Stepping Stones

Well this is probably as close as I've ever cut a blog post I was supposed to write in a given day. It's 11:30 PM, and I have 30 minutes to type this, so please bear with me.

The nice thing, of course, is that this post will be nice and short and sweet for you to read, since I want to stick to nice, short and sweet to write as well.

Basically though, I just want to remind you to give yourself a break. Especially if you're super goal-orientated like me.

I mean, I have goals for the day, for the month, for the year, for the next five years. And that's just for my writing. I'm not even going into all the other things that have to go on in my life, like my life goals (I want to speak seven languages fluently before I die), work goals (would be nice if I died a multi-millionaire who spoke seven languages fluently) and the like.

So yeah. I like goals. Goals, to me, are like stepping stones marking out the road I'm taking to get certain things done.

There's a problem with this, though. Sometimes, I get so focused on stepping on each of those stones that I don't look up and enjoy my surroundings. And the thing with that is that if I'm not enjoying at least something of what's going on around me, what's the point of taking the journey on the first place?

Take my life at the moment. Job pretty much slowed to a crawl, so I set this huge writing goal that I wanted to achieve in July. (I wanted to write 75k in 31 days.) It was definitely doable. In fact, I'd hit 50k in a bit more than two weeks. But in week three, this incredibly amazing job opportunity came along. The problem? 18 hour work days since week three. Which means that I'm now at 63k, and will have to write 4k every day just to get to my goal.

Over the weekend, I busted my butt, trying to get into what I like to call catch-up range. And I came close. But on Monday, the 18 hour work days resumed. And today I just realized that hey, I'm working with some exciting stuff. Yes, I might not write as much. I might not make my goal. But this opportunity, I believe, will go on to define my life (in the sense that I'll be running a huge business by the end of the year. In an industry that has always fascinated me).

Why should I put the added guilt and pressure on myself to write those last 12k? I can write them later when I have more time again. I can write them, when I feel like writing instead of panicking because I'm not writing enough. 

So that's what I am doing as of right now. Still hitting those stepping stones, but slow enough that I can actually enjoy what I'm going.

What about you?


I Am Made of the Right Stuff #space #marsone

At only 5 ft in height, I'm 5 cm too short to apply for the Mars One mission. Actually, I probably don't meet many of their other astronaut requirements. Sucks, doesn't it? To be told you're not good enough for something because of your physical capabilities. To be told, you're not the right stuff. I'd love to have had the chance to just apply to be on the first manned mission to Mars. I'm honest enough with myself to know I probably wouldn't have made it past the first round, but you never know.

However, that doesn't mean the opportunity to go to space will never happen. It doesn't mean I'll always be too short.Who knows what the future holds? What advances in space flight there will be in my lifetime. I could be the right stuff for the right mission.

Am I crazy for still believing I have a chance? Or is it that belief in our dreams that drives us towards achieving those impossible goals? What do you think? What are your crazy, impossible dreams?


Happenings in the Realm, Huzzizzle July 2014 #specfic #fantasy #scifi #horror

Untethered Realms Huzzizzle

We celebrate you, our awesome friends joining us on this journey with a spectacular speculative fiction giveaway. Enjoy!

M. Pax Huzzizzle

July Sale! 7/1 - 7/31 on Select Ebooks

Backworlds series on sale, books 1-5 50% off at Smashwords. Use coupon SSW50 at checkout. Get caught up! HERE 

The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear also 50% off. Use coupon SSW50 at checkout. Check it out HERE


Cherie Reich Huzzizzle

July Sale! 7/1 - 7/31 on Select Ebooks

Smashwords is having its annual Summer/Winter sale. You can purchase Reborn, Gravity: The Complete Trilogy, and The Nightmare Collection for 50% off their retail prices with coupon code SSW50.


Christine Rains Huzzizzle

July Sale! 7/1 - 7/31 on Select Ebooks

The 13th Floor Complete Collection is 50% off retail price during Smashwords' July sale with coupon code SSW50. The Collection includes "The Shadow," a bonus story rated 5 stars which is only available with the book. Yet if you only need to catch up on a few of the novellas, use the same code with them and get them for FREE!


Catherine Stine's Huzzizzle

Summer Sale on Ruby's Fire!

Ruby's Fire is still priced at only $0.99. And it just earned a finalist spot in the Next Generation Indie Awards for YA. Grab it from Amazon for your kindle!
“A world full of magic & unexpected romance!” –Teen Blurb
“A thrilling adventure led by an exciting cast of characters & the romance is really well handled.” -YA’s The Word


100 Followers #Giveaway

Earlier this month we reached 100 followers here at Untethered Realms when Chemist Ken became follower #100. Thanks, Ken! And thanks to everyone else who has followed our blog since we started it a little more than a year ago in June of 2013.

To celebrate reaching the 100 followers milestone, we are holding a gigantic ebook giveaway with a large assortment of our books up for grabs. The books run the gamut from science-fiction to paranormal to fantasy to paranormal romance and include both adult and young adult titles. The contest is open internationally and one grand prize winner will win the whole set of ebooks.

Just check out the rafflecopter below to see all of the books included in the prize package and to enter the giveaway. The contest is open now and will run through July 31.

Thanks again to everyone who has followed our blog and supported our group through our first year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Fantastic Speculative Fiction - This is Worth Reading: TALLAS by Cathrina Constantine #specfic

Can't decide what to read next? Untethered Realms is sharing what we loved reading the first Friday of every month. Since the Fourth of July holiday fell on the first Friday this month, I'm posting July's selection a week late. 

by Cathrina Constantine

The cover alone makes you want to read this book, doesn't it? I'm happy to say that the story inside is as fantastic as the cover. 

Here is the blurb from Amazon:
In a decimated world, setting foot outside the protected village of Tallas is certain death—or so they say. Mutations caused by those in the wilderness have plagued Tallas’s citizens—or so they say… For Doogan and Keeyla their belief in a Free Tallas has lost its glimmer. And when their young son, Fabal, is given a very dangerous assignment, they risk everything to protect him. Fleeing Tallas, they head for the wilderness. But when they are ambushed by cruel Mediators, Doogan is recaptured, and while Keeyla and Fabal escape, she is severely injured. Can the two of them survive in the wilderness? Will Doogan getaway from the clutches of the Mediators? And are the terrible legends about the monsters beyond the walls of Tallas true?
 And my review: 
I am not usually drawn to dystopian stories but that may change after reading Tallas. Constantine's world building is both fascinating and eerie, especially as the chemically-induced mutations and post-apocalyptic landscapes are unfortunately not that hard to imagine.
The story starts with a bang and the suspense builds to a nail-biting conclusion. I honestly stayed up much later than I intended to as I truly could not stop reading the book until I finished it.
The people who inhabit the world of Tallas are all fully realized and well-developed characters. While they live in a world very different from our own, they are all very human and illustrate both the best and the worst of human nature. In addition, Constantine adds touches of humor that are most welcome, particularly in the form of the mutated animals who have become pets. After reading Tallas, I really wanted a gigantic blue-tinged bear of my own.
Tallas is another great read from a very talented author.
Find TALLAS on Amazon here

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Oh My Words!

In his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton penned this famous opening:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Can you say, “Take a breath?”

Or this one from Tristram Shandy, by Laurence Stern:

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;--that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;--and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;--Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,--I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me.

You will notice that, despite the capital letters, there are colons and semi-colons separating the words, not periods. By the time I got to the end of it, I’d forgotten what he was talking about.

How about Raymond Federman’s opening line from Double or Nothing:

Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step, the story of another man for indeed what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal, a somewhat paranoiac fellow unmarried, unattached, and quite irresponsible, who had decided to lock himself in a room a furnished room with a private bath, cooking facilities, a bed, a table, and at least one chair, in New York City, for a year 365 days to be precise, to write the story of another person—a shy young man about of 19 years old—who, after the war the Second World War, had come to America the land of opportunities from France under the sponsorship of his uncle—a journalist, fluent in five languages—who himself had come to America from Europe Poland it seems, though this was not clearly established sometime during the war after a series of rather gruesome adventures, and who, at the end of the war, wrote to the father his cousin by marriage of the young man whom he considered as a nephew, curious to know if he the father and his family had survived the German occupation, and indeed was deeply saddened to learn, in a letter from the young man—a long and touching letter written in English, not by the young man, however, who did not know a damn word of English, but by a good friend of his who had studied English in school—that his parents both his father and mother and his two sisters one older and the other younger than he had been deported they were Jewish to a German concentration camp Auschwitz probably and never returned, no doubt having been exterminated deliberately X * X * X * X, and that, therefore, the young man who was now an orphan, a displaced person, who, during the war, had managed to escape deportation by working very hard on a farm in Southern France, would be happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to come to America that great country he had heard so much about and yet knew so little about to start a new life, possibly go to school, learn a trade, and become a good, loyal citizen.

Obviously, I must prefer shorter openings, since these made the list of American Book Review’s 100 Best Openings!

So what makes for a great opening line? The variety of opinions matches the number of readers, naturally. We all have our favorites, opening lines which keep us riveted to the page. Share your favorite opening line in the comments below. Vive la difference!


How Nerd Am I... More or Less Than You? What Do You Own That is Unmistakably Nerdy?

The talent, brains, and beauty behind Untethered Realms is sharing nerdy things we own this week. Nerdy things we proudly own.

M. Pax

A collage of nerd: the pen Ursula K. LeGuin used to sign my copy of The Left Hand of Darkness, an antique volume of An Outline History of Rome, an antique photo of Black Bart and the man who caught him, James Hume (who surprisingly looks a lot like Bart), they're being propped up by my black monolith action figure - yes, a black rectangle I paid for. The pink milk glass horse is from my late sister-in-law, not so nerdy I guess. The books behind the collage are. Go me!

River Fairchild

Instead of showing you what I currently own (and being temporarily without a camera) I proudly bring you my Next Nerd Thing To Own - a Tardis teapot! Who could resist? They have a cute little Tardis tea infuser to match it, too!

Christine Rains

Dice. More precious than jewels. The classic D20 in large and tiny sized. Also the rarer 3-sided and 30-sided. Plus a 100-sided in the middle there. A set of fudge dice. A set of rune dice. The pink set is precision cut which make them the most accurate dice. Plus the sharpest! One of my many Gen Con sets. Metal and crystal dice. To top that off, I believe my husband and I own as many gaming books as we do dice.

Julie Flanders

I love Game of Thrones. And as much as I love the tv show, I love the A Song of Ice and Fire books even more. Some may say I'm obsessed. They wouldn't be wrong. I'm happy to have my favorite characters Jon Snow and his direwolf Ghost as my housemates. How nerdy am I? I was so thrilled when I learned Funko would be putting out a Ghost figure that I pre-ordered him two months before he was even released. 


Gwen Gardner

Childhood comic books. Of course my most prized one is in the middle. Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies with Bugs Bunny sitting on Santa's lap with his wish list. January 1949 with an original price of .10 cents. I'm not quite that old, though. In the late 1960s when I was a young girl, I was walking past a barbershop with my grandmother and spotted the comic book through a window, laying on a table of magazines. Since I was an avid comic book reader, Grandma went in and asked the barber if I could have it and he said 'yes.' It was hard to say no to Grandma in those days--or ever. Alas, I don't own any of the superhero comics that were cool and might be worth something these days. Nope, I adored Casper, Wendy, Archie, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Porky Pig.

Angela Brown

Comic Con in San Diego goes down every year. It started and remains a nerd's paradise, though mainstream writing, movies and the such have made their way into it, turning it into a humongous convention attended by hard core nerds, gamers, cosplay lovers and so much more. I have multiple pics that I cherish, but I wanted to share Gandolf because he just rocks and the second one for the bag...the one the young lady proudly displays on her back. I have one of those as well, though Blogger didn't seem to like the picture of mine -_-

Graeme Ing

I had a tough decision deciding which of my nerdy things to profile, but the choice had to be my collection of D&D books. Myself and friends embark on nerdy quests around the dining room table every Friday; an occasion my wife labels as "Nerd Night."

Catherine Stine

I'm obsessed with pigs (and hedgehogs). I've had two Vietnamese potbellied pigs as pets (sisters--for 15 years), and I owned a regular ole pink pig long ago in Philly until my boss bought him for Thanksgiving dinner after police came to my place and said it was against city ordinance to have a pig in the city. Now I collect various pig statues and baubles. Here are a few. Don't judge.

Cherie Reich

The only place I really trust with my money: my Batman bank. And considering how many pennies it has in there, it would pack one major punch. I've been in love with Batman since I saw Michael Keaton as Batman, and I can never get enough from the books, comic books, TV shows, and movies. Yes, I even make sure I can watch The Justice League on Saturday morning cartoons too.

Ellie Garratt

My collection of Spocks. I'm a life-long Trekkie, having discovered the series as a child during the late 1970s. Spock is my favourite character. I love his logic. I have a much larger Spock model, but he was too big to go in the photograph with the three above. He stands on the floor next to my television.

What is your nerd thing? Do you collect anything?