Silly Pets Communicating Serious Emotions about Writing (or not)

During this time of political unrest my writing has slowed, and my book promo has suffered. For a while, I was preoccupied with watching news and reading articles in a way I haven't done for years. In fact, nothing seemed as important as the state of affairs in the world.

That said, for the most part I have forced myself away from Facebook and other news sites at least until the day is over, and I have recommitted to the writing craft. The feeling that writing matters is seeping back into consciousness, and I'm happy about this.

As a result, yesterday I finally finished a draft of a novel that I've been working on for more than a year!!! Yay!!!

Without getting into political specifics, how has this election cycle affected (or not) your work? How is your work coming along, and what do you hope to accomplish this spring? This year?
Memes and silly pets communicating your messages welcome but not necessary. LOL.


The Dragon or the Egg?

Which came first?

Why am I asking this question?

Well, on January 20th, the 45th President of the United States was sworn in. The 44th said adieu. Before getting to this point, and after, truthfully, there has been this frenzy of information, opinion, and activity overload. It's like that Teen Titans Go! episode where the whole world got wrapped up in a blanket and a giant stink bomb blew up creating the universe's largest dutch oven (if you are going EWWWW! at this point, can't say I blame you, nor could I blame you if you're laughing like a hyena).

But...that's actually my point. You see what I did? I totally pulled in a reference to a TV show. There have been, and continue to be, so many TV, movie, and book references used throughout this recent election process. It got me to wondering: How much of life is an imitation of art OR is art an imitation of life?

Think of the food generators on Star Trek. It was so cool to see the actors/actresses tell the computer what they wanted and then watch it appear right before them, whether hot or cold. I haven't seen this in in my neck of the woods just yet, but we're getting close:

Hot food vending machine. Picture credit to Throwback Tech.
There are even three-dimensional pens and printers that can produce three-dimensional objects from scans and designs like seen in the movie Big Hero 6.

So which came first, the dragon or the egg. Is art an imitation of life or is life an imitation of art?

When it comes to writing science fiction and fantasy, we as writers can create the foundation for a world drawing out how such spectacular beings as dragons, vampires, were-animals, leviathans, and other fantastical creatures, came to be. As readers, we get to embark on the adventure of discovery as the lay of the land is artistically woven for us a paragraph at a time.

But I am curious. What about you? What are your thoughts?

Please share in the comments then feel free to share this post with others so they, too, can comment and we can have a fantastic discussion.


What's it Like to Live on Another Planet? #SciFi #Science

Exploration and discovery is what I love best about science fiction. I want to know what's out there, even if it's just our imaginations that take us there.

Earth and Moon from Mars

We have no idea what's out there, so we're free to imagine anything. Which is the most awesome part.

We've set foot on the Moon and we've sent robots to Mars and Titan (a moon of Saturn's). Otherwise, we've not actually landed on another world. Our species has a long way to go to get off this planet.

The machines, ships, and other technologies will certainly get us to other worlds. The biggest stumbling block will be our bodies and our minds. We have no idea what prolonged stays in space will do to us, or if it's even survivable. Humans are adapted very well to survive on Earth and nowhere else. In the Backworlds, I changed our biology to make us more adaptable. Either that or a suit, or nanites, or a vaccine, or a combination will be necessary for our kind to thrive off Earth.

If we do leave, there's no guarantee we can come back. Mars is 1/3 the gravity of Earth. We might lose too much muscle, bone, and whatnot to survive a return trip.

And what would it be like to be the first human settler on a world we're not made for? How would we go about it?

Mars, on NatGeo, gives us a taste of what it might be like. It's an excellent blend of drama with documentary. WARNING: it's addictive.

Intriguing as it is for me, I know I'd make a poor settler. I enjoy electricity, running water, internet, and convenient groceries too much to like being a settler. I learn this during every storm, and we've been getting hammered in the OR.

And, as I write this, we're getting more snow on top of the two feet we already have. They haven't plowed. And we're supposed to get freezing rain and snow all week.

Husband Unit was driving, not me

That's my car buried back there

But we have my new book to cheer us. FreeFall is now available at all ebook outlets. It's the best book I've written yet. Enjoy!

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

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 and 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 no reason.

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


Reading Challenges

It's the time of year when eager readers jump into reading challenges. I've been doing the Goodreads challenge for a few years now. Every year, my goal is to read and review 100 books. (I'm a fast reader!) Before I had my son, it was easy to achieve. Now that I have a kid, I include books I read with him. Children's authors deserve reviews too!

There are all sorts of different challenges. There are genre specific ones, ones that help you read more diversely, ones to read banned books, and ones to re-discover the classics. You can do a little from each one or just try to clear your TBR pile.

Yet there is one challenge I think everyone who loves to read should take on: getting other people to become readers. I see folks all the time just surfing the net on their phones or playing games, and they have not read a novel in their adult lives. 27% of the adult population didn't read a single book last year.

Reading books is much easier these days too. You can get apps for your phone and tablet, or you can listen to audiobooks. Many folks have a commute. What a perfect time to listen to a good story!
If talking excitedly about your favorite books to people doesn't work, tell them that reading helps increase brain function, sharpens focus, expands imagination, and reduces stress. People do sleep better if they read a little every day. Well, if they get hooked on the book and want to keep reading, they do lose sleep!

If we can all convince one non-reader to read a book this year, we all win.

You can tell them they don't even have to pay for a good read!



Book Review: CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

Cathrina's Review:
CROOKED KINGDOM is the sequel to SIX OF CROWS which I reviewed on March 18, 2016. Here's the review if you wish to read it: http://untetheredrealms.blogspot.com/2016/03/cathrinas-review-of-six-of-crows-by.html

I had loved SIX OF CROWS and was eager to read the sequel. I must say the author Leigh Bardugo didn't disappoint me. CROOKED KINGDOM is a wonderful speculative tale. I fell in love again with Kaz Brekker and his thugs. Whereas I loved this action-packed story with its twists and turns, the author brings the reader back in time with each character throughout the book. While the writing is excellent, some of sections had begun to get drawn out. However, the background shaped each character and helped you to understand why and how they ended up with Kaz.

If you like speculative, YA novels full of suspense, action, and twists and turns you'll love CROOKED KINGDOM.


Happy New Weird 2017

Changing from one year to the next brings with it some things we can't resist as human beings. One thing, in particular, is the need to reflect on the past year, the accomplishments, the failures, the drama, the losses, and gains.

We... take stock.

We, here, at Untethered Realms would like to invite you to share your thoughts as you reflect on the past year and look to the new.

I, personally, have to admit that 2016 was filled with lots of game-changing moments. If I were an alien, I would have my "visionware" tuned in to the Earth channel with lots of popcorn on hand to see what exciting, jaw-dropping, heartbreaking, or soul-inspiring events would happen in the episodes of 2017.

Since I'm an earthling in the here and now - and this isn't a reality show but real - for real - life, I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Weird as our journeys continue in 2017.
 - Let your imagination expand, grow and soar. Talk about fun!!
 - Try that new recipe you held back because you weren't sure who would eat it. Maybe it can be a fun experiment just for you.
 - Take a chance on something different: yourself. You're worth it.
 - Read that book with that weird title and discover something new. You never know what you like until you give it a try.
 - Grab that new story idea by the horns and give it some life, even if it is a little weird for you. It may start you on a fantastic writing voyage.

So what about you, what are some of your thoughts as you reflect on 2016? Do you have any hopes or aspirations you're working toward for 2017? And what if it turned out Earth and all the crazy that is us is actually a reality show for aliens in a galaxy far, far away?