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 over 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 almost five 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 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, earlier today I took part in one of the most patriotic things any non-United States veteran can do on July 4th: I played in the City of Racine parade with the Racine Concert Band.
Now, why is this patriotic?
Mostly, it’s because we play marches while sitting on the parade float. (Today’s three, for the record, were “Liberty Bell” by John Philip Sousa, “South,” an arrangement of various tunes by Hal Leonard, and an arrangement “God Bless America” by someone whose name I’ve already forgotten.) And in case anyone forgets marches are usually intended to be patriotic, we had flags all over our float, while most of us wore additional bits of red, white and blue on our uniforms (or, in some cases, in temporary tattoos on arms, faces, or hands).
The fun thing about playing in the parade is to see how people respond to this music. People of all ages clap their hands, bob their heads, wave at the band (we usually wave back when we’re not actually playing), some of ’em dance in the street, and a few even pretend to conduct the band (waving an imaginary conductor’s baton in the air).
Some of these folks on the Racine parade route may not see the Racine Concert Band (henceforth shortened to RCB for ease of reference) at any time during the rest of the year, though we play free concerts at the Racine Zoo in July and August and have three winter concerts for minimal prices at the three Racine high schools (Case, Park, and Horlick). So playing the parade does more than a few things…it helps remind Racinians that the RCB exists, and that we can still bring joy to people, just by sharing a bit of music with them.
The RCB’s first free Zoo concert of the year is July 5 (that’s today, as it’s ticked over past midnight since I started writing this). There’s a trombone soloist, a trumpet trio, lots of marches and patriotic arrangements…people will know nearly all of the songs that we play, and the ones the audience don’t know right off, they probably will by the time we’re done playing it for them.
See, there’s something about marches, show tunes, and patriotic arrangements that really hits people, emotionally. Even folks who don’t think they know “Liberty Bell,” once they hear it, ask, “Isn’t that the music from Monty Python’s Flying Circus?” (At which point, I reply, “Why, yes. Yes, it is.”)
And seeing a free concert in the park can be inspirational…which is one reason I’m glad my hands are doing well enough that I have resumed my chair in the RCB.
If you live in Racine, Kenosha, other parts of Southeastern Wisconsin or Northern Illinois, I urge you to come see the RCB tomorrow at the Racine Zoo for our first free summer concert of the year. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and free parking is available.
Because, really…what’s more patriotic than a John Philip Sousa march or two on Independence Day weekend?
OK, OK…WordPress did something weird here, and posted this a full day earlier than I scheduled it.
I’m still very happy to do the #MFRWhooks Blog Hop for this novella, set in my late husband’s Atlantean Union milieu.
Now, back to my original post.
Folks, I am a proud member of the Marketing for Romance Writers organization. They do a lot of good for authors, most particularly small press and indies…and they’ve given me many tips that I’ve found quite useful.
One of the other things they do is on every Wednesday, they open up something called “BookHooks.” It’s an opportunity to “hook” new readers, something no writer can do without.
As I have two new releases out — and as I’ve already done a paranormal blog hop or two in previous weeks for Michael’s “Columba and the Cat” novella — I figured I’d rather take part this week with my new military science fiction novella, “To Survive the Maelstrom.” (My late husband is credited, because I wouldn’t have written this story at all without the two thousand words he left behind.)
Command Sergeant-Major Sir Peter Welmsley of the Atlantean Union has lost everything he holds dear. He wonders why he lived, when so many others died at Hunin — including his fiancée, Lydia, and his best friend Chet.
Into his life comes Grasshunter’s Cub, an empathic, sentient creature known to those on Heligoland as a “weremouse.”
Weremice are known for their ability to help their bond-mates. But how can this young weremouse find a way to bring Peter back from the brink of despair and start living again?
And now, a few sentences from “To Survive the Maelstrom” that explain exactly what Peter’s emotional state is before he meets up with his destined weremouse:
How long had it been since he’d smiled? Three months, perhaps? Surely the six months he’d spent in a medically induced coma while his skin regrew didn’t count . . . did it?
Even the pleasant heat of the spring couldn’t keep him away from his thoughts any longer. Why hadn’t the damned pirates left Hunin the Hell alone? Nine times out of ten, they ran; the tenth time, like Hunin, they stood and fought. And this time, they’d landed a lucky shot on HMS Niobe, where Peter had served as a platoon sergeant. Peter had quickly assumed command in the emergency as the senior NCO, considering all of the officers were dead or incapacitated.
But it hadn’t been enough.
Why was he alive, when so many good people were dead?
Now, in case you were intrigued by this sample, go to Amazon forthwith and get yourself a copy. (Right now, Amazon is the only place that has it, though in 90 days I hope to get “To Survive the Maelstrom” up at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords as well.)
And do check out the other participants in this week’s blog hop, will you? They’re all wonderful authors, and you might just find yourself a new favorite if you only give ’em half a chance.
Folks, I just watched the documentary on Glen Campbell’s life, I’ll Be Me. And I need to talk about this, because what Glen Campbell is going through is important.
You see, Campbell has Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 75.
But rather than quietly go into a nursing home, he, his family, and his doctors agreed that Campbell’s music was still with him. So they decided on one, final tour…with I’ll Be Me recording every step of that tour, along with the decline in Campbell’s memories and mentation.
Bluntly, to do something like this with what remains of your mind and talent is extraordinary. It shows fearlessness, a bit of humility, and maybe even compassion for the self, while it also showcases glimpses of still-brilliant musicianship and excellent vocal control.
Campbell in some senses was very fortunate, you see. He didn’t lose his vocal quality in his age — at least, he didn’t lose much. (Some smoothness, maybe. But it’s recognizably the same voice and he still has much the same range in I’ll Be Me.) He was always an excellent musician, and knew exactly how to sing his songs…and that’s still there, up until his final song, “I’m Not Going to Miss You.”
As a musician myself, I don’t know if I could do what Campbell did. I don’t think I could’ve walked on stage and not known if I could play my clarinet or my saxophone as well as I wanted. (Much less what the clarinet or saxophone even was until I started playing.) I don’t think I could’ve risked going on stage and not knowing what the songs were, or losing track of the music as I went…I think it would’ve been too difficult to even contemplate.
Yet Campbell could still play his guitar at times with a fire and passion that was astonishing.
The last thing that went for him was his music. It was imprinted on his brain and soul in such a way that while he started to lose language, he could still sing — and sing with feeling.
His youngest three children joined him on that tour, as did his wife. They all did their best to support their father, and helped to create some magical memories for not only themselves and their family, but for the concertgoers as well.
I’ll Be Me is both a heartwarming story of courage and redemption along with extraordinary musicianship, and a heartbreaking story as Campbell starts to fumble and lose control of his final gift.
I was very moved by I’ll Be Me. And I hope that this movie, now that it’s been shown on CNN, will somehow help to spur research into Alzheimer’s disease.
Because not everyone will be as lucky as Glen Campbell, and still be able to make beautiful music into the twilight of his life, nor will they be as fortunate to have an understanding and empathetic family around them.
We need to find a cure for this terrible disease. So our musicians, like Glen Campbell, can keep doing what they love until the day they die — rather than be placed in an extended-care memory facility (as Campbell apparently now is, no doubt because that’s where he needs to be).
Folks, I’m a very proud American today.
The United States Supreme Court said today that same-sex (LGBT) couples can legally marry anywhere in the United States. And that their marriages should be recognized — wait for it — in all 50 states (and the various U.S. possessions, like Guam and Puerto Rico).
This is a win for marriage equality advocates everywhere, yes. But to be honest, it’s also a win for honest fairness.
Look. I got married in Illinois, years ago. But when I moved to California, then to Iowa, no one cared where my marriage had been performed because my husband and I were not a LGBT couple.
Yet if a same-sex couple had married in California, and then moved to Michigan, say, that same-sex couple’s marriage wouldn’t have been recognized in Michigan. Until today.
And you know that’s not right.
Personally, I’m glad that Anthony Kennedy sided with the four liberal justices of the Supreme Court on this one. Because what was going on just wasn’t fair; it was discriminatory toward LGBT couples, and there was no excuse for it.
If you can excuse an anecdote here — my late husband Michael and I wondered, not long before he died, when the United States would recognize that LGBT weddings were just like any other weddings. We both thought, back in 2004, that it would probably take at least fifty years for the country to understand that LGBT people are just like anyone else, and deserve the same rights and privileges afforded to us as a more “traditional” male-female marriage.
And now, finally, that day has come.
(Boy, am I glad to be wrong on this one!)