11.21.2017

UR is welcoming guests in the new year


To all the authors who love science fiction, fantasy, the paranormal, and all those wonderful in between bits of speculative fiction,

You're invited to write a guest post for our blog.

We want all your weird, wacky, intelligent, and creative thoughts on topics in these genres. We love to provoke what ifs and spark our readers' minds.

We're not looking for promotional posts. Give us thoughtful and fun. No more than 1000 words and a maximum of three images. Plus a short two to three sentence bio with your links.

Hitch a ride with Untethered Realms. We love to have guests. Just keep your arms inside at all times, don't drink Jezebel's punch, and please don't tease the T-Rex in the back.

Any queries can be sent to christinerains.writer@gmail.com

11.14.2017

Why I Write by Terry Tempest Williams



~.
~
Why I Write 
by 
TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS

It is just after 4:00 A.M. I was dreaming about Moab, Brooke and I walking around the block just before dawn. I threw a red silk scarf around my shoulders and then I began reciting in my sleep why I write:
I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to create fabric in a world that often appears black and white. I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change. I write to honor beauty. I write to correspond with my friends. I write as a daily act of improvisation  I write because it creates my composure. I write against power and for democracy. I write myself out of my nightmares and into my dreams. I write in a solitude born out of community. I write to the questions that shatter my sleep. I write to the answers that keep me complacent. I write to remember. I write to forget. I write to the music that opens my heart. I write to quell the pain. I write to migrating birds with the hubris of language. I write as a form of translation. I write with the patience of melancholy in winter. I write because it allows me to confront that which I do not know. I write as an act of faith. I write as an act of slowness. I write to record what I love in the face of loss. I write because it makes me less fearful of death. I write as an exercise in pure joy. I write as one who walks on the surface of a frozen river beginning to melt. I write out of my anger and into my passion. I write from the stillness of night anticipating-always anticipating. I write to listen. I write out of silence. I write to soothe the voices shouting inside me, outside me, all around. I write because of the humor of our condition as humans. I write because I believe in words. I write because I do not believe in words. I write because it is a dance with paradox. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in sand. I write because it belongs to the force of the moon: high tide, low tide. I write because it is the way I take longwalks. I write as a bow to wilderness. I write because I believe it can create a path in darkness. I write because as a child I spoke a different language. I write with a knife carving each word through the generos­ ity of trees. I write as ritual. I write because I am not employable. I write out of my inconsistencies. I write because then I do not have to speak. I write with the colors of memory. I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine. I write by grace and grit. I write out of indigestion. I write when I am starving. I write when I am full. I write to the dead. I write out of the body. I write to put food on the table. I write on the other side of procrastination. I write for the children we never had. I write for the love of ideas. I write for the surprise of a sentence. I write with the belief of alchemists. I write knowing I will always fail. I write knowing words always fall short. I write knowing I can be killed by my own words, stabbed by syntax, crucified by both understanding and misunderstanding. I write out of ignorance. I write by accident. I write past the embarrassment of exposure. I keep writing and suddenly, I am overcome by the sheer indulgence, (the madness,) the meaninglessness, the ridiculousness of this list. I trust nothing especially myself and slide head first into the familiar abyss of doubt and humiliation and threaten to push the delete button on my way down, or madly erase each line, pick up the paper and rip it into shreds-and then I realize, it doesn't matter, words are always a gamble, words are splinters from cut glass. I write because
it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient.
I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love. 

Taken from Wiki:
Terry Tempest Williams (born 8 September 1955), is an American author, conservationist, and activist. Williams' writing is rooted in the American West and has been significantly influenced by the arid landscape of her native Utah and its Mormon culture. Her work ranges from issues of ecology and wilderness preservation, to women's health, to exploring our relationship to culture and nature.
Williams has testified before Congress on women's health, committed acts of civil disobedience in the years 1987–1992 in protest against nuclear testing in the Nevada Desert, and again, in March 2003 in Washington, D.C., with Code Pink, against the Iraq War. She has been a guest at the White House, has camped in the remote regions of the Utah and Alaskawildernesses and worked as "a barefoot artist" in Rwanda.

Why Do You Write? 
I've been asking myself this question lately. This article by Terry Tempest Williams certainly has taken some of the words out of my mouth.  

11.10.2017

Book Review: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick #historical



Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man's devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. 

With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.



Cathrina's Review:




Robert Goolrick is an intricate and captivating writer. When I began to read A Reliable Wife I was hooked after the first page. Mr. Goolrick's writing is superb and I hung on his every word. 

As you absorb A Reliable Wife, Mr. Goolrick slowly peels away the nuance's of the main characters bit by enthralling bit. A Reliable Wife is an emotional and oftentimes darkly obsessive story of deception. 

Towards the conclusion of A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick's writing becomes breathtakingly wordy and at the close you breathe a sigh of relief and shake your head at the complexities of this novel.

11.07.2017

Parallel Universes - is there a flip side?


One of my favorite things to think about is if there are parallel universes and multiverses. After watching season 2 of Stranger Things, I spent too much time staring at the wall and wondering if I could reach through and touch myself in another universe. If I did indeed exist in that universe.

I googled movies on this topic and very few came up. I found a lot about time travel and how that makes alternative histories, presents, and futures. But not so many about parallel universes.

Yet some of my favorite books have taken on this theme: Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and stories by H.P. Lovecraft. We step through a mirror or a wardrobe, and we've gone through a portal into a parallel world. Some more pleasant than others!


One of my favorite TV shows about multiverses was Sliders. Do you remember that show from the 1990s? They traveled from Earth to Earth trying to find their own. Some Earths were so similar to their home, they wondered if it was the right one, but then they'd find one little difference.

What am I like in parallel worlds? Did I have seven children like I wanted when I was a teenager? Did I become an archaeologist like Indiana Jones? Did I say yes to that doctor who asked me on a date in university? Do I have tentacles instead of arms and legs?

The possibilities are infinite. And great fuel for future stories!

What are your favorite books/movies/shows about parallel universes?

10.31.2017

Halloween Mystery With The Untethered Realms Authors


When black cats prowl,
and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours
on Halloween.

The UR authors are dressed up, and it's up to you to guess who they are!
If you are the first to guess correctly, you will win a copy of our newest thrilling anthology, Spirits in the Water.

* * * * *


Teen Titans GO!
Who is behind this mask? If you say Carrie Kelley, you'd get some geek points, but it wouldn't be right.

* * * * *


Who is under this mask? I'm the ghoulish one, some may say the goulash one. Some other published authors in the photo: Marie Harte, the prisoner; behind her in orange is Paty Jaeger; next to her at the top is Karen Duvall; the purple witch is Ruth Colter; and the other witch is Diana McCollum.

* * * * *

Guess who's under the mask! We love a good renaissance faire and it's a perfect way to spend Halloween, all dressed up in comfy clothes, eating turkey legs, and imbibing the bread of life, aka beer (Just to keep it authentic, of course!).

* * * *

Who is this Purple Queen? Or maybe she's a countess or even a commoner. But one thing's for sure... she LOVES all things purple.

10.24.2017

Spirits in the Water Tour & giveaway


The Spirits in the Water tour with Silver Dagger Tours has started! It runs from OCT 23 through NOV 6 Here is the lineup. Links go live on the day that they post, so stop by often to keep up with the posts! We are also offering an amazing array of giveaway items to help celebrate! (Scroll down all the way to enter the rafflecopter). Spirits in the Water is the final of the Untethered Realms Elements series. Get them all!
OCT 23
Silver Dagger kickoff with guest post by Catherine Stine & excerpt by Christine Rains
Mythical Books with guest post by M Pax "What's in the Water?"
Jazzy Book Reviews with guest post by Christine Rains "Frozen Fears"
OCT 24
Blog of Jacey Holbrand
Fundinmental
Books a Plenty Book Reviews
OCT 25
Breaking Genre
A Mama's Corner of the World
Land of Oyr
Lisa Book Blog @ LEL
YA Book Divas
OCT 26
Books, Authors, Blogs
Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read - excerpts
OCT 27
Jamie Marchant, Fantasy Author
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!
Girl with Pen
Yearwood La Novela
OCT 28
Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – GUEST POST  by Catherine Stine
Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts
Books Dreams Life
Bound 2 Escape
OCT 29
Susan Heim on Writing
Mello & June
Book Bangers Blog
OCT 30
Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
OCT 31
Must Read Faster
Spunky N Sassy
The Bookworm Chronicles
NOV 1
T's Stuff
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Cloe Michael's Reads
Circle of Stalkers
The Blackwood Blog
The Book Town
NOV 2
Rabid Readers Book Blog
Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin'
Sylv.net
NOV 3
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Teatime and Books
NOV 4
FUONLYKNEW
The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
NOV 5
Triple A - guest posts!
Indie Wish List
YA & NA Bookshelf
***
Check out all of the amazing prizes in the rafflecopter! Enter below:

10.17.2017

What Makes a Great Ghost Story? #Paranormal

It's October! Time to get your scare on...



There's something about a good ghost story that suckers me in. You're probably tired of hearing my account with an actual ghost... A black thing ran over my foot once and out the door. It was like a shadow, but not a shadow. My husband was there at the time and saw the same thing.

We believed it the spirit of Mr. Sox, who was killed by a car. After he died, I used to hear him scratching at the back screen. The sound was so distinct, I would often get up and go out on the patio looking for him, even though I knew it was impossible he was there.

That black shadow ran over my foot while I was serving dinner and raced out the sliding door into the backyard. I never heard the scratching at the back screen again.

It wasn't a frightening experience. It perplexed me. The shadow had form and was thicker than a shadow, more solid. Yet I could see through it. It was the size of a cat.

My husband and I have gone ghost hunting before, and I'd love to say I've had other encounters, but I haven't. I don't want to jump to conclusions that a sound is a spirit or an experience is a spirit. I want a real, solid encounter... like the one I had.

Recently, we went on a 'haunted' tour of our town. To me, it was a win-win... history and ghost stories. I love history and I love ghost stories. There were some good ones...


George at the Reid School, a builder who had died on the site, shows up quite frequently. It's now the local history museum.


A boy on a bicycle at the high school, which is now county offices. He likes to turn lights on during the night.

Mr. and Mrs. Thompson of the Tower Theater are sometimes seen sitting in the audience.


Mrs. Smith can still be heard banging on the ceiling with a broom to call Mr. Smith to dinner.


There's a malevolent presence in the old hotel, who has attacked several people.

No one wants to own anything that was in the old nunnery. The buildings and contents were sold and transported far away. I wonder if the new owners have had anything odd happen.

Whether true or not, my favorite ghost stories are accounts related by family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. I don't want to run away, I want to investigate. I love talking over the mysteries that touch our lives and our world.

What's out there?

10.06.2017

Book Review: Serpent's Sacrifice by Trish Heinrich #superhero


Blurb:
Ever since Alice was saved from her abusive father, she’s wanted to be a hero. But in 1960’s Jet City, women are supposed to want marriage and babies, not cowls and secret identities.

When her beloved aunt is murdered by a new crime syndicate, Alice takes up the mantle of the Serpent, a heroine who has been protecting Jet City for decades.

But one mistake will unleash a dreadful villain. One who will stop at nothing to take control of the city and kill anyone who stands in the way.

Can Alice survive the battle and become the hero she was always meant to be? Or will the price be too much to bear?

My review:
Alice is swept away from her abusive father and her best friends to live with her rich aunt in Jet City. While well-to-do women in the 1960s are expected to marry well and have children, Alice longs for something much more. She trains to be a powerful fighter and takes up the mantle of the city's infamous superhero, Serpent. A vicious villain is making people cower in fear, experiencing waking nightmares. Alice and her friends must stop the madness before their enemy takes over the city, but are they willing to pay the price to do so?

This is an amazing debut novel from Trish Heinrich with rich world building, twists and turns, and fabulous characterization. I thoroughly enjoy the superhero genre, but most books give us extended comics without the illustrations. Not this one. The plot is thick and well written. I love the history of the Serpent. (Pick up the prequel novella, Serpent for even more!) I especially love the strong women that have put on the cowl. The story takes place in the past, and it makes their strength even more admirable.

What thoroughly won me over was the excellent cast of characters. Alice is a smart and resourceful young woman who doesn't exactly fit in to her world, but she strives to make it a better place. While she is the Serpent, she has no super powers. It's all her. I also liked the fact that punching things wasn't the only way she had to resolve things. There was social maneuvering, battle tactics, and investigating. I loved her relationship with her two best friends, Lionel and Marco. Each man so different and endearing in their own way. Alice's aunt and uncle, Mrs. Frost, and Rose. So many great characters. Plus the villain. I won't give any spoilers, but yes, so demented.

I can't wait for more in this awesome series!


10.03.2017

New Release - Spirits in the Water #shortstories #sciencefiction #fantasy


The fourth anthology in our Elements of Untethered Realms series, Spirits in the Water is now available.

A haunted journey on a riverboat, water sprites borne of pennies, preternatural creatures, ancient serpents, and the Lady of the Lake lurk in dark waters. Raging storms and magical rainbow fountains. Water is spectacularly beautiful but also treacherous.

Gwen Gardner gives us Shake, Rattle and Row. Harlow Grayson has the chance to rid herself of a pesky ghost but she must first brave a haunted riverboat and recover a family heirloom. What she finds might be more than she can handle.

Jeff Chapman offers The Water Wight. When a drowned girl changes her mind about suicide, Merliss and her associates face a fearsome, preternatural creature.

M. Pax presents The Wallows. Evernee Weems wants to escape this world in the worst way. Her daughter needs everything, the rent is being raised, Evernee’s job barely pays minimum wage, and she has little hope for better. Inside a puddle is a different reality. She jumps in, happy to trade her problems for a life in which worries don’t exist. Or do they?

Angela Brown gives us Extraordinary. Puberty hits Angelique like a gut punch and brings about a change, forcing an unexpected revelation about her past. All seems well until a vicious storm tears through her Texas community, and Angelique learns there are worse things than a little change.

River Fairchild presents You Can’t Go Home Again. A young woman, filled with regret about the past, goes on a journey and discovers more than she bargained for.

Simon Kewin offers us The Waters, Dividing the Land. Hyrn the horned god of the woodlands is learning the meaning of fear. Death magic blights the land, threatening everyone and everything. To save what he can from spreading corruption, he turns to the ancient river serpents, but they’ve grown old and distant and may not hear his call at all.

Christine Rains gives us Frozen. A necromancer is on the frozen moon of Saturn where the dead do scream.

Meradeth Houston presents The Flood. Sometimes a flooded kitchen isn’t the unluckiest thing to happen to you.

Catherine Stine offers Maizy of Bellagio. April still searches for her mother who vanished nineteen years ago from the fountain at Hotel Bellagio in Vegas. Can Maizy, a water sprite who works the fountain’s pink colors, begin to help the three generations of eccentric women tortured by this tragedy?

M. Gerrick gives us The One Who Would Wield the Sword. Nikka is supposed to be nothing more than dragon bait so a real dragon hunter can do his job, but the Lady in the Lake has other plans for her.

Cherie Reich presents The Folding Point. Aimee’s fight against those who banned paper magics has begun.

From USA Today, Amazon bestselling, and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Spirits in the Water, a supernatural anthology of eleven thrilling tales. Spirits in the Water is the fourth, long-awaited Elements story collection from the dynamic and inventive Untethered Realms group.
 



To celebrate the release for Spirits in the Water, the first Elements of Untethered Realms anthology Twisted Earths is free on all major retailers. Pick up your copy today!


9.26.2017

9 Twisted Tales Set in 9 Twisted Worlds #SpeculativeFiction #Giveaway



Untethered Realms is celebrating the upcoming release of the 4th collection in our elemental story series: Spirits on the Water. We're celebrating by making the first in the series, Twisted Earths, FREE!

That's right, 9 outstanding, fantastical stories for the price of free.

Twisted Earths Available at:

Amazon / AmazonUK / Google Play / Smashwords / iTunes / B&N / Kobo

Here's what you get:

Twisted Earths is a collection of tales from Untethered Realms, a group of speculative fiction authors. The stories are as varied and rich as the types of soil on this and other planets—sandy loam, clay, knotted with roots and vines, dreaded paths through unexplored planets, and in enchanted forests, lit by candlelight and two moons. 

M. Pax, author of the series, The Backworlds and The Rifters spins a tale called Patchworker 2.0. Specialists with digital interfaces are the only ones who can distinguish between biological energy and mechanical pulses, and “patch” AIs, which hold the world together. Patchworker Evalyn Shore meets up with an AI with deadly intent.

Cherie Reich, known for her epic fantasy series The Fate Challenges and The Foxwick Chronicles, presents Lady Death. Umbria, a beautiful and powerful swordsmith, is given an impossible task by her brother Leon when he asks, “You are the assassin. Are you scared to destroy Death when you are up to your elbows in it?”

Angela Brown is the author of the paranormal Shadow Jumpers and NEO Chronicles series. In her story, In The Know, Jacob, a loyal family man is struggling to stay out of debt when he’s hired to report on big plans for a future Detroit. He’s given a mysterious manila envelope with instructions to “open it alone” or pay the price. With switchback twists you won’t see coming, a debt of a much steeper cost is what he just might end up paying for his involvement.

Catherine Stine, author of the futuristic thrillers, Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire, offers The Day of The Flying Dogs, a sinister tale of brilliant, troubled NYC high-school student, Theo. He experiences a day at Coney Island that includes drugs, delusions, a lonely capybara, Nathan’s hotdogs and a mind-bending lesson in our very twisted universe.

Christine Rains, known best for her paranormal series The Thirteenth Floor, gives us The Ole Saint, a story at once sweet, horrific and heartrending. Ezra longs to fit in and have boys stop calling him witch and freak, yet his unique supernatural skill sets him apart, and the last gift from The Ole Saint cinches the deal.

Graeme Ing, known for his young adult fantasy, Ocean of Dust presents The Malachite Mine, a gripping, scream-inducing ride. Whatever was Mary thinking when she accepted her husband’s gift of a most terrifying twenty-first birthday celebration in an abandoned Russian mine?

River Fairchild, author of her Jewels of Chandra series, presents A Grand Purpose. Rosaya and her cousin, Drianna are soon to be married off, but Rosaya is unhappy with her assigned match. She’s much more intoxicated by the older Firrandor, a wizard she hardly knows. When Rosaya is accused of killing an oracle boy, all bets are off, not only for her love, but her freedom.

Gwen Gardner, who pens the cozy paranormal mystery series, Indigo Eady, adds to her collection with Ghostly Guardian. Indigo and her rib-tickling ghost-busters must travel to a dangerous pirate-laden past in order to unearth a curmudgeonly eighteenth century spirit that is plaguing the Blind Badger Pub.

Misha Gerrick, whose War of Six Crowns series is forthcoming, gives us a story called Red Earth and White Light. Emily, a young ghost bride has long haunted a house. She longs to cross over into the afterlife, but she’s trapped in memories of lilies and betrayal.


The stories in this collection are marvelous, strange, frightening, and otherworldly. And we know you're ready for more. They're coming in Spirits of the Water! Huzzah!


9.19.2017

Science Fiction Fears - Just Our Overactive Imaginations?


Eek! Aliens are going to abduct me. Oh no! Skynet is going to take over the world!

There are a lot of wondrous things in the worlds of science fiction. We've seen technology from stories made real decades later and events happen just like they were written. Yet it doesn't make the horrors of sci-fi true. The fact that so many people fear these things could happen only says how well the authors did their jobs.

Are there aliens and would they abduct us? There are likely aliens, but the chances they are here are very slim. Plus would a greatly advanced race with amazing technology really resort to kidnapping and probing humans to learn about them? They would have scanners that could tell them everything they want to know, and they can observe us in our natural habitats. Nope, not creepy at all.

Will an asteroid hit Earth? Not at all likely. NASA says there are no near-Earth asteroids or comets, and their chances of identifying a big one that might cause worldwide damage early so something could be done to stop it are nearly 100%. But a Sharknado, now that's a different story!

Will AI evolve and take over the world? No. AI is only composed of what we put in it. If robots try to take over the world then someone programmed them that way. AI can never replace the ingenuity and perseverance of humans. Plus a few well placed EMP bombs will take care of the problem easily!

Dystopians are immensely popular be they primal or technologically advanced societies. If there is a worldwide disaster or war, would it be likely something like that could happen? Not really. These are pessimistic views of our future. People will want the society they lost and seek to rebuild it. No matter how dismal it looks sometimes, never underestimate the power of hope and compassion.

Let's hope we have more of a Star Trek future than a Hunger Games or an Idiocracy.

Do you have any fears that have stemmed from science fiction?

9.12.2017

Flavors of Book Fests, Author Retreats, Signings and Figuring Out What Works Best

The subject of book conferences and writing retreats is the obvious one for me to post about, since I've just attended two of them, with a third happening next week. In August, I went to ChapterCon in England, the brainchild of my author friend, Katie John. This was its first year. It was mainly craft-based with panels, but it did have a full Saturday public signing event. I was eager to listen to the panels, which ranged from diversity in lit, to romance, to how to keep your stories flowing (I was on this panel). We all learned that Bank Holiday weekend, which is the equivalent of Labor Day weekend in the states, is not the best time to invite the public to a signing, because everyone is streaming out of town for the last big party of the summer. That said, we had some book-lovers in, plus it allowed us authors to hobnob and buy each other's books.

My favorite workshop was a mindfulness one, which taught zen style tools for unwinding author stress. I needed this tool that very night, as Katie texted me an hour before my bedtime and asked if I'd deliver the second keynote speech! The scheduled author had a personal emergency. I have never scribbled my lecture notes as quickly as I did that evening. People told me it was an inspiring speech, so I guess I did okay. LOL. Talking about one's own rollercoaster journey is apparently something most writers relate to.
Me delivering a keynote speech at ChapterCon UK

The second writing conference was this last weekend's Next Chapter Writing Retreat held in NYC by Janet Wallace, the founder of UtopiaCon. There was a small handful of very savvy authors, and it was a rare treat to get to know them. We had sessions with high-level branding and media experts, which was intimidating, until I realized that these "experts" were simply speaking about their own personal journeys, as I did during my keynote. The authors had time to chat and compare notes over dinner and drinks. There was only one two-hour public book signing, which I found refreshing and fun, and low stress as compared to some marathon book signings I've been part of.
A new reader of mine treating herself to an early birthday present at NCWR signing

What are my takeaways from these events?
A two or three hour book signing event seems perfect.
I love hand-selling and getting to know new readers.
I need to boundary off my time to write, and to take my writing more seriously.
I love meeting authors and sharing stories and marketing tips. Community is key.
European events rock, as does the Welsh coast. LOL.
I need to take calculated risks and stretch myself in my craft and marketing.
De-stressing is important. Meditation, massage, whatever works!
Create a long game plan. (I can always revise it as I go).

What are your personal tools? What is most important to you in your writing life? Do you create a long game plan or do you prefer making it up as you go?

9.08.2017

Book Review: BLOODGIFTED by Tima Maria Lacoba #paranormal


BLOODGIFTED
by
Tima Maria Lacoba

What’s a girl to do when she learns she’s descended from a vampire? Being unable to age is only the beginning… 

Laura Dantonville is a Primary school teacher with one wish—to marry her boyfriend, Detective Matt Sommers. When her aunt Judy reveals a frightening family secret that explains her rare genetic mutation, it threatens to propel her into a dark underworld where her true family waits. 
Laura’s future with Matt hangs in the balance. 

Alec Munro never wanted to become guardian to a Dantonville regardless that her blood is coveted by his vampire-kind. But his sire, Lucien Lebrettan, gave him no choice. Now he’s faced with not only protecting the girl, but fathering a child with her in order to end his servitude—and a centuries-old curse. 

… which some among his kind will do anything to prevent.


Amazon

Cathrina's Review: I haven't read a vampire story in quite a while, so this book intrigued me. The author, Ms. Lacoba kept some of the olden time lore of vamps, like, the sun frying their bodies to a crisp. And similar to the Twilight Series, Ms Lacoba tweaked our perception of the blood sucking creatures a wee bit. An example: vampires do have a reflection in mirrors.The book begins in the year 263 AD and a woman invokes a wicked curse after Romans slaughter a Pict village. (Human blood will be your food. As beasts you shall kill and walk in the night and sunlight will be your enemy) There's more in the history of the story where those cursed resurrect the woman's spirit to revoke the curse. (A marriage and a birth are involved, a mingling of Pict and Roman blood) 
The mc, Laura is 50 years old but you'd never know it because she looks 25. And she is descended by Lucien Lebrettan, a vampire and Judith, one of the descendants of the bloodgifted. Being the Bloodgifted, Laura doesn't reach maturity until the young age of 50 when her blood reeks with power. Alec Munro, the Princeps and a doctor in the human world, becomes her guardian. By drinking Laura's blood Alec is sustained with strength and able to walk in the daylight, a gift that many vamps long for and are willing to die for. A problem commences when the scent of her blood brings evil vamps to suckle. 

I was entertained by Bloodgifted, in fact, I liked the book. A little lengthy, yet the action and intimate scenes between Alec and Laura were literally steamy. If you like to read about sexy, wicked, bloodthirsty vamps, then Bloodgifted is for you.

9.05.2017

Shake, Rattle and Row, a #CozyMystery #CleanRead from the Spirits in the Water #Anthology



Spirits in the Water, an Untethered Realms short story anthology is coming in October! My contribution to the collection is a #CozyMystery. 
You may have noticed that the world’s gone a little crazy lately. #CozyReads are meant to entertain, but not stress you out. If this sounds good to you, check out my sweet, fun, cozy and quirky short story, Shake, Rattle and Row!
Shake, Rattle and Row is a sequel short story glimpse into my new series coming out in 2019 called, Ask Crystal Ball. 
A Riverboat Casino sounds like a roaring good time, but it can be murder for those who suffer with seasickness...
Harlow Grayson is the journalist who unwillingly inherits Crystal Ball’s agony column after Crystal is found murdered. Unfortunately, the agony column, called Ask Crystal Ball, comes with a nasty side effect: the ghost of Crystal herself. Complete opposites, Harlow and Crystal never did get along, even when Crystal was alive. Nothing has changed. 
In this short story, Crystal needs Harlow’s help to recover an item of sentimental value—but it comes at a hefty price. 
***


I jumped. “Crystal! Where’ve you been?” I looked around to see if anyone was listening.


“Scouting. Did you bring it?”


I held up the pen. “Yes. But I’m not sure about this. It’s not right. We shouldn’t be messing with this stuff.”

“Oh, get over yourself.” She fairly bounced with excitement.

I sighed and knew I’d regret this.

“Try the gold ink this—”

“Shh, I got this.” With my heart pounding, I pushed down the gold nub. A golden glow descended over the room and cast an unearthly light. My skin prickled as latent sparkles of ethereal energy settled over me. I blinked several times, adjusting to the illusion of the veil merging between the mortal and spirit worlds.

Holy mother of— I crossed myself. Although I’d done this before, I’d never get used to it.

I surveyed my new—but somehow same—surroundings. I was still on a riverboat casino, but it was more alive, if that even made sense, given that the room was full of ghosts. A roulette wheel spun, and the clickety-clack of the marble bounced from slot to slot until it found its sweet spot. Joyful shouts erupted. Spectral women in flapper dresses and feathered headbands hovered over gray-suited men in pinstripes playing cards and smoking fat cigars. And above it all, the fog of cigar smoke clung to everything.

I wrinkled my nose. Observing the two worlds together made me dizzy. Between the smoke and the boat rocking, I felt green around the gills. I knew as soon as I had stepped on board in my four-inch stilettos that this was a bad idea. And trust me, a full figured diva on heels was no easy feat to begin with.

“This isn’t natural,” I whispered to Crystal.

“Welcome to my world,” said Crystal, hovering at my side.

Crystal Ball—her real name—used to be my annoying coworker before she got murdered. Now she was an annoying ghost. I unwillingly inherited her agony column—Ask Crystal Ball, if you can believe it—a pseudo- psychic hocus-pocus bunch of baloney. But worst of all was that Crystal’s ghost came as a nasty side effect of the job. My fate was sealed when I’d picked up and used her favorite pen. Somehow the pen allowed me to see the ghostly realms she saw. I’d never seen another era, though, until now. What business could Crystal possibly have with the 1920s, and more importantly, why involve me?

But I had bigger problems.

“You could have warned me.” I spoke into my digital voice recorder so it didn’t look as if I were talking to myself. That and the press pass around my neck should cover any awkwardness that might arise while speaking to my spectral sidekick.

“I told you it was formal, didn’t I?” She eyed my gown and then perused the room as if looking for someone. “Besides, what do you have to complain about? I’m the one stuck throughout eternity in skin tight pants.” She squirmed and tried to pull out a wedgie to no avail.

***