, it requires that you buy into that ridiculous appellation for people who can open their own email — maybe — one time in three.)

To begin with the one thing you must understand is that these are not very bright people. Cunning, yes. Indoctrinated yes. But their actual intelligence is middling. They occupy the positions they do mostly thanks to the left’s take over of all means of communication in the 20th century and by the fact that people hiring for an ideology are, of necessity, blind to competence. And when that ideology — central state control of everything — has already proven itself about as healthful and prosperity-inducing as gonorrhea with a side of syphilis, the people mouthing that ideology, particularly in its Marxist variant, are not competent people. Or sane people. Or in fact, anyone you’d want to leave in charge of your cat, let alone of your country. (And if you doubt my diagnosis, get a load of the governor of Oregon in her Christmas mask. What actual human being over the age of 2 would think of that bizarre, mind-boggling getup, much less someone in an official position? Think of it, let alone wear it? ships in your coiffure are understated and sensible by comparison. But that ridiculous creature probably thinks it’s homey and gives her the common touch. Which is true, if the touch is common in padded cells throughout the Earth.)

So imagine that you’re a not particularly bright person, maybe of an interesting color, maybe a woman, but almost for sure of the right class and having attended the “correct” institutions, who made the required Marxist noises and suddenly, out of nowhere, saw yourself whisked into the corridors of highest power: your election fixed, (or your spouse’s election), your career smoothed, praises heaped upon you, your every action a cause for the press to fawn and prostrate themselves before the glow of your imagined brilliance.

Come on, you’ve seen the essays of Michelle Obama or “Doctor” Jill Biden, or the unscripted utterances of Obama, or even Hillary Clinton, and let’s not even mention smaller luminaries like Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg or the cackling fool who doesn’t know how to solve our oil issues. You’ve watched the curiously affect-free expressions of the Junta’s spokeswoman who keeps circling back to inanity. You know that the VP they frauded in has one talent, and it has nothing to do with her ability to think (And frankly, I think worse of Willie Brown’s intelligence for having foisted her on American politics. And I never thought him that bright before.)

So, you’re mediocre to “can’t find my *ss with two hands, a seeing eye dog and a multimillion dollar *ss finding system.” BUT you suddenly find yourself occupying a position of prominence. And everyone — or at least the media, which you understand represents everyone — fawns on you and tells you how smart you are.

Little by little or all at once, in the dim, slogan filled darkness that passes for your mind, you decide “By gum. I know I don’t understand all that much. But they think I’m brilliant. THAT must MEAN that everyone else is even dumber.”

Boom. You’ve become a self-styled technocrat. Propaganda-crat would make more sense. You’re a being who will buy the most ridiculous idiocies spouted by “experts” because frankly you never got this scientific method thing, and you and reasoning are rarely in the same zip code. You might be able to refrain from drowning when it rains, but probably only because you have people to guide you indoors.

So you buy all the theories of all the “experts” looking only for grants. Anthropogenic global warming is not only proven, in your mind, but is going to kill us all in a decade or so (because you never really understood geologic time.) The experts agree, so it must be true. But at the same time, you are — of course — exempt from anything to mitigate it. However, those evil and stupid people who are dumber than you but won’t obey you unquestioningly? They must suffer to appease the climate gods.

And don’t get me started on where they think money comes from (printing presses is the short form answer) or their bizarre and irrational hangups about nuclear power (“bad thing. Professor said it was bad. Bad bad bad. Banish with holy bird slicers.”)

BUT the overriding idea in their dinosaurian shibboleth crammed walnut sized brains is that they, the anointed, by virtue of having memorized the pronouncements of the “experts” are now “technocrats and high priests of tech and science, who get to command the fate of nations and the lives of lesser humans.

Which is why, like Mongol hordes, impelling populations ahead of them, or the Moorish warriors ditto, or the various tribal variations on this they’re using entire populations as weapons. (They probably think its the first time anyone thought of it, too.)

These pseudo refugees are weapons that, thrown at the population they want to vanquish, not only cause physical injury (Yeah, I know, but I remind you these ardent believers in Covidiocy exempt border crashers from vaccines, and also that middle Eastern “refugees” in Europe tend to blow up when shaken. Or looked at wrong.) but also economic injury, as well as a corruption of every institution designed to serve and/or protect the people. (However misguided that institution. I don’t approve of state “charity”.)

Yes, sure, the idiot left in the US think these are forever their vote farm too. Yes, they are that stupid, and if their plan succeeded would be the first to find themselves killed. It won’t, mostly because we’re out of money. I predict a grande Salida that will make Obama’s look like child’s play. No, seriously. If this winter is half as hard as I expect, there will be a sauve qui peut the other direction on the border, because when it comes to starving people would rather do it at home. (I actually would expect it to already be movement the other direction, probably in increasing numbers. But there’s no point trying to find out. They won’t tell us. But the smart newcomers — and not all of them are stupid — should already be sniffing the air and beating feet.)

And in Europe the “middle eastern” refugees have become weapons of international aggression.

Two things worry me in all this, and neither is that the pseudo technocrats will be in power forever on the back of these populations.

No the two things that worry me are: when do the countries thus attacked just start blowing the human horde up? (In Poland I’d expect it very soon. Their history would demand it. At a guess, the only thing holding them back is fear of international demonization. And I’m not even sure they’re right.)

And do they then go marching fully into blood and soil ideology, as a way of dealing with what they had to do?

It would seem to make psychological sense to me. These technocrats are after all fascists without the saving grace of naitonalism, which at least requires one to consider one’s own countrymen human. They just consider every human widgets. (And they do it at every level, which is why they also run corporations as though their employees weren’t real people. Probably why they hate small businesses who insist on treating people as people.) Real national socialists might very well look sane by comparison to most of the world. (They aren’t. But they might get a substantial foothold before that’s revealed. And all we need is another century combating a DIFFERENT facet of Marxism.)

Can civilization respond to this in the only way that will stop it when governments are luring them and paying them to invade — I will remind you that “compassion” is luring women and small children to be raped and left to die in the desert South of the border; and that children are being stolen from their parents to give cover to criminals because we’re being “kind” — and save its soul? Or at least not go back to the beginning of the 20th century?

If we — not Europe. It won’t happen in Europe — try to restore the careful net of containment and international cooperation that was working under Trump, will it even work? Given all the broken promises and treaties? Will anyone trust us?

In other words, is it possible to treat people as people, while others are treating them as weapons? Is it possible to stop this nonsense without the use of force against the weapon?

I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to find out. But I suspect we will.

And to the idiots, soft heads and custard brains encouraging this sort of invasion because they think SOMEHOW they’re doing a good thing: Stop it. Stop it right now. Your protegees and hopefuls are being lured to a situation that is going to turn bad very quickly. And the results will be the opposite of what you think.

As to the idiot communists forming caravans to invade the US: there is nothing as idiotic as a Latin idiot with race supremacy and Marx shoved up his rear end and coming out his mouth. You are in above your head. You won’t enjoy this. We are not the Americans Hollywood showed you. Go back while you can.

Because every time this is used, the numbers need to be much larger (relatively), to prevent the population-as-a-weapon from becoming minced meat, when the receiving country has had about enough.

You have been warned.

As for the “technocrats”… I have no idea how long we’ll tolerate this, but there’s no happy ending there.

These are people who have a wildly inflated notion of their own intelligence, and virtually no understanding of humanity. On a scale of zero to fiddling while Rome burns, they’re at running around setting fire to Rome and demanding applause.

In the end, they lose.

Let’s make sure civilization wins.

It’s Not You

It’s not your fault. It’s not you. It’s them. You are not alone.

Look, I woke up late (I’m still recovering from weirdly severe if very short URI that hit me last week. Like all URIs with me it’s taking a long time for the after effects to clear. I feel almost well, except for this underlying feeling that recovery is built on paper tape that will give at the slightest push.)

So I woke up, and had blog block. I happens maybe once a month. I want to write, but there’s no topic for the blog. Nothing. just blank head. (I now have the white board up, and am going to start writing future topics on it again. For these occasions.)

So I hit a few friend groups, and we were chatting….

All of us have similar experiences, only the timing varies. Well, and how many of our fans/friends the implosion took.

Because I am artsy (eh, sorry. It’s just who I am. Yes, I was good at STEM, but I was also the kid who wrote, did art, designed clothes, designed and made stuffed animals, painted pebbles, made things with wood, etc. I’m not saying I’m good at all or any of this, but that left to my own devices, that’s where I gravitate. The other interests don’t help: history, science fiction, social speculation. Honest, if I didn’t like economics so much, I might have fallen.) in my case the answer to how big the implosion is: would you believe two implosions? The first after 9/11, the second when I came out of the political closet. Was that 10 or 11? And the size was “cosmic.”

To explain to those of you who haven’t had this happen to them — are there any of you in America, at this point, really? — it’s like this:

We all grew up in a culture defined and dominated by the left, which frankly had taken over the overculture by the time I was born almost sixty years ago. And because the media industrial complex was in charge of news, entertainment, movies, books, art, everything, the barrage was complete.

We grew up submerged in it. I was born in sixty two, have realized they were wrong at least thirty years ago (before that I kept trying to limit the dissonance with “they’re wrong on this, but maybe not this?”) and I still have moments, usually when world building or thinking through a social issue where I go “Oh, no, wait. That’s just Marxism, and I know it’s not true.” And at that I’m ahead of the curve. I still hear people commenting on how poverty causes crime. PEOPLE ON OUR SIDE. And that’s both an insult to poor and honest and upright people, and has never been true, ever. Though it’s a sacred dogma of Marxists.

It’s moments like listening to Presley croon “In the Ghetto” and going “What the? No. Sure, maybe lack of opportunities can cause this” — though mostly what it causes is depression and drug use, as we’re seeing for a vast portion of young people — “BUT poverty is not the cause of crime. And solving it by throwing money at it destroyed black families and made everything worse.” I should have realized that before. But having grown up in water, I didn’t even see it.

Heck, by many definitions, I was a leftist, because I grew up in Europe, where all you have are two flavors of socialism, and the government is assumed to have the right to do things like limit speech. (And don’t get me started on gun ownership.)

So, having grown up like that we learned to give a “discount”.

We gave a discount to our favorite artists. I had a thing that went “He is a political idiot, but he sure can write/sing/whatever.” We also assumed we were all alone. We were the only ones who saw the dissonance, the lies, the hypocrisy of the left.

We assumed our friends were stupid, not evil, even as they reviled people like us and endorsed programs we knew would destroy everything that keeps society working. And were objectively evil. But we went “well, it took me so long to figure out, and they’re good people. And frankly I don’t wish this knowledge on anyone.” So, we talked of other things and emphasized what we agreed on.

Mostly because we really thought we were, if not just us, a tiny, tiny minority. We had clawed each of our beliefs, one by one, from the overculture while it shrieked in our ears that we were wrong, and insane and evil. So we were sure of them, or we wouldn’t hold them. But we didn’t blame people who couldn’t see it. It felt weird, and like we lived in a parallel universe, but it was better to stay quiet and have friends and a life.

My heart, btw, goes to people who married people under this system, and whose spouses didn’t change. To both of them, because most spouses had no idea anyone disagreed, much less their spouse. I was lucky, because my husband changed, politically. Mostly because we couldn’t not talk to each other, having been friends first. And because he’s honest enough to consider evidence, no matter what. Also, because after Reagan, he had some doubts of the left narrative.

And then everything changed.

Part of this is that it is the normal modus operandi of Marxists not to allow dissent of any kind. Because they’re a cult, you know? The reveled has to be accepted, even when it changes. So they kept chasing smaller and smaller dissent.

The end of one of my friendships came when the friend said I always disparaged her political opinions. Since she’d just informed me that W was going to put all gays in camps (snort giggle) and that we were spending 3 billion a day in Afghanistan (SNORT GIGGLE) I might have snort giggled audibly. Note this was the first time I’d answered her political rants at all. Mostly I did the multiplication tables in my head. That was the FIRST time I snort-giggled. Why the heck that “always” I don’t know. But that was the last time we talked.

And this was after 9/11 had nuked most of our friendships, hang-outs and writers’ connections, because people were saying things like we deserved it, or became troofers. And these were people I’d thought mostly sane and intelligent.

I didn’t fight it. I sidled away. Later I found out they decided I was a “right winger” and made up sh*t about me. That’s fine. Crafting Straw Right Wingers is their hobby.

Then at some point I hit a wall. I JUST HIT A WALL.

In publishing they kept demanding more and more AFFIRMATIVE allegiance to the crazy.

Three incidents stand out, one of which I only remembered recently while telling a friend about it (because I’ve been sick, and things got shoved out of my mind):

The first was when — and I think you guys know this — my hermaphrodite humans book got rejected but would be “accepted if you change their pronouns to “she”” which, TRUST ME in that book makes no sense whatsoever. This was in the nineties, but I was too dense to realize what it meant.

The second was when an agent wanted to make me change the book so human sacrifice (involuntary, etc) was a GOOD thing that the good guys did. That he couldn’t understand I COULDN’T WRITE THAT was ….. a revelation. That he then gave most of my world building to one of the darlings (no, not actionable) was eye opening.

The third was when one of my editors told me the only way for me to break out of midlist was to write an autobiography where — strongly hinted — I blamed America for all the issues with my birth country/childhood.

I realized things had got stupid. That combined with this blog, and the fact I was in a few lists and groups, where I heard what they said when the door was closed and they thought they were safe — you haven’t lived till you hear someone who has the image of a kindly grandmother explains to you how life will be so much better once 2/3 of the population “the stupid people” according to her die in a horrible epidemic, which is sure to come — brought me to a place which, without being Lutheran got me to quote Luther: “Here I stand, I can do no other.”

With full and clear understanding that I was blacklisting myself (I’d seen the hatred and the cancelling, then more undercover that followed things like “She’s a practicing religious person” (In that case Mormon, but it went for all religions.)) back in the days when indie hadn’t proven to support anyone (now it’s at least as good as Trad) and when even right wingers thought that the left was more creative, because we were so effectively blocked from the public, I came out politically.

I’m not expecting accolades for my courage. I had to do it. I had no choice. Something bigger than me grabbed my cowardly self by the scruff of the neck and propelled me into play.

Weirdly I didn’t lose all of my fans or blog readers. But I lost a lot of friends in the field, a lot of my reach, a lot of my pull and I thought I’d kissed goodbye forever to any chance of having writing-related fun jobs, like comics or Hollywood. (Well, maybe. It’s weird, but the times they are achanging fast. Still, not the same.)

It was made easier because honestly they didn’t trust me, so they’d already not given me the DAHLING treatment. Though I probably would have done it, anyway.

But yes, I lost friends and people I respected, who suddenly decided I was the devil. I’m somewhat amazed I retained SOME, though I can count them on the fingers of one hand.

In other words, they can’t give us the leeway we gave them for COUNTLESS decades. They will see us as the devil, if we disagree on politics, even as their politics edge crazier and crazier to the point if you don’t agree that there is no objective reality and that children as young at two know if they’re trans, you’re a hater who hates, and you probably want to massacre gays and eat babies for breakfast.

They will make our books “out of bounds” without reading them, because we’re the debeel. They will malign us in ways that only make sense if we assume they’re completely insane (like an immigrant who tans being suddenly called white supremacist.) And other than the fact that their stupidity is occasionally hilarious, like the people who complained about politics in the …. Shifter series, it’s heartbreaking to watch.

We thought we had friendships, and associations and– It was all a lie.

Mind you by the time I hit that, I came with baggage from Portugal, and I’d been cut off by childhood friends and family members, so finding this was depressing, and in many ways breaking, but at that point I’d survived the worst cuts. When you survive the beginning, you grow scar tissue, until it’s sort of a second skin that can’t be pierced. You take the new hit and go “Expected nothing else.” And keep on trucking.

It wasn’t till this morning that I realized that many people blame themselves and the way they phrased things, and keep going over “there should have been a way to do this and keep my friends/associates.”

There isn’t.

Look, it’s not entirely their fault either. We — our side. By the time we came along, we had SMALL choice, though still — kept quiet. We let them assume “everyone sane agrees with me.” And we let them create in their minds a completely bizarre “painted devil” vision of what the other side was like. Of course, a lot of this has been going on in mass-industrial-entertainment-communication since the 40s, so it might have been impossible to penetrate by the time we were born.

This would be like suddenly removing our human skin and revealing we’re really the devil. To them. They’re not going to ask why some people really look like that, or if it comes with all the other stuff. They’re going to react in panic and rage, because of what they think they know.

And they are going to believe they’re the “majority” and “the good people” which is why you get someone 3 years younger than I lumping me in with the “old people who need to die.” Because in the Marxist cult those who believe differently are “old” and “remnants.”

Oh and the future belongs to them, which does ring a bell.

Anyway….

It’s not entirely their fault. They’ve been indoctrinated from birth. And they weren’t strong enough to break away.

And it’s not your fault. You saw the lies, and you understand the lives you’re trying to save include your asinine and blinkered friends. Because Marxism kills. Fast or slow. But it kills. There is no other option.

And yes, you had to take a stand. For what it’s worth. Yes, it might be too late. But they can’t win, because their ideas don’t work. And we must — must — shape what comes after.

Mourn the friends you thought you had and sort of did. Mourn that they can’t even find the truth (with two hands and a seeing eye dog.) And then do what you have to do.

Which in my case, inexplicably, but inevitably is — somehow – writing a lot of books. Which means finishing this blog and going to (real) work.

Keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark. A man in a (mental) overcoat is the enemy. Don’t shoot them, if you don’t wish, but be assured they’ll try to shoot you in the back.

Stand in the only place you can and do the work. Waste no guilt on could’av should’av.

It is our honor and our very great privilege to be born in a time when we can and must fight for individual freedom.

Sure we might lose. But it is still a post of honor.

Stand.

And be not afraid.

Sursum Corda. You’ve got this.

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

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

*Yes, somehow WordPress embedded this in last week’s post. HOW? I don’t know. I think mostly fixed, yes? – 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. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM CEDAR SANDERSON AND LAW DOG: Taskforce CHIWEENIE and the Poultry Liberation Front: An Adult Coloring Book

Two extraordinary heroes.
Sure, they may look like adorable chiweenies, but the reality is that only they stand between the world, and…
The Poultry Liberation Front
Follow the adventures of Chuy and Mochi through their slightly exasperated flag officer’s voice as he delivers pithy situation reports while the battlefield unfolds on his front yard.

FROM DOROTHY GRANT: A Perfect Day, With Explosions.

Jenna Brooks is a welder, and a fashionista whenever she can afford it. AJ is a former Special Forces spacer, who finds himself completely outside his comfort zone with her. However, terrorist bombs can overcome almost any divide – the hard way.

When Jenna stumbles over a corpse wearing an important clue, she’s roped into a high-stakes counterterrorism operation to uncover a counterfeit fashion ring that’s funding the terrorists.

As the trail of blood money and knock-off shoes starts leading closer to home, Jenna’s going to need all the help she can get to stay alive. AJ’s just the man to do that – but he’s after a lot more than merely her safety. It may cost her everything she’s worked for… and also her heart.

FROM BEN MASON: Gravitas: A Supervillain Story.

The world’s greatest villain has unretired for one last mission. Saving the world.

After a serious injury, Christoph “Gravitas” Holtz has retired from supervillainy. Heading into his silver years all he wants is to reminisce, garden, and teach his next-door neighbor’s daughter the finer points of proper villainy.

But when a classless young supervillain threatens Holtz and those he cares about, he turns to an old ally for help with one final mission.

When the mission goes wrong, Christoph will have to struggle against a dangerous enemy he helped unleash, his feelings for his superhero ex, and his own sense of what it means to be a hero or villain.

FROM FREDERIC KEY: Dwindle, Peak and Pine

Rick Drail and his widowed father, Craig, own a small cabin camp in the town of Hunker Lake. Things are normally very quiet for them after Halloween … but then, people aren’t normally murdered in Hunker Lake, and never in one of their cabins. Sue Milkins is the most beautiful woman Rick has ever seen in person, the kind of woman that can set a small town like Hunker Lake on fire. Where has she come from? What has brought her to this small town, past the end of the season? And why would anyone want to kill her? When Sue is found murdered one morning, Rick’s life spirals into chaos. The police suspect everyone of the crime, even Rick’s father. Rick suddenly sees everyone around him, including their other paying guests, even his closest friends, as potential murderers. As police tighten their focus on Craig, Rick tries to find information to save him–but maybe his father does have some secrets of his own.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Learnedly Familiar

Where do you file a Missing Meister Report?

Something is moving. Arthur Saldovado, Lelia, and André defeated ancient evil, but mysteries remain. And worse – Arthur’s name-sake is learning how to drive! Who needs abyssal creatures when you have teenagers, school-yard spats, and retail woes to worry about? Certainly not Lelia Chan Lestrang.

When André’s mentor disappears, Lelia braces for the worst. Trouble’s coming, as bad perhaps as the evil that drew her and André together. But she has a few surprises of her own now, including allies in very strange places. With very strange senses of humor.

Return to a Familiar world, full of adventure, bad puns, dark music, magic, shedding lemurs, and domestic chaos.

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 J. L. CURTIS: Calexit- The Anthology

When California declares independence, their dreams of socialist diversity become nightmares for many from the high Sierras to the Central Valley. Follow the lives of those who must decide whether to stand their ground, or flee!

In San Diego, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group One finds his hands tied by red tape, even as protesters storm the base and attack dependents.
In Los Angeles, an airline mechanic must beg, borrow, or bribe to get his family on the plane out before the last flight out.
Elsewhere, a couple seeks out the new underground railroad after being forced to confess to crimes they didn’t commit.
In the new state of Jefferson, farmers must defend themselves against carpetbaggers and border raiders.
And in the high Sierras, a woman must make the decision to walk out alone…

Featuring all-new stories set after Calexit from JL Curtis, Bob Poole, Cedar Sanderson, Tom Rogneby, Alma Boykin, B Opperman, L B Johnson, Eaton Rapids Joe, Lawdog, and Kimball O’Hara.

FROM T. L. KNIGHTON: Hostile Territory.

Tommy Reilly and the misfit crew of the cargo ship Sabercat just managed to make it off of the planet Ararat with their load, but that was the easy part.

Now they have to land on a planet completely controlled by a church many consider more of a cult than a religion, all so they can get their hands on some information, information that could free all the colonies from the control of the Earth Defense Command.

Unfortunately, a master criminal got his hands on it first, which means the crew of Sabercat have to get it back, then escape from a planetary government known to shoot first and ask questions later.

Yep. It seems Tommy has landed his ship and his new family deep inside hostile territory.

FROM M. C. A. HOGHARTH: Flight of the Godkin Griffin.

On the eve of her retirement from the army, Mistress Commander Angharad Godkin finds herself re-activated and directed to replace the governor of the newly conquered territory of Shraeven. With its multitude of diverse societies and religions, the province will not be easy to tame; but Angharad has thirty-four years of experience and is determined to succeed–even with the additional challenge of an ex-lover as her second-in-command.

However, what starts out as a seemingly predictable military challenge takes multiple unexpected turns at the hands of Shraeven’s rebellious people, their unorthodox beliefs, and their capricious, demanding, and very tangible gods. Angharad quickly finds herself the central piece in a game being fought on too many levels, all of them very foreign to her nature and background.

But if she’s being forced to play, she’s going to play to win; and Shraeven may come to regret having gotten her into the game.

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: GUTTURAL

Lazy Day

I’m having a thoroughly lazy day, having woken up late, then snuggled with husband till lunch time. I do plan to unpack this weekend, but only the bedroom….. so, slooooow

Sorry, it’s been a very busy month or so, with a lot of shocks to the system.

Our listing has been updated and we have …. showings? not a ton, but better than zero, right?

I’m very glad the Gofundme funded at more than double, because we’d planned on JUST paying the backlog, and we’re obviously looking at probably a few months of double mortgage. And we were going in the hole BEFORE adding another mortgage, so… (Gofundme is still up, but again, just because people asked. Comes down the 16th.)

It’s good not to be terrified, but it makes me sleepy.

I need to go over page proofs for fairytales and typeset them, to come out in hardcover, too. “suitable for Christmas gifts” And it will happen. Probably tomorrow. Today, I’m just being lazy.

This is fairly rare, so I plan to enjoy it.

When The Wheels Come Off

Last night I dreamed I was making a purse, because the one I have been using for ten years — the think geek bag of holding made of fake leather — had finally fallen completely apart (it’s patched) and I couldn’t buy one, at a price I could afford.

What annoyed me about the dream was how plausible it is. I could make a purse. The only daunting bit is applying a zipper, as zippers scare me. (Shuddup. I’m just not good at putting them on. I KNOW the theory, but….) And I actually have high quality fake leather from the repurpose website (50 yards WIDE for $150, and I’m covering a bunch of chairs so the cats can’t baptize them. Like my editing chair. I have also threatened to make a coozy for son’s car while he’s with us, because it doesn’t fit in the garage.)

And I woke up thinking: you know, part of this is that if the left is hoping to hit the economy really hard with a hammer till the wheels come off, it’s probably getting frustrating about now.

Let me explain: to some extent this plan is always stupid because humans are resourceful. Even back in the seventies, in Portugal when the bakers kept going on strike (and to understand how much this touched the normal person, you have to understand that back then we were used to getting our bread delivered to the door before we woke up. Tie a bag to the back door, leave a note of what you wanted, wake up to crackling fresh rolls and baguettes. This is one the things I really missed when I moved here. Then I found bread machines, and made do.) The first couple of weeks were pandemonium and people were deeply unhappy because their routine — worse, their waking up routine — was disrupted.

And then things… changed. So, some people started making their own bread. Some people started making their own bread, other people heard and suddenly they were showing up at the back door and placing an order for the morning, then coming in the morning and knocking a certain way to receive your order. It was annoying, but life went on, and not everyone had to bake their own bread anyway.

Oh, and bonus, you didn’t have to pay taxes on the bread you sold. You were obliging your neighbors, and if they wanted to give you some money in return to help with expenses, it would be rude to refuse. (And since everyone was doing it, they couldn’t chase everyone, even in a tiny country.) Oh, and to understand this one, and the reason I use this expense, I don’t think people in Portugal had baked their own bread (Other than farmers makign broa) since before Roman times. Artisanal bread wasn’t a thing. But people found a way.

I do realize with so much of our manufacturing in China, and the supply problems, etc, it seems like the world is coming down on top of our heads.

But people find a way. Look, in Cuba, a tiny country, they’ve kept 1950s cars going all these decades. They might be repaired with washing machines parts, but they keep going.

The US is a huge country, with a ton more resources, and perhaps genetically (As we’re immigrants or descended thereof) more adaptable people.

We’re n the first shock, so not much being done to get around this cr*p inflicted on us from above. But in a month or two, probably before the anger reaches the level (alas) that #teamheadsonpikes comes out to play, we’ll adapt, improvise, overcome.

People are already buying direct from farmers. I have no idea how the Christmas gift shopping is going, because since the kids haven’t been little, we usually pick ONE interesting or meaningful thing for them, and anyway, Dan and I always want the same “A book and a music-vehicle (used to be a CD)”. This year, with worry over selling the house, etc. I haven’t even looked. I keep hearing it will be lean, but I suspect Americans will make more stuff/etsy will have a boom year. And life will move on. Heck, I know someone considering going into 3-d printing to make those pieces that are stuck in containers or that China is not sending off, or whatever, to repair your car/washing machine/air conditioning. Yeah, copyright problems, but if you market it as a “Stop gap while you wait” and market to local repairmen? I bet it works.

The point is we’re not Portuguese or Cubans. Not a small country, easily stomped. Out in the heartland, people will go over, go under, get around almost by default.

And even in Portugal, in the seventies things were…. fluid. Push hard enough and people don’t fall into line. At least not if your plan amounts to running around with pants on your head screaming “cuckoo!” So instead they do the other thing. The one you didn’t want.

So for instance when unemployment was something absurd like 70% (I probably misremember) everyone was busy, and eating and getting things done. Just not officially. We knew a family where the dad was laid off, and they found the local textile factory burned their “end of rolls/leftovers/trash fabric” at the end of the day. So the family asked if they could take them instead. Got four sewing machines, and sat around the dinner table making pot holders and small goods which they sold at the local fair. Incredibly lucrative? Well, you know, the material was free and they weren’t paying taxes. Eventually as things eased, they expanded the business and became fabric goods distributors. So, they didn’t do too badly.

More importantly, students were making stuff, and selling in craft fairs that popped up all over (did it occasionally, mostly for bus fare.) As a teen there was never a lack of affordable jewelry or decor items to buy. Of course, none of these were paying taxes, which is too bad for the central planners.

And again, there were places where you knocked a certain way and they sold you an already roasted roast or the produce or whatever. Even when the stores were empty.

HERE? In the US, with our distributed communication, our vast land, and our bizarre amount of abilities (Seriously guys, Americans take hobbies WAY seriously. I’ve never been anywhere else where pretty much everyone has a hobby and works hard at it. Most other countries, people go to their paid jobs, come home and veg in front of the TV. Yeah, mom sews, but it’s mostly mending.) I think those who want the wheels off are going to get a massive shock.

Now, keep in mind that this means the poor who are poor due to lack of will power or inventiveness will suffer. But some of them might actually discover they can do things. All of us will be very busy. BUT life will go on.

Of course the downside of this is that team #headsonpikes might not come out to play. (What? I never hid my bloodthirstiness. I just know it’s inadvisable, for a society.) That’s also the upside, of course.

Does it mean we’ll just endure the boot on our necks?

I don’t think so for three reasons:

1- the people wearing the boot are too stupid to pour piss out of it with the instructions written on the heel.

2- They’re in panic mode that they can’t help but keep accelerating, so the stupid crap they do will get worse, and even if we’re surviving, it’s going to piss people off. If they’re lucky, they get put on a container and sent to China. If they’re really lucky, we’ll punch in air holes.

3- What they’re doing is going to encourage more and more going under/going over/going around. Which makes people more independent and resourceful and less likely to fall for their bag of tricks. As everything they’ve done since 2016, they’re just accelerating the demise of their cult.

So, what I mean is, the country is vast enough and resourceful enough (I mean, just the repurpose site. And a million thrift stores, and and and) that the wheels never really come off. Or they do, but new wheels pop up from under them and we all go FIDO (F*** it, drive on.)

It’s the most likely outcome.

The point is the parasite class that thinks they’re elites don’t know that. And they’ve never done anything useful in their lives. And they think everyone is like them.

Buy popcorn. The story is about to get interesting.

Yeah, it will go nasty in spots. Keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

But remember what you’re watching is the stomping around of the Marxian regimes as they die. It’s a blind, fatally wounded monster trying to take us to the hash heap of history with it.

Don’t let it. Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.

Remember you’re Americans. They ain’t seen nothing like us yet. And they will….