Fantastic Speculative Fiction - This is Worth Reading: The Accidental Prophetess by Michelle Lam

Natalie Richards (27) knows how to make a video go viral. It's her job, after all. But when she's fired over her latest video -- an ad for dish soap, of all things -- she complains. Loudly. In public. It's not her fault that those words were written down decades earlier. Within minutes she's abducted, whisked underground, and proclaimed to be a long-lost prophet destined to save the world.

The threats against world peace are real. But then again, so is the need to breathe fresh air and have a decent haircut. Not to mention the two deliciously handsome men that seem to have secrets of their own. A cult is a cult, no matter how sexy the head of security might be ... right?

Review: This book is a fun mashup of genres with a secret society and fantasy thrown in. Sort of like Cher from Clueless runs into a society of Batmen in Central Park. It was quirky, adventurous, and original. Most of all, this book made me laugh out loud, a lot.

It starts with Natalie being abducted. It's very intense. Then we find out she was abducted because she is this secret society's long-lost prophet. She became the prophet by speaking the secret words.

How she copes with her new role and the secret society is often hilarious. There are romantic elements, but it's not a romance. It's a wacky adventure in which our hero comes out as a better person at the end. The plot is unpredictable, and I had no idea where the author was taking me. My favorite kind of ride. I absolutely loved it. I hope Micihelle Lam keeps writing.

The Accidental Prophetess is available from Amazon


Have You Seen My Doppelganger?

Authors here at Untethered Realms write speculative fiction. It encompasses science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal and anything that pushes the boundaries of fictional belief. For most of us, including creatures in our writing is a must. It adds that suspension of disbelief flavor that so many specfic readers enjoy.
You name it, and we probably got it here at the Realms!
In my Afterlife novella series, I include ghosts, demons, shapeshifters, gardengoyles, shadow people and Doppelgangers. Of course, it wouldn't be fun or interesting if they didn't misbehave. 

Take Doppelgangers for instance.

A doppelganger is your double. Someone who looks like you, but isn't you. Every culture has a different twist on what it means to see your double. But whatever the culture, it is never a good sign and is often the harbinger of death.

In Second Death, their own doppelgangers tease and test the mettle of Indigo and Badger, intent on getting a rise out of them. They’re pros at mimicry. They took deeply seated desires and taunted the pair by turning something innocent into something...other than innocent.
It’s even said that doppelgangers have demonic qualities. So using them in Second Death was a bit of foreshadowing.

It should be clear by now that you do not want to see your own doppelganger. Or mine!

To set the scene for the following excerpt, here's what happened to Indigo and Badger. Indigo is drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee, which leads the gang to the Gertrude's Garden cotillion, the social center nightclub for paranormals. While following a trail of shadow people, they meet their trouble-making doppelgangers in a mirror. Now this is the real meaning of in through the looking glass

We smiled at our reflections.

Our reflections smiled back.

We laughed.

Our reflections laughed back.

Our reflections waved…


I did not wave…so how…

I turned to Badger—he turned to me.

“What…did you…I didn’t…” Badger looked as freaked out as I felt.

We looked back at the mirror. Although no sound reached us, they were laughing at us! Having a good laugh, too, hanging on each other’s shoulders.

She stuck her tongue out at us.

He made an obscene hand gesture.

I sucked in a breath. My fists went to my hips. “Stop that!” 

Badger, the real one, frowned. “What are they?”

“Right off hand I’d say they’re doppelgangers. Our doubles.” An electrical current zipped up my spine and lodged at the base of my skull. Weren’t doppelgangers harbingers of death? And they were our doppelgangers, so did that mean they were harbingers of our own deaths? I shook my head. It was no time for fanciful imaginings. Gertrude’s Garden and the attached cemetery was nothing but death. That made more sense.

“Well, what are they doing here? What do they want with us?”

“Good question.” I ignored the thoughts that persistently tapped me on the shoulder. “Or more importantly, why are they purposely antagonizing us?”

“They are deliberately trying to get a rise out of us. I wonder why?” said Badger.

“Who are you?” I don’t know what her game was, but someone else wearing my face and body wasn’t cool.

She turned and kissed the Badger reflection right on the lips. A long, sensuous, face-sucking, tongue-wrangling kiss.

I gasped and took a step closer, a brief flicker of something like jealousy momentarily sparking my temper. Was he enjoying kissing her, er, me? I didn’t see him struggling...

Then she turned back to me and winked.

“Why you little…” The moment I touched the mirror, I fell through, Badger’s voice ringing in my ears. I face-planted on the other side, only seconds before Badger. I sat up, slightly in shock. What the heck just happened?

Badger sat up and rested his forearms on his knees. He cocked his head and raised his eyebrows at me. “I don’t suppose you have an explanation?” 

I gazed around the hall, no sign of our doppelgangers. A mirror image of the hall we just left, only bone-chillingly cold, looked back. I shivered. “Right off hand I’d say we fell through the rabbit hole.” And I sat spread eagle on the floor like a bumbling Alice.

 What do you think?
Could you take on a doppelganger?

Second Death
Book I
The Afterlife Novella Series
Cover by Corona Zschusschen

Tweetable Character Quotes from this excerpt:
I don’t know what her game was, but someone else wearing my face and body wasn’t cool. ~Indigo Eady
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6TYPOE @UnRealms #YA
“Why you little…” The moment I touched the mirror, I fell through...~Indigo Eady http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6TYPOE @UnRealms #paranormal #ebook
Second Death:
The Sabrina Shores spirit community is in crisis.
Ghosties are mysteriously disappearing at an alarming rate.
They’re simply…gone. A second death.
The clues are limited, but it’s clear that the one common factor is Gertrude’s Garden, the nightclub social center of the spirit community which just happens to adjoin the Sabrina Shores cemetery: the one place Indigo makes a point of not going. Ever. She has her reasons.
Indigo Eady:
Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends?
Blog Tour Stops:
(Book I)
(Yeah, I rub elbows with some awesome peeps!)
Ghostly Gallows available October 6th!
Secret Keepers available October 20th!
  1. Everyone who comments here or at any of the stops during my Afterlife Blog Tour will be put into a drawing for FREE ebooks of Second Death, Ghostly Gallows and Secret Keepers. Five copies will be given away during the two week release period of each book.
  2. Everyone who leaves a review of any book in the Afterlife series by October 31, 2014 will be put in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.
  3. Everyone who purchases the complete ebook set or boxed ebook collection set by the end of the Afterlife blog tour (by October 31, 2014) will be put in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card (boxed ebook set available October).
  4. A print book giveaway of the series will also be up for grabs - stay tuned for more details!
Send your purchase links with the heading "AFTERLIFE" in the subject line to GwenMGardner@cox.net to be entered into the drawings.
 Buy now:

Connect with me here:


Happenings in the Realm: Huzzizzle September 2014 #SpecFic #SciFi #Fantasy #Horror

Marketh thee calendar!

2014 Realms Faire & Joust

November 10-14th


The 2014 Realms Faire and joust is coming. What? Yes, it's time to think about polishing off your lances and your huzzahs. The faire is November 10-14 this year.

2014 Events:

The Joust, hosted by M. Pax

Soak-a-bloke and Drench-a-wench, hosted by Christine Rains

Stockade Brigade, hosted by Mary Waibel

Dueling Bards, hosted by Cas Web

Riddle Me This, hosted by Cherie Reich

Phasers, hosted by Untethered Realms

Interested in hosting an event? Would love to have you join us.  This will be the third online joust and the faire has been a blast for hosts and attendees. If you'd like to host an event and are looking for ideas, I have a few.  This is also the sign up for knights. The joust is limited to 10. And if you'd like to be a sponsor by providing a prize, you can use this same sign up. Want to know more before you sign up? You can email me at mpaxauthor@gmail.com

Sign up!


Preorder Giveaway!

Preorder Twisted Earths and get your choice of an Untethered Realms' authored book for free with proof of purchase. For proof of purchase, you can do a screenshot of where you ordered the book. Send this screenshot along with which book you'd like for free (click here for our book list) to untetheredrealms@gmail.com.

Preorder at Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, B&N, and Google Play!

Two Books for a Buck Special!


Try book one for free!

Download from: Amazon / AmazonUK / B&N / Smashwords /Googleplay / iTunes / Other

Take advantage of the preorder special on book 2, The Initiate. Only 99 cents via preorder from Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Googleplay. Preorder

That's two books for one buck! But only for a limited time.

For more giveaways and events on the launch of the Rifters series visit MPax's Blog and THIS PAGE

September books & articles with 
Catherine Stine's commentary


As writers we like advice from people who have walked the walk. Even better if it's FREE! Authors Carrie Butler and PK Hrezo have compiled "Letters of Advice to my Younger Writer Self" from 60+ authors in this fascinating book, How I Found the Write Path.  FREE on AMAZON & B&N.

This quirky cooking/advice book on writing and love is the brainchild of author, Lois Winston. Catherine shares words of advice on love and writing with a recipe for a tasty fruit pastry.
Get the ebook from AmazonNookiTunes. Amazon paperback here. The blurb:

What do most authors have in common, no matter what genre they write? They love desserts. Sweets sustain them through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. They also often celebrate their successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors chat with each other, they often talk about their writing and their lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. In this cookbook 105 authors not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.

Catherine's commentary on marketing tactics for indie authors is included in the latest issue of Publisher's Weekly! Check it out here.

Her new adult novel, Private Internship launches on September 29. It's not exactly spec fiction (although, let's face it, love is often magical or freaky), but if you'd like to join the Facebook party on OCT 2, from 6 to 11 pm (EST) you're all invited! And stay tuned for her YA horror, Dorianna, launching October 24 with a spooktastic Facebook party and giveaways from some of your fave Untethered Realms authors! 

Okay, just got the cover for Dorianna... wanna see? You get the first peek!!!

Big Geeky News

Christine Rains has signed a 3 book contract with Ellora's Cave for their special line "Geekgasm." Her hilarious and nerdy trilogy is called Dice & Debauchery. It's about an online gaming group meeting for the first time at a convention and the crazy fun that follows. The stories are full of geeky jokes, sweet romance, and sizzling erotica. The first book, "Loose Corset" will be released on January 9th, 2015.

New Release!
Gwen Gardner has another new release on 9/22. The same quirky characters from her Indigo Eady novels are back to solve mysteries, only now they're working directly with the ghosts via some very special majick. Pre-order HERE.


Necromancer: Release and excerpt

Graeme's new dark fantasy was released back in August. It's available on all ebook formats and paperback.

"A primeval fiend is loose in the ancient metropolis of Malkandrah, intent on burning it to a wasteland. The city's leaders stand idly by and the sorcerers that once protected the people are long gone.

Maldren, a young necromancer, is the only person brave enough to stand against the creature. Instead of help from the Masters of his Guild, he is given a new apprentice. Why now, and why a girl? As they unravel the clues to defeating the fiend, they discover a secret society holding the future of the city in its grip. After betrayals and attempts on his life, Maldren has reason to suspect everyone he thought a friend, even the girl.

His last hope lies in an alliance with a depraved and murderous ghost, but how can he trust it? Its sinister past is intertwined in the lives of everyone he holds dear.

Can only evil defeat evil?"


   At the door, she dragged her heels. “I’ll wait out here until you’re done.”
   I tugged her forward.
   “It’s too dangerous and I don’t want you out of my sight. You’re my apprentice, so you have to obey.” I winked.
   She rolled her eyes but followed me into the dark taproom. I separated our hands as we crossed the threshold. Necromancers don’t hold hands.
   The dregs of society were already congregating, weaving drunkenly among stable boys scattering fresh straw. True to the inn’s name, the stench of old vomit mixed with that of stale beer. Arms reached out to paw at Ayla, but when they saw my robe they slunk away into dark corners. I stood tall. Yes, you lecherous mob, the necromancer just stepped into your sleazy world.
   There was no sign of the Duke’s men, or anyone else trying to catch my attention. The back stairs creaked and bowed as we ascended, and I didn’t risk putting weight on the unsteady banister. The upstairs hallway was empty, so we strode past several doors that muffled ecstatic cries or snores, and I knocked on the rearmost door.
   No answer. Kristach, he’d left.
   I pushed it open and froze.
   I tried to block Ayla’s view but she slipped past me into the room. She gasped and her hands flew to her mouth. Then she doubled over in a crouch and threw up, spraying her breakfast all over her feet. I hurried inside and shut the door. Thank Belaya she hadn’t screamed, but she uttered a low, haunting moan, at the same time clutching her abdomen and trembling.

Contact Graeme: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 


Settler, #Oregon! What a Trip!

My Husband Unit and I took a trip out to Settler, Oregon, this summer.

We were enticed by this awesome ad:

We floated out on the volcanic heated lake with the ducks, despite the mayflies and mosquitoes.

The water is so calm it reflects the sky

Yay, boats!

All those black dots are mosquitoes

All those dots are bubbles from geothermal activity heating the lake
We enjoyed the sights:

Sunrise from Gold Peak
Sunrise from Gold Peak, looking out over East Lake

A nice waterfall in the woods
The Obsidian Flow

Gold Peak

The obligatory selfie with Husband Unit

 The people were awesomely nice. Then things became a little weird. A cloud of fire appeared in the sky and we were rushed into the bomb shelter under the high school. Yeah, they still had one of those. Nothing new has been built since the 1950’s... at least. The next thing we knew, they had whisked us back to Bend, citing volcanic activity. Hmm, so far only Settler has reported the incident in the Caslow Circuit, the county paper they print once a month.

Anything weird ever happen to you like that? How was your summer trip?

The Gold Rush trickles to a fool’s quest and a string of stagecoach heists. In 1888, Earl Blacke decides to make a new start and become a better man. He escapes into the mountains, heading north. In the wilds of Oregon, a rift inside an ancient volcano opens and sends him into the future, into the present day. It also shaves forty years off his age, forty years to live over again and atone for what he’s done.
Starting over is hard to do. In current day New York, Daelin Long’s dream job at a publishing house goes the way of the dinosaurs her sister chases. With no money and nowhere else to go, Daelin accepts the librarian position in her sister’s dinky town in the middle of Oregon. Nestled inside ancient volcanic peaks, the town of Settler holds onto many secrets. Residents roam the streets with weirdly fashioned devices, and odd lights pulse in the night skies. People whisper of a phantom outlaw and start dying, murdered and missing their heads. On top of it all, Daelin’s sister is missing, and Daelin doesn’t know who to trust.
Earl knows more than he’s saying. He shares a notorious history with the phantom, one he’ll see remains buried. Keeping Daelin’s sister’s secrets is his only chance at redemption, and the only way to keep this world safe.

Try book one for free!
Download from: Amazon / AmazonUK / B&N / Smashwords /Googleplay / iTunes / Other

Take advantage of the preorder special on book 2, The Initiate. Only 99 cents via preorder from Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Googleplay. Preorder

All commenters to this post will be put in a drawing for ebook copies of The Rifters and The Initiate. Visit HERE for more giveaways and events.


Fantastic Speculative Fiction - This is Worth Reading: Blood Family by Mark Knight

Can't decide what to read next? Untethered Realms is sharing what we loved reading the first Friday of every month.

Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key


Book 1 of The Rites of Daniel Dark

Daniel Dark lives a random life - hanging out with his friends, enjoying alone time with his girlfriend, and working on cars. Having a strict Pastor for a dad doesn't make things easy, either. Especially when you suspect that he is hiding a secret from you.

A mysterious messenger brings Daniel shocking news about his origins. His true father is an unspeakably evil vampire - the master of all vampires, Dominus. As Daniel's own fearsome half-vampire powers begin to emerge, he sets out on a desperate journey across America, Mexico, and finally to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Daniel searches for his birth mother, imprisoned  by Dominus somewhere within the impenetrable Silverwood Manor.

Hiding his dhampir identity, Daniel teams up with Logan DuPris, daughter of England's most famous vampire hunter. As they unravel the clues that lead Daniel to his missing mother, they squabble, fight... and soon ignite intense passion for each other. 

To make things worse, Daniel is hunted by his adoptive father, Pastor Nathan Dark - now determined to destroy the boy he once called son.

My review

Before Blood Family, I'd not considered myself a fan of vampire fiction. In fact, I avoided such books. All that changed when I read Mark Knight's original and unique take on the vampire genre. The detailed world, fully realised characters, and different spin on what it means to be a vampire managed to sink its teeth into me and I'm now a convert. In fact, I've been left hungry for more.

Of extra significance for me was the setting. Part of the story takes place in a location close to my heart - Dartmoor, England. Knight had clearly done his homework, and it was a joy to see places I knew brought to life on the page.

Blood Family's characters - in particular the powerful shaman Xochil - and plot kept me hooked until the very end. There are not many stories that will leave me desperate to return to them, but this was one of them. I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

You can find Blood Family on Amazon here.


Awe and Wonder

(Playing with magnets and ferrofluid)

I spend a lot of my time with small children. While I often crave quiet and solitude, I am struck by something amazing when they aren't fighting or screaming. Their sense of awe and wonder.

The littlest things can make their faces light up, and they ask questions about details that I wouldn't have thought about myself. A squirrel twitching its tail came make them laugh for an hour and water dripping from a spout deserves thorough investigation. These things that are mundane in adults' minds are astounding to these young ones.

I know I'm reading a good book when it lights up my sense of awe and wonder. It must be something that not only fascinates me, but brings out that child-like admiration and curiosity.

My favorite books are those of the Harry Potter series. The world Rowling created swept me away and left me forever lost in it. Every nook and cranny holds something of wonder. I could live at Hogwarts and never find it boring.

It's not only books for children that can provoke such feelings. There have been several adult books that have left me wonderstruck.

A fantastic plot and great characters are vital to a good story. Yet if you can provoke that sense of awe and wonder in your readers, you've got them hooked for life.

What books have aroused your sense of awe and wonder?