Folks, I’m very happy to be able to finally report that my second novel — and the second novel in the Elfy duology — A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE has been released. It’s available right now at Amazon and OmniLit…the latter will be most useful if you need an e-pub version of the file.
Edited to add: Barnes and Noble link is now live as well. Now returning you to your regularly scheduled post…
If you have never seen anything at all about the Elfyverse — or read book one in the Elfy duology, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE — this little blurb may help you what’s going on:
Young Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly-human teenage girlfriend, are in deep trouble. Bruno’s Elfy mentor Roberto the Wise is about to be sacrificed by a Dark Elf, and Sarah’s parents have decided to help the Elf rather than the Elfy. Things look bleak and are getting worse by the minute, but Bruno and Sarah have a number of allies — human, Elfy, and ghosts — that the Dark Elf can’t possibly expect. Can young love, desperation, and great unexpected power win out despite it all?
And here’s a short excerpt — note, it first appeared here, as part of the Marketing for Romance Writers Book Hooks blog hop:
Bruno took Sarah’s hand and led her back outside. He looked with his mage senses, and felt nothing; no Elfy magic, no Human magic, and as far as he could tell, no Elf magic, Dark or Bright.
He put up a light shield that should help conceal their voices, and decided it was safe enough to talk for a bit.
“Tomorrow is Ba’altinne, Sarah.” Bruno rubbed his fingers through his hair and tried not to look too hard at Sarah. Goddess, she was beautiful. But he had to stay on topic. “That’s your May Day. Tomorrow.” He shook his head and tried not to frown. “How can we get everything together in time to stop Dennis the Dark Elf?”
“I have faith in you,” she said. Her eyes darkened. Bruno felt as if he were falling, before she gently brushed her lips against his.
————————— End Excerpt ————————————-
If this has intrigued you (and of course I hope it has), but you aren’t sure you will like my book yet, I also have three sample chapters available at Twilight Times Books’ website — here’s the link for that: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ElfyinBigTrouble_ch1.html
A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE continues to make me laugh. I’ve enjoyed writing about Bruno, Sarah, Reverend Samuel and his family, Lady Keisha, even Dennis the Dark Elf…and I hope to write more about them, ’cause I have a hunch their stories are not over.
At any rate, most of you know the labor of love that kept me working on Elfy for years. I’m ecstatic that both halves of my novel have now been published, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.
Anyway, both novels are available now, and both are priced for the moment at ninety-nine cents as e-books. So what are you waiting for? Go grab a copy — or copies — today! (And be sure to tell your friends. ‘Cause, really…how can you go wrong at ninety-nine cents?)
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 over 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 first 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.
Too many people get caught up in conspicuous consumption on Valentine’s Day, because commercials and books and movies and nearly every possible thing says, “You must buy a whole lot of unnecessary things, or your partner won’t know you love them!” Even if you walk into a grocery store, there will be reminders that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so have you bought your cake/roses/card/fill-in-the-blank yet? (The most inventive one I’ve seen around here was over at Festival Foods in Mount Pleasant, where they’re offering a Valentine’s Day dinner, catered, that you can pick up for something like $42. That might actually be useful, and didn’t bother me…but I can see where it might bother someone who feels pressured to do something for Valentine’s Day.)
The thing is, as I’ve said before, Valentine’s Day is not for conspicuous consumption. It is for love. But somehow, in our consumer-driven society, we’ve gotten it into our heads that the only way to love someone is to buy him or her a whole lot of stuff…and that’s just not right.
Let me give you a few examples.
The best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had was in 2003. Why was it so good? Well, Michael was with me, then, and the two of us had a great and quiet dinner at home, watched some of his favorite “Danger Mouse” videos (Michael loved them, and I enjoyed ’em, too — mostly because I liked seeing how he reacted to them), and then retired to “none of your business land.”
Note that this didn’t cost us anything. We already had the “Danger Mouse” videos. We already had the food. We already had anything else we needed in the house…we didn’t need roses, or wine, or fancy chocolates, or even sushi (something Michael and I both enjoyed, and I continue to appreciate), because we had each other and that’s what counted.
And my second favorite Valentine’s Day was in 2004. Michael and I had just moved from San Francisco to Iowa, and were living in a motel. The move had been stressful and we were close to flat broke, and finding work was a challenge that we hadn’t expected.
So, what did Michael do? This time, we went to a scenic overlook outside Davenport on I-80 with a couple of sub sandwiches, some soda, and sat and talked. It was the middle of winter, but I didn’t feel cold…and I don’t think he did, either. We felt the world was full of possibilities, because we were with each another…and I was touched that Michael remembered I liked spicy-hot peppers on my sub (something he wouldn’t touch because of long-term stomach distress).
You see, if a guy remembers what you like, that is sexy to a woman. Michael knew that.
Now, what did I do for these Valentine’s Day outings? (Maybe you’re asking this, and it’s a valid question.) Mostly, I was there and fully in the moment…yes, I’d asked Michael what he wanted on both days, and I’d actually tried to cook for him in 2003, but he wasn’t having it. (Mostly, Michael cooked for us, because he enjoyed it. And besides, he said I’d done too much for people as it was, over the years; now it was time someone did something for me.) I did suggest the “Danger Mouse” videos in 2003, and I probably suggested going out for subs in 2004…but for the most part, Michael made those outings happen.
So, to sum up…the important thing about Valentine’s Day, or any day, is for your partner to know that he or she is loved. Spending large amounts of money on a Pajamagram or a Vermont teddy bear or fancy chocolates (much though I enjoy that) is not necessary. Showing you care, that you pay attention, that you know what your partner likes…listening to him/her speak and asking intelligent questions (or giving intelligent answers)…being fully in that moment with him/her, with your cell phones/tablets off and your attention undivided…well, those are by far the best gifts you can give.
Don’t let the “must spend big money NOW!” narrative of the commercials blind you to this, OK?
Folks, it’s been a while since I was able to announce something fun for one of my friends, but I’m happy to do so tonight.
As some of you might know, Loren K. Jones has been a friend of mine for many years now; he knew my husband Michael well, though by long-distance, and Michael edited for Loren. (I have also edited books and stories for Loren since Michael’s passing.)
Now, Loren’s first novel for Twilight Times Books, INADVERTENT ADVENTURES — a funny military SF adventure — is now available for purchase at Amazon. And for a week or so as an introductory deal, it’ll be available for only ninety-nine cents. (Yes, I grabbed a copy right away. I have no shame.) It will also be available via OmniLit and Barnes and Noble within a day or so.
Loren’s a fine writer, and I’m glad to let you all know his latest novel is available…especially as many of his other works are currently out of print. (Don’t worry; I asked him about this recently, and he told me he’s working on bringing them back. And if INADVERTENT ADVENTURES does as well as I’m hoping, maybe that’ll be sooner rather than later.)
This is a big deal for Loren, and I’m very happy to support him and his efforts.
So, please do take a gander at Loren’s novel — hey, it’s only ninety-nine cents right now, so how could you go wrong? — and then come back and let me know what you think.
Folks, it’s no secret that I’m looking for more readers for my series about Bruno the Elfy and his mostly-human teenage girlfriend, Sarah. I’ve tried a number of things to get the word out about my writing, with mixed success…and sometimes, that makes me quite frustrated.
That said, I’ve heard some great things about WattPad, especially for urban fantasy authors. And after checking out the site, I decided to upload my first chapter of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE there, in the hopes it might garner a few reads, comments, and maybe even some reviews or sales down the road.
Now, why did I pick this novel rather than AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE to start with? I figured it might be an easier “get,” if that makes sense, because it’s obvious from the start that Bruno and Sarah are young, they are in love, and they are in a huge amount of trouble. For a young adult urban fantasy reader, that’s most of what they either want or need to see (along with the magical component, which both Bruno and Sarah have in spades).
Note that I discussed various methods of promotion with my publisher, Lida Quillen, months ago, and Lida assured me that anything I did was fine with her.
That’s why I posted the first chapter of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE at WattPad today. (Go take a look if you don’t believe me.)
So, for the next three weeks, I’m going to post my sample chapters. They are already up at the Twilight Times Books website, so if you’ve come to my blog looking for more of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, please go there forthwith and read the rest right now…and if that intrigues you, please go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or OmniLit and get yourself a copy of A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE today.
Happy weekend, folks!
Folks, over the past few days, I’ve been working on CHANGING FACES (amidst some work on edits). This isn’t easy, as I’d hoped to be done by now…as nearly every regular reader of my blog probably knows.
However, I’m in it for the long haul. Which means I’m going to keep going, keep striving, keep thinking, and keep working, for as long as it takes.
Do I have moments where I wonder what I’m doing? Of course I do.
Do I wonder if all this effort is going to matter in the end? Of course I do.
Still, I have to keep doing it…or I won’t be me.
I’m also reminded of something my late husband Michael told me about his own writing. We were talking about fame, and fortune, and whether or not we’d ever find that as writers–cynics that we were, we figured it probably wasn’t ever going to happen.
Then he said something rather surprising. He told me, “The universe knows what I’ve done. I’m satisfied with that.”
I figured this was the Zen Buddhist in him, at the time. But since his passing, I’ve often wondered about this.
Do we create merely out of ego? Or do we create because we must, or we won’t be ourselves? And does it matter to the universe that we were here, that we did our best, that we tried to create something rather than just take up space to no purpose?
I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know that my husband was a wise man. And I want to believe he was right, even though he didn’t get enough time to finish his stories the way he wanted.
So…I’m in it for the long haul. I will persist, and I will keep trying as hard as I can, as long as I can, and work as much as I can to finish CHANGING FACES and make it the book I know it can be.
Because that’s what matters to me, and I hope eventually it may matter to the universe as well.
Folks, yesterday I reviewed Lois McMaster Bujold’s GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN over at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always**). I enjoyed Bujold’s newest novel, the latest in her long-running Vorkosigan Saga, and said so over at SBR.
But the longer I pondered Bujold’s excellent book, the more I felt I had to talk about…and some of my thoughts just wouldn’t fit into a well-ordered review no matter how hard I tried. Which is why I decided to come over here instead, to my personal blog, and try to discuss some of the issues Bujold raised.
Because I need to discuss GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN in depth, I’m likely to discuss spoilers. If you haven’t read this book yet, but you intend on doing so, you probably should not read this blog until you have. (On the other hand, if you have no intention of reading Bujold, but just want to read my thoughts about a widow well past fifty finding new love again, all unlooked for, here’s your opportunity to do so.)
One, final caveat: As this isn’t the first time Bujold has discussed the ramifications of death in the Vorkosigan Saga — far from it — long-time readers of my blog may notice certain themes I’ve discussed before with regards to Bujold.
Anyway, here are some of my further thoughts about GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN:
- Bujold is bang-on the mark when it comes to depicting a widow, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, who truly loved her husband, and has felt the depths of despair.
- Again, Bujold is bang-on the mark when it comes to how much widowhood has changed Cordelia. In some senses, Cordelia is much older, mentally, than she was when her beloved husband Aral was alive. This is due to grief, loss, and the frustration of no longer being able to be with her beloved husband. (Even in the far future, death can come suddenly and without warning — and thus it did for Aral.)
- Bujold continues to get it right while showcasing what a powerful woman does without her powerful husband at her side. Cordelia is too strong a person and too complex, besides, to allow grief to devour her. (But in some ways, it was a near thing.)
- I enjoyed the mature version of Oliver Jole, a character mostly seen in passing at a much younger age in THE VOR GAME. (At that time, Jole was a Lieutenant attached to Aral Vorkosigan’s staff.) He’s smart, has a similar background to Aral Vorkosigan and indeed knew Aral quite well in more than one sense…and yet, like Cordelia, he’s a man at loose ends. The fact that Jole is fifty and Cordelia is in her mid-seventies doesn’t matter one bit, because the pull between them — once acknowledged — is more than strong enough to deal with the age difference.
- I even understood why Cordelia, once she felt alive again, wanted to bring more children into the world. (Children, I must note, that are to be fathered by her dead husband Aral’s sperm, and her own long-ago frozen ova.) It’s a subconscious way of declaring that she has more to do…and Cordelia, throughout the Vorkosigan Saga, has always been a maternal figure. (Having only one biological child never did suit Cordelia too well, methinks.)
These were the major things I thought while I read GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN at least seven times prior to reviewing the book.
But you might be wondering why I put a LGBT tag on this book, especially if you haven’t gone to read my review yet. (If not, tsk, tsk!)
It’s simple. Oliver Jole is bisexual. He’s not been attracted to too many women in his life as he seems far more drawn to men. But he’s powerfully attracted to Cordelia, and he’s not sure why.
Some reviewers at Amazon and elsewhere have taken Bujold to task for making Jole bisexual instead of a gay man inexplicably attracted to a straight woman. I don’t see it that way, however, because sexuality is on a continuum. Some men are only attracted to women, while some other men are only attracted to men. And the rest are in the middle somewhere, actually attracted to both in a way that’s going to make itself be heard…that is just the way human biology works.
Or to put it another way that’s closer to home: My husband’s brother, Sam, was a proud gay man. But Michael told me that Sam dated two women that Michael was aware of, and Sam showed every indication of being attracted to these women…Michael told me this in a bemused voice, but said he would’ve been happy if Sam had found anyone he liked, regardless of gender identity or sexual preference. Because love matters more than the outward form.
That’s why I have no problem with Oliver Jole being attracted to Cordelia. It’s quite possible that Cordelia herself is so attractive, it doesn’t matter what the outside shape of her form is. But if Jole is attracted to her body as well as her mind, so what? (Either way, it works.)
I also don’t have a problem with Cordelia taking up with Oliver, either. She’s been widowed for three years when she starts a relationship up with Oliver (as I read this section, I thought, Oh, Cordelia. You think it’s bad after three years, don’t you? Try eleven.), so there’s been plenty of time for her to adjust to her new reality.
Ah, but I can hear you now, readers. “But Barb,” you protest. “It took you at least six years to even begin to deal with your husband’s untimely passing. Why is Cordelia different?”
There are a number of reasons why. First, Cordelia got many more years with her husband than I managed to get with mine. Second, Aral Vorkosigan was over eighty years old when he passed away, and my husband Michael was only forty-six. And third, Aral Vorkosigan had done everything he sought out to do…while my husband was still in the process of making a name for himself as a writer and editor, but didn’t get the chance to see most of his work come to fruition.
Plus, every widow and widower’s grief journey is different. Some people grieve for years, then remarry happily. (I’ve known a couple of younger widowers in this position.) Some grieve for a couple of years, then somehow set most of the worst signs of grief aside but don’t date. And some, like me, take years and years to process it all, then figure out a coping mechanism (mine, obviously, is in finishing up my husband’s writing, because I can’t bear to see it incomplete) so they can get on with life whether they ever date again or not.
Grief is a very individual thing, you see. But one thing is very obvious about grief that many reviewers of GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN are completely overlooking.
You see, grief changes you. It can’t help but do that. You are in so much pain, and you hurt so deeply, that you can’t be exactly the same after someone you dearly loved passes from this plane of existence.
So the comments on Amazon and elsewhere that go along the lines of, “But, but, Cordelia is a shadow of her former self! And that’s not right!” have it all wrong.
Yes, Cordelia, when she starts out Bujold’s newest novel, may be seen to be lesser than she used to be. Her beloved husband is dead, and she’s been without him for three years. That can’t help but to have marked her…now, all she can do is go on (which, I note, is what Aral would want her to do), and try to do the best she can with the time she has left — which in Bujold’s universe could be another forty years, for all Cordelia knows.
Bujold characterized widowhood correctly, folks. You might not like what being a widow has done to Cordelia — mind, if you asked Cordelia prior to the start of GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN, she’d probably tell you she doesn’t like it, either — but Cordelia’s feelings and demeanor are accurate. Much of Cordelia’s fire is now hidden, because the loss of Aral, her husband, is just that profound…and even though she’s quite happy to be with Oliver after a while, Oliver is still not Aral, so not all of Cordelia’s fire comes back.
I understand this, and I hope it’s not just because I, too, am a widow who lost a dearly beloved husband.
Anyway, GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN is an unabashed science fiction/romance hybrid. I loved it, and thought it had depth, passion, wit, warmth, style, and great characterization.
But I can see where some people really would rather not see Cordelia so diminished (at least, before Cordelia decides to live again — and that decision, I might add, comes before she realizes Oliver is interested in her, much less they do anything about that interest). Because pain is hard to bear, even in a book…and Bujold is one of the best in the business at conveying that pain, even indirectly as through the excessively analytical Cordelia.
**– Note: Shiny Book Review is now found at the domain shinybookreviews.com — with an -s after review — as our old domain name was bought by someone else. If you’re following SBR, please make sure to follow it as shinybookreviews with the -s. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog, already in progress…
Folks, over the last few days, there have been two inspirational stories that caught my eye. They are quiet stories of resolution, strength, grit, determination, and nerve, in two very different arenas — but they are both heartwarming in their own way.
First, and most recent — yesterday (January 26, 2016 to be exact), the FBI office in Milwaukee avoided a potential mass shooting. According to various local news reports (including this one from WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee), a twenty-three-year-old man, a United States citizen I will not name, wanted to shoot up the local Masonic Temple. He had apparently bragged that he wanted to kill at least thirty people — and he’d purchased weapons to that effect. All he needed now, he believed, were silencers…
Fortunately, the FBI swooped in as he was buying those (according to the news reports I heard), arrested this individual, and we did not have a mass shooting in Milwaukee.
This story makes me wonder just how many other mass shootings or acts of domestic terrorism are being averted by members of the police, the FBI, and other federal and state agencies. It also makes me grateful, because I’m glad that Southeastern Wisconsin didn’t have to deal with yet another shooting of this nature. (The mass shooting in the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek a few years ago was more than bad enough, thanks.)
So, that story covers man’s inhumanity to man (and how just this once, the good guys won). The next story is more a “man against himself” sort of deal, and is much quieter…but still is quite an interesting story in its own right.
You see, over the weekend, figure skater Adam Rippon finally did something he’d been trying to do for years: he won the United States Championships. While I don’t completely understand how Rippon, who’s a beautiful skater but did not fully complete a quad jump**, beat Max Aaron’s technical score, I do understand how Rippon beat Aaron artistically…there’s a style and grace to Rippon’s skating that I’ve long admired, and now that he’s fully matured into his ability, the sky is the limit.
But why do I care, precisely?
Aside from the fact that Adam Rippon is a brilliant skater, he’s also done something historic. He’s only the second man to win the United States national championships after telling the world openly that he is gay. (Rudy Galindo, in 1996, is the only other man to have done this.) Rippon is also only the third openly gay male figure skater to ever win a gold medal at the U.S. nationals — the third being Jeremy Abbott.***
Now, why wasn’t this covered much in the news? It’s simple: our society has changed so much in the past twenty years, it’s not considered major news any longer.
We’ve had twenty years of progress since Rudy Galindo won his U.S. skating championship in 1996. We’ve had many people in many sports come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. And society, while still not approving of it, no longer seems to condemn it, either.
When we’ve had men and women coming out as gay and lesbian in multiple sports, Rippon’s matter-of-fact disclosure (done via Skating magazine, if memory serves) doesn’t warrant more than a blip on the national radar.
That said, it was still an historic event. And as such, I am very pleased to discuss it — though I’m more pleased to discuss just how well Rippon did, and why, and how after all these years as a high-ranking skater, he’s finally reached the pinnacle of winning the U.S. National Championships.
Adam Rippon is a great figure skater, and is also a proud gay man. And all I can say is, “Good for you, Adam!” (Now go get ’em at Worlds.)
I think that’s wonderful.
Anyway, these were the two stories that riveted my attention, albeit not for the same reasons. But they both were heartwarming in their own way, which is why I wanted to discuss their impact.
I also wanted to remind everyone that just because a story seems quieter, that makes it no less important.
So, two unrelated things. Both great news of the quieter sort.
And I couldn’t be happier about them.
**Quick note: I do know Rippon attempted the quadruple Lutz. That’s the hardest quad jump there is. And he wasn’t far from landing it; I have the sense that he will land it, and soon, in a major championship event.
***Originally I had forgotten to mention Jeremy Abbott, which is ridiculous on my part as I’m a huge fan of his. (I blame the flu I’ve had the past few days for this glaring omission.) Abbott has acknowledged openly that he is gay, and basically said it should be no big deal.
I agree. But it’s still history in the making — and as such, I want to applaud him. (It’s not easy to be an openly LGBT athlete.)