Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for December 2015

Hold the Presses: Lyndi Lamont Stops By the Elfyverse Today!

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Folks, it gives me great pleasure to welcome author Lyndi Lamont to the Elfyverse today. She and I have stories in the Exquisite Christmas anthology…her story is called “A Kiss and a Promise,” and is a merry little historical that I enjoyed greatly. (She’s writing a novel about these characters later in life, too, and I for one can’t wait to read it.)

She also included a bonus recipe that’s perfect for the holidays — how can anyone beat that?

So…take it away, Lyndi!

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Sleighing and Mistletoe for an Exquisite Christmas

My story in the Exquisite Christmas anthology, A Kiss and a Promise, takes place on a wintry Yule afternoon in Victorian times. The year is 1887 and the winter was cold and snowy, a perfect setting for a sleighing party to collect holly and mistletoe to decorate the house. And provide a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe…

Excerpt:

 Sophia gave directions to the best spot for gathering holly and mistletoe, and Harry steered the horses in that direction, bells attached to the harness jingling with each step. The weather had been beastly for the last month, but it had turned the estate into a winter fairyland. Silent snow-covered fields stretched as far as she could see, and each tree sported a layer of white, softening the stark look of the winter scene. The sky was overcast, and she suspected Harry was right to rush them along.

As soon as the sleigh stopped, Reggie jumped out, made a snowball and threw it at Cora as she exited the sleigh. She yelped and chased Reggie, Phoebe on her heels squealing with excitement. Sophia watched them with amusement. Oh, to be a child again.

But she was long past that sort of behavior. She’d had a season in London, after all. She glanced at Harry and caught a gleam in his eye. “Do not even think of joining those hooligans.”

# End Excerpt #

A Kiss and a Promise is a prequel to How To Woo… a Reluctant Bride. You get a glimpse of Lydia and her brother Harry when they were young and carefree. The story also introduces two sisters, Sophia and Cora, who will have their own stories in the How To Woo series.

The Exquisite Christmas e-book is now available at:

Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018F4ACSC

Barnes & Noble, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exquisite-christmas-victoria-adams/1123051071

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/exquisite-christmas

and coming soon to iBooks and other retailers.

The paperback is available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Christmas-Romance-Authors-Holiday/dp/1519495358/

Here’s a bonus recipe that doesn’t appear in the anthology.

Salad1-400x300 Lyndi’s Cranberry-Blueberry Delight

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. can of Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1 package of fresh small blueberries (about 4 oz.)

1 cup of golden raisins

Mix, chill and serve. That’s it!

The recipe serves 8-10 ladies. (The attached photo doesn’t reflect the full recipe. It’s what is left over after a couple of days of snacking on it.) I’ve also spread it on turkey sandwiches in lieu of regular cranberry sauce.

Since it’s so simple, it’s easy to experiment. Add nuts for crunch or sweeten to taste, if it’s too tart. I’m thinking about adding some of those little marshmallows next time for color and sweetness.

Author bio:

Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.

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You can find more about the author and her works here:

Website http://lindalyndi.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LyndiLamont

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

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LyndiLamont/

Twitter https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 16, 2015 at 4:17 am

My Guest Post about Writing Romance for Teens and Adults Is Up at Author Dee Ann Palmer’s Blog

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All apologies for the very lengthy title today, folks, but I wanted to make sure you all knew it — my guest post at author Dee Ann Palmer’s blog about writing romance for teens and adults is up!

In fact, she posted it at two sites — here, and here.

Here’s a brief taste of that:

The main difference I’ve found in writing romance in my novels AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, which features a teenage couple in Bruno the Elfy and Sarah, his mostly human teenage girlfriend, and the stories “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter” in Exquisite Christmas, is that teen characters don’t exactly know what it is that they want. Everything is ahead of them. They are experiencing love for the very first time, and aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be doing – or when they’re supposed to be doing it. Whereas adult characters know exactly what they are doing and why they’re doing it, but don’t always know if their wishes are going to be reciprocated.

Then I discussed my characters Bruno and Sarah from the Elfy duology (book 1 is AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, book 2 is A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE) as my teen representatives (Bruno assuredly would be considered a teenager in his culture), and my characters Marja and Tomas from the two stories “Marja’s Victory” and “To Hunt the Hunter” that are included in the Exquisite Christmas anthology.

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So, if you are interested in reading the rest of my guest blog, please hop on over to either of Dee Ann Palmer’s sites and take a look. Then be sure to check out the Exquisite Christmas anthology, as there are quite a few heartwarming stories and recipes there to keep you amused well into the New Year!

And check this space…because in the New Year, Dee Ann will be stopping by and contributing a guest post of her own here at the Elfyverse. (And I, for one, can’t wait!)

Friday Inspiration: Overcoming Back Pain, and Other Obstacles

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Folks, for the past several weeks, I have been saying very little about what’s been going on with me and my health.

Why? Well, as you know, I am not able-bodied. But I can do many things, and I don’t want anyone to dwell on my disabilities. I’d rather talk about my abilities instead.

There are many people in this world worse off than I am. I can walk, albeit with a cane, and I can type, even though sometimes I have pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome.

I would rather overcome my obstacles than give in to them. However, sometimes I have to take time out for myself to rest and recuperate.

Or, in this case, to do back therapy, as my lower back is so inflamed, I can barely walk or move around.

Of course I’ve been taking more medicine, including the hated seven-day course of prednisone. to try to get my muscles to relax. I’ve also been doing the stretches prescribed by the physical therapists, and will be in physical therapy for another four or five weeks.

Why am I telling you all this? Because maybe someone out there needs to hear that you don’t have to give in to pain. You have to recognize it, and deal with it, but you don’t have to give in to it.

There’s something you hear a lot from professional athletes, who in the main deal with injuries far more than the general public. They say that when you’re recovering, you have to “stay within yourself.”

I’m not particularly good at this, but I’m learning.

If I stay within myself, I can get everything done that I need to do. That includes writing, editing, practicing for next week’s concert with the Racine Concert Band out at Park High School…all of that.

Yes, I’m going to pay in pain. But I can get it done.

So, for the moment, how I overcome obstacles is to pace myself. Do the stretches, and try to get my back to loosen up a little. Take more breaks. Eat well, and try to rest (which isn’t always easy with back pain, but I’m doing what I can). Use a heating pad, or take a long, hot shower a few times a day.

Whatever works.

And try to give myself a break, too. Because sometimes, being good to yourself is the hardest thing — especially when you want to be doing so much more than you are.

Still. For this week’s inspirational thought, I leave you with this:

Don’t let your obstacles overwhelm you. Find a way to circumvent them as much as possible. And live your life as best you can.

That is the winning strategy.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 11, 2015 at 7:16 pm

A Wednesday Roundup

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Folks, today is Marketing for Romance Writers’ Retweet Day (#MFRWAuthor for short, on Twitter). And I usually have a post up long before this, to try to take advantage of that…as I need all the help I can get in order to spread the word about my writing.

ExquisiteChristmasAd3(1)That said, I also wanted to remind everyone that the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology is out. I have two stories in this anthology, both featuring shapeshifter (and woman of size) Marja, and her lover, Tomas — a telepathic mountain Troll. The anthology actually features twenty-one authors, and we all added holiday recipes to make the anthology just a little more festive…it’s only $2.99 as an e-book, and I’m sure that if you enjoy romance, you’ll enjoy this anthology.

As I said last week, we need hope and optimism. We need those things now more than ever, because so many of the things we see in the media are awful.

Romantic stories may not seem like much, when you put them against the problems in Chicago, or Baltimore, or in San Bernadino, or in Paris. They can’t take the pain away of innocent people getting killed for no reason, no. But they can remind us of what is good and right about life: Love. Family. Optimism. Hope. Faith. And much, much more.

I know that’s an awful lot to ask of a bunch of stories from twenty-one authors. But if you give us a chance, we might divert you from the problems in this world, and maybe even put a smile on your face in the process.

Sometimes, that’s all anyone can do.

Now, back to editing! (And maybe a wee bit of writing, too.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 9, 2015 at 11:37 pm

Check Out Sally Cronin’s Blog Today…and Other Observations

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Folks, before I forget, I wanted to let you know that author Sally Cronin featured my books A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE and AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE over at her popular and very busy blog, Smorgasbord Invitation, today. She has a series going called “Christmas Grotto,” where she points out books she thinks her readers might like — I couldn’t be happier that she did this. (Thank you so much, Sally!)

Now for the other observations.

This past week was frustrating for me on a personal level, because my computer was down. I was using my mother’s computer during off-hours, so I could maintain a web presence to a degree and also get a little editing done. (I couldn’t do heavy stuff, but at least I could do a little bit to keep myself from going stir-crazy.)

Fortunately, my computer was repaired on Friday afternoon by the good folks over at Milwaukee PC in Sturtevant. (Well, it technically might be Mount Pleasant. Either way.) It came in exactly at the price they told me it would — no surprises — and it got done a little faster than we’d hoped.

But my transitory personal frustration was dwarfed to near-insignificance when I found out about the latest mass shooting in the United States, this time in Southern California. (Since it is my policy not to identify  shooters in such events unless I feel them to be mentally deranged to such a degree they might be seen as pitiable figures, I will not be identifying the two known shooters here.) I don’t understand why anyone would shoot and kill fourteen people, wounding twenty-one others, at a holiday party.

There are hints, perhaps many of them, that this mass shooting was caused by people who may have been radicalized by elements of ISIL overseas. I can’t speak to that, but I will say that a shooting at such an innocuous place is scary — which, of course, is exactly what ISIL wants. (Why else take up such a stance in the first place?)

Which brings me back to two subjects — why I write, and why I think reading something funny right now might be in order.

Look. I write because I have stories to tell. (Not just in the Elfyverse, either, though certainly many of my stories have been or will be set there.) Plus, I like to make people laugh. I like to divert people for a little while, so they won’t think so much about their problems.

The two books Sally pointed out to her readers, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, are both funny urban fantasies with romance, some mysterious goings on, and some ghosts. (Hey, when I write a book, I put my all into it.) There’s a lot going on in the Elfy duology, but at its heart it’s a simple love story between two misunderstood teens — Bruno the Elfy, and Sarah his mostly-human girlfriend. They come together because they have common interests, because their minds call to one another — and only after that do their bodies start to call to one another, too.

That is my type of comfort book, which is probably why I wrote it in the first place. (Though trying to psychoanalyze yourself after the fact is an exercise doomed to failure, isn’t it?)

I know I’m proud of my Elfy duology, and I’m glad they are both out there for people to read. I hope during this time of great stress in the world that maybe reading a funny book will help you feel a little better.

Because somehow, we need to remember that life contains good things, too. (Or as my late husband Michael used to put it — “Enjoy yourself, live your life — and spite the bastards.”)

Want to Know More About Language in the Elfyverse? Check out Chris the Story-Telling Ape’s Blog…

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If you’ve ever wanted to know more about my Bilre language (what the Elfys speak when they’re at home in their own Realm), listen up!

Chris the Story-Telling Ape’s busy blog has a post up right now, from me, about that very thing.

Here’s the link:

http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2015/12/02/language-in-the-elfyverseand-beyond-guest-post-by-author-barb-caffrey/

And to answer the question I’ve been recently asked (to wit: “So, Barb, when are you going to get back to blogging about current events?”), the answer is…soon.

Maybe tomorrow, or possibly the next day. Because I have a great deal to say…but only a limited time in which to say it.

Anyway, I do hope you will enjoy today’s guest blog. Let me know, OK?

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm