Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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Great New Review for CF, Plus It’s International Women’s Day!

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Folks, before I forget, I’m going to give you this link to the great new review I just received for my novel, CHANGING FACES:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3MR1UA67D6K0Z/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01N3CQKWJ

I enjoyed that so much. It made my day!

Now, as I promised yesterday, here’s a post for International Women’s Day.

There are many women in the past and present who’ve inspired me. Some are writers, like Rosemary Edghill, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Lois McMaster Bujold, Andre Norton, and Stephanie Osborn (just to name a few). Some are politicians, like Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm. Some are well-known political spouses, like Betty Ford, Ladybird Johnson, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (whose “second career” as an editor was also one to emulate). Some are musicians and singers (Rosemary Clooney, Diana Krall, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald), while others are people you might not know anything about, but are inspirational all the same.

International Women’s Day is about celebrating the power of women to get things done. All over the world, in every country, women are doing remarkable things. From young women like Malala to more mature women like Angela Merkel, there are so many different women in this world who’ve made a positive and inspirational difference.

So, who are your heroes? Who do you look at, when it comes to inspirational women? Is it your mother? Sister? Friend? Mentor?

All of the above?

I’d like to know, because that’s the best way to celebrate International Women’s Day overall.

But for female writers, such as myself, what are we supposed to do to celebrate International Women’s Day in particular?

My idea is simple. I’d like to encourage you to go buy a female writer’s books today. Whether you buy something by Bujold, Kimbriel, Edghill, Osborn, Kayelle Allen, Sherilynn Kenyon, Deborah J. Ross, Yasmine Galenorn, or any other female writer of your choice, you will be supporting the work of a strong, confident, and determined woman.

And don’t forget about writers who work in concert with their husbands, such as Debra Doyle (who writes with her husband, James D. MacDonald), Mrs. N. Light (part of the husband-wife writer team of N.N. Light) and Adriana Kraft (a husband-wife writer team). They, too, deserve to be celebrated, appreciated, and admired for their hard work.

That, to my mind, is the best-possible way to celebrate International Women’s Day. At least, for this writer.

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Want to Read my Novel “An Elfy on the Loose” for Free?

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Hey, everyone.

As I continue to recover, I realized it’s about that time again — time to “read a free e-book!”

And what could be better than offering my first novel, AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, for free?

So, do you want to read it? For free?

Go here, to the TTB Free eBooks site, and download a copy. (You’ll have to scroll down the page a bit, but trust me — it’s there, though it’ll only be free for a few, short days.) There are versions in PDF, Kindle/mobi, and e-pub, so you can find a version to fit your e-reader just fine.

And once you’re done with that, the second half of the Elfy duology, A LITTLE ELFY IN BIG TROUBLE, is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for just $2.99 — lower than the price of a Big Mac meal at McDonald’s.

Anyway, do be sure to keep an eye on the Twilight Times Books Free eBooks page all week long, as there will be many great books put up for absolutely nothing, in the hopes that you’ll discover a brand new author — or two — or ten.

Also, before I go, I wanted to point out the wonderful “cover love” post author Kayelle Allen put up for CHANGING FACES over at her blog, Romance Lives Forever. Thank you so much, Kayelle! (I continue to have trouble with Google and cookies, though I hope to get that resolved soon. It makes it hard to thank Kayelle directly, though — maybe a few of you can go over there and thank her for me?)

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 4, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Thoughts about Transgender Bathroom Rights, and Newest Guest Blog

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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.

New Guest Shot up at Dear Reader, Love Author

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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:

51pgonihral

 

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.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm

New Guest Post at Book Cover Junkie for CHANGING FACES…

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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.

51pgonihral

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!):

Barnes & Noble

Amazon:

USA  –   UK  –  CA  –  AUS  –  IN

And if you want to try before you buy? That’s all right with me, too. Go read the sample chapters right now:

http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ChangingFaces_ch1.html

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm

When Love Disappoints, What is the Point?

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img_8906The 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!):

Barnes & Noble

Amazon:

USA  –   UK  –  CA  –  AUS  –  IN

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 12, 2017 at 12:35 am

Out Now in e-book: Changing Faces

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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:

Amazon:

And in case you want a few sample chapters, here’s a link to that:

http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/ChangingFaces_ch1.html

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.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 8, 2017 at 8:09 pm