9.06.2021

The Latest Releases from the UR Authors

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




YA paranormal from Cathrina Constantine

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







Fantasy adventure from Jeff Chapman

Taking from a Barrow? Not a good idea.

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








Paranormal romance from Catherine Stine

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









Science-fiction trilogy from Simon Kewin

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











Science-fiction from M. Pax

The first shot of a new war echoes through the galaxy. Craze has high hopes for what the alliance with an old enemy, the Foreworlds, will do to defeat a worse enemy, the Quassers.

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





Science-fiction fantasy from Jeff Beesler

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





  

Cozy paranormal mystery from Gwen Gardner

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





Supernatural thriller from Meradeth Houston

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






Fantasy LitRPG coming next month from Christine Rains

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

8.24.2021

#Fantasy Worth Reading: Flex #Bookreview


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the official blurb:

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

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

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

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

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

 

8.10.2021

Skywatch: Perseids Meteor Shower 2021 #astronomy

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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





7.21.2021

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

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

From the blurb:

The sky is blue.

Water is wet.

And cats most definitely do not talk.

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

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

My thoughts:

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

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

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

Story links:

Goodreads  Amazon

7.06.2021

What People 100 Years Ago Thought Life Would Be Like Now

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.21.2021

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

Meet Akila Levesque, Sphynx...

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

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

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

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

"After all, every secret needs a Keeper."


Cathrina's Review: 

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

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

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

I highly recommend, Curse of the Hunted!


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

6.07.2021

Playing the alien cicada what if game

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do the cicadas inspire in you?

5.19.2021

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading - 3 Reviews for Untethered Realms Authors


Nora's life goes from rotten to worse when she moves with her newly divorced mother to a decrepit farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. As soon as they move in, strange things start to happen, and Nora discovers a magical journal in the attic. She learns about the past and what is going to happen again, if she doesn't stop it. All the while, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous local boy whose parents may have been victims of this horror. Will Nora be able to figure how what's happening in time to save not only those she cares about but herself as well? 

This is a fantastic YA paranormal read. I was sucked into the detailed setting of the old farmhouse and little town. The perfect creepy atmosphere for all the supernatural happenings. There are a lot of layers to the plot. What was happening in the past, how it is touching the present, and everyone going on in the modern day. It was very well done how Nora is dealing with her parents' divorce, and even how her writer mother is dealing with it. It is in no way painted as an easy thing. Then to add just being a teenager moving to a new place, trying to fit in and make friends, and falling for a guy named Rebel who may or may not be trouble! Plus ghosts, a beast, and magic. It was so much fun!



Indigo Rain discovers an ancient plaque in a seabed burial site and is asked to become an esteemed Keeper. She is paired with the handsome Bay Finley, who is a Royal merfolk Keeper. His haughty attitude infuriates her, but there is something that draws her to him. Indigo must unravel the mystery of the plaque before the threats on land and in the sea kill her.

This is another incredible book in the paranormal romance series, The Keepers of Knowledge. I love the author's take on merfolk. The marvelous history of the merfolk and how they evolved to mingle with people on land. Indigo is not your typical sea beauty. She's the daughter of a kelp farmer and an intelligent scientist. Bay seems like a playboy prince at first, but his layers peel back as Indigo gets to know him. I love the twists and turns this story took me on, and the unique settings underwater alongside the now familiar town of Pyreshore.

Buy Secrets of the Mermaid here!



Ami and Luke are immortal coincidence makers, but it isn't a fate Ami would wish on anyone. When they are tasked with getting two people to meet to become like them, Ami isn't certain she wants it to happen. Luke disagrees, and things are rocky as they meet up with old friends as they discover that perhaps the bio-terrorists they believed they had thwarted are readying for another attack. While they have not been tasked to stop it, can they stand by and let millions of people die or will they take the chance and do this on their own?


This is the second book in this thrilling speculative fiction series, and it is even better than the first. It's immensely well-written and smart with a layered plot. I empathized with Ami as she struggled with wanting to recruit the new coincidence makers and wanting to let them choose their own fates as she did not feel she got to choose her own. The rogue coincidence makers had decided they're not taking orders any more and want to act as gods, but that's not the role Ami wants to play either. All the while there is a job to be done and a huge terrorist attack to stop. There are twists and turns which made me gasp, and while this could be a stand alone book, it sets the stage for even bigger things to come. I can't wait!

Buy In Defiance of Fate here!


5.04.2021

Fly Us To The Moon!

 


Untethered Realms is going to the moon! How, you ask? As stowaways. Technology and ingenuity is making it possible. Plus, one of our members (Gwen Gardner) applied and became manifest #123, and is taking everyone she can think of with her! We're talking friends, family and pets!

Read on to find out more...

Writers on the Moon (founded by Dr. Susan Kaye Quinn, rocket scientist and author extraordinaire) is a group of rag-tag indie authors from around the world. They are sending a library of stories to the moon on Astrobotic's first mission and first commercial lunar lander, Peregrine Mission One, where it will remain for posterity--or until future moon travelers find it. Maybe direct descendants--or maybe even aliens! One day the future of humanity may be reading our names in their history books, or researching 21st century literature, music, and culture. Because along with stories, the manifests are bringing stowaways of all sorts, to include screenplays, music, and photographs! Untethered Realms' Elements of Untethered Realms will be among the treasures. 


The "Moon Box", the size of a dime, will contain thousands of digitized items. 


The rocket launch is scheduled for December 2021. If you'd like to find out more, check out the Writers on the Moon website (still a work in progess), and Astrobotics for more the details. 

Ever been in space?

Would you go if given the chance?






4.20.2021

The Sword of Otrim - #epicfantasy #bookreview

 


The Sword of Otrim by Lyndon Perry

I enjoyed The Sword of Otrim very much: it’s a Conan-esque adventure yarn that focuses on Otrim, a powerful fighter with a strong moral purpose and a keen sense of right and wrong. His world is a familiar-enough quasi-medieval version of Europe (in my imagination at least), and Otrim’s adventures are set against a background of wars and conflicts between empires.

It’s the characters that set this apart from any number of such books – this is where Perry is at his best. The people he populates his story with are believable and three-dimensional, flawed and brave and foolish by turns. Otrim displays admirable wisdom and forbearance as he struggles with the enemies placed before him and the roles people assign him, and there always seems to be an amused grin on his face, despite all that happens to him.

It’s fair to say that the majority of the active characters are men, but there are also strong and resourceful females in the book, who play vital roles in the unfolding events. It’s good to see.

The story is somewhat episodic in nature: Perry describes how he created the novel by piecing together five novellas. In truth, it barely shows; the story flows along nicely and reads like a novel. I devoured it very quickly. It’s labelled as “epic fantasy”, but that was actually something I wasn’t so sure about: it’s a fantasy world, for sure, but there is little or no magic in it. That said, there are plenty of hints and suggestions that such wonders do exist in the world, and I look forward to future instalments where, perhaps, Otrim comes up against more fantastical foes.

Some reviewers have labelled this “Christian fiction”. I make no particular comment on that, except to say that I’m not Christian (or any sort of religious) in any way – and that this didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of the book at all. I never once felt like I was being beaten over the head with some real-word religious text. There is a lot of talk of “The Master” and his teachings – analogous to the teachings of Jesus, perhaps, to a Christian reader – but to this godless reviewer it all seemed like an enjoyable moral/spiritual dimension to give to an otherwise ruthlessly-efficient swordsman.

Epic battles, swordfights, intrigue and mystery – it’s all here. A recommended read.


Find the book on Amazon.


3.15.2021

#BookReview #CRANE #UntetheredRealms @UnRealms #CathrinaConstantine

CRANE

by

Stacey Rourke



The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?



Cathrina's Review

Oh Wow!!

I'll say right at the beginning, Crane by Stacey Rourke is a fabulous adaption in regards to Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane, and the Headless Horseman.

The Author, Stacey Rourke has an absolutely brilliant writing style that blew me away. Each descriptive page had me hungering for more, that I found it difficult to put the book down.

I like humor, especially sarcastic humor, and Crane did not disappoint. And to enlist Rip Van Winkle into the storyline was over-the-top enjoyment! I loved the main character, Ireland and her strength to persevere in her battle with conquering the Horseman. I never leave spoils~~~Oh Boy!! You will be amazed!!!

Whether I'd been so caught up in the story or it wasn't mentioned to lure the reader into book 2, I can't remember if it was explained how Ireland Crane was related to Ichabod.

I highly recommend this phenomenal book.

3.02.2021

Mermaids, Magic and Glamoured Beach Towns


I love writing books set in beach towns and characters with complex relationships to the ocean. In my novel Witch of the Cards, I wrote about a woman learning that she hailed from a sea witch dynasty. In Pictures of Dorianna, I wrote about a girl who, unbeknownst to her, makes a deal with the Prince of Darkness. This happens when his supernatural video of her on a Coney Island beach goes viral, spinning her life out of control. 

In this new urban fantasy, Secrets of the Mermaid, I got to study mermaid lore and deep-sea creatures, and create mysterious merfolk characters. My heroine, Indigo Rain moves to a glamoured gothic beach town called Pyreshore and becomes a Keeper of the merfolk’s secret history. Indigo is a mermaid with a private slide from her basement into the Atlantic Ocean, and her own deep, dark secrets.

Her eventual love interest, Bay Finley, is of Royal merman stock, while Indigo, is of common stock. So the added “special sauce” is the Harry and Meghan royal versus commoner element.

Who wouldn’t love to suddenly be able to transform from human to mermaid? I give readers the experience through Indigo. “Out of sheer exuberance, she performed somersaults, twirls, and grand swoops up and over the seabed ravines and ridges.” Or even better, her first dive with Bay, her fellow merfolk researcher and secret crush:

“They plunged in. Indigo felt the transformative rush as her legs changed to a single tailfin, and her hips and below became a sheen of golden scales. She breathed in water and wriggled her way downward. As she did, she stole peeks at Bay. His merman patterns, like ruddy tribal tattoos, emerged along his jawline, down his muscled arms and on both sides of his lean torso. His scales, a rusty gold, matched the patterns on his skin, and glittered brightly against the darker waters like the sea glass she so loved. His chest and abs seemed to swell and flex at the same time with the strength of a Poseidon, the grace of a marathon swimmer, the glory of a merman Royal in his prime. She forced herself to look away, and to concentrate on seeking out the tablets, whether they were the nano-synth ones, more of the type in that hidden burial chamber, or another type of artifact altogether.”

I discovered deep-sea fish like the ghost shark with an extra set of jaws inside its maw that can suddenly extend like a slingshot to gobble prey, and the dragon fish that produce their own glowing light. They protect Indigo when a dangerous phantom attacks her and their light guides her back home. Mermaid lore is also endlessly fascinating, and disturbing! One element I used was that mermaid were known to lure sailors undersea and drown them, in order to use them to fertilize their ova to make wee little merbabies. Rather gruesome, and one shameful thing in Indigo’s past she feels compelled to atone for. You have to read the book to find out how! No spoilers here. If you love the ocean and its magical creatures, why not spend time with Indigo, Bay and the quirky cast of characters on Pyreshore and under its coastal waters?

See the book on Amazon (free on KU!)

Backworlds Box Collection Books 4, 5, and 6 Now Available! #99c for a Limited Time. #scifi


 The Backworlds Box Collection Books 4, 5, and 6 is now available for preorder. The box set releases March 12, 2021, and its 99 cents for a limited time. Grab your copy!


Available at all ebook retailers: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, GooglePlay, Apple, Smashwords, and more. Just click the link below.

BACKWORLDS BOX SET 4, 5, 6

The galaxy beyond the Backworlds is rife with trouble. The desperate search to save a friend ends in the discovery of an unstoppable enemy. This boxed set contains books 4, 5, and 6 in the Backworld series: Beyond the Edge, Worlds on Edge, and Precipice.


Beyond the Edge

Some truths are better left unfound. For two years, Lepsi has been missing. A haunted spaceship has a message from him. Maybe Lepsi isn’t dead. Craze and Captain Talos travel to uncharted worlds, searching a region of the galaxy beyond the Backworlds. Out there, they stumble upon a terrible truth.

 

Worlds on Edge

Home is worth the fight. War is coming. A horde of merciless aliens poise just beyond the Edge. Racing ahead of the apocalypse, Craze rushes to warn his people and plan a defense. Only, he can’t go home. Banned from Pardeep Station, he must wage another war to save his home.

 

Precipice

Salvation comes at a price. A new enemy wants to destroy the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war. Annihilation is coming to the Backworlds, and Craze’s option to prevent the genocide of his people is a nightmare. The best chance for survival is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. If he succeeds, Craze will be the most hated man in the galaxy.        



2.19.2021

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading - Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula

 


Blurb: Powers of Darkness is an incredible literary discovery: In 1900, Icelandic publisher and writer Valdimar Ásmundsson set out to translate Bram Stoker’s world-famous 1897 novel Dracula. Called Makt Myrkranna (literally, “Powers of Darkness”), this Icelandic edition included an original preface written by Stoker himself. Makt Myrkranna was published in Iceland in 1901 but remained undiscovered outside of the country until 1986, when Dracula scholarship was astonished by the discovery of Stoker’s preface to the book. However, no one looked beyond the preface and deeper into Ásmundsson’s story.

In 2014, literary researcher Hans de Roos dove into the full text of Makt Myrkranna, only to discover that Ásmundsson hadn’t merely translated Dracula but had penned an entirely new version of the story, with all new characters and a totally re-worked plot. The resulting narrative is one that is shorter, punchier, more erotic, and perhaps even more suspenseful than Stoker’s Dracula. Incredibly, Makt Myrkranna has never been translated or even read outside of Iceland until now.

Powers of Darkness presents the first ever translation into English of Stoker and Ásmundsson’s Makt Myrkranna. With marginal annotations by de Roos providing readers with fascinating historical, cultural, and literary context; a foreword by Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew and bestselling author; and an afterword by Dracula scholar John Edgar Browning, Powers of Darkness will amaze and entertain legions of fans of Gothic literature, horror, and vampire fiction.

Christine's review: This is an Icelandic rewrite of Dracula, or shall we say, fanfiction. It's been some years since I've actually read the original, so I can't speak on a lot of differences. Definitely there is more focus on Harker and the blonde bride in the castle, and a lot more description of the castle itself. It's not at all erotic or romantic. The Count is portrayed as more evil, but the last third is more of a synopsis than anything else. What I found I enjoyed a lot more than I expected was the introduction and the notes in the margins of the story itself with all the history, interesting Stoker and Asmundsson facts, and translation reasons. So while the rewrite wasn't all I had hoped for, the book as a whole is well put together.

2.02.2021

The Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn #astronomy #Science #

I'm sharing a video I took of a rare event.




The great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was at its pinnacle on Monday night (12/21/2020). I was able to get out my trusty telescope, Orson Bradbury, and do some stargazing. The forecast had us cloudy, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. It was almost 60 and the sky was clear. 60 isn't normal for these parts in December. However, the wind was roaring. You can probably hear it whistle through the telescope in the video.

This was a once in 400 years event, so I was glad to see it. The video was taken through my 11mm Nagler. That translates into high magnification for those of you not well versed in telescope-speak. To see both in that eyepiece was stunning and something that will never happen again. At least, not while I'm alive. So, I hope you enjoy the video. It's not the best, but you get to see something really special.            

1.19.2021

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading - 3 reviews for fantastic reads from the Untethered Realms authors

 What better way to start off the year with my reviews of three books by my fellow Untethered Realms authors!


Wayland LeBlanc can only think of avenging the deaths of his family, new mate, and unborn child. Revenge consumes him as he travels back to the Canadian Wilderness to kill the Tundra pack that had destroyed his. There is also the weight of needing to find a mate and have a child before a year is done or else he'll lose his royal status. Returning to the wilds where he grew up brings back a lot of memories, but meeting his childhood crush now a full grown beauty named Stormy, revenge starts to take a backseat to his feelings for her. With the help of some coyote shifters and local witches, Wayland hopes to bring justice to his lost pack but yet can he win over Stormy when she's the sister of the Tundra pack's Alpha?

What an incredibly fun and thrilling paranormal romance read! Wayland starts in New Orleans with thoughts of his family's deaths already haunting him, and then the Royal Alpha Wolves Club gives him the added stress of having to find a mate within a year or else he'll no longer be a royal. I was immediately sympathetic. This shifter has a huge heart, and I love that he has a soft spot for witches. Stormy is a strong and smart wolf herself. The perfect complement for Wayland. Yet my favorite characters are the coyote shifters and the mysterious witch locked in a metal box. The coyotes are wild and hilarious. The plot is fast-paced and the tension between Wayland and Stormy sizzles. If you love paranormal romances, you don't want to miss Alpha's Revenge.

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Selene Ada dies several times after her home world is destroyed by the evil rule of Concordance. When she finally regains herself, she is half herself while the other half is remade by a strange scientist, Ondo Lagan. Following tiny bits of ruined history, they try to figure out where Concordance came from and what life was like before them. Except Concordance doesn't want anyone to discover the truth.

An excellently written first book in the science fiction series, The Triple Stars. The reader is immediately pulled into the story with the destruction of Selene's home planet, and also the ruins of Selene herself and how she is remade. The characterization is fantastic not just for her but for the whole cast. I was thoroughly wrapped up in the mystery of the paradise planet, Coronade, and the once great peaceful galaxy. Of course Concordance was in every way despicable, but they're so big and powerful, it's hard to see anything from within their seemingly endless shadow. We're taken on twists and turns, shown wonders and horrors, and never knowing what's around the next star. This is science fiction at its best.

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Indigo Eady is desperate for a job. Finding a ghost thief can't be that difficult, right? A spirit is lurking around the Sabrina Shores Theatre, and things are getting dangerous. Her friends are there to help, but all her secretive investigating are putting the handsome inspector's suspicions on her. Can Indigo solve the mystery before she ends up as a ghost in the theatre too?

A wonderfully written cozy mystery that I ate up with a grin. I've read the Afterlife series, and so I'm familiar with Indigo and her friends, but this book can stand alone. I admire Indigo's heart and determination. I loved seeing how she's grown and eager for what's to come. I'm a huge fan of Franny, her ghost friend, especially with her trying to pick up on the modern slang and her methods of investigating! There are some clever twists to the plot and I was on the edge of my seat at the end.

1.07.2021

Happy New Year 2021!

 


Coming into 2021, we still haven't recovered from last year. We stand braced for what is to come. And we aren't going to pretend we know what that might be.

Yet what if we could know? Here are some predictions from Nostradamus about this year.

1. A comet will come very close to hitting Earth. Some say that the Mayans got it wrong when they said that the end of the world was in 2012, and that it's really 2021, but we've got eyes in many directions. No one has seen a comet barreling out way.

2. Devastating solar flares. There has already been a couple this year, although not devastating ones. They can disrupt the power grid and pipelines which we are greatly reliant upon. At least we will be freed from being beholden to social media during that time!

3. Global famine. With the pandemic, this isn't a surprise. Check out a recent article from the UN.

4. Robots launch a revolution and cyborg soldiers. Could these be linked? Skynet came online years ago, right?

5. The zombie apocalypse. Now here's the one many of us have been waiting for! Whether it comes from a virus or the "cure" for it, we'll have to see. Fingers crossed they're slow zombies!

Whatever this year brings, please go forth with love, peace, and compassion. We will survive whatever comes our way if we stand together.