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

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

by Stephanie Osborn

I've worn a lot of various hats in my time. Scientist (of different sorts), rocket scientist, polymath, police officer, personal trainer, storm spotter, author, among others. But one of the most important, at least to me, is licensed minister.

"What?" you ask. "How can that be? Didn't you just say you were a scientist?"

That's right, I did. 

But to me, science and theology are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. One attempts to explain how, and the other tries to say why.

And so Christmastide is one of my favorite times of year. I quite know that Jesus wasn't BORN this time of year. But did you know that, according to the various astronomical data we are given (and there's more than you might think), it is entirely possible that the Magi ARRIVED at this time of year?

And I think that's


And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.~Luke 2:8-14, KJV

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." ~"Linus," A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charles Shultz
"God bless us, every one!" ~"Tiny Tim," A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
And so be it -- this year, and every year.
-Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Memories

by Stephanie Osborn

The following is taken from my collection of poetry, and is a melange of Christmas memories throughout my life, from childhood to the present day. It is warm and sweet and comforting, like hot chocolate on a winter's day. Merry Christmas.

The Tree
by Stephanie Osborn
excerpted from Stolen Moments: A Book of Verse, by Stephanie Osborn

The wind blows briskly through the bare tree limbs.
It bites my cheeks, turning them a dusky red.
The lowering clouds spit snowflakes.
We make our way through the harvested field
Brown and sere, toward the clump of trees near the edge.

Cedar trees grow here. Thickly clustered
On the hillside, they are the only green visible
For miles. We circle each one carefully, inspecting
And commenting to each other about this one
Or that. Finally, it is done. The choice is made.

Father glances at Mother. "Are you sure?"
A nod, and he raises the axe. In a few strokes
The living tree has fallen, the scent of cedar
Borne to our nostrils on the crisp December air.
We breathe deep the fragrance of evergreen.

At home, measurements are carefully made
And Father trims the base of the tree,
affixes the stand, and brings it inside.
We oooh and aaah with excitement
Before Mother opens the ornament box.

Fairy lights and tinsel, snowballs and mercury glass
And garland ropes, antique balls and strands
Of silver bedeck the tree in quick order. Each
Of us has his or her apportioned task, and even
The youngest has a special ornament for the tree.

The oldest ornaments, the family reserves for me
To place carefully. They know my love for them
And know I treat them as the treasures they are.
Delicately, I position them on each branch, and smile.
"There," I decide, "perfect. It's all done."

Mother nods, and Father smiles. He switches off
The room lights, and we all sigh with happiness.
Glimmering proud, the tree stands as a symbol
Of love, of family, of tradition, of faith. The room
Grows quiet, as we all settle back to enjoy.


Later, the gaily-wrapped gifts will emerge to be
Placed beneath the decorated boughs and enjoy
Their rightful place. For now, the cat slinks her way
Underneath, finds a spot where she can gaze up
Into the multicolored phantasia, and settles down.

Outside, the snow comes down softly. Father
Lights a fire in the fireplace. Mother gets out
The homemade candies and puts them nearby. There is
The sound of mirth, soft laughter, loving conversation.
The season has come to us. Happy Christmas.


"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night." ~Clement Clarke Moore

-Stephanie Osborn
Christmas Eve 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Interlude: The Ariadne Connection, A Guest Blog by Sara Stamey

by Stephanie Osborn

SURPRISE! This book isn't quiiiiiite ready for a holiday gift just yet! This is a sneak peek at the upcoming book by Sara Stamey, The Ariadne Connection! Here's what Sara has to say:

"I’m excited to announce my new near-future thriller, to be published in print and ebook by Book View CafĂ© in March 2015. The Ariadne Connection follows a young Greek scientist experimenting with a cure for the New Plague pandemic, who discovers she’s actually healing plague victims with her touch. Dubbed “Saint Ariadne,” she’s pursued by violent factions out to claim her secret, and must rely on a jaded American smuggler to escape pursuit and visit ancient sacred sites to explore the source of her disconcerting gift."
~Sara Stamey

Now let's read a short excerpt!


“Final warning to the boat bearing Ariadne Demodakis. Last chance to surrender, or—” The radio cut out into static.

“Peter, we can go through the Hot Zone. They won’t follow us. And I can cure us of radiation exposure—my experiments have reversed cellular damage.”

“Damn!” Peter jerked the wheel, swerving around a barely-submerged rock reef. He cut back the throttles and checked radar, then spared her a glance, bracing himself against the lure of her eyes, clear blue with those purple glimmering depths. Or was that just in his own eyes, like the Cherenkov’s radiation? “Look, maybe you’re a genius or a saint or maybe we’re out of our minds, but I don’t care if you can make the dead rise, I’m not taking us into the heart of this Hot Zone.”

Whoompf. A missile struck just to port, throwing them sideways in a thrashing surge. Adrenaline slicing, Peter rode it, boat nearly swamping.

Whine of another missile, striking the islet he was weaving past, spraying rock shrapnel. “Duck!” Ahead of them, a channel opened up the only escape, Ariadne jabbing her finger toward it.

“Okay, hang on.” He blew out a breath. “We’re going in.”

He wrenched the wheel, and Nereid flew into the angled passage, island blocking off his view of the mercenary hydrofoil, taking them out of radar range. He cut speed, looked back again. Waited.

“Phew.” Dicey little skirmish. And he hadn’t even winged the hydrofoil. Would his client cough up for expenses on top? Re-arming on the black market would be pricey.... Just better hope they didn’t run into any more action before they made Crete.

“They are no longer following.” Ariadne had straightened, raking the hair off her face to peer back over the stern.

“They’ll be waiting for us to turn back.” He swallowed and gestured with his chin.

She turned to look. “Oh.”

The narrow cut between islands opened out into a natural harbor sheltered by the high cliffs now blasted into a lifeless moonscape. Twisted, blackened masses—most unrecognizable as former pieces of ships and a nuclear sub—were scattered over the rock slopes. A jagged thirty-foot length of twisted metal was imbedded in the cliff face to starboard. Sharp spires and melted blobs hulked out of the water, making the bay into a bizarre obstacle course. Gray ash drifted in the breeze off the lifeless islands.

“Here. Cover your nose and mouth.” Peter handed Ariadne his bandanna, then pulled up his T-shirt to cover his own lower face. He cut the engines way back, edging cautiously forward to grope out a passage.

Through the crystal-clear water as they passed over some shallows and more sunken wreckage, he could see them etched sharply: scattered, broken fuel rods. The sea shimmered a harsh radiant blue.

“Hellfire and damnation….” he whispered.

Beside him, Ariadne stirred, then laid her hand on his bare arm. He turned to look into the steady, deep blue of her eyes. The color wasn’t at all like that sizzling virulent Cherenkov’s.

“Holy shit!” Leeza scrambled up from her huddled crouch on the deck, camera-goggles craning back and forth. The reporter stepped forward, jerked back, then lured by her big story she scurried forward to the rail. She aimed the goggles over the side, into the shimmering blue glow of radiation. “Subliminal....”


Cool, huh?

And here is the complete book cover "flat"!

Be sure to reserve your copy asap!

-Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Interlude: Kindred Rites, A Guest Blog by Katharine E. Kimbriel

by Stephanie Osborn

Today we're going to hear from Kat Kimbriel, as she presents an excerpt from her book, Kindred Rites!


"...we are all Death’s pupils, we practitioners—students of the great healer." 
When magic broke free in my blood, I chose to follow our ancient family path and become a practitioner. I'm learning to heal, and to protect innocents. I dip into minds, stalk vampires, and set wards by the light of the moon. I can hear the children of the night calling. But there are other families...and other paths. Families with twisted ambitions and frightening powers. On the frontier, folk whisper that one clan is the most dangerous of all. 
Chief among those dark sorcerers is a man known as the Keeper of Souls. 
And now he wants to keep mine.

* * * * * * * * *

“Ready for a lesson?” Marta said suddenly.

I blinked, surprised by the question. “Tonight?”

Marta lifted her head to meet my gaze; a half smile flitted across her lips. “No time like the present,” she offered, tugging her thread back through. “Between fetches and poltergeists, I think it is time for you to learn the first of the major arcana.”

Suddenly I was wide awake, and there was an ache in my chest, like I couldn’t catch my breath. Between fetches and poltergeists, I’d been feeling a bit ragged, truth to tell. I wasn’t sure I was ready just then for any more surprises.

“Christmas Eve?” I clarified. Marta had conducted a ritual on the solstice a few days past, but as a neophyte, I had not actively participated. Christmas was also a good time for ceremonies?

Marta looked amused. “’Tis said that ghosts walk on Christmas Eve. Can you think of a more appropriate—or safer—time to look beyond the borders of our world?”

“Ghosts?” Well, now...spirits were interesting. I straightened up.

“Actually,” Marta began, pinning her needle in place and setting aside her square, “the first major arcana you must learn is how to call upon Death.” Turning to smile at me, she added, “Nothing else is truly frightening after you have faced Death.”

I just stared at her, a sinking feeling in the hollow of my stomach. “Death isn’t really a person, is it? I thought that was just poetry, in the Bible....”

“Death is a spirit,” Marta said softly, her hands folding in her lap. “Some claim it is Azrael, the angel of death. Most people never see Death—or never know it is Death they see at the last. Death can wear many faces—Death can be anyone you have ever loved or known who has gone beyond. The face chosen is usually whomever the failing person wants most to see. And so the dying are comforted as they step over into the next life.”

The angel of death. Lord and Lady, these were deep waters, now. “Do we find those people over there?” I finally whispered.

“We may. Death is ambiguous when answering questions about the other side of life.” Marta looked a little evasive herself.

“Death will answer questions?”

Marta nodded as she stood up. “That is why a practitioner calls upon Death, to ask questions. But it is not done lightly. You do not ask Death anything that can be answered by anyone or anything else. You have to work at the answers—Death does not make things simple.”

As she started for the kitchen, Marta added, “And you never, ever ask about your own death. That is the one question Death will not answer.”

Rising to my feet, I threw the big pillow over on the pile and started after her. “What are you going to ask Death?”

“This is the only time that you call upon Death when you have no questions. When you begin learning the major arcana, you must introduce yourself to Death.” Looking back at me as she lit a single taper from the kitchen fire, Marta went on: “All apprentices learn this spell first. Once you have cast it, Death will know your call, and may choose to answer it.”

I thought about it, and shivered. “May choose?”

Marta smiled and went into the stillroom. “When Death is invited, Death may choose whether to come.” Her voice grew lower as she continued. “The only way to guarantee Death’s arrival is to kill something. Soldiers do it all the time, and rarely see Death passing by. But if a practitioner kills to demand Death’s presence, it changes the relationship.”

“Changes?” I hesitated at the doorway of the stillroom. Relationship?

Marta returned to the kitchen holding the candle and her carpetbag of wands, wards and beeswax candles. “Death is a friend to a practitioner, Allie,” she said solemnly. “Death is the last, great healer, who takes away the pain we cannot ease. It’s not Death people really fear—it is suffering. Death will answer specific questions concerning healing.” She stopped before me, her expression grave. “Once you shed innocent blood to summon Death, you are no longer perceived as a healer. You become...something else. You become an enigma to watch, and perhaps a danger, a black sorcerer.”

“Death no longer trusts you?” I asked slowly, watching her eyes.

Her brows lifted slightly, and she said, “Perhaps. I try not to attach emotions or attributes to Death. Death is not human, and helps us for obscure motives. Death never volunteers information—but Death always answers.” Setting down the bag on the table, she began to take out things. “Sometimes the answer is no,” she added.

“Is Death male or female?” I asked quickly, more to hear someone speak than to know the answer...which was a good thing, because Marta was done answering questions.

“Both, and neither. Get your coat.” As I looked at her in surprise, she said, “We do not need ritual robes for this ceremony. Just fire and water, tobacco, blood, and honesty.”

I was halfway into my coat before I realized Marta had said blood.

Might as well have not bothered with the coat. No mere sheepskin was going to warm my body, much less my soul.

Not this Christmas Eve.


Katharine Eliska Kimbriel reinvents herself every decade or so.  The one constant she has reached for in life is telling stories.  “I’m interested in how people respond to choice.  What is the metaphor for power, for choice? In SF it tends to be technology (good, bad and balanced) while in Fantasy the metaphor is magic – who has it, who wants or does not want it, what is done with it, and who/what the person or culture is after the dust has settled. A second metaphor, both grace note and foundation, is the need for and art of healing.  Forthcoming stories will talk about new things that I’ve learned, and still hope to learn … with grace notes about betrayal, forgiveness, healing and second chances.”  A Campbell Award nominee.

Now THERE is a rather interesting Christmas Eve...

Make sure you check out K. E. Kimbriel's Kindred Rites this Christmas Eve!

-Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Interlude: Dragon Fire, A Guest Post by Dina von Lowencraft

by Stephanie Osborn

Today we read a bit from Dina von Lowencraft's book, Dragon Fire! Dina told us a bit about her book earlier in this holiday promotional interlude, and it sounded exciting! Today she's giving us an excerpt from the book! Have fun! I know I am!


Some choices are hard to live with. 
But some choices will kill you. 
When seventeen-year-old Anna first meets Rakan in her hometown north of the Arctic Circle, she is attracted to the pulsing energy that surrounds him. Unaware that he is a shapeshifting dragon, Anna is drawn into a murderous cycle of revenge that pits Rakan and his clan against her best friend June. 
Torn between his forbidden relationship with Anna, that could cost them both their lives, and restoring his family’s honor by killing June, Rakan must decide what is right. And what is worth living – or dying – for.

Chapter 1 The Circle Tightens

The candle flickered in the subzero wind but Anna made no move to protect it. She stopped on the hill in front of Tromso’s three-year high school and watched the water of the fjord shimmer below. Even though it was mid-afternoon there was no sun, just the luminous reflection of the moon. The procession of students continued on without her, leaving only the fading sound of crunching snow in their wake.

“You seem as eager to go to Fritjof’s memorial vigil as I am,” June said, startling Anna with her sudden appearance.

Anna fingered the oval piece of bright orange coral that she had carried around like a talisman since she was a child. She usually kept it in her pocket, but today she wanted to feel its soothing energy closer and had it in her glove. She had never liked Fritjof, and even though she wasn’t glad he had died, she wouldn’t miss him.

She turned to face June whose cobalt blue eyes were at odds with her otherwise Asian features. June and her boyfriend had also been out on the mountain when the avalanche claimed Fritjof. “I’m glad it’s not yours too,” Anna said. “I’d really miss you.”

“It would take more than an avalanche to kill me,” June said, trying to smile. But Anna could feel her friend’s pain lurking under the surface.

“Hey.” She wrapped an arm around June to comfort her. But as soon as her hand touched June’s shoulder, a burst of energy exploded from her stone. Anna ripped off her glove and the piece of coral went flying. “What the—”

June spun around, pushing Anna behind her as if to protect her from an attack. She scanned the area, her body tensed for a fight.

“Who are you looking for?” Anna pressed her palm to dull the pain as she glanced around the deserted hilltop. “Whatever it was, it came from my stone.”

June relaxed her stance. “Are you okay?”

“I think so.” Anna gestured towards the coral-colored sparks that crackled in the darkness of the Norwegian winter. “What do you think it’s doing?”

“Don’t know.” June crouched down to get a better look. Her hand hovered as a bright green light flashed around the stone.

“Don’t touch it,” Anna said sharply. Her stone had always had a special energy, but never coral-colored sparks. Or green flashes of light.

“It’s okay now.” June pulled her hand back. “Look for yourself.”

Anna knelt next to June. The stone was dark and lifeless and she felt a sudden pang of loss. She prodded it gingerly with her good hand, but felt nothing. She picked it up. It was just a pretty bit of coral. The gentle pulsing energy that she had liked so much was gone.

“Can I see it?” June asked.

Anna nodded, her throat constricted. The stone had always reminded her of her father. Its energy was something he would have been able to feel too. The only other person she had met so far who was open to that kind of thing was June. Everyone else got freaked out, or thought she was crazy. So she had learned not to talk about it.

June closed her fist around the stone. “Where did you get this?” Her voice wavered.

Anna’s attention flicked back to June. She never wavered. “I found it in the mountains. Years ago. Why? What is it?”

“A trigger.”

“A trigger for what?”

June returned Anna’s searching look. “I have no idea.” She handed the stone back.

“So how do you know it’s a trigger?”

“I just feel it.” June picked up the candles that lay forgotten in the snow. “If you’re okay, we should go.”

Anna picked up her discarded glove and froze. In the middle of her left palm was a star-shaped scar. She stretched her hand to get a better look. It was about the size of a half Krone. She touched it. Like an echo under the fading pain, she could feel the energy of her stone pulsing faintly in her palm.

“Here,” June said, offering Anna a candle. She stopped mid-motion. “What is it?”

“I don’t know. The stone…” She held out her palm. “Look.”

June dropped the candles and took Anna’s hand in hers. Gently, she ran her fingers over the slightly raised ridges of the scar. “A Firemark,” June said as if talking to herself. “But how…?”

“What’s a Firemark?” Anna examined the scar. It was almost silvery in the moonlight.

June looked up, her fingers still on Anna’s palm. “It’s like a living connection between two people. But… there was only the stone.”

“It always felt alive,” Anna said. She touched the Firemark one last time before putting her glove back on. It was warm and smooth.

June shook her head. “But even if it felt alive, it shouldn’t have left a Firemark.”

Anna shrugged. “Maybe. But I like it.” Anna closed her hand around the Firemark. It felt like she was holding her stone. She smiled. She’d never lose it now.

June re-lit the candles again and handed one to Anna. “Ready?”

Anna hooked her arm through June’s. “I think so.” They walked silently through town and across the bridge that straddled the green-black fjord.

“Do you think it’s over?” Anna eyed the Arctic Cathedral that sprawled like slabs of a fallen glacier on the other side of the fjord. It was lit up like a temple of light.

June shook her head. “It’s only just begun.”


Born in the US, Dina has lived on 4 continents, worked as a graphic artist for television and as a consultant in the fashion industry. Somewhere between New York and Paris she picked up an MBA and a black belt – and still thinks the two are connected. Dina is currently the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children, three horses and a cat.

Dina loves to create intricate worlds filled with conflict and passion. She builds her own myths while exploring issues of belonging, racism and the search for truth... after all, how can you find true love if you don’t know who you are and what you believe in? Dina’s key to developing characters is to figure out what they would be willing to die for. And then pushing them to that limit.

Dina is now repped by the fabulous Kaylee Davis of Dee Mura Literary Agency.

Everybody go check out Dragon Fire!

-Stephanie Osborn

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Interlude: A Guest Post by Barb Caffrey

by Stephanie Osborn

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa approaching fast, here's Barb Caffrey to tell us more about An Elfy On The Loose!


The Importance of Ghosts in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE
By Barb Caffrey

When Stephanie Osborn and Aaron Paul Lazar approached me regarding holiday guest blog opportunities, I wasn't sure what to say. What haven't I talked about yet with regards to my comic young adult urban fantasy/romance novel AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE?

And then it hit me. Ghosts. I haven't talked about them, and they play an important part in the ELFY duology (AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is book one, with book two scheduled to come out in April of 2015).

"But Barb," you protest. "Your book sounds like it has so much going on as it is. It's a comedy. It's a romance. It's a mystery. It's an urban fantasy. It has alternate universes—" (I wrote a blog about this for Stephanie a while back, and it's a good one.) "And now, it has ghosts, too? How do they fit in?"

Yes, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE has ghosts. Specifically, there's a ghost character named Egbert who takes an inordinate amount of interest in my hero Bruno the Elfy and his romantic companion Sarah (formerly known as Daisy). And it's partly because of Egbert the ghost that Bruno and Sarah have a chance to win the day.

But he's not the only ghost in play. (Nope; that would be too easy!) There are other ghosts alluded to in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, including Bruno's parents and possibly a few of Sarah's relatives…and they all matter.

You see, Bruno can communicate with the dead. (Me being me, I called him a Mage of Communication, the shorthand for that being—you guessed it—a Communicator.) And that's why these ghosts can help him out…or at least interfere in his life.

The reason this intrigued me initially is simple: Bruno had no idea he could communicate with the dead before he came to our version of Earth. He also had no idea that he was an Adept of an unusual kind, that his powers were both formidable and dangerous, and that he had many enemies—nor did he understand that the aircar accident that had badly injured him and killed his parents had been engineered by a high-ranking member of the Elfy High Council in his home Elfy Realm…someone who has some rather unusual ties to Egbert.

So here he is; a short, magical Elfy in the Human Realm (otherwise known as our Earth). He doesn't know what's happened to him. He doesn't even know why he's there. But he meets Sarah, he's immediately drawn to her— and she to him—his teacher Roberto the Wise tries to rescue him (with disastrous results), Sarah hides Bruno, a Dark Elf shows up…

And then we meet Egbert. We don't know why he's there, either, as he doesn't identify himself right away. But we know he's friendly, we know he has taken an interest for some reason in both Bruno and Sarah, we know he understands the Elfy Realm (even if we don't know why), and we know that he, too, has power. So he can, indeed, affect the outcome—years after his own death—and he can help Bruno figure out exactly why Bruno is in the Human Realm at all.

Now that I think about it, there are some few parallels between Egbert and Charles Dickens' character The Ghost of Christmas Past. Like Dickens' ghost, Egbert knows what happened in the past. And he wants a better outcome for the living…while they still have time.

Granted, my characters Bruno and Sarah are being threatened by a Dark Elf, a being inimical to Elfys and humans, not their own past as is Ebenezer Scrooge. Bruno in particular is under immediate threat due to Sarah's parents' hostility toward all Elfys. And there's a reason Egbert cares about these two—a pressing, compelling reason that I refuse to spoil.

But there are parallels nonetheless, because in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (as in Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL), ghosts matter. Only a few remain able to make their wills be known and their wishes understood, but those few continue to be important and influential.

In our world, of course, the only way a person can matter after his or her death is in our memories. Or, if you believe in the positive Afterlife, perhaps our deceased loved ones can do something there that helps us out in some way we'll never understand until we rejoin them.

But in my conception, ghosts—at least some of them, like Egbert—can still do things to bring about positive change. That creates more drama, more suspense, more surprises…and sometimes, more laughs as well. Because in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, some people are so irrepressible that even death itself cannot keep them down.

In conclusion, if you've been looking for a magical, heartwarming, suspenseful, romantic, and riotously funny story—with ghosts—that's like no other this Christmas season, look no further.

Because AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is here.


BARB CAFFREY is a writer, editor and musician from the MidwestShe is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey). Other stories have appeared in HOW BEER SAVED THE WORLDSTARS OF DARKOVERand BEDLAM'S EDGEBarb is a huge baseball fan (Go, Brewers!), reviews books at Shiny Book Review, follows politics, is mystified by the Maury show, and wonders when her little dog will ever stop doing "the paw trick."  Find her at ElfyverseFacebook, or Twitter.

Folks, I'm responsible for seeing to it that Barb connected with my publisher to get An Elfy On The Loose into print -- I can say without doubt it is a fun romp! Go have a look, and seriously consider it for a holiday gift for friends, family -- and yourself!

-Stephanie Osborn