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!


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