My first post — about me. (aka “Why this blog, and why now?”)
Hello, strange new world and all the creatures in it.
I’d never set out to write this blog. It seemed rather hubristic, to my mind; maybe I’m crazy, but a writer with only five published fiction/poetry credits doesn’t seem to be one worthy of following, if you catch my drift. And even if you add in all the non-fiction stuff I did for my college newspapers, the op-eds and the arts and entertainment articles, not to mention the occasional sports or general purpose article . . . well, it still doesn’t a professional writer make, if you understand my tangled syntax.
I trained in music, but I always wrote. I’ve been writing since at least the age of nine or so, and I’ve always enjoyed it. Mostly I wrote science fiction or fantasy, too, as that’s what I’ve most enjoyed reading over the years . . . at any rate, that’s what I’m still writing and no doubt will be writing until Hell freezes over.
So, I’m a writer, I’ve been an editor for the Written Word (an online magazine, now either defunct or on hiatus, depending on how upbeat I’m feeling today) and Masterpiece Comics, and I’ve run the online writing community Barfly_Slush (a Yahoo Group) for seven years. I also am an active participant at the Forward Motion Writers group (www.fmwriters.com), and have been for (you guessed it) seven years.
As for me, personally? You could call me the “living half of a husband-wife writer team,” as I’ve done my best to keep my late husband Michael’s writing alive as well as my own. Or you could call me “outrageously persistent,” “seriously, dementedly persistent,” or if you’re not into unusual and unnecessary adjectives, the word “persistent” will probably do well enough for most practical purposes.
As an example chosen not necessarily at random — my novel, ELFY, was completed in 2003, edited in ’03 and ’04, then . . . the worst happened. My husband Michael passed away suddenly, and my world collapsed.
Luckily, I still had his work, and mine, left behind, which helped me to focus. I kept writing, if not always submitting; I got the job at Masterpiece Comics in ’05 (a limited, part-time gig, but it helped me learn how to edit with dispatch), sold a story in ’05 (one of Michael’s I helped to finish), sold a poem in ’06, sold another story in ’07 (one Michael and I had completed together before his passing), then picked up the editing gig at the Written Word after all of this, in late ’07. And then, after a long drought (where I was submitting and writing, but not garnering much except a few “we like your writing, Barb, but we don’t care for this overmuch” comments — those are good, but don’t put bread on the table), I sold another poem in late ’09.
I’ve done my best to make adversity into something that’ll work for me — as I lost my part-time job in 2009, and haven’t been able to find one since (though I have been looking!), I have re-entered the world of submitting ELFY to agents, while making good progress on AN ELFY ABROAD (direct sequel to ELFY) and KEISHA’S VOW (ELFY prequel set in 1954), all in between scouring newspapers and the Web for job postings.
You might be asking, “So, Barb, how does this all relate to this new blog?” I’m getting there — really.
What I’ve found in the past year or so is that agents seem to really be interested in authors, even mostly-unknown ones, having blogs.
I don’t know why this is — you’d think there’s more than enough verbiage cluttering up the Web as it is, without having even more of it — but I suppose it has to do with agents wanting to see a new author behave and act in as close to professional of a manner as is possible to devise. (If not, it’s just another hoop to jump through. And now that I’ve done so, let the laughter commence.)
At any rate — I write. I edit. I comment. And I am a keen observer of the world and all the creatures in it, around it, and perhaps surrounding it — or at least those I might wish could surround it — which is why this blog, and why now.
Barb Caffrey, who writes the Elfyverse (and all points in between)