11.06.2018

You Know Nothing, Jon Snow #sci #fantasy #research #facts

How important is it that writers get their facts straight? It’s a question that often bothers me, because so many books I read get simple factual things wrong. Meradeth touched upon the distinction between a theory and a hypothesis last month, which is a good example of what I mean, but there are many others.


Take computers: that’s an area I happen to know about as I’m also a software developer. It’s very obvious to me, however, that many writers do not really know their megabits from their gigahertz or do not really know the distinction between the internet and the web. They try, and they use so many of the correct terms, they just use them in a slightly incorrect way which shows they’re essentially just using technical jargon and hoping for the best. I still laugh at that bit in Independence Day when our heroes manage to upload a computer virus to an alien and utterly unknowable operating system. Similarly, a friend of mine recently stopped watching a certain Sci-Fi series remake because “they got the physics all wrong” and it ruined the enjoyment for him.


I’ve no doubt the same is true for other specialized areas of knowledge. For example, I’m married to a medical doctor, and she often sees significant flaws in books touching upon healthcare. Viruses and bacteria confused, that sort of thing. The chances are, she won’t notice the IT mistakes just as I won’t notice the medical ones. As writers, we all strive to research our characters and our worlds, but it’s inevitable we’ll get things wrong because we can’t be an expert in everything.

My question is, does it matter? A book with technical mistakes may alienate some readers, but maybe most won’t mind. For me, what matters more than strict factual accuracy is story. If the story’s good enough, if the characters are intriguing enough, I’ll forgive a few slipups in the research. If it’s a great book I may not even notice.

Of course, as writers of speculative fiction we maybe have things a bit easier. If we’re inventing our own worlds then readers often won’t know when we get things “wrong”, because we’re not trying to achieve a reliable representation of the real world. Sci-Fi maybe represents more of a challenge, because there are a lot of scientifically knowledgeable readers out there. I think that what’s important, so often, is consistency rather than accuracy. We can invent all manner of miraculous magics and technologies, and readers will accept them, but if we fail to follow our own rules, contradict ourselves, then readers will spot it and may be jarred out of the story.

Gary Gygax, designer of Dungeons and Dragons once said, “a reader will swallow a whale but choke on a minnow.” It's an important lesson.

As a writer, I do all I can to get my facts straight, but I’m honestly more concerned with story, plausibility and consistency. But maybe I'm wrong to take that approach. I should probably do some more research.

What does anyone else think?

10.30.2018

#UnRealms November Twitter Chat - Things With Wings


Angels, fairies, and dragons!
So many creatures real and fantasy with wings.

Join the Untethered Realms authors on Twitter all November for an on-going chat about things with wings. We love to talk about real critters that leave us in awe and marvelous fantasy beasts that blow us away.

Please use the hashtag #UnRealms.

You can find us on Twitter at @UnRealms.

10.23.2018

Harnessing the Winds by Morena Silver #review #fantasy

Harnessing the Winds (A Tale of The Abandoned #1) by Morena Silver

Captain Artemia Storm's magic has failed her. Without enough to protect her crew, a vicious sea hag curses her and all the women on her ship, The Abandoned. Never again will they be able to step foot onto land. Artemia will do anything to break the hex and free her crew. She plans to remove the cruel curse by inviting the Four Winds to join their magic with hers and kill the wretched hag. But will Artemia be able to convince four gorgeous men to be magically bound to a feared pirate or will they all end up as bones at the bottom of the endless seas?

Morena Silver's Harnessing the Winds is my first foray into reading a reverse harem story, and I hope it won't be my last.

I love how strong and compassionate Artemia Storm is. Her crew can count on her, and she them. The Four Winds sure have a way to worm into any woman's heart. I must admit I'm rather partial to Grim. Sly, the pixie and Storm's best friend, plays great comedic relief as the reader makes their way through Silver's twists and turns.

Filled with mythology, strong characters you can root for, and very steamy romance, Harnessing the Winds by Morena Silver is a must-read in not only the reverse harem subgenre but also for fantasy romance lovers.

Harnessing the Winds is available through Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

10.09.2018

Science Thoughts: theory vs hypothesis #scifi #authorsofscifi

Before I start, have you had a chance to check out our anthology yet? Elements of Untethered Realms is an awesome introduction into all things wondrous and strange! Just sayin' :)


Okay, so to get this going, I am going to give a little caveat: I'm a professor by day and teach a whole lot, coupled with my laboratory research. I find myself in the science realm pretty much constantly. So, when I come across scientific facts that are wrong in novels, I totally know that most people don't have the background I do and can let some things slide.

But there are a few things that bug me a whole lot. They're too basic and actually kind of important distinctions :)

The key there is basic--if you're going to write about science in any way, mostly that means you've at least got the basics down, and I love that! But a few times I stumble across things that leave me going "ummmmm...." One of these was just this past week in a novel by a NYT bestselling author whose work I *adore*! And yet, there on the page, with two characters conversing who she had set up as being very good at science, there was this major issue that made me roll my eyes a little.

Theory was used instead of hypothesis.

See, theory has two meanings. I know it's easy to get confused. But, when it comes to being used in a novel, it's good to get it right because it's something that needs to be well understood by the general public. I'll get into that later. Anyhow, the two definitions of theory are perhaps best understood this way:

"In theory, Mr. Peacock killed the butler." <-- in other words, it is not established or proven. This is the sense that is often used in layman's terms in general conversation.

It is not to be confused with:

"The theory of gravity." <-- This is the scientific meaning. In which case, there is a huge body of evidence that supports gravity (including why you are able to stay pegged to the ground and not lift off into space ;). It is something that is very well established, but because the nature of science IS questioning, we don't say that is is Law. That's how science works.

So, having two characters chatting about how a scientific idea is "just a theory" is ostensibly like saying that they've already proven the idea, had years and years of testing by many individuals, and generally it's considered to be the way the universe works. What should have been used is the word "hypothesis." This is an idea that is yet to be demonstrated through data collection and testing. You hypothesize that something may be correct, but you need to test it first. And even then, it'll be many, many tests and trials before it can even dream of becoming a theory.

Why is this such a soapbox for me? Well, because so many people clamor that something is "just a theory" when referring to a scientific idea. That's like saying that gravity isn't real. That the earth isn't round. That we don't orbit the sun. These are "just" theories. They are points upon which a ton of evidence rests. So the two definitions of "theory"--both for general layman's usage and in science--get confused. But in a novel it's a good idea to get the right. (Unless you're making a point with a character using the wrong one or something--obviously there's creative license here ;). And that's why I sighed and rolled my eyes while reading that (otherwise awesome) novel the other day.

What do you think? Have you seen this be misused? :)

10.02.2018

Release Day for Elements of Untethered Realms


Enter our mysterious realms where the stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets. Enchanted forests are knotted with roots and vines. Dreaded paths take us through strange, unexplored places.

Investigate new worlds and houses frequented by ghosts. Come across witches and wizards and an assassin tasked to kill Death.

Meet hot robots, hungry winds, and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien lands, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where people bury the living with their dead.

Encounter paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Search shifting worlds trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where a president aims to rid the world of Otherkind.

Experience a haunted journey on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the Lady of the Lake who lurks in dark waters.

From USA Today bestselling and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Elements of Untethered Realms , a supernatural compilation of the anthologies Twisted Earths Mayhem in the Air Ghosts of Fire , and Spirits in the Water . These forty thrilling tales feature authors Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, Cathrina Constantine, Julie Flanders, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha/M. Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, Graeme Ing, Simon Kewin, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich, and Catherine Stine.

Buy it here:
Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Google Play * iTunes

Add it to read on Goodreads.

9.25.2018

#UnRealms October Twitter Chat - Ghosts!


36 days until Halloween!

It's one of our favorite times of year. Spooks, scares, and fun.

What goes bump in the night?
Is it a ghost? What does the spirit want?

Maybe it's just someone playing a trick.
Or the ghost wants to be appeased with candy.
Or something much... much... worse...

Join the Untethered Realms authors on Twitter all October for an on-going chat about ghosts. We love to talk about the paranormal and the fun stories and legends surrounding them.

Please use the hashtag #UnRealms.

You can find us on Twitter at @UnRealms.

9.18.2018

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: Through the Lichgate (The Drama Club Presents)

Looking for something to read for Halloween? You won't go wrong with Through the Lichgate, the first installment in Kyle Adams's The Drama Club Presents series.

Thana Ayers, high school student and part-time graveyard caretaker, is trapped by her own talents. She is a necromancer, not by choice, but because she can animate and control dead bodies, both human and animal. She could do much more. She could enslave the souls of the dead to create liches, who would do her bidding. Instead, Thana users her talents to destroy the liches that attack her. Thana draws the line at enslaving souls.

When her older brother, who died in a tragic accident, turns up as a lich, Thana's world and her morals are turned upside down. Another necromancer forces her to make choices and compromises to save herself and her friends. The question is, how far will Thana cross her lines in the sand?

Through the Lichgate is an exciting and compelling YA paranormal and there's no romance. With the problems Thana is facing, she has no time to even think about a boyfriend. Adams has created a situation in which Thana must make hard choices between her principles, her family, and her friends. This story will leave you thinking about Thana's choices long after you've finished the book. My only problem with the story is the antagonist's motivation. It's a bit fuzzy as to why he's doing what he's doing. Another avenue into the antagonist's thoughts might have helped. Overall, Through the Lichgate is a fast-paced, compelling read with gut-wrenching choices for a likable protagonist.

The official blurb:
Thana Ayers may seem like any other girl her age, struggling to balance schoolwork, drama club activities, and her religious parents. But at night, she battles unholy monstrosities with her own astonishing abilities to control the dead. Thana’s never lost a battle. That is, until a mysterious creature appears unlike any she has faced before. 
This strange presence threatens to unravel Thana’s carefully balanced life and reveal her powers to the world. It also promises to show her the secrets of the lichgate and unlock her true power, but all power comes with a cost.
Dig it up on Amazon.

8.21.2018

Books Worth Reading: The Ares Weapon (Mars Ascendant Book 1)

Armageddon is Up for Auction



The Ares Weapon
Book 1 of the Mars Ascendant Series
by D. M. Pruden

Dr. Melanie Destin's life is a mess. In a desperate attempt to start over, she accepts an interplanetary salvage job that will pay her enough to rebuild a new life on Mars. When she learns the real purpose of the mission is to recover an apocalyptic virus, everything begins to unravel...

I really, really enjoyed this story. I read it every chance I had to find out what happened next. I was as in the dark as the main character as to the true nature of the mission. It slowly unraveled in a very delicious way.

The characters are sketchy, the mission and weapon are unique... everything about this story was interesting. I didn't know who to trust. Neither did the main character. She makes some heroic choices and some really bad choices, which made her more real. But I like characters with baggage and who have layers.

The Ares Weapon was part thriller, part mystery, part discovery and exploration. Very fun and entertaining.

I plan on reading more in this series. Available on Amazon. Oh, and it's free.


8.07.2018

Perspectives





How often does a sentence or a single paragraph in a book tilt your world when you read it? Shift your perspective with an emotional punch? Leave you with a lingering sense of awe?

That’s the power of words. The power of story.

Sometimes I even get the gut punch from a character that I wrote—which I find humorous, as well as astounding, as if my words don’t have the same meaning in life until my character speaks them out loud for me to ponder. I suppose that’s the power of my subconscious trying to communicate with me.

Whatever. I eventually get the message.

My life has been through many upheavals lately but something I wrote a few years ago has recently struck that perfect emotional chord. I’ll leave you with this quote from Zoey, one of Cerise Laudine’s (my other penname) characters in the Well of Souls series:

“When I woke up this morning I realized I wanted to live before I died, not die a little each day while waiting for the end.”

It’s a reminder to me not to just mark time, drifting through each day, but to experience each moment as it comes. Maybe it will help you too.

Happy reading!

7.24.2018

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: Jasper Flint and the Dinosaur Saddle


My love of dinosaur stories includes books as well as movies and TV shows. I always say, giant man-eating reptiles make any story better.

So, I picked up this book, Jasper Flint and the Dinosaur Saddle by Jack Geurts, excited but not expecting much. You know what? It was fantastic.

The story was surprising and filled with everything I love: dinosaurs, archaeology, aliens, and trips into ancient civilizations. What? I bet you're wondering how those things together make any sense. Well, they do, and in an awesome way. I couldn't wait to get back to reading this book every day. It was a pure delight.

It starts out at a dig where the dinosaur comes to life. What? Yes, and it was so fun. Then the story kept getting better from there, taking me places I didn't expect. This book gets 5 alien heads from me.




Here's the official blurb:

We thought we were the first civilisation to live on this planet…
We were wrong. 
65 million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. But that wasn’t the only thing it did… 
It also caused the people who were living here at the time to flee to a nearby planet. And there they have lived ever since. 
Until now… 
Sixteen-year-old Jasper Flint joins his paleontologist parents on a dig in Outback Australia and finds something there he never expected. Something no one ever expected.
Buried for 100 million years with the fossilised bones of a dinosaur… A saddle. 
The only relic of a super-ancient civilisation who lives on in secret to this day. And some of them don’t want their existence known… 
Soon, Jasper is thrust on a time-bending quest through history to follow an ancient map and save the world.
You can find the book HERE




7.10.2018

#Death #Life #Dignity #Happy #Sorrow #Miracle


On June 12, 2018, I lost my mother to a malignant disease. She was 85 years young. I feel greatly blessed that she survived another 20 years after the doctors had given her 3 to 6 moths to live in 1998 due to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It’s quite story, but long story short ~ we attribute her miracle to Father Baker and Our Lady of Victory for their intercession, and this miracle has gone to the Vatican. 

And my mom’s passing had me thinking…

We find great joy in a baby’s birth. Has anyone ever found happiness, relief in death?

Most of us have experienced death in one form or another. It’s earth shattering when a loved one is tragically taken from us. There aren’t any words of comfort for those who have gone before us in this way. Death rips out our hearts. 

On the other spectrum, my mother was recently in a nursing home for rehab. Walking down the halls, aged souls in the last throes of their lives sat in wheelchairs and laid in their beds. A myriad of feelings came over me. Pure sorrow and sadness. I give those nurses and aides great acclaim for their loving care, at least that’s what I experienced while in this facility. I have heard of atrocities occurring to the poor elderly, which is diabolical.  

However, I also experienced happiness there. People playing bingo, exercising in their wheelchairs, laughing, and talking. There is life and breath in their deteriorating bodies. A long, long life can be a blessing and a bane. 

I visited with my daughter’s and my 2-year-old granddaughter, Hazel. Baby Hazel brightened the eyes of everyone. Even the man who was across the hall from my mother, who normally just cringed when I waved to him, gave us a big smile and waved to little Hazel. One woman held out her arms, and Hazel dropped her tiny hand into hers. The woman said, “I love you.” And then took great effort to lean over and kiss Hazel’s hand. 

I’m positive each and every one of us has a story to tell about life and death. I pray for a life well lived and dignity in death.

I believe, death is a blessing for those viciously suffering from various diseases. My faith tells me, we are aliens living here on this planet, and in the end, we go to our real home. 

What are your thoughts?

6.19.2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi #bookreview

Visit here!
On my personal blog, I touched on the subject of diversity in the arts, a topic sparked by reading of how some publishers and writers work with sensitivity readers to help with addressing the flat sterotypes or missteps that can occur when artists are making an effort to do more in addressing the issue of diversity.

For today's post here at UR, I am super ecstatic to share about this ridiculously awesome book by Tomi Adeyemi.The publication of this book is #WeNeedDiversity in action. And, did I mention just how awesome this book is?

The cover does its job well. It's striking and commands attention. The stark contrasts in colors made it impossible for me to pass this one by when I visited my local B&N bookstore.

Then there's this to grab your attention:
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

I couldn't get this book to the counter fast enough so I could pay for it and start my binge-reading. By the way, B&N has a special edition hardcover with some nice extras you'll find intriguing.

Now, on to the story. I'll do my best to keep spoilers at bay.

The main character, Zelie Adebola, is a lot like most girls in their late teen years. She struggles to find her place in this world and really wants to be a help to her father and brother, except she's a child of a maji, marked by her vibrant white hair. She's also marked, deeply and to her core, by witnessing the horror of what happened to her maji mother, what happened to magic.

Needless to say, Zelie has a bit of a chip on her shoulder instead of being the broken, cast down thing the ruling monarchy of Orisha would prefer her to be. She's a fighter, and by the gods of this book, does she ever need that fighting spirit. Her path links her with an unexpected source of hope to bring magic back and the adventure is action-packed, filled with drama that kept me on my toes and some twists and turns that had me talking at the book.

Yeah, I know they can't hear me any more than the people on the TV or movie screen, but I just got to get it out lol!!!

Tomi's writing style immediately pulled me in from page one, a way of writing that made me feel like I was sitting down to a story telling session every time I opened the book to read.

This isn't a fantasy story of unicorns and rainbows. Nor is this a story where all that is dark is bad. Dark will always be tagged as something to fear. And Tomi doesn't mince words when it comes to utilizing this assumption about the dark. Yet she also made dark beautiful, something misunderstood, or misconstrued. I won't pretend to know what social issues Tomi wanted to address. I can't emphasize enought that this book is well worth the read because the magic is wonderful and consuming. The characters grow and evolve beautifully, and the plot is like a rollercoaster ride up to the very end.

Yeah, uh, I'm stoked for the next book.

Very stoked!!

6.12.2018

The Spectacular Cover Reveal of Elements of Untethered Realms


Enter our mysterious realms where the stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets. Enchanted forests are knotted with roots and vines. Dreaded paths take us through stranger, unexplored places.

Investigate new worlds and a house frequented by ghosts. Come across witches and wizards and an assassin tasked to kill Death.

Meet hot robots, hungry winds, and the goddess of chaos. Explore alien lands, purgatorial realms, and a shocking place where the people bury the living with the dead.

Encounter paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Search shifting worlds trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where the president seeks to rid the world of Otherkind.

Experience a haunted ride on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the lady of the lake who lurks in dark waters.

From USA Today bestselling and popular science-fiction and fantasy authors comes Elements of Untethered Realms, a supernatural compilation of Twisted Earths, Mayhem in the Air, Ghosts of Fire, and Spirits in the Water. These forty thrilling tales feature authors Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, Cathrina Constantine, Julie Flanders, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha/M. Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, Graeme Ing, Simon Kewin, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich, and Catherine Stine.

Coming October 2018.

Isn't it beautiful? We're so excited to share with you all our collections of short stories together in one magnificent book. We're even putting it into print.


While this is our last project with our Elements anthologies, we're working hard on a new and thrilling venture. We're brainstorming and ironing out the details, and I'm dancing in my chair with how exciting it is. There are great things coming from Untethered Realms.

6.05.2018

Cats in Fantasy

Works of fantasy frequently feature amazing creatures. Dragons are a staple. Unicorns, ogres, and trolls are not strangers to fantasy readers either. But what about more mundane creatures, like cats. Yes, working on the Merliss stories has me a bit obsessed with cats, but felines play a leading role in many fantasy stories. Check out these examples.

A Night in the Lonesome October features Graymalk, the companion of Crazy Jill. The story concerns a group of occultists who have come together to open or oppose the opening of a door to the elder gods. The fabric of reality thins enough to allow the elder gods entrance every time a full moon rises on Halloween. Each occultist has an animal companion. The story is told by Snuff, a watch dog belonging to Jack, and centers on the interactions between the animal companions. Graymalk and Snuff become close friends as the story unfolds. Each saves the other's life at least once. Snuff rescues Graymalk from drowning in a well and Graymalk warns Jack when Snuff is turned over to a vivisectionist. If you're a fan of Gothic fiction and you like cats or dogs, you really need to read A Night in the Lonesome October.

Tamsin is a ghost story set in modern-day Dorset. Jennifer Gluckstein, an American teenager, moves to a 300-year-old farm when her mother remarries. The wreck of a farmhouse is barely habitable. Jennifer's step-father has been hired to revitalize the farm. Jennifer brings her cat with her. Mister Cat has one interest, finding a new girlfriend. In the upper story of the house, he finds one: the ghost of a white Persian who belonged to Tamsin, one of the original occupants of the farm. Following Mister Cat on one of his visits to his ghostly girl cat, Jennifer befriends the ghost of Tamsin. The story follows the slow revelation of what happened to Tamsin and why her life met with a tragic end. If you like cats and English history, grab a copy of Tamsin and dive in.

The Secret of Kells is an animated fantasy film based on legends regarding the creation of the Book of Kells. The protagonist is Brendan, an apprentice in the scriptorium at the Abbey of Kells. Brother Aidan, a master illuminator, comes to Kells after the Vikings attack his monastery at Iona. He brings with him an unfinished manuscript and his white cat, Pangur Bán. The cat befriends Brendan and aids him in finding gall nuts for ink and a magnifying crystal. Both are necessary for completion of the book. Pangur Bán also helps to rescue Brendan from a locked cell in the abbey tower. If you like cats and animation, you'll love The Secret of Kells.

Do you have any favorite fantasy stories featuring cats? I would love to hear about them.

5.31.2018

Huzzizzle of the Realms: #ScienceFiction and #Fantasy News from Top-Selling Authors

Put on Your Shades and Ice up your Tea!



The temperatures are heating up in the Northern Hemisphere, and it's time to kick back a little with some great reads.

Here's what's up with the Untethered Realms authors:

Jeff Chapman: Cat Sidhe Is Loose!
A human spirit banished to the body of a cat.

Merliss has seen centuries of change, centuries of trouble.

Something nasty has come through one of the ley gates. It walks upright. It talks. And it looks like an oversized cat, but as Merliss can attest, it doesn't smell like a cat.

It's a cat sidhe on the hunt for slaves, anyone with opposable thumbs. Merliss travels to unknown territories to rescue a friend and encounters more trouble making her way home. The situation on the moors is far more dire than Merliss and her friends could have imagined.

Cat Sidhe is the first in a fantasy trilogy. Join Merliss on her prowls through dangerous lands.

Amazon / UK / CA / AU / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / MX / BR / IN

Catherine Stine 
(also writing as Kitsy Clare)
Benny, the inspiration for the novella


I have a new romance novella out called More Than Puppy Love in Once Upon a Summer, a collection of eight novellas. Includes my More than Puppy Love, inspired by a car crash & my beagle. Yup, life is stranger than fiction! The blurb: Fireworks spark when Arianna, a city girl with an elite pet portrait business is in a wreck and asks Dave a country auto mechanic for help, but can these two beagle owners from different worlds see eye to eye?


M. Pax: Spaceberg is here!


This berg has balls and they bite.

Spaceberg arrives without warning. The size of Jupiter, it hits with deadly consequences, taking out ships and colonies in the outer solar system.

Orbital Rescue Squad 51 is first on the scene with the most decorated first responder in the Sol. Nikili Echols battles the mega disaster to save her family, everyone in trouble, and entire worlds. With time running short, she’s forced to team up with her ex-husband in order to rescue their daughter and to save what remains of the solar system. His superstitions irk her like gas, but luck and organic plastic is what her plan needs to prevail.

Amazon / UK / CA / AU / DE / FR / ES / IT / NL / JP / MX / BR / IN

Bookcessories / B&N / Kobo / Googleplay / iBook / Smashwords / 24 Symbols / Scribd



5.22.2018

Review of Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi


So, there’s sci-fi (science fiction), and cli-fi (climate science fiction), and now there’s bio-fi (biological science fiction). This last sub-genre is what Paolo Bacigalupi focuses on. He writes novels, young adult fiction and stories. And he’s my favorite fantasy/sci-fi writer. I’ve taught his stories in my classes now for years, and my students also love his writing. As twenty-somethings they feel the winds of change on their necks, and he’s describing it so articulately. His breakout novel was The Windup Girl, set in a future alt-southeast Asia. But if you want to start with something quick and easily digestible try his story collection Pump Six.


Two standout stories are Pocketful of Dharma and The Fluted Girl. These are lyrical yet sharp as tacks, wondrous yet horrifying, pure fantasy yet containing believable scenarios. In the first, we meet Wang Jun, a poverty-stricken beggar wandering the streets of old Chengdu. All he wants is to get to the top of a gigantic biomorphic city, It’s a living architectural structure, like a blob with a beating heart and arteries that a person can run inside of. It grows, it breathes, it oozes and it stinks. A strange foreigner gives Wang Jun a data cube and asks him to take it to a certain bridge and give it to a person wearing white gloves. I won’t get into a blow by blow synopsis partly because it gives away too much. Suffice it to say, the characters Jun meets and the origin of this strange cube will blow your mind.

The Fluted Girl combines the torturous art of foot binding, with genetic enhancements designed to lure, kill, seduce and prolong life. It combines classic fairytale in that it’s set in a castle in the snow, yet it’s also sci-fi at its most savage. The girls—two sisters, Lidia and Nia—have been painstakingly crafted to stop growing at puberty, and have holes in their bodies at strategic points so that they can literally play each other like flutes. They perform at parties and produce beautiful music with an almost sexual crescendo. Their directress doles out drugs, which renders the audience lustful. Add in a mix of very nasty villains with quirky flaws, and it’s a recipe for a gripping thriller.

With geneticists able to grow body parts, celebs like Bette Midler cloning their dogs, and geneticists on the cusp of being able to literally go into one’s DNA code and reprogram the diseased parts, these Bacigalupi stories satisfy like little else. We just feel it. It's a déjà vu that exists in the future, an itch you can't quite scratch, but it’s oh, so close.

5.08.2018

Movie and TV Tie-ins #specfic #books

Some movies and TV shows are created from books, but others inspire books all their own, especially as a series gains popularity.

As a big fan of several—um, okay, it's really many—TV shows, I love following the characters I love from the small screen to the page. I've read TV tie-in novels from series such as The X-Files, Grimm, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, and many more! This year I've read a book each from Star Trek: Discovery and Stargate SG-1, and I'm currently reading a book from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

I find the books to be more in-depth. I'm a visual person, so it's nice to see the actual names of people, places, etc. spelled out too. Plus, it's relaxing to read in a world you're already familiar with.

I admire writers who write movie and TV tie-in novels. It's not easy writing in another person's world as well as keeping the characters realistic to the series. Fans are quick to spot inconsistencies and can judge the books more harshly for it.

We writers of Untethered Realms are finding it to be a difficult task to write in a world not singularly our own as we're jointly creating our own world to write in, but I'm sure it'll be rewarding too. If all works out, we'll have our world revealed in Fall 2019.

Have you read any movie and/or TV tie-in books? If so, what's your favorite series to read in?

4.17.2018

Book Review: Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall #mystery #sciencefiction #thriller


Stranded 750 million miles from Earth. Stranded with a saboteur. Stranded with a killer.

Humanity has spilled out into the Solar System, into a succession of giant space stations known as the Relay. Seren Temples is a security apprentice running the Relay's remote Anchor Leg. When sabotage strands her vessel near another damaged ship, Seren and her team are sent across to investigate. The second ship is a zero-G graveyard. Inside its vast hold, nothing but a single vial of frozen blood.


My review:

Anchor Leg follows the journey of Seren, a young security apprentice and her tough initiation into life aboard a cargo ship. Set in deep space, she's running away from an over-populated Earth and determined to build a new life for herself. What she gets is a baptism of fire aboard a space ship, with a crime to solve. 

The fast-paced plot grabbed me straight away, and the twists and turns kept me hooked until the end. As well as the superb world building, Croxall managed to bring real life to the characters. I became invested in their futures, and was genuinely sad when the story ended. I wanted more from this world he'd created. 

Anchor Leg skillfully combines the science fiction, thriller, and crime genres. It's a mystery set in space, and I loved it. If you like your crime stories to be dark, taut, and containing a speculative angle, this is the book for you. 

4.03.2018

Because we have a little tilt


Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere. Though some of the days my flowers were hidden in the snow, the rain has washed the frigid temperatures away. People are celebrating by wearing shorts even though they still have tuques on, and others are pushing through their rigorous spring cleaning.

Many of our beliefs, myths, and annual events revolve around the changing seasons. Demeter welcomes her beloved daughter back from the underworld and the world grows lush again. Fertile bunnies hide chocolate and colored eggs. Masses gather in the streets of India to throw powered dyes at one another.

But what would the changing of seasons be like on other worlds?


The changing of seasons depend on a planet's axial tilt, but not many other planets have tilts like Earth's. It's rare to have four regular seasons like we do. In fact, most planets have no seasons or wildly fluctuating ones.

It's interesting to imagine what the beliefs and myths in the lives of other worldly beings might be like. Would they even have annual events like we do?  Would they celebrate instead things like the passing of a comet in a regular orbit around their solar system or have myths about the great storm that swirls constantly in the south? How would it shape their minds to have no seasons or ones that could not be predicted?

One things for certain, aliens would likely see Earthlings' traditions as baffling and ridiculous. So much of who we are is based on the fact our planet has a little tilt.

What do you think an alien culture would be like based in a world with no seasons or wildly fluctuating ones?

3.21.2018

For You, I Will by Georgia Lyn Hunter #supernatural #romance #Book #Review



It should have been the happiest time of their lives…

As a Guardian of the realm, Blaéz is aware of the danger that can shadow him, but he’s determined to give his human mate the wedding of her dreams. Flowers, ring, and all, including following a baffling mortal tradition of abstinence—a challenge he gamely takes on.

Then the past and future clash…

Things start to unravel when an old rival from an accursed life he thought long over suddenly reappears. Blaéz realizes it’s a tie he must sever and finally put an end to a longstanding feud. A straightforward job, until his vindictive nemesis snatches his mate.

It’s a time of reckoning…

Now Blaéz must face his own dark and painful past for a future with the one woman who is his very heartbeat. If he doesn’t, it just might destroy everything he’s fought for…


Author’s note: This novella is set after book 3 in the Fallen Guardians’ series and gives you further insight into the lives of the Guardians. For better reading enjoyment, it is best if you fully immerse yourself in the Fallen Guardians’ World first. No cliffhanger.


Review by Cathrina:

When Georgia Lyn Hunter sent me the ARC to this new installment for her Guardian Series I was thrilled. FOR YOU, I WILL is a novella tying together, literarily, in matrimony, Blaez and Darci. However, they stumble upon some lofty roadblocks. It didn't read exactly like the previous books with the action-packed combatant sequences, this tale read more like an altra-superb romance. I liked the intense scenes between Darci, Blaez and Finnen (his twin brother).

If you like to read speculative fiction with devastatingly handsome immortal guardians that have supernatural powers and action-packed, fast-paced, and lots of steamy scenes, then you'll love these books.

Georgia Lyn Hunter has hit another home run with FOR YOU, I WILL.

3.06.2018

Legend of the Mothman #Paranormal

By Jason W. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fokket/4011253068/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Have you heard of the Mothman? Have you seen him?

The first sighting happened in November 1966 near Clendenin, West Virginia. Six men were digging a grave and saw a winged figure fly overhead. Three days later, two couples in Point Pleasant stated they saw a similar flying figure.

"A flying man with ten-foot wings. Its eyes glowed red when hit by the car lights."

During the next few days, there were several other sightings. Some claimed to have premonitions about a bridge collapse. A month later, a local bridge, the Silver Bridge, collapsed and killed 46 people.

Was the Mothman trying to warn them?

The legend is mixed up with UFO sightings and visits by 'men in black.' A wildlife expert suggested the sightings were a sandhill crane. However, there are too many 'reliable' eyewitness accounts of the creature and strange lights for the 'mothman' to be so easily dismissed.

In 2016, more sightings of the Mothman were reported in Chicago. I have to wonder what this elusive being wants. I have to wonder in general.

On a trip to the remote Oregon town that inspires Settler (the town where The Rifters is set), I misread a sign. I can't remember the 'mundane' words, but I recall reading, Premonition Center. At the time, I was looking for ideas for book 4 in the series, and the Premonition Center stuck with me.



The Mothman is a natural fit with premonitions, and I mixed in a little Mothra as well. Moths are very abundant in the summer months here. When I'm astronomizing, they often bombard me in the eye or cheek.

Oregon always inspires my stories, especially The Rifters series.


The Tracer, Rifters Book 4 releases March 13 and is available for preorder!


The portal connecting Earth to other worlds reopens, and Daelin Long stands ready to rescue her sister. After a winter of strenuous training, she’s prepared to battle the evil her sister warns against.  Only, the rift is more unpredictable. The Mothman arrives whispering of death and transports Daelin to a land with seven moons. There, she faces a monster that can exist in two universes at the same time. Refusing to believe her fate is sealed, Daelin searches for the way home. With only her staff, her wits, and an uninformed detective, she dares to lead the fight. Otherwise, her sister and Earth don’t have a chance.


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And the Rifters Box Collection Books 1-3 is on sale for 99c!

A monstrous secret hides in the backwoods of a remote western town—a portal connecting our world to forty-two other universes. The visitors—most would call them terrifying—often have devastating effects. Their destruction hasn’t been intentional… until lately. The usual band of protectors, The Rifters, defend us with daring and weapons built from coils, gears, and crystals, which is no longer enough. Earth’s survival depends on an outlaw from 1888 and a librarian with a knack for ghosts.
The Rifters Box Collection includes: The Rifters, The Initiate, and The Reader.
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