Monday, November 26, 2012

Children's Book Excerpt - StarSong

Here's another little holiday treat for my fans! This is an excerpt from my first children's book, StarSong. It is intended for students from advanced 3rd grade to 7th grade. (But I've had adults telling me they liked it, too!) It's a fantasy, blending elements of Native American lore, European fairytales, and a hint of Tolkienian influence. It's available in Nook, Kindle, and print, and purchase links can be found on my website, along with more information about the book.
-Stephanie Osborn

Chapter 1

In the Far West, in a cheerful little farming village in the midst of a broad, green plain of great and unknown size, lived a girl. She had long, beautiful dark hair, big, sparkling bright eyes, and a smile that made people happy just to see it. Her name was StarSong, because she loved to sing to the heavens at night, and her voice was, so the villagers said, as beautiful as the stars themselves.

As she grew older, however, she became aware of her beauty, for all the young men began to court her. And she knew she had a lovely voice, for everyone said so. Thus her thoughts turned inward. But where the mind goes, the gifts follow. Therefore, so, too, did her songs, which became all about herself. She became vain and self-centered. Her dresses always had to be colorful and adorned with embroidery, her hair elaborately braided, and her songs were always sung from the flat, patio rooftop of her home so that the entire village could hear.

"Creator has greatly blessed you," her father would tell her. "You should sing for Him."

"No," StarSong would reply defiantly. "I will sing what I please." And she did, singing every night of her own beauty and worth.

This had gone on for many years, since she became a teenager, and as she grew older, near the time of marrying, her worried parents despaired.

"StarSong’s vanity grows worse each day," her mother wept. "Now, none of the young men of our village are good enough for her, according to her. And they are all becoming tired of being spurned by her, and they are marrying other girls. The other girls scorn her, for she scorns them first. She will soon be left alone. And she has refused to learn the skills needed to fend for herself. She is ‘too good for such as that,’ she says."

"I know," said her father sadly.

"Now she is even saying that the village is beneath her," the mother cried. "She desires to go elsewhere, where the life is more exciting, and more befitting her gifts."

"I know," her father said again, even more sadly.

"What did we do wrong?" Starsong’s mother wailed with grief and guilt. "How could our lovely child become so self-centered and vain? What did we do?"

"Nothing, my dear," Starsong’s father said wisely, taking his wife into his arms and comforting her. "Every person must make choices, once they are old enough to understand them. Our young StarSong has chosen, and there is nothing that we could have done differently. We must pray that, someday, Creator teaches her different choices."

And so day followed day, each the same. StarSong sang her own melody, growing more and more self-absorbed, and her parents prayed.


Until one day, when a black speck appeared on the western horizon. It grew swiftly as it fast approached the little village, eating up the sky with darkness as it went. Soon the villagers started to run, screaming in terror.

For it was a giant, spinning windstorm, black and angry, such as none of them had ever seen before, and it overtook the little town in seconds. The villagers, their animals, even their houses, disappeared in the horrible storm, which tore the very grass from the earth. Terrified, poor StarSong stood, frozen to the ground, her normally beautiful voice raised in an ugly scream of fear, until the whirling storm was upon her, and she, too, was swept away.

I am going to die! the poor girl thought in horrified despair as she felt the ground disappear beneath her. I shall never have the chance to have my beauty looked upon, or my voice heard, by those who are worthy to enjoy them.

Far, far, over tree and stream, poor frightened StarSong was carried high in the air for a long, long time, expecting each moment to be her last. Finally the whirlwind beneath her began to weaken and fade.

Oh, no, she thought in horror. Now I shall be dashed in pieces upon the ground, far below. She hadn’t thought it possible, but if anything, that thought left StarSong even more frightened than before.

But instead, she drifted down like a feather, floating along, until she landed gently atop a high, steep mountain with a flat top. StarSong sang in relief.

"I’m safe! Safe, safe, safe!

Down I shall climb,

Be home by bedtime,

And no longer be a waif!"

But her glad relief soon turned into worry, for StarSong could find no way down. The flat top of the mountain was small, and the mountain’s sides were sheer cliffs, made up of odd columns of rock, and there was no way for her to climb down. She was trapped atop the mountain.

As the sun went down in the west, and the stars came out, little StarSong — feeling very little, indeed — sat down on the ground. But instead of singing, she cried.


I hope you enjoyed it! I think it would make a wonderful holiday gift for the kids in your life!

-Stephanie Osborn

Monday, November 19, 2012

Excerpt - The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings

Time for a giftie to my fans! Book Four of the Displaced Detective series, The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings, is now available in ebook formats! It will be released in print December 15, just in time for the holidays! So I thought you might like a sneak peak!
-Stephanie Osborn
Chapter 1
Skye was sleeping peacefully in their bed in Gibson House, and Sherlock was deep in her hyperdimensional equations, reviewing them with all the grey matter he possessed, when a whiff of ozone reached his nostrils.

“Good day to you both,” he said into the air without raising his head. “How are matters progressing?”

“We have hopes,” his own voice came back to him. “The experiment devised by the firm of Chadwick & Chadwick, Limited, looks to prove successful.” Holmes’ voice was tinged with humor. “Or perhaps I should say, Chadwick & Chadwick-Holmes, Limited.”

“I am glad to hear it,” Sherlock said softly.

“Speaking of Skye, where is she?” Chadwick wondered. “I wanted to give her the experimental setup and double-check for updates. We told her we’d come back at this time.”

“Oh, I am sorry. I am afraid she did not mention that,” Sherlock raised his head and shot a regretful but firm glance in the direction of the voices, knowing that the other Holmes would read his thought in his expression. “She is in bed, soundly asleep. She worked most of the night and barely ate at all today. I finally convinced her to take tea with me, and then discovered she was too inflexible to even stand upright. She permitted me to manipulate her musculature sufficient to release the kinks, but by the time I had done so, she was in a deep sleep. She is nigh exhausted.”

* * *
“Damn,” Chadwick breathed.
“He has a point, Chadwick,” Holmes observed quietly, referring to the refusal to awaken Skye he had noted in the other man’s face. “It does us
no good if she exhausts herself on our behalf, and falls short of the mark when her body and mind cannot take any more.”
“I know,” Chadwick agreed. “That’s what I meant, not, ‘damn, she didn’t get the work done.’ She’s me, remember? And she’s pushing herself as hard as I do.”
“It appears so,” Holmes agreed. “And that is saying quite a bit.”

* * *

“Is that her work you were looking over?” Chadwick asked Sherlock.

“It is,” Sherlock admitted.

“Can you make anything of it?” Holmes wondered.

“I can,” Sherlock confirmed. “And it looks good, insofar as it goes. But it is incomplete. And as I have not been in this continuum as long as you have been in yours, I do not have sufficient knowledge of the science as yet to consider even attempting to complete it for her.”

“You are the expert here, Chadwick,” Holmes admitted somewhat grudgingly. “What do you wish to do?”

“Might I make a suggestion?” Sherlock offered.

“Please,” Chadwick said.

“Dial back in around noon tomorrow,” Sherlock advised. “It will not delay your experiment overmuch; for you, it is a matter of minutes. And this will give Skye time to ‘catch up’ her sleep—she has slept scarcely more than ten or twelve hours total in some three days—and I will see to it that she eats properly whenever she awakens. Then she will have the morning to complete her calculations here,” he waved the notebook at them, “and she can give them to you at noon, then eat lunch.”

“Ha! I know what you are doing,” Holmes discerned with amusement. “Just as I—just as we—once managed Watson’s finances to ensure he did not come to ruin, you are taking control of her schedule to ensure she obtains adequate rest and nourishment. I have been known to do that once or twice with Chadwick, here.”
“And, I would suspect,” Sherlock retorted with the faintest hint of a smile, “she has likely done the same with you, on more than one occasion.”
“She has,” Holmes admitted, and this time Sherlock did not hear begrudging in the other man’s tone. “We four can become amazingly single-minded when need drives us.”
“Indeed,” Sherlock nodded.
There was a brief silence, and Sherlock could picture Chadwick gazing at Holmes with a sort of grateful, wistful expression.

Open your eyes, man, and see the treasure you have in front of you, before it is too late, he thought with some vehemence.

Eventually Chadwick spoke again, and this time there was a soft smile in her voice.
“That sounds like a plan, Mr. Holmes, and we’ll follow it. Tell Skye we’ll see her at noon tomorrow. Meanwhile, you take good care of her, okay?”
“As much as in me lies,” Sherlock nodded.
“Which is considerable,” Chadwick chuckled.
The air crackled, another surge of ozone wafted through the room, and they were gone.
Hope you enjoyed it, and check out my website for purchase links as they become available!
-Stephanie Osborn

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Well, between multiple conventions, elections, and various other travel, researches, and the like, I missed getting a blog post ready for this week. Dr. Woosley has also been on travel a lot in recent weeks, so his next installment about the Higgs Boson is not ready. I apologize for missing this week and promise I'll have something interesting for y'all next week! Maybe later on this week AND next week if inspiration strikes!

-Stephanie Osborn

Monday, November 5, 2012

General news

by Stephanie Osborn

Well, Dr. Woosley has been on travel and hasn't been able to follow up on his Higgs boson guest posts, so I thought you might enjoy hearing about how the writing world is going for me lately.

It's been going pretty darn good, actually.

I mentioned in a post here that Eric Flint's wife and many of the 1632 authors were very "into" my books, and continue to be! That in itself is quite exciting. (I hope Mr. Flint likes them too!)

Travis S. Taylor (aka "Doc" Taylor, aka Ringleader of the Rocket City Rednecks) and I have a new nonfiction book being released through Baen in just a couple of days! That book is A New American Space Plan, and it's a look at the space programs of the world, where they've been, where they are, where they're going, and where our national space program ought to be aimed but ain't. It's written from the point of view of people who have worked the program (Travis and myself), in language the non-rocket-scientist can easily comprehend. That doesn't mean we don't get technical, it just means you can understand it because we didn't use a lotta technical jargon in it, we used regular words. Preliminary copies are already finding their way into some rather distinguished hands, and we have hopes that the words we wrote will be taken to heart.

Book 4 of the Displaced Detective series, The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings, should be released in ebook form through Twilight Times Books sometime in the next week also. Print versions should come out in December - JUST in time for Christmas gifts!

Recent releases through Chromosphere Press include the SF ebook, The More Things Change, and the children's fantasy, StarSong. The first is a fun little romp that will hopefully stretch your reality a little bit. The second is rather exciting for me; I've never written a book specifically for children before. It's also a first for Chromosphere Press, which heretofore has only released ebooks, because StarSong is available in print as well as ebook! The publishers and editors were pleased enough with the way it turned out that they thought it was time to strike out into print. I've already been asked about sequelae, but I think we'll wait and see.

And last but by NO MEANS least, The Fetish (a short story from the Burnout universe) has become an EPIC Award Finalist! What's that? EPIC is the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, and the EPIC Awards are their marks of achievement for ebooks! It's quite possibly the most prestigious international award of its kind, so much so that just becoming a Finalist is a considerable honor. The Fetish is one of only four finalists in the Short Story category. And I'm fortunate enough to have been a Finalist twice, because The Y Factor with Darrell Bain was an EPIC Award Finalist for SF Novel in 2010! (It was also an ebook best-seller when it was released!)

Sometime in the next month or two, I should be releasing another ebook short or two through Chromosphere Press, and yes, folks, I'm working as hard as I can on the 4th book in the Cresperian Saga (tentatively titled Heritage), and the sequel to Burnout (tentatively called Escape Velocity). You'll have to be patient with me on that last, though, because in the last year I've had some experiences that have sort of ripped open the emotional wound from the Columbia tragedy, and it's proving harder than I anticipated to write Escape Velocity. This past week a musician I met at this year's Con*Stellation contacted me to let me hear some songs she had written at the times of the Columbia disaster and Neil Armstrong's death. I was very deeply touched, and asked and was given permission to place a link on Burnout's webpage to the Columbia song. I hope to have this up soon; Catherine Faber, the musician, is setting up a hosting site that I can link to from my page. I cried like a baby when I heard them; I think you'll appreciate it too.

And that's more or less the state of things in my world. I'll be attending the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Con at the Hilton "soda can" (LOL!) this coming weekend, and then I believe I'm off for the holidays (except for writing, of course!), only to return at ChattaCon next January! Oh, friends, look for me at a specfic convention near you next year; the schedule looks to be hot and heavy!

-Stephanie Osborn