Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Glimpse at Stephanie Osborn

Here to tell us a little about herself is the amazingly talented Stephanie Osborn. Stephanie was recently a guest on my Blog Talk Radio show, What's Write for Me on June 22. (Link below)

Stephanie Osborn is a former payload flight controller, a veteran of

over twenty years of working in the civilian space program, as well as
various military space defense programs. She has worked on numerous
Space Shuttle flights and the International Space Station, and counts the
training of astronauts on her resumé. Of those astronauts she trained,
one was Kalpana Chawla, a member of the crew lost in the Columbia

She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in four sciences:
Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, and she is “fluent” in
several more, including Geology and Anatomy. She obtained her various
degrees from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN and
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Stephanie is currently retired from space work. She now happily
“passes it forward, ” teaching math and science via numerous media
including radio, podcasting, and public speaking, as well as working with SIGMA,
the science fiction think tank, while writing science fiction mysteries
based on her knowledge, experience, and travels.

Here's the link to my show:

Monday, June 13, 2011

"The Santa Shop" by Tim Greaton – an unexpected breath of fresh air

Recently, I was asked to read and review The Santa Shop by Tim Greaton. Below is my review of this delightful book.

Skip is homeless. He's been living on the street long enough to know his way around. After the accidental death of his wife and son, for which he holds himself responsible, he loses his job, his home and his self-esteem. Desperately contemplating suicide, he meets Father Johnston and his life begins to change.

We walk through Skip's day, learning about his life. Neither asking for sympathy, nor denying his fall from grace, Skip reminds us we're all worthy of a little respect. Although he's fallen about as low as he can go, he maintains what small dignity he has, refusing a handout, especially when it's accompanied by a lecture.

Although set at Christmastime, "The Santa Shop" is a book that readers can enjoy at any time of the year. It's appropriate for young teens to adult readers. I read part of it aloud to my teenage son and he's decided to read the book—clear evidence that "The Santa Shop" bridges generations.

Greaton treats the character of Skip with unusual insight and tenderness. He lovingly portrays the other characters as well, showing the compassion they have for their fellow man.

I greatly enjoyed "The Santa Shop" and look forward to reading more books by Tim Greaton in the future.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Meet Matthew Munson!

I met Matthew very recently in one of the Facebook groups. After looking at his site, I asked him to do a blog interview for me. I was delighted when he agreed.

When did you start writing?

I was comparatively young - ten or so. During my teenage years, I wrote quite a bit of sci-fi stuff, mostly around Star Trek (yes, I was ... still am ... a geek!), and am just grateful that none of my work from that period can be found!

What gave you the idea for your first book?

Have you ever heard of the TV series Spooks? It's about MI5, the British Security Service, and it's still on now - and it's an awesome show. That inspired me to write "Treachery and Lies", a book based on MI5. It's still languishing in production hell as it's only really a first draft and needs a hell of a lot of work to make it suitable. I'll get round to it one day.

What genre do you write?

Well, I'm partial to a good thriller, as you've probably guessed from my previous answer! However, I do like a bit of fantasy, although mostly combined with "real world" activities - I haven't developed the broad themes to create an entire fantastical world. Yet!

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

Check my bank balance on a regular basis! I can't afford to give up work entirely, but as I get odds and ends in and see my savings slowly - too slowly - go up, it reminds me of the end goal; a career as a full-time writer.

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?

Multiple! For instance, I just finished my latest manucript this morning, but had already started jotting down notes for a sequel, got two blog posts written up and writing my column for a newspaper. I find it easier to flit between projects - and I love the sound of deadlines as they go whooshing past (thanks, Douglas Adams!).

What is your writing process?

I just knuckle down and get it done. I must confess, I don't hold much truck with people who claim they never have any time to write; you MAKE time! I hold down a full-time job and am studying sign language, but I still write every day; it may only be 500 words, but I write. You just have to manage your expectations, park your bum on the seat and WRITE!

What is the theme of your novel?

The one I've just finished? Well, it's called "Fall From Grace," and that empitomises it for me; an angel's fall from grace and a human's similar journey - and how they recover from that.

Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?

Not a huge amount; I research my books really heavily, and that research often gives me clues as to where to go. Of course, depending on your beliefs, Fall From Grace could be one long symbol, drawing as it does a couple of references to the bible!

What is your latest release?

Fall From Grace! It's being published by Inspired Qill ( ) in the Autumn; Sara and her team are phenomenal, they're working on it so passionately that I'm confident in leaving it with them to prepare.

What other books do you have published?

It's still early days; I've had a short story published by Phil Hill Press and a few pieces published in fiction magazines.

Where are your books available?

Ask me that again in three months when Fall From Grace comes out - check out my website ( for regular updates.

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