Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Guest Blog: Lisa M. Collins and Archaeology

by Stephanie Osborn

Lisa Collins is an online friend of mine, a lady after my own heart for her interest in several sciences. So when she put out a request to guest blog for her latest release, The House Bast Made, I said, "Sure!" despite the fact that my blog has been inactive for several months. (Hopefully this will change in future; it seems that the various social media have not followed through on the intended charges for "advertising.") So here she is, to tell you a little about herself.


Archaeology and Me
by Lisa M. Collins

I have a deep and abiding love for all things ancient Egyptian. When I was little, I found an old, worn book about the country, which I still have to this day. Imagine me out in the backyard doing excavations trying to find bits and bobs of interest. In my mind, I was a great archaeologist. As time moved on, other subjects took the place of archaeology in my heart. By the time I graduated college, I considered myself a historian. What most people don’t understand about degrees in the humanities is that you must be able to communicate in written form. Without words how would the world have learned from Plato, Aristotle, the Prophets, Bertrand Russell, or Martin Luther King, Jr?

The written word is what accurately preserves ideas, leading to thought, and then to action. This drives me to present my words, thoughts, and ideas in writing. I studied not only the masters like Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Austen, Woolf, Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, and Maya Angelou, but also speech writers for the White House and newspapers. Any time I find a writer who draws me into their story, I study how they accomplished the goal.

My desire to write starts off with a sad tale and a dash of memory. In 2008 the company I worked for downsized and I was one of the many who were let go. I had a small severance package so I didn’t immediately have to hit the byways looking for work. There I was, looking for what to do next and I was reminded of how, when I was little, I would tell stories to entertain my friends. To figure out how to begin writing my imaginings down for others I went to the wisest ‘person’ I know—that’s right, Dr. Google! I came across NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Being a total fiction n00b, I decided to take up the challenge and write 50,000 words in the month of November. Believe it or not, right out of the gate, I did it!

Later I got a job working for the State of Arkansas, but the itch to write never fell into the background. I kept dabbling and learning from others. Eventually, I had several things published in non-fiction venues, such as the state newspaper and journals, but passion was to write fiction. One thing you need to know about me is that I love goal setting and lists, so I set a goal of producing one new short story a month, and a secondary goal to find publishers who would print my work. As any of you out there in publishing already know, I got my fair share of rejection letters. My very first one hangs on the wall by my desk.

Rejection is hard, but I didn’t let that hold me back. I went back to the drawing board. Read books on craft. Read novels like I wanted to write. The day finally arrived in early 2013 when my first science fiction short story, The Tree of Life, was accepted into an anthology! I was over the moon! Rejections, however, still happen. I have come to the realization they are part and parcel of the writing life. Each one I receive proves to me I’m not standing still, I’m working, and I will prevail. Also in the last five to ten years a new way of presenting work to the public has exploded into the mainstream. Indie publishing. Now writers have the opportunity to showcase work directly to readers without a go-between. Some writers do all their work independently, others only work with publishers, but I find myself in between these two. I am both traditionally published and indie published. I love the freedom to chart my own course.

When I was writing my latest novella, The House Bast Made, I got to put my archaeology hat back on. It felt good, like I was revisiting an old friend…you know, the kind that gets you into trouble, but you love every moment. This book was such fun to write. I knew the setting in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings was going to be perfect for some fantastical paranormal fun. Our archaeologist, Reid Cannon, comes to the realization—myths need not be fairy tales. Reid and his friends get embroiled in a war between gods and goddesses that has raged for eons. Reid and his crew must come together to save a friend from the brink of death and the world from utter chaos. My hope is that you will enjoy your time in the Valley of the Kings and join us next time when Reid Cannon travels to South America!

Where can readers find out more about you and where can they buy The House Bast Made?

Wookiees for Cookies Racing Team

For Deep Fried Dixie Goodness follow Lisa as Tea and Cornbread
And at the Tea and Cornbread blog

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A little more about Lisa:

Lisa M. Collins has always been interested in Outer Space, Adventure stories, and Southern culture. She was born in Dixie and has always lived south of the Mason Dixon Line. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in history with specializations in American and Russian history. Lisa lives in central Arkansas with her husband and an adorable cat, Baby Girl, who believes she is Lisa’s co-author. Lisa has one adult son who is married to his high school sweetheart.
Lisa’s non-fiction has been published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. . She copy edited and researched on Understanding Global Slavery by University of California Press. Her science fiction story, The Tree of Life, is in the 2013-2014 anthology by Holdfast Magazine. These days she edits for Metahuman Press, and is an upcoming creative contributor with Pro Se Productions and Mechanoid Press. She is a Sally A. Williams Grant winner from the Arkansas Arts Council for writing.

Meanwhile, as the blog break gave me a chance to get a brand-new book out the door (more about THAT later!), I'll try to get my act together and start posting again on a regular schedule, guys.

-Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Read An Ebook Week!

Read an eBook Week will run from March 1st-7th this year. That starts THIS SUNDAY!

Artwork © Brad Fraunfelter

The following titles will be offered as free giveaways via the Twilight Times Books web site during Read an eBook Week, March 1-7, 2015.

An Elfy on the Loose by Barb Caffrey
Behold the Eyes of Light by Geoff Geauterre
Book Reviewers Talk about their Craft by Mayra Calvani
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amden
Death on Delivery by Anne K. Edwards
Deeds of a Colored Soldier During the Rebellion by F. W. Abel
Don't Let the Wind Catch You by Aaron Paul Lazar
How I Wrote My First Book: the story behind the story by Anne K. Edwards and Lida E. Quillen, Editors
Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams
Laughing All the Way by Darrell Bain
Literary Sampler by Mayra Calvani, Aaron Paul Lazar and Anne K. Edwards
Monkey Trap by Lee Denning
No Place for Gods by Gerald Mills
Rue the Day by Ralph Freedman
Schooled in Magic by Christopher Nuttall
The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival by Stephanie Osborn
The Storks of La Caridad by Florence Byham Weinberg
Touch of Fate by Christine Amsden
Tremolo: cry of the loon by Aaron Paul Lazar
Who is Margaret? What is She? and Other Stories by Celia A. Leaman

Different books, free, each day! Check it out!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

by Stephanie Osborn

And today marks the first day of 2015! Wow, how fast they go.

We'll do the traditional thing of singing Auld Lang Syne, but before we do, let's find out a bit about it, shall we?

Everybody knows the first verse and the chorus, but did you know there were five verses? Robert Burns, poet laureate of Scotland, wrote it in 1788 -- at least, he wrote the lyrics. The tune was an old folk tune, nobody knows just how old. According to Burns himself, he didn't write even the lyrics, but took dictation from an elder. So it may all be an ancient folk tune.

And the title, "auld lang syne," transliterates as, "old long since," or as we would say today, "a long time ago." In understanding the song, we need to realize that not only is the English archaic, but the lyrics veer back and forth between English, Scots Gaelic, and Scots English dialect! But in general one may take it as two old friends, having come to a milestone in their lives, reminiscing over a pint. Rather apropos to a New Year's Day, I think.

(If you want a good idea of what is really being said, check out Wikipedia, which actually has a very decent modern translation. I don't usually recommend it as a be-all end-all, but in this case, it's pretty good.)

And now let's have a look at the entire song.


Auld Lang Syne
by Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne! 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp! 
And surely I'll be mine! 
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pou'd the gowans fine; 
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit, 
Sin' auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
Sin' auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fere! 
And gie's a hand o' thine! 
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught, 
For auld lang syne. 

For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne. 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.


May 2015 bring you blessings and happiness, now and the whole year through!

-Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"A Song for New Year's Eve"

by Stephanie Osborn

Today is the last day of 2014. It seems not so very long ago that it was the first day of 2014. I suppose that's a sign that I'm getting old. But I don't feel it, and so let us raise a glass in toast of what has been, and what shall be.

In that vein, here's one of my favorite poems for the day. I've used it before, and I've no doubt I'll use it again. I hope you like it as much as I do.


A Song for New Year’s Eve
by William Cullen Bryant

 Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay— 
     Stay till the good old year, 
So long companion of our way, 
     Shakes hands, and leaves us here. 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong, 
     Has now no hopes to wake; 
Yet one hour more of jest and song 
     For his familiar sake. 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One mirthful hour, and then away.  

The kindly year, his liberal hands 
     Have lavished all his store. 
And shall we turn from where he stands, 
     Because he gives no more? 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One grateful hour, and then away.  

Days brightly came and calmly went, 
     While yet he was our guest; 
How cheerfully the week was spent! 
     How sweet the seventh day’s rest! 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One golden hour, and then away.  

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep 
     Beneath the coffin-lid: 
What pleasant memories we keep 
     Of all they said and did! 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One tender hour, and then away.  

Even while we sing, he smiles his last, 
     And leaves our sphere behind. 
The good old year is with the past; 
     Oh be the new as kind! 
          Oh stay, oh stay, 
One parting strain, and then away.


And the hours count down...

-Stephanie Osborn

Monday, December 29, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: A Downturn for Social Media

by Stephanie Osborn

Guys, it looks like at the first of the year, I will have to close down all the Facebook fan pages for my books, as well as probably the fan clue group and possibly Lady Osborn's Pub. Reason: Facebook has decided to squeeze us small business peoples dry and will charge for, per my understanding...Every. Single. Post. I make that can **in any way** be considered promotional. This includes simply announcing a new book.

As it's also my understanding that Google is looking to follow, that excludes transferring to G+ as well as Blogspot, where I have my blog. It may be only a matter of time before other social media such as Twitter follow suit.

Here's what the Wall Street Journal has to say about it.

If you are interested at all in hearing about my new books, awards, sales, upcoming appearances, and the like, I'm going to ask you to please go to the link below and subscribe to my newsletter. I try to issue a newsletter no more than once a month, sometimes once every couple of months; now and again important news will urge me to send out a quick bulletin, but that's infrequent.

Subscribe to my email newsletter by emailing me at please.

I'm really very sorry about the whole mess; I rather liked being able to put out quick, timely notifications of what was going on in my publishing world. But there it is, and now I must look to see what else can be done. I expect you will be seeing much less of me on social media after the first of the year, and this blog is likely to be moving soon, as well. Meanwhile, after the first of the year, this blog will go on a brief hiatus while I decide what to do about it.

-Stephanie Osborn