Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for the ‘Joey Maverick’ Category

It’s International Authors’ Day! (Time for a Blog-Hop?)

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Folks, it’s International Authors’ Day. So that means it’s time for a blog-hop…and one of the conditions of this particular hop is that you have to give something away.

Well, I was going to do that anyway…(shh! Don’t tell anyone!)


To Survive the Maelstrom

My novella “To Survive the Maelstrom” is free — yes, you read that right: FREE, F.R.E.E., #FREE, however you want to spell it or tag it — from July 14 (right now) to July 18, 2016.

If you know nothing whatsoever about “To Survive the Maelstrom,” here is the blurb to perhaps whet your interest (though if you’re not interested in a good, free novella, I have to wonder about you):

A Marketing for Romance Writers Goodreads Pick of the Week for June 21, 2016!

Command Sergeant-Major Sir Peter Welmsley of the Atlantean Union has lost everything he holds dear. He wonders why he lived, when so many others died at Hunin — including his fiancée, Lydia, and his best friend Chet.

Into his life comes Grasshunter’s Cub, an empathic, sentient creature known to those on Heligoland as a “weremouse.”

Weremice are known for their ability to help their bond-mates. But how can this young weremouse find a way to bring Peter back from the brink of despair and start living again?

And that’s not all…if you are among the first three people who can prove you’ve downloaded “To Survive the Maelstrom” because of this freebie event (meant to celebrate the sixth anniversary of this blog along with International Authors’ Day), I’ll send you copies of any two of my other books and/stories…you pick ’em, but if you’re a milSF fan, you probably are going to be most interested in “A Dark and Stormy Night” and “On Westmount Station.” (Go to my Amazon page, or my late husband Michael’s Amazon page, for further details.)

For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome…and don’t be discommoded that these particular stories say either “Barb Caffrey and Michael B. Caffrey” or “Michael B. Caffrey and Barb Caffrey.” All three of these particular stories I’ve mentioned are works my husband either started and wasn’t able to complete, or are things I saw, and wanted to complete in a different way in my own right. (I figured he’d not mind.) I am proud of my work on these stories, and even prouder still that I am helping to keep my husband Michael’s work alive in some small way…

Anyway. For those of you who’ve been here many times before, thanks for returning. I’m always glad to see you, and hope you’ll tell me what you think of “To Survive the Maelstrom” and my other work, ’cause no writer enjoys a vacuum. (Or, as I like to put it, shouting into a wind tunnel. It does no good and makes you wonder if anyone out there is paying any attention–or even should.) I always enjoy hearing from readers, and hope to see some new reviews ’cause of this free event. (Or at least some comments. ‘Cause you can’t do any better than free, yes?)

So…you have a free novella to go get, hm? And then, you need to go check out the other participants in this particular blog-hop…have a great International Authors’ Day, folks! (And don’t say I never got you anything, ’cause it’s not true.)

Blog-Hop Sunday Has Arrived! Four Questions for the Writer

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Well, as promised, it’s time for me to answer the Four Questions for the Writer Blog-hop, as I was tagged by both Katherine Eliska Kimbriel and Dina von Lowenkraft in this particular blog-hop.

Before I get into that, though, you might be asking yourself, “What’s a blog-hop?”

The quick answer to that is, “A post where one writer starts it, tags a bunch of other writers, and it continues around the Internet for a while.” It’s a great way to meet other writers, if you follow the blog-hop from beginning to end, and as all of us tend to put “Four Questions for the Writer” somewhere in our title, the hope is that people will find our answers down the line.

Anyway, let’s get started!

Question One: What are you working on?

Oh, this one’s easy. But it’s also complex, because I have more than one thing going at the same time.

First is the sequel to AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE (or as I call it, the second half of ELFY, because originally the “Elfy duology” was just ELFY, the book). I am currently working on the final edit of that; once it’s done, it’ll be turned into my publisher, the copy-edits will start and we’ll be on our merry way toward another book. (Yay!)

Second is CHANGING FACES, which is a transgender fantasy romance with aliens that may as well be angels (perhaps they are; I’m not entirely sure myself!). It’s about two musicians, Allen and Elaine, and what happens to them when a heartfelt prayer is answered . . . but not the way anyone could possibly expect.

Third is a military science fiction action-adventure for Joey Maverick, set on the world of Bubastis. This story is set in my late husband Michael’s universe, and as this is a place he never went — but is a place the story “On Westmount Station” sets up nicely — I’ve been having to create Bubastis before I can set my adventure there.

Anyway, I am nearly done with all the setup work this new adventure requires, but I don’t yet have a title. I’ll keep you posted.

Fourth is the prequel to the Elfy duology, KEISHA’S VOW, with many of the same characters but set in 1954. (Obviously, Bruno and Sarah have not yet been born.) This deals with the birth of Sarah’s mother, and was started because I wanted to figure out just what went wrong with her to cause her do to and say many of the things that went on during the Elfy duology. (Most especially when I figured out that Jelena was still around, and had been a very good woman during her lifetime.) I still have this going in the back of my mind, but haven’t had time to work on it . . . it’s a similar story for AN ELFY ABROAD, which is the sequel to ELFY (now the Elfy duology).

And that doesn’t even mention the military science fiction adventure I’m writing called IN THE LINE OF DUTY . . . but it’s enough for all practical purposes.

Question Two: How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Some of the answer to this lies in originality. My mind doesn’t seem to think the same way as everyone else, which may make for more interesting stories.

But the real answer, again, is far more complex.

First, the writing I set out to do is humorous fantasy — thus, the Elfyverse. Which, if nothing else, is not boring — ’cause what’s the point of that?

But I took up my late husband Michael’s military science fiction because I didn’t want his work to die out. So in that sense, you could say my work is different because I am doing something I never set out to do in the first place.

Or you could say it’s different because I’m doing something only a handful of other writers and editors before me have done — to keep a deceased spouse’s work alive, or in the case of Deborah J. Ross, keep a beloved friend’s work alive (as Ms. Ross is completing Marion Zimmer Bradley’s work, and doing so with great flair).

The difference between me and Ms. Ross or the estimable Harriet McDougal (widow of Robert Jordan, and editor of the entire Wheel of Time series), among others, is that my spouse, Michael, was not generally known to most readers of science fiction, military SF or otherwise. And I couldn’t bear that. He’d worked so hard, and I knew what his talent was, and we were convinced he’d make it.

Then he died.

I couldn’t bear that. At all.

That’s why at least a part of Michael’s work is alive, even now. And it’s why I continue to work on it.

Question Three: Why do you write what you do?

I write the Elfyverse because it’s funny and it makes me laugh. So I hope it’ll make someone else laugh, too.

I write the Joey Maverick universe because it was Michael’s, and I know many stories can be set there. I really like Joey Maverick and many other characters Michael created, and I don’t want these stories and settings to die out.

Plus, I’ve found I enjoy writing military SF. It’s a challenge. I enjoy those. So let’s hope I can create some good stories there, and keep Michael’s work and legacy alive in the process.

And I have continued onward with CHANGING FACES because I believe it’s a story that offers hope amidst absolute despair. I think that’s something we need a lot more of in this world . . . and, again, there are some funny moments. (I have to write in some funny things here and there, nine times out of ten. Otherwise the story doesn’t feel right.)

Question Four: How does your writing process work?

It’s hard to explain. I start off with an idea for a story, same as any other writer in the history of the universe. But I usually have to ponder it awhile before something in my brain says, “OK, you can write this now.”

Then I sit down and hash it out.

I do write prose notes — this is what I do instead of outlines — and have been known to write pages and pages of those before I start a new project. There’s something about writing down all of these various things that helps me get involved in the story at the level I need to be, even if I’m not entirely sure how it works.

So it’s a combination of “think about it a lot,” then “write down whatever you have in whatever form you have it,” and then, finally, when the story is right, “put butt in chair and type.”

Then revise, tweak, revise, send to the first reader(s), etc.

That concludes my portion of the blog-hop, but I now need to tag a couple of other writers . . . so here goes.

Chris Nuttall is a prolific writer of military science fiction, alternate history and a number of interesting fantasy works. He’s constantly thinking up stories and writing them down, and is one of the most successful authors working today. His newest novel is THE TROJAN HORSE.

Jason Cordova has written in nearly every genre you could care to name. Right now, he has a new novella out with co-writer Eric Brown called KAIJU APOCALYPSE that combines science fiction, fantasy, manga, horror, and even a bit of military fiction that has delighted readers and reviewers.

So, will Chris or Jason take up the gauntlet and run with it? With their busy schedules, who knows?

But they are the two writers who came to mind . . . though if anyone else wants to be tagged, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you forthwith.

Comparing Joey Maverick to Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and Vice Versa

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Folks, a good friend recently asked me this question: “How would Joey Maverick compare to Lois McMaster Bujold’s hero Miles Naismith Vorkosigan?”

And it got me thinking.

You see, my late husband Michael wrote about space Navy Lieutenant Joey Maverick — something I’m doing my best to carry on — and my friend felt there were a number of similarities between Joey and Miles. And since the two stories haven’t found a wide audience as of yet (stories are available here and here), perhaps a comparison might prove useful . . . and at least it’s something new and different to write about, always a plus.

So here are some of the similarities and differences I saw with regards to Joey and Miles, with a side order of my own hero Bruno the Elfy from AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE thrown in for good measure:


Miles is a very smart young man who out-thinks others and has any number of adventures, most of which he can’t talk about on Barrayar itself due to security concerns. He’s steadfast, resolute, has morals and ethics and principles, and will stand by them to the death, if need be — though thank goodness for cryosuspension. He has an unusual sense of humor.

Joey is a very smart young man who thinks faster than others and has several adventures, most of which he can’t talk about on the planet of his birth due to security concerns. He, too, is steadfast, resolute, has morals and ethics and principles, and like Miles, has an unusual sense of humor.

And just for kicks, Bruno the Elfy is a very smart young being who is used to out-thinking others, but gives himself no credit for doing so because he’s been told he’s stupid his entire life. He figures talking about any adventures he has is pointless, because at the start of AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, he has no friends worth mentioning . . . and afterward, well, his new friend Sarah has been with him the whole way through, so why bother talking about anything? (She already knows it.)

Bruno’s sense of humor is so odd, it’s downright bizarre . . . and while he has morals, ethics and principles, he comes at things from a sideways angle that may or may not always be fully understood by those around him.


Miles is handicapped with brittle bones. He’s actually died and been revived, which left him with a seizure disorder. He’s retired from his main career as a commander of a mercenary unit (that did a great deal of spying for Barrayar on the side) due to his injuries, suffered in the line of duty. He’s a man who’s maximized the totality of his existence, and knows it, and is satisfied by it.

Joey, as yet, is still a healthy young man, though eventually he’s going to lose an eye (Michael’s story “A Dark and Stormy Night” references Joey’s cybernetic eye in the prequel section, where Joey’s an old man). Only one life for Joey . . . his military career is ongoing. He’s still in the process of coming to his full adult capabilities, and many adventures await as he comes to terms with the totality of himself. Eventually Joey will bond with an empathic, sentient creature . . . but that, too, is in his future.

Bruno the Elfy is a very young being — an adolescent, in our parlance. While Bruno has enormous magical gifts, he’s not fully aware of what to do with them, and because he was intentionally mistrained at the behest of the Elfy High Council, he’s having to throw off a whole lot of nonsense in addition to becoming the Elfy he was meant to be.

Mind, it’s not that easy to compare a fantasy world — even if it’s an urban fantasy like my own AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE — with either Bujold’s own Vorkoverse or my husband’s Joey Maverick universe. But it is fun, talking about three of my favorite heroes . . .  especially as I never once thought Joey Maverick had anything whatsoever in common with Miles Naismith Vorkosigan before my friend pointed it out as a possibility.

At any rate, what do you think of this comparison? Does it make any sense? Or is it just odd? Please let me know in the comments.

Guest Blog about the Virtues of Quiet Heroism is Up at Chris Nuttall’s “Chrishanger”

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Folks, when writer Chris Nuttall agreed to allow me to write a guest blog for him on the virtues of quiet heroism, I was extremely happy.

You see, my late husband Michael’s character Joey Maverick is a quiet hero. He’s a military man who sees what needs to be done, and does it. (As I put it in the blog, “No muss, no fuss.”) And it seems to me that people don’t get to read nearly enough about characters like Joey, which is why I have done my best to keep Michael’s writing alive.

The third story about Joey Maverick (currently in progress, and as yet untitled) is set on the planet Bubastis. There’s a famine going on, caused by a terrible drought, and the people of that planet — which are both human and Kiral, a feline-derived race — are suffering. The rural Kiral, in particular, are in desperate shape because they will not use food synthesizers under any circumstances, and yet most of the relief supplies aren’t getting to them. People will die unless Joey and his team can put an end to it . . . but there’s a lot going on underneath the surface. I still have to rough out some characters among the rural Kiral, and have I mentioned the complexity of the black market that’s cropped up on Bubastis yet?

But I’m getting there. Truly. And it’s wonderful to know that Chris enjoyed Joey’s first two adventures (available here and here), because sometimes it just seems like I’m shouting into a wind tunnel for all the good my writing’s doing. (Maybe all writers feel this way?)

At any rate, I hope you’ll enjoy my take on “The Virtues of Quiet Heroism,” which includes more of the story about Michael’s premise behind the Joey Maverick stories and why I cannot let Michael’s work or universe die out.

And do, please, stop by Chris’s blog “The Chrishanger” often. He talks about his writing, world events, politics, has contests . . . it’s a fun site, and he always does his best to keep it lively. And goodness knows, with all of his books (the most recent being SCHOOLED IN MAGIC from Twilight Times Books and THE NELSON TOUCH, book two of the Ark Royal series, which was put out independently), there’s always something new for Chris to discuss.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 14, 2014 at 5:47 pm