Book Review - Louisiana Longshot (A Miss Fortune Mystery Book1) #Cozymysteries

I love to read mysteries, whether it's procedural, crime drama, or cozy. However, I get bored easily. But I don't like anything that stresses me out, so there can't be too much violence. On the other hand, I need something to read that has a fast pace. Yeah, I have a lot of reading codicils. Most importantly, if it doesn't grab me in the first page or two, I don't buy it.

I 'don't buy' a lot of books.

If I can get a fast-paced cozy I'll read it. Louisiana Longshot by self-publisher Jana DeLeon fits the bill perfectly. I came across it as a free-read (still free on Amazon), checked it out, then devoured it.


Fortune is a CIA operative that royally messes up and a price is put on her head by a middle eastern arms dealer. The CIA quickly becomes a former lifestyle. If you're looking for a hardcore thriller, this isn't it.

She ends up hiding out in a podunk town called Sinful, which operates on its own set of rules. She is supposed to be keeping her head down until it's safe to go back in the field. As with any mystery, she quickly stumbles over a bone in her own backyard and an investigation ensues (with the  hunky sheriff being the potential love interest).

The CIA agent-in-hiding walks on the edge at keeping her head down though. As she picks her way through the ins and outs of small (small, small, small) town Louisiana, she becomes friends with a couple of older women. Although they are from different generations, they have something surprising in common.

All three have secrets. All three are bad-ass. Trouble and hilarity is around every corner when the three of them team up to solve the murder.

This is a 'southern cozy mystery', which is sort of a sub-sub-sub-genre of mysteries.

I give Louisiana Longshot a 5* rating.


It was a hell of a long shot....

CIA assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever—in Sinful, Louisiana. With a leak at the CIA and a price placed on her head by one of the world's largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off-grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she's determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play. Unfortunately, she hasn't even unpacked a suitcase before her newly inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard.

Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she's not careful, this investigation might blow her cover and get her killed. Armed with her considerable skills and a group of elderly ladies the locals dub The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it's too late.


In the Year 2020

Happy New Year from Untethered Realms!

It's now the year 2020. Sounds very futuristic, doesn't it? As a child, I thought we would all be able to fly to the moon for fun and be friends with hundreds of kinds of aliens all mingling here with us on the planet by this year. Even now as I play with that date in my head, it seems like we should be living in some science-fiction type of world.

I know I'm not the only one who thought that 2020 should be some fantastical year for humans. There were predictions that we'd having flying cars by this point. We do have self-driving ones, though! Some thought we'd have androids with AI too. Sometimes I think my Roomba is smarter than it acts, but we aren't quite at the point where we have robots walking around as part of our every day lives.

There were those who predicted books would be dead. Shame on them! It's not true. While a lot of things have gone digital, humans will always crave stories.

While many of the predictions proved not to be true, there are things that have surprised us all. Good and bad surprises, to be sure, but the fact the human race keeps improvising and creating and pushing forward says great things about us.

What did you use to imagine the year 2020 would bring? What are some of the fun predictions you've heard?


Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: The Silver Ship and the Sea by Brenda Cooper #SciFi #BookReview

The Silver Ship and the Sea

by Brenda Cooper

For when it gets boring at work, I keep a book at my desk. This story soon had me so engrossed, I had to take the book home to finish it. The world and characters were rich and complex.

I imagine it's set some time in the far future.  Most humans have been augmented; bio-engineered to be improved. A ship full of regular humans settle on the planet of Fremont, where they want to live without any of the trappings of modern humans.

A ship of modified humans arrives and there is soon a clash that leads to war. All of that happens before the story starts. The story begins shortly after the war ends. The modified left behind six children, who essentially become prisoners of war of the colony. The children have extraordinary abilities. Some are treated with love; some not so much.

Inevitably, as the children grow and realize their predicament, things come to a boiling point again.

I really need to read the next book in this series. I've not read Brenda Cooper before, but she has oodles of talent and tells a fabulous story woven with wonder, humanity, and questions we must all answer for ourselves.


The Best Fictional Gifts - Happy Holidays from the Untethered Realms Authors

It's that wonderful time of the year again. Time spent with the family, eating way too much, and gift giving. Since we're always thinking about what ifs, this year we wondered....

What if we lived in a fantasy or sci-fi world...
What fictional gift would be at the top of your list?

I would love to get a magical Narnia-esque door installed in my studio that, when I walked through it, would take me to another world for a break between my real-life work sprints. It could send me right into my own fictional world, as in my drawing for Fireseed One (left), or to a fantastical pond in a magical forest, or into a Victorian goth scene. Then, with the press of a button, I'd be back, refreshed.

 - Catherine Stine

Like Hagrid of Harry Potter fame, I adore pets. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Hagrid wants a dragon so bad that he gets tricked into revealing where the Sorcerer's Stone is hidden. I hope I'm not that gullible, but I get it. If I lived in the magical world, I'd want a dragon too. I got a little glimpse of what it could be like when I visited Harry Potter world last year...

- Gwen Gardner

Ooh, so many things. I don't have enough computer space to write them all down! Yet there is one thing that could give me all the wonderful adventures I crave. A holodeck! If I had one of my own, I don't think I'd ever leave it. I'd be more addicted than Reginald Barclay!

- Christine Rains 

I'm in a fantasy world, and I’m going to go for a magical writer’s notebook. This book has the special property that any location written about within its pages becomes a real place you can visit. Just describe the world you want to explore and step inside. Oh, and the book always comes with you, so you can easily escape the horrors and complications you encounter and escape into the next world...

- Simon Kewin 

I would love a spaceship to have a chance encounter with aliens from another world. Meeting extraterrestrials would be just the thing to enjoy as I continue orbiting the sun in our solar system.

- Jeff Beesler

An ever-filled, ever-chilled beer mug is very tempting. However, I'd have to go with a real, working Stargate. How long ago did that show end? I still dream of going through the Stargate. Can I have a Colonel O'Neill with that?

- M. Pax 

I'm with Mary on this one. I want a working Stargate. However, she can take O'Neill. I want either Dr. Rodney McKay or Colonel John Sheppard.

- Cherie Reich

There are so many options that would be wonderful! Right now, at the end of the semester, I'm wishing I had more time (probably so I could take a nap!). A time-turner would certainly be a lovely thing!!

-Meradeth Houston

Happy holidays from all of us here at Untethered Realms!


Book Review - Cursed City (Shadow Detective #1) #urbanfantasy

Blurb: My name is Mike Raven, and the weird and supernatural are my life. Monsters murdered my parents when I was eight. Turns out my folks were paranormal investigators and Hell always settles its debts. Naturally I decided to join the family business.

For two decades I've studied the occult and traveled the world hunting nightmares. Vampires. Shifters. Demons. Wraiths. I've faced them all. But my greatest challenge still lay ahead...

From the moment Celeste stepped into my office, I knew she was in trouble. Black magic trouble. Her father had promised her soul to a powerful demon on the day she was born. Now, twenty-one years later, the forces of darkness were gathering to collect their long-awaited prize.

Guess who's about to pick a fight with the Devil himself?

Christine's review: Mike Raven hunts monsters. When Celeste hires him to help her, he isn't certain he can help her. Yet he isn't about to let a beautiful woman suffer. But will he be able to fight back the forces of the Devil himself?

A fantastic start to this urban fantasy series. If you like Supernatural, you're going to like this book. Great hook at the beginning to bring us into the world, and nice descriptions all around. Plenty of action and a few nice twists at the climax. Can't wait to read more in the Shadow Detective series!


Coincidences and Synchronicities

I've always had a thing for coincidences: those random events all coming together in ways that one least expects it. Good or bad, these kinds of events are fun and fascinating. For some, they suggest a higher power ordering things, but for me they're the chaos of the universe sometimes aligning into a wonderful and wondrous pattern. Anyhow, no matter what you think is behind them, they're all kinds of fun to think about.

My upcoming release, THE COINCIDENCE MAKERS, due out on November 19th (yep, gotta get a plug in there somehow ;) talks about the possibility of there being people who make these seemingly impossible things happen. Ami and Luke create coincidences--some small, some large, and some they have no idea why they are supposed to make happen. At any rate, the whole idea came to me from a RadioLab episode I listened to many years ago. You can check it out here, and I totally recommend it: it's chock full of wonder and delight (okay, that may be more my interpretation, but it's awesome if you like this sort of thing!).

Anyhow, this got me started thinking about where stories come from--what sort of coincidences are involved in that? For me, they tend to come from songs (Colors Like Memories came from a Linkin Park song), or a scene (the opening of Surrender the Sky was a horrible opening scene that got into my head I had to write it out). Anyhow, whatever the source, somehow there was something came along and demanded that I write about it.

Recently I was listening to NPR (which probably says more about my demographics than I comfortable with, but it is still amazing and I learn so much random, cool stuff that I just don't care), and Elizabeth Gilbert was talking. She's the author of Eat, Pray, Love (which, I swear, every time I write, I accidentally type out 'prey', which amuses me to no end). And I just kind of loved what she had to say about the way stories float around and try to find a home--looking for the person who can tell them and gift them to the world. And especially how we have to demand a lot from our "muse" so that they know we're serious. I kind of love this idea!

Also, I kind of love the thought of stories floating around in the air like ghosts, looking for vessels. It's both elegant and distinctly creepy. And yet, it feels that way sometimes. Like something just hits and all the pieces just snap together and viola! A book! Like a major coincidence, or maybe a synchronicity, that allows a book, a story, to come into the world.

I'm embedding the radio program here for anyone who's interested, or you can listen here. The Gilbert bit starts around 3:30.

Anyhow, I love a good coincidence, and I love a good story even more. Do any of you have a good story about a synchronicity that you had happen? Or one that you've read about that blew your mind? If you go and read my deleted scene, you'll find one that I lifted from true life :) (And hey, sign up for my newsletter while you're at it? ;)


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Untethered Realms 99c Sale & Giveaway!

Happy fall!

With Halloween on the horizon, it's time for treats. But the Untethered Realms authors live so far apart, you can't come knocking on all our doors. So we're setting up a one stop buffet of 99c books for you here!

Plus, scroll down for a HUGE giveaway!

First, grab these incredible 99c reads!

Cherie Reich:
Once Upon a Nightmare
People of Foxwick and Their Neighbors

Mary Pax:
The Rifters Box Collection
Renaissance of Hetty Locklear

Gwen Gardner:
A Scandal in Boohemia

Jeff Chapman:
The Black Blade
Cat Sidhe
Last Request

Catherine Stine:
Pictures of Dorianna

Simon Kewin:
The Cloven Land Trilogy

Meradeth Houston:
The Chemistry of Fate
Surrender the Sky

Christine Rains:
Of Blood and Sorrow (23rd-27th)
Of Gods and Sorrow (27th-31st)

FREE Halloween treats from:

Mary Pax: Deadly Sins

Christine Rains a.k.a. Morena Silver: Bound by a Ban-sidhe (27th-31st)


Enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon giftcard!

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