Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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 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.

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

Carlos Gomez Not Traded; Brewers Nation Shakes its Head

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Carlos Gomez remains a Brewer.

This may not seem very surprising, if you weren’t following MLB Network last night. They, among others, had reported that the Milwaukee Brewers were about to trade Carlos Gomez to the New York Mets in exchange for pitcher Zack Wheeler and infielder Wilmer Flores. (Wheeler is on the disabled list with Tommy John surgery, and Flores is playing out of position at shortstop; he’s projected to be a power hitter in the major leagues, possibly at the third base position.) The deal was reported as all but done, pending physicals…

Then Sandy Alderson, GM of the Mets, said this: “The deal will not transpire.”

Huh?

After all that, there are now conflicting reports saying that the Mets did not like Carlos Gomez’s health issues of the past season. And that the Brewers didn’t like the extensive arm surgery Wheeler endured.

Whatever the truth is, the only thing this Brewers fan knows is that Gomez remains in a Brewers uniform. Which is, on balance, a good thing.

Look. I get annoyed sometimes with Gomez because of his baserunning blunders and his propensity to strike out. But he’s an outstanding outfielder, and his defense makes up for a lot.

This trade, from my perspective, made very little sense for two reasons.

First, if you trade Gomez and then trade Gerardo Parra (long rumored to be on his way out of town due to his contact being up at the end of the year), who is going to play center field?

I mean, look at who’s left on the team. You have Ryan Braun, Shane Peterson, and Khris Davis left. Braun is the fastest of them, but he’s not a center fielder and has been dealing with back spasms lately. Peterson is a decent left fielder who possibly would be better off at first base, long-term. And Davis, while he does have some speed in the outfield, cannot throw to save his life.

None of them are well-suited to playing center field. Which means the Brewers would either have to trade for someone, or they’d have to bring up the only pure center fielder in the Brewers organization: Logan Schafer.

And Schafer has had multiple opportunities to show he can hit major league pitching…and hasn’t managed to convince me or anyone else that he can.

Second, Zack Wheeler is on the DL and can’t help anyone for at least another full year. (I’m sure Brewers fans remember just how long it took Chris Capuano and Ben Sheets to recover from arm surgery; well, we’re looking at a similar time-frame for Wheeler.) Even if Wheeler comes back fully from his Tommy John procedure, he’ll have to relearn his arm mechanics and possibly have to reinvent himself as a pitcher. (Stephen Strasburg is struggling with doing just that right now, which shows that recovery from Tommy John is not as automatic as some make it out to be.)

So here’s where we stand, Brewers fans:

Carlos Gomez remains on the team, meaning Milwaukee continues to have a solid-to-better center fielder patrolling the outfield.

And both the Brewers and Mets have leaked conflicting information regarding the proposed trade, so no one’s completely sure exactly why this proposed trade was nixed.

What a mess.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 30, 2015 at 6:17 am

Five Star Treatment – To Survive the Maelstrom – by Barb Caffrey

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Barb Caffrey:

I’d meant to get this up a few days ago when the sale was still ongoing…but my computer upped and died.

(It took a few days for me to get back up and running, but here I am again.)

Thanks much to Sally Cronin, who let people know about “To Survive the Maelstrom” being out there — and about Pat Patterson’s wonderful review!

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

 five-star25

Today I am featuring a novella by Barb Caffrey who is also a prolific short story writer. She is offering the book for only 99cents until 27th July so hope you will take her up on that.

Maelstrom3

About the Novella

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?

The Review

A stand-alone story with bits of the past and the future sprinkled in; healing comes to a wounded warrior. By

View original 574 more words

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

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New Author Feature/Interview up at Nicholas Rossis’s Blog

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Just a brief, drive-by bloglet…

My newest author interview/feature is up at Nicholas Rossis’s busy blog. Nicholas said some very kind things about me, which I appreciated; in addition, he seems to understand just why I’ve worked so hard to keep at least some of Michael’s work alive.

Here’s a bit from that featured interview, where I talk about my favorite writers:

I enjoy Rosemary Edghill’s work because she can write anything. Whether it’s a mystery, a romance, science fiction, fantasy, anything at all, she tells a compelling and well-researched story.

I enjoy Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s work because she, too, can write anything. Her stories about Alfreda Sorenssen are inspired; they’re YA “frontier fiction,” and she predated the market for this by about fifteen years. Her first two in this series were written in the 1990s, I believe; her third was written last year. And her stories about Nuala, a world dealing with severe radiation issues and massive infertility among the population, are incredible.

I also truly enjoy Stephanie Osborn’s work. My goodness, can that woman write. She has a series out called the Displaced Detective, about Sherlock Holmes brought to the modern-day via the World of Myth hypothesis and some rather nifty hyperspatial physics. Because Stephanie is a former rocket scientist, she knows her science and she’s able to convey it to the layman in such a way that you don’t feel like you’re being talked down to – she even finds a way for Holmes to meet a woman who’s worthy of him! (And that’s not easy.)

There are many other authors I admire, including Andre Norton, Lois McMaster Bujold, Orson Scott Card, David Weber, David Drake, Ryk Spoor, Eric Flint… and I keep an eye on my fellow book reviewer Jason Cordova’s career, too.  Jason has a number of very solid short stories, plus he’s making a name for himself in the relatively new genre of kaiju.

And that doesn’t even go into the romance writers I read, or the nonfiction writers – there are so many, and I feel terrible that I have to name just a few.

And that doesn’t even name folks I will seek out and buy immediately, like Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Deborah J. Ross, Julia London, Elizabeth Moon…it’s really impossible for me to name every last writer I enjoy, so if I left your name off this list, please do not take it personally. (Oh, yes — how could I have forgotten Kate Paulk? My goodness, her book about Vlad the Impaler is wonderful, and she writes funny fantasy, too. Or Sarah A. Hoyt — yet another fine writer who didn’t immediately come to mind here, though I did mention I read her blog often and find it of immense value.)

Anyway, there’s some stuff in here you may not know about me. So please do go over to Nicholas’s blog, will you? And be sure to say “hi” — also, give his books a good, solid lookover and see if anything interests you! (Hint, hint: he has a new release out called INFINITE WATERS that contains a number of intriguing short stories that might just get you started.)

Don’t forget — Novella Promos Start #Today!

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As promised, folks, I have two novellas that are on discounted promotions starting today (I think at eight a.m. Pacific Daylight Time — don’t ask me why Kindle did this, ’cause I really don’t know) and ending on Monday morning at roughly the same time.

So for the next five days, you can get my novella “To Survive the Maelstrom” for just ninety-nine cents, and you can get my late husband Michael’s novella “A Dark and Stormy Night” for free.

(Yes, I said “free.”)

A quick check shows that “Dark and Stormy” is already available for free. But “Maelstrom” is still listing at $2.99 — since I did both at the same time, I find this bizarre. But hopefully within an hour, this will have corrected itself…

“But Barb,” you ask, “both of your names are on both stories. What’s going on there?”

Ah, you must be new to my blog.

But to answer this question: “A Dark and Stormy Night” was written by my late husband Michael before he died. I added about 1500 words to it to make it a legal collaboration, and sold it in 2007 to an online magazine (which was not archived). I sold it again to the now-defunct E-Quill Publishing in 2010, withdrew it from E-Quill in early 2012, and offered it again in 2013 independently as an e-book via Amazon Kindle. (Thus why I’m credited second, and also why I took an editing credit there.)

And before you ask again, I wrote “To Survive the Maelstrom” based off 2000 words of Michael’s about how Peter met his weremouse companion. But I knew there had to be more to that story, so I decided I had to write the story for myself. It is a true posthumous collaboration, but I wrote over three-quarters of the story, which is why I’m credited first.

Both are military science fiction stories, of a sort.

I say “of a sort” because “Dark and Stormy” deals with Ensign Joey Maverick’s “low-tech” sailing adventures while on leave before he ships out for space. (His low-tech sailing equals roughly late 20th Century or early 21st Century tech. So if you love sailing, you will not be thrown by anything in this novel despite it being a futuristic piece.) And “Maelstrom” deals with space marine Peter Welmsley’s struggles with PTSD after losing nearly everyone he cared about during the battle of Hunin, including his fiancée and best friend. (Peter does meet up with his weremouse companion, as Michael had envisioned, though I changed a few of the steps to get there.)

Anyway, I truly hope you will enjoy these stories! (Come back and let me know, OK?)

My Guest Post at Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s Blog Is Up…

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Folks, as promised, here’s the link to the guest post I did for Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s very busy blog. Here’s a bit from that blog post, to whet your interest:

So I wrote for my graduate collegiate newspaper as well, the Daily Nebraskan. I wrote more poetry. And I started, haltingly, writing a bodyswitch story I called CHANGING FACES; it quickly morphed into a transgender romance, with aliens who may as well be angels…I’d anticipated the market about fourteen years too early. (Quite literally, as the story will be coming out later this year…but I digress.)

Something good happened while I was writing this first draft. I met my husband Michael, who was already an accomplished writer and editor. He loved what he saw of CHANGING FACES, and he was encouraging. I was making all sorts of mistakes in fiction – you name it, I probably made it. But he gave me excellent feedback (not all of it was positive, but all of it was constructive), and I learned.

I also fell in love with him, which changed me as a writer. It gave me depth, and resonance, and made me believe love was possible. (After two failed marriages behind me, I’d kind of lost sight of all that.) And because Michael and I laughed often, I wanted to make other people laugh, too…so I wrote a huge cross-genre book called ELFY. (And I do mean cross-genre: it’s young adult comic fantasy/mystery/romance with alternate universes and Shakespearean allusions. Say that five times fast.)

Now, if I had this to write over again, I’d say “college newspaper” rather than collegiate. (Ah, Editor Voice never shuts up.) But otherwise, I’m happy with what I said here.

Because Chris likes a different sort of approach than other guest blogs, I tried to give his audience an introduction to who I am along with what I do. I found it very difficult to do this; as I said at the top of this blog post, I’d rather hide behind my saxophone than talk about myself (at least in this way).

It’s far, far easier for me to talk about ideas. Things that matter to me. Or better yet, the people who have mattered most to me — my husband Michael, and my best friend Jeff Wilson first among them.

It’s very hard to explain why I do anything, other than that I find it important and I hope others will like what I’m doing as well.

Anyway, I do hope you’ll enjoy my guest blog over at Chris’s busy web establishment. Let me know what you think.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm

A Quick Wednesday Round-up

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Folks, I’m busy writing and editing. Plus, I’m working on a book review for Thursday and perhaps another one for Saturday…lots to get done, and very little time to do it in.

So I figured I’d give you a quick, “drive-by” blog, just to give you an idea of what I’m up to this week.

I’m working right now on a short story plus the rewrite of CHANGING FACES, plus I have two edits in train. (One will finish by the end of this week. The other I hope will finish the second pass by the end of this week; it’s for a relatively new writer, so I agreed to do three passes for him. Most professional editors tend to do two.)

But I have some exciting news…want to know what it is?

OK, I’ll tell you.

Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s blog is going to feature a guest blog, from me, sometime tomorrow. As Chris is a few hours ahead of me, time-wise, I can’t tell for certain when my guest blog will show up. But once it does, I’ll skedaddle and get something up over here, so you all can meander over and read it.

What’s it about? Well, Chris’s website is a little different from other blogs, in that Chris wants you to introduce yourself as if you’re speaking to a room where you know not one, single soul. So I called my piece “An Intro to Barb Caffrey,” figuring that might make some sense…that means most of you will know everything there, but maybe the way I’m putting it will still intrigue you?

For the record, it’s because I’m going to be featured at Chris’s blog that I decided to put “A Dark and Stormy Night” up as a free e-book for five days starting on the 23rd (tomorrow), and it’s also why I decided to drop the price of “To Survive the Maelstrom” to ninety-nine cents for five days, starting again on the 23rd. Chris’s blog is very well-read, so maybe I’ll find some new readers.

In addition, Nicholas Rossis asked me to do a guest blog for him as well. I’m not exactly sure when this will come out. But when it does, of course I will let you know about it, soonest…as always.

Aside from that, the Racine Concert Band will be playing again on Sunday out at the Racine Zoo, and it’s absolutely free (don’t you just love that word, free?) If you’re anywhere within reasonable driving distance, do come and check us out.

So that’s about it.

Have a great rest of your week, folks!

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 22, 2015 at 6:23 am

Book Promotions Coming from July 23 to July 27, 2015

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Before I forget — and I’ve got so much going on right now, that’s a real possibility! — I will have two book promotions going on starting on July 23 and ending on July 27, 2015.

Maelstrom3First, I’ve put my military SF story “To Survive the Maelstrom” on a ninety-nine cents deal. (It’s normally priced at $2.99.) It is set in my late husband Michael’s Atlantean Union universe, and thus he is credited second.

What is “To Survive the Maelstrom” about, you ask?

Here’s the blurb:

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?

Next, I’ve decided to offer Michael’s “A Dark and Stormy Night” story for free during July 23 to July 27, 2015.

Barb1-v2What’s “A Dark and Stormy Night” about, you ask?

Here’s the blurb:

Joey Maverick, a young Ensign in the Atlantean Union, takes part in a low-tech sailing regatta right before he’s supposed to ship out for space. A storm hits, causing Maverick to take command of his ship and mount a rescue mission. Along the way he picks up stranded nurse Belinda Simpson, along with many others. Sparks fly while the tension mounts . . . what will be the outcome of this dark and stormy night?

Note that both are novellas. I added about a thousand, maybe 1500 words to finish off “A Dark and Stormy Night,” but it is substantially Michael’s story.

Anyway, I figured I’d give you all a heads-up about these book promotions — otherwise, why bother running them? — and now, I have.

Enjoy your Monday, folks!

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 20, 2015 at 6:17 am

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