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.
Folks, I needed to take time out from packing, sorting, and moving-type stuff to tell you something I’ve found to enrich my life immensely.
What is it? The need to constantly, constantly challenge your own assumptions.
“But why, Barb?” you ask.
We live in an increasingly polarized world that seems to be filled with echo chambers.Many people only associate with those who agree with every single thing they say — whether it’s online or offline, that means their own assumptions are not getting challenged.
And that’s not a good thing.
You see, if you don’t challenge your own assumptions now and again, you’re being intellectually lazy. And that’s boring…plus, it shows that you haven’t thought everything through. That may lead to problems later on that could be exploited by others for their own gain, or at least for your own detriment.
That could be embarrassing. At best.
So that’s one reason to start challenging yourself and your assumptions.
Another reason is that if you are willing to challenge your own assumptions, you may be able to have friends with different beliefs than your own. Then, you can learn from them — maybe they learn from you, too? — and you become a wiser, kinder, and better person overall. (Hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
So, that’s why I try every day to challenge at least a few of my assumptions…I may stay with the ones I had originally, or I may not, but either way, I’m not living an intellectually lazy life.
And that matters.
Anyway, back to moving work, already in progress…
Folks, I continue to struggle with the housing crisis. But I wanted to make sure I wrote a blog today, as it’s Monday…we all need inspiration, and Monday seems to be the best day to put something up that might help someone, somewhere.
“But why, Barb, do you say I should be my best self? How is that inspirational in any way?” you ask.
Um, because being your best self isn’t always easy. Things happen, like my current housing crisis, that can throw you off your game. That makes it harder for you to tap into your creativity, and harder to do anything positive, because it doesn’t seem to matter much anyway.
But it truly does.
When you think your creativity doesn’t matter is precisely when it does. It’s your way of striking back against the darkness in your life. Against the stuff that’s going wrong, that maybe you can’t fix, that maybe you can’t even fathom…it’s your way of saying, “Hey, universe, you may have me by the throat, but you can’t break me.”
Look, folks. The courage to create is often tied up in two things: being willing to look stupid for a teensy bit (in order to get something important out), and knowing that you might well fail time and time again (because only in failure can you find your way through to success). These two things seem antithetical to creativity, but for some reason, they can also be a catalyst if you work it just right.
Yes, it’s paradoxical, that you can use these two things to fuel your creativity and fuel yourself during difficult and stressful times. But it works…it allows you to keep trying, because you aren’t as afraid to look stupid. And it allows you to keep working hard, even knowing that your first, second, third, or even sixty-first attempt might not be what you want…but the sixty-second just might be.
The main thing I want to impress upon you, readers, is this: You have to keep trying. Whatever creative spark that is in you, you need to encourage it to flower. You can’t give up, just because times are hard and bad…you have to do whatever you can, even if it’s very small, even if it seems unimportant, because that’s your way of being your best self.
Or at least your best creative self.
Anyway, what do you do when you feel up against it, and need to create? (Watch cat GIFs?) I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Folks, I’m glad I can post something a little happier today.
During all this upheaval, I’ve continued to work on CHANGING FACES, and occasionally, other stories as I’ve had them. (CF is obviously the priority, though.) Sometimes, it’s slow-going. Other times, it flows out like water, and makes so much sense, I look at it and go, “Did I really write that?”
I think we all feel that way, as creative people. Whether you’re a writer, or a musician, or a cake-baker, or any other creative pursuit, there are times when creation is difficult. And there are times when it seemingly comes as easy as breathing.
Right now, I’m dealing with a lot of stress. Yet I must write, and I must finish CF as fast as I can, but also as well as I can. A hasty effort after all this time and energy put in would waste what I’ve done already.
I know what I need to do, you see. These stressful times may slow me up, but damn it, they’re not going to stop me.
So, last night I worked on chapters 46 and 47. And I’m proud of that, as it’s not easy to believe in something better right now…but I did it, and I’m glad.
As for how others get through stressful times in their lives but still write, I don’t know. In the past, I’ve written prose notes (what I think is going on with the story, without dialogue) if I have nothing else, just to make progress; I’ve also looked at the work-in-progress and meditated on what I’ve already done, to remind me that I don’t have to give in to the fear that the stress will keep me from completing my work in a timely fashion.
And sometimes, I go back and read other things I’ve written, just to remind myself I have a long baseline. I’ve created before and will create again, and just because I have an off night or a series of off nights, that does not at all mean I’m done and can’t do anything else, ever. (That is melodrama, and I need to stop that, cold.)
If anyone else has any tips for writing while under great stress, though, I’d love to hear ’em!
Folks, I really didn’t want to write this blog. But things have gone sour, again…and my blogging is likely to be interrupted for a few days or weeks, so I figured I’d explain why.
As I said months ago, my housing situation went critical. I can’t fully explain this because it’s not my story to tell; all I can tell you is that I knew, at that time, I’d not have much longer where I was.
That was back in April, and I’m still in the same place. It was like being in limbo, and it certainly slowed up my creative efforts. But I have been warm, and safe, and with my dogs.
Now, the housing situation is about to be radically different. I will be put out of my home of the last five years within the next seven to ten days, as something called a “writ of assistance” has been requested. Once that’s executed, I will be put out of this situation, and am not sure what will happen afterward.
For a time, I know I will go to my father’s house. But long-term, that is likely to drive him and I both nuts. I won’t be able to bring the dogs, and that worries me greatly, because I don’t know what will happen to them — and they’re good dogs. They don’t deserve this uncertainty.
And that doesn’t resolve the rest of the situation, that I can’t explain, that I wish I could explain (except it’s not my story to tell, yada yada yada).
Over the past six months, I’ve had various friends ask me why I haven’t left already when things have been so up in the air. It has to do with caring about my family, and wanting to make sure they are safe and happy and well. I’ve also been worried about the dogs. One of my friends told me a long time ago she could take me, but not the dogs; another can take one dog, if need be, but she has cats. A third friend lives in Canada and I’d not be able to bring any of the dogs there, if I could somehow miraculously get to him…this is a big, fat, freakin’, unruly mess. (Insert string of profanity here, if you feel the need. I know I certainly do. I’m just too polite to subject you to it.)
And, if I’m honest, a lot of why I haven’t left has to do with CHANGING FACES. I’m so close to finishing up that novel — the revised and final version, after editing — and I just didn’t want to have to uproot my entire life as moves tend to do if I could somehow hang on until the novel was finished.
I am about three chapters, perhaps less, from the end. But I don’t know if I can finish up what I need under all this stress. I’m having a number of unusual stress reactions already, and I have to be careful, or I’ll land in the hospital and I’ll be even slower to finish things up…dammit all.
Anyway, all I know is that it is likely I will be put out in the next seven to ten days. I can’t get a hard date as to when I will definitely be put out. I have already moved some stuff to my father’s across town, and will be moving more in the upcoming days as I’m able, but I remain worried.
If for some reason you feel the need to help me, I do have a Paypal account. Type Barb and Caffrey together (as all one word, lowercase) AT Yahoo DOT com (take out the at and dot, of course), if you want to help at all with the frustrations and vexations of this move. Because in some ways, this couldn’t happen at a worse time…honestly.
Folks, a while back I wrote a guest post for Chris the Story-Reading Ape’s busy blog that I re-blogged here called “What is Military Science Fiction, Anyway?” I enjoyed writing that, and thought it might spark a conversation…and, fortunately, it has.
Writer Martin D. Hall (who often writes as M.D. Hall) wrote me a lovely essay, and sent it to me…so, for your Sunday delectation, here it is. Enjoy!
I read an interesting guest post here, entitled: “What is Military Science Fiction, Anyway?” As I explored its message, I thought about the nature of military science fiction. It occurred to me that most sci fi falls into “military”, regardless of whether the writer intends it. This can happen even when, at first sight, it isn’t a prime element, for example: “The Time Machine”, where our traveller ultimately encounters a military force of sorts. “2001” is set against a cold war backdrop. Our intrepid explorers are sent out, ostensibly, to seek contact with a sentient race, but isn’t it likely that those funding the expedition were seeking a military advantage? Once David Bowman metamorphoses into the ‘Star Child’, he returns to Earth, detonates an orbiting warhead, thereby de-escalating a global conflict; we’ll visit “3001” shortly.
In pondering the invasiveness of military elements throughout science fiction, I was like an archaeologist who unearths a first century Roman pot, I brushed away more loose soil, and there it was: the remains of a bronze age dagger. No, it wasn’t a real dagger, but my imagery might be apposite … I uncovered another question: what place does violence occupy in science fiction?
While I’m sure you will find examples of non-military science fiction, it’s hard to find non-violent science fiction … Not impossible, but rare. Invariably, the use of violence, or force, if you will, underpins most the genre, with some modern day readers demanding a quick hit, before their attention wanders. In the case of “2001” they get it when a sure sign of our hairy ancestor’s accelerated evolution – courtesy of the monolith – is to crush another hominid’s head with a club.
How is the violence most easily exploited? In a military scenario, of course. Naturally, for balance, there needs to be political intrigue, and character development within the military arc: the hardening of some characters and the softening of others; the blurring of lines demarcating good and evil; above all humour, but weaving through it all is the use, threat, or fear of violence.
Why is this? Perhaps it’s because, from the comfort of our computer chair/armchair/wheelchair/deckchair, we crave excitement from a safe distance. Like watching contact sports, we can enjoy them without personal risk. Unlike contact sports we can witness the destruction of starships, planetary systems, galaxies and even universes, before taking a break for a cup of coffee (or something a little stronger).
Is this a bad thing? Of course it isn’t and, unlike other genres, it’s highly unlikely that truth will mirror fiction – I know, Captain Kirk used a flip-top mobile phone, and yes, inconsiderate use of said phones leads to anger and, occasionally, violence, but give me a break!
I promised I would return to “3001”. Arthur C. Clarke had charted David Bowman’s rapid evolution into the ‘Star Child’ in “2001”. Yet, at the very end of this book, it’s the human remnant of this not-quite omnipotent being, together with the closer-to-human Hal who will form the bulwark against …? Surprise, surprise: the genocidal, albeit coldly reasoned, aggression of the deity-like beings who started the chain of events on an African plain three million years before. Even these farmers-of-the-Universe, portrayed as benign in “2001”, will ultimately resort to violence at some point beyond the end of this book.
What does all this say about us? It isn’t that we are bored by non-violence, merely that in certain genres, and science fiction is one, we expect violence. Going back to “Star Trek”, Roddenberry didn’t send his creations out to wreak havoc, but even when Kirk, et al, managed to avoid shooting or hitting anyone, a guest protagonist usually did – you can’t even exclude Tribbles because of the threat they posed if unrestrained.
Let me close with another imagining: an alternative reality version of Star Wars, Episode VI. In our reality, we have the ultimate villain – Palpatine – who comes to a violent end. Perhaps we needed to temper this by witnessing the redemption of throat-crusher Darth Vader, but only after we have observed him in the act of crushing throats, or Obi squishing.
The scene is set: over the course of the two earlier films, no one has died, no planets have been destroyed, and Vader hasn’t remodelled anyone’s windpipe. We are on the not-really Death Star for the final confrontation between Luke and Palpatine (with a non-violent Vader looking on):
Vader yawns and tries to scratch his head, but is non-aggressively frustrated by the helmet needed to: a) help him breathe, and b) provide that gloriously rich baritone … The helmet lends no visual aspect of dread, because it is coloured in a non-threatening pastel shade – I leave it to you to decide which shade.
Palpatine: “What do you suggest, young Jedi?”
Luke: “Perhaps we can chat about it over a cup of tea?”
Palpatine: “Earl Grey?”
Luke: “Of course, I’ll even throw in a slice of lemon.”
Palpatine: In an impeccable English accent touched with a soft Scottish burr, following a not-so-sinister chuckle: “No one, who is anyone, drinks Earl Grey with lemon.”
The two laugh, good-humouredly, while Vader pours the tea, and the credits roll to John Williams’ stirring theme.
Did that do it for you?
I didn’t think so.
Nope, that definitely wouldn’t have worked for me. And I can’t imagine audiences watching the two other movies, either, no matter how good the acting or how good the storytelling, if there was no action-adventure, considering the venue. Great post, Martin! Hope to have you back here, soon.
Folks, over the past week-plus, I’ve watched in horrified fascination as Donald Trump’s own words have come back to haunt him.
It’s appalling that someone as high-profile as Donald Trump, a nominee for the high office of President of the United States of America, would say things about trying to pick up a married woman, much less saying he could grab someone by her privates (by the use of another “p-word”) and no one would care, because he’s a celebrity. (This courtesy of the 2005 “hot mic” tape recorded during an Access Hollywood shoot years ago; the conversation was with AH’s then-anchor, Billy Bush.)
But it keeps getting worse. As woman after woman have come out to speak about how Donald Trump treated them years ago (all similar to what Trump’s words said, that Trump made moves without their consent and did not back off even when the women said, “Please stop” or worse), Mr. Trump’s response has basically been to shame the women who’ve made the accusations.
Before I go on, I will note that Donald Trump has not been convicted of any crimes. (Being an obnoxious boor is not a crime, after all.) However, I find it extremely disquieting that rather than saying, “I would not do that. I have daughters, and I’d never want anyone doing that to them,” Mr. Trump has made comments such as, “She’d not be my first choice” (during today’s speech in North Carolina, according to MSNBC), in order to try to discredit his most recent accuser.
Because comments like that make it sound like the only reason to sexually assault someone is because she is too attractive for the man to resist.
That’s absurd. So absurd, I am surprised I even have to comment on it, considering it’s 2016.
Mind, in case you’re wondering, this isn’t the only comment Mr. Trump has made along those lines by a mile. He’s talked about how thirty-five-year-old women are not worth his time; he’s called his own daughter, Ivanka, a “piece of ass;” and he’s bragged about cheating on his wives during marriages one and two.
Obviously, Mr. Trump sees women as commodities. Not as people. Or at least, in the past, he has…we can always hope he’s had a consciousness-raising since 2007 (the latest year any of the various women who say they’ve been victimized by Mr. Trump has reported).
Speaking about sexual assault in terms of women’s attractiveness alone is obnoxious. Rude. Disrespectful. Not to mention extremely inaccurate.
And saying that it shouldn’t take years for a woman to report what happened is also wrong.
The simple fact is, many women are disbelieved when they tell the Powers that Be about what’s happened to them.** They wait for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years or even decades, because they expect they won’t be believed.
And most of the time, unfortunately, their first instincts have been correct.
I sincerely hope that Mr. Trump did not do anything to any of these women. And that his “locker-room talk” (as he himself has characterized his extremely vulgar words during that 2005 tape) was just that: talk.
But I remain extremely upset by all of this. And I know I’m not alone.
**Note: I know I was, years ago. I was nineteen. No one wanted to believe it, especially during a high-profile summer internship. (Yes, I did report it within a couple of weeks…not that it did me any good whatsoever.)
Folks, one of my friends asked me something just now that I thought I should respond to, so here goes.
I was asked if I believed I could find love again. My answer is yes, I do think so.
At first, I thought it was completely impossible. Love is a once in a lifetime thing, and it’s so rare, its delicacy has to be savored while you have it.
But I’ve had twelve years to think, since my late husband Michael died. And here’s the conclusions I’ve come to…
First, I think every person, every soul, has something to offer that’s unique and distinct and different. So it’s possible to see that, and appreciate that, and try to see if a true connection can be made down the line.
Second, while no one else can be Michael, it’s possible that someone else can be so uniquely himself, so very special and wonderful in his own right, that I’d have to stand up and take notice.
I don’t want to shut down opportunities before they present themselves, mind. But these two thoughts are still quite new. I am trying to figure out what I can bring to the table with anyone else, while still continuing on as myself — the woman who loved Michael B. Caffrey to distraction, and who will always love him.
I hope that down the line, someone special will see what I can give. And what I can receive. And what is possible…maybe is more than I initially thought.
Honestly, I have no idea what will happen next. But I do know this: Michael would kick my butt from here to Kingdom Come if I didn’t try to live my life, enjoy whatever I can wring from it, and do whatever I can to become the best person I can.
So he’d not want me to shut myself off, as I have done. Which is why I’m trying to stay open to possibility, and to choice…even though it’s not easy for me.