9.06.2021

The Latest Releases from the UR Authors

 It's been an exciting year for the authors of Untethered Realms. We're putting together a new fantasy anthology to be released mid-2022. Until then, enjoy the latest wonderful releases from us. Click on the covers for the buy links.




YA paranormal from Cathrina Constantine

Nora has visions of horrific things. Things that lurk in the shadows and feast on bones. After moving with her mother into an old farmhouse, Nora discovers a blank journal that fills itself with an ominous warning. A cursed beast is coming for her and time is running out. When the blood moon rises, so shall the beast.







Fantasy adventure from Jeff Chapman

Taking from a Barrow? Not a good idea.

As Ethan approaches manhood, his prospects don't look very promising. And Arabella, the girl he's set his sights on, is the daughter of the Squire. Ethan's plans go awry, and he ends up in Faerie as the Sniggard kidnaps Arabella.








Paranormal romance from Catherine Stine

Meet Indigo Rain, a beautiful but lonely mermaid. Regretful of a dark past, she has vowed to remain alone and research ancient merfolk tribes. When she unearths a seabed burial site that even she cannot identify, she shares this with a High Council merfolk historian. But she keeps one shocking secret to herself.









Science-fiction trilogy from Simon Kewin

The unfolding mystery
A hidden trail among the stars
The return of an ancient galactic threat
The darkness at the heart of the galaxy.











Science-fiction from M. Pax

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.

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





Science-fiction fantasy from Jeff Beesler

The Bloboid Wars begin with the first strike in Bloboids Vs. Faeries! A massive ball of slime falls out of the sky and crashes against the northern shore of Faer’s Atoll. At once, the Bloboids conquer Faerie and animal life alike in their quest to dominate the universe.





  

Cozy paranormal mystery from Gwen Gardner

While not the crime of the century, Indigo and Franny must stop a candy store ghostie with a sweet tooth from dumping valuable merchandise on the floor. Sounds simple enough. Until they discover, not a mischievous spirit with a wanton disregard for inventory, but a little ghost girl on a mission to save the nun who raised her.





Supernatural thriller from Meradeth Houston

Controlling people’s fate is what Ami and Luke do: it’s what they’ve been tasked with for millennia by an inscrutable force. But when fate demands the impossible, what will defiance cost?






Fantasy LitRPG coming next month from Christine Rains

In every one of their games, the bard dies first. But this time, she may be the only one who can save them.

8.24.2021

#Fantasy Worth Reading: Flex #Bookreview


Flex b
y Ferrett Steinmetz is an engrossing fantasy set on modern-day Earth. I loved his space opera, The Sol Majestic, so had to try another book by this talented author.

The magic system has a bad side. For every wonderful gift, a dire consequence is required. The costs of doing magic are high and leave the ‘mancer with less and less. Something of value has to be given in order to do magic.

Magic takes their homes, their friends, everyone and everything they love. Using magic is like a drug in this realm, and the magic users are addicts. They give up everything for their moments of glory and marvel.

The main character, Paul Tsabo, is an ordinary person dealing with some bad luck. He was once a cop, who gained notoriety for taking out a ‘mancer. He lost a foot during the battle, and the loss required him to take a new job. He now works as a claims adjustor at an insurance company.

Thing is, it’s there he learns he has a gift – bureaucracy ‘mancy. He can do extraordinary things with forms and reordering the world. He has to hide his gift, but he can’t stay away from it, especially once his daughter is horribly burned in a fire caused by the consequences of someone else doing magic.

He's as obsessed with saving his daughter as finding quiet moments to do ‘mancy. This leads to him tracking down the ‘mancer who caused the fire that injured his daughter. Although he wants revenge in the worst way, he also needs to learn to hone his magic so he can help his daughter. This odd alliance and the search to find a better way to do magic drives the story.

The characters are very relatable. Most of us love to get lost in the beauty of our daydreams, which is very much like how the magic works in this book. It’s a great adventure with a great dose of self-discovery. Paul has to figure out what matters most and how to tame his ‘mancy for good.

I was entertained until the last page, and was rooting for Paul, his new ally, and his daughter. I was also rooting for magic. I highly recommend this fantasy.

Here's the official blurb:

The first in a series by the author of The Sol Majestic that is “what might result if you put Breaking Bad and Reddit in a blender and hit ‘frappe.’ ” (B&N Sci-Fi Blog)

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before—and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe. 

 

8.10.2021

Skywatch: Perseids Meteor Shower 2021 #astronomy

 The Perseids is the biggest and showiest meteor shower of the year. Every year, it's at the same time-mid August. The peak is August 12th, but you should already be able to view some lovely shooting stars if you have a dark sky.



Even without it being Perseids season, there are 6-10 shooting stars every hour.

The Perseids will appear as quick, small streaks of light. They get their name because they look like they’re coming from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

The Perseids are fragments of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits between the Sun and beyond the orbit of Pluto once every 133 years. Every year, the Earth passes near the path of the comet, and the debris left behind by Swift-Tuttle shows up as meteors in our sky.

Perseus is located under Cassiopeia: looks like a big W to the right of the Big Dipper. Here's a star chart.

By IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg) - [1], CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15412172


For the next two years, the Moon will interfere with the viewing of the Perseids. So this is your best chance for a lovely show until 2024.

I'll be out astronomizing. Hope you get out too! If your skies are sucky, you can watch live with NASA at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYKfAzPEXMQsGtNfBCNa_BA





7.21.2021

#Fantasy Worth Reading: The Cat Who Would Be King #Bookreview

The Cat Who Would Be King by Bethany Hoeflich is a humorous novella about an alleycat's accidental rise to the top of society.

From the blurb:

The sky is blue.

Water is wet.

And cats most definitely do not talk.

Reporter Thomas Kane knows that boring articles don’t sell newspapers, and as the newest hire at the Daily Gazette, he’s always on the lookout for a tantalizing story to write. When he gets a tip about an interview with Bastien the First, the elusive and presumably dead king of Qar, Thomas assumes it’s a cruel prank by jealous coworkers determined to see him fail.

As a cat, life is far superior for Bastien than his two-legged counterparts. Bastien has settled nicely into retirement where he enjoys a quiet life as a pampered tavern cat while keeping his true identity a secret. Obscurity has its downsides, however, and it’s time for his extraordinary story to be told.

My thoughts:

Bastien the cat has decided it's time to tell his story. And what a story. It seems Bastien's life as a wharf-prowling feline is over when a wizard acquires him for experimentation. The wizard doesn't expect him to survive and tells him so, but Bastien not only survives the experiment, he gains the ability to talk in human speech.

At first the wizard is pleased. He believes he has the perfect spy to serve his mysterious plans. However, the wizard soon discovers that cats rarely do what others want them to do. As the wizard reveals the depths of his evilness, Bastien discovers that the kingdom is tottering on a knife edge. Bastien proves to be the right cat at the right time.

Hoeflich does a wonderful job portraying Bastien's perspective. The reader gets a very credible cat's-eye-view of the wharfs and the castle. The contrast between the characters of Bastien and the wizard is also well done. Bastien searches for kindness and a good meal while the wizard exhibits a maniacal obsession with political power. If you like cats and some humor with your fantasy, you'll enjoy The Cat Who Would Be King

Story links:

Goodreads  Amazon

7.06.2021

What People 100 Years Ago Thought Life Would Be Like Now

 


We may think we're living in a world no one could have ever imagined, but there are some creative minds who believed they could see what the future might bring. Life one hundred years ago might seem like medieval to us now. Yet there were folks with eyes to a technological tomorrow.

One of the big themes people in the last century imagined were domed cities. We don't have those. Yet. It's something scientists and science fiction authors still see in our future based on pollution and climate change. We could at least control the climate inside the domes.

Everything flying. Whoosh! People thought cars, jetpacks, houses, even cities, would be flying by now and part of everyday life. While that still could be a possibility, it isn't as practical as it might have seemed. Now a vast system of ultra fast monorails to travel the world...

Robot helpers. While we aren't overrun by robots yet, more and more things are becoming automated. We're rushing faster toward that world. Finger crossed it isn't a Skynet future!

People thought we'd be able to control the weather. I think Earth is winning on that front. We need to use our technology to learn to adapt rather than control it. Though, wait... Wasn't there the rumor that someone did have a weather machine?!

We should have the moon as our playground, right? Folks a century ago thought we'd be taking regular recreational trips to our moon by now. While I don't see the moon as a playground, it would be a vied-for source for companies to mine materials. Though, then we'd have to imagine our world without a moon and the trouble its loss would cause. Mars seems to be our fascination for our next home these days.

What do you think life will be like one hundred years from now?

6.21.2021

#Review #CurseoftheHunted #ParanormalRomance #NewRelease @CRainsWriter #Fantasy

Meet Akila Levesque, Sphynx...

Akila's well-ordered world has fallen apart. Her delinquent brother, Cairo is the only family she has left after their mother's death. When she receives the letter from the High Council of the Supernatural to become a Keeper, she believes this could be a fresh start for both of them.

But the moment Akila presents a family heirloom to give to the Keepers as her part of her initiation, everything erupts into chaos as the cracked Egyptian statuette runs away. Corrupted by its broken aura, the rogue artifact hunts Akila in the ghost riddled seaside town.

It's doesn't help when the gorgeous Chaz Nowiki keeps turning up wherever Akila goes. She doesn't want a gargoyle in shining armor to save her, even when he looks so hot his firefighter's suspenders. Yet even with the help of a powerful guardian, things grow desperate when the relic targets Cairo as well.

Now Akila must risk everything to save her brother. But will that even be enough when she has no idea what it means to be a Keeper or a Sphynx?

"After all, every secret needs a Keeper."


Cathrina's Review: 

A pleasurable, unique story! Gargoyles. Sphynx. Witches. Merfolk. Vampires, Fae, and more, are all part of the Council of Supernaturals.

The Curse of the Hunted is about Akila, a Sphynx and her brother Cairo. With their mother deceased, Akila moves them into a Supernatural Village to train as a Keeper. Akila has the ability to see ghosts, but keeps this information to herself until....I never leave spoilers...LOL....She brings with her an ancient relic, and then all hell breaks loose.

There is fast-paced action with each turn of the page as Akila and Cairo battle the elements the relic, ushabti throws at them. I never thought of gargoyles as good-looking until Chaz! Chaz has given me a newfound love for hot gargoyles. Somewhat behind closed doors, but with plenty of teasing innuendoes, the reader enjoys romance within the pages of Curse of the Hunted.

I highly recommend, Curse of the Hunted!


Amazon Link:https://www.amazon.com/Curse-Hunted-Paranormal-Romance-Knowledge-ebook/dp/B08Q7TK5GH/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Curse+of+the+hunted+by+christine+rains&qid=1623767099&sr=8-2

6.07.2021

Playing the alien cicada what if game

 


Their serenade keeps getting louder and louder. Am I strange for finding it somehow enthralling?

People have been freaking out this year as the Brood X cicadas have emerged from the ground in eastern and central US. When I first experienced the swarm 17 years ago, I stayed inside and cringed every time one of the bumbling flying bugs hit a window. This time, I'm out in the yard and letting them land on me as I wonder what if...

More aliens would likely be like insects than mammals. What would aliens similar to cicadas be like?

The aliens would only come above ground once in a long cycle. That way they're safer from being invaded themselves. Maybe there were frightening creatures on their home planet that hunted them long ago, but are now extinct or very rare.

To ensure their success in populating a new planet, they swarm. There are so many of them, it doesn't matter if the planet's native lifeforms fight back. The shear number of the aliens would eventually overwhelm everything else and take over. When they do breed, they lay hundreds of eggs to increase the chances of some surviving.

While they cannot bite or sting, the noise they make can drown out most other noises. These aliens may have taken it a step further, and their song deafens other creatures. Can you imagine their ships coming down on a sunny day with such a chorus it explodes your eardrums?

A lifeform doesn't need to be extremely smart or deadly to survive a long time. Cicadas have been around for nearly 200 million years. Maybe they are aliens who landed on Earth long before humans evolved!

What do the cicadas inspire in you?