Archive for February 2017
Folks, I start to slowly improve.
My voice is better. I have a teensy smidgen of energy. My temperature is down and stays down, providing I don’t do very much…still can’t write much, still can’t edit, and thinking is slow, but I’m a whole lot better than I was over the weekend and am grateful for that.
Anyway, I have another guest blog up today at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic…doesn’t that seem like a good place for me to be appearing? (Hey, eccentric is one of the nicer things I’ve been called in my life. Something about being a SF&F writer makes most people say, “What?” and sidle away, slowly…)
This, of course, is in support of CHANGING FACES, my newest novel, a LGBT-friendly contemporary fantasy/romance.
Here’s a bit from that guest blog:
Mayra Calvani: Please tell us about Changing Faces, and what compelled you to write it.
Barb Caffrey: Changing Faces is all about the power of love regardless of outward form. I wrote it because I saw two people in love—Allen Bridgeway, a heterosexual man of thirty, and Elaine Foster, a bisexual and transgender woman of twenty-eight—who were about to make a major mistake. Elaine felt that Allen could not understand her being transgender, you see, as she has just told Allen and he’s floored. (She uses “she” as the default pronoun, is a feminist scholar, and there’s absolutely no way he could’ve known this.) Allen wants to marry Elaine, but doesn’t know what to make of these revelations; Elaine is so upset that despite a nasty winter storm, she demands to be taken to a hotel. So Allen drives her, inwardly praying that they not be separated.
And his prayer is answered.
They will get a second chance at love, but with conditions. He’s now in her body. And she is inside his, but in a coma, speaking with an alien/angel known as an Amorphous Mass (a type of shapeshifter). He can tell no one he’s Allen; she cannot speak with anyone except the alien/angel. Both still want to be with each other, but how can they get past this?
Thus, Changing Faces.
M.C.: What is your book about?
Barb Caffrey: The power of love, and the realization that LGBT people are just like anyone else. They want love, and happiness, and understanding, and to be desired for themselves. And that if someone can see inside you—see your soul, rather than the outward form of your body—that’s what true love is all about.
Allen truly loves Elaine. The outward form doesn’t matter that much to him, even though at first he is absolutely thrown when she tells him, at long last, that she is transgender. She feels she’d be better off in a male body, but she’d still want to use “she” as her pronoun, and that is just deeply confusing to him. He loves her, and wants her, and desires only her…even when he’s confused, and doesn’t understand what she’s telling him, he does know that much.
Which is why he prays, and is answered…
In case you think this is giving short shrift to Elaine and Elaine’s wishes, though, don’t. Elaine, too, actually wanted the same thing. (These aliens/angels do not exist in our linear time, exactly. So one of them knows that Elaine, on her deathbed, after becoming outwardly male, wanted another chance with Allen and felt she’d made a bad mistake in refusing to stay with him.)
That’s why the aliens/angels do this. They believe in love. And they want love to have its day, even if it means both Allen and Elaine must change their faces so they can have another chance.
As I’ve been saying, I think CHANGING FACES is an important story for our current political climate, especially considering the Trump Administration’s recent reversal of the previous Obama directive regarding transgender students and bathrooms. (I wish we didn’t need a federal policy on this; my friend Kamas Kirian commented a few days ago about this, in fact. But there are some states that are less forward-looking than others, and it’s in those states in particular that the LGBTQ community needs its rights protected.) Reminding people that folks who aren’t straight are the same as everyone else and want love, compassion, personal satisfaction, and happiness is important right now.
Did I write this as a message novel? No, I didn’t. I wrote it as a romance, period. But if you want to see a message there, beyond the fact that I think souls are a whole Hell of a lot more important than bodies could ever be, I’m not going to stop you from seeing it.
Beyond that, if you’ve already read CHANGING FACES, please go and leave a few words about it. I have no reviews, currently, and am having trouble finding anyone to review it at all…to spend nearly fifteen years on a book without any reviews (and not the sales I was hoping for, though the year is young and all that) is very difficult.
Granted, I’m still dealing with the flu, so maybe it seems worse than it is. Still, I urge you to please read my sample chapters at Twilight Times Books if you haven’t yet checked out CHANGING FACES, then go pick up a copy as an e-book as it’s still just ninety-nine cents.
Now, I’d best get back to resting, so I can kick the remainder of this flu.
Folks, I remain mired in the flu.
Granted, it’s a little bit better than it was yesterday. But my voice remains awful (a friend called last night and was absolutely appalled at how much of a croak it sounds like right now), I’m still coughing more than not, am incredibly congested, and can actually point to each one of my ribs because each individual one hurts like fire.
Mind, it’s not as bad as it could be. So far, I don’t seem to have bronchitis or pneumonia, and as I’ve had both before, I think I’d know. And I am getting a little better; this is the second day in a row I’ve been able to get online and put up some form of a blog — though that’s probably more because of sheer cussedness on my part than anything else.
(Hey, at least I admit it.)
Because I have a new book out, CHANGING FACES, which I’ve talked about a great deal already, I hope I don’t have to give you all the links and all the blurbs and all that today. (Scroll down and hit the back arrow if you want that, just this once. OK?)
Instead, I’d rather just give you this link, to a guest blog I did at Straight from the Author’s Mouth, and give you a bit of that to whet your interest:
This is for pet lovers. If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
BC: That’s a tough one! (Laughs.) My dogs mostly do get their food on time, but it’s because about an hour before they’re usually fed, they come and put their heads on my lap, and give me the big, huge, puppy-dog eyes. I usually am working away, and I tell them, “It’s too early!” But they keep coming back, and keep nagging me, so they do tend to get fed on time.
This is for plant lovers. If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive?
BC: I’ve been nurturing one plant now for several years; it was planted in remembrance of my deceased Cocker spaniel, Blackie. I try to water it every couple of days, and tell it that Blackie would be pleased…I’m sure that plant is quite bemused with me, too! (Yes, I’m weird.)
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
BC: I got annoyed when anything took me out of the creative process, to be honest. It takes me a while to be fully immersed in the worlds I create, and anything that gets in the way of that feels like a full-on assault of the creative process. But after my initial annoyance, I usually apologize, because it’s not the fault of whoever interrupted that I’ve picked this career (or it picked me, rather).
Anyway, please go take a look at the latest guest blog, as there’s a lot more good stuff to read about there. Note that I can’t comment or do much other than let you know about it because Firefox and Google still aren’t playing well together, and no matter what I do to get rid of cookies out of the cache (isn’t that a lovely word, cache?), I just can’t share anything from that page.
So if you can, please do. And also, do let people know that my book is out…maybe some will see it as utter nonsense, but I hope most won’t. Love is love, and who cares about the outer packaging, anyway? (I sure as Hell don’t.)
Folks, I’ve just spent the last seventy-two hours in Hell.
(Or at least it seems like it.)
Why? I have the flu. I got it because one of the other musicians had it in the band when we played our concert last week…no one else appears to have gotten it but me, but my symptoms are the same ones my bandmate had down to the letter.
Flu means fevers. I rarely get them. So that means I can’t think well when I have them. (I can get around some illnesses or ailments because I’m used to them, but not this, in other words.) And I’ve spent much of the last seventy-two hours with a fever over 102 F.
So what am I doing now? I’m trying to let you know that CHANGING FACES is still out there. I think my book is important, especially now; love is love, and it doesn’t matter much what your outer shell is, providing your soul calls to someone else’s.
I’m fortunate in that I am heterosexual and all of my loved ones have been men. Society understands this, for the most part, and I’m grateful for it.
I wish society would get with the program and realize that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender-fluid, queer, and any other flavor you might want to come up with all have the right to find someone they love, too, providing it’s consensual, preferably monogamous, and always, always life-affirming.
That is one of the main reasons I stuck with CHANGING FACES, and why I am glad it’s available to be read right now.
Folks, here are the guest blogs that I didn’t get a chance to tell you about, due to being sick:
This is the first chapter of CHANGING FACES. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a good, quick, free place for you to do so.
And here’s another link that also gives you access to the first chapter (hey, if one doesn’t work, another should, though I tested both links and found them good):
And then, there was the one about my route to publication, which you may find interesting…here’s that link:
And here’s a bit from that:
Q: What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Barb: Keep writing. Work hard. Network with other writers. Find out about writing groups that might be able to help you, such as Critters.org, the Forward Motion Writers Community (fmwriters.com), or join other groups focused on marketing like Marketing for Romance Writers (you do not have to be a romance writer to join, mind) or Exquisite Quills, and learn all you can about the business as a whole.
I’d also advise you to read as many different blogs as you can about the business and craft of writing. The blogs I recommend the most include KrisWrites.com (this is the blog of Kristin Kathryn Rusch, a long-time SF&F writer and editor), the Passive Voice, the Mad Genius Club, Amanda Green’s writing blog, and a whole host of others of various political persuasions. Try not to get too hung up about whether this one’s a Libertarian or this one over here is a liberal Democrat; instead, figure out if this person understands the craft of writing (or the craft of self-editing) and keep following along. Maybe you’ll find one thing of interest in a year—but that one thing can change your perspective and help you.
And best of all, these websites are all free! (How great is that?)
So, there you have it. Please go look at these blogs, and then go get yourself a copy of CHANGING FACES…it’s still only ninety-nine cents as an e-book, and it’s available in a number of places. (Ready? Set? Um, go…?)
Folks, some days I just get so frustrated, I want to scream.
Why? Well, today’s news is that the Trump Administration apparently wants to rescind the Obama Administration directive regarding transgender students and bathrooms. The Obama directive more or less said that transgender students should be able to use the bathroom that suits their own, internalized gender; the Trump directive, which appears to be imminent, would rescind this directive and make trans students use the bathroom their outward gender would dictate instead.
This is incredibly annoying in many ways.
First, a young person who already identifies as being in the wrong body for their psyche is not looking to “convert” anyone. They just want to use a bathroom that makes sense to them.
Second, a young person who feels like he or she is in the wrong body already needs all the help he or she can get to figure out himself/herself. Being able to use the restroom that he or she identifies with is an easy thing to do to help, and preventing that person from using that same restroom just helps isolate that person even further.
So how does rescinding the Obama directive help anything?
The only point the people on the right who are in favor of rescinding Obama’s directive (which, fortunately, are not that many) have seemed to say is, “Well, this way, boys can’t use female restrooms by pretending to be girls!”
My answer? If these overly-concerned people really believe young men, already an angst-filled subset of the population, are going to suddenly identify as female to use female bathrooms, that is just silly.
(A young man who does that deserves what he gets, in other words.)
Anyway, I’m a straight woman. I’ve never dated a woman, never kissed one either, and never plan to do so — I am attracted to men. But that does not mean I don’t understand how stupid this is.
So, compared to that, my latest guest blog, about my route to publication, seems very small. But as I’m the writer of a book about two troubled souls who both end up transgender (and stay very much in love with each other), CHANGING FACES, I figured I’d let you know what I think.
And even though it is a very small thing in context, do, please, take a look at my newest guest blog. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Who knows? Maybe it’ll remind you that trans people are just like anyone else.
Because they are.
Folks, I have a guest blog up today at Dear Reader, Love Author…a place I’d never stopped by before, but one I enjoyed once I knew about it.
The premise of this particular place is that you write a letter to your readers — or prospective readers — talking about why you hope they’ll love your writing (in this case, in support of CHANGING FACES).
As Firefox (my browser) isn’t playing well with Google this week, I can’t like the post or comment, though it is letting me share it by Google Plus for some reason. (How odd, hey?) But I can at least let you know about it here, and hope you will find it this way (and via Twitter and Facebook, where I’ll also post).
First, here’s the cover photo, again, for CHANGING FACES:
So, here’s a little from the Dear Reader, Love Author post:
Changing Faces is the story of two clarinetists, Allen Bridgeway and his fiancée, Elaine Foster. They love each other very much, but because of trauma in Elaine’s past and the fact that, unbeknownst to Allen, she is both gender-fluid and transgender, she is having a hard time fully committing to him. When she finally tells Allen who and what she is, he’s floored, and doesn’t know what to do…he prays that they find a way to stay together, and some higher beings not bound to our linear time take pity on him and Elaine.
But the way they do it isn’t what Allen expects.
You see, on a very bad wintry night, Allen and Elaine are involved in a car accident. The beings take Allen’s soul and bind it into Elaine’s body, then take Elaine’s soul and put it into Allen’s. Because Allen’s old body is heavily damaged, one of the beings talks with her while she’s comatose in the Place of Dreams and Nightmares—a place humans go every night when they sleep, though most of us don’t remember much about it upon wakening. And Allen wakes up in the hospital, in Elaine’s body, unable to tell anyone he’s Allen, not Elaine.
So, instead of one LGBT person, we now have two LGBT people. Both still in love with each other, in a horrible situation, not knowing if the other will forgive them (Allen worries about Elaine even being in his body, while Elaine worries that no one understands Allen now, and blames herself for putting them in this terrible position).
So, how are Allen and Elaine going to get out of this mess? Will they find a way to make peace with this highly unusual situation? And will they learn how to see each other’s souls rather than their bodies?
Since it’s a romance, I think you can bet heavily that I found a way to do it…but no, I’m not going to tell you how. (Where’s the mystery in that if I did?)
CHANGING FACES is still only ninety-nine cents as an e-book in the US, and ninety-nine pence as an e-book in the UK. I sincerely hope you will give my newest novel a try, as there’s truly nothing else on the market like it at all.
Folks, I’m happy to let you all know that I have a new guest post at Book Cover Junkie today. It’s about the excellent cover artist Tamian Wood created for my new novel CHANGING FACES, and all that went into that…I hope you will enjoy it.
Here’s just a little bit from that guest post:
As you see, there are two faces on this cover for my new novel Changing Faces. One is my hero, Allen Bridgeway, a thirty-year-old heterosexual male in love with my heroine, Elaine Foster, a twenty-eight-year-old bisexual and transgender female. Elaine is beautiful, while Allen’s an average-looking guy to start off the book. However, as things go on, Allen quickly gets put into Elaine’s body, while Elaine gets put into Allen’s (and in a coma). The reason the cover looks this way is because of the gift of artist Tamian Wood…she captured Elaine, who is Hispanic, beautifully, and gave Allen a depth and richness that I appreciated without compromising his seemingly average looks.
In addition, because this book is set in Nebraska and features two clarinetists, there are subtle touches of musical notes in the lettering, and a long road for the two lovers to walk…
And if you haven’t yet seen the blurb for CHANGING FACES yet, here’s the longer version (not available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com), as that may give you more of an inkling:
Allen and Elaine are graduate students in Nebraska, have been together for seven years, and are engaged. They love each other very much, and have many things in common. Both play the clarinet, are teaching assistants, are well-respected and seem to have their lives firmly on track. In fact, their life should be idyllic, but Elaine’s past includes rape, neglect, and abuse from those who should’ve loved her—but didn’t, because from childhood, Elaine identified as transgender.
When Elaine tells Allen right before Christmas, he doesn’t know what to do. He loves Elaine, loves her soul, has heard about transgender people before, but didn’t think Elaine was one of them—she looks and acts like anyone else. Now, she wants to become a man and is going to leave.
He prays for divine intervention, and says he’ll do anything, just please don’t separate him from Elaine. And in the form of a car accident, he gets his wish.
Now, he’s in Elaine’s body. And she’s in his. But both were injured, and Allen’s old body (with Elaine inside) is in a coma.
Allen can’t tell anyone who he is. But one thing’s certain: if Elaine can wake up, he wants to be with her. He doesn’t care what body he’s in, or that he, too, is now transgender.
True love matters so much to the universe, once you have found your soulmate, the universe will do anything to keep you together—even change your faces.
Anyway, here are all the links to the various places where CHANGING FACES is on sale, courtesy of Chris the Story-Telling Ape (he put it into this format, and it makes sense, so I’m going to keep crediting him — thank you again, Chris!):
And if you want to try before you buy? That’s all right with me, too. Go read the sample chapters right now:
Folks, this past week has been a whirlwind. I’ve had ups, downs, two band rehearsals, book promotion activities, all that…but one thing is certain:
I appreciate my friends, in and out of the writing community.
Friends are amazing. Having people in your life who understand you is one of the greatest blessings available on this Earth. No, it might not be up there with chocolate, or romantic love, or the Milwaukee Brewers winning the World Series (that has to be on the horizon sooner or later, right?), but friends make a huge difference in your life.
I know this, because without mine, I would be in big trouble.
This past week, I had several friends step up and help me in various ways.
First, Chris the Story-Reading Ape posted a book spotlight for CHANGING FACES, my new novel, at his very busy blog on less than three hours notice. I did not expect this at all — that he’d do it, yes. But that he’d do it in less than three hours? Um, no.
Thank you, Chris!
Next, I reached out to Jason Cushman, the Opinionated Man himself. Jason has a huge blog following of over 60,000 people over at his blog HarsH ReaLiTy, and he agreed to host a guest blog from me less than a day after I asked him.
That guest blog, Music and Love in CHANGING FACES, got a number of positive comments and I made at least one new fan out of it from India. (She thinks I should start up a YouTube channel on music, because I know so much about it. I had never considered that before, but I am now…thanks to her.)
Thank you so much, Jason!
Then, I reached out to Sally Cronin, a wonderful woman who has a solid and eclectic blog following of her own. Sally agreed to host something about me, my overall work (including my short stories and previous two novels in the Elfyverse as well as CHANGING FACES), and let people know I had a new release available within a few, short days as well; that blog also featured authors Angie Dokos and Deanie Humphrys-Dunne.
Thank you so much, Sally!
(My goodness, I am blessed with friends, aren’t I?)
And that doesn’t count the people who shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, much less my friends over in the Marketing for Romance Writers group, not to mention my writer-friends Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Mr. and Mrs. N.N. Light, Jason Cordova, and Chris Nuttall, who all gave me encouragement as I was afraid my book would just sink like a stone.
I mean, there is nothing else out there like CHANGING FACES. Nothing whatsoever. And that makes it a challenge to market. It’s about music, love, friendship, sacrifice, all that — but it’s mostly about what makes a person, her soul or her body? (Obviously, I think it’s the soul. If it were the body, why would human beings be so concerned, as a species, about a positive afterlife?)
And yet, it’s not a Christian inspirational. It’s not a NeoPagan inspirational, either. There certainly are a lot of LGBT themes in there, as it features a lesbian wedding at the beginning and a wedding between my protagonists Allen and Elaine, now both transgender, at the end, but I like to think it has broader appeal as well.
In other words, I believe that CHANGING FACES is timeless. Anyone who believes in romance, much less likes music a great deal, should find a way to appreciate it.
No, it’s not like anything else. But it is honest, it is heartfelt, and it has a lot of interesting stuff in there about music, writing, the meaning of love, and how LGBT people are just like anyone else that may intrigue you, if you only give it a chance.
I am proud to have written CHANGING FACES. And I hope that you will look for it, and buy a copy, as it’s only ninety-nine cents (or ninety-nine pence in the UK).
First, here’s a link to the sample chapters:
Next, here are all the links to the various places where CHANGING FACES is on sale, courtesy of Chris the Story-Telling Ape (he put it into this format, and it makes sense, so I’m going to keep crediting him — thank you again, Chris!):
Finally, here’s a link to my Amazon Author’s page (at Amazon US only, sorry), which may give you an idea of other books I’ve written, to show range and all that other good stuff (note that CHANGING FACES is not yet listed there, but it will be, and soon, if I have anything to say about it):