Geeky Greetings! What a Geek Wants...

Wishes for the season to you and yours from Untethered Realms. 

We have our geek holiday wishes ready to share.

M. Pax ~

There's so much to look forward to in 2015. I'm always wishing for more movies/shows with giant man-eating reptiles. Can't wait until summer!

Also looking forward to SharkNado 3 and the new Star Wars. When's the next Star Trek? Plus, the Juno mission arrives at Jupiter, and New Horizons arrives at Pluto. I'm really excited to see what New Horizons turns up. I've been waiting years... lots and lots of years.


River Fairchild ~

I have a standing request in to Santa for a seat on the first flight to colonize Mars.

Barring that, I wish for some outstanding disaster movies for 2015. Or a blue phone booth. Or anything but a lump of coal.


Catherine Stine ~

Young Marlowe
I could make a long list but I'll go for a couple items... First, I want tickets to the latest production of Christopher Marlow's play Tamburlaine the Great. Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare was a fabulously nefarious guy: a spy, an atheist and of "cruel and intemperate heart" according to his roommate, the writer Thomas Kyd. Plus, Marlowe met a suitably creepy death: stabbed through the eye in a bar fight (most likely a professional hit).

Or how about some tickets to Iceland? Mongolia? Novaya Zemlya? Some wintery frontier of weirdness, where I could snuggle up in an igloo with a frost monster. Did I say I love me some cold weather?!


Christine Rains ~

There are so many geeky things I dream about. My own TARDIS or a ride with Dean Winchester in his Impala. How about a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I've always wanted a geeky family portrait. Could Santa convince my son and husband to cooperate? Okay, okay. I'll be more realistic. Unique dice. A girl can never have enough dice.

 (Oh yes, that's a Cthulhu die!)


Gwen Gardner ~

Geeky? Well, if asking for Barnes & Noble gift cards is geeky, then I guess I'm a geek. It's what I always ask for. And I'd like theater tickets to A Christmas Carol because I adore Charles Dickens. And I sort of want Dragon Naturally Speaking. It's a voice recognition software. I could dictate my books!
And snow. I'd like a white Christmas in San Diego. Santa? Hello Santa? Do you hear me?


Julie Flanders ~

As I mentioned in our "How Nerd Am I..." group post back in July, I am obsessed with Game of Thrones and I am the proud owner of Funko figures of Jon Snow and his direwolf Ghost. I thought the figures would be enough to satisfy my inner geek but HBO is now taunting me with an entire set of adorable plush direwolves.
I love dogs, I love wolves, and I love Game of Thrones, so this set goes right to my geek heart and is my geeky Christmas wish for 2015.

I promise the wolves would all have a good home with me, Santa. But if the whole set is too much for you, I'll settle for just Ghost on his own.


Ellie Garratt ~

A geeky wishlist? My list is to long to share in this post, so I'll share a couple of wishes with you. My first wish is for Santa to bring me a 17.5" Lego Space Shuttle. I've wanted one for ages, but they're expensive. In fact, Lego don't make them anymore.

My second wish is a role in Sharknado 3. I love those films - so bad, they're actually good. I don't mind if my character gets eaten by a shark. Any role would do.

What are your Geeky wishes?


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

Fantasy Uprising is now out!

A collection of nine fantastic, spine-tingling stories. Magic. Mystery. Murder. Heartbreak and Hope. Defeat and Victory. The incredible and Horrific. Fantasy Uprising delivers a heaping serving of the best in fantasy.

Available for a mere 99 cents in ebook from:

iTunesB&N / Kobo

Find it on Goodreads

Reborn by Cherie Reich: To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

Fireseed One by Catherine Stine: On a devastated Earth in 2089, the son of a famous marine biologist must travel to a lethal hotzone with his worst enemy who helped destroy the world’s food source, to search for Fireseed One, a mythical hybrid plant that may not even exist. 

Givin' Up the Ghost by Gwen Gardner: In the haunted modern day medieval village of Sabrina shores, indigo eady must help a ghost solve his murder before she and her gang become the next victims.
The Marquis by Christine Rains: A retired demon must become the beast he loathes to save the woman he loves.

The Alpha by Christine Rains: A werewolf hunted by her pack must find a way hide or fight a battle she believes she cannot win.

The Rifters by M. Pax: In a strange wilderness town, a misplaced city gal must deal with a secret organization, a man from 1888, and a head-stealing phantom to save her missing sister.

Neverlove by Angela Brown: A tormented suicide survivor must find the power in her pain or risk the Devourer robbing her of a second chance to live, a first chance at love, and her very soul.

The Fall of Shaylar by River Fairchild: Magic is real. So is betrayal. Rivalry, jealousy, a desperate attempt to grab the magic of Shaylar—all converge to bring about the end of the precarious balance between the Five Kingdoms.

Diamonds & Dust by River Fairchild: Magic is real. So is betrayal. Two heirs. A Kingdom of dust on a troubled world. One might resurrect it. One might destroy it all.


A Secret Christmas Carol Pictograph

Sooo, I guess this is the month for confessions. Last week, Catherine Stine confessed her current bookish fetish about Marilyn Manson. Today, I'm confessing...my fascination with graveyards. Not just any graveyard, though. Only old ones, especially Victorian.

When the hubs looked over at my laptop this morning and noticed I was on the Billion Graves website, he mentioned that most men might be concerned about their wives having this bizarre fascination. Murder, ghosts, graveyards...yeah, that's just a start.

But he's a brave man and we've been married a really long time, so some of my strange proclivities are just another day in the life of Gwen Gardner for him. And actually, I'm going to show you a photo of him posing, in a graveyard, as the Ghost of Christmas Future--without any prompting from me.

It started at the Old Saint Chad Church Cemetery in Shrewsbury, England, where we recently visited. We'd been there before, about twenty five years ago. We knew the secret, you see, and had gone back to find it.

Old Saint Chad Church, photo by Gwen Gardner

We went through the gates,
just as we had twenty-five years ago...

Old Saint Chad entrance, photo by Gwen Gardner
We searched,
and saw this...

Old Saint Chad Church Cemetery, photo by Gwen Gardner


...and this...

We couldn't remember exactly where it was...

...but the Ghost of Christmas Future showed up to point the way, just as he had in A Christmas Carol. Remember the scene when the Ghost of Christmas Future is pointing out a headstone to Scrooge, but Scrooge is too afraid to look in case it's his own?

The hubs at Old Saint Chad Church Cemetery, photo by Gwen Gardner
What was he pointing to?

Don't be shy. Come a little closer...

Old Saint Chad Church Cemetery, photo by Gwen Gardner

Still not quite sure?

Ebenezer Scrooge!
photo by Gwen Gardner
And now you know the secret.
The hubs and I stayed at a bed & breakfast in Shrewsbury twenty-five years ago. The landlady told us that the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol was filmed right there, and in fact, Scrooge's headstone was still in the cemetery. They used the back of an old existing headstone to make one for Scrooge.
Here's a little factoid: A Christmas Carol was filmed in the summer, so the actors were sweating their buns off during filming, all wrapped up because it was supposed to be December. A lot of locals were hired as extras. In fact, many of the locals were upset because an American, George C. Scott, was hired to play Scrooge, rather than an Englishman as Charles Dickens intended. But all was forgiven because George C. Scott did an excellent job of acting.
Here's a snippet from Youtube. The part of Ghost of Christmas Future doesn't show up until minute 4:35, but it doesn't contain the scene I mentioned above. 

What is your secret obsession?


Book Confessions: what's the weirdest book you read this year?

I thought it would be fun to do a post on a book I've read which I would normally not talk about. You know, kind of the equivalent of how you love certain sappy pop songs but you'd never, ever admit it?
Okay, here goes ... confession time. I just read Marilyn Manson's The Long, Hard Road out of Hell.
In a literary mood
Why, you ask? Well, I'm not a fan.

Except that I was unexpectedly impressed with his acting in Sons of Anarchy (sans makeup). He plays a white power gang leader, and he is suitably evil, yet suprisingly deep and relatable. Then, I somehow stumbled upon the memoir. And devoured it. He's a darn good writer and he's hilarious in a gallows humor way.

He had a horrible childhood. No, I mean, really. He was traumatized by his grandfather of all people. He used to sneak down into his grandfather's workroom, and find disgusting stuff there no kid should ever, ever find. And of course the memoir gets really hard-rock-ish over-the-top. But then, Marilyn has realizations, and transformations, and, when it comes down to it, he's a serious, devoted performance artist who takes big risks.
Marilyn as a white gang leader in Sons of Anarchy

In terms of spec fiction, you could read him as a prince of Darkness, a quick study of a twisted, tortured antagonist. My husband, was absolutely appalled that I was reading the book, and even entertaining the thought of attending his upcoming concert.

Okay, that was an embarrassing confession, yet cathartic. Because normally I read books about witches and magicians and ... Well, hey, is Marilyn Manson really that different?

Now, it's your turn! Which book have you read this year that you absolutely cringe to admit?!


Fantastic Speculative Fiction - This is Worth Reading: Our Beautiful Child by Annalisa Crawford

Annalisa Crawford is known for writing dark, character-driven stories that often include a touch of the paranormal. Our Beautiful Child is her latest and I think it is also her best.

Book Blurb:

“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”

… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

Three women. Three stories. One pub.

My review:

Each of the three stories in Our Beautiful Child is creepy, eerie, and totally engaging. As I read through the book (in one sitting - I couldn't put it down!)  I couldn't figure out how the stories were all going to come together and I also couldn't understand the significance of the title. When it all became clear in the end I felt a chill go up my spine at the same time the light bulb went off in my head. These are very dark stories that manage to also be both touching and heartbreaking. Crawford is a brilliantly talented writer and I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.


Snow Day! Let the flakes start flying

Snow is coming! It's inevitable. For some of us, it's already been here, in droves. Whether you hate it or love it, there's always a powerful memory surrounding it. 

What's your snow memory? Your feeling about the great powdery white?

River Fairchild ~

Snow days…rather in short supply where I grew up in sunny San Diego, California. Still, snow in the nearby Cuyamaca Mountains fulfilled my childhood wish for a white Christmas. My family would hop in the car and make the drive up the mountainside to Julian, stopping at the tree farm and picking out the perfect tree. I’m sure my parents were glad to get back to more hospitable climes but I reveled in the chance to play in the snow – all one or two inches of it. Drinking hot apple cider at the quaint little farm store was a treat too.

I had no concept of the gritty realities of living in snow full-time, the slushy muck and endless plowing in order to function as a community. To me, it was a winter wonderland that one enjoyed for a couple of hours, then left behind, leaving the fresh scent of pine and trading it for the oak of the valley floor.

Catherine Stine ~

Growing up in Philadelphia, we had plenty of snow. But there's one snowstorm I'll never forget. It was Christmas eve. My brother, John and I were the only ones left at home with my mom. We had a pretty tree up and presents under it.

John and I wanted to go out for a walk since the snow was coming down heavily and we knew we'd be stuck inside after it was done. We told our mom we'd be back in half and hour. After walking to the bottom of our hill, we came upon a guy whose car was snowbound. He asked us if we'd help bring the presents from his car to his family. We said sure, not realizing it involved a hefty hike.

Long story short, we got back to our house two hours later. My mom was really freaked out! Until we relayed our saga. She was proud of us, and we felt great. It struck me that was the true nature of the holiday. To reach a hand out to someone in need. Since then, I've done Toys for Tots and given food to the neighborhood shelter around this time. Always reminds me of that beautiful night.

Christine Rains ~

I loved the winter. I could play out in the snow for hours. My friends now joke it's because I'm Canadian or that I have a bit of Frost Giant in my blood. I grew up in a tiny town just south of Toronto, Ontario. There was a lot of snow when I was a child. Huge drifts, taller than the cars. I haven't seen it snow like that again in decades.

One of my favorite snow memories is the Christmas of 2007. It was my husband's first holiday in Canada. It snowed two and a half feet over night. Was anyone worried? Only my husband. All the neighbors that shared the parking came out with their shovels and dug it out. (The lot contained 20 cars.) Across the street, people dug out their lot. Everyone making their way to the street, clearing a section to get out before even the snowplow came. No one grumped or threw down their shovel and quit. Everyone was in a good mood. My husband was shocked by the happy comradery and unplanned teamwork. That was what it was like to live in the neighborhood I grew up in.

These days, the cold gets to me quicker than it once did, but my son is a great fan of snow. I think he has a bit of Frost Giant in his blood too.

M. Pax ~

Recently my hometown made the news for one of its most infamous bits of weather, the blizzard. Ooo, scary! Sometimes it is. West Seneca, NY, is in the snowbelt, which is located just south of Buffalo and is usually hit by lake effect snow. Whereas the south towns could get feet of snow, north Buffalo might only get inches or a dusting. Four feet in a weekend is not uncommon in the snowbelt.

In January 1977, no area of the city was immune. Both my parents were stuck at work. All us kids made it home from school. It was grocery shopping day, though, so there wasn't much food, not with four growing kids in the house. I was in junior high at the time.

My older brother and I tried to walk to the corner store. Well, we never made it past the corner of the house. The winds were impossible to walk against and the snow was up to our chests. We made due with Cornflakes.

The power went out and the wind and snow were raging. Even by Buffalo standards, it was a rough one. We were resourceful and put the food in the garage to keep cold. Only the garage was too cold and stuff froze. 

The next day, we discovered a drift over the top of our two story house, the side on which all the doors were. My older brother climbed out a back window and I tossed him a shovel. He made his way to the sliding glass door so we could let the dog out.

Anyway it was quite an adventure and there are things I don't remember. But I do remember the vast amounts of snow all over the city and that every time a flake dropped after that school was canceled. For Buffalo kids, that was quite a treat. We rarely had snow days. If the snowplows made it out, then we had school. And those cursed snowplows almost always had all the streets cleared by 6:30 a.m., side streets included.

Angela Brown ~

A white Christmas happened more often during my childhood than it did in the last couple of decades. Wow, typing that just made me think about my age.


LOL! Anywho, one of my favorite things to do when we had a snow day was stumble outside with my sister and brother, all of us bundled in winter coats and mittens. After spending some time with my siblings outside, making lopsided snowmen, I'd sneak back into the house a little early. You see, I shared a room with my younger sister and didn't get a chance to spend my nights reading as often as I would have liked. So after I'd go back inside, Mom would help me make some hot cocoa. Even though I wasn't supposed to, I'd take my cocoa in my room, curl up on the bed and read one of the books I checked out from the library. While my sister, brother and their friends would laugh and play, throwing snowballs at each other, I'd escape to Tolkein's Middle Earth.

Good times.

Very nerd-a-licious

But such good times.

Gwen Gardner ~

Like River Fairchild, I grew up in California, partly in the Los Angeles area, the other part in San Diego. I remember as a small child getting the news that we were going to the snow. REAL SNOW! Not just the kind on television. I can't tell you how excited I was. Driving to the local mountains in L.A., my first sight of snow was thrilling. The snowballs and snowmen...then there was the sledding. My first experience of snow was also my first experience of getting the wind knocked out of me as I flow off the sled and landed on my back, unable to get my breath. A very scary experience for a four year old.

It didn't stop my love of snow, though. It's gorgeous when mixed with pines, and bundling up to take a walk is glorious. The photo above was taken from my writing loft in Colorado. A little piece of heaven!


Ellie Garratt ~

Living in the south of England, snow is something we rarely see. I can count on one hand how many times I've seen snow that has not melted within a few hours.

So when I woke up on December 17th 2009 to the UK's version of a snow blizzard, the child in me was happy. It was a lot of fun to start with. Snowballs were made and thrown. Children took to the streets to make snowmen. My partner and I took the car to one of the highest points in our town and ran around in the snowdrift like children.

Of course, the novelty soon wore off when the snow didn't disappear after a few days. Getting anywhere by car was extremely difficult. Public transport ground to a halt. We Brits are not prepared for snow! I remember walking a mile in snow that was compacted to ice to deliver presents on Christmas day. I don't know how we got there without breaking any bones. But despite all of the inconvenience - the only way you could reach my house was by letting the car slide down the road - I remember that winter vividly. Happy memories.