Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Jason Cordova’ Category

#MFRWAuthor RT Day is Tomorrow…and Other Stuff

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Folks, tomorrow is Marketing for Romance Writers’ monthly ReTweet event. As I’m a member of (which you can find on Twitter as @MFRW_ORG), I’ve signed up to take part in something called a “Thunderclap,” which causes many Tweets and Facebook messages to go out at once as I understand it. (I’ve never taken part in a Thunderclap before, so that’s all I can tell you regarding this particular promotion.)

MFRW Author's Blog

Mind, I always support #MFRWAuthor RT Day — the hashtag works out to “Marketing for Romance Writers Author” and of course “RT” means ReTweet — because I find the Marketing for Romance Writers group to be quite beneficial. They help you to understand marketing, for one (as I’m sure you’d expect, considering their name and all), as they are fellow writers who’ve all walked — or who are now walking — the same path you are. tends to help indie or small press authors the most, as we need the most help because we don’t have major publishers behind us. But it’s a group that will help any writer if he or she is willing to acknowledge what they do in return…do check them out (they have both a website and a blog as well as a Yahoo Group), as they are an invaluable resource.

Aside from that, I’ve been editing, doing a spot of writing, and editing some more, as per usual.

I do have some semi-bad news to report as my newest short story was rejected by the Writers of the Future contest. I call this “semi-bad” only because I am happy I wrote the story; while I’d have appreciated it if WOTF had loved it the way I do, it’s OK that they didn’t. (You wouldn’t believe how many thousands of stories they get during each quarter.)

Aside from that, Jason Cordova has been mentioned as a possible choice for the John W. Campbell Award. I know Jason quite well, as I’ve worked with him over at Shiny Book Review for years (yes, I intend to write a review this week; why did you ask?), and I’ve read most of his output. His first novel, CORRUPTOR, came out in 2010, but didn’t sell enough to be considered a first, qualifying pro story — which means he’s still eligible to win the Campbell Award.

“But Barb,” you say. “Aren’t you eligible, too? AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE came out last April, so you should qualify…right?”

Well, therein lies a tale. I sold my first story, a co-written affair with my late husband Michael, to the BEDLAM’S EDGE anthology back in 2004 (edited by Mercedes Lackey and the inestimable Rosemary Edghill). That was definitely a qualifying pro sale under the rules, albeit a qualifying half-sale (as Michael receives credit for the other half, which made perfect sense to me at the time and still does).

My second pro-qualifying sale, I believe, was made last year after I sold a story to STARS OF DARKOVER (edited by Deborah J. Ross and Elisabeth Waters). (I say “I believe” because I can’t remember when SFWA raised their rates for a pro-qualifying story from .05/word to .06/word. Under the new SFWA guidelines, this story would not count.)

And that’s it as far as pro-qualifying sales go. Everything else I’ve written to date, including AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, leaves me eligible for the Writers of the Future Contest, meaning I’m largely unknown. (Something I’ve said all along, mind.) But because of my one, early half-sale, I believe I am ineligible for the John W. Campbell Award.

Even if I were eligible, I’d be astonished if anyone nominated me.

Why? I’m not known. (Neither is my late husband Michael, despite my efforts to the contrary — and his while he was still here.)

Anyway, Jason’s much better-known than I am. He also has more short stories and novels (some co-written with Eric S. Brown) to his credit than I do, and has more on the way. He definitely deserves to be considered for the Campbell Award as he remains eligible, and I’d love to see him win it.

EDITED TO ADD: My friend Katharine Eliska Kimbriel’s novel SPIRAL PATH is eligible for the World Fantasy Award, the Andre Norton Award, the Nebula, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and even the Newbery Medal. I reviewed SPIRAL PATH at SBR last September; I’d anxiously awaited it for over a year, and I was not disappointed. So please, do not forget about her and her excellent work…you could not ask for a better writer. (Or a better person, though awards do not measure that, usually.)

Back to my original post, already in progress…

Aside from that, to answer a few questions — Yes, my hand is better. (Thank goodness.) And yes, I’m definitely looking forward to Spring Training. (Go, Brewers, Go!)

If you have any questions for me, go ahead and ask in the comments…I’ll do my best to answer, as always.

Labor Day Book Sale (Not Mine)…and Other Stuff

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Folks, Saturday was one of those days around Chez Caffrey.

Why? Well, Saturday was the day my car decided to stop running. And this looks to be a major repair, something I had not been expecting as I bought the car in late 2011 used with just under 40K miles on it from a reputable local auto dealer, am now up to 67K miles or thereabouts, and it was under warranty for the first 60K miles.

So my car is a piddly seven thousand miles over the extended warranty. And it’s now facing a major repair, cost as yet unknown as it’s a holiday weekend and there’s no way I can get an estimate until the garage I frequent opens on Tuesday morning.

This was obviously not in my plans, to put it mildly.

And because of this unexpected, unanticipated problem, the review I’d hoped to write over at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short) had to be postponed yet again. (Now I hope to write something next Wednesday evening, as that’s the best available day for me to write a book review next week.)

Anyway, I’d much rather talk about books — and most particularly, sales on those same books — than car repairs any day. So let’s get to it!

Writer Amanda S. Green has listed a number of writers — quite a healthy number, in fact — who have priced their novels, novellas, and stories at $2.99 or less for the entirety of Labor Day weekend. This is called the Labor Day Weekend Promotional Sale (or as I put it, the 2014 Labor Day book sale, for short), and features many authors whose work I’ve either reviewed over at SBR or who I’ve known for years, one way or another, including:

And, of course, Ms. Green herself (among many, many others — way too many to list).**

Now, just in case you’re wondering what kinds of stories are available, here’s just a few of the categories available:

  • Urban Fantasy (what, you thought I was going to list anything else in the first position, being an urban fantasist myself? For shame.)
  • Romance of all sorts (including paranormal)
  • Alternate History
  • Horror
  • hard SF
  • military SF
  • fantasy (dark and bright)
  • nonfiction

. . . and much, much more!

And did I mention that all of these stories are available for $2.99 or less? (Yes? Well, I’m excited about that, so it’s not surprising.)

Please go and check out Amanda Green’s page listing all of the books taking part in the 2014 Labor Day book sale. Because who knows? You may just find yourself a new, favorite author, all because of your love of cheap books. (Who said being cheap can’t pay off?)


** I like book sales, whether I’m a part of them or not. Hope you do, too!

The Archon Mess — Context, Anyone?

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For the past several days, I’ve been bemused by the current controversy regarding the Archon science fiction convention and Archon’s disinvitation of Tim Bolgeo as Fan Guest of Honor. I don’t understand why a science fiction convention would first invite someone, then disinvite the same someone, without giving that person a chance for a fair hearing.

I’m also more than a little disquieted by the fact that social media played such a big part in Tim Bolgeo’s disinvitation. It appears that one person — just one — was offended by something Mr. Bolgeo wrote in a private publication, and believed it to be racist and inflammatory. And that one individual, after not getting his way behind closed doors, took to social media to stir up a whole lot of bad feelings in order to get his way.

But what he did was wrong. It’s like a two-year-old having a temper tantrum until he gets what he wants. Most parents know better than to give the two-year-old whatever it is, but some can’t be bothered to wait out the temper tantrum so they give the kid whatever and hope it’ll all blow over.

Temper tantrums of this sort shouldn’t be tolerated.

Besides, considering we are SF&F writers and/or readers, aren’t we supposed to understand that people come in all shapes and sizes, with all different sorts of political views?

I believe firmly that as American citizens, we’re supposed to believe in free speech. It’s the First Amendment to the Constitution, for pity’s sake . . . and it used to be that whether you were a moderate Democrat, like me, or a conservative Republican like, say, Rush Limbaugh, you’d defend the other person’s right to say anything he or she pleased — even if you didn’t like it.

When did it become OK to shout down someone you don’t like in this country? Is it because of the increasing polarization of our politics that we can’t seem to remember that we actually have more in common with each other than not?

In this case, Tim Bolgeo’s free speech rights were shouted down by one person who took to the Internet to get his way. And as far as I can tell from reading many, many good blogs on the subject (including several pro-Archon blogs), Mr. Bolgeo never got a chance to explain the comments Archon found offensive or to put them in any sort of context.

And I’m sorry. Context does matter.

Any writer or editor knows this.

Context matters. So showing a bunch of things out of context isn’t just wrong under these circumstances. It’s deceitful and offensive.

Because my friends Jason Cordova and Stephanie Osborn both know Mr. Bolgeo, and I don’t, I wanted to share with you a bit of each of their blog posts on this particular subject.**

First, take a gander at Jason’s blog, where he lays out just how stupid Archon is for knuckling under to social media pressure in less than 24 hours:

I’m going to tell you a little story about a good man who has been slandered and libeled by one individual who is hiding behind the anonymity of the Internets. That good man? Tim “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo.

You see, a pathetic troll whose name I’m not going to bother typing (because it’s a nickname that the individual hides behind because they’re afraid of owning up to their actions) has, after taking random snippets of conversations and tacky jokes that Uncle Timmy publishes on something called “The Revenge”, managed to get Uncle Timmy uninvited from Archon this year. Archon, apparently, is “listening to the fans” (the one who has slandered and committed libel, but we won’t get into that at the moment) and decided that it was in their best interest to not have Uncle Timmy as their Fan Guest of Honor this year.

Next, take a look at Stephanie’s blog, which discusses just how stupid it is to describe Tim Bolgeo as a racist:

Uncle Timmy is not some redneck unlearned hillbilly. He is a nuclear engineer who made a successful career at the Tennessee Valley Authority, working on nuclear reactors, only recently retired. He is a thinking man. He puts out a newsletter of information, jokes, and other such that he and his readers (I’m one) run across, and he discusses them, and he invites and prints discussion by his readers on that information. Sometimes this involves putting a distasteful story into the newsletter so that he can point out a fallacy. Somehow some anonymous person took a couple of these and twisted them around to make it look like Uncle Timmy believed that tripe AND AGREED WITH IT.

Nothing could be farther from the truth — I’ve had any number of conversations with Timmy, and he is fair-minded, “color blind,” and I have never, EVER, heard the word “bigot” used in the same sentence with his name until today. And yes, I said today. Insofar as I have been able to determine, from the original protest to the revocation of the invitation took less than 24 hrs.

So there you have it, folks. We have another controversy in the SF&F community that’s been worsened significantly due to social media.

And the only good thing about this — the one, single, solitary blessed thing — is that it’s given more than a few SF&F writers, including yours truly, the opportunity to point out the importance of free speech.

But the price was too damned high.

**Note that my blog, Jason’s blog and Stephanie’s blog all are positive uses of social media. I’m obviously not against social media. (I type this reflexive disclaimer due to some of the nonsense I’m already seeing on Facebook regarding the many excellent blogs that have taken Archon to task over this, including Cedar Sanderson’s, Amanda Green’s over at the Mad Genius Club, and Quilly Mammoth’s.)

A Quick Friday Round-up

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Folks, things continue to be very challenging around here, but I thought I’d try to catch you all up on what’s been going on with me over the past few days.

First, I just played a concert with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Community Band on the clarinet. I was fortunate enough to have solo clarinet parts on two pieces (Gordon Jacob’s William Byrd Suite and Gioachino Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio), and my former clarinet teacher, Tim Bell — who’s been retired for several years now, but looks as youthful and energetic as ever — told me he thought I played well, which was very nice to hear.

The reason I am mentioning this concert, though, is because it was the final concert for Professor Mark Eichner, who’s been the Director of Bands at UW-Parkside for many years. Professor Eichner was my faculty advisor when I finished up my Bachelor’s degree at Parkside many moons ago, and also helped me rough out some musical compositions (Parkside did not have a composition teacher at that time, so Prof. Eichner was gracious enough to help me on an independent study basis); I couldn’t have had a better one.

The Community Band played as well as we ever have in order to salute Prof. Eichner and send him into retirement on a good note. (Pardon the pun.)

Best of all, Prof. Eichner received three standing ovations after the concert was over . . . no musician could’ve had a better send-off.

Next, I wanted to let you all know that author Dina von Lowenkraft has put up a blog for the most recent Blog Hop (called “4×4” or “Four Questions for the Writer”) . . . please go check that out when you have time. (She had tagged me, as did Katharine Eliska Kimbriel; I discussed my own answers here.)

I am also happy to report that I read Eric Brown and Jason Cordova’s new novella KAIJU APOCALYPSE (which I discussed here) and actually reviewed it on Amazon. I enjoyed it; it’s a very quick read with a lot of action, very well-paced.

Other than that, though, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be reviewing anything over at Shiny Book Review (SBR) this weekend due to my cousin’s passing. But I should be back at it next week, so do stay tuned.

Aside from that, what’s going on with my favorite baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers? Over the past week-plus, the Brewers have lost six of the last eight; before that, they’d started the season 20-7. Their record now stands at 22-13.

This is maddening mostly because the Brewers are not hitting very well. The starting pitchers have been really good to excellent with one exception (Matt Garza, I’m looking squarely at you), and the relievers have mostly been lights-out.

Still, I’m hoping the Brewers’ bats will get it together.

Before I go, it’s time for my weekly shameless plug: if you’re interested in buying something I wrote, or something my husband Michael wrote, please go to the “about Barb” page; there are links there that will get you to Amazon so you can purchase them to your heart’s content.

Enjoy your weekend, folks. (As for me, I intend to think about my cousin Jacki and reflect on her life, which was one well-lived.)

Eric S. Brown and Jason Cordova’s “Kaiju Apocalypse” Is Out

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Folks, I mentioned this in my recent blog about the “Four Questions for the Writer” blog-hop, but why not mention it again?

You see, my friend Jason Cordova has a new novella out with Eric Brown called KAIJU APOCALYPSE. (Yes, Jason is the second-billed writer; Mr. Brown is first. The story is still quite interesting.) And it’s been described by one of Jason’s other friends at Facebook (then reprinted on Jason’s blog) thusly:

Hey folks, does your life not have enough excitement? <wah wah music plays> Do you long for the days of being able to pick up a book and lose yourself in the heroic struggles of man against 300 ft. tall alien/dragon/dinosaur things?  Was ‘Pacific Rim’ a religious experience?

Then what the hell are you waiting for? Click, don’t drag, over to your local Amazon website! You too can own your very own, extremely handy copy of Kaiju Apocalypse!

The friend’s comment is actually much longer than this, and it’s well worth reading, just for its sheer, joyous effervescence.

At any rate, walk, don’t run, to your computer and take a look at KAIJU APOCALYPSE. It may just intrigue you.

I know it definitely intrigued me.


Written by Barb Caffrey

April 30, 2014 at 11:29 pm

A Guest Blog from Jason Cordova — ‘How to Genre Hop Without Driving Yourself Completely Insane’

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Folks, I’m pleased to welcome fellow author Jason Cordova to my blog.  Jason and I have known each other for several years now, and have even attempted to collaborate on a novel together (maybe that’ll come to fruition one of these years, as the idea was really, really good).  Jason wrote a novel, CORRUPTOR, and has sold a number of short stories, with the most recent sale being to the anthology MENTAL WARD.  He’s currently working on a number of projects and is one of the busiest people I know, which is why I’m really pleased he stopped by.

Jason is also the owner-operator of Shiny Book Review, which means that technically, he’s my boss over at SBR.  Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to think in hierarchical terms very often, which is why he’s a very good boss.

So here he is . . . the one, the only, Jason Cordova!

*********** Guest Blog Starts Now ***********

  Barb mentioned a few weeks ago (or last week, maybe) that she was open to me doing a guest post on her blog. Since her blog has many more visitors than mine (primarily because she actually has interesting stuff going on), I figured, “Sure, sounds like fun!” Then she even gave me a subject matter to discuss, which made it, like, even easier. So take a seat, relax, and have a sip of Earl Grey. I’m about to bore you to tears.

How To Genre Hop

(without driving yourself insane)

            *cue dramatic music*

One of the hardest things for any writer to do is to write in a genre they are unfamiliar with. Most of the popular writers get labeled in one genre and stay there. This isn’t always a bad thing, no. I myself have found that when I’m searching in the horror section, I’m looking for Dean Koontz. In fantasy, usually the team of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman catch my eye first. Science fiction? David Weber.

We mentally lump our favorite writers into their genres and keep them there. And for the most part, the authors are content to stay there. But… did you know David Weber wrote a fantasy series? I didn’t, not until someone pointed it out to me (The War God’s Own, for those of you interested). Would you read a science fiction novel by Margaret Weis? Or a romance by Dean Koontz?

Barb asked me once how I genre-hopped. You see, I write in just about every genre, and though I still think of myself as a science fiction author, I’ve published fantasy, horror, thriller, YA and alternate history. Barb’s question made me think about the difficulties of writing in various settings. How do you genre hop without tripping up? How do you keep the settings straight in your head? I then had a revelation. Perhaps that’s the difficulty with genre hopping? Perhaps the problem is that writers are focusing too much on the setting and it’s being difficult?

One of the first things I worry about when writing a story is the main character. Who are they? What are they up to? Why are they doing whatever it is that makes them worth writing about? I want them to be, well, cool. I want them to do things that I can only dream about doing (which includes, but is not limited to, being a super secret ninja warrior assassin in the 1000 BC). I want them to be funny, smart, and interesting enough that when a reader picks up the book, it doesn’t matter to them what the setting is, because they like the main character that much.

(side note/disclaimer: if Jim Butcher stuck Harry Dresden in space, fighting an alien invasion and using ray guns, I would read the sh*t out of that book.)

You see, the setting really isn’t all that important, not at first. Who your main character is, now that is important. It’s easier to build the setting around a fantastic character than it is fitting a character into a setting. Generally speaking, that is. I can already hear the clamors of “Well, that’s not how I do it, and I can hop genres fine!” If that’s the case, awesome. I’d love to review your book sometime.

Ray Bradbury had a solid piece of advice: First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!

So you’ve got the character set? Not yet? Okay, well, when you do, what do you do them next? For example, when I was writing Nightwalker, I had the image of a really articulate, well-dressed doctor traversing the Wild West to kill evil. I didn’t know much about where he was, but I knew all about him. A former Civil War doctor who had been injured in battle, he was cursed/possessed by an ancient demon in exchange for him life. The demon, however, is bound by oath to destroy all evil. So an internal struggle for the soul of a man. But is it horror? Urban fantasy? Something else?

Who cares? He’s an interesting character. He’ll find a home somewhere.

I think (I may be wrong here) that a lot of problems stem from a fear of writing the wrong setting. But if your character is just that awesome, does it really matter?

I can already hear people shouting about A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones) and how George R. R. Martin focuses on the setting and it works for him. To which I reply “Really? So you’ve never come upon a certain character’s chapter and found yourself glazing over as you read, waiting for one of your favorites to pop up?” I know I do this when I read a Daenerys chapter (what? she’s gotten boring over the past three books!)**, and I’m fairly certain I’m not alone.

So try to remember that setting (by extension, genre) is secondary when it comes to your book and that your main character is what’s going to sell it. If you can make your character interesting (and cool; never forget the cool), then your book will be a little more memorable.

            For those of you searching for my titles, I have links on both my website ( as well as an Amazon author page (


Thank you, Jason, for that excellent guest blog,  Stop by anytime!

And for the rest of you, please do check out his new story in the anthology MENTAL WARD, which is available right now.

BTW, the ** is for my agreement with Jason over Daenerys’ character in the last three books in the Song of Ice and Fire series.  She’s a strong woman.  I know this, as I’ve reviewed all five of the books over at SBR (here’s a link to all of SBR’s reviews if you don’t believe me).  But these last three books, well . . . Daenerys seems sexually obsessed to the point of near-madness, and I don’t buy it that this is all because of her link with her three dragons.  And all of that makes her predictable at best, boring at worst — and makes those the chapters I’m the most likely to skip over and never read again if I can help it.

Jason is right.  He’s not the only one wondering what’s up with Daenerys, because I am, too.  And while I know that sex sells, especially on TV (it’s doing bang-up business for HBO, words chosen precisely), it can be really, really annoying to read the same sorts of scenes over and over and over again.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm

And the Next Big Thing Chain Continues with Jason Cordova

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Folks, yesterday Chris Nuttall responded to the “Next Big Thing” blog chain, which I referred to in yesterday’s really brief blog post.

Today, I found out that Jason Cordova also responded and has posted his responses for the “Next Big Thing” here.

In brief, Chris discussed his new book SCHOOLED IN MAGIC, which I edited, while Jason discussed his work-in-progress WRAITHKIN.  Both of these books should interest anyone who enjoys SF&F, albeit in different ways.

Chris’s book is a young adult coming of age story and also a bit of a “fish out of water” epic as it’s about Emily, a teenager from our world who ends up in a wholly other place and finds out she can do magic.  (The main twist Chris has is that Emily is definitely not coming back, so she has to come to some sort of accommodations with her new culture, her new abilities, and new life as quickly as is humanly possible.)  Emily is appalled by the way most people live in this new world as the main society seems to be a type of medieval feudalism, and does her best to implement as many modern advances as possible.  This helps to keep the reader both interested and engaged, as most of the time, a character’s frustrations with a new world just doesn’t get any airplay at all.  (Many characters immediately “go native” instead.)  And of course Emily makes a few quite understandable mistakes along the way, too . . . .

At any rate, SCHOOLED IN MAGIC is a fun book with some unexpected depth and a great main character.  I enjoyed reading — and editing — it immensely.

Jason’s WRAITHKIN is a much darker story that deals with the whole issue of genetics and he freely admits it was inspired by the movie Gattaca.  However, Jason’s book also has aliens, a parliamentary monarchy and a civil war in the making and is described as both military science fiction (milSF) and a love story.

I don’t know as much about Jason’s story as I do about Chris’s for two reasons: one, Jason hasn’t finished it yet.  And two, I haven’t edited it.

But I do know Jason’s writing and at least a bit about how he tends to come up with plots.  (In effect, it’s the Lois McMaster Bujold method, which roughly stated amounts to, “Find out what’s the worst possible thing you can do to this guy.  Then do it.”)  Which is why I’ve told him I can’t wait to read WRAITHKIN, just to see what he’s come up with this time.

Neither of these books are available right now for two different reasons.  Chris wants to see if he can interest a publisher in his newest novel, while Jason is still in the process of finishing his newest novel up.

But both Jason and Chris have other books and stories available for your reading pleasure, so do go to Jason’s site and Chris’s blog and check out what they have to offer.  You might just be pleasantly surprised.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 15, 2012 at 12:32 am

The Next Big Thing Starts . . . Now

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Have any of you heard of the Next Big Thing blog chain?

This Next Big Thing author chain has been going around for a while, but I only was tagged recently by Kate Paulk (hi, Kate!).   Kate has a number of excellent novels out from the Naked Reader that range from the deadly serious to the wildly funny including IMPALER, KNIGHT IN TARNISHED ARMOR, and ConSensual (the third book in her Vampire Con series) — so if you haven’t read her books yet, you’ve really missed out.**

(In other words, her books would make great Xmas and/or holiday presents, as would the works of the other authors on this list.)

Anyway, here are the rules:

  1. Give credit to the person who tagged you
  2. Post the rules for this blog hop
  3. Answer these 10 questions about your current work
  4. Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can go over and meet them.

But I’m going to tag six even though I don’t have a link for the last . . . but we’ll get to that.

The first, obviously, is Jason Cordova, whose full length novel is CORRUPTOR from Twilight Times Books.  Jason and I both write for Shiny Book Review (he runs it; I write) and are in the process of writing a steampunk fantasy together.  (Slowly, yes.  But we’re getting there.)  He also has a number of short stories available in a number of genres, which he has links to from his blog site.

The second is Christopher Nuttall.  Chris has a number of books that he’s self-published along with a book called THE ROYAL SORCERESS from Elsewhen Press.  He’s an extremely prolific writer with a wide range of stories available including a great deal of military science fiction, so do check him out.

The third is Jeffrey Getzin, whose full length novel is PRINCE OF BRYANAE.  Jeff does not have a blog site, but his author’s Web site is available here.  (I’ll let him know that I have tagged him.)

The fourth is Florence Byham Weinberg, whose forthcoming novel, ANSELM: A METAMORPHOSIS, is a literary fantasy set in the 1960s and will be available sometime in 2013 from Twilight Times Books.  She also has a number of books available (also from Twilight Times Books) that might best be described as “historical mysteries” and/or “historical literary fiction.”  Ms. Weinberg does not seem to have a blog site, but she does have an author’s Web site, which is available here.  (I’ll let Ms. Weinberg know I’ve tagged her.  It’s possible that both she and Jeff Getzin may wish to respond via my blog; if that happens, I’ll be glad to give both guest blog rights for the day so they can answer the questions any way they see fit.)

The fifth is author Rosemary Edghill, who has many books in print in just about any genre you’d care to name.  Her most recent books are VENGEANCE OF MASKS (which was reviewed at SBR), DEAD RECKONING (with Mercedes Lackey; reviewed at SBR) and ARCANUM 101 (also with Ms. Lackey; again, reviewed at SBR).

Note that Ms. Edghill is a busy working writer, so I have no idea if she’ll be able to take part in the Next Big Thing . . . but no one had tagged her as of yet, which is why I now have.  (Maybe I should grin, duck and run away now?  Though with the cane, it’s more like “grin, bend my head a bit and hobble away slowly,” if you want to know the truth.)

The sixth is my niece, author Jennifer Lunde.  Jenni does not have either a Web site or a blog to the best of my knowledge.  But she does have a book available, PULSE, and is working on another book in that same universe at the present time.  Providing Jenni wishes to answer these questions, I’ll be happy to have her “guest blog” for me.  (PULSE was reviewed by Jason Cordova over at SBR.)

Now, on to the ten questions!

What is the working title of your book?  ELFY.

Where did the idea come from for your book?  I had a very strange dream back in September of 2002 after reading a book about stereotypical Elves.  The dream went something like this: “No, it’s not like that!”

This is how my three-feet-tall character Bruno the Elfy showed up.  Within a few weeks, I’d written over ten thousand words — the most I’d ever written in such a short time — figured out that in Bruno’s worldview, the word “Elves” is a swear word (you never want to call the Elfs the wrong name, either, as they definitely will charcoal you).  And that his race, the Elfys, were mostly a bunch of rhyming fuddy-duddies, which is one reason why he wanted out . . . but of course he didn’t expect to be on Earth among mostly non-magic users.

I wrote it down as fast as I could, discussing it as much as possible with my husband Michael (his assistance was invaluable), and went from cliffhanger to cliffhanger to cliffhanger.

Most importantly, I had fun.

(Yes, I’m very proud of this book.)

What genre does your book fall under?  Urban fantasy.  Specifically, humorous urban fantasy/romance with more than a bit of mystery, some ghosts, some Shakespearean allusions and plenty of alternate universes.

(Yes, “urban fantasy” fits.  But it’s so . . . normal a description, and “humorous urban fantasy” barely scratches the surface, too.)

Should I call it cross-genre urban fantasy, then, and save steps?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?  Well, as great as I think Peter Dinklage is as an actor, he’s too old to play Bruno and is also too tall.  (Probably the first time in his career he’ll have been told that, but there it is.)  And Bruno’s love interest Sarah, who’s taller than most Elfys but is certainly under 4’4″, would also be difficult to cast.  (Much less the ghost characters.  Much less . . . ah, Hell.)

There are a few characters, though, that I probably could cast.  Reverend Samuel Andrews would be very well played by Laurence Fishburne (that is, if Mr. Fishburne could handle wearing a bit of padding as Rev. Samuel isn’t exactly svelte.)  Rev. Samuel’s wife, Rebecca, certainly is a part that Kerry Washington would do well in despite her being relatively short as she projects as much taller than she is on her hit ABC show, Scandal.  But I’m unsure who’d do a good job with their daughter, Mikayla or with Mikayla’s basketball star boyfriend, Jason.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Bruno the Elfy has been lied to his whole life until he’s sent to our Earth, where he must first find love, then gather allies in order to defeat a Dark Elf and return to the Elfy Realm in triumph.  (Read one of my first blogs, “What Elfy is  About” to learn more, as a one-sentence synopsis is painfully inadequate for a 240,000 word novel.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Neither.   ELFY is forthcoming from Twilight Times Books in 2013.

How long did it take you to write your book?  Originally, ELFY took a year, or thereabouts.  Then came the first edit.  Then came my husband’s untimely passing.  Then, much later, came the second edit, which actually inserted something into the story to account for text messaging.

Now, if you asked me how long the work on AN ELFY ABROAD, the direct sequel to ELFY, has been taking — um, try eight years and counting.  But some of that is because life has interfered for a while before I get back to the writing . . . and I always do end up going back, because I just have to write this story.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?  Um, none.  This is one of the problems I had in finding a publisher in the first place — ELFY is lengthy and funny, but it’s not much like anything else.  (No, not even much like Terry Pratchett.  Or Piers Anthony.  Or the late, great Douglas Adams.  Though all are great writers who’ve written a goodly amount of humorous SF&F.)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  Well, originally it was because of that strange dream I had, as I said before.  But without my late husband Michael’s help, editing, encouragement, and willingness to brainstorm at all hours of the day or night, ELFY would be a far different — and far lesser — book.

Also, without the fact that I finally, finally found the love of my life in my mid-30s, I doubt that I’d have been able to write an authentic love story, much less one quite like this.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Um, it’s funny.  Really, really funny.  A send-up of many big, fat fantasies while still being authentically itself, ELFY is a humorous fantasy/mystery/romance with Shakesperean allusions and alternate universes.

And Bruno’s character just might get to you, too.  He’s been abandoned on Earth, what he knows as “the Human Realm,” and he’s been told his whole life that he’s not worth anything.  His parents are dead.  He knows our language only because his mentor interceded for him (something we don’t find out for a few chapters), and he gets captured right away by some pretty bad people — the parents of his eventual love-interest (and nearly instantaneous friend), Sarah.

One of my friends, William Katzell, told me that ELFY is best summed up as:

ELFY is a coming of age story about Bruno, who’s been kept in the dark about who and what he is (and could be) for all his life.  Trials, tribulations, romance and adulation abound as the anti-hero becomes the hero – and gets the girl.”

I suppose if I were really feeling up to snuff, I could tell you a little bit about my sequel to ELFY, AN ELFY ABROAD (currently in progress), or the ELFY prequel KEISHA’S VOW that’s set in 1954 (ghost characters are alive, while still-living elderly folks are much younger as you might imagine), or my non-Elfyverse New Age Christian fantasy romance CHANGING FACES . . . but as this has already gone on for a while as it is, let’s not and save steps.

(Though you may be interested in Stephanie Osborn’s Next Big Thing blog post, where she discusses all of her current WIPs — all four of them.  She’s definitely an overachiever in more ways than one, which I mean with all due respect as she’s a very classy lady.)

So that’s it for the Next Big Thing . . . tune in tomorrow and we’ll see if any of the writers I’ve tagged wish to take part.  (I hope at least one will, otherwise my part in this blog-hop will be a bit of a miss.)


** Kate Paulk also tagged me from the Mad Genius blog siteThanks again, Kate!

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 11, 2012 at 1:12 am

Reviewed Jason Cordova’s “Corruptor” for Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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Folks, just wanted y’all to be aware of my new review for Jason Cordova’s CORRUPTOR.   I posted it at and Barnes and Noble’s Web site also . . . here’s what I wrote, in its entirety:

******* REVIEW FOLLOWS ********

Jason Cordova’s CORRUPTOR has an interesting premise that ties games theory, computers, advanced virtual reality interfacing, the problems of soldiering, and one tough gal together and never lets go.

I read CORRUPTOR over a year ago and recently re-read it in ARC form. It has excellent plot twists, a heroine in Victoria (Tori) Adams that’s almost impossible to describe — she’s tough, as I said before, but she’s also a typical teenager doing her best to get used to friendship and dating. And because her father has moved around a great deal due to his job, she hasn’t really been able to make many friends in real life — all of her friends play the same game she does, a game-world called “Crisis” that’s part of the mega-corporate WarpSoft, the ultimate in computer games where every possible talent the gamer in question has is used.

Because Tori is such a strong gamer, she’s both hated and feared in this game, yet she has some good friends — Raul, Stephanie, and Dylan, among others — who will not betray her. Which is just as well, as Crisis has been hijacked, and no one’s getting out alive unless Tori (on the inside) can beat the game, while her father (one of WarpSoft’s major players) figures out the identity of the hijackers and stops them on the outside.

This is an excellent plotline with some good characterization, and I enjoyed it heartily.

So with all this being said, you might be wondering why I didn’t give this book a five for “excellent” rather than a “four” for very good. The reason for that is mostly that I can’t consider this book an “instant classic,” nor can I give it quite enough to round it up to five stars for Amazon’s purposes, either. I didn’t quite believe the romance between Tori’s father and one of the WarpSoft personnel trying to figure out the identity of the hijackers, either, and thought there wasn’t enough there for more than a flirtation (especially the end of the book, where the love-interest stands there and says nothing). But these are minor quibbles.

This is a very good first novel that’s interesting, that has some really fine interplay between the in-game characters, and some believable interplay with the WarpSoft personnel, particularly the chief of security (a big, tough, former football player named Mike).

I enjoyed CORRUPTOR, and believe if you read it, you will, too.

Four stars. Recommended.


Then I signed my name (as is my wont).

So why are you still sitting here?  Go get it, and read it, and enjoy it!  (Just in time for Xmas, even.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Jason Cordova’s “Corruptor” now available in “sneak preview” PDF format from Twilight Times Books

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My friend Jason Cordova’s excellent Corruptor is finally available — albeit in PDF only and as a “sneak preview” — from Twilight Times Books.

A bit about Corruptor: it’s a near-future thriller that has everything — action, adventure, intrigue, corporate politics, games theory, and even some romance.  It features a teenage girl as its main character, and the main problem she has is getting trapped in a computer game — but don’t let that fool you, as the game she’s trapped inside has multiple ways of losing, and only a few ways of winning, especially due to some in-game and out-of-the-game bad guys.

I read Corruptor a year ago and enjoyed it immensely; please go check out the PDF “sneak preview” at Twilight Times books.

Here’s the quote from their Web site:

Twilight Times Books is offering a sneak preview of several upcoming releases: Corruptor, SF/F by Jason Cordova

(rest snipped out, BC)

The above titles are available for purchase now as pdf arcs.

And here’s the link to the page you need so you can order Jason Cordova’s magnum opus:

The link to Corruptor is about halfway down the page.

So what are you waiting for?  Check it out already!

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 16, 2010 at 10:46 pm