Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Marketing for Romance Writers’ Blog Features “To Survive the Maelstrom” as part of #Thursday13

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Folks, I’d asked to be part of the meme known as #Thursday13 at Marketing for Romance Writers’ busy blog a while ago. I thought letting some folks know about “To Survive the Maelstrom” would be interesting. And all they wanted was for me to post up to thirteen lines of the manuscript…so what could be simpler?

Maelstrom3So if you’ve not read any of “To Survive the Maelstrom” yet, please go over there and read a bit about Command Sergeant-Major Peter Welmsley of the Atlantean Union. Peter was once my late husband Michael’s character, and I found his story so compelling, I wanted to know more.

That’s why I decided to write the story of how Peter meets his empathic companion, a sentient, sapient being known as a weremouse. I knew that someone who’d been so damaged as to need a complete epidermal regeneration must have a story to tell. And fortunately, I was able to figure out what, exactly, that story was.

Peter’s dilemma, you see, is one of many soldiers who come home, realizing the world around them has changed. Or at least the way they perceive the world around them has changed. They are ill in spirit, even if they might’ve been healed in body, and most of them aren’t fortunate enough to find something as accepting, loving and nurturing as a weremouse.

In fact, Peter’s struggles with his own family are alluded to, because they truly don’t seem to understand just how bad he feels. He’s lost nearly everyone he worked with; he lost his fiancée; he lost his best friend. And underneath it all, he feels guilty for surviving — and yet, if he didn’t survive, who would remember his friends? Who would remember Hunin? Who would remember to tell their stories as well as his own?

As a widow, I felt powerfully driven to write this story — not just to complete my late husband Michael’s work (which admittedly is a compelling motivation all on its own), but because I empathized with Peter.

No, I don’t have post-traumatic stress disorder, as Peter almost certainly does. No, I’ve never served in the military (though I was a military wife at one time, and they make enormous sacrifices that mostly go unnoticed). No, if Michael had lived, I probably wouldn’t have done more than edit for my husband, and talk with him about the possibilities here.

But as my life has changed profoundly due to being widowed too young, I understood where Peter was coming from. He’s a full adult. He had his life all planned out. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it.

Then, in one day, everything changed. And he had to pick up the pieces.

Fortunately for Peter, a weremouse is about to change his life for the better. But that does not at all mean Peter doesn’t still have scars — many in places that do not show.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy my story. (If you’re really sharp, you might even figure out what parts Michael wrote, and what parts I did. Though they’re not obvious…at least, I hope not.)

It’s available now at Amazon, and I hope in a few months’ time to have it up also at Smashwords and BN.com. Do let me know what you think of it.

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