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, a while back, Aaron Lazar over at the excellent writer’s website Murder By 4 invited me to the Wined, Dined and Read Blog Hop. This particular hop discusses food in the context of our favorite characters…and is possibly the most unusual blog hop I’ve ever taken part in, to boot.
Are you ready to read more about my tastes in wine and food, much less my main characters from AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, Bruno and Sarah, and their taste in food? (As they’re too young to drink much wine as of yet?) If so, read on…
If your main character were a glass of wine, which one would he be?
Bruno would definitely be a merlot, as like a merlot, Bruno is much more complex than he seems at first.
Describe your book in one meal:
What Aaron Lazar did here was to mention a meal his characters in BETRAYAL actually had instead. As that seemed to work well for him, I’ll do the same thing and discuss a meal Bruno and Sarah have in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (extra word added by me for the sake of clarity):
After a quick survey of the (refrigerator’s) contents, they realized ham, cheese, grapes, apples, and juice were readily available.
“Sarah, we can’t carry all of this at once. We’ll spill it and make a big mess.”
“We’ll be fine, Bruno,” she said reassuringly. “Let’s take it one step at a time.”
Bruno took one step and asked, “Like this?”
She laughed so hard her shoulders shook. After she’d recovered a bit of sobriety, she said, “I suppose if we each took one step, it would take forever.”
“Yeah,” he said. “But at least I made you laugh. I missed you, Sarah.”
“I missed you, too,” she said quietly. “But for now, let’s eat. Then we can catch up.”
“All right,” he agreed, wondering why girls always stated the obvious.
“I have an idea, though,” she said.
“Why not take a little at a time into my bedroom, as we took the bowls and the crackers before?”
“Ah! That makes a great deal of sense,” Bruno agreed.
“I thought you’d see it my way,” she said dryly. Then, smiling, she picked up two apples plus the grapes and went into her room. Bruno picked up the ham and cheese and followed her.
“See? We’re halfway done,” she said brightly.
“Won’t we need glasses, too?” he asked as he followed her back out into the kitchen.
“You worry too much.” She took the step-stool, went to the appropriate cabinet, ascended to the right level, got the glasses and handed them down to Bruno. “See? No problem.”
Bruno took the glasses into Sarah’s bedroom, holding the door open for Sarah as she carried in the orange juice. “Is that heavy?” he asked.
“No, it’s not too bad,” she said. “Besides, it won’t be as heavy to carry back because we’ll drink a lot of it!”
“Well, that’s one way to look at it.”
“That’s what I thought,” she nodded, satisfied.
Other than Sarah having to run into the kitchen to get a knife to cut the ham and cheese, the breakfast wasn’t too bad.
Or in other words, Bruno and Sarah will eat whatever is readily available, as they’re in a crisis situation. (Clear as mud, no?)
What candy would your book be?
Deep, rich, dark chocolate, preferably with hazelnuts in it. Bruno is partial to it, and he believes the chocolate in the Human Realm (our Earth) is far superior to the chocolate made in the Elfy Realm.
What does your book smell like?
Like springtime, where the birds are chirping, the small animals are coming out of hibernation, and everything seems fresh and new. (But no flowers, please. Bruno is allergic.)
Your book’s snack would be:
Chocolate chip cookies. (Again, Bruno’s partial to them.)
Describe your most memorable meal:
On Christmas Day in 2002, my husband Michael cooked chicken kebabs along with roasted potatoes and — because he knew I liked them — some zucchini and some rutabagas. (The last is my family’s favorite holiday food. Michael didn’t like either one, but he made them just for me.) The kebabs were particularly flavorful, while the potatoes, squash and rutabagas were just the right accompaniment. This, by far, was the best meal I’ve ever eaten.
One food word to describe your writing style:
What will someone find you eating/drinking when you’re really into a good book?
A diet soda over ice, some tortilla chips and salsa (which probably negates any good I’ve done with the calorie-saving diet soda), and possibly some dark chocolate for dessert.
Sweet or salty?
It depends on my mood. Usually I’d reach for something salty over something sweet…but I might just reach for a sweet something-or-other just to be contrary, too. (I’m like Sarah, that way.)
That concludes my part of the Wined, Dined and Read blog-hop…maybe a few other authors will want to chime in? I’m tagging Jason Cordova, Chris Nuttall, and N.N. Light as authors who might be intrigued enough to give this one a go down the line…but whether they do or not, go check out their sites and do read their books!
Folks, if you’ve wanted to read AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE but haven’t had the money to do so, listen up.
On March 1, 2015 — that’s just a few minutes from now — AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will be free at the Twilight Times Books website.
Why? Well, it’s “Read an e-book week.” There will be a number of excellent Twilight Times Books offered this week for free, including Stephanie Osborn’s THE CASE OF THE DISPLACED DETECTIVE: THE ARRIVAL, Chris Nuttall’s SCHOOLED IN MAGIC and Aaron Paul Lazar’s DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU. All you have to do is bookmark this page for the next week, and you can be reading excellent free books all week long.
I’m not exactly sure when my book AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will be available for free, mind…but it will happen sometime on March 1, 2015, and will stay free for 24 hours.
Once I know for certain that it’s available as a free e-book, I’ll be Tweeting about it and probably writing something on Facebook as well. But for now, all I know is that it will be free on March 1…
And the clock is ticking. (Are you ready?)
Actor Leonard Nimoy, Spock of the original “Star Trek” TV series, died yesterday at the age of 83. Nimoy wasn’t solely an actor — he was a musician, a poet, a photographer, and a movie director, among many other things — but he was known mostly for bringing one role to life: Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Spock, the quintessential outsider.
Spock, a type of Everyman who could comment, dispassionately, about subjects otherwise often seen as off-limits in contemporary society (much less TV).
Many people are going to be discussing Nimoy’s legacy, and rightfully so. He was a brilliant actor, and in many ways he was at the center of what “Star Trek” was all about.
But my own reflections are far closer to home than that.
When I was young, I discovered “Star Trek” on television in syndication. I was a fan of DeForest Kelley’s Leonard “Bones” McCoy more than Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, mind you, but without Spock’s dispassion, McCoy’s emotional outbursts would’ve had no foil and much less resonance. Somehow, even in my early teens, I picked up on this, and wanted to know more about the actors behind “Star Trek.”
So I read Leonard Nimoy’s first biography, I AM NOT SPOCK. What I found out was that Nimoy was many things besides his most famous, iconic role. His journey as an artist and a sensitive soul was one of my biggest inspirations as a teenager.
It was because of Nimoy’s book, at least in part, that I realized you could be different and still be a good person. That you could be a sensitive artist who your parents did not understand — as his own parents definitely didn’t understand Nimoy’s passion for acting, or the arts in general — and still be able to forge a good life for yourself. And I learned that sometimes it takes time for your vision of yourself to be realized — as Nimoy struggled for years as an actor before he finally landed his role on “Star Trek.”
I did not know Mr. Nimoy, except for watching him on TV and once, very briefly, meeting him at a science fiction convention. But he seemed to me to be a man of worth, talent, and grace.
I mourn his passing.
Folks, I’ve been editing up a storm the past week. Though I still have a lot more work to do, at least I’ve been able to come up for air a little bit so I can write a little blog-let.
But what should I write about today? Hm…good question.
One of these days, I intend to discuss the different types of editing I do, including developmental (also known as content editing), copy-editing, proofreading, and continuity reading.
In other words, there are levels within levels of editing…that’s the main point I’m trying to get at. Developmental editing takes the longest; copy-editing plus a continuity read takes the second-longest; proofreading is the easiest and takes the shortest amount of time, though it’s still not exactly short if you want to do a good job.
Clear as mud, no? (That’s what happens when a huge edit gets finished, and I get short on sleep.)
Anyway, I do have a few interesting things happening this week, including another edit (for myself, this time), a story that I’m working on (currently vexing me, but I hope I’ll have it straightened out soon) that’s due in on March 1, and a guest blog/swap this upcoming Wednesday with author N.N. Light, author of the Christian inspirational fantasy PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT — I’ll be interviewed at her blog, while she’ll have a guest post here at my blog on the same day.
As for reviews, I remain behind. Right now, there are two or three SF&F books in the queue along with two shorter works by Cherylynn Dyess (those may be reviewed together, but are probably still a week off due to my workload) — the books I’m probably going to review next over at Shiny Book Review are Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY SWORD and Emily St. John Mandel’s STATION ELEVEN, though it’s possible I may review Victoria Alexander’s latest for Romance Saturday instead. (All depends on workload.)
Oh, yes — and did I mention that I have a concert to play with the Racine Concert Band this week, too? That’s this Thursday evening over at Horlick High School, if you live nearby and are interested in coming…I’m playing the alto saxophone for this concert.
Anyway, this is a high workload week. (I’m already exhausted just thinking about it!) But somehow, I’m going to get it done, get my book edited, get the story written, and along the way I’ll definitely have that guest blog exchange with N.N. Light on Wednesday.
One, final thing — since the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training is officially underway (at least as far as the pitchers and catchers go), I’m definitely thinking about baseball. (So could another story about my baseball-loving psychic, Madame Arletta, and her werewolf husband Fergus be in the offing?)
Folks, it took me longer than I’d have liked to review two new books over at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always). One was nonfiction, the other was fiction. Both were outstanding.
The first, UNBROKEN CIRCLES FOR SCHOOLS by Ken Johnson, is a nonfiction book about what schools can do to help juvenile offenders. (This is a vast oversimplification, of course.) Mr. Johnson discusses the differences between retributive and restorative justice (the latter is much better, but isn’t often used by our criminal justice system), and how schools can help. Go read my review, then check out this outstanding book.
The second, DEVIL’S LAKE, is a romantic suspense novel by Aaron Paul Lazar. It’s an outstanding novel in every respect, and I was pleased to review it on Valentine’s Day for our Romance Saturday at SBR promotion.
So if you’re looking for something new to read in either nonfiction or fiction, head on over to SBR and take a look at these two reviews.
Folks, this sports roundup column will be unusual, as three disparate, but noteworthy things have happened in the past week that I want to comment on.
First, pioneering baseball reporter Alison Gordon died at 74. Ms. Gordon was the first-ever female reporter for any team in the American League and covered the Toronto Blue Jays, starting in 1979. She faced much criticism when she started her career — I’m just barely old enough to remember some of it — yet persevered and prevailed. Later, she wrote a series of murder mysteries where a baseball reporter solved crimes in and around baseball. Here’s a bit of her obituary from cbc.ca:
(The) Baseball Writers Association of America infamously issued her press accreditation as Mr. Alison Gordon, as it had no female-specific or gender-neutral honorifics at that time.
Gordon was also one of the first females allowed into a Major League Baseball locker room, which was controversial at the time but since paved the way for female sports reporters. She was also the first woman on the American League beat, the division of baseball the Jays play in.
Ms. Gordon’s accomplishments were profound, and it’s partly because of her that so many other female sports journalists have gone on to have stellar careers.
Next, Ray Rice’s long-awaited apology has been released as of earlier today (link is from Yahoo’s “Shutdown Corner” NFL blog). In it, Rice expresses remorse, but also thanks the fans of the Baltimore Ravens (his NFL team). Here’s a bit from that apology:
To all the kids who looked up to me, I’m truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it’s helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue.
Now, you may be asking yourself why I said “long-awaited.” No one else, save perhaps Keith Olbermann, is likely to say this, but it’s the truth: without a heartfelt apology, it’s unlikely that Ray Rice can resuscitate his career, not in the NFL, not in the CFL, not anywhere.
See, there are female football fans out there — many of them, as I’m far from the only one in the history of the universe. And we need to see some remorse and some signs that Ray Rice has learned not to abuse women any more. (One wonders what female reporters think of Ray Rice; most haven’t said much, except that he needs counseling and a consciousness raising and to never, never, do this again. Which seems a bit incomplete.)
There are some players, such as Brandon Marshall of the Bears, who after an earlier incident have become outspoken advocates for women and domestic violence. These are players who’ve truly learned that they must do better as human beings, and I hope Ray Rice, down the line, will join their number.
At the moment, though, all I can say is that Ray Rice has apologized. And since he has, I think some team out there should give him another shot, providing Rice stays in counseling (both personal and marital) and gets the anger management he needs.
And finally, how about those Milwaukee Bucks?
Last year, I wrote about how awful the Bucks were. They didn’t even win two games in a row, they were so bad…they only won 15 games, and set a team record for the worst season in the history of the franchise.
What a difference a year makes.
This year’s Bucks squad is 30-23. They’ve doubled their amount of wins in a year, and they’re only at the All-Star break despite losing their #1 draft pick F Jabari Parker to a knee surgery, losing PG Kendall Marshall to a knee surgery, losing C Larry Sanders to a variety of issues, and losing F Ersan Ilyasova to post-concussion syndrome for a month.
Coach Jason Kidd has revitalized the Bucks. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has become so much better this year in every respect. Center Zaza Pachulia’s career has been revitalized. PG O.J. Mayo has regained his three-point touch. And best of all, Milwaukee now plays excellent defense, something they decidedly didn’t do under former coach Larry Drew. The Bucks now believe they can win every single night no matter who’s in shape to play– and that enthusiasm and self-belief has become infectious.
As a long-time Bucks fan, I’m pleased with how the 2014-2015 season has turned out thus far. I fully expect the Bucks to make the NBA playoffs (if the season ended today, the Bucks would be the #6 seed), and I wouldn’t have believed that was possible a year ago.
Any thoughts regarding this sports roundup? (I’m guessing there might be a few regarding Ray Rice, at least.) Give me a yell in the comments!