A Duo of Untethered Authors Baring it All...Well...Sorta

It is with great pleasure and a thrill in our hearts that Gwen Gardner and I (Angela Brown *hugs*) reveal the covers for our follow up stories to our currently available novels: Givin' Up the Ghost (Gwen) and Neverlove (Angela)

*cue drumroll*

A GUILTY GHOST SURPRISED by Gwen Gardner (Add to Goodreads)
An Angel Among Us
Paranormal happenings at the Eady household are the norm. Recently, things have become downright peculiar. Childish giggles at odd hours of the night lead Indigo Eady to her little cousin, Bryan, a guileless cherub spirit, complete with Spider Man pajamas and a set of faux angel wings. The problem is that Bryan died nearly three years ago in a hit and run that killed him and his mum. The driver was never found.  Now the gang must solve the mystery of his death in order to send him back to heaven.  But where to start when the trail is three years cold?
Indigo Eady
Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks fly in more than one direction.

THEY ALL FALL DOWN by Angela Brown (Add to Goodreads)
Abby and Basil: New love reaches new heights as they finally give in to their lust and desire for each other.

Q: Consumed by the Devourer within and his base need to claim Abby as his own.

The crave: What it all boils down to. A crave for souls. A crave to keep love intact beyond betrayals. A crave for a second chance. A crave for power and The Fall of mankind.

“Love can conquer all” is put to the test and salvation may be impossible when it’s “ashes, ashes…they all fall down.”

About Gwen
Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter.

Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face - but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate - not necessarily in that order.
Haunt at the following: Blog | Twitter | Facebook

About Angela
Angela is a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly young adult - fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Haunt at the following: Blog | Twitter | Facebook



Check out what the talented authors of Untethered Realms do with this writing prompt!

What in the out-of-this-world is awesomesauce? Well, my friends, it is a generous helping of wonderful kneaded and blended with countless dollops of extreme unicorn joy. This concoction collides with a supernova creating the biggest, baddest, bestest show of fireworks ever. It's so awesome it can't stop with just awesome. It's awesomesauce.

Three Witch Sisters gathered ‘round the bubbling cauldron. They sniffed through schnozzles, pointed and long, like the hats atop their knobby noggins. Fangs snarled and snapped, growled and grunted after wisps of euphoria escaping in twirls and swirls into the inky night sky.
Stir and sip, pass the dip.
Stir and sip, pass the dip.
Stir and sip--
“Tis a dash it needs, of something more…” said One.
“Bat wing?” asked Two.
“Dragon’s breath?” added Three.
“No,” said One. “Mayhap a dash of--” Shake! Spill! Splash! “--chocolate.”
“What be the name of this concoction?” asked Two, a frown betwixt narrow eyes.
Nods bobbed all ‘round.

A million points of light reflected in his soul, peering at me like a newborn galaxy. The stars burned, imprinting eternity deeper than my bones. I sighed.

He breathed me in, “I’ve a thousand wonders to show you.”

With a gaze like that, I’d follow him to the next twelve universes. Yet all I could say was a goofy, “Awesome sauce.”

The recorded chanting on the iPhone weakened the monster enough that the first hit didn't crush his skull. With the world blurring, Imri stood as the furry beast turned its back to him. It was stupid as well as ugly. Yet he didn't dare smile until he thrust his sword through the monster's back, and it imploded with a wet pop.

Covered in warm goop, Imri turned with a hop and grinned at his Master. "Awesomesauce."

1 Chosen One
2-3 Sidekicks
1 Mentor
1 Master Villain
½ cup of dragon’s breath
¾ tablespoon of castle dust
A dash of magic
A sprinkle of secrets

In one bowl, take one Chosen One and sift with two or three sidekicks until they become best friends. Throw in one mentor and allow the mixture to become wise. In another bowl, blend the castle dust and dragon’s breath together until they crumble. Add to the first bowl. Add a dash of magic and sprinkle of secrets to the mix. Pour mixture on a flat surface. Spread the group thin and knead the Master Villain in, until chaos ensues. Bake for a trilogy at 400 degrees, or until the Chosen One rises and defeats the Master Villain.

Catherine Stine
Awesome sauce is a blend of Tabasco, Red Bull, Burberis Vulgaris and magic sparkles. Witches sip it from black buttercups on the eve of the full moon in order to perform spectacularly successful spells. They can make porcupines waltz, humorless yawners transform into standup comics and wallflowers blossom into flowery debutantes. An Awesome sauce spell can even make an orangutan trilingual!

River Fairchild:
Jezebel studied the unicorn with a twitch of a smile. He noticed and stomped his feet, his silky black coat sparkling with pinpoints of starlight. Blood-maddened eyes narrowed as he lowered his horn in her direction.

She spared a tiny yawn and flicked her tentacles at him. "It seems you drank too much punch, my ill-tempered friend. It tasted like pure awesomesauce going down though, didn't it?"

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Bertram said.
“Took a wrong turn,” Giles replied.
“But didn’t you have that other contract to take care of?”
“It can wait,” Giles said, then pointed to a small cluster of planets in front of them. “End of the world job?”
“Yep,” Bertram sighed.       
“Want me to take care of it?”
“If you like.”
“Awesome sauce!” Giles cried, making Bertram jump – if causing a supernatural entity to move a few hundred thousand miles could be called jumping.
Bertram soon came back. “Not funny.”


Why I write YA

YA has always existed as a genre, though when I read books as a pre-teen, I'd never heard terms like MG or YA; it was all labeled "juvenile", at least in the UK where I grew up. What a horrible label, don't you think? These days, YA has hit the mainstream, largely due to the monster successes Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Adults everywhere are proudly proclaiming themselves YA readers, and I say "amen" to that.

Why do I write YA? Let me start with why I read YA:

My reading tastes are eclectic, though I confess a huge bias to sci-fi and fantasy. When work turns stressful, and life seems to yak on me at every opportunity, I take comfort from a great YA story. The trials and tribulations of the YA protagonist pull on my fears and insecurities. I shudder at the memory of my teens, when every hill became a mountain, every cruel comment signaled the end of my life. Despite the age gap, I can empathize with the YA protagonist. Everyone and everything seems against him or her, but somehow through tenacity, quick-wits and a noble soul, they win through and save the day. Good YA is a tale of innocent courage and friendship against adversity, yet the simple wisdom of the young can teach even the eldest of us.

It feels good to leave our complicated, adult lives behind. I find most YA books to be a wonderful escape from reality, often a page-turner that keeps me reading late into the night. The plot and pacing are usually simple and easy to read, yet rarely childish or patronizing. These days, I'm thankful not to suffer ponderous back-story  long-winded characters and yawn-inducing talking head scenes that go on for tens of pages. I fear that some adult writers have forgotten how to entertain their readers.

And there lies the crux of the matter. I want to entertain. That's the main reason I write YA. I don't want to impress, I don't want to show off my encyclopedic knowledge of literary style. In truth, I don't have one. I have no aspirations of becoming the next Hemingway or Faulkner. In my head, I relive the wondrous imaginations of my teens, and I want to share those adventures. I believe that none of us has truly let go of our youth, and we yearn to recapture the innocent wonder of those times.

The youth of today are our future. Kids are bright and spunky, willing to see the good in everything, untainted by adult perceptions and neuroses. I owe my own intense curiosity, love of adventure, knowledge and science to all the books I read as a child. I want to pay that forward. This is the second reason I write YA. I want to encourage youngsters to read, and imagine, and know that life is what they choose to make it. As adults, we may be mired in the realities of economic depression, world conflicts, spiraling costs, etc., but kids need and deserve a more creative outlet.

If I can convince one child that the world, nay universe, is an astonishing place in which they can grow and mold for the good of all, overcoming any challenge; then the time I spend writing a book is worthwhile. If I can assist one adult to escape into a world where friendship, moral fiber and the courage to do the right thing can renew their tired souls, and let them put my book down with a smile; then I am happy. Am I a crazy dreamer? Hell, yes, and proud.

That's why I write YA. I can end in no better way than quoting the elegant mission statement of Flux Books: "Where Young Adult is a Point of View, Not a Reading Level."

[This post originally appeared in 2012 on Obsession With books.]


Symbolism, Friends And What's In Your Trunk?

I had the wonderful opportunity recently to meet up with a couple of authors from the Untethered Realms group, Angela Brown and Graeme Ing, here in San Diego. Over Mexican food and margaritas, the conversation turned naturally to writing and sequels. I was asked if my main character, Indigo Eady, would ever unpack her trunk.
For those who haven’t read Givin’ UpThe Ghost, Indigo had just lost her father and was forced to move from America to England to live with an uncle and cousin. She’s welcomed warmly into their home, and yet she refused to unpack the trunk that holds all her belongings. She hasn’t accepted the death of her father emotionally, although she knows intellectually that he’s dead and not coming back. But she’s quite insistent that it isn’t her home and pointblank refuses to unpack, even after six months.

That got me to thinking about symbolism. I acknowledged that Indigo’s trunk is really my trunk. I once lived in a house for five years without hanging a single picture on the wall. It’s true! My reason? It wasn’t my home. (don't judge me, LOL!)

You probably don’t want me to get started on what’s inside my trunk, either. But let’s just say that every once in a while I’ll take something out. Turn it over, study it. Once in a great while, when I’m ready, I’ll toss something in the garbage. But mostly, it goes back in the trunk until I decide to take it out and examine it again. Trust me, there are some things in that trunk that only God and I know about. Those things will never see the light of day.

Here's another example. Are there any Friends fans out there? If you’re a fan, you know that Monica is the quintessential perfectionist. Everything she does has to be perfect--and clean--and organized. There’s one episode after she and Chandler got together. He moved in with her and of course he accepted her organizational quirkiness. But Monica had one locked closet and nobody was allowed to see inside. So of course Chandler broke in and got the shock of his life: a hoarder’s closet, stuffed with clutter and crap and a monolithic mess that Monica would never have allowed out in the open. Chandler teased her that she was really a messy person at heart. Monica told him he wasn't supposed to see it. She claimed that while organizing, the stuff in the closet didn't fit into any category.
And so symbolism is a way of addressing an issue but still keeping it at a safe distance, or even hidden. Sometimes it's conscious, sometimes not.
We're human. I think we all have our issues (I mean, someone who won't hang pictures? WTH?!), and that we all have a trunk or closet or somewhere we hide the crap we don't want anyone to see. 

These issues spill over into our writing.

Maybe it's even the reason we write.
Writing and Symbolism are perfect ways to hide things in plain sight.  

Do you use symbolism in your writing?

Care to share?
Dare I ask if you have a trunk or closet?