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.
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!
Saxes and Singers and Gnats, Oh My! (AKA the Racine Concert Band 2014 Free Summer Series Comes to an End)
Those of you who’ve read my blog for quite some time now are aware of two things, I hope:
1) I’m a musician as well as a writer.
2) I sometimes indulge in extra long titles (as above).**
Why am I starting this blog post like this? Because the Racine Concert Band — of which I’m a member — just successfully concluded the 2014 free summer concert series at the Racine Zoo this past Sunday night.
“But Barb,” you say. “Why didn’t you get online and say something on Sunday night, or better yet, yesterday? Why wait a day?”
The reason for that mostly is because of the “gnats” part of the above title. At about the midway point of the Sunday evening concert, the gnats and biting flies and perhaps even some ticks (those are the pea-green critters, aren’t they?) came flying out to bedevil every musician they possibly could.
I, unfortunately, appear to have been the musician that announcer Don Rosen decided to discuss in his comments — he said something to the effect that “one of the saxes” (most likely me) was swatting insects, going back to playing, swatting more insects, going back to playing, and he didn’t know how any of us could do that.
Now, every one of us was swatting insects in the first three rows. (I cannot see the rows behind me, mind, but they probably were swatting them, too.) But as far as I know, I’m the only one who swatted so many insects, so hard, that I actually had the clips to keep my music from flying off at the first wind gust go flying into the nearby clarinet section instead. (Sorry, clarinets.)
I know I was bitten at least ten or fifteen times, too. And as I despise bugs with a passion, this was not easy to bear whatsoever. (I did kill at least twenty of the suckers, though.)
Anyway, the conditions for the concert were fine for the first half, awful for the second. It’s because of this that I hightailed it out of there afterward (at least, as much as any musician hobbled by a cane in one hand and a saxophone in the other can hightail), even though I believe someone I hadn’t seen in quite some time was attempting to get to the stage and perhaps say “hi.” (If that person is reading my blog for some reason, please know that I am sorry I didn’t stop to chat. I just could not deal with the bugs. At all. But do feel free to say “hi” here instead, OK?)
Look. It’s an outdoor concert. I know we’re likely to run into some problems here and there. But between the bugs, the heat and humidity, and the fact that my asthma was bad for several days due to the poor air quality on the one hand and the high heat/humidity on the other, that was possibly the most difficult concert, conditions-wise, I have ever played.
So I needed that extra day to rest, to recover, so I could come back and write a blog about the whole shebang. (Lucky you, huh?)
Now, as for a greater deconstruction of the headline — I am a saxophonist, thus “saxes.” Gnats should be self-explanatory at this point . . . and as for the “singers” part of the above headline, Ami Bouterse guested with us again this year and did a fine job with two art songs (the “classical” portion) and two show tunes. (The audience, as you might expect, liked the show tunes a whole lot better. It’s rare when the audience goes for the classical stuff instead.)
So the 2014 free concert season for the Racine Concert Band has come to an end. And you might be wondering whether or not the RCB will have a free summer 2015 concert series, too . . . but as I said last year around this time, no one knows that right now.
All I can say, as I did last year, is that I would appreciate anyone who appreciates the RCB to please contact Mayor John Dickert or your local alderman and tell him (or her) that you really, really, really want the RCB to continue as these are the people most responsible for city-backed funding for next year.
Please. You want to support the Racine Concert Band, because it helps to provide vitality to this community.
We need that. Badly.
So please, support the band. Contact the Mayor and the aldermen. And if you’re able, donate to the band, too . . . help preserve one of the very best parts of Racine and give us another free concert series to remember in 2015.
**Mind, if I had felt like an even longer headline, I would’ve tried to shove in something about Adam Maegaard’s fine French horn solo, too. (I enjoyed that piece.) But the headline was already quite lengthy as it was, so . . .
Now, why did I write this particular blog? Simple. Characters are everything to a story — and without them, you don’t have much at all.
Here’s a bit from my newest guest blog:
Without characters, you don’t have a story.
I mean, think about it: Who’d remember the Harry Potter series if Harry Potter wasn’t there? Or his buddy Ron Weasley? Or his other buddy, Hermione Granger? And that’s just the good characters.
What about the enigmatic Severus Snape, the villainous Voldemort, or Harry’s own uncle and aunt? Without them factoring into the equation, how would the seven books about Harry Potter interest anyone?
No, books are built on characters. It can’t be any other way.
In this blog, I also talk about several stories in the Bible, Ernest Hemingway’s OLD MAN AND THE SEA, and (just for kicks) Geoffrey Chaucer’s CANTERBURY TALES. So do check it out, along with all the other blogs in Stephanie’s ELEMENTS OF STORYTELLING series.
Just figured I’d drop a little blog-let here to let you all know that I reviewed Victoria Alexander’s latest Victorian Era romance, THE SCANDALOUS ADVENTURES OF THE SISTER OF THE BRIDE, over at Shiny Book Review late Saturday night. (Or at SBR for short, as always.)
But you want a capsule review, you say? Well, here it is . . . I loved the story, thought it was funny, enjoyed the characters . . .
But the editing was absolutely horrible. And as this is a big-budget book from a well-known publisher, that is just not acceptable.
I don’t have a clue what happened with this book, quite frankly. But as an editor myself, I know that if you have a twenty-five word sentence with zero commas in it, there’s usually something wrong.
And it’s doubly wrong for a Victorian Era romance, because if anything, those old fuddy-duddy Victorians were much bigger sticklers about proper punctuation than I am as a modern-day editor. And if you want to properly evoke the period, you need to observe all the regular conventions of said period.
But you say, “Who cares about the commas, Barb? Why are you obsessing about this, anyway? You’re a modern reader. You can deal . . . can’t you?”
Um, yes and no.
The lack of commas (thus the lack of proper punctuation), especially in long stretches of dialogue, kept throwing me out of the reader’s trance with great force. And as there is absolutely no excuse for the lack of proper punctuation for the three reasons I gave over at SBR, I docked the book a grade.
At any rate, go take a look at my review, and judge for yourself whether or not I’m making any sense this fine day.
Then come back and let me know. (I’ll be here.)