Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for April 2014

Eric S. Brown and Jason Cordova’s “Kaiju Apocalypse” Is Out

with 2 comments

Folks, I mentioned this in my recent blog about the “Four Questions for the Writer” blog-hop, but why not mention it again?

You see, my friend Jason Cordova has a new novella out with Eric Brown called KAIJU APOCALYPSE. (Yes, Jason is the second-billed writer; Mr. Brown is first. The story is still quite interesting.) And it’s been described by one of Jason’s other friends at Facebook (then reprinted on Jason’s blog) thusly:

Hey folks, does your life not have enough excitement? <wah wah music plays> Do you long for the days of being able to pick up a book and lose yourself in the heroic struggles of man against 300 ft. tall alien/dragon/dinosaur things?  Was ‘Pacific Rim’ a religious experience?

Then what the hell are you waiting for? Click, don’t drag, over to your local Amazon website! You too can own your very own, extremely handy copy of Kaiju Apocalypse!

The friend’s comment is actually much longer than this, and it’s well worth reading, just for its sheer, joyous effervescence.

At any rate, walk, don’t run, to your computer and take a look at KAIJU APOCALYPSE. It may just intrigue you.

I know it definitely intrigued me.

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 30, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Received Results for Writers of the Future Contest, Quarter One

leave a comment »

Folks, a while back I told you all that I’d sent off my last-ever story to the Writers of the Future Contest. I was under the impression that once my novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, was out, I would be ineligible.

I was wrong.**

But as I didn’t know it, the submission I sent in for the first quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest’s 2014 cycle meant a great deal to me.

You see, I was looking over one of my husband Michael’s incomplete novels. This novel, MINIATURES, features a space Naval officer who had been a Marine non-com for over fifty years, and who was more or less shanghaied into the Navy against his wishes.***

And I’d always wanted to know more about this character, Peter . . . so I wrote a story around 2,000 words of Michael’s writing, to explain just what had happened to Peter that caused him to go from a job he loved — being a Marine Sergeant-Major — to a job he really didn’t want to do, but didn’t actively despise — a Naval Ensign.

Michael’s novel picks up after Peter has become a Naval officer, you see. But one of the earliest parts of his novel discusses just how Peter meets up with his were-mouse (a companion who’s far more than an animal; were-mice are more like an allied species) while Peter’s on leave. Michael’s novel had this pivotal scene in a place where Peter had finished his training but hadn’t yet been assigned to a ship . . . yet it didn’t seem to make sense that way.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized there was much more to the story. So I wrote about what Peter had done that was so heroic that he’d be given a prestigious medal and taken from the service he loved — the Marines — and put into the Navy, where he’d never wanted to be. And flying starships seemed to be a part of it, as Peter loved to fly and could fly anything you care to name . . . but the Marines hadn’t officially known about it.

Because Marines, most especially non-coms, do not fly starships. They are ground troops. Maybe a few of them fly shuttlecraft. But Peter does a lot more than that, and because he basically had to take charge after nearly all the officers were killed (and the few who weren’t were already in Sickbay), that’s why he got the medal. And that’s why he also bonded with his were-mouse, because his were-mouse companion also loves to fly.

And as Michael already had this — yes, he did have this pivotal bit of information already in the text — why not write a story that made much more out of these events?

So that’s exactly what I did, adding seven thousand words or so to the story to make it all work out.

The story’s name is “To Survive the Maelstrom.” It won an honorable mention in the first quarter of the Writers of the Future contest. This is the first time I’ve ever had that honor — and it’s also the first time Michael had that honor.

I’m glad that “To Survive the Maelstrom” won an honorable mention, as it does validate, at least in part, what I’m trying to do in keeping Michael’s work alive while doing my best to add to it.

I will be sending “To Survive the Maelstrom” out to the various markets, including the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (they’re always the first ones I try), and if F&SF doesn’t like it, I’ll try it at Lightspeed. And Analog. And Asimov’s . . . and, down the line, if I can’t interest anyone in it, I will put it up for sale myself.

Because I believe in this story. I believe in my husband’s writing, and my own, and I think the combination of the two of our talents made for an exceptional short story — something that’s more than the sum of its parts.

And yes . . . now that I know I’m still eligible (as it’s unlikely that AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE will sell 5,000 copies any time soon, much less before June 30, 2014, the next quarter’s deadline), I’m going to try another story at the Writers of the Future Contest.

Why not?

———

**AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is unlikely to sell 5,000 copies, most particularly not before June 30, 2014, the end of the next quarter for the Writers of the Future Contest. So because of that — and because my professional publications still stand at 1.5 (one co-written story with Michael, one alone) that have sold or will sell 5,000 copies — I am still eligible. Heard that from the Contest Administrator’s own e-mail, earlier this evening.

***BTW, the main reason MINIATURES hasn’t already been published is that I cannot find the final fourteen chapters. At all. Once I do, I will incorporate what I’ve written in “To Survive the Maelstrom” and just keep on running . . . Michael would approve.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 30, 2014 at 2:37 am

Blog-Hop Sunday Has Arrived! Four Questions for the Writer

with one comment

Well, as promised, it’s time for me to answer the Four Questions for the Writer Blog-hop, as I was tagged by both Katherine Eliska Kimbriel and Dina von Lowenkraft in this particular blog-hop.

Before I get into that, though, you might be asking yourself, “What’s a blog-hop?”

The quick answer to that is, “A post where one writer starts it, tags a bunch of other writers, and it continues around the Internet for a while.” It’s a great way to meet other writers, if you follow the blog-hop from beginning to end, and as all of us tend to put “Four Questions for the Writer” somewhere in our title, the hope is that people will find our answers down the line.

Anyway, let’s get started!

Question One: What are you working on?

Oh, this one’s easy. But it’s also complex, because I have more than one thing going at the same time.

First is the sequel to AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (or as I call it, the second half of ELFY, because originally the “Elfy duology” was just ELFY, the book). I am currently working on the final edit of that; once it’s done, it’ll be turned into my publisher, the copy-edits will start and we’ll be on our merry way toward another book. (Yay!)

Second is CHANGING FACES, which is a transgender fantasy romance with aliens that may as well be angels (perhaps they are; I’m not entirely sure myself!). It’s about two musicians, Allen and Elaine, and what happens to them when a heartfelt prayer is answered . . . but not the way anyone could possibly expect.

Third is a military science fiction action-adventure for Joey Maverick, set on the world of Bubastis. This story is set in my late husband Michael’s universe, and as this is a place he never went — but is a place the story “On Westmount Station” sets up nicely — I’ve been having to create Bubastis before I can set my adventure there.

Anyway, I am nearly done with all the setup work this new adventure requires, but I don’t yet have a title. I’ll keep you posted.

Fourth is the prequel to the Elfy duology, KEISHA’S VOW, with many of the same characters but set in 1954. (Obviously, Bruno and Sarah have not yet been born.) This deals with the birth of Sarah’s mother, and was started because I wanted to figure out just what went wrong with her to cause her do to and say many of the things that went on during the Elfy duology. (Most especially when I figured out that Jelena was still around, and had been a very good woman during her lifetime.) I still have this going in the back of my mind, but haven’t had time to work on it . . . it’s a similar story for AN ELFY ABROAD, which is the sequel to ELFY (now the Elfy duology).

And that doesn’t even mention the military science fiction adventure I’m writing called IN THE LINE OF DUTY . . . but it’s enough for all practical purposes.

Question Two: How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Some of the answer to this lies in originality. My mind doesn’t seem to think the same way as everyone else, which may make for more interesting stories.

But the real answer, again, is far more complex.

First, the writing I set out to do is humorous fantasy — thus, the Elfyverse. Which, if nothing else, is not boring — ’cause what’s the point of that?

But I took up my late husband Michael’s military science fiction because I didn’t want his work to die out. So in that sense, you could say my work is different because I am doing something I never set out to do in the first place.

Or you could say it’s different because I’m doing something only a handful of other writers and editors before me have done — to keep a deceased spouse’s work alive, or in the case of Deborah J. Ross, keep a beloved friend’s work alive (as Ms. Ross is completing Marion Zimmer Bradley’s work, and doing so with great flair).

The difference between me and Ms. Ross or the estimable Harriet McDougal (widow of Robert Jordan, and editor of the entire Wheel of Time series), among others, is that my spouse, Michael, was not generally known to most readers of science fiction, military SF or otherwise. And I couldn’t bear that. He’d worked so hard, and I knew what his talent was, and we were convinced he’d make it.

Then he died.

I couldn’t bear that. At all.

That’s why at least a part of Michael’s work is alive, even now. And it’s why I continue to work on it.

Question Three: Why do you write what you do?

I write the Elfyverse because it’s funny and it makes me laugh. So I hope it’ll make someone else laugh, too.

I write the Joey Maverick universe because it was Michael’s, and I know many stories can be set there. I really like Joey Maverick and many other characters Michael created, and I don’t want these stories and settings to die out.

Plus, I’ve found I enjoy writing military SF. It’s a challenge. I enjoy those. So let’s hope I can create some good stories there, and keep Michael’s work and legacy alive in the process.

And I have continued onward with CHANGING FACES because I believe it’s a story that offers hope amidst absolute despair. I think that’s something we need a lot more of in this world . . . and, again, there are some funny moments. (I have to write in some funny things here and there, nine times out of ten. Otherwise the story doesn’t feel right.)

Question Four: How does your writing process work?

It’s hard to explain. I start off with an idea for a story, same as any other writer in the history of the universe. But I usually have to ponder it awhile before something in my brain says, “OK, you can write this now.”

Then I sit down and hash it out.

I do write prose notes — this is what I do instead of outlines — and have been known to write pages and pages of those before I start a new project. There’s something about writing down all of these various things that helps me get involved in the story at the level I need to be, even if I’m not entirely sure how it works.

So it’s a combination of “think about it a lot,” then “write down whatever you have in whatever form you have it,” and then, finally, when the story is right, “put butt in chair and type.”

Then revise, tweak, revise, send to the first reader(s), etc.

That concludes my portion of the blog-hop, but I now need to tag a couple of other writers . . . so here goes.

Chris Nuttall is a prolific writer of military science fiction, alternate history and a number of interesting fantasy works. He’s constantly thinking up stories and writing them down, and is one of the most successful authors working today. His newest novel is THE TROJAN HORSE.

Jason Cordova has written in nearly every genre you could care to name. Right now, he has a new novella out with co-writer Eric Brown called KAIJU APOCALYPSE that combines science fiction, fantasy, manga, horror, and even a bit of military fiction that has delighted readers and reviewers.

So, will Chris or Jason take up the gauntlet and run with it? With their busy schedules, who knows?

But they are the two writers who came to mind . . . though if anyone else wants to be tagged, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you forthwith.

PJ Media’s “Book Plug Friday” Plugs AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE…and My Editing

leave a comment »

Folks, not long after my book AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE came out, I asked the authors of PJ Media’s “Book Plug Friday” column, Sarah A. Hoyt and Charlie Martin, if my book could be plugged as I need all the help I can get.

You see, they’re known for such things. Mrs. Hoyt, in particular, has been very friendly to indie and small-press writers, and as such, I didn’t feel too uncomfortable approaching them.

But I didn’t get exactly what I asked for.

Nope — I got better than what I asked for instead. And as that was so unexpected, I figured I’d better come and write my own blog post about it right away, just to share the good news.

Yes, Ms. Hoyt and Mr. Martin plugged my book, as I’d asked. But they also plugged my editing, on the basis of Dora Machado’s guest blog that discussed her experiences with me as an editor.

This is completely unprecedented. I’m beyond astonished that both my novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and my editing skills were plugged at the same time.

Here’s the bit from this week’s “Book Plug Friday” column about my editing, as written by Mrs. Hoyt:

Then there is Barb Caffrey who has a testimonial from one of her clients. I’ve never worked with Barb, so I can’t personally recommend her.

Still, Ms. Hoyt told the world I edit, and told the world about Dora Machado’s guest blog — so I am extremely happy about that.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my editing, but do know about my writing, here’s what I do: conceptual editing, continuity reading, copy-editing, and proofreading.

Or, as I put it, “the whole enchilada.”

Prices are variable. I charge a lot more for conceptual editing than I do for a combination copy-edit and continuity read, and I charge a lot less for simple proofreading. I tend to charge “per project” rates, and am known to be quite reasonable as far as fees go . . . as far as my professional competence goes, in addition to Ms. Machado’s testimonial (as Mrs. Hoyt put it), I am currently on the editorial board of Twilight Times Books.

Please take a good look at this week’s “Book Plug Friday” column. They definitely helped me, and in more than one way . . . and as I truly wasn’t expecting the plug for my editing, of all things, I continue to be very, very well pleased.

Be sure to keep PJ Media’s “Book Plug Friday” column in mind if you’re an author, editor, proofreader, or graphic designer, among others.  Mrs. Hoyt and Mr. Martin are very willing to spread the word about whatever you’re doing that’s publishing-related, providing you follow their guidelines.

Blog-hop Madness Coming Soon . . . and Other Things

leave a comment »

Folks, the inestimable writer Katharine Eliska Kimbriel has tagged me in a blog-hop called “Four Questions for the Writer.”

Then, so did another of my writer-friends, Dina von Lowenkraft — she of DRAGON FIRE fame — which is why I’m letting you all know that I will be doing this particular blog-hop.

Just not today.

Nope. Instead, I’m going to whet your appetite a little bit and give you a link to Ms. Kimbriel’s current blog post (so you’ll know what the four questions are), and when Ms. von Lowenkraft gets her questions up (which should be soon; I didn’t see it yet, but that may be more about me and my inadequate Web searching abilities than anything else), I’ll be glad to get a link to that as well.

I plan to answer these questions on Sunday . . . by then, I may have some idea of just which writers I’ll be tagging in return, so there should be plenty of blog-hopping fun to go around.

As for everything else, I’m glad the Milwaukee Brewers continue to win baseball games. They’re playing well as a team, and are bouncing back from tough losses (like Tuesday night’s twelve-inning contest, which the Brewers ended up losing, 2-1). Wednesday night’s starter Kyle Lohse looked extremely impressive in seven innings worth of work, giving up only one earned run and striking out five (he did, however, walk an uncharacteristically high four batters, but the walks didn’t hurt him).

And really, every starter with the exception of Matt Garza (who’s going on Friday night against his old team, the Chicago Cubs) has looked very good. The team ERA for Milwaukee’s pitching staff is a sparkling 2.52, and that’s despite the terrible inning Wei Chung-Wang pitched in Pittsburgh (where he gave up six runs in an inning’s worth of work).

It’s mostly because of the Brewers’ outstanding pitching staff that they currently maintain the best record in Major League Baseball at 16-6.

Finally, it’s time for a quick report on what Racine native Vinny Rottino is doing these days. As I discussed a few months ago, Rottino is currently playing in South Korea with the Nexen Heroes, and he’s actually made some baseball history over there.

See, it seems that they’d never had an all-American battery over there (for non-baseball fans, a “battery” is a catcher-pitcher combination). Until April 11, 2014, that is, when Rottino caught Andy Van Hekken — Rottino and Van Hekken were the first all-American battery in the 32-year history of the Korean Baseball Organization.

Here’s how Yonhapnews.com described it (from their English language website):

The 34-year-old, who has caught 305 games in the minors and three in the majors, didn’t look too out of place behind the plate, as the Heroes defeated the Tigers 5-2. Van Hekken tossed seven shutout innings with six hits and four strikeouts to improve to 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA.

Rottino did give up a couple of steals and threw the ball into the left field when trying to nab Kim Sun-bin stealing third.

Kim sprinted home, but Rottino caught left fielder Moon U-ram’s throw and tagged out the runner at home.

Batting ninth, Rottino went 2-for-3 at the plate, and You Jae-sin pinch-ran for him in the seventh.

All I can say is “congratulations” for a job well done — even if I’m a few weeks late off the draw. (Well, better late than never, right?)

Fines Handed Down for Brewers-Pirates Brawl — Brewers Not Happy

with 2 comments

Well, it’s official. Several suspensions and fines were leveled today against most of the players involved in the recent brawl between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates — and the Brewers as a whole are not happy.

Why?

Well, the guy who actually started the ruckus, Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, wasn’t given either a suspension or a fine. Cole lied when he said he didn’t swear (as I said in my previous blog, it’s obvious he dropped a few f-bombs), and that makes me think whatever he said was more than has been reported . . . because if you lie about one thing, what’s to say you didn’t lie about something else?

Not that what Gomez did was right, but why wasn’t Cole at least given a slap on the wrist?

That being said, the other strange part about it was that Pirates OF Travis Snider, the first guy who came off the bench to mix it up with Gomez, was given a lesser fine (two games) than Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado (five games). Granted, Maldonado punched Snider and everyone knows it — Snider is sporting a black eye, and perhaps that’s why Major League Baseball didn’t give him the same five game suspension.

But it still seems odd.

Next, Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who also appeared to have landed a punch or two, was only given one game, while Carlos Gomez — who didn’t land any punches as far as I could tell in my copious review of all available replay angles — got three games.

For the record, I think this is a fair assessment of Martin and Gomez’s actions. The suspensions seem reasonable.

However, the Brewers definitely do not think Gomez’s suspension is fair, and they don’t seem to believe Maldonado was punished fairly, either. Here’s what Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, as quoted by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel baseball beat writer Todd Rosiak, said earlier this afternoon:

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, like Gomez, didn’t agree with the suspensions and thought the Pirates got off too lightly.

“No, I don’t,” he said when asked if they were fair. “The guy who started it all got nothing, and I don’t understand that. So, no I’m not happy with it. Doug (Melvin) isn’t happy with it. I know they’re tough decisions, I know they have a lot to think of, they’ve got precedent, they’ve got a lot of things that go into this, but I don’t think it’s fair.”

Again, here is how the brawl went down (summarized excellently by Rosiak):

The incident began during the third inning of the Brewers’ 3-2, 14-inning victory over the Pirates. After Gomez tripled off Cole, the two exchanged words, leading to both dugouts emptying. Gomez was eventually tackled by Snider, who wasn’t even playing in the game, and Maldonado punched Snider in the face in the ensuing melee.

Martin was also involved in the scrum with Gomez, Snider and Maldonado.

Snider, Martin, and Gomez are all appealing their suspensions, while Maldonado accepted his (note that Maldonado is the only player involved in that brawl who’s actually apologized, this via his Twitter account). The only fine that anyone has actually discussed (which is officially unconfirmed, but was reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney and discussed by Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog here) was Maldonado’s $2500 fine — this may seem shockingly low, but Maldonado makes the major-league minimum (or not much above that), and $2500 is a big bite out of his paycheck.

Mind, I was concerned that Maldonado might get hit with a really bad fine — something like $25,000 or even $50,000. That would hurt him disproportionately hard, as the major-league minimum is $500,000 — when you compare that to Gomez, who’s making $7 million, you can see where a $50,000 fine would hurt Maldonado much more than Gomez, or Martin (who’s making $8.5 million), or even Snider (who’s making $1.2 million — all salaries courtesy of http://www.baseballplayersalaries.com).

At any rate, my own personal belief is that Martin’s suspension is fair, Snider’s is too low, Cole should’ve been fined but not suspended, Gomez’s suspension is fair, and Maldonado’s is too long but the fine — if accurately reported and they’re not leaving a zero off the end of it — is acceptable.

Anyway, as Gomez, Martin and Snider are all appealing their suspensions and fines, it’s impossible to know what’ll happen next. It’s possible that Gomez’s suspension may be cut a game, or they might even add two for him not accepting it immediately. Snider — to my mind, he didn’t get a long enough suspension as it was, so I think his appeal is baseless, especially as he was the first guy off the bench for either team. And Martin, as a long-time catcher in MLB, certainly knew better than to do what he did . . . so to my mind, Martin’s suspension and fine will get upheld.

Why Cole did not get fined, though, is beyond me. Even a token fine would’ve been acceptable ($500 to his favorite charity, perhaps) . . . but not giving him one sets a very bad precedent.

Aside from that, I’d still like to know why Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron was thrown out of the Brewers-Pirates game, because obviously MLB did not feel he deserved either a suspension or a fine — and if he did something so egregiously wrong that he deserved to be ejected, why wasn’t he fined and/or suspended as well?

What do you think of the fines and suspensions? Let me know in the comments. (Surely this blog, of all blogs, will draw a few of those?)

Milwaukee Brewers Win a Wild One in Pittsburgh in 14; Gomez Ejected

leave a comment »

The Milwaukee Brewers managed to win a wild game, 3-2, against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon. The game took fourteen innings, and featured the ejection of Brewers star centerfielder Carlos Gomez — a known hothead — in the third inning after he hit a triple off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole and appeared to delay his start from the batter’s box a bit. (Apparently Gomez thought he’d hit a homer, but he hadn’t.)

All very typical behavior in a baseball game, to be sure. Hitters do this all the time, and only rarely do pitchers get upset by it. (Instead, they try to get even, usually by throwing a baseball or two past the offending player’s head during the next at-bat.)

Words were exchanged between Cole and Gomez; Cole appeared to be barking at Gomez, and whatever Cole said was enough for Gomez to come off the bag, throw his batting helmet in frustration, and then charge toward Cole. Brewers third-base coach Ed Sedar went and immobilized Cole — an interesting choice — while Pirates third baseman Josh Hamilton tried to calm down Gomez.

At this point Pirates reserve Travis Snider charged off the bench and threw a punch or two at Gomez. The remaining benches cleared, with only Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen trying to keep their heads and keep everyone separated.

Before it was over, Martin Maldonado had thrown a punch that connected with Snider’s face after Rickie Weeks had Snider in a headlock, and Russell Martin threw several punches, only one of which seemed to connect (this one, perhaps, with Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron).

After all was said and done, Gomez was ejected (Elian Herrera came in to pinch run, then took over Gomez’s duties in center for the rest of the game), Narron was ejected (even though Narron didn’t do anything that I saw), and Snider was ejected.

Cole stayed in the game. Martin for the Pirates and Maldonado for the Brewers resumed their seats on the bench.

That the Brewers actually won this wild game 3-2 in fourteen innings is almost beside the point.

Yes, there were some wonderful heroics. Ryan Braun hit a solo HR in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 2, and Khris Davis, of all people, hit a solo HR in the fourteenth to give the Brewers the win.

And the relief pitching, again, was stellar — can’t ask for more from any of them, as nearly all of them are doing their jobs save Wei-Chung Wang (who wouldn’t even be at the major-league level excepting he’s a Rule 5 guy, so the Brewers have to keep him on the roster).

I’d much rather talk about the relievers as a group, or the three solo HRs from Mark Reynolds, Braun and Davis, or about Francisco Rodriguez’s 311th career save . . . but instead, what I’m left to talk about is this fight.

According to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Brewers beat writer Todd Rosiak, Gomez explained what happened this way:

“That (Atlanta) game I know I go over (the line). But today I’m not,” Gomez said. “First of all, I hit a triple – it’s not a double – I’m not flipping my bat because I think it’s a home run. I thought it was an out. I thought it was a fly-ball out, line-drive center field. And I’m kind of like, ‘Oh, I had good contact but I don’t think it’s going out.’

“It’s not like I’m pimping a home run. Then I get to third base and somebody’s screaming at me – ‘It’s not your job.’ But everything’s over and Snider comes real angry and talks to me that way, so I responded back, he tried to punch me and everything started there. I don’t know why they’re mad for something like that.”

Then, Gomez went on to say that the Pirates had been doing a goodly amount of showboating themselves, but the Brewers said and did nothing about it. So why should the Pirates care even if Gomez was showboating (which, as you have seen, Gomez insists he wasn’t)?

That’s why Gomez insists he will not apologize. And he intends to appeal any suspension Major League Baseball intends to give him, for that matter — because he truly feels he did nothing wrong whatsoever.

Here’s a quote from Rosiak’s piece that’s from Brewers reserve catcher Martin Maldonado, the Brewers other “main offender” in today’s fracas:

Said Maldonado: “I saw Snider and Martin over Gomez. I could tell it wasn’t fair, so I had to protect my teammate. I don’t worry about (a suspension). That’s part of baseball. Whatever happens.”

Or, in not so many words, Maldonado’s saying he was protecting his teammate from being ganged up on. Period. And so if he gets suspended for that, fine.

Rosiak also interviewed Russell Martin and Gerrit Cole for his piece, and what they had to say was eye-opening in turn:

In the Pirates’ clubhouse, Cole didn’t deny giving Gomez a piece of his mind in the aftermath of his triple.

“I grabbed the ball from (Harrison) and I said, ‘If you’re going to hit a home run, you can watch it. If you’re going to hit a fly ball to center field, don’t watch it.’” said Cole. “I didn’t curse at him, I didn’t try to provoke a fight. I was frustrated and I let my emotions get the better of me and I ended up getting one of my teammates hurt.

“Not too thrilled about it.”

Snider had left the Pittsburgh clubhouse before reporters were allowed in, but Martin made it clear that the Pirates weren’t happy with Maldonado’s role in the incident.

“The fair thing would be to have our team hold down Maldonado so that Travis can go back and sucker-punch him right in the face,” Martin said. “That would be the fair thing to do. I don’t know if we ask the Brewers if they’re going to be down for that.”

I watched this game, so I can tell you for a fact that Cole did indeed swear at Gomez — Cole dropped the f-bomb a few times, in fact.

But was that enough for Gomez to go off like that?

And even if it was, should Gomez have allowed himself to get so carried away, considering he’s one of the most important Brewers on the team?

Personally, I think Gomez should’ve held his temper. He’s said in the past that he wants to set a good example for his young son, which he can’t do if he’s going to be throwing batting helmets or worse, throwing punches, no matter what the provocation.

Worst of all, the fact remains that every pitcher in the league has to know by now that Gomez is such a hothead that he can be removed fairly easily from games merely by taunting him. So if you’re an opposing pitcher, what’s to keep you from trying to “get the edge” by throwing a few f-bombs or whatever it takes to make Gomez go ballistic, which will get him tossed from ballgames like nobody’s business?

As a Brewers fan, I’m appalled that Gomez keeps having these things happen to him. He needs to learn how to hold his temper. It’s not easy, but he has to do it — otherwise his value to the Brewers is much less than it should be.

This is why, as both a person and a fan, I urge the Brewers to get Gomez into counseling before it’s too late.

An Easter Week Disaster: South Korean Ferry Sinks; 49 Dead, 253 Missing

leave a comment »

Earlier this week, a ferry in South Korea capsized, then sunk. 49 people have been confirmed dead thus far, and 253 are still missing according to this report from CNN.

While there had initially been hopes that some of the missing might be rescued due to air pockets and the like, hopes are now fading. Worse yet, the South Korean government has not been forthcoming — shades of what’s happened in Malaysia due to the air disaster with MH 370 — and family members are extremely frustrated, to put it mildly.

This report from the Huffington Post shows the frustration of the families in full measure:

But the seeds of distrust were planted Wednesday, the day the ferry sank with 476 people aboard, 323 of them from a single high school in Ansan. . .

The high school initially sent parents text messages saying all of the students had been rescued.

Lee Byung-soo, whose son was aboard the ferry, was relieved by the text. . .

It was only when he arrived at the gymnasium that he realized his son, 15-year-old Lee Seok-joon, had not been saved. “I had to check every picture of the face of the rescued students before I realized that my son was not there,” he said.

People also were quoted in the Huffington Post article as yelling at the divers, who haven’t been able to do as much as they’d like due to poor visibility and other concerns, “Would you have done the same if your own children were in the water?” and “Why did you refuse to take the rescue gear and supplies that foreign countries offered?”

And then, there are these heartbreaking text messages that the high school students sent as the disaster was ongoing, as reported by CBC. Here’s a brief taste of that:

In another set of messages, a father tries to help his child.

“I know the rescue is going on, but try coming out if possible,” he writes.

“No, dad, can’t walk. The hallway is packed with kids, and it’s too tilted,” the student writes.

The passenger’s fate is unknown.

Note that if the ship’s crew had been on the ball, the halls wouldn’t have been filled with people. So perhaps more people could’ve been rescued — or, at minimum, the rescue would’ve been handled efficiently and well, rather than so poorly that people actually felt the need to send their families “goodbye texts.”

But the ship’s crew was not on the ball. Worse, their actions made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

So what have the South Koreans done thus far that does make sense? Well, they’ve arrested the ferry boat’s captain, Lee Joon Seok,  and third mate, a woman identified only as Park (along with one other ship member, a technician of some sort); the third mate was the one who actually was at the helm when the ship made what’s being called an “excessive” turn, while the captain is being charged with a number of violations according to the CNN report, most having to do with leaving his boat before all the passengers were either rescued or accounted for.

The oddest thing in all of this was that the Captain was among the very first people to be evacuated from the ferry by nearly every published report. When clearly, his duty was to get those passengers safely off the ferry — and he absolutely, positively, should not have left the ferry until every single last one of them was off, or every single last one of them was confirmed as deceased.

That’s what’s supposed to happen.

But it didn’t happen here. The families of the victims are furious — and rightfully so.

How in the world could something this awful happen?

So far, there are no good answers to that. But there is one very small ray of sunlight in that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu has donated $100,000 to help those affected by the ferry disaster according to TMZ.

You see, Ryu is Korean. He has said publicly that he has a “heavy heart,” and he wanted to do something tangible that would help his fellow countrymen.

And he did so right away.

But that’s the only good thing that’s come out of this particular ferry disaster thus far . . . and while there’s always hope that a few more people may be rescued alive due to perhaps finding air pockets (as this has been known to happen in other sea rescues, why not hope for it here as well?), right now this seems to be adding up to yet another disaster.

During Easter week.

And that’s just wrong . . . especially as this didn’t have to happen.

Comparing Joey Maverick to Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and Vice Versa

leave a comment »

Folks, a good friend recently asked me this question: “How would Joey Maverick compare to Lois McMaster Bujold’s hero Miles Naismith Vorkosigan?”

And it got me thinking.

You see, my late husband Michael wrote about space Navy Lieutenant Joey Maverick — something I’m doing my best to carry on — and my friend felt there were a number of similarities between Joey and Miles. And since the two stories haven’t found a wide audience as of yet (stories are available here and here), perhaps a comparison might prove useful . . . and at least it’s something new and different to write about, always a plus.

So here are some of the similarities and differences I saw with regards to Joey and Miles, with a side order of my own hero Bruno the Elfy from AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE thrown in for good measure:

Similarities:

Miles is a very smart young man who out-thinks others and has any number of adventures, most of which he can’t talk about on Barrayar itself due to security concerns. He’s steadfast, resolute, has morals and ethics and principles, and will stand by them to the death, if need be — though thank goodness for cryosuspension. He has an unusual sense of humor.

Joey is a very smart young man who thinks faster than others and has several adventures, most of which he can’t talk about on the planet of his birth due to security concerns. He, too, is steadfast, resolute, has morals and ethics and principles, and like Miles, has an unusual sense of humor.

And just for kicks, Bruno the Elfy is a very smart young being who is used to out-thinking others, but gives himself no credit for doing so because he’s been told he’s stupid his entire life. He figures talking about any adventures he has is pointless, because at the start of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, he has no friends worth mentioning . . . and afterward, well, his new friend Sarah has been with him the whole way through, so why bother talking about anything? (She already knows it.)

Bruno’s sense of humor is so odd, it’s downright bizarre . . . and while he has morals, ethics and principles, he comes at things from a sideways angle that may or may not always be fully understood by those around him.

Differences:

Miles is handicapped with brittle bones. He’s actually died and been revived, which left him with a seizure disorder. He’s retired from his main career as a commander of a mercenary unit (that did a great deal of spying for Barrayar on the side) due to his injuries, suffered in the line of duty. He’s a man who’s maximized the totality of his existence, and knows it, and is satisfied by it.

Joey, as yet, is still a healthy young man, though eventually he’s going to lose an eye (Michael’s story “A Dark and Stormy Night” references Joey’s cybernetic eye in the prequel section, where Joey’s an old man). Only one life for Joey . . . his military career is ongoing. He’s still in the process of coming to his full adult capabilities, and many adventures await as he comes to terms with the totality of himself. Eventually Joey will bond with an empathic, sentient creature . . . but that, too, is in his future.

Bruno the Elfy is a very young being — an adolescent, in our parlance. While Bruno has enormous magical gifts, he’s not fully aware of what to do with them, and because he was intentionally mistrained at the behest of the Elfy High Council, he’s having to throw off a whole lot of nonsense in addition to becoming the Elfy he was meant to be.

Mind, it’s not that easy to compare a fantasy world — even if it’s an urban fantasy like my own AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE — with either Bujold’s own Vorkoverse or my husband’s Joey Maverick universe. But it is fun, talking about three of my favorite heroes . . .  especially as I never once thought Joey Maverick had anything whatsoever in common with Miles Naismith Vorkosigan before my friend pointed it out as a possibility.

At any rate, what do you think of this comparison? Does it make any sense? Or is it just odd? Please let me know in the comments.

Two More Guest Blogs Up Promoting My Writing and “An Elfy on the Loose”

with one comment

Folks, I’m pleased to report that two more new guest blogs are up and available for reading.**

First, Aaron Lazar over at Murder By Four accepted a guest blog from me called “Changing Voices and Heroes,” which is about the differences between writing military science fiction and comic fantasy on the one hand, and the differences between two very good heroes — space Navy Lieutenant Joey Maverick, who was my late husband Michael B. Caffrey’s character, and my hero Bruno the magically talented Elfy.

Here’s a bit from that:

Now, how did I tailor my own writing to fit these two wildly disparate genres?

When I’m writing milSF, I try to get right to the point. And I write a more action-oriented story, too – because the action often makes or breaks the story.

But when I’m writing comic fantasy, I allow my stories to spin out any way that works. There’s more time to fine-tune characterization; there’s more time to do some nifty things with word choices and puns . . . even limericks, if the story calls for it. And fully setting up my characters also allows me to better get at the humor of whatever is going on.

Clear as mud, no?

Anyway, today’s second guest blog is up over at Stephanie Osborn’s blog site Comet Tales. This discusses exactly how I came to write my novel AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE . . . and exactly what my late husband Michael did to help me along the way.

Here’s a bit from that guest blog:

When a character appears, fully formed, it’s best to listen to what he has to say. But all I knew, when I started writing, were three things: Bruno liked to wear black – when his race, the Elfys, mostly loved bright colors. He was the equivalent of a teenager. And he did not like to rhyme, even if all the other Elfys did.

Even so, that was enough for me to start writing what I then called “The Elfy Story.” I wrote the first six parts or so – less than chapters, about a thousand words per part – alone. Michael took a hand when I got to the seventh part because I had some sort of problem I couldn’t immediately solve, and he got intrigued. Then he figured this story had legs, and he wanted to help me figure out where it went.

. . .

With this huge, complex plot, I could’ve easily gotten lost. Fortunately for me, Michael was there every step of the way. He told me when I’d get frustrated, “Don’t worry. The story will come.” Or he’d tell me jokes in a similar way Bruno tries to do with Sarah from time to time in AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (where do you think I got that from, hm?). Or he’d help me draw diagrams when I tried to figure out why the Elfy High Council did anything at all…plus, he edited what I wrote, gave me excellent advice, and heavily edited nearly all of Dennis the Dark Elf’s dialogue to make it even nastier and more hissable.

What more could anyone ever ask from her spouse than that?

Granted, if you’ve read my blog from its inception — or even in the past year or two — you’ve probably gathered that my husband Michael was the biggest influence on my writing. I’d simply not be the same writer without his help and guidance; there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

And really, with AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE finally available for purchase, I want people to know how much he did.

I’m very pleased that Stephanie Osborn was willing to share my story of how the Elfyverse came to be on her blog.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy these guest blogs. Please let me know what you think in the comments . . . and do, please, let people know about AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE as well as the Joey Maverick stories.

Because I need all the help I can get right now in order to let people know these stories exist — much less are fun stories that people should actually enjoy if they just give ’em a chance to work their magic.

———-

**

Mind, you might be wondering why I have three, count ’em, three guest blogs up in two days. This is because my fellow writer-friends are trying to help me raise my visibility, so perhaps I might be able to sell a few more books.

Besides, writing three different blogs — one about the virtues of quiet heroism, the next about the differences between the quiet Joey Maverick and the exuberant Bruno the Elfy, and the third about how I came to write AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE at all — was an intellectual challenge.

So how could I refuse?