Huzzizzle of the Realm.Introducing June #SciFi #fantasy & #Horror Deals & Reads #amreading

Get your summer read on!

The 6th installment of the Backworlds series is here!

Available in ebook from: Amazon or Amazon.com / B&N / iBook or main iBook / Googleplay / Smashwords / Kobo / inktera / Scribd

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.

The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.

The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.

The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.

The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.

* * * * *

Geeks are sexy.
The second book in the Dice & Debauchery series will be released on May 29th!

Amateur cosplayer Emily Solis is determined to win the costume contest and the heart of her biggest competition.

It isn't the first time Emily has shed her costume with the gorgeous Russell Morrison. Not even her best friend knows she's been having wild convention sex with him for over a year. It was supposed to remain physical, but Emily couldn't help falling for him and his kinky ways. In a moment of passion, she rolls the dice and tells Russell she loves him. He doesn't say it back. Can she convince him they're perfect together or will she roll another critical failure?

Buy the book:

Add it to read on Goodreads.

Get Loose Corset, the first book in the Dice & Debauchery series:

* * * * *
Six Stories of Fantasy and Weirdness

"Blood and Beauty"
      satyr's tragic love for a dryad
"Sutter’s Well"
      Lovecraftian monster in Appalachia
"Morphine and Chocolate"
      weird rendition of Pearl
"The Facts in the Case of M. Hussman"
      Poe meets steampunk
"Shafts to Hell"
      gold miner gone mad
"Good King David"
      Hamlet meets Absalom in Biblical fantasy


Report from the book cons - tips & observations

The Madness of the Book Fair at RT
Recently I attended two book conventions, and I'll be heading to two more in June and July. These first two seemed like polar opposites but weren't really. The first was Albacon, a small sci-fi con in Albany where I got invited to be a featured guest and on four panels.
Tips for attending a sci-fi - fantasy lovers con:

*Understand that attendees are completely devoted to their cons, and many of them have been going for years.
*No need for makeup at sci-fi cons and dress casually. Blue fingernail polish fits in though...it's otherworldly.
*Pack a Comicon type outfit for evening parties.
*Don't expect to sell a huge amount of books, but do expect to talk in depth about your novels for the sell. And then some will buy.
*The panels are the very best thing! Because the writers are theoretical physicists, scientists, engineers, computer programmers, college profs, and other brainiac occupations. The discussion is guaranteed to be punchy, heated, inspiring and deep. So, if you like to talk about craft I recommend trying to get on a panel at any book con.
* Be ready to try a Star Wars simulator or the equivalent! Oh, and an ice-cream social.

Catherine with the fabulous Tamora Pierce
author of a zillion fantasy novels,
with her lovely PA
The next convention I attended was RT Booklovers in Dallas, a HUGE, GINORMOUS event. Although RT stands for "romance times", authors were also selling young adult lit, fantasy and sci-fi. And hey, I ran into Tamora Pierce, a very amazing fantasy-SF author at my RT hotel, so you never know!
Some tips from RT:
*Be ready to do some extreme networking, as this con has a jillion heavyweight agents, editors, publishers, bloggers, and fellow authors all over the place!
*Book your ticket and your sales table THE HOUR/Day IT GOES LIVE or miss out. (I was on a wait list for a table because I booked my ticket 3 weeks after RT went live.
*That said, you CAN book appearances at CLUB RT where book lovers come chat and get books.
YA sci-fi author Lydia Kang
was at RT
*SOOO many books were being given away that I recommend you come with free books to simply spread word.
***That said, the giant book fair is totally worth it!!! People made LOTS of sales when the public poured in! Lots of teen buyers too, so it's good for YA authors.
*Next year it's in Vegas. I'm no gambler, but hey, maybe a cheesy live show or two?
*Don't try to do everything, because it's impossible and you will burn out fast. Pick your panels according to your needs and passions.

In June I will be headed to UtopYA in Nashville, which caters to fantasy, sci-fi, romance, young adult novels and book lovers. In July, I will head to the RWA con in NYC. I may have more tips, who knows?!

Have you been to any amazing book conventions? What useful tips did you learn from it?


Tuesday Tea with Mistress Snark

Welcome to the Untethered Realms edition of Mistress Snark's Tuesday Tea. Afternoon tea is a most civilized British invention – an opportunity to snack with impunity. However, in Mistress Snark's parlor, you never know what might be floating in your tea or what those cute little sandwiches are hiding under the bread.

As full disclosure, any guest appearing here must sign the usual waivers regarding food poisoning, bodily harm caused by Jezebel, random attacks by minions, or permanent brain damage resulting from the questions posed.

Today's guest is Catherine Stine, Untethered Realms author of Fireseed One, Ruby’s Fire, and Dorianna. It's so nice to have you here today. Would you like some tea? Or perhaps Jezebel's special punch? I don't know what's in it but it could prove detrimental to your health.

Catherine: Greetings and thanks for the invitation. I am accompanied by Ruby from Ruby's Fire, and Fiera from my historical paranormal (which is almost done!). Ruby knows how to make many types of elixirs and some of them are quite toxic. And Fiera happens to be a powerful witch who not only harnesses the power of her Tarot cards, but the wrath of the ocean, since she's part sea witch. So, Miss Jezebel best not be lacing her tea and crumpets with anything that would curl my tongue or my ladies will work their dark magic on her. 

Mistress: No worries. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Jezebel’s punch. As for Ruby and Fiera, they are comfortably contained backstage, no doubt learning how to uncurl tongues as we speak. Perhaps you’d prefer curled hair instead? Your locks are becoming more Rapunzel-like with each sip.
Please enlighten my gentle audience about the setting for your historical paranormal. A sea witch sounds quite fascinating.

Catherine: Well, it's set in Asbury Park, NJ during Prohibition. I've vacationed near there for years, and it fascinates me. The idea came out of a dream I had the night before we went there for the first time. In it, a witch on an abandoned boardwalk sold me taffy. When we walked there for real, only one store was open--a creepy taffy shop with an ancient proprietress. Here's the premise of Witch of the Cards:
Twenty-two year-old Fiera has recently left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised, and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her vacation on the Jersey shore. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Paranormal, where they attend a Tarot reading.

Fiera's always had an unsettling ability to know things before they happen and sense people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable etheric force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events unspool. For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter Dune, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader; he’s an undercover agent working to expose false mediums. Told in alternating viewpoints, we hear Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction. Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this dark fantasy.
I love writing Fiera, she's fierce yet vulnerable. And subaquatic magic is fun!

Mistress: Thank you for sharing a glimpse into such a unique world. I’m thrilled to hear of your affinity for subaquatic magic, my dear, since Jezebel has decided to add some rather sea creature attributes to your form. Wave goodbye now to our gentle audience so we can get you into the ocean before you gasp for air. Ruby and Fiera will join you on the shore…once they’ve recovered from their encounter with Jezebel.

Catherine: Thanks, it's been a lovely visit. Let me leave you with a bit of absinthe from the speakeasy. Smuggled in, in a soda bottle, mind you. Oh, and Ruby has a present for you too: a vial of her dragon lizard elixir, which will heal any skin condition. Good day, and now back to the beach...

Congratulations, Catherine! You’ve earned the Tuesday Tea Survivor badge, suitable for your blog or hanging on the bathroom wall. Go ahead and take it with you.

Catherine Stine hails from Philly and lives in NYC. She’s passionate about writing and reading speculative tales where her imagination has wild reign. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One that she illustrated won finalist spots in both YA and Sci-Fi in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards and an Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Ruby’s Fire, its companion book was a 2014 Next Gen. Indie award finalist. She writes new adult fiction as well, under the name Kitsy Clare. Her first career in NYC was showing her paintings in galleries. She says writing is painting with words. A serious travel buff, she’s visited China, India and Russia and more with her husband and two sons. She loves to hear from her readers! Come visit at her website and blog.


Precipice, 6th Book in the Backworlds Series is Now Live! #SciFi To Lepper Where No One Has Leapt Before

To travel from star to star in science fiction, there has to be a device or engine that allows the starship to accelerate beyond light speeds. Otherwise, traveling between star systems isn't very feasible.

Star Wars has hyperdrive, Star Trek has warp engines, Stargate has a stargate, Farscape has a living ship that can starburst, and Babylon 5 has jump points.

Firefly inspired many elements in the Backworlds series, but not how my people travel. For one, Firefly never really said how they accelerated the ship or whether they were traveling between stars. Sometimes I had the impression they were traveling within one solar system. Shrug. Whatev. I needed a way to get my ships from star to star.

I borrowed from Babylon 5 and used an accelerator or 'jump points'. I call it the Lepper System. A ship can travel faster within the Lepper System than outside it.

My planets are all clumped in one arm of the galaxy, still the arm Earth is located in -- the Orion Arm -- and they're fairly close together. Humanity has colonized space in the Backworlds, but we haven't moved terribly far yet.

There's still a lot of wonder to discover... as the discovery of planets beyond our system reveals - planets made of diamonds, super Earths, planets more habitable than our own. Wouldn't it be marvelous to go there and see them? I think so. That's why I love writing stories set in space.

Precipice, Backworlds Book 6

Amazon / Amazon.com / B&N / iBook / Googleplay / Smashwords / Kobo / inktera / Scribd

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.

The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.

The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.

The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.

The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.

Edited by Kelly Schaub



Cathrina's Review of Shadows Edge by Jami Gray

Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows…especially the monsters.

It takes a monster to hunt one, and for Raine McCord, forged in the maelstrom of magic and science, she’s the one for the job. In a world where the supernatural live in a shadowy existence with the mundane, a series of disappearances and deaths threatens the secrecy of her kind and indicates someone knows the monsters are alive and kicking. Partnering up with the sexy and tantalizing Gavin Durand proves to be a challenge as dangerous as the prey she hunts.

When the trail points back to the foundation which warped Raine’s magic as a child, her torturous past raises its ugly head. Gavin and Raine sift through a maze of lies, murder and betrayal to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.


Cathrina's Review: I take pleasure in reading all genres, though, Urban Fantasy is high on my list of faves. And Ms. Jami Gray certainly writes a compelling fantasy.

It took a few pages to get acquainted with Raine McCord, a wraith with unique powers, and the Taliesin Security that she works for to delve deeply into this action packed novel. I was introduced to a plethora of creatures such as Vamps, Feys, Shape Shifters, Witches, Warlocks, and more that added spice to the tale. Raine and the hot Gavin Durand are assigned to find who's killing person's connected to a biogenetic company. While at the same time Raine is struggling with her own personal demons that threaten to surface, taking over her body. And Raine is a lethal weapon, a woman who can definitely handle herself in deadly situations. The sexual tension between Raine and Gavin is on the rise, and my only disappointment was wanting more. If you love Urban Fantasy the The Shadow's Edge is for you. Looking forward to her next book in The Kryn Kronicles, Shadow's Soul.


Stalk your favorite authors!

Stay with me here... I don't mean the sort of activity that terrorized Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston and others. Neither do I suggest you turn into a psychopathic Annie Wilkes ("Misery by Stephen King). If you are wringing your hands with glee at such anti-social behavior, then you can leave this blog right now. Right now, I say!

For you mentally stable readers that are still with me, this is a post about how to stay in touch with your fave authors and get news of their every new book.

In the old days this involved looking at tantalizing ads in the daily paper or magazines (remember them?), or perusing your local bookstore. Many were the times I've been startled in a bookstore, happening upon the new book from XYZ author that I had no idea was being written. Snatching the book from the shelf, I would scurry over to the salesperson, muttering "My precious!" at anyone that came near.

Now it's a new world. Let me run through ways of stalking... I mean... staying in touch with your favorite authors. Note that I am not discussing finding a brand new book/author to read. The scope of this post is limited to tracking those authors you absolutely want to read everything they write.

Social Media
There are pros and cons to using social media. With regards following your favorite authors, I don't think you'll get much value from joining book groups, whether Facebook or Goodreads. Their membership can be high and they can be extremely spammy. Indie authors in particular are very vocal.

Likewise, I wouldn't recommend Twitter unless you are very specific in the authors you follow and organized with your lists, e.g. you are following Untethered Realms authors. :) Many traditional authors rarely tweet and so Twitter is not the most reliable means to track authors.

Goodreads was obviously designed with readers in mind. It's easy to subscribe or follow an author's "feed". Goodreads is usually a low-noise environment and you can opt to receive news emails in a digest form, perhaps once a week. Again, many traditional authors don't use Goodreads, but it is  effective for Indie authors.

Facebook is a mixed bag. Despite the constant rumblings about the effectiveness of Pages, a great way to follow an author is to Like their page. Gossip about the author's personal life is normally at a minimum on an official Page, making it easy to get news of upcoming books. In my experience,  most traditional authors that are on Facebook do post book news to their Pages. It is true, that you don't get to see everything that is posted to a Page, but a reasonable remedy for this is to drop by the Page manually and Like a few things. That is usually enough to "remind" Facebook that you are still interested.

Publisher websites
Um... yeah. I have yet to find a decent publisher that will send me news of upcoming books from my fave authors without inundating me with ads. Not sure why they are slow to offer this service. You may have some success with this method, but authors can and do change publishers so don't rely on it.

Author websites and blog feeds
Most authors, Indie and traditional, operate a website, even if it is maintained by their publisher. This is obviously the definitive place to get author information. New books are likely to be featured front and center on the home page. Most authors operate a blog (or "feed"), though many traditional authors do not. If there is a blog, simply subscribe to it via your favorite reader (e.g. Feedly) or by email. Easy, right? And you thought stalking involved hanging around outside their house! :)

It's a safe bet that any author with a blog is absolutely going to announce upcoming books, cover reveals, teasers, excerpts and then finally an announcement on release day. You're not going to miss their new book!

The flip side of the author blog is that they are often filled with information you might not care about. Are you a reader that enjoys hearing about the day to day lives of the author and their family? You're going to love the blog then. If you don't care about the five children, six dogs and days out at the park, then you're going to have to skim the blog for book news. And I'm not being judgmental about either way. Some authors are like friends to me and I love to hear about their lives, others... not so much. You may also find that many Indie author blogs are filled with posts aimed at other writers.

Author newsletters  - (don't skip this one!)
I saved the best for last. Many authors, Indie and traditional, offer a free newsletter. So isn't a newsletter just like a blog? Yes... and no.

Newsletters vary, just like blogs do. Some are infrequent and focused entirely on book news. Others can be monthly or even weekly, and full of gossip, book recommendations, links to vacation pics, or whatever. Again, only you can say what style you prefer. In either case, newsletters are usually less verbose than blog posts and not as frequent, making them a very low-noise means to follow your fave authors.

Best of all, savvy authors are very protective of their newsletter subscribers, regarding them as dedicated readers and fans. To this end, subscribers tend to get preferential treatment. This may be as simple as pre-release glimpses of the book in the form of cover reveals or excerpts, or as generous as free books, exclusive short stories or other "special features". It is popular now for Indie authors to soft-launch a book to their newsletter subscribers, offering them a limited-time discounted price, before the book goes on sale to the public.

My recommendation is to get on the newsletter list for every author whose books you want to read more of. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain, and it is definitely the most effective and rewarding method to stalk your favorite authors!

Comment below: What's the coolest thing you have been offered in an author newsletter? Or something you'd like to see?