Thank you for stopping by my blog, which is called either “Barb Caffrey’s Blog,” or “the Elfyverse.”
Why two names? Well, I figured it would be easier for people to find me if they used my name. But I’ve been writing about Elfys, Elfs, Dwarves, and more for the past ten years — thus “the Elfyverse.”
As for what I do here, it’s simple: I talk about anything I like.
I’ve been blogging now for nearly four years. (Here’s a link to my first blog post, if you don’t believe me.) Over that time, I’ve talked writing, publishing, music, sports, current events, politics . . . anything at all that I feel like talking about.
So while you’re here, expect the unexpected . . . because you never quite know what I’m about to say.
Please feel free to stop by any time you like. And tell your friends about all my work, including AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (Barnes and Noble link is here) and the two stories of my late husband Michael’s, “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “On Westmount Station,” all available at Amazon.
And remember . . . support a real writer.
It’s been a long time in coming, but my first novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (now with a subtitle of “Book One of the ELFY duology”) is now available at Amazon.com and will be available soon at all major e-book retailers.
**Edited to add: AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE has also “gone live” at BN.com (Barnes and Noble’s website), as Paul Howard told me in the comments. If you have a Nook and want to read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, now’s your chance!
Now back to our regularly scheduled post.**
I’m very pleased that AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is now out, even though I hadn’t expected it to “go live” on Amazon tonight, of all nights — but as it has, I figured I’d best skedaddle and get a blog post up, pronto.
For those of you who want a sample, please go here and read the first five chapters of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE . . . then, I hope you’ll go to Amazon and get the e-book, as it’s on sale for a limited time at the low price of $3.99.
Because I’m a new author, and because I’m decidedly not well known, it is anyone’s guess as to whether or not AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will do well enough to warrant an actual “dead tree” edition (that is, a paper edition).
For all I know, this e-book copy is all that we’re likely to get. So I hope you’ll enjoy it in the spirit intended.
In other words, if you want to read my novel because you’ve been intrigued about Bruno the Elfy and Sarah his human companion and want to know all about Sarah’s house (which is an Elfy trap of major proportions), or if you want to figure out why a Dark Elf would go to Northern California, or if you even want to know why Bruno’s mentor Roberto is worth saving despite being more than a bit of an butthead sometimes, now’s your chance.
I also hope that if you read and enjoy AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, you won’t be averse to letting people know my book exists. Because I need all the help I can get . . . and I’m not shy about saying so.
Domestic violence, child abuse, and professional football. Who ever would’ve thought these words would go together?
That is, if you haven’t been paying attention for the past few weeks. Because a number of players — Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer, and Ray Rice — all have been prominent in the news lately, mostly because they’ve been violent with a child or girlfriend. All have serious problems, and all have now been told their services are no longer required (though three of them, Peterson, Hardy, and Dwyer, have effectively been put on paid administrative leave).
However, I can’t help but notice one player with a current arrest on his record for domestic violence who is still being allowed to play: San Francisco’s DE Ray McDonald. McDonald was arrested on 9/1/14 in San Jose for domestic violence, and has not yet been charged . . . and it’s because he hasn’t been charged (yet) that the 49ers will not bench him with pay like the others.
Why am I only singling out professional football players? Well, they’re the ones who’ve been in the news lately.
But to be fair, domestic violence happens in all sports. Even my favorite sports teams are not immune to this: Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez has had run-ins with the law in the past regarding his own behavioral issues, and so did RB Ahman Green of the Green Bay Packers. (Green is now retired, while “K-Rod” has apparently reformed.)
For that matter, domestic violence happens on a regular basis throughout the world. Because our society as a whole has a problem. The statistic I’ve seen spouted a lot on TV is that one in four women will fall victim to domestic violence — and some men will, too.
But things do not need to stay bad forever.
Treatment works, you see, if someone truly wants to change. Some current NFL players, like Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears and Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, have gone into psychiatric treatment and/or anger management counseling, and have become advocates for abused women (and men) instead.
Change is possible.
(Yes. It really is.)
But if you read nothing else in this blog, please read this: Domestic violence is a lot more important than any game. So if you feel that you are in danger, or have been abused, please get yourself to a counselor or at least call the national domestic abuse hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE. Or visit this website: http://www.ncadv.org/ — that’s the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Do it today. Because your life won’t wait.
Folks, I’ve never done the Sneak-Peek Sunday Blog-Hop before, but here’s how it goes: You post six paragraphs (only six) of any book or work-in-progress you want to discuss.
What could be simpler than that?
Ready . . . set . . . go!
* * * * (Excerpt starts now)
“What fools these mortals be,” Jon said with a sigh. He’d come to the Human Realm mainly because of boredom, but look! Now, he was bored by the Humans, too.
Just listen to ‘em. “No, dear, I want him for my party,” the woman said.
“No, darling, I need him for my party,” said the man.
Really, it was enough to make him gag. And the “uniform” they had him wear wasn’t exactly to his taste either. He looked down at the red and purple unitard, kicked at the blue booties (with brass bells at the ends; fortunately he had enough magic left to silence those, or he’d have a migraine), and took off the yellow hat (with the red, purple, and blue feathers) and threw it across the room.
The squabbling couple never even noticed.
* * * * (OK, that was only five paragraphs. But the sixth paragraph is a one-line paragraph that needs the answer of the seventh paragraph, also a one-liner . . . I hope it’ll make sense this way.)
Granted, you can’t see the romance here. But I hope you can see the humor. (Bruno the Elfy is named Jon at first, too, which adds to the confusion. It all sorts out in the wash, though — I promise!)
Now, want to check out the other writers in this blog hop? Be my guest! Just follow along with the list below . . . and have fun!
The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t been playing well lately, to put it mildly. After losing more than they’ve won since the All-Star Break (with a record of 22-28 starting tonight’s action), the Brewers have needed wins in the worst way.
Enter starting pitcher Mike Fiers. Fiers has been brilliant since being brought up from AAA Nashville a month ago; he’s now won six games and lost only one, with an ERA of 1.74. More importantly still, Fiers has struck out 54 while walking only 10, and before tonight’s game had hit no batters. None.
What a difference one game makes.
With the Brewers up, 4-0, in the top of the 5th, Miami’s RF Giancarlo Stanton came up to the plate in a high-pressure situation. There were two outs and a runner stood on first; as Stanton leads the National League in both HRs (37) and RBI (105), he’s obviously someone Milwaukee — and Fiers — took very seriously.
Fiers was in an 0-1 count before he threw a pitch up and in to Stanton — the pitch that hit Stanton in the face, causing a nasty, gruesome injury with a great deal of facial bleeding. After several long, tension-filled minutes, Stanton was taken off the field in an ambulance cart, and the game resumed with an 0-2 count to emergency pinch hitter Reed Johnson.
Now, I’m a Brewers fan, but I honestly don’t understand why Stanton wasn’t awarded first base after getting hit in the face. Yes, he swung — a defensive swing, because his body was already in motion, trying to avoid the ball coming at his face — but the most important thing was that Stanton got hit in the face.
Everyone in the ballpark, much less every fan watching the Marlins-Brewers game, knows that.
Anyway, Johnson stepped into the batter’s box, and he, too, was hit by a pitch — this time on the hand. Again, there’s a defensive swing . . . again, the umps call a strike, and this time call it a strikeout due to a dead ball (the ball hitting Johnson’s hand, that is).
So even though the box score will not show that Fiers actually hit two batters, anyone with eyes knows good and well that Fiers first hit Stanton, a genuine MVP candidate for the NL, in the face. (Was it intentional? Of course not. But the fact remains that Fiers hit him.) Then, after the umps did not award Stanton first base as they should’ve, Johnson stood in there against Fiers and Fiers threw it in more or less the same place — up and in — this time grazing Johnson on the hand.
The benches cleared after the second hit batsman, which is somewhat sensible. Former Brewer Casey McGehee, who knows Fiers, came out and yelled — either at the umps for not sending Stanton’s replacement to first base right off the bat, or for the umps perhaps crediting Fiers with the oddest “strikeout” I’ve ever seen . . . or maybe at Fiers**, who is known for being a control pitcher as his fastball tops out around 88 mph (which is very slow for MLB, these days). McGehee was ejected, as was Miami’s manager Mike Redmond, and everyone else was sent back to their respective dugouts to cool off.
I reiterate: I don’t believe Fiers was trying to hit Stanton. Nor, for the record, do I think Fiers was trying to hit Reed Johnson, either.
But the fact of the matter is, Fiers hit two guys on two successive pitches, one right after the other. And the umps didn’t send either one of them to first base.
Instead, both benches were warned that if anyone else was hit, the manager and pitcher would be concurrently ejected.
The Marlins did retaliate, of course, despite the umpire’s warning.
With two outs and no one on in the sixth, reliever Anthony DeSclafani promptly hit CF Carlos Gomez on the left elbow on the first pitch. And as expected, DeSclafani was immediately ejected, along with acting manager/bench coach Rob Leary.
The rest of the game was an afterthought, as it was obvious both teams were far more worried about Stanton’s injury than they were in finishing this game out. So while the Brewers did “win” this game, it didn’t really feel like one.
As for postgame reaction?
Both Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Fiers said during comments to the media as shown by Fox Sports Wisconsin during their “Brewers Live” postgame telecast that they both hope Stanton will be all right — and of course Fiers wasn’t trying to throw at Stanton (or Johnson, either).
Marlins manager Mike Redmond’s postgame comments were also shown by Fox Sports Wisconsin. Redmond said that anyone being upset at the Marlins for being angry that their MVP Stanton’s season has probably ended due to terrible hit to the face isn’t being honest with themselves, because any team would be upset under these circumstances. And that he, personally, was very upset that Fiers hit two guys in a row with two pitches, but neither Marlin was awarded first base.
I think Redmond’s comments are understandable. I hope he knows that Fiers would not hit Stanton in the face intentionally, because Fiers isn’t that type of guy at all — he’s worked too long and too hard to get back to the major leagues after his mother’s untimely passing last year due to complications from lupus. But losing your MVP to a freak thing like that? I’d be upset, too, especially considering how Fiers hit Johnson on the next pitch in the hand, with neither of them being called a HBP by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg.
Anyway, that was a very weird game, and a very odd victory that doesn’t at all feel like something the Brewers should celebrate.
Before I go, here’s the most current update on Stanton’s condition from MLB’s Joe Frisaro, one of the beat writers for the Miami Marlins. Frisaro Tweeted this in regards to Stanton’s injuries just a few minutes ago:
#Marlins Giancarlo Stanton suffered a facial laceration requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures and dental damage
Obviously this is terrible news . . . certainly not the news I’d hoped to hear, especially considering the early news from the Marlins only said “facial laceration.” (Which, admittedly, seemed ludicrous. I suspected a broken orbital bone or possibly a broken cheekbone, considering, and “facial laceration” seemed remarkably light.) This will end Stanton’s season in a truly freakish way, something no one — not Mike Fiers, not the Brewers faithful, not anyone affiliated with the Marlins and certainly no one around MLB itself — wanted.
My hope now is that Stanton will make a quick recovery and be ready to go during Spring Training 2015.
**Fiers looked wild all game. Perhaps the colder-than-average weather didn’t help, as it was 50 degrees at game time . . . yes, the Brewers have a domed stadium, and the roof was closed, but that damp cold still seeps in and it does affect the pitchers.
##A personal update: I am recovering from surgery, and posts have been few and far between for the past week because of that. But I couldn’t let this one go by . . . really hope Stanton will be OK down the road, and had hoped that somehow he would escape serious injury.
Folks, author Erin Moore tagged me last week in the Meet My Character(s) Blog Hop. She’s the author of AWAKENED BY THE MINOTAUR, a sexy contemporary romance with shapeshifters and lots of Grecian myth. Check out Erin’s blog, and please be sure to check out her book!
Now, on to the blog hop, which will be discussing my novel AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE from my heroine Sarah’s perspective. As this is the second time I’ve done this particular blog hop (see this post for my previous answers coming from Bruno’s point of view), let’s just see if the change in perspective actually makes a difference!
So here we go:
What is the name of your character? Sarah Birch — though at the beginning of the story, she thinks her name is Daisy Birch as she’s under a spell.
Is she a fictional/historic person? No. She’s my own creation.
When and where is the story set? AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is set during the present-day, on our Earth, in Knightsville, California — a fictional place near the Sacramento River, with the biggest nearby municipality being Davis.
What should we know about Sarah? She thinks she’s ten years old; she isn’t (she’s in her late teens and is under a spell). She is intelligent, adaptable, has strong talents for healing and empathy . . . and she’s ripe for an age-appropriate romance.
What is the main conflict? Her parents aren’t good people, and have captured an Elfy in order to torture him for his nonexistent secrets. Sarah isn’t having that, and helps Bruno (the Elfy) get away…but that backfires, so she has to hide him in her own room until she can again get them both away to friends who live nearby.
Her parents, mind, are the tip of the iceberg, as they’re the pawns of a Dark Elf who’s masquerading as a priest. But the main conflict, as she sees it, is protecting her new friend/boyfriend Bruno from her awful parents.
What messes up her life? Right now, it’s more what isn’t messing up her life…but the quick answer? She’s older than she thought she is, she’s under multiple spells and is just unraveling them, and she’s fallen in love with an Elfy her parents both hate. (Let’s just say her life right now isn’t exactly a bowl of cherries.)
What is Sarah’s main goal? Right now, staying alive long enough to escape with Bruno and figure out what they’re going to do next in order to fight her parents and that Dark Elf priest sounds like a plan. And as she’s an optimistic sort, she also is starting to wonder what her life will be like as Bruno’s wife, down the line…is it too soon, or is it true love? (Hint, hint: bet on the latter.)
What is the title of the book and where can it be found?
AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, part 1 of the Elfy duology, is available as an e-book at Amazon, BN.com and through Twilight Times Books’ own website directly (here’s a link to the five sample chapters to get you started).
Folks, I’d hoped to write a post tonight about P.G. Wodehouse, which is the second of my “Learning from the Fiction Masters” blogs. However, that needs must be postponed as I have lots of work at the moment and very little time to do it in . . . I apologize, but I’m going to make this a bi-weekly series for the time being, and will have a new blog in this series up next Friday instead.
Anyway, I do have a few quick hits for you, updates regarding previous blog posts about sports. So here we go!
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has changed his mind about domestic violence. Instead of the piddly two-game suspension Goodell gave to Ray Rice for hitting his then-fiancée and dragging her off an elevator (I wrote about this here), new domestic violence offenders will be penalized six games for the first offense, and have a lifetime ban after the second — but the lifetime ban is a qualified one, meaning the offender can try for reinstatement after a year away from football (and presumably improving his life in some way). This is good news, and I applaud Goodell for taking a step in the right direction.
But Ray Rice still got over, and I remain deeply unhappy about that.
- Chris Kluwe had filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Vikings over the way special teams coach Mike Priefer behaved during the 2012 season (I discussed Priefer’s behavior in this blog, though I did not discuss the lawsuit as I was waiting for a resolution there — or perhaps for the trial to start, take your pick.) The Vikings initially were going to fight Kluwe, but instead have settled with him. The proceeds of this lawsuit are going to several LGBT and transgender charities, and are believed to exceed $100,000 (but are perhaps shy of the cool million dollars Kluwe’s lawyer was initially asking for); none of it benefits Kluwe directly in any way.
I see no losers in this deal.
- I continue to watch the Milwaukee Brewers, 2014 edition, and am cautiously optimistic that they can win the National League Central division. (Despite them stinking up the field thus far tonight in San Francisco, where as of this writing they are down, 6-1, in the bottom of the 4th.) The best position player thus far has probably been Jonathan Lucroy, and the best and most consistent starting pitcher all season long has been Kyle Lohse. (Don’t get fooled by Wily Peralta’s current pitching record of 15-8. Peralta can be very good, or very awful, and tonight he was awful as he gave up six earned runs.)
Mind, I am worried about the relief pitching. Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez has been giving up homers lately in his save opportunities, and blew a save on Wednesday precisely because of that. Will Smith has looked good again lately, but has had a ton of appearances; so have Zach Duke and Brandon Kintzler and most of the rest of the Brewers bullpen.
At some point, the Brewers pitchers may hit the wall, collectively. (We’re already seeing that with Peralta, and may have seen signs of that already with Smith, Duke and Kintzler.) If that happens, and the Brewers cannot bring up fresh and experienced arms, that will imperil the Brewers playoff chances — much less their chances to win the NL Central.
Oh, and as for folks wondering what I’m up to with regards to reviewing books over at Shiny Book Review? I hope to review something tomorrow, but it still won’t be “Mad Mike” Williamson’s excellent FREEHOLD. (I want more time and energy than I currently have to discuss that book. Let’s just say, for now, that I really have enjoyed my re-read and that it’s unlikely any fans of Mad Mike will be displeased by anything I have to say.)
It’s more likely that I will review a romance of some sort for Romance Saturday, even though I’m not exactly sure what at this point…still, I will find something, and we’ll all know tomorrow!