Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

A Brewers Update, a Personal Update…and a word about Chris Nuttall’s newest, THE CUNNING MAN

with 29 comments

Folks, I am fighting yet another sinus infection. I am beyond tired of these sinus infections, to put it mildly. But all I can do is rest to tolerance, drink lots of fluids, get more rest, and work to tolerance after I regain enough energy to do so.

As far as music or writing goes (aside from this blog), nothing is getting done. (I did write 32 bars of music last weekend, though.) This is frustrating for me as a creative person, as when I can’t create things get bottled up inside.

The only solution I have is to rest. Again, I hate not being able to do much of anything. But I have to be smart, and I have to realize that my body is extremely worn out right now. Otherwise, I’ll just get sicker, and what good will that do for me or anyone else?

Never mind that. I want to talk about baseball, and I want to talk about books now.

Baseball first.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, my favorite baseball team is the Milwaukee Brewers. They have won the National League Central division, and will be going to the playoffs that start next week. (This week, they’re finishing the regular season, but they’re already locked in for the playoffs as it is. Nothing will change for the team as a whole.)

This has been a season of first, in some ways. There was a combined no-hitter, just the second no-hitter in Brewers baseball history (Corbin Burnes pitched eight innings, and closer extraordinaire Josh Hader pitched the ninth). The Brewers have been good at home but astonishingly good on the road, which almost never happens. And, oddly enough, the usually homerun-hitting Brewers have had to rely on outstanding pitching rather than offense as their offense has been downright offensive at times. (Sorry about the pun, but I couldn’t resist.)

So, the Brewers have better defense and better pitching than most of the rest of the National League. But their hitting is average or below for the most part, and their clutch hitting (hitting with runners in scoring position) isn’t as good as it should be.

What all that means is, when a player like shortstop Willy Adames needs time off to rest a nagging injury, that hurts the Brewers’ offensive capability as a team. When Lorenzo Cain takes a day off to rest, it also hurts for the same reasons. And while the highly-paid former MVP, Christian Yelich, continues to scuffle offensively, he does take walks and uses his speed to some effect…meaning he’s not a black hole, offensively speaking, but he’s not a shining light, either.

The Brewers offense, in short, needs every player to fire on all cylinders. If they don’t, the only way they can win is to rely on their pitching. With three starters among the top ten in ERA (Earned Run Average) as adjusted for time and innings pitched, and outstanding relievers Hader and Devin Williams, the Brewers have put together a formidable pitching staff.

Now, Williams found out he’d busted his hand while celebrating the Brewers division-clinching win over the New York Mets on Sunday. This means he’ll not be available, at best, for three weeks. And as that’s when the World Series is likely to be played, the Brewers will have to worry about it later while focusing on the first opponent (likely to be the Atlanta Braves, though the Philadelphia Phillies still have a mathematical shot to win their division instead and face the Brewers).

It won’t help the Brewers to have Williams sidelined. (He has apologized, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, to his teammates.) But they’ll have to do the best they can as he heals up.

I’m looking forward to watching them in the postseason, and I do hope they’ll hit (for a change) as well as pitch well.

Shifting gears, let’s talk about books. Or at least one, specific book, that being Chris Nuttall’s THE CUNNING MAN, which is now out in e-book format. (Disclaimer: I edited this book and know it quite well.) He’s having some trouble with his website right now (though his blog is up), and thus he can’t get the word out in his usual ways. I figured I could perhaps help just a tad by letting you know it’s out.

Of course, you probably are wondering what the book is about. (It is entitled as a “Schooled In Magic” spinoff, but that isn’t a lot to go on if you haven’t read the Schooled in Magic series to begin with.) It stars Adam, a young man without the magical gift who has become quite interested in studying alchemy and magical theory. Thus, in many ways, he’s a man without a home. The magicians mostly disregard him, and the nonmagicians (“mundanes,” in Chris’s concept, as it is in many fantasy novels) don’t understand him.

Anyway, there’s one place that will take him as a possible apprentice. That place is Heart’s Eye University. A university is a new concept in the Nameless World (Chris’s environs; it has that name because for the most part magicians believe they should use use-names rather than real ones, as your real name being known can give someone unscrupulous power over you; this does not apply to nonmagical people, as there are plenty of ways to get power over a nonmagician already), and they are trying to blend mundane and magical solutions to good effect.

Once he’s there, it’s not a bed of roses, to put it mildly. He meets Lilith, who’s in an apprenticeship she hates (for reasons Adam doesn’t understand at first), and doesn’t know why anyone would want to study magic when they don’t have magic at all. So, as most people can’t stand Lilith, she falls in with Adam. And at first, the unlikely pairing does not do very well, as you might expect.

However, as both Adam and Lilith have adventures, they slowly start to realize they have more in common than not. (They both have ethics and principles, for example.) And Lilith’s worldview (that of magicians being on top because they have magic, AKA “magical supremacy”) starts to change quite a bit (as it should).

I’m going to stop there with a plot summary, but I hope that has intrigued you.

Otherwise, I have several edits in train, I am hoping to write some fiction somehow in the next few days, and I’ll be focusing on healing up so I can do all of these things as quickly as possible.

What are you all doing this week? Let me know in the comments! (And what books are you reading?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 30, 2021 at 3:48 am

29 Responses

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  1. I helped edit Cunning Man as well. Good Read.

    Oh Barb, take care of your self. Sinus Heads are no fun.

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    September 30, 2021 at 10:57 am

    • They aren’t any fun, no.

      Your comments on Chris’s books are invaluable, Paul. You’ve caught many continuity issues before I’ve had to step in, and some comments have led me to investigate further (mostly leading to good results, I think).

      Today I mostly rested, and I just had my first meal of the day — soup, mostly broth. So my hope is that I’ll be much better after another night’s rest.

      Barb Caffrey

      October 1, 2021 at 2:50 am

  2. Sorry to read about your sinus infection Barb, afflictions do mess so with creative processes.
    I hope the broth and the rest helped.
    Best wishes
    Roger

    deteremineddespitewp

    October 2, 2021 at 2:40 am

    • Still working on it, Roger.

      BTW, I loved your history book. Very funny! (Where is Volume two, though, from the 12 Century C.E. up to the present? I’d enjoy reading your takes on that, no doubt.)

      Still working on the novels, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy them greatly as well.

      Barb Caffrey

      October 2, 2021 at 7:48 pm

      • Best wishes for you Barb with that Sinus infection. Ear, Nose and Throat issues which always link to head are truly painful as well as debilitating.
        Thanks for checking out the ‘History’ Barb.
        Volume 2:

        Which covered 1216 to the end of the 15th (ish) is out there.
        I never did get beyond that stage. Those two volumes tended to satirise the nationalism in the four nations which make up the UK, as well as views on religion, race, gender and the general ‘romance’ of the past. Going any further was a bit of a minefield, as events from 1500 onwards can still cause ructions in all sorts of parts of the UK society. So I left it there.
        They were a lot of subversive, wicked fun.
        I hope you enjoy the novels. They are mash-ups of all sorts of genres and I still can’t figure out just what their basis was about apart from…..errr…Life?
        The final volume is nearly ready to go; it went right out of control in length, but refused to be edited.
        Heck, I enjoyed writing them though (even the editing, proof-reading; re-editing, re-proof-reading, etc)
        Take care, eat as best you can and rest.
        Best wishes
        Roger

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 3, 2021 at 3:12 am

      • Thanks, Roger. I just went and bought your volume 2. 🙂

        And I promise, I’ll keep trying to recover as best I can.

        Barb Caffrey

        October 3, 2021 at 9:51 am

      • Thank you so much Barb. I hope that one supplies chuckles for you and takes your mind off of the mean Sinus infection, if it be for only for a short time.

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 4, 2021 at 2:36 am

      • You’re welcome.

        Yes, your second volume is just as enjoyable as the first. I’m about halfway through it now, and just read about Queen Isabella. I agree with you that she was given a raw deal, historically; Alison Weir makes the point, too, that she was never the “she-wolf of France.” (I’ve always liked strong women, so Isabella is one of my favorites.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 4, 2021 at 5:04 pm

      • Thank you Barb, I am glad you are enjoying it.
        Isabella was called on to play in a tough game, eventually on the losing side as it were, she did survive and was reconciled with her son.
        Now Eleanor of Aquitaine. There was a queen who could not be put down, even when locked up by Henry.
        My favourite example though is the ‘Age of The Two Matilidas’; I just love the idea of King Stephen and Robert of Gloucester the two principle male proponents of ‘The Anarchy’ being captured by the opposite side and locked up, and having their wives run the show. (True Empress Matilda was no saint, but you just have to laugh at the politics of that situation 🤣)

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 5, 2021 at 2:22 am

      • No one was a saint by our standards. They had very different views of the world than we do.

        And yes, I agree with you re: strong women and of course about the two Matildas. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        October 8, 2021 at 9:25 am

      • In my haste I made a rookie oversight/ mistake there, Robert of Gloucester was half-brother to Empress Matilda – her husband was a lot younger than her and sulked back in France.

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 9, 2021 at 2:13 am

      • That’s OK, Roger. I know not everything is exactly as it happened. You are writing satire and humor, and it’s an off-beat look at history.

        I tend to think, though, that you have the right spirit when it comes to all that.

        Many historians forget just how bloodthirsty and brutal times were back then. I never have understood that. Henry the VIII, for example, got away with killing two wives and divorcing two more while being married to six different women. And that was supposedly in a more “enlightened” century than the ones you’re talking about.

        Barb Caffrey

        October 9, 2021 at 5:38 pm

      • A deep read of the 16th century will reveal how brutal it was, at all levels. You made one mistake which angered the ruler and it might mean just fined to ruination, exile, a swift execution or torture to ‘confess’ thus implicating others the ruler and their supporters wanted to get rid of and then the hanging, drawing and quartering.
        Grim times.

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 10, 2021 at 2:34 am

      • Yes. It was an awful time. And too many people forget that when they romanticize the time period, also forgetting the facts that there were no antibiotics, no common standards re: sewage, no knowledge of what kept water clean, etc.

        I think history is great to read about, and to learn from. But to live there? No.

        Barb Caffrey

        October 11, 2021 at 1:52 pm

      • Very true Barb.
        I think most of us would struggle with even the late 19th Century.

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 12, 2021 at 2:31 am

      • I’d agree with that. No antibiotics, iffy running water in many places, and a lack of hygiene almost everywhere would not be my cup of tea.

        Barb Caffrey

        October 12, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      • Best stick to what we know

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 12, 2021 at 3:14 pm

      • Yeah.

        Even Andre Norton, who wrote books that pointed out the advantages to lower technology (people had to know each other a lot better then as they relied on each other whether they liked each other or not; that was her view, anyway), made sure her characters used their tech properly and also made sure that if they had a health crisis and had medication available from their advanced civilization, they were going to use that (as they should).

        Barb Caffrey

        October 14, 2021 at 1:10 am

      • Good basis

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 14, 2021 at 2:05 am

      • The point Miss Norton made (and yes, it was Miss; my writer-friend Rosemary Edghill wrote with her, and said that was Miss Norton’s preference), was that while we have lost something with too much technology (I think she’d have been disgusted by the reliance on smartphones, for example), we can’t just throw every bit of tech out. Medical knowledge, for one, is very, very important.

        So, yeah. (I’m glad to be able to talk about Miss Norton’s work, though. Maybe one of these days I’ll blog about my favorites among her huge oeuvre.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 15, 2021 at 8:28 pm

      • An amazing output.
        I’m going to dive in and choose ‘Witch World’ for my next audio book choice

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 16, 2021 at 2:44 am

      • I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        October 16, 2021 at 4:57 am

      • I need a break from Hobbits, Elves, Orcs and rings 😄

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 16, 2021 at 5:38 am

      • I understand. Sometimes we just need something different.

        I’d originally written a comment about a book I’d read years ago, that made me laugh…but wasn’t exactly PG-13. I can’t remember the author. I just remember that the ring wasn’t, shall we say, for the fingers. (It wasn’t a sexy book, either, which is why this one scene was so stunning. Apparently this isn’t a good idea to have…who knew?)

        I hope this comment will make sense now that I’ve tried to put it in context. (AKA edited it.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 20, 2021 at 4:53 pm

      • I guess the lesson is…. No work of fiction is free from parody or having ideas appropriated for ‘other purposes’😀

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 21, 2021 at 2:27 am

      • Yep, if it’s saleable, people will find a way to make it into a parody. (Thus was MAD magazine’s MO for so many years.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 21, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      • True. I was an avid fan of MAD during the 1960s & 70s. Even the ‘Cain Mutiny’ (The Caine Mutiny) remains fresh in my mind. Sometimes it’s difficult to watch the original film without chuckling.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_film_spoofs_in_Mad#1960s

        deteremineddespitewp

        October 22, 2021 at 2:25 am

  3. Worked on my #1 writing project, my physics research monograph. Proposed to Barb that she might like to be a coauthor on a novel of mine. she was agreeable so long as there was no time frame.

    George Phillies

    October 6, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    • Yep. That’s the plan.

      I look forward to working with you, George. 🙂

      Barb Caffrey

      October 8, 2021 at 9:24 am


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