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Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

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Blog Exchange, Day 2: Janet L. Walters Talks Writing, Books, and More!

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Folks, it’s Day 2 of my blog exchange with author Janet L. Walters. (My guest blog at Janet’s site is available here: I hope you’ll enjoy her thoughts on writing her latest book series…here we go!

seducingthephotographerWhen I began the series At First Sight, it meant rewriting a number of older stories and fixing the problems and updating the information. These are spicy romances, all contemporaries, and the first four concern the love lives of two sisters and two brothers. Somehow, a pair of their friends and colleagues slipped into the mix and there could be more people coming aboard when I have time to dream up more situations.

The first book involves Allie who edits a magazine for a family-held magazine, Good Cookin’. Her story involves a Chef, Greg who owns and heads a restaurant called Five Cuisines. Allie sets out the gain the interview and her father forbids this. He owns the magazines. Allie isn’t one to sit back. Greg is told by his mother not to let any Blakefield near the restaurant. This is how the fun begins.

In the second book, Meg Blakefield is dragooned to pick up the magazine group’s photographer at the airport. She has had a crush on him since the day he began work but she has also managed to anger him. Steve likes to tease Meg. He loves to see her blush. On his last photo shoot he had an accident resulting in a broken leg and a lot of bruises and scrapes. He would like to have Meg in his bed. When she learns there is no one to stay with him, she volunteers and adds rules to her already Rules of Life. The meeting sets off some fireworks. Her magazine is Good Lookin’ and she has a real love of silk and underwear.

The third book finds Mark Blakefield viewing a picture one of the writers from Good Travelin‘ has taken on a trip to Vermont. He sees a picture of a boy who could have been him at the same age. He also recognizes the child’s mother as the one who got away. They had a hot and heavy college romance but she vanished before the semester ended. He has looked for Christa Parsons. When he lands at the inn, he learns her name is and always has been Christa Sommers. He wants her and he wants his son. Can their love be rekindled?

seducingthechefThe fourth book finds Matt Blakefield running from Mark’s wedding with the words “You’re next.” He thinks no way and takes off on his motorcycle. A rainstorm has him barely able to see and finding no place to stay. He runs into a pine tree outside a cabin. He discovers Cassie is the girl he insulted and made fun of in high school. Someone he has never forgotten. Cassie is hiding at the cabin trying to come to grips with her fiancé’s desertion and marriage to another woman weeks before their wedding. The notification came via an email. She recognizes Matt and decides a night with him is something she just might enjoy. He leaves the next day without an exchange of numbers. Then he discovers she has something he wants and he needs to find her.

The fifth book belongs to their friend and attorney Tony Carlin. The death of his brother and being named as one of the guardians for his infant nephew brings him in touch with Lauren. Lauren is the child’s aunt and has also been named as guardian. They met four years before at the wedding of his brother and her sister. Lauren was at the end of her runaway period. His first impression of her wasn’t great but still he thought about sex. He is still thinking about this and he also feels she’s not a good guardian for the little boy. He makes assumptions and you all know what that means.

The sixth book finds Jules Grayson trying to convince Grace to sign a contract to have her cupcake bakery featured in Good Cookin’. She’s reluctant and he takes a trip he’d rather not take. After his father’s conviction for a Ponzi scheme and his mother’s suicide, he ended in a group home. The home was next door to where Grace landed after her mother overdosed. Grace is the only girl who ever turned Jules down when he tried for a hookup. Seeing her again brings up the desire to accomplish what he never had. Grace is choosy about the men in her life. She has no desire to be like her mother. Jules falls in love with her cupcakes and desires her in his bed.

Janet’s links:





So…there you have it! Janet has an interesting series, and I do hope you will check it out forthwith.

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 14, 2016 at 5:00 am

How to Tame Amazon’s Algorithm to Increase your Sales Rank

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If you don’t read Nicholas Rossis’s blog regularly, you are missing out. Nicholas has all sorts of great insights…and this post is one of them. (Ever been frustrated by why your Amazon ranking doesn’t seem to make any sense? Nicholas has the reason why…)

Nicholas C. Rossis

Amazon | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image:

When I launched Honest Fibs the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that with just a couple of dozen sales in a few days, it had reached the phenomenal sales rank of some #40,000.

This got me thinking: how is that even possible? I don’t think any of my older works have performed so well, even when they sell bigger numbers – say during a promo.

Then I came across a great resource, courtesy of The Passive Guy: an educated guess as to how Amazon’s ranking algorithm works, by John Doppler of Self-Publishing Advice. I examine his points here and look at how you can use them to increase your own sales.

Amazon’s Sales Rank

As a closely guarded secret, Amazon’s sales rank remains a perpetual source of confusion and myth. Authors find themselves asking questions like this all the time:

  • “Why…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 8, 2016 at 5:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Are You Exhausted and/or Dealing with #Fatigue? Listen to Your Body #inspiration #health

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I think this is an important thing to remember.

Also, be sure to check out Mrs. N’s story “Thirsty for Water” today…it’s free at Amazon. (It’s a very short, but very sweet, YA paranormal. I enjoyed it quite a bit.)

POTL: All Things Books, Reading and Publishing


Are you feeling fatigued and/or burned out?

I woke up feeling fatigued and exhausted. My lower back complained and pain rocked my body. I’m exhausted. My body is screaming for a break and I have no choice but to listen.

One of the ways I battle fatigue is to go for a walk. The fresh air rejuvenates my lungs and cleanses my soul. The music I listen to is filled with happy beats and lyrics.

Listen to your body and do something to refresh yourself.

I strongly recommend going for a walk or exercise. Empty your mind of all the to-do’s and stressors. Release it all and be in the moment.

Another recommendation is meditation/prayer. Be one with yourself and your spirituality. Let peace fill your body with every breath.

Our body knows what we need and when it’s fatigued, it is informing us it needs a check-up STAT!

Don’t ignore the…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 8, 2016 at 5:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Why I Wrote “Bringer of Chaos: The Origin of Pietas” — a Guest Blog by Kayelle Allen

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Folks, do I have a treat for you today!

A few months ago, I edited Kayelle Allen’s BRINGER OF CHAOS: The Origin of Pietas, and couldn’t wait to tell you all about it. Pietas is a strong character, someone who starts out dark, forbidding, and almost impossible to like…but somehow, with Kayelle’s insight, Pietas becomes much more than that. BRINGER OF CHAOS is a science fiction novel of cultural clashes, personal growth, friendship, sacrifice, and much, much more. It’s beautifully written, in some spots deeply moving, and a book I hope everyone will check out right away.

Now, on to Kayelle’s excellent guest blog, already in progress…

3d-boc1When I wrote Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas, I was creating the background and origin story for the most notorious villain in my scifi universe. In a series of books based in the Tarthian Empire, I had gone to great lengths to instill a sense of awe and fear in readers regarding the immortal king. Honestly, Pietas scared me, and I created him! I knew the depth of his cruelty because I’d created him to be the baddie all the other baddies feared. In the universe of those stories, he was known by many names: Impaler, Hammer of God, Marauder, Soul Ripper, Destroyer of Worlds, Slayer of Innocents, Hound of Hell, and more famously, the Bringer of Chaos. To reveal the reason he became such a terrifying person, I needed to delve into his head and get to know him better. *Gulp.*

I mentioned to my friend, author Houston Havens, that I didn’t know how to write an emotionless sociopath. First she laughed, then she took me to passages in my own books and showed me the emotions Pietas had displayed. Houston was right. Pietas was far from emotionless. Sociopath was as far from his reality as moonlight is from sunlight. One is cool and pale; the other hot and vibrant. I was trying to write him as a moon. Pietas was a sun.

Houston suggested that we “interview” him. She and I talk almost every day on Skype, so that was easy. I would “be” Pietas and answer on Skype as him. It would be an exercise in free association, and we would record it so I would have reference. Once we got started, it was surprisingly easy to get into his head. She asked him questions that were simple at first. Then she asked about his father, which made me delve into my own past as a child and parent. Mine was innocent and filled with love. My villainous hero, however, had a different bent.

When I was a child, the parent-child bond set my life on a certain path, and I believe no matter how old I get, I will always be the way I was molded to be from childhood. Pietas is immortal, and apparently, so is his love/hate-mostly-hate relationship with his father. Delving into that in detail will take more than one book. In fact, I’ve gone from wondering how I could possibly write a whole book about Pietas to planning another four.

Pietas now fascinates me. Getting to know this character helped me break past an episode of writer’s block that had lasted seven years. I had written, but was producing only non-fiction (Tarthian Empire Companion) and books about the characters (An Immortal’s Guide to Tarth). With Bringer of Chaos out of the way, I’m back where I belong — in the world of the Tarthian Empire. The galaxy of stories beyond that is, as Pietas would say, “ripe for the plucking.”

About Kayelle Allen

Kayelle Allen is a best selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

About the Book

Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas
Author: Kayelle Allen
Publisher: Romance Lives Forever Books
Editor: Barb Caffrey
Heat level: PG13
Genre: YA (older young adult), action adventure, science fiction, space opera, military science fiction, space marine, genetic engineering
Wordcount: 52,492
Pages: 186

Two enemy warriors: one human, one immortal. Different in belief, alike in spirit, marooned together on an alien world.

Imprisoned and in isolation over a year without food or water, the immortal Pietas survives. Though broken in body, his intellect and will are intact, thanks to Six, the special ops warrior who captured him, but kept him sane. The warrior had no hand in his deprivation and, like Pietas, was betrayed by his own kind. When Pietas is abandoned on an alien world with nothing but his honor–and Six–he must find and rejoin other immortal exiles. After centuries of war, Pietas detests humans and kills them on sight, but he is too damaged to continue on his own. Though he despises needing help, he allows Six to nurture and restore him to full strength, and then accompany him. As they cross the planet together on foot, the immortal begins to wonder if he has found his first human friend, or if Six is loyal only because Pietas could keep the others from tearing him to shreds. This human will either be his closest living friend, or the one whose betrayal will trigger all-out vengeance by the most powerful immortal ever born.

Immortal. Warrior. Outcasts. Traitors took everything. Except their honor.

Read the first chapter
Amazon print


So, now that you’ve read all this, what are you waiting for? Go get Kayelle’s excellent novel right now. You will not regret it.

An Update to the Frustrating Situation, Already in Progress…

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Folks, bless you all for caring. I need to say that before anything else.

I am extremely fortunate in my friends, especially in the writing community. I am astonished by the outpouring of love and support in my direction. I appreciate that so much.

Now I need to get into some “weeds,” I’m afraid.

Next Tuesday, the house I live in will be sold. I can do nothing about this. I have tried everything I know to avoid this fate. And it has not worked.

Because much of this story is not mine to tell, I can’t say much more than this.

I don’t know what will happen next Wednesday at all. I’ve never been through this process before. I’ve heard, from a friend who’s been through it, that they usually give you at least thirty days to get out — but as I’ve not been through it, I’m very, very worried about what will happen next. And about what will happen to Trouble, too.

I do have some tentative good news, though. My father has said he will help. I can stay with him temporarily. He may even help me find an apartment, for me to live independently…if he does, that would be wonderful.

And my mother believes she will be able to find a way to keep both Trouble and her dog, Brat, together. If so, that would be a good outcome.

My sister, who is a huge dog lover, has also said she’ll make sure that Trouble and Brat will be fostered in an emergency situation, so they will not go to the pound. (She already has a dog, and is in a subdivision where they do not allow multiple animals.)

I believe my family has the best of intentions. But I remain very worried and extremely upset.

This is not a place I’d ever expected to be. That’s why I decided finally to talk about it, and to tell you I’m in trouble…as much as my family dislikes me saying it, what I’m telling you is my truth.

Because I have caring, deeply concerned friends, they are trying to help in all sorts of ways. I appreciate this, more than I can ever tell you.

One of them, knowing how hard I’ve tried over the years, got so frustrated over this situation that he said my family had “abandoned” me. That isn’t true. They are difficult in their ways, as I am difficult in my ways, and sometimes we don’t mesh well. I love them, they love me, we have some serious disagreements, but they usually will help me when push comes to shove.

Do they have a lot of means to do that with, though? No, they don’t. Which is why I decided to do a Patreon appeal. And it’s why I reopened my GoFundMe account as well.

I don’t want my father to be wholly responsible for what happens to me. He’s in his “golden years.” He should not have to do this.

I don’t want my sister, or my mother, or anyone else in my family to have to give all that they have, just to keep me going.

My family deeply dislikes it that I have “put my troubles on the Internet.” My mother in particular is very angry that my concerned and caring friend said that my family has “abandoned” me, and views the fact that I have these two appeals as somehow deceitful, or at least distasteful.

But I’m telling you the flat truth. I do not know what will happen next Wednesday (the day after the house is sold at auction). And that terrifies me.

If you want to help, you have three ways to do it right now.

First, I have a number of books and stories out there — go to my Amazon page, and also to my late husband Michael’s Amazon page, and pick a story. Everything is $2.99 or less; most are only ninety-nine cents. They are all good reads, and I hope might make you feel better. (That’s why Michael and I wrote these stories. Life is too short for doom and gloom.)

Second, I still have the Patreon appeal going. This is a new way to do something very old-fashioned — support an artist, writer, or other creative type. That’s why I was drawn to it, especially because I can give back a little to those who help (by offering stories, etc.)

Third, I still have the GoFundMe appeal going. This is to give me options, in case I can find a job out-of-state. (No matter what, I will have moving expenses.)

I appreciate anything you can do. Thank you.


Oh, one more thing:

As I am trying my best to make a better life for myself, I am looking into Americorps VISTA jobs. They don’t care what your age is. They only care about your ability. And I like the idea of public service, along with what I’m already doing with my writing, editing, and occasional music-making.

If I can find one of these jobs, I could be much better off in a few months than I am right now. (Here’s hoping.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

ReLaunched GoFundMe to Help with Moving…

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Folks, as you know, I’m going to have to make an emergency move next week. I’ve set up a Patreon account (I’ll have to figure out how to add a button for that here, I suppose), and now I’ve updated my old GoFundMe Account as well and changed the URL so it’s easier to find:

It is dispiriting to have to do this. But it is also gratifying that so many other writers and friends have stepped up to help me get the word out.

My hope is that I’ll be able to move and then get back to what I do best: Writing. Editing. Playing music. And living life.

Thank you for reading, and for supporting me during this trying time.

Written by Barb Caffrey

April 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

To Survive the Maelstrom by Michael B. Caffrey + @BarbCaffrey #bookreview #99cents #ASMSG

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Very happy with this new review for my and my late husband Michael’s story “To Survive the Maelstrom.” Mrs. N.N. Light read it, reviewed it, loved it…what’s to say, except I’d better keep working on more of Peter’s story? (Michael wrote enough that I can finish it. Which I will do, after CHANGING FACES is done and in the can.)

POTL: All Things Books, Reading and Publishing

To Survive the Maelstrom

Title: To Survive the Maelstrom: A Tale from the Atlantean Union (Peter Welmsley Book 1)

Author: Barb Caffrey, Michael B. Caffrey

Genre: Science Fiction

Book Blurb:

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?

Note for readers: This is a novella.

My Review:

Peter is a commander in the Atlantean Union and he is at a crossroads. Everyone he loves is dead and he’s left all alone. Why was he spared?…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

April 11, 2016 at 4:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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