Merry Christmas from Untethered Realms!

Cathrina Constantine

I'd like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas from my house to yours. I realize many people's holidays are busy, But, I pray your days are also filled with laughter, joy, and peace. 
Our Christmas Tree ~ 2016 

Happy Holidays to everyone from Kate-the-Great and me! I hope everyone's able to enjoy the season, spend some time with family, and enjoy a good book or two!! I'm really looking forward to digging into some awesome novels from the Untethered Realms cohort that I've been looking forward to for ages. What are you up to?
~ Meradeth

Merry Christmas, from me and my kind. Have a safe and joyous season. My season will be filled with memories of those no longer here as I create new ones with new friends and friends I've known awhile. It's not Christmas without some alien, though. Live long and prosper.  M. Pax

Catherine Stine  

I'm wishing everyone a fun Christmas or whatever winter holiday you celebrate. And I hope all of your 2017 is peaceful, light-filled and inspiring. In this season of political turmoil, two things that give me easy joy are nature and animals. So my tree this year is filled with decorations of creatures, from owls, to hedgehogs to a great Chinese lion. Above are some photos.

This is our Christmas tree before our cat, Thunder springs upon it! See those eyes! Happy Christmas from my house to yours.
~ Christine Rains

I hope everyone has a great holiday! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
- Cherie Reich

Here's to wishing you all a very Happy Christmas. May all your hopes and dreams come true, and may 2017 bring you much health and happiness.
~Gwen Gardner


Getting your indie books in bookstores, schools & libraries

I recently attended NCTE, the National Conference of Teachers of English, in Atlanta. A colleague who writes for the high school market convinced me to go, saying that it was where all of the teachers and librarians went, and where one could connect with them and talk about books.

My Fireseed series in particular, though a sci-fi thriller, has lessons on climate change and global warming, and teens should be aware now more than ever of their world in order to help it.

There was one thing I had to do first. Get the books published on Ingram Spark (used to be called Lightning Source) in order to offer the books at a 55% discount, and with returns. Amazon's Create Space does not offer this. For schools and libraries and also to get your books in bookstores, you need to offer your books at a 55% discount.

I have yet to know whether this gambit will paid off. It's too early to tell. But I will go to NCTE next year, because I did make great connections with teachers, who are hungry for good books with topical points for teens. You can see some of the discussion topics for the Fireseed series that are listed on my banner. I also offered free study guides, which drew people in.

Do you write for teens at all? If not, have you tried to get your indie published books into bookstores? If so, how do you do it? Do you offer a 55% discount?


Book Review: Huntress Found by A. A. Chamberlynn #amreading

Evryn’s got mad skills at playing hide and seek. She can find lost children, hack the most secure databases, pretty much anything. Except for the one thing she desires most: the knowledge of who her parents are, why they abandoned her, and what her special talent means about who and what she really is.

So, when a guy named Seeker appears quite literally out of nowhere, claiming to know about her past and offering her a job, Evryn can’t say yes fast enough. Even if it does mean following him to another realm. As in, mind-blowingly, not Earth. Apparently she’s part of an elite clan of Hunters descending from Artemis who can find just about anything in all of time and space. As the last of Artemis’ direct lineage, Evryn is her clan’s best shot at finding a lost city before rival clans do.

Not just any city, but the flying, realm-hopping city of Skye. Aboard Skye is the Artifex, a magical device with the power to create or destroy worlds. Everyone wants the device, and with Evryn’s super-powered lineage, it means everyone wants her, too. It’s hard to decide who she can trust, even within her own clan. After she discovers a strange, alluring connection to the Artifex, she’s not even sure she can trust herself. Worse yet, the only person who may be able to help her is the Timekeeper, the sadistic ancient being who created the Artifex. An interdimensional war is brewing, and Evryn is right at the epicenter of it all.

Let the hunt begin.
My review:
Evryn has always felt the pull of lost things when she's focused on them. She follows the Call to find missing children and save them from their captors. Until a handsome man named Seeker finds her. She is the Lost One, and once she finds out why, she wonders if she should have stayed hidden. Evryn has the blood of Artemis in her, the most famous hunter in history. Now as a Hunter herself, she seeks the most elusive target: an artifact on a flying city named Skye which can jump realms. This artifact is a powerful weapon. The realms are going to war to find it. And Evryn is the key to it all.

This is the first book in the awesome series, The Timekeeper's War. I was blown away by Evryn's tale, especially with all the twists at the end. Wow. With several realms and a great history, this was a massive task in world building, and it was done wonderfully. Never once did I feel bogged down by information. I reveled in the various realms from modern day Earth to medieval worlds and steampunk realms. Plus the flying city of Skye! The place fascinates me. I hunted it through the pages just as Evryn did.
Evryn is a strong heroine, and while she does have a lot of power, I didn't feel she abused it or that she was perfect. No, she has her flaws, but she also has a huge heart. Kellan is quite the match for her. Gorgeous (and he knows it), smart (and he knows it), and as good of a Hunter as Evryn (and he knows it!). They bring out the best in each other. The whole cast of characters is spectacular. From their clan to the power hungry king to the mysterious White Stag. And the evilness of the Timekeeper, whoa.

An incredible speculative fiction book with fast action, magical mysteries, and a nice bit of tension-filled romance. I'm hooked!


Santa Claus: Alien vs Wizard. Which one is he? #fantasy #Christmas

5 Reasons to Believe Santa is an alien:

1.  He can travel to every house in the world in one night. Evidence of advanced technology: either time dilation or traveling beyond the speed of light.

2.  He has flying reindeer from his alien homeworld. Some have red noses that light up.

3.  He carries one sack filled with presents for everyone.

4.  He can pack away a lot of snacks in one night and not get sick. Evidence he has at least 8 stomachs.

5.  He flies in a ship through the sky. Aliens always do.

5 Reasons to Believe Santa is a wizard:

1.  He has a pointy hat. Wizards always do.

2.  He has long hair and a beard. Wizards always do.

3.  He knows who is naughty and nice. Via a crystal ball.

4.  His tummy rumbles like Jell-o. This is prime evidence of wizardcraft.

5.  He gets the elves to want to make toys all year long for fun. Elves are generally magical.

Oh, there are plenty more reasons to believe he's one or the other. There's even overlap. Some talents he has could be alien or wizard. Whatever you believe, believe in the good cheer of the season and have yourself a merry one!

Here's another holiday treat...

Backworlds Box Collection: Books 1, 2, and 3

The Backworlds Books 1, 2, and 3: The Backworlds, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, and Boomtown Craze.
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This set contains the first 3 novels in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.

The Backworlds
After the war with the Foreworlders, Backworlders scatter across the remaining planets. Competition is fierce, and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to improve his fortunes by destroying his son. He tells his only boy their moon isn’t big enough for them both and gives Craze a ticket for the next transport leaving the space dock.

Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge
Revenge is on Craze’s mind. He chews on it every day along with the relentless dust on Pardeep Station. He dreams of grander wealth, enough to make his father choke. That’s the dream consuming him when the interstellar portal opens, spitting out a ship that should no longer exist. A battleship spoiling for a fight. Yet the war with the Foreworlds ended two generations ago.

Boomtown Craze

Craze is only days away from the grand opening of his shiny new tavern. The starway opens, bringing in a loony Backworlder intent on mucking up his carefully laid plans. Gaunt and trembling, she claims her spaceship is possessed. She also has a connection to the underworld, threatens to end Craze’s prosperity before it begins.

Amazon ES / FR / IT / NL / IN / BR / MX / JP


Huzzizzle of the Realms - November 2016 UR News #amreading

M. Pax

The next Backworlds is almost here!

The first shot of a new war echoes through the galaxy. Craze has high hopes for what the alliance with an old enemy, the Foreworlds, will do to defeat a worse enemy, the Quassers.

The test of a highly-advanced weapon, created by the efforts of the alliance, pushes tensions over the brink, which kills thousands. To make it worse, the Foreworld ambassador is keeping secrets.

Conventional warfare against the Quassers isn’t working, and if the alliance ends, Craze has become the most hated man in the galaxy for nothing.

With nothing left to lose, Craze sets in motion one last chance for survival.

Preorder from:

Amazon / AmazonUK / AmazonDE / AmazonAU / AmazonCA / B&N / Kobo / iBook / Googleplay/ Smashwords

AmazonFR / IT / ES / NL / IN / JP / BR / MX


Renovating house for supernatural clients is easy. Saving the world? Not so much.
Here's the next in the thrilling urban fantasy series, Totem!

No one messes with Saskia Dorn’s family and gets away with it.

The same murderous shifters who had hunted her sister have attempted to steal a magical totem pole. Since the pieces are scattered across Alaska, Saskia, a polar bear shifter, takes her search to the tundra for any signs of the lost totems.

Instead she finds Sedge, the latest reincarnation of the old Inuit Bear god, who just happens to be the man who broke her heart.

They come across a small native village tormented by the Jinxioc, evil gnomes with an appetite for human flesh. Sedge declares he will rid the people of the menace, believing a totem token is nearby affecting the devils’ behavior. At his side, Saskia battles to save the tribesmen, but it could mean sacrificing herself.



How Thanksgiving became a Holiday


Lincoln proclaims official Thanksgiving holiday

The speech, which was actually written by Secretary of State William Seward, declared that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be considered an official U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington’s suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country’s fortunes on this day in 1863.
The fourth Thursday of November remained the annual day of Thanksgiving from 1863 until 1939. Then, at the tail-end of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoping to boost the economy by providing shoppers and merchants a few extra days to conduct business between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, moved Thanksgiving to November’s third Thursday. In 1941, however, Roosevelt bowed to Congress’ insistence that the fourth Thursday of November be re-set permanently, without alteration, as the official Thanksgiving holiday.

I pray that all of you will have a Blessed and Thankful Thanksgiving! 
I'm thankful for my family and friends and You!
What are you thankful for?


Post-Election Thoughts & Two Questions for Authors

 In my post-election daze, I realize it's my turn to write the UR blog. I've been in a profound state of shock and thus, tempted to pawn my duties off to a fellow UR member. But, like the trooper I am (LOL) I decided to persist.

My neutral author cover has been blown on Facebook. And I did it intentionally, albeit with extreme trepidation. This election cycle was just too important to stay in my shell and pretend I didn't care. I've been posting a lot.

Yet, for the sake of this post, I am going back into that shell, or at least crawling halfway under, so it's not too lopsided, so I can speak to all sides. Many of my fellow authors vowed to not speak out, for good reason. We authors, do business on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and blogs. As the week unfolded, I noticed that other authors were very outspoken. Some well-known, some less known. Authors are thoughtful beings, and whether the post was weighted to one political party or the other, they felt it was their duty to speak out.

Authors like Bruce Coville, Chris Crutcher, Ellen Hopkins are passionate spokespeople, as is science fiction darling, John Scalzi and indie star, Hugh Howey. Oddly enough, they all post on Facebook, maybe to speak to the most amount of folks as they can.

Coville writes, "In nearly seven decades of wandering around on this planet, one thing I've learned for certain is that making a decision out of anger almost invariably leads to bad results. So what does it tell us that tens of millions of Americans made their decision on who to support for president based on their feelings of anger? Not a good sign, in my opinion." He posted this link to a glimpse of a lesser heard view.

I was afraid that I'd get flack. Sure, I've unfollowed a few people and a few have unfollowed me. BUT, through my transparency, I've gained so many new friends! People seem eager, even desparate to talk, to bounce around theories and ideas, to talk about their frustration, their pain, their joy. So, I have no regrets. And though I may not post as many political/cultural rants, I won't be scared to anymore.

Authors are talking about the power of fiction to heal. They're speaking about being led to pen new dystopian novels. This time does speak to the dystopian... what with border walls and terrorism and the possible loss of human rights and freedoms. I've been thinking again about 1984, and a couple of Big Brother's doublespeak slogans, Ignorance is Strength. War is Peace.

My question to you... well, I have two of them:

1. As an author, do you prefer to speak out or remain neutral?
2. If you had to describe the last year as a novel, which one comes to mind?


Writing Effective Non-Human Characters

In the genre of speculative fiction, we see many non-human creatures. Yes, most of the time the supernatural creatures are humanoid and/or living in a human world. But there are also those beings from other worlds or those monsters hidden in the unseen depths of our reality that aren't human in any way.

How does a human writer go about effectively portraying such a character then? Here are five tips for writing believable non-humans.

1) The character's physical traits will affect a lot of how they behave. Your non-human may be an arachnid or an alien with no bones. No matter who we are, we are limited by our physicality and the environment we live in. What advantages and disadvantages would your character's body give them? Have they enhanced their strengths? How do they cope with their bodily limitations? How does that all work in their environment?

2) The ways the character deals with their physicality will help build their culture. Our human world is build for fragile warm-blooded beings who walk on two legs and have opposable thumbs. Most things center around the visual. What if your non-human doesn't have that sense? What sort of civilization will they have built? What if there was a world built completely upon the sense of smell? All information would be carried upon scents.

3) With culture evolves ethics. Non-humans aren't going to have a black & white view of the world. They might not even have a concept of good and evil. Your character's morals could revolve around their physical traits or some divine magic. It will be central to how that character thinks.

4) Non-humans aren't going to have emotions as we know them. How they react to a situation will depend on the three things above. It is possible they don't know fear or love. Figuring out the emotional state of your character (or the non-emotional one if it's a robot!) will guide you with how they will act and react within the plot.

5) Even considering all of this, our readers are still human. We must make them relatable to humans. We need something for the readers to hook on to, even if it's just one trait. See that sea dragon above? She wants to fly in the sky. We can all relate to a desire to be more than we are.

Have you ever written non-human characters? Care to share any tips?


Book Review: The Picture Frame: A Horror Novel by Iain Rob Wright

The past can be deadly.

Blake Price is the most celebrated mystery writer since Agatha Christie, but a violent tragedy has sent him and his family to a secluded cottage in the English countryside.

Trying to connect with his spirited ten-year old son and despondent wife is difficult, but Blake tries to hold the strands of his life together as best he can—but that becomes impossible when an old picture frame finds its way into his life. A picture frame that curses anybody unlucky enough to have their picture placed inside of it. Unfortunately, Blake’s wife thinks the frame is just perfect for a family photo...

Some memories should stay buried.

Jeff's Review:

One of the most disturbing covers I've seen in a long while. I don't want to look at it. The family portrait seriously creeps me out, but I feel drawn to look at it and delve into the text beneath. Yes, blood is dripping from the frame.

Blake Price's attempt at a bucolic life is shattered when he and his son dig up an old picture frame in the field beside their cottage. Blake is spending quality time with his son, messing about with a metal detector. The frame is wrapped in a burlap bag. Blake doesn't show his son the small bones rattling at the bottom of the bag. Chicken bones he thinks. Very odd.

Blake's son puts a photo of the family dog in the frame. A van on the highway puts an end to the dog. Blake's wife puts a family photo in the frame—the three of them and her mother. Grandma drops dead of a heart attack.

It appears whatever evil haunts the frame will not be satisfied until everyone inside is dead, but to what purpose? And the blasted thing is indestructible, impervious to hammer and car tires. Wright slowly tightens the screws on the family as Blake struggles to figure out the frame's curse. Although he cannot get the family portrait out, Blake's younger brother discovers he can replace part of the image with someone else's picture with deadly results. Wright puts Blake in a serious moral quandary. Should he murder others to save himself and his family? According to what Blake has learned, the only way to stop a curse is to make it work against itself.

The Picture Frame is a fast-paced read with some unexpected twists. I found a few more copy-editing errors than I like to see and Wright's treatment of a retired priest character is one-sided and shallow. Those qualms aside, The Picture Frame is an enjoyable horror experience. A welcome companion for a chilly autumn evening. 


Dragons were Aliens Who Bettered Our World #SciFi #Giveaway

According to Ancient Astronaut theorists, dragons visited our planet eons ago.

Ancient Sumerians and Greeks spoke of 'flying serpents' in their texts as descending from the skies. Well, they were obviously talking about extraterrestrials visiting our world.

What did these dragons do when they visited? My guess is they sent the Ant People and the Lizard People packing, because the Earth can only handle one alien benefactor at a time.

The dragons also bestowed us with the merry holiday of Halloween. They landed in the city of Ur and said, "You humans are so serious. Go have some fun. We demand it!"

Well, who could say no to a dragon? More recent evidence of dragon activity is the existence of candy treats. I mean, candy just all of a sudden showed up in evolution. The most logical answer: the dragons came back. And no other alien but the dragon is capable of melting sugar with such finesse. They're experts at melting everything.

I bet there is way more evidence of dragon activity hidden from the public record. I point to this: if dragons were ordinary reptiles, why would we love them so much? Most people scream at snakes. So yeah, that means dragons are aliens. Obviously.

Well, that was all for fun, but...

How about a dragon story and a treat for real?

This contains two short stories: "Wings of the Guiding Suns" and "Aftermath".

"Wings of the Guiding Suns" is solar punk with dragons. It could just be Ancient Alien theoriests are correct and dragons really do exist... out in the stars.

Sita is born to be the emissary between dragonkind and a world on the verge of doom. If she saves the people about to become extinct, she will join her fellow dragons sailing on the solar strands. If she fails, her life will end the moment the dying world does. The choice is simple: leave and live. Yet, the people resist and time is running out..

"Aftermath" is also told from the alien point of view. I confess exploring alien worlds and cultures is a passion of mine. It's my favorite ingredient to science fiction.

It has a cool video, too:

Noret’s world is destroyed by an attack on the moon. It sends the city tumbling and kills thousands. Among the dead is her bonded, whom she cannot survive without. Her kind has never known violence, but an act of war must be answered. What will be her reply?

As a thank you to our wonderful Untethered Realms visitors, I'm offering it as a free treat. Just click HERE and type in the code URRealms31. It expires 11/6/2016, so don't delay.

Enjoy! If you decide to leave a review at your favorite book store, be sure to mention you were given a free review copy.

And share your theory about the everlasting effect of ancient dragon aliens in the comments...


Spooky Stories from the Authors of Untethered Realms

Christine Rains

I'm one of those folks who want to believe. There are unexplained things out there, but I've never had a paranormal experience myself. I've been on ghost tours and strolled through cemeteries in the middle of the night. Nothing. Well, except...

During college, I helped a friend care for her two young sons who were nearly one and three at the time. I had an old Ouija board that we'd play around with, and my friend claimed it worked for her. Not long after, her oldest son started talking to someone who wasn't there. Kids have imaginary friends all the time, right? There were strange noises at night. But kids thump around and knock against walls. Nothing convinced me something definitely was going on other than kids being kids, but one incident did leave me wondering.

I had the youngest in my arms as I walked up the stairs to the second floor. The other boy walked in front of me. Both yammered on animatedly until they suddenly stopped. In sync, they turned their heads to the far left bedroom and looked at something unseen to my eyes. They followed it across the hall to the other bedroom. Neither of them were frightened, but I did wonder what they saw.

Cherie Reich

Well, there was this one time some friends and I were the ghosts who scared off some kids, but that's probably not very spooky. For us. *grins*

Back when I was moving to Missouri for college, my parents, sister, and I stopped at a hotel in Illinois, not far from St. Louis, Missouri. The motel was one of those typical cheap places where it is two floors and all the doors open to the outside. I had a bad feeling about the place, but we were tired. It's a long drive from Virginia to Missouri, after all, so I pushed those feelings aside.

I feel asleep rather easily, but come morning, a strange sensation flowed over me. I was between waking and sleeping. I could hear the TV on and my family getting ready for the last bit of our drive. Before I could open my eyes, I heard a deep voice saying, "I will find you wherever you go."

My eyelids flung open and I startled up. No one had heard what I did. No one in the room had spoken those words. Scariest of all, I had heard that voice once in the dead of night when I was thirteen.

Luckily, I haven't heard it since, but I wouldn't stay in that motel again.

Gwen Gardner

The Whaley House is considered one of the most haunted houses in America. Built in 1857, it is located on the site of the infamous hanging of Yankee Jim Robinson in 1852, among other things. Owned by Thomas and Anna Whaley, the house has a long history of death and tragedy.

So what better way to celebrate Halloween than a real live ghost hunt in a real live haunted house? That's what my sister and I did last year. From 10:30 to midnight a handful of strangers intrepidly crossed the threshold to wander throughout this famous house in hopes of making contact with ghosties.

We learned the history of the house, which included the loss of Thomas and Anna's son, Thomas Jr., at just eighteen months old. We used EMF meters (Electromagnetic Field Meters) for detecting the presence of ghosts, EVP recorders (Electronic Voice Phenomena) for picking up ghostly voices and of course you're welcome to bring your own camera. An interesting experience, when you think about the living making contact with the not-so-dead. It was cool seeing colorful lights indicating the presence of ghosts and hearing the electronic-like voices of spirits reaching out to us from beyond the grave.

But the most interesting part was this photo taken by someone in our group:

Notice the arm and body of a woman bending over the cradle. Could this be Anna Whaley, still rocking the cradle of her infant son, Thomas, after all these years?

M. Pax

If I had never seen a ghost for myself, I would still be a skeptic, but I did, and I know it wasn't any kind of trick. Husband Unit saw it at the same time and so as to not contaminate one another, we went and wrote down what we saw then exchanged papers. We saw the same thing.

A year ago, we went on a ghost hunt to a cemetery with a local medium and other truth seekers. The night can play tricks, so I can't say anything definitive happened. But I did hear footsteps on the gravel at one point when no one was walking and what sounded like someone knocking on a gravestone in response to a question we asked. My husband thinks this is a ghost by the tree. I'm not as certain, but you be the judge.

Cathrina Constantine

I believe in ghostly spirits and paranormal activity. My husband is levelheaded and very, very hard to convince. With that said, this is his account: 

He'd been watching television late at night. As typical, he'd fallen asleep. He woke to find ~ what he calls, the grim reaper standing between the door frame. A white ghostly apparition wearing a hood and holding a harvesting sickle. Then it disappeared.

He's a man that doesn't scare easily, and it freaked him out! The next day I said, "You must've been dreaming." He's insistent that he was wide eyed and awake. If it was anyone else I'd be skeptical, but not with my pragmatic husband. I believe him. 

To this day, he will recount the scene when asked.

Catherine Stine

Boo! I love Halloween. And yes, I do believe there are webs of invisible energy fields, and when someone passes, their energy lives on in some form, inside this web. That's just physics, folks--energy doesn't "die" it transforms. The night my dad passed (before I knew), I got up suddenly, went downstairs, checked the time and just then, the phone rang. When I picked it up, I heard the sound of shuffling feet. I asked who was there. No one. But I got the shivers and goosebumps all over. Then, I went back upstairs to sleep. My brother called, a little over an hour later and said my dad had died at the EXACT time I got that phone call.

Yes, it was someone's pocket dial, but I am SURE that my dad somehow had an influence in it. I have more stories like this, but I'm out of room. Here's me, below, already ready for this holiday. Can you say, Good Witch?!



Why I Write Short Stories

I could list several reasons why writing short stories are beneficial to writers. Practicing your craft, immediate gratification, and flexibility to name a few. And yes, all of those reasons are marvelous. I highly encourage authors to write short pieces.

But this is why I write short stories.

I want to escape into worlds I've never explored before. Some of them are awe-inspiring. The only science-fiction I've written has been in short form. I love strange planets, exotic aliens, and futuristic technology. I can play among the stars.

Some worlds are beautiful and happy. The perfect societies. What would life be like in a place where we had no environmental or political issues? What kind of problems would my protagonist have when all her family loves her? I love finding the flaws in what seems perfect and diving into hidden cracks.

Other worlds are horrifying. More than what goes bump in the night. What motivates that monster, if it really is a monster at all. Maybe it's fighting against something much more frightening. The tight suspense and hair raising terror. I love to scare myself.

I've written western, sci-fi, horror, steampunk, romance, sword & sorcery, mystery, and fairy tale retellings. I get to jump into these magnificent worlds and hop back out again. There's no limit on the places I can go in my stories, and through short stories, I can go to hundreds of them.

If you're an author, have you written any short stories? If you're a reader, do you read short stories?


Ghosts of Fire sneak peek! Demon in the Basement by River Fairchild

Every house has its own personality. Its own history. Its own tales of dread and horror… if you dare to listen hard enough. Old houses have always creeped me out, wondering what untold stories hid in the shadows. What might lie beneath creaking floorboards. How about you? Care to step inside with me?

Excerpt from Demon in the Basement:
Like a mouse, I stood frozen, considering my next move. I’d intended to come in like a lion, all teeth and claws, but my brave plan evaporated the moment I stepped inside. Fear of the unknown could do strange things to a person, but fear of the known was far worse. I saw my death flash before my eyes and knew who had put it there.
Perhaps the house feared me? That somewhat feeble thought bolstered my courage, even though a part of me knew I was grasping at straws.
“Welcome home, Robert.”
The sibilant voice reminded me I wasn’t dealing with wood and shingles, but rather an entity who wore the house as one would don a shirt and pair of slacks. The fact that it hadn’t left in all these years must mean its tether was here; no doubt the mysterious closet I’d never been able to find as a teen. I meant to find it now, even if I had to dismantle the house piece by piece.
My hand slid up the banister as I moved upstairs, memories rushing through my mind, a thousand pictures of times I’d performed the same motion. The smooth wood felt warm and inviting; lethargy stole over me so I was tempted to give up and sit down to rest for a while. I jerked my hand free, the house laughing at my terror.
By the time I reached the attic, my limbs shook and my head drummed a rhythm of doom. I was a man in a desert, dying of thirst.
I must have slept for hours as the sun had passed overhead and now lengthened the shadows of the trees outside the attic windows. The electricity wasn’t on—for some reason I hadn’t felt the need to have it—and the candles I’d brought were in my suitcase. Downstairs. I berated myself for that foolish oversight even as I dreaded making the trip up the stairs all over again. What made me think this would be quick?
My feet pelted down the stairs in time to the creaks of the house as it laughed in victorious amusement. I walked out the front door and breathed in the fresh air that I thought was lost to me forever, just happy to be alive for the moment. I told myself I wasn’t finished, only regrouping, and went back to the hotel after a quick stop at the store.
Tomorrow would be different, I told myself. With a bottle of scotch on my nightstand, I drank myself to sleep so as not to dream.


Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. 

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Cathrina's Review:

If you like to read YA speculative fiction about immortal's, faeries, shape shifters, and action, then you'll love A Court of Thorns and Roses. 

Sarah J. Maas has written an intricate tale of dark wickedness interwoven with brilliance. The main character Feyre is strong and tenacious and is the mainstay of her impoverished family. While hunting for sustenance, she unwittingly kills a massive wolf, an immortal, shape-shifter fae. If you've read the wonderful blurb our author has written there's no need for me to repeat it.

I did get a tad bored as our determined Feyre settles down into a mundane existence while living in Tamlin's beautiful spring court. But continue to read because there is underlying intrigue which will be revealed. The climax and the end is exciting, harsh, and wasn't expected. 

There is a sequel. I'm undecided if I want to read it. I liked how this one ended. I did thumb through the second novel. It's quite a read to tackle which only deterred me into buying it for now.

There is one thing I must mention. A Court of Thorn and Roses is in the YA category on Amazon. However, the characters exchange in explicit love scenes. The mc is 19, and I feel this is a mature fantasy and should be in the New Adult category. 


Ghosts of Fire (Elements of Untethered Realms book #3) is HERE!

Ghosts of Fire
Book three of the Elements series is finally out, just in time for the spooky season!
Get it: Amazon US, UK, CAAU, DEGoogle Play, Kobo, iBooksSmashwords. (More links added when live)
See it on Goodreads

The anthology blurb:
From USA Today, Amazon bestselling, and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Ghosts of Fire, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Explore shifting realms trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where a president aims to rid the world of Otherkind. Ghosts of Fire is the third, long-awaited Elements story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group.

The stories:
“The Flaming Emerald” by Jeff Chapman: When Orville finds an emerald in a pawnshop, Jimmy suspects there’s trouble ahead, which is precisely what they encounter, trouble of a very weird and supernatural kind. Will they rid themselves of the cursed jewel before the flames scorch them? This is another story in Chapman’s Huckster Tales series.

“The Cost of Greatness” by Meradeth Houston: The newly elected President swears that he will rid the country of Otherkind, no matter the cost. When violence breaks out, one question must be answered: what is the cost of peace?

“On Day 168” by Cherie Reich: For 168 days, a dragon imprisoned Astryd in his cave, but the chieftain’s daughter has escaped to discover the dragon may not be her only enemy. This story takes place several hundred years before Reich’s series The Fate Challenges.

“The Vagaries of Eloise Stanton” by M. Pax: Lucy’s family disappeared when she was a child, lost in a world of mirror. No one believed her, yet the reflections of her family’s faces haunt her, plead with her for rescue. On the verge of at last being reunited, Lucy must battle the cruel woman, who isn’t quite human, standing as a barrier between the two realms.

“Mind the Gap” by Gwen Gardner: Carl James wants to impress the lovely Detective Inspector Madison Perry by helping her  catch an international art thief. Little does he know how his world will change when he steps through the ancient standing stones and finds himself an unintentional Gap Walker.

“Ryan” by Misha Gerrick: As the oldest griffon in existence, nothing thrills Ryan more than hunting down Aleria, the most powerful phoenix alive. But when the blitz traps both immortals in a struggle for life and death, he discovers she might be more than his prey. She might be his salvation. Ryan and Aleria’s stories continue in Endless.

“Rollerskate Boys” by Catherine Stine: An old shoe warehouse seems like the perfect place for artist Lily to set up a studio. But after moving in, she is tormented by startling clatters in the hall and the ghostly trails of boys on roller skates. When a deadly fire erupts, she’s no longer sure of what is real and what’s a figment of her nightmares.

“The Torchbearer” by Christine Rains: Sent to a dark crossroads by Hekate’s command, Desma must listen to the words of a handsome prophet whose ominous message mystifies her as much as he captivates her.

“In Plain Sight” by Angela Brown: Kazel and Amandine are best friends with their own little secrets to hide. When a boring study session at the library comes to a screeching halt, it forces them to put all their cards on the table and into plain sight. Readers of Neverlove and Frailties of the Bond will enjoy the return to the Shadow Jumpers and NEO worlds.

“Demon in the Basement” by River Fairchild: A man returns to his childhood home, determined to destroy the evil residing within it… or die trying.

Authors of Ghosts of Fire

Angela Brown battles in the corporate peon trenches with other minions by day and then goes home where she and her rambunctious daughter conquer dinner, dust bunnies, and homework problems together. Reading and writing are her passions. Interested readers can find out more at her blog publishness.blogspot.com.

Jeff Chapman writes software by day and speculative fiction when he should be sleeping. Fueled by dark hot chocolate, his imagination churns out dark, creepy, comic fiction ranging from fairy tales to fantasy to horror and ghost stories. There are no ghosts in his house, but it is crowded with a spouse, children, cats, and more books than bookshelf space. Visit his website at www.jeffchapmanbooks.com.

River Fairchild believes in Faerie crossings and never staying in one place for very long. Speculative Fiction wordsmith. The secret to her stories? Spread lies, blend in truths, add a pinch of snark and a dash of tears. Escape into her world. She left the porch light on so you can find your way down the rabbit hole at riverfairchild.blogspot.com.

Gwen Gardner is a paranormal cozy mystery writer who loves to plot murder from the safety of her armchair. Since ghosts feature prominently in her books, she has a secret desire to meet one face-to-face—but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Find out more about Gwen Gardner’s books at gwengardner.com.

Misha Gerrick lives in the Western Cape, South Africa, where she uses the gorgeous scenery as inspiration to write. Curious readers can find out what she’s reading and writing at mishagerrick.tumblr.com.

Meradeth Houston is an author, scientist, and professor. She prefers to be found at a café sipping coffee and writing. Her most recent release, Travelers, is a time travel mystery with a dash of romance. Visit her website at meradethhouston.com.

M. Pax is the author of the space adventure series, The Backworlds, and the urban fantasy series, The Rifters. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckon to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. Find out more and discover more reads at mpaxauthor.com.

Christine Rains is an author, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. She has one novel and several novellas and short stories published. Her latest urban fantasy serial, Totem, brings ancient Inuit myths to the modern day world. Visit her website at christinerains.net.

Cherie Reich owns more books than she can ever read and thinks up more ideas than she can ever write, but that doesn’t stop this bookworm from trying to complete her goals, even if it means curbing her TV addiction. A library assistant living in Virginia, she writes speculative fiction. For more information about her books, visit smarturl.it/CReichWebsite.

Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author, whose novels span the range from futuristic to supernatural to contemporary. She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her. She loves “bad” reality TV, traveling to offbeat places, and attending book conventions to meet her readers. Visit her website at catherinestine.com/wp.

Read about & get ALL the Elements series here!


Who is UR in 2016?


Huzzizzle of the Realms - September 2016 UR News #amreading

Catherine Stine

My futuristic thrillers in the Fireseed series have all new covers, updated interiors and a brand new sequel novella called Blue House Magic. To celebrate, I've put Fireseed One (book 1) on sale for 99 cents (free on KU), and made the sequel novella absolutely FREE! If you haven't read the series, it's a great time to nab book 1.

Here's a link to the landing page, with all the info and links. And here are the pretty new covers!

* * *

Buy links:
Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Smashwords

* * *

Cathrina Constantine

"Don't Forget to Breathe encompasses so much: heartbreak, mean girls, the bad boy, the good boy, murder, mystery, and ghosts. Seriously what more could you ask for???" ~ MYBLISSFULBOOKS review

A Great Read for this time of year!!! A Psychological Thriller!!
AMAZON: One Click: smarturl.it/dontbreathe
Available in AUDIO: smarturl.it/dontforgetbreathe-au

Which seeds will aid Bex in saving her world?

In a world ruined by long-forgotten ancestors, Bex sets off to establish a new homestead with her ideal man. The fact he’s a robot and has to do everything she says is wonderful. For a day. When she arrives at the plot of earth, from which she will nurture the precious seeds she’s been entrusted with, it’s already occupied. By a man. And he’s no robot. He has radical ideas as corrosive as the air.

Also included is the Deadly Sins Collection:

The Fall: A battle with aliens for the last habitable planet will determine humanity’s fate. Are we the supreme life form in the galaxy?

Poetic Greed: The wrongs keep piling up as a heroic doctor attempts to right her life. Two greeds don’t make a right.

Blood is Thicker than Time: An anger so violent, so virile, it transcends time.

99c ebook at: 
Amazon / UK / AU / CA / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / IN / JP / MX / BR / Googleplay /iBook / B&N / Kobo / Inktera / Smashwords
Corrosive story only (no sins) at Bookcessories for 75c

The Journeys story bundle. Three women face the start of their life. 

Plantgirl   /  A journey from hopeless to hope. Ba Rainey can barely make the effort to get through each day. In hopes of bettering her life, she puts Miracle Gro in her shoes.

Translations  /  A journey brushed by magic. Nora Elliot travels to the Mid East with Mr. Allen to translate ancient inscriptions. He barely notices her until the tomb seals him inside and she’s the only one who can save him.

Omens and Lifesavers  /  This new New Yorker’s journey begins with a naked man on the No. 7 train. This story was a contest winner and based on true events.

75c Available for all ereaders HERE