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Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Barb Caffrey, Angie Dokos and Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

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Thank you so much, Sally, for your help and support!

Authors, Sally Cronin is a wonderful person you need to get to know. (Seriously.)

And do take a look at the other two authors here, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne and Angie Dokos. They’ve got interesting stuff, too…we interesting authors and bloggers must stick together. 🙂

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

author-update-jpgWelcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week and three featured authors. Barb Caffrey, Angie Dokos and Deanie Humphrys – Dunne.

51pgonihral

Now for a book released on February 7th by sci-fi/fantasy author Barb Caffrey. In the fantasy romance Changing Faces, a couple find themselves at a crossroads in their lives that might separate them for ever…The Ebook version is currently on offer at 99c.

About the book

Allen and Elaine are graduate students in Nebraska, and love each other very much. 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…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

February 13, 2017 at 11:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Music and Love in CHANGING FACES

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Go take a look at my newest guest blog! (Thank you so much, OM, for having me!)

HarsH ReaLiTy

Folks, I want to tell you a story about why I loved writing my new LGBT-friendly contemporary fantasy romance novel CHANGING FACES. Because I am both a musician and a writer, when an unusual story about two clarinetists in love showed up in my head, I wrote it down…and only later did I think about how music helps nearly everyone cope with life, especially when it’s challenging and/or frustrating.

But maybe I’d best start at the beginning.

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Here’s the blurb:

Allen and Elaine are graduate students in Nebraska, and love each other very much. 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…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

February 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Read New Release – ‘CHANGING FACES’ by Barb Caffrey for 99c/99p…

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Thank you so much, Chris, for sharing this! (Folks, now you have all the links I know about to go find yourself a copy of CHANGING FACES forthwith. So what are you waiting for, hm?)

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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Genre: Romance, romantic fantasy, LGBT

99c/99p for a limited time in e-book

Allen and Elaine are graduate students in Nebraska, and love each other very much. 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 gets it.

Now, he’s in Elaine’s body. And she’s in his. They’ll get a second chance at love.

Why? Because once you find your soulmate, the universe will do…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

February 11, 2017 at 9:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

#Authors: Get Real on #SocialMedia and Readers Will Respond #ASMSG #IARTG

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Mr. and Mrs. N.N. Light are a married writing team with a lot of heart and perspective. I like them greatly, and think their ten tips are fantastic. Give ’em a try!

POTL: All Things Books, Reading and Publishing

hexagon-1743514_1280“Marketing is first and foremost about connecting.” – Wendy Paine Miller

Today’s publishing market requires authors to wear several hats, one of them being marketer. For many authors, they haven’t a clue what to do or how to get the word out about their book(s). I see it all the time on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn; authors posting about their books in an unending stream of impersonal tweets and posts.

“BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK, PLEASE!”

I shake my head because these authors miss the whole point. Social media is at its core, social. It’s a powerful marketing tool, if you know how to use it. Let me give you an example:

Back in 2012, I wrote my debut novel, Princess of the Light. When the time came to edit and publish it, I started chatting with some of my Twitter followers about it. Nothing…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

January 9, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy New Year (Early…)

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Folks, it’s that time again…we’re almost up to the New Year.

I wanted to wish you all strength, happiness, peace, security, serenity, joy, love, and whatever else you have most desired over the past year.

2016 was a tough year for many, myself included. Personally, I’m glad it’s almost over (thus my push to say “Happy New Year” a bit early).

I hope all of you stay safe, but enjoy your New Year festivities, whatever they may be. (I plan to be watching a lot of football, myself — college and pro.)

Anyway, Happy New Year to all…and to all a good night. (Or something.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Jason Cordova’s “Wraithkin” — and Music?

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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…)

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 16, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Rolling with the Punches…

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Folks, before any of you freak out, I’m not talking literal punches, here. (No, the second coming of Muhammad Ali has not haunted my sleep, fortunately.) Just the usual stuff that tends to congregate that you’d rather not do, including minor car issues, a couple of minor medical tests, and the like.

But that got me thinking. (Ooh, a dangerous task, I know…but one I take up with abandon. Or something.)

What are you supposed to do when life throws you a curveball?

Whether it’s minor medical tests or a car problem you’d rather not have (like today’s refusal by my car’s battery to start the car, necessitating a call to AAA), you have to keep as calm as possible and solve the problem as best you can.

I don’t do well with medical tests, personally. I would rather not do any of them. (I freely admit this.) I know it’s better for my health to do them, however, so I do…grumbling all the way. (Hey, it’s not all sweetness and light around Chez Caffrey, hard though I try.)

Fortunately, I have good friends who listen to me and care enough that they’re willing to tell me when I’m being foolish or counterproductive. (Mostly they say this by omission rather than direct observation, but I’m not an idiot; I can tell if they think I’m behaving stupidly, and usually I adjust my behavior accordingly ’cause I don’t want to add to my friends’ burdens.)

To mix metaphors gleefully (the only way to mix metaphors, I can assure you), I think you have to roll with the punches life throws at you. Whether the car doesn’t start (bad battery; bad!), the doctor insists you need a medical test you’d rather not do, or anything else you’d rather not have to deal with, you have to try to remain calm.

But what do you do when you just can’t?

What I do is this: I try to envision the worst-case scenario. What is that, and can I survive it?

Since I’ve survived any number of difficult things in my life (including the deaths of my beloved husband and my best friend), if I think rationally — whether using the worst case scenario frame or not — I know that these problems, vexing though they are, are transitory.

In a week, I won’t think much about ’em. In a month, they’ll be in the rear view mirror so much, they’re barely a pinprick…so it’s all a matter of perspective.

Try to remember that, the next time you have something happen that makes your blood boil. Maybe it’ll help you maintain a cooler head, so you can think your way out of the problem. (Or at least keep your blood pressure down somewhat, which is also a win of sorts.)