Archive for the ‘Books’ Category
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:
The title, above, is the main question at the heart of CHANGING FACES, my new fantasy romance set in modern-day Nebraska featuring a bisexual and gender-fluid woman, Elaine Foster, and her heterosexual boyfriend, Allen Bridgeway. These two have overcome much to find each other, fall in love, and now want to get married — but Elaine’s been keeping her gender-fluidity secret, as she’s desperately afraid Allen will not be able to understand it.
The problem is, when you don’t have open communication, love has no way to grow and becomes less sustaining and fulfilling. Ultimately, if you are holding a big secret inside, as Elaine is at the start of CHANGING FACES, it starts to poison your relationship…that secret has to come out, or you end up with the question I posed above: when love disappoints, what is the point?
See, you need to share all of yourself, when you’re in love with someone else. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the in between stuff…it all has to come out, or you aren’t truly joining with someone else. (That “two shall become one” Bible verse is not just about children, after all.) You have to be willing to be vulnerable, to open yourself up to potential ridicule — though someone who truly loves you isn’t going to do that, we are all human and we all worry about such things — and to hope that your love will grow, change, and flourish over time.
In the case of CHANGING FACES, Elaine is worried that Allen can’t possibly understand her gender-fluidity, as she barely understands it herself and she’s lived with it her entire life. She also was a child of the foster homes, as was Allen…while Allen was able to find a loving adoptive home after a while, Elaine never was, and worse, Elaine was raped while resident of her last foster home by five young men. It’s because of this atrocious act that Elaine can only barely accept Allen’s love for her in the first place, and it adds stress to an already stressful situation.
You might be wondering why Allen keeps trying, hey? Well, he truly is in love with Elaine. He sees who she is, even if he doesn’t know about her gender-fluidity (he doesn’t care about her bisexuality at all; he figures he looks at women, she looks at women too, and they only go home with each other so that’s fine), and he loves her indomitable spirit. He sees her, entire, sees her soul, and loves her for who she is.
But of course, when she finally tells him about her gender-fluidity (and how she believes she’d rather live as a man, maybe get the surgery down the line to become a man outwardly, even though she’d always think of herself as a woman — did I mention that Elaine is a feminist scholar? No?), Allen is completely thrown.
Who wouldn’t be?
I mean, you live with someone for seven years, right? You love that person wisely and well, knowing how much she’s been hurt, appreciating that despite it all, she’s willing to turn to you and give you everything she has…and then you find out this secret.
Allen’s a very good man. He wants to be with Elaine so much, even though he doesn’t understand any of this, he prays that she won’t leave him (as she’s confused, hurt, and upset, and is about to do that very thing even though she still loves him every bit as much as before).
And his prayer is answered by two quirky, shapeshifting angels…
Look. My view of love is very simple. Love matters, period. You have to have communication and trust and honesty, or love can’t flourish as it should. (I think it dies, personally, if you don’t have those things, but maybe that’s just me.) The right person at the right time in your life can work wonders — refer back to everything I’ve said about my late husband Michael if you don’t believe me (I have a category for it, even, if you haven’t read anything about Michael before, on the side of the blog) — but you have to be open and vulnerable and real and tell the truth about yourself, or love will be ultimately less than fulfilling and highly disappointing.
Telling the truth and being vulnerable is a big risk. That’s why it’s so hard to do. And it’s even harder when you’re someone like Elaine who’s been badly hurt and who doesn’t really know how to explain who and what she is…she’s not lying to Allen, but she’s not able to tell him everything, either, and thus, a wedge grows between them.
A wedge that can only be fixed by the two quirky angels and their solution of changing Allen and Elaine’s faces (that is, putting Allen in Elaine’s body, and Elaine in Allen’s, so they’re now both, in effect, transgender in every sense).
As I’ve said in the past several days, I believe in love. I believe in honesty. I believe in miracles, faith, optimism, second chances all unlooked for, and I think we need more of it in this world.
I’m proud to have written CHANGING FACES, and I hope you will enjoy it as well. Do let me know what you think…especially about how you, yourself, have transcended the disappointments you’ve found in your own love relationships (as trust me, every single one of us has been disappointed in a love relationship one way or another — it seems to be part of the human condition).
Edited to add:
Here are all the places you can find CHANGING FACES…Chris the Story-Reading Ape put it in this format (so thank you again, Chris!):
Folks, it’s been a long time coming, as most of you know, but my third novel, CHANGING FACES, is now out as an e-book and is available at Amazon. (Further links will be added as they become live; there will be a Barnes and Noble link later, and possibly one at AllRomance/OmniLit as well.) And best of all, the book is priced at only ninety-nine cents for the first week or so!
So, without further ado, here’s the links:
And in case you want a few sample chapters, here’s a link to that:
Now, because it’s important, I want to say a few things.
First, I’m glad that I have good friends in the writing and editing community and appreciate the support I’ve received during the last tumultuous year or so.
Second, I hope that CHANGING FACES, a book about a couple in love that looks “normal,” but actually isn’t as the feminine half of the couple, Elaine, is gender-fluid and identifies as transgender, will help spread some light and understanding about #LGBT individuals.
See, people are people. They want love, affection, understanding, all that. The gender and sexuality really doesn’t make that much difference, when it comes to these universal truths.
But it’s hard, sometimes, to make things work in a romance, even if you both are what society understands. We make mistakes, we people, and it’s hard to communicate even when you desperately love someone and want only what’s best for him or her.
Allen and Elaine’s story of love, frustration, misunderstandings, major changes, and ultimately more love and better understanding, was deeply personal to me. I hope it will matter to you as well, and that you will see it as a transcendent love story that matters to every living human soul.
Because that’s how I see it.
Just ’cause I don’t have much in the way of holiday spirit this year, that doesn’t mean the rest of you don’t. (I hope someone does, somewhere…otherwise the world is a very cold and cruel place. But I digress.) And part of your holiday spirit, if you’re in much of the Western World, is to find the perfect gift for someone.
It may be December 23rd, but you still have time to buy an e-book. That is the point of author Joan Reeves’ blog post today entitled “Easy, Last-Minute Gifts.” My two books of the Elfy duology, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE and A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, are part of this promotion, as you see:
#31 An Elfy on the Loose by Barb Caffrey
When young Bruno the Elfy meets Sarah the human girl, they find romance and must save Bruno’s mentor from the clutches of a Dark Elf.
An Elfy on the Loose is 99cents.
#32 A Little Elfy in Big Trouble by Barb Caffrey
Bruno and Sarah fall further in love and gather allies to save Northern California from a Dark Elf.
A Little Elfy in Big Trouble is $2.99.
However, don’t despair if you already have them but are in need of a good, quick e-book purchase from a fun author who tells a good story. There are plenty of other great choices to choose from at Joan’s blog today, and I’m sure you can find one of ’em, or more, to whet your interest.
So, please, do take a look at Joan’s blog today. Then buy a book, or two, or three…and I would appreciate it greatly if you’d at least consider buying my two if you don’t already have them. (OK?)
Folks, it seems to be my week for stories, so let me tell you another one.
Years ago — I’m not sure how many, now — my late husband Michael told me, “Barb, I swear, you think in music, not words.” It was Michael’s contention that every time I wrote something, I was automatically translating it from the music I heard in my head.
I don’t know if that’s true or not, mind. But it was a poetic conceit he enjoyed, and as such, I appreciated it.
For some reason, that came to mind when I recently read an advance reader copy of Jason Cordova’s WRAITHKIN. Something about this book reminds me of a musical suite, and as I’m both a musician and a writer, I thought I’d use that to my advantage to try to explain why I like this book so much.
As I’m having no luck today uploading the cover, here’s the blurb instead:
How far would a man go to protect those he loved? For Gabriel Espinoza, the answer was simple: to the ends of the universe.
When a failed genetic test ruins his life, Gabriel and his fiancée prepare to run to a world where the laws aren’t as strict. There they could remain, in peace, for the remainder of their days, their love unspoiled by the strict regime which controls the Dominion of Man.
But Fate is a cruel, fickle mistress.
Torn from the only woman he had ever loved, Gabriel is prepared to burn the galaxy to get her back.
How far would a man go to protect the empire he was sworn to uphold? For Andrew Espinoza, the answer was a bit more complicated.
Torn between family loyalty and his duty to his country, Andrew must infiltrate a rich and powerful clan to determine if they are plotting against the Dominion of Man, but while undercover he discovers something far darker and more dangerous is lurking in the shadows, and he is the only man who can stop it.
But Fate is a cruel, fickle mistress.
How far will Andrew go to ensure the success of his mission?
One brother must save himself; the other must save the universe. But can either survive long enough to achieve their goal?
Now, here are my musically-related thoughts:
To my mind, WRAITHKIN is like a symphony in four parts. First, we have a slower, quieter, more intense first movement, where all the major themes are laid out. We meet Gabe and Sophie, see their love for one another, see it dashed after Gabe fails a genetic test (technically, he’s supposed to be sterilized right away, but his family is wealthy and powerful and keeps that from happening), and then they attempt to run away.
But Sophie has to pretend to be angry, and leaves her world in feigned grief and despair, meaning she goes out to a lightly defended colony world all but undefended. And when Gabe finds out that world has been attacked, and Sophie is missing, he vows revenge.
Then we have the second movement, which is more about Gabe’s brother, Andrew. Andrew is a spy, pure and simple, or if you’d rather, he’s a chameleon/mole. He has been trained to do what he does, but because of that, he submerges himself in other people’s roles — or, as this is my blog, the music of other people’s thoughts. So while the second movement moves faster, and hints at much, it uses similar themes as the first, but reversed and in retrograde…as befits a symphony, where many things must come together to make a greater whole.
The third movement is about how Gabe meets up with a bunch of guys in his position — they all have failed genetic tests, so are considered expendables, the lowest of the low. But they all want to serve…something. Or at least blow up stuff. So there’s training involved, and a bunch of gadgetry to use, and all the military SF trappings that are required are there for the use…almost as if there’s a template for the third movement.
Still, there are touches of humor. Pathos. Genuine characterization. Friendship, all unlooked for, and camaraderie, too…proving, as if there was any doubt whatsoever, that new music can be reminiscent of older music, but still pack a walloping punch.
Then comes the fourth movement. Andrew and Gabe must somehow complete their joint missions. Will they manage to do this, or won’t they? And what will be the consequences either way?
This fourth movement ties up all the themes of the book nicely, and lays hints for books to come…kind of like how if you’ve heard one symphony by Haydn or Brahms or Mozart, you want to go hear another one if you’re smart. They all have things in common, sure, but they’re all a little different and they all have much to teach you, much for you to appreciate, and much to savor, time after time…
Anyway, I liked Jason’s book quite a bit, in case you couldn’t tell. I think it has a little bit of everything. Slam-bang action. Romance. Family. Friendship. A big canvas, with a dystopian government to be alternately fought and defended…Jason’s writing keeps getting better and better, and this is a story to immerse yourself in fully.
That’s why I compared it to music, and I hope you’ll understand why, once you read it.
(And do go read it, will you? If you like milSF, you will love this book. And even if you don’t, but like big novels full of life and vigor, you will still love this book…)
…and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Folks, married author duo N.N. Light’s fantasy/romance novel PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT is on sale right now for just ninety-nine cents. (It’s an “anniversary sale,” as the book has been out for two years now.) In support of this novel, and in support of their writing, the female half of the pair, Mrs. N., asked if she could do a guest spot here at the Elfyverse.
And of course, I said yes.
So, without further ado, take it away, Mrs. N!
During the month of September, Princess of the Light is on sale for the super-low price of $.99 USD. 100% of the proceeds during this time will go directly to our local food bank to help feed children and families in need. This is the first time Princess of the Light has ever been this low in price…and who knows when it will be this low again?
First, let’s whet your interest. Here’s the blurb:
Mary Miller receives a startling visitation from Gabriel, the Messenger of God. The Archangel reveals an astounding truth–Mary is the Princess of the Light and even more amazing, her destiny is to battle Lucifer’s army of demons and restore the balance of good and evil on Earth. It’s getting harder to fulfill her new role and keep her identity secret while juggling her personal life, and when Than, Lucifer’s second in command, amps up the attacks on her, she knows she needs help.
Joe Deacons is everything she’s ever wanted in a man. And as providence would have it, in a moment of great need, he’s the Warrior of Light–the one who can help her defeat the forces of darkness.
Not so simple when they confront Lisbeth, a demon hell-bent on usurping Than and Lucifer himself. When Lisbeth wages war and several innocent people die, Mary must form an alliance with her enemy in order to destroy her. But will this be a grave error or the choice that saves their world?
Second, to give you an idea of what PRINCESS OF THE LIGHT is about, here’s an excerpt:
Marie furrowed her brow and softly interrupted, “André is the Walking Man?”
I looked at Marie and asked, “You’ve heard of him?”
Marie nodded. “Of course. He is a staple of the Downtown area. There are a few groups I’m affiliated with that hand out food and clothing to those in need. He never comes to these events so I leave them by the area where he sleeps.” She paused, thoughtfully. “I just can’t believe that it is André.”
Joe cleared his throat and looked at his father. “What happened to André?”
Alfred sighed and after a moment said, “It really was the fault of that witch he was married to. She and her family treated him horribly. She was a gold digger and all she cared about was money and the prestige.”
Marie interrupted Alfred by saying, “I remember her. She was so mean to André and all she cared about was looking rich. Wealth is a gift—she just wanted it for a toy. She treated André so badly… and his mother-in-law was the worst. She would put him down all the time. In front of other people, no less.”
Alfred continued, “André was a good man and worked hard. He was working on a big project for the city. He worked night and day on the project and told me it was going to put Golden Lake on the map.
“He absolutely adored his daughter, too. I remember that clearly. She was his everything.” Alfred paused, apparently lost in his thoughts. With a sigh he said, “There was a scandal with the project, though, and André got fired. Soon after, Dara left him, took Katherine with her and André fell apart. He started drinking heavily and, without his daughter, his life fell apart.”
Joe looked at me and I fought to keep from throwing my hand over my mouth. There was purple fire in his eyes and I felt his anger. I already knew the story of André and I tried to smile at him.
I smelled burning flesh. Joe flashed in full armor fighting demons with a golden sword.
I gasped at the vision and brought my hand to my chest in shock feeling the key necklace, before I could stop the physical reaction. The necklace weighed heavily as did my heart. He would be fighting at my side soon.
Marie asked, “Are you okay, dear?”
Joe turned to look at his mother. He nodded and only said, “I never knew any of this.”
Alfred continued, “I am sorry, son, but you asked for the truth. This is what I know. André was sleeping at the office and drinking all the time. He was supposed to give a presentation to a client and was drunk. He got into a scuffle with his boss and rumor has it, André punched him.”
I feigned shock and said, “Oh my!”
Than is to blame. I don’t know how I know or what happened but I vow to the Lord that I will make Than pay, thought Joe.
I choked and almost spit out my drink. I just heard Joe’s thoughts! I had to set him straight and right away.
I cleared my throat and said awkwardly, “Joe, I think I left something in the car.”
Joe looked at me with eyebrows raised. “Excuse me, we’ll be right back,” I said with a smile.
I walked outside and knew that Joe was right behind me. When I reached the car, I whirled and said in a stern tone, “Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
Joe stopped mid-step and said, “What are you talking about, Mary?”
I ran into his arms and whispered, “You cannot take on Than by yourself! I heard your thoughts in there. Now, I don’t know how you know that it was Than who drove André to punching his boss but please promise me that you will not get revenge.”
I paused to catch my breath and remembered what Gabriel told me. “Joe, in order to defeat the darkness and not become dark ourselves, we need to have a pure heart. We are filled with the Light and our motives must always be to speak the Truth and spread the Light.”
Joe took several deep breaths while he held me. He stroked my hair and whispered, “I’m sorry, my angel. I didn’t mean to frighten you and you are right. It was just a momentary thought.”
I lifted my head and locked eyes with Joe. Tears filled my eyes but I was determined. I bit at my top lip and then whispered, “Promise me you won’t put yourself in harm’s way.” Hot tears spilled down my cheeks.
Joe wiped at them and said in a deep, reassuring tone, “I promise, Mary. I promise I won’t be a hothead and I won’t be rash.” Then, he laid his forehead on mine and whispered, “Please don’t cry, darling. Please.”
I nodded and whispered, “I would die if I lost you. Than will use you to try to get to me. You are my love, my everything.” My voice cracked. “I would die if I lost you,” I repeated.
Joe shook my shoulders a little and looked deep into my eyes. “Listen to me, Mary, you will never lose me! Do you hear me? I am by your side now and forever.”
Overcome with emotion, Joe kissed me.
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Princess-Light-N-ebook/dp/B00N19FDKO
It’s me again, your usual host. I realized just now that an author pic needed to be added; fortunately, Mrs. N supplied one…it’s both interesting and not the usual run of author pic, but you’ll see that below.
So, there you have it! Mr. and Mrs. N.N. Light’s book is a fantasy/romance with spirituality and heart, and the book’s proceeds will be given to their local food bank. What better reason could you possibly have to buy a book for ninety-nine cents this month?