Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for February 2015

Reflections on the Passing of Actor Leonard Nimoy

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Actor Leonard Nimoy, Spock of the original “Star Trek” TV series, died yesterday at the age of 83. Nimoy wasn’t solely an actor — he was a musician, a poet, a photographer, and a movie director, among many other things — but he was known mostly for bringing one role to life: Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Spock, the quintessential outsider.

Spock, a type of Everyman who could comment, dispassionately, about subjects otherwise often seen as off-limits in contemporary society (much less TV).

Many people are going to be discussing Nimoy’s legacy, and rightfully so. He was a brilliant actor, and in many ways he was at the center of what “Star Trek” was all about.

But my own reflections are far closer to home than that.

When I was young, I discovered “Star Trek” on television in syndication. I was a fan of DeForest Kelley’s Leonard “Bones” McCoy more than Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, mind you, but without Spock’s dispassion, McCoy’s emotional outbursts would’ve had no foil and much less resonance. Somehow, even in my early teens, I picked up on this, and wanted to know more about the actors behind “Star Trek.”

So I read Leonard Nimoy’s first biography, I AM NOT SPOCK. What I found out was that Nimoy was many things besides his most famous, iconic role. His journey as an artist and a sensitive soul was one of my biggest inspirations as a teenager.

It was because of Nimoy’s book, at least in part, that I realized you could be different and still be a good person. That you could be a sensitive artist who your parents did not understand — as his own parents definitely didn’t understand Nimoy’s passion for acting, or the arts in general — and still be able to forge a good life for yourself. And I learned that sometimes it takes time for your vision of yourself to be realized — as Nimoy struggled for years as an actor before he finally landed his role on “Star Trek.”

I did not know Mr. Nimoy, except for watching him on TV and once, very briefly, meeting him at a science fiction convention. But he seemed to me to be a man of worth, talent, and grace.

I mourn his passing.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 28, 2015 at 2:07 am

Introducing Author N.N. Light and her novel, “Princess of the Light”

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Folks, I’ve never done this before, but author N. N. Light and I are simultaneously guest-posting at each other’s blog today. Her blog is usually found at http://princessofthelight.wordpress.com, and it’s well worth reading as she has many interesting things to say about writing and creativity. She also is known for her generosity, as many other writers have guested at her blog — though as far as I know, this is her first and only simultaneous guest-blog appearance.

princessNow, as to how I know Mrs. Light — aka “Mrs. N.” on Twitter? She and I started talking on Twitter several months ago because we are both baseball fans. (She’s a fan of the Minnesota Twins, while as everyone here knows, I’m a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.)

What can I tell you about Mrs. N.’s book? Well, it’s her debut novel, and it’s a Christian inspirational fantasy-romance. Her main character, Mary, is floored when she’s informed that she has a purpose and a destiny by none other than Archangel Gabriel himself (as you’ll see in the excerpt, below), and she works hard to reconcile what she knows of the world with what she must do. I’ve found Princess of the Light to be a heartwarming, inspirational novel of hope and faith, and I hope to be able to give it the longer review it deserves down the line over at Shiny Book Review (and, of course, at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)

I hope you will enjoy Mrs. N.’s guest appearance here at the Elfyverse blog…and I also hope you’ll be able to take a gander at my guest appearance at her blog.

Now, let’s get to getting! Here’s some interesting things you probably didn’t know about Mary, the heroine of Princess of the Light, organized in an A to Z format! (Enjoy!)

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Get to Know Mary, aka the Princess of the Light,

From A to Z

A- Art is one of her loves and she secretly paints in her free time

B- Bookstore Manager and loves all things books

C- Coffee and chocolate are her addictions

D-Demons attack her at every turn and she must defeat them all

E- Empathy is one of her gifts from the time she was little

F- Friends are her family and she loves her friends fiercely

G- Golden Lake is her home and she loves it so much

H- Her greatest fear is turning evil and giving in to the demons

I- Insecurity flutters around her heart as she wonders if she can truly be the Princess of the Light

J- Jokes and comedy make her laugh heartily

K- Kicking Than’s butt gives her pleasure

L- Love, pure unconditional love, burns brightly in her soul

M- Musicals, she loves them and her favorite is “Guys and Dolls”

N- Natural appearance and make-up is her fashion sense

O- Orange is definitely not the new black in her opinion

P- Purple is her favorite color and lavender is her favorite scent

Q- Quiet and shy is the type of child she was growing up

R- Reading is her favorite thing to do and she encourages everyone to read

S- Soul mates are something she strongly believes in and she may have found hers

T- Transportation for her is mass transit or walking

U- Underneath it all, she is a normal woman living her life

V- Vexed by Lisbeth at every turn, she must figure out a way to banish the demon

W- Winter is her least favorite season, although she loves Christmas

X- Xtra sensitive talking about her father, Richard, as he died in a car crash

Y- Yearns for the day when the world is filled with Light and hunger is eliminated

Z- Zeal to heal and help all those who feel helpless and alone

 

Title: Princess of the Light

Author: N. N. Light

Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance, Christian Fantasy, Inspirational Fiction

Blurb:

Gabriel, the Archangel and Messenger of God – yeah, that Gabriel – visits Mary Miller. He tells her, as the key, she is destined to spread the Light and vanquish the Darkness. Her first assignment is to restore the soul of the Walking Man. Sounds simple enough — until she’s thrown into the face of evil. And then, Joe Deacons enters her heart. This battle just got a lot more complicated. She must complete her mission without losing all she loves.

Extra-Long Excerpt:

Gabriel, archangel and Messenger of Light, watched as the Princess calmly slept. Her long auburn hair framed her face, and she showed no signs of stirring.

He folded his wings and sighed.

Gabriel had been sent by the Father to announce the coming of the Princess. This was the first time he had seen her. She didn’t look like much of anything special—nothing in her outward appearance suggested that such strength resided right beneath the surface. Then again, he thought, the carrier of the Light from two thousand years ago hadn’t appeared all that extraordinary, either.

Maybe the common features had been inherently within the Lord’s plan all along. As Gabriel took in this reality, he noted one striking feature that differed from many mortals: she glowed with a heavenly purple hue. Purple is the color of God’s chosen, he reflected silently. The purple-shaded essence that was normally only visible by celestial beings seemed to slightly shimmer through her skin, as well. He knew that the Light would soon shine so bright from her that the world may possibly be rejuvenated.

Gabriel knelt and bowed his head.

“Lord,” his whisper barely more than a breath of air, “I am ready to do Your will. I am ever Your humble servant, and I pray that you see fit to continue using me to spread your Truth. In Your name, this I pray. Amen.”

Gabriel slowly rose and unfurled his wings and Light flooded the room. The woman arched her back slightly in a stretch, then she lengthened her right arm over her head. With a quiet yawn, the woman finally stirred.

Gabriel gently smiled as she opened her eyes.

“There is no reason to be afraid, Princess,” he soothed as the woman widened her eyes in fear. She gasped and glanced around for any escape. Seeing none, she grabbed the bedcovers and pulled them under her chin.

“Who…? Who…? Who are you?” She stammered. In an effort to gain control, she straightened her back and breathed slowly.

“I know a lot about you. My name is Gabriel, and I have a message for you from God.”

“A message for me?” Her voice squeaked, betraying the lack of fear she was beginning to put back into her demeanor.

He continued. “You have been chosen to be The Lord’s bearer of the Light and His Princess.” He wanted to speak more informally, but her reaction required him to be slightly aloof. She must not question the seriousness of the message he was relaying.

The woman crossed her arms over her chest and looked at Gabriel in disbelief. “Oh, come on. This can’t be real. How can any of that be true?” She shook her head, and then continued her rant of disbelief: “I must be dreaming or something. This doesn’t happen to ordinary people. Sure, I believe what they say in the Bible is true. I have always told myself that if God chose me, I wouldn’t hesitate.”

She paused, seeming to consider the magnitude of what she had just said.

“Who are you, anyway? Why are you here telling me this? Could it really be true? Could I be the Lord’s Princess?” As she ran her fingers through her red hair, the woman took a ragged breath. She abruptly stopped and placed her hand over her chest.

“What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? Will I go to Hell? Will the Lord punish me? Oh, Lord, please help me to understand.” Before Gabriel had a chance to respond, the woman closed her eyes and simply fainted.

Gabriel folded his wings behind him and gently sat down beside her on the bed. His strong Light dimmed in compassion, and he carefully adjusted her head so that it was leaning back naturally. Then, he started to situate pillows behind her back for a more comfortable position, so that when she woke up, she might be calmer.

He stole a side-long look at her face again and jumped a bit. He was astonished to see that she was just quietly watching him. Now he could see the courage and strength. He decided to try again.

“You may not believe me, but you’re a very special woman. Mortals call the daughter of a king Princess. You are a daughter of God and he has chosen you to be His carrier of the Light.” This time she didn’t argue, but she still shook her head, nonetheless.

Gabriel silenced her by lightly pressing a finger to her lips. “No. Let me finish, please,” he said on the verge of sounding a little too stern. “The message I have for you is very important.” When she didn’t try to interrupt, he continued. “You have been blessed, and the same Light that the Virgin Mary carried is also inside of you. That Spirit is in all those with faith, but you have a special purpose. Not only do you carry the Light, but you will be the Lord’s Warrior Princess.” A car horn trumpeted a warning outside. The woman didn’t appear to notice, but Gabriel knew he must finish delivering this message, because he would soon be needed elsewhere.

“Since the beginning of time,” he explained, “God has believed in free will for His people. The Devil and his minions have always taken advantage of this. The destruction of souls has been increasing at an alarming rate. Always patient, God loves His creation—you and your fellow mankind.”

“The darkness has begun covering the globe and something must be done, if all is not to be lost. You will be used to offer the world an awakening. Through you, some will begin to see and hear what they have otherwise been closed to. You are the key.”

Again, Gabriel paused. The woman was staring blankly at him, eyes intent with concentration. He continued.

“The final straw, Princess, was when a mortal named André was taken. André was a good soul the Lord had favored. André came too close to helping spread the Light and a group of demons successfully tempted him away from that goal. The loss of André and his desired goal tipped the balance. You are to help bring him back out of despair. Strength and resolve must defeat the tempestuous storm these demons are causing. Your faith gives you that power.”

“Wait a minute,” the woman interrupted, “Are you saying that I am going to be this Warrior Princess?” Her brown eyes widened and her mouth hung open incredulously. “No, no… No, no, no,” she argued. “This can’t be happening.” Shock and fear pulsed so strongly through her unseen Light that Gabriel could feel it as his own.

“Yes,” he tried to soothe. “You have been chosen. You are the Princess destined to lead God’s army and infuse Earth with the Light of faith and strength once again. You and the Warrior, that is. For too long, this world has been shrouded in darkness. You are the chosen one God wants to be His Champion and smite down the demons.”

The woman sat silently looking at him. It didn’t seem to have occurred to her that as a heavenly being, he would be able to hear her inner dialogue.

How am I supposed to be God’s warrior? She questioned within her heart. I’m not the violent type. I get angry at seeing someone being bullied or an injustice done, sure, but how can I do this? I’m not strong enough. I’m just one person. Who’s this Warrior of the Light? How am I supposed to figure out who André is amongst a whole planet of people?

The red head closed her now-violet eyes and started to rub her throbbing temples.

“This is just too much,” she whispered. Her eyes settled back down to brown again.

Gabriel wished he could comfort her, but he also knew she needed to be able to deal with her emotions in the face of this mission. That ability would only become more and more important as the journey continued.

He brushed a stray hair from her forehead. The unexpected compassion startled her. For a moment he had forgotten how disconnected and unsympathetic humans had become of late. He amended his behavior to fit the times and watched as she looked down as his large, glowing hand patted her tightly clasped hands. He sighed.

“I know this is a lot to take in, Princess. I’m here to answer all of your questions.” Gabriel closed his eyes and prayed. Strength came to those who sought it, but it was not up to him to force her. He searched her heart and mind for what she needed to hear most right now. There were so many questions and emotions that ran contrary to one another that he fought to get to the truth.

“I will help you,” he comforted. “Others need you, but you are not alone.”

She sighed heavily and said after a moment, “Why me?”

“The Lord never makes a mistake. He sees a faithful, strong woman who will be His instrument for good. You will restore the Light in many and will crush the darkness. You were destined to be God’s Princess.”

The woman, now fully awake and appearing to calm down, reached over and pulled open a drawer next to her bed. The lamp above illuminated a single brush, a litany of hair clips, and what appeared to be a well-worn Bible. Gabriel smiled to himself.

“How am I,” her words broke as she yanked and pulled her thick red hair into a ponytail “going to restore… the Light… and crush the darkness?” She tossed the brush back into the drawer and slid it closed with a little thud.

“The Lord has given you many gifts. Most of which are still untapped, Pr—”

“Mary. Please call me Mary.”

“Okay. Mary, with this calling, the gifts will help you to be the embodiment of the Light. Some include your ability to see spirits, visions, and psychic phenomenon. The Lord left you a letter that gives you guidance and warning with these abilities.” He motioned to the nightstand. “Your heart must remain pure, Mary. God warns that even Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

Gabriel watched as she took it all in. The Light within her glowed brighter and her eyes gleamed with a violet hue again. The Light was taking control and she was becoming the vessel the world needed.

“Your Light must remain true. Through your compassion, you will have the strength to bring the Light into the darkness. You will be tempted through your compassion. Choices have been made, Mary.” He couldn’t say more. The rest would be left to God’s Will.

“Am I going to face the darkness alone?” She trembled as she said the word darkness.

He sensed her fear returning and frowned.

“You have nothing to fear. You have the power of the Light within you. You are never alone. The Lord is always with you—along with several leagues of angels. I will always be near.” Gabriel realized that some of what he was saying she may not be ready for yet. “Think of me like your coach,” he explained. “I’m here to help train you for whatever comes. I will teach you how to use your Light to help others and I will never be further away than the side lines. All you need to do is focus on the goal: André.”

“Who is André anyway?” Mary glanced at her Bible. She appeared fearful that it was a story she had forgotten.

“André is a man without a place to call home.”

“What’s so special about him? Just the fact that he’s homeless?”

“The Lord favored André and thought him to be a good soul. He had aims and goals in life that pleased God. Unfortunately, André became strongly tempted by a demon. Mortals must all make the choice to come on their own. The love for God cannot be forced.” He paused. “That’s where you come in, Pr— Mary. Plant the seed and God will help it grow. You must defeat the chaff so the wheat can grow.”

“Oh.” Confusion and resolve fought each other across Mary’s face. Gabriel had said enough. The rest was up to her.

“I will explain in more detail tomorrow. For now, all you need to know is that you are the Princess and the Lord knows you can do this. I know this is a lot to deal with. All the Lord asks is that you continue to be faithful and put your trust in Him. Listen to His voice. Trust Him to guide your footsteps.”

Mary asked simply, “Tomorrow?”

“Yes, I will meet you tomorrow afternoon and we will have our first training lesson. Get some rest and listen for the Lord’s commands. Everything you need to know is in that book beside you.”

Gabriel stood and unfurled his wings. “If you need my help, you only need to say my name, and I will appear.” He took her hands in his and looked her squarely in the eyes. “You will encounter many ups and downs, Mary, but know that the universe is filled with angels—angels that follow and worship the Lord. You are truly not alone.”

Gabriel bowed his head, like in prayer, extended his wings, and seemed to glide effortlessly up to Heaven.

Mary fell back on her bed and wept.

 

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/469480

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/princess-of-the-light-nn-light/1120170709?ean=9781502438454

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Light-N/dp/1502438453

Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/princess-of-the-light-1

Indigo: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/princess-of-the-light/9781310880230-item.html?ikwid=princess+of+the+light&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

iTunes/ iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/princess-of-the-light/id913013798?mt=11

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/5008419

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23009005-princess-of-the-light

 

Newsletter:

Sign up for my Princess of the Light newsletter to get exclusive content on all things book and writing related: http://ymlp.com/xghjsueygmgh

 

N N Light Author Pic1Author Bio: N.N. Light was born in Minnesota, lived in Southern California only to move to chilly Ontario, Canada to marry her beloved husband MR N. She is blissfully happy and loves all things chocolate, books, music, movies, art, sports and baking. She has been telling stories since the age of five and her mantra is to spread the Light. Most of the time you can find her on Twitter or getting new ideas on how to spread the Light on Pinterest. She is a proud member of ASMSG, Independent Author Network and Marketing for Romance Writers.

Part of the proceeds of Princess of the Light will go directly to food banks in order to feed the hungry and help those in need. With only 7,500 books sold, N. N. Light will be able to set up a monthly endowment for the local food bank.

I’d love to connect with you either via email or via these various social media sites:

Website: http://princessofthelight.com

Blog: http://princessofthelight.wordpress.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/nnlight

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NNP_W_Light

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nnlight

Facebook: www.facebook.com/PrincessOTLight

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/n-n-light/90/1a7/902

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118060034268079734144/posts

Triberr: http://www.triberr.com/nnlight

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/nnlight

Independent Author Network: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/n-n-light.html

iAuthor: http://www.iauthor.uk.com/princess-of-the-light:10294

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

A Quick Monday Update

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Folks, I’ve been editing up a storm the past week. Though I still have a lot more work to do, at least I’ve been able to come up for air a little bit so I can write a little blog-let.

But what should I write about today? Hm…good question.

One of these days, I intend to discuss the different types of editing I do, including developmental (also known as content editing), copy-editing, proofreading, and continuity reading.

In other words, there are levels within levels of editing…that’s the main point I’m trying to get at. Developmental editing takes the longest; copy-editing plus a continuity read takes the second-longest; proofreading is the easiest and takes the shortest amount of time, though it’s still not exactly short if you want to do a good job.

Clear as mud, no? (That’s what happens when a huge edit gets finished, and I get short on sleep.)

Anyway, I do have a few interesting things happening this week, including another edit (for myself, this time), a story that I’m working on (currently vexing me, but I hope I’ll have it straightened out soon) that’s due in on March 1, and a guest blog/swap this upcoming Wednesday with author N.N. Light, author of the Christian inspirational fantasy PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT — I’ll be interviewed at her blog, while she’ll have a guest post here at my blog on the same day.

As for reviews, I remain behind. Right now, there are two or three SF&F books in the queue along with two shorter works by Cherylynn Dyess (those may be reviewed together, but are probably still a week off due to my workload) — the books I’m probably going to review next over at Shiny Book Review are Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY SWORD and Emily St. John Mandel’s STATION ELEVEN, though it’s possible I may review Victoria Alexander’s latest for Romance Saturday instead. (All depends on workload.)

Oh, yes — and did I mention that I have a concert to play with the Racine Concert Band this week, too? That’s this Thursday evening over at Horlick High School, if you live nearby and are interested in coming…I’m playing the alto saxophone for this concert.

Anyway, this is a high workload week. (I’m already exhausted just thinking about it!) But somehow, I’m going to get it done, get my book edited, get the story written, and along the way I’ll definitely have that guest blog exchange with N.N. Light on Wednesday.

One, final thing — since the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training is officially underway (at least as far as the pitchers and catchers go), I’m definitely thinking about baseball. (So could another story about my baseball-loving psychic, Madame Arletta, and her werewolf husband Fergus be in the offing?)

Stay tuned.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 23, 2015 at 4:30 am

Posted in Books, Editing

Tagged with ,

Two New Reviews up at Shiny Book Review (SBR)

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Folks, it took me longer than I’d have liked to review two new books over at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always). One was nonfiction, the other was fiction. Both were outstanding.

The first, UNBROKEN CIRCLES FOR SCHOOLS by Ken Johnson, is a nonfiction book about what schools can do to help juvenile offenders. (This is a vast oversimplification, of course.) Mr. Johnson discusses the differences between retributive and restorative justice (the latter is much better, but isn’t often used by our criminal justice system), and how schools can help. Go read my review, then check out this outstanding book.

The second, DEVIL’S LAKE, is a romantic suspense novel by Aaron Paul Lazar. It’s an outstanding novel in every respect, and I was pleased to review it on Valentine’s Day for our Romance Saturday at SBR promotion.

So if you’re looking for something new to read in either nonfiction or fiction, head on over to SBR and take a look at these two reviews.

Sports Roundup: Alison Gordon, Ray Rice…and the Milwaukee Bucks?

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Folks, this sports roundup column will be unusual, as three disparate, but noteworthy things have happened in the past week that I want to comment on.

First, pioneering baseball reporter Alison Gordon died at 74. Ms. Gordon was the first-ever female reporter for any team in the American League and covered the Toronto Blue Jays, starting in 1979. She faced much criticism when she started her career — I’m just barely old enough to remember some of it — yet persevered and prevailed. Later, she wrote a series of murder mysteries where a baseball reporter solved crimes in and around baseball. Here’s a bit of her obituary from cbc.ca:

(The) Baseball Writers Association of America infamously issued her press accreditation as Mr. Alison Gordon, as it had no female-specific or gender-neutral honorifics at that time.

Gordon was also one of the first females allowed into a Major League Baseball locker room, which was controversial at the time but since paved the way for female sports reporters. She was also the first woman on the American League beat, the division of baseball the Jays play in.

Ms. Gordon’s accomplishments were profound, and it’s partly because of her that so many other female sports journalists have gone on to have stellar careers.

Next, Ray Rice’s long-awaited apology has been released as of earlier today (link is from Yahoo’s “Shutdown Corner” NFL blog). In it, Rice expresses remorse, but also thanks the fans of the Baltimore Ravens (his NFL team). Here’s a bit from that apology:

To all the kids who looked up to me, I’m truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it’s helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue.

Now, you may be asking yourself why I said “long-awaited.” No one else, save perhaps Keith Olbermann, is likely to say this, but it’s the truth: without a heartfelt apology, it’s unlikely that Ray Rice can resuscitate his career, not in the NFL, not in the CFL, not anywhere.

See, there are female football fans out there — many of them, as I’m far from the only one in the history of the universe. And we need to see some remorse and some signs that Ray Rice has learned not to abuse women any more. (One wonders what female reporters think of Ray Rice; most haven’t said much, except that he needs counseling and a consciousness raising and to never, never, do this again. Which seems a bit incomplete.)

There are some players, such as Brandon Marshall of the Bears, who after an earlier incident have become outspoken advocates for women and domestic violence. These are players who’ve truly learned that they must do better as human beings, and I hope Ray Rice, down the line, will join their number.

At the moment, though, all I can say is that Ray Rice has apologized. And since he has, I think some team out there should give him another shot, providing Rice stays in counseling (both personal and marital) and gets the anger management he needs.

And finally, how about those Milwaukee Bucks?

Last year, I wrote about how awful the Bucks were. They didn’t even win two games in a row, they were so bad…they only won 15 games, and set a team record for the worst season in the history of the franchise.

What a difference a year makes.

This year’s Bucks squad is 30-23. They’ve doubled their amount of wins in a year, and they’re only at the All-Star break despite losing their #1 draft pick F Jabari Parker to a knee surgery, losing PG Kendall Marshall to a knee surgery, losing C Larry Sanders to a variety of issues, and losing F Ersan Ilyasova to post-concussion syndrome for a month.

Coach Jason Kidd has revitalized the Bucks. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has become so much better this year in every respect. Center Zaza Pachulia’s career has been revitalized. PG O.J. Mayo has regained his three-point touch. And best of all, Milwaukee now plays excellent defense, something they decidedly didn’t do under former coach Larry Drew. The Bucks now believe they can win every single night no matter who’s in shape to play– and that enthusiasm and self-belief has become infectious.

As a long-time Bucks fan, I’m pleased with how the 2014-2015 season has turned out thus far. I fully expect the Bucks to make the NBA playoffs (if the season ended today, the Bucks would be the #6 seed), and I wouldn’t have believed that was possible a year ago.

Any thoughts regarding this sports roundup? (I’m guessing there might be a few regarding Ray Rice, at least.) Give me a yell in the comments!

Time for a February #MFRWHooks Blog!

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It’s time for a Marketing for Romance Writers Book Hooks promotion! And as it’s a whole lot easier to write that as a hashtag (#MFRWHooks, for short), I think I’ll just do that for the remainder of this blog.

An Elfy on the LooseIn combination with #MFRWAuthor ReTweet Day (which I discussed yesterday), I decided to take part in this week’s #MFRWHooks. I’ve done this before, as it’s an excellent way to let new readers know about my comic YA urban fantasy/romance novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (say that five times fast — I dare you!).

So without further ado…let the #MFRWHooks Blog Hop, February 11, 2015, edition, begin!

The rules of the #MFRWHooks blog hop are simple: You post six to eight lines of your novel plus a short blurb, and then you head to the next hop.

Ready? Here’s eight lines from the first chapter of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE. Note that at this time, Bruno the Elfy’s name is still Jon…as to why? (You need to read the book to find out, though this brief excerpt is part of the answer.):

“While you’re pacing, will you please tell me your name?” Jon asked. “No one here has asked my name, and no one gave me their name in response, and, well, well—it’s just bad manners!”

“I think my parents are terrified the Elfy-Welfies, being so elusive, are that way because of the souls they’re supposed to have stolen,” the girl said softly. “Which the Elfys never could have done if names hadn’t been freely given—”

“What utter rubbish!” Jon interrupted.

 

I hope you enjoyed that little snippet. But perhaps you’d rather read a short blurb about what AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE is about instead?

Bruno the Elfy believes he’s very young, has no power, and has no enemies.

He’s wrong.

Quickly sent to our Earth (the Human Realm) and told to watch for magic, Bruno must unravel the lies, keep his mentor from being tortured, and—oh, yeah—figure out why he’s so strongly attracted to young, Human Sarah.

Because his life depends on it.

* * * * * End blurb * * * * *

Or maybe you’d just like to read more of the sample chapters? (If so, here they are.)

Or maybe — just maybe — something here intrigued you. If that’s the case, here are my buy links:

Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1p6xvQj
Amazon (UK): http://goo.gl/dDoBnd
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/m8o49ad

Now, go be fruitful and multiply — or at least make your way to the next blog in the hop by visiting http://mfrwbookhooks.blogspot.com as that’s the easiest way to discover any number of other interesting books, all featuring at least a small hint of romance.

Enjoy!

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 11, 2015 at 3:45 am

#MFRWAuthor RT Day is Tomorrow…and Other Stuff

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Folks, tomorrow is Marketing for Romance Writers’ monthly ReTweet event. As I’m a member of MarketingforRomanceWriters.org (which you can find on Twitter as @MFRW_ORG), I’ve signed up to take part in something called a “Thunderclap,” which causes many Tweets and Facebook messages to go out at once as I understand it. (I’ve never taken part in a Thunderclap before, so that’s all I can tell you regarding this particular promotion.)

MFRW Author's Blog

Mind, I always support #MFRWAuthor RT Day — the hashtag works out to “Marketing for Romance Writers Author” and of course “RT” means ReTweet — because I find the Marketing for Romance Writers group to be quite beneficial. They help you to understand marketing, for one (as I’m sure you’d expect, considering their name and all), as they are fellow writers who’ve all walked — or who are now walking — the same path you are. MarketingforRomanceWriters.org tends to help indie or small press authors the most, as we need the most help because we don’t have major publishers behind us. But it’s a group that will help any writer if he or she is willing to acknowledge what they do in return…do check them out (they have both a website and a blog as well as a Yahoo Group), as they are an invaluable resource.

Aside from that, I’ve been editing, doing a spot of writing, and editing some more, as per usual.

I do have some semi-bad news to report as my newest short story was rejected by the Writers of the Future contest. I call this “semi-bad” only because I am happy I wrote the story; while I’d have appreciated it if WOTF had loved it the way I do, it’s OK that they didn’t. (You wouldn’t believe how many thousands of stories they get during each quarter.)

Aside from that, Jason Cordova has been mentioned as a possible choice for the John W. Campbell Award. I know Jason quite well, as I’ve worked with him over at Shiny Book Review for years (yes, I intend to write a review this week; why did you ask?), and I’ve read most of his output. His first novel, CORRUPTOR, came out in 2010, but didn’t sell enough to be considered a first, qualifying pro story — which means he’s still eligible to win the Campbell Award.

“But Barb,” you say. “Aren’t you eligible, too? AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE came out last April, so you should qualify…right?”

Well, therein lies a tale. I sold my first story, a co-written affair with my late husband Michael, to the BEDLAM’S EDGE anthology back in 2004 (edited by Mercedes Lackey and the inestimable Rosemary Edghill). That was definitely a qualifying pro sale under the rules, albeit a qualifying half-sale (as Michael receives credit for the other half, which made perfect sense to me at the time and still does).

My second pro-qualifying sale, I believe, was made last year after I sold a story to STARS OF DARKOVER (edited by Deborah J. Ross and Elisabeth Waters). (I say “I believe” because I can’t remember when SFWA raised their rates for a pro-qualifying story from .05/word to .06/word. Under the new SFWA guidelines, this story would not count.)

And that’s it as far as pro-qualifying sales go. Everything else I’ve written to date, including AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, leaves me eligible for the Writers of the Future Contest, meaning I’m largely unknown. (Something I’ve said all along, mind.) But because of my one, early half-sale, I believe I am ineligible for the John W. Campbell Award.

Even if I were eligible, I’d be astonished if anyone nominated me.

Why? I’m not known. (Neither is my late husband Michael, despite my efforts to the contrary — and his while he was still here.)

Anyway, Jason’s much better-known than I am. He also has more short stories and novels (some co-written with Eric S. Brown) to his credit than I do, and has more on the way. He definitely deserves to be considered for the Campbell Award as he remains eligible, and I’d love to see him win it.

EDITED TO ADD: My friend Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s novel SPIRAL PATH is eligible for the World Fantasy Award, the Andre Norton Award, the Nebula, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and even the Newbery Medal. I reviewed SPIRAL PATH at SBR last September; I’d anxiously awaited it for over a year, and I was not disappointed. So please, do not forget about her and her excellent work…you could not ask for a better writer. (Or a better person, though awards do not measure that, usually.)

Back to my original post, already in progress…

Aside from that, to answer a few questions — Yes, my hand is better. (Thank goodness.) And yes, I’m definitely looking forward to Spring Training. (Go, Brewers, Go!)

If you have any questions for me, go ahead and ask in the comments…I’ll do my best to answer, as always.

Slowed, but not Stopped

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Folks, I’ve been very quiet over the past week-plus. I didn’t want to be, mind you, but I had to.

Why? Well, I burned myself while cooking. Badly enough that I went to the emergency room right away. And I was told I did the right thing, as a second-degree burn on the hand is nothing to play around with.

You may be asking yourself why I went in right away. (If so, you’re in good company, as some of my own family members asked the same thing.) Well, as I’m a musician, writer, and editor, I need my hands for my professions. When you add to the mix that I also have carpal tunnel syndrome (I’ve made no secret of this), the burn slowed me down even further.

Anyway, I was told that I had to rest my hand so the burn could heal. I was not allowed to use my left hand at all, and was typing messages out one-handed to editorial clients and others I absolutely had to stay in contact with. While I did do some Tweeting, I again typed only with my right hand, and mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that I was dealing with “finger issues” so people would not be worried that chatty me wasn’t responding to their various comments.

Yesterday, I was seen in a follow-up appointment, and was told that I can resume typing with both hands, with caution of course. I still have to keep the burned area covered and put a special ointment on it; the area will probably scar. But if I have full use of the area, I don’t particularly care about that.

So I’ve been slowed, but I haven’t stopped.

Along the way, I hadn’t been able to share some exciting news with you all, so I may as well share it right here and now.

I have a title for the second half of the ELFY duology at long last!

Yes, my publisher and I agreed that the new title of the second half of ELFY should be…(wait for it)…A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE.

I’m very pleased I can now pass this word along.

As far as a release date for A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, I’m still pushing for late April, mostly because the events of the entire ELFY duology center around Mayday or as Bruno calls it, “Ba’altinne” (otherwise known as Beltane). But I’m working on my final edit, still, and wouldn’t have a prayer of it coming out then except that it’s only going to be available as an e-book.

So in answer to several of your off-line questions, yes, the second half of ELFY will be out soon.

I’m glad my hand is healing. I still can’t do as much as I’d like. But I can type again with my left hand, I can do some work, and I am pleased with that. (It’s progress. I’ll take it.)

As far as reviews go, I hope to be able to review at least one book over the weekend at Shiny Book Review, providing my hand holds out.

And as far as music goes, I am scheduled to play the alto saxophone in the Racine Concert Band’s February 26 concert at Horlick High School in Racine. I wasn’t sure at first whether or not my hand would heal enough for me to do this, but as I can type today (with some difficulty and pain), I should be able to play in another week or two (which is when rehearsals are due to start up again).

Anyway, that’s all I know…excepting that, as always, I will persevere and do my level best to overcome all obstacles. (Really, would you expect me to say anything less?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 5, 2015 at 8:59 pm