1.19.2021

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading - 3 reviews for fantastic reads from the Untethered Realms authors

 What better way to start off the year with my reviews of three books by my fellow Untethered Realms authors!


Wayland LeBlanc can only think of avenging the deaths of his family, new mate, and unborn child. Revenge consumes him as he travels back to the Canadian Wilderness to kill the Tundra pack that had destroyed his. There is also the weight of needing to find a mate and have a child before a year is done or else he'll lose his royal status. Returning to the wilds where he grew up brings back a lot of memories, but meeting his childhood crush now a full grown beauty named Stormy, revenge starts to take a backseat to his feelings for her. With the help of some coyote shifters and local witches, Wayland hopes to bring justice to his lost pack but yet can he win over Stormy when she's the sister of the Tundra pack's Alpha?

What an incredibly fun and thrilling paranormal romance read! Wayland starts in New Orleans with thoughts of his family's deaths already haunting him, and then the Royal Alpha Wolves Club gives him the added stress of having to find a mate within a year or else he'll no longer be a royal. I was immediately sympathetic. This shifter has a huge heart, and I love that he has a soft spot for witches. Stormy is a strong and smart wolf herself. The perfect complement for Wayland. Yet my favorite characters are the coyote shifters and the mysterious witch locked in a metal box. The coyotes are wild and hilarious. The plot is fast-paced and the tension between Wayland and Stormy sizzles. If you love paranormal romances, you don't want to miss Alpha's Revenge.

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Selene Ada dies several times after her home world is destroyed by the evil rule of Concordance. When she finally regains herself, she is half herself while the other half is remade by a strange scientist, Ondo Lagan. Following tiny bits of ruined history, they try to figure out where Concordance came from and what life was like before them. Except Concordance doesn't want anyone to discover the truth.

An excellently written first book in the science fiction series, The Triple Stars. The reader is immediately pulled into the story with the destruction of Selene's home planet, and also the ruins of Selene herself and how she is remade. The characterization is fantastic not just for her but for the whole cast. I was thoroughly wrapped up in the mystery of the paradise planet, Coronade, and the once great peaceful galaxy. Of course Concordance was in every way despicable, but they're so big and powerful, it's hard to see anything from within their seemingly endless shadow. We're taken on twists and turns, shown wonders and horrors, and never knowing what's around the next star. This is science fiction at its best.

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Indigo Eady is desperate for a job. Finding a ghost thief can't be that difficult, right? A spirit is lurking around the Sabrina Shores Theatre, and things are getting dangerous. Her friends are there to help, but all her secretive investigating are putting the handsome inspector's suspicions on her. Can Indigo solve the mystery before she ends up as a ghost in the theatre too?

A wonderfully written cozy mystery that I ate up with a grin. I've read the Afterlife series, and so I'm familiar with Indigo and her friends, but this book can stand alone. I admire Indigo's heart and determination. I loved seeing how she's grown and eager for what's to come. I'm a huge fan of Franny, her ghost friend, especially with her trying to pick up on the modern slang and her methods of investigating! There are some clever twists to the plot and I was on the edge of my seat at the end.

1.07.2021

Happy New Year 2021!

 


Coming into 2021, we still haven't recovered from last year. We stand braced for what is to come. And we aren't going to pretend we know what that might be.

Yet what if we could know? Here are some predictions from Nostradamus about this year.

1. A comet will come very close to hitting Earth. Some say that the Mayans got it wrong when they said that the end of the world was in 2012, and that it's really 2021, but we've got eyes in many directions. No one has seen a comet barreling out way.

2. Devastating solar flares. There has already been a couple this year, although not devastating ones. They can disrupt the power grid and pipelines which we are greatly reliant upon. At least we will be freed from being beholden to social media during that time!

3. Global famine. With the pandemic, this isn't a surprise. Check out a recent article from the UN.

4. Robots launch a revolution and cyborg soldiers. Could these be linked? Skynet came online years ago, right?

5. The zombie apocalypse. Now here's the one many of us have been waiting for! Whether it comes from a virus or the "cure" for it, we'll have to see. Fingers crossed they're slow zombies!

Whatever this year brings, please go forth with love, peace, and compassion. We will survive whatever comes our way if we stand together.

12.07.2020

#ChristmasWishes #Christmas #WritingCommunity @UnRealms #Peace #Unity #Harmony

We have less than a month left in this year of 2020 

that will go down in the history books, and not in a 

good way. However, I would like to deviate from the 

gloom and doom that has taken over our homes and 

our hearts.

Let's discuss tidings of great joy, the advent of the 

Christmas season. There are traditions galore when it 

come to this Holiday. The yule log, Christmas tree, 

baubles and bangles, and twinkling lights, singing and 

listening to wonderful carols. 

Here in Buffalo, New York, its cold and snowy, and at 

times, a winter wonderland.


I am curious as to what traditions you have?

Do you hang up Christmas stockings?

Put up a Christmas Tree? When? Most homes will 

probably have their trees decorated and lit by now. 

We'll be putting our tree up within a week.


 
Then the volumes of Christmas cookies that are 

"Ooooo" so tasty. Do you bake or buy? Do you have a 

favorite cookie? It's hard for me to choose just one!



What kind of Christmas crafty thing do you make? With 

or without children.

How about handmade Christmas gifts? When I find the 

time, I like to crochet and quilt, which make very 

personal and special presents to those loved ones. 


For you information: 

St. Francis of Assisi created the staging of the Nativity Scene.

Germany is credited for the Christmas Tree and the 

decorating. 

Taken from the History Site: 

"That became a symbol of Christ - being triangular in shape it represents the trinity- and from there came the idea that the tress should be a symbol of Christ and new life."

You can learn the History of the Christmas Tree here: 


My Christmas Wishes: 

Wishing for Peace and Unity and Respect of Life. For all 

those who have left us and for all those who can't 

come home for the Holidays. Especially for our soldiers 

and the military who defend us and the world. Wishing 

them all heart-filled days and nights. 

At this stage in time, I am praying.....for normal.





 






11.17.2020

#Steampunk Worth Reading: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #BookReview

 

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

by Natasha Pulley 

 The world created in this story was addictive and immersive. Every night I looked forward to losing myself in this novel. 

Set in 1880s London, Thaniel Steeplton works at the Home Office telegraph. There have been bombs going off in London and his office has received another bomb threat.

Thaniel receives an anonymous gift of a watch that later saves his life. The watch starts a chain of events that lead Thaniel to a Japanese baron named Mori, who makes incredible things using clockworks and gears.

This story is about friendship and how it enriches the lives of both men. Humor, wit, mystery and danger are woven into the tale. There's magic, fantasy, science, fate vs. free will, and a clockwork octopus that seems alive. 

 This story is pure magic. I will definitely read another of Natasha Pulley's books. Highly recommended. 

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard.

At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something.

When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.


11.03.2020

What is a Blue Moon? #Astronomy #Science

 





A blue moon is an additional full moon. Basically, a second full moon in a month. It can also be an extra full moon in a season.

How often does a blue moon occur? Every 2-3 years. The moon isn't actually blue. It can have a blue tint when certain particles from volcanic eruptions or fires are in the air. This is very rare.

There are many superstitions about a full moon:
  • It evokes madness
  • women are more likely to go into labor
  • women are more fertile
  • werewolves come out, etc...
Have you noticed the moon isn't always out at night?

At any rate, the moon evokes mystery, magic, and the fantastic. A moonrise is certainly magical. Instead of gold, it chases away the shadows with silver. In reality, the moon is always full. It's a matter of its orbit that lights up more or less of it.

So why does it affect tides? That has to do with its placement in orbit, which corresponds with how much of it is lit up. 

 I love taking photos of the moon, and I love including it in stories. One of the most memorable stories I've read about the moon was by Arthur C. Clarke: A Fall of Moon Dust.  Do you have a favorite myth or story about the moon?



10.20.2020

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: Johannes Cabal the Necromancer

Blurb: A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice.

Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.

Christine's review: This is the perfect Halloween read. It's darkly evocative and twisty with some clever gothic wit. Johannes isn't the sort of character you want to be friends with, but as an anti-hero, his story is enthralling. A man who sold his soul for knowledge and then realizes later he wants it back, so he makes a wager with Satan. Johannes needs to sign 100 souls to damnation in one year, and Satan gives him a demonic carnival to help with it. The cast of characters are delightfully dead and amusing. I especially like Horst, Johannes' vampiric brother. The story picks up steam as the carnival moves along. I love the dry humor and quirky dread blanketing it all.

10.06.2020

Science vs. Fiction


When it comes to writing science fiction, which is more important: the science or the fiction?

There’s often an uneasy relationship between sci/fi and science fact, and it can be a tricky asteroid field for the writer to navigate. Asteroid fields are a good example of this, actually: in books, films and games, spaceships are forever weaving through treacherous three-dimensional mazes of spinning rocks, typically to evade capture. Science, however, tells us that such fields are actually much more tenuous, with vast distances between each object. Zipping through a real asteroid field would be easy and probably quite dull, but where’s the fun in that? It’s much more exciting to have a ship dodging vast shards of deadly debris while the pursuing bad guys unleash beam-weapon death. Because, of course, one of the hunters will get it wrong and will crash into one of the asteroids. That’s just a law.

Science fiction, by its very nature, often simplifies and (over) dramatizes the physical reality of our universe. For many casual readers, this doesn’t matter a jot: what matters is the story. It isn’t a concern if the science is impossible, just as long as it’s consistent and used to convey an engrossing tale. So far as we know, it’s impossible for a ship to travel faster than the speed of light and remain intact, but limiting velocities to the light-barrier makes almost all of sci/fi unworkable. Does it matter? I’d say not: in science fiction, a sense of wonder and thrill is more important than being faithful to the truth (as we currently understand it).

At the same time, some writers put a lot of work into producing fiction that works firmly within the realms of scientific possibility. The genre has many devoted readers who have a very good understanding of real science, and who will very happily point out the flaws in a story if they’re there. I think that’s fair enough – if you know how astrophysics or biochemistry or computer science works, a story that breaks the rules of what’s possible is going to be annoying. Some writers work hard to produce books that an expert could happily read and enjoy, others aren’t so bothered. There’s surely room for both. Space, as Douglas Adams once pointed out, is big: “You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.” There’s room enough for all possible futures.

And, of course, the whole point of science is that it knows it doesn’t know all the answers. Its whole point is to come up with better models of reality by finding the flaws in the current ones. One day, FTL travel might be possible, and there are plenty of examples of scientists being inspired by science fiction. A book like Physics of the Impossible by the physicist Michio Kaku describes in detail how many of the tropes common in sci/fi are or might be possible one day. There’s a familiar quote, versions of which are ascribed to people as diverse as the geneticist J. B. S. Haldane, the theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg and the sci/fi writer Arthur C. Clarke: the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. Whatever the source of the line (it’s probably Haldane), the point is that the little word “can” gives sci/fi writers enormous scope to try and do exactly that: imagine something new, intriguing, wonderful, perhaps impossible. Worth doing for its own sake, but also because today’s impossible has a habit of becoming tomorrow’s possible.

And actually, I think it’s wrong to emphasise the tension between science fiction and fact as I’ve done above. The discoveries thrown up by science are very often the starting point for story ideas. The two feed off each other, but they are symbionts rather than parasites. To pick a trivial example, while researching some background information for my own Triple Stars trilogy, I came across a description of a blue dwarf star – something I’d never heard of. Blue dwarf stars are theoretical objects, and it is not possible for one to currently exist given the age of our universe. Reading that, I immediately knew I wanted to have one in my books – because, how did it come to exist? How is it possible? Those questions became fundamental to my story. A scientific discussion of the physics of blue dwarfs is not going to be much fun for the sci/fi reader, but a space opera set in a galaxy where such things exist because they’ve been engineered – that is (hopefully) fun.

For me, the whole point of sci/fi is that it has the capacity to put the readers into situations that are not possible in any other literary form. The sense of wonder that imbues books like Larry Niven’s Ringworld or Philip José Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go or Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels is unique to the genre. To take another example: minds that are far beyond the limits of small biological entities such as ourselves – be it intelligent starships or planets – are wonderful to read about, to become for a time. That is, literally, mind-expanding. Fantasy can do something similar (in different ways), but only in sci/fi is it possible to see the real universe through such marvellous eyes.

Always assuming, of course, that the entities in question even have eyes…