Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Now Available in E-Book: A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE

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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…

ALittleElfyinBigTrouble_medIf 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 Baaltinne, 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?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

November 21, 2015 at 7:22 pm

Welcome to the Elfyverse…

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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.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 9, 2014 at 5:21 am

My novel, “An Elfy on the Loose,” Is Now Available

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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.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 12, 2014 at 12:34 am

An Overall Update (Mostly About “Changing Faces”)

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Folks, every so often, I like to give you an update as to what I’m doing and how well (or poorly) I’m doing it.

And as I’ve had numerous questions as to when CHANGING FACES will come out, I figured I’d best get something up to let you know what’s going on there.

As most of you know, CHANGING FACES was put into the Twilight Times Books Summer catalogue, so the assumption is that I will be able to get it out — at least in e-book — before September 20, 2016 (the very tail-end of summer). Progress has been slow, but steady…overall, I think I will get CF out by September 20, providing my publisher likes my final version, but it’s going to continue to take much thought, time, and energy in order to do this.

(Yes, that’s the main reason why I haven’t blogged much, and it’s definitely the major reason as to why I haven’t written a book review for Shiny Book Review in many months. But I digress.)

As for everything else…my living situation is exactly the same. (I call it “limbo.”) I still can’t talk much about it because much of this particular story is not mine to tell…but I’m looking into all options, in order to avoid imminent distress.

(Yes, this same situation has been going on for four solid months. No, it’s not easy for me to deal with. Yes, I wish I had better options than the ones currently on the table, or I’d have found a way out of this mess. But again, I digress.)

And I’ve edited another book this month, which I hope to tell you about in a few weeks.

As for my own, personal projects — I hope to have an independent Elfyverse novella, “Trouble with Elfs,” out in a couple of weeks. (I’ll talk more about that later.) I have been stalled out on the next Joey Maverick novella, tentatively titled “On Bubastis,” for over a year, but it’s still in the pipeline. I have started outlining a prequel novel, THE QUEST FOR COLUMBA, in my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s Columba Chronicles universe, but with everything else on my plate, it may not be ready until December — and that’s only if some of the other issues on the table resolve by then.

So, I continue to do the best I can. That, ultimately, is all I can do.

Anyway, blogs will probably continue to be slow, though I do have a couple of guest writers coming over in September to keep y’all amused. And I do hope to get a few book reviews done soon…but CHANGING FACES remains the priority.

Hope you all are doing well, and would enjoy hearing what you and yours are up to, if you feel like discussing it.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Celebrate Your Individuality Today

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We, as writers and creative types, often feel like no one pays attention to what we’re doing until a project is completely finished. At that point, someone can look at your book, story, poem, or whatever and say, “Ooohh! That’s great! Let me read it!”

(At least, we hope they’re going to say that, rather than just ignore that we created it in the first place. But I digress.)

Maybe it’s easier for some professions, such as athletes, to be celebrated and feted. Someone like Olympic gymnast Simone Biles of the United States, who can do amazing things on the balance beam or uneven parallel bars, can do something tangible, something that can be watched  and appreciated for years (on YouTube and elsewhere).

Even so, I’m guessing that other Olympic athletes, people whose names I don’t even remember, have gifts and talents of their own that are well worth celebrating.

After all, if you get to the Olympics, you’re an elite athlete. You have a special skill, or talent, that makes you one of the top athletes in the entire world, or you’d not be eligible for going to the Olympics at all.

That thought got me to thinking. (Even though thinking can be a dangerous pursuit, I think you should indulge my moment of madness.)

Every single person, whether we can see it or not, has something worth celebrating. There is some talent within that human being that is like nothing else; whether it’s for baking the perfect cake, writing the perfect melody, or coming up with just the right words to explain what’s happening in a scene for a book or play, that person has something unique inside himself or herself that has a great deal of worth and value.

Those other Olympians — the ones whose names I can’t remember — also have worth and value. (There was a Canadian gymnast, for example, who was performing a great routine on the balance beam until a major mistake. She kept going, but the sparkle was gone after the mistake…still, before that mistake, there was something there, something intangible but real, that showed exactly why she was at the Olympic Games this year in Rio.) Their skills matter, whether they’re skeet shooters or equestrians or runners; their training and sacrifice and hard work all matters, too.

I wish we could all put ourselves, just for one day, in the frame of reference of being akin to an elite athlete. We have something within ourselves that no one else has, that no one else can ever have, and providing we’re working on our skills, gifts, and talents, that’s all that anyone can ever ask from us — ourselves included.

So, what I’m hoping you’ll take away from today’s blog is this: You need to celebrate yourself, your individual gifts and talents and beliefs and desires, and appreciate yourself as much as you possibly can.

This world does not seem to care much, sometimes, about the enormous efforts you might put into your lives…but providing you do, it should all be worth it.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 18, 2016 at 7:57 am

Milwaukee Burning

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Folks, I started this evening by watching a Brewers game on TV, and am ending this evening watching live footage of at least three small businesses in Milwaukee go up in flames. There’s currently looting, burning, and much vandalism, and firefighters have had trouble getting to areas to fight the fires because of the crowds on the street.

I am horrified.

All of this started because earlier on Saturday, an officer stopped two people in a car. One went left, the other went right. The policeman followed one of them; that person ended up getting shot, and then later died. All of this was caught on camera, as the policeman was wearing a body camera.

A young man, who says he’s a relative (a brother) of the young man who was killed, says the police have failed to protect the people of Milwaukee, and that’s why the rioting, looting, and burning is going on. He says the police must do a better job keeping the peace — this is my best paraphrase, as I just heard the young man speak on CBS 58’s live newscast at approximately 1:45 AM CDT — and certainly seemed extremely upset.

Basically, this area is a powderkeg.

I live about twenty-five miles from the area that’s going up in flames right now. But I have to admit that I am deeply frightened.

When people become mobs, and mobs become violent, that is an extremely scary situation.

There are legitimate, long-standing problems in this area with poverty, underemployment/unemployment, a lack of education, and a lack of positive opportunities. I understand all of that, and agree fully that all of these problems must be addressed.

We need opportunities. We need positive change. We need help, and support, and healing.

Looting, rioting, and burning does not help any of that.

Now, fewer people will have jobs than before. What good does that do?

Some people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time will probably end up injured, perhaps may even die; how does that highlight economic inequality?

And at best, innocent people who probably don’t have much in the way of financial resources will lose their vehicles to the fires, as some already have. Lose their livelihoods, as a few already have. Or may even lose their homes.

How is this right or just?

Tonight, at least four small businesses and a bank branch have been either torched or seriously vandalized (to the point there may be no point to ever reopening the store that was once in that location). There’s much more looting going on than that; there’s much more destruction going on than that. I have seen traffic lights vandalized and bus stations completely demolished.

As the anchorwoman on WTMJ (channel 4 in Milwaukee) just said, these people are destroying their own neighborhoods. And that’s what is the saddest part of all.

My hope now is that we will somehow be able to stop the violence, stop the destruction, rebuild the businesses and heal the injured…but it’s extremely awful to see all of this happening.

My heart hurts.

Pray for Milwaukee, folks. Because I don’t know anything else that might do any good right now. (And when will the national news figure out that Milwaukee is burning? So far, they’re not paying any attention whatsoever…damn them. We’re not just flyover country!)

New Interview Is Up at Ally Shields’ Blog

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Folks, I’m very pleased to let you know that author Ally Shields — who writes a great deal of YA urban fantasy — had me over for a second “coffee chat” to discuss A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE and other interesting subjects. (The first “coffee chat,” which discussed AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, can be found here.)

Want to see just a bit of what I talked about? Here’s a teaser from the interview:

Ally:  What was the inspiration for the Elfy books?

BARB:  My inspiration comes from three places. One was my late husband Michael, who was one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever been around. The second was an anthology I read — I now can’t remember the name of it — where the editor said something to the effect that the stories in that antho wouldn’t be “the normal Elfie-welfie stuff.” And the third was a dream I had after that, where a short young man dressed all in black came to me and said, “It’s not like that!” and proceeded to tell me just what Elfy-welfie stuff was (yes, he insisted on the change from -ie to -y) and why he wanted no part of it, thanks.

I woke up from that dream, not long after my honeymoon, and told Michael about it. Rather than looking at me like I was an idiot, as I would assume most men would do, he said, “Well, then. You have to write about this, and figure out who this guy is, now, don’t you?” with a big smile on his face.

And I proceeded to do just that.

So, I hope you will go take a look at that, and maybe read it while enjoying a cup of coffee yourself, taken any way you like. (I think Ally would approve of that. I know I would.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 10, 2016 at 12:14 am

Listen Tomorrow to Dellani’s Tea Time for my First-Ever BlogTalkRadio Interview!

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Folks, it gives me great pleasure to announce that I’ll be a guest of author Dellani Oakes tomorrow (Monday, August 8, 2016 to be exact) during her Dellani’s Tea Time BogTalkRadio show, part of Red River Radio. It starts at 3 PM Central time and will run for two hours. Here’s a link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2016/08/08/red-river-radio-presents-dellanis-tea-time-with-two-barbaras-and-an-eric

Dellani and I met during the recent Christmas in July event, and she kindly invited me to be on her show. I’ll be the third of three guests; the other two are author Barbara Ehrentreu (I also met her at Christmas in July) and author Eric Williams.

Please make a note of this, and make sure to listen to the show! (Who knows. Maybe you’ll have a question for me, or Barbara, or Eric, or even Dellani herself?)

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 7, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Tough Day to be a Brewers Fan…Lucroy, Jeffress, Smith Traded

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Some days, it’s harder than others to be a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.

My team has never, in its forty-six year history, won the World Series. It’s won only one league championship, back in 1982 — when the team was still in the American League. It’s competed only a handful of times in the postseason, including 1981, 1982, and 1983 (banner years, truly), 2008, and 2011.

That’s been about it, for me as a Brewers fan.

So I’m used to futility. I’m used to frustration. And I’m used to the best players I’ve come to know and appreciate ending up on better teams around the league, as only a few players these days play their entire careers in Milwaukee or anywhere else.

Still, today is a worse day than many, because the Brewers have done something teams rarely do — on August 1, 2016, Milwaukee traded their starting catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, their closer, Jeremy Jeffress, and one of their best bullpen arms in Will Smith away to two different teams. Lucroy and Jeffress went to the Texas Rangers, while Smith went to the San Francisco Giants. And what did the Brewers get back? Prospects…with one exception. (And that one exception, former Giant catcher Andrew Susac, has played fewer than 100 games in the major leagues.)

Up until now, the Brewers have been better than expected. While not a world-beating team by any means, they haven’t been embarrassing, either. They’re currently five games over .500 while home at Miller Park, and their overall record is 47-56.

In fact, a few weeks ago, my father asked me, “How many more games do you think the Brewers can win?” My answer was between thirty-five and forty, as they’d been improving lately…providing Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun were not traded. (I would’ve included Jeremy Jeffress in that, but trading a closer at the deadline that’s still extremely productive is almost rarer than trading a starting catcher, so I have to admit it never crossed my mind that this would happen.)

This year has had some good surprises — pitcher Junior Guerra being one of those. So it’s obvious that David Stearns, the Brewers GM, can find talent…but so far, he doesn’t seem cognizant of the fact that fans have to have something on the field to root for.

I expected this to be a bad year, mind. I expected this to be a year where top prospect, shortstop Orlando Arcia, gained time in Triple-A, and where we’d have a shuttle going back and forth from Triple-A affiliate Colorado Springs and Milwaukee — and we have.

I did not expect this to be the year the Brewers traded away two impact players, literally minutes before the trade deadline, and then expect fans to be happy about it.

I’m sorry. I’m not into pain, so of course I’m unhappy with this move.

Do I understand it rationally? Sure.

Do I appreciate it emotionally? Oh, Hell no.

And will I watch games? Yes, but quite frankly, I won’t expect very much…especially with the new closer almost certainly to be Tyler Thornburg. (I like him, but is he closer material?) And with the new starting catcher being defensive whiz Martin Maldonado…

All I can say is this: Dammit. (In lieu of a blue streak of profanity that none of you need to hear, or see, or that I need to say.)

And, of course, I need to add this, specifically to Lucroy, Jeffress, and Smith: Good luck to all three of you. May your teams go to the playoffs, and may you enjoy excellent careers. And someday, remember the fans in Milwaukee, still waiting for our day in the sun…and that we remain in your corner.

 

A Flattering, Appreciative Comment Can Do Wonders, Sometimes…

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…whether it’s about you, personally, or, as in this case, about you as an editor.

(What, you thought I’d be talking about something else? For shame…the summer romance bug hasn’t bitten me in a long, long time. Though I suppose it’s still possible…but I digress. Back to the blog.)

Folks, I’m very happy to pass along the following link from an interview author Kayelle Allen did with authorsinterviews (a WordPress site). Kayelle kindly mentioned me, and especially my editing. She didn’t have to do that. The interview was all about her, and about her excellent book, BRINGER OF CHAOS: THE ORIGIN OF PIETAS.

In response to the interviewer’s question about “one entity who supported you outside of family members,” Kayelle discussed her friend, writer Houston Havens, and then said this:

And Barb Caffrey, my editor. She’s a brilliant writer in her own right, but she sees details that I would have missed. She suggests slight changes that make all the difference in a scene. Often, simply the change of structure in a sentence can put an all new slant on a scene. I recommend her as both author and editor.

Thank you, Kayelle!

As I have said before, if you haven’t read Kayelle’s book yet, you should. It’s a military SF/action-adventure/bromance like no other. I said once to Kayelle that Pietas starts out almost like the ultimate bad guy, but he’s not; he’s complex, multifaceted, multi-layered, and in some ways, very human despite his genetic engineering and overall socialization/conditioning. That he makes common cause with Six, a guy who amounts to a Special Forces operative in the far future — reanimated, ’cause hey, it’s SF and you can get away with that (and why not?) — and has to learn that at least one human being is worthy of his friendship is…startling. That Pietas can be friends and admit to vulnerability and loss and frustration like anyone else despite all of his abilities at regeneration and immortality is, in an odd way, extremely moving. Pietas wants no pity. But he does want, ultimately, your understanding…hoping there may be one other human out there like Six who’s worth one iota of his time.

Why his people, the Ultras, feel this way toward non-altered humans is for you to read. But I think you will want to read it, if you enjoy milSF/action-adventure.

Now, as to what I did for Kayelle as an editor? She’s a very accomplished writer who turned in a sparkling-clean manuscript. A copy-edit, in her case, was more, “How can I help you make this section over here stand out a little more?” or “Did you ever consider X instead of Y” in a different place. I tried to give her a few options, and did my best to smooth out the (very few) rough spots.

My whole editorial philosophy, in a nutshell, is to help my client strengthen his/her authentic voice. If I make every book I edit sound like my style, that is doing my clients a disservice. And if I make every book I edit look and sound like something I’ve already seen — even if it’s from a widely acknowledged SF/F master writer like Stephen R. Donaldson or Lois McMaster Bujold — that, too, is doing my clients a disservice.

The trick in editing is to figure out what your client’s voice is, then strengthen it. That’s what works best.

Yes, fix all the typos and the grammar and punctuation, address all the stylistic concerns**, all that. But make the book better. Don’t just put in the hours…figure out what that book’s story actually is, and enhance it.

Otherwise, what are you doing?

Now, considering I am an independent editor, I can only suggest the changes rather than require them. But I’m reasonably persuasive in my arguments, and usually can point to various books or stories of my own or others and say, “What I’d like you to consider is X. What you did is Y. Maybe you don’t want to do X, but can you do Z instead?”

Anyway. I appreciate what Kayelle said. She’s the third editorial client I’ve had who’s publicly said she appreciates my editing. (The others, by the way, are Chris Nuttall and Dora Machado.) Most of the time, editors are treated more like furniture than an essential part of what goes into a book, so I’ve appreciated it immensely when someone recommends me as an editor…it means more than I can possibly say.

———–

**Sample stylistic concern: “You give Doctor Evil ‘s title as ‘Doctor’ in one section, but ‘Dr.’ in another. I don’t care which one you pick, but for ease of reading, it’s usually better to pick only one.” (This seems picayune, but can make all the difference to a self-published novel in looking professional — or looking like you just fell off the turnip truck.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

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